Sunday, 25 September 2016

Interview With David Leadbeater

David Leadbeater is the author of nineteen Kindle International Bestsellers - the Matt Drake and Alicia Myles series', the Disavowed series and Chosen. He has sold over half a million e-books on the Amazon Kindle. 

When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer? 

I've written books since I was 15 years old. It's always been my highest aspiration. 

How much time do you send on research? 

I try to get all my initial research written down within a week. If some parts look quite daunting I leave links in the plot at relevant points to be addressed later.  

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? 

Learning a new process of writing and editing! I used a new editor for Stand Your Ground and he worked very differently. He taught me a lot. 

Do you have an agent, and if not, are you looking for one? 

No agent and not looking for one at the moment. Independent publishing is where it's all at. 

You recently worked with Ed Stackler as your editor.  How did you find the process? 

Ed is a great developmental editor, able to push your further and harder and make you really think about plotlines, characters and pace. He is very experienced, working for Amazon, and very professional. I'd certainly enjoy the chance to do it all again some time. 

How do you handle negative reviews? 

I take note only if they hold serious content, and something I or my readers tend to agree with. If a recurring theme comes up I look at rewriting certain passages or researching further, two things I have done several times in the past. Amazon's self-publishing platform allows you to revise your book at any time – another great boon for Independent publishing. 

Which marketing strategy has worked best for you? 

If I'm being honest none of them seem to work all that well. My best decision was to create a mailing list of readers and use that to inform everyone of new releases. Whichever way you do it, I believe a large mailing list is essential. 

Where can we find your books? My Amazon Author Central page shows a list of the avaialble titles: 
And my personal website is: 

Monday, 12 September 2016

Interview with Seumas Gallacher

Former businessman Seumas Gallacher left the finance world seven years ago to launch his writing career, and I’m here to find out how that journey went.  Seumas was voted Blogger of the Year in 2013, and his network boasts over 25,000 direct contacts.

 Tell us about your latest book

Current work-in-progress is DEADLY IMPASSE, the fifth in the Jack Calder crime thriller series. The characters are familiar to my readers--- the team at International Security Partners (ISP), ex-SAS officers, Jack Calder and his mate Malky McGuire; Jack’s Asian wife, former Anti-Triad fighter, May-Ling; and former London Serious Crimes Squad commander, Donnie Mullen, take on international drug barons and people-traffickers. The action ranges from the usually calm backwater of a private bank in Luxembourg to the shores of Libya and the perils of migrants in the Mediterranean, all the way to drug-running cartels in Central America. 

You’re based in Abu Dhabi.  What took you there?

Twelve years ago, I went to Abu Dhabi for a month on a corporate trouble-shooting role for a major local bank. I’m still in the Middle East. 

Tell us how you first got into writing.

I’ve been scribbling and writing since my mid teens, graduating from the usual angst–ridden poetry to short stories. There was a gap of several decades until I decided about eight years ago, it was just ‘time’ to write ‘that book’ we all have in us. Wish I’d gotten the bug again a bit sooner. LUVVIN IT!

Who has been the biggest influence on your writing career?

For writing style, my eternal favourite authors are Dickens, Steinbeck, O’Hara and Ruark. The other principal influence has been an international career that has revealed characters, events, places, humour, tragedy and the whole nine yards of life in the raw.

How important are book reviews to you?

They are important inasmuch as people take time and trouble to share their opinion (but, always to remember it is only their opinion). It tends to guide other folks toward the work, good or otherwise, and as the former actress, Mae West, used to say, “I don’t care what they’re sayin’ about me, just so long as they’re sayin’. ” However, reviews should always be taken with a pinch of salt, as most people usually give four- or five-star reviews for publication... the negatives are seldom ever posted, or are, in large part, written by trolls.

If you could go back to the start of your writing career, what if, anything, would you do differently?

Start the ‘building the platform’ of a following on the Internet, including an author’s blog, constantly, before, during and after the book(s) is (are) in process. Modern writers have to be heard above the ‘noise’ and all of the social networks provide channels for readers to get to know them as well as their wee masterpieces.

Who does your book covers?

A friend in Manila is a superb commercial artist, and ‘gets’ what my books’ contents need. I’m delighted with the many positive comments the covers have attracted.

Where can we find out more about your books?

All of my books are on Amazon. Here are the quick links:

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Interview with Ed James

It’s time for another interview, and this time I have been chatting to Ed James, self-published author of the DC Scott Cullen police procedurals as well as Snared, which was published by Thomas & Mercer.  They will also be releasing two DI Fenchurch books this year, and he recently published a PC Craig Hunter book.

You gave up your day job in IT to write full time (just as I did).  Did it ever feel like a risky move?

Hell yeah! And it felt like that for about eighteen months. Still get shivers if my monthly income goes below a certain level… But I don’t regret doing it.

I took the plunge kind of by accident. I’d been working in London on a huge migration project, and I was in charge of the data migration team, which was running into serious difficulties. None of it my fault, I hasten to add.

During my time there, my book income had exploded from about £900 a month to over four grand. Then around Christmas time, an agent approached me, Allan Guthrie, who’s also a novelist I greatly admired. 

I wasn’t enjoying being away from home every week and I managed to secure a contract back in Edinburgh, luckily for the same amount of money. I took a week to see if I’d actually be productive writing full-time and it went really well, finishing an outline for the first Fenchurch novel, though it had vampires in it… Anyway, I lasted three days at the job before I started getting a really sore back and I had to quit. I’ve not looked back…

What are the main differences between self-publishing and having a team like Thomas & Mercer behind you?

On the self-publishing side, or indie author as we like to call ourselves now, you’re in charge of everything. You’re your own publisher. So as well as writing the books, you’ve got to market them, get covers done, organise and pay for editing. With T&M, I don’t have to worry about any of that, other than working with editors and approving covers, really. The marketing is all taken care of and that’s T&M’s great advantage – they can direct market to everyone who’s got a Kindle.

The plus side of being an indie author is you can set your own schedule. I finished up editing a book with my friend last weekend and I published it on Monday. With T&M, and they’re very quick compared to traditional publishers, it takes about seven months from finishing development editing to publication, something I’m not used to. 

On the T&M side, there’s usually some lead time between submitting that first draft and starting dev editing, something I maybe don’t give myself enough of with my indie work. That means I’m cold to the book and I can take a pair of scissors to it, or more likely add in stuff that’s lacking…

I’m a very quick writer and T&M are being really good at calling me out on it, heh. For instance, I’ve got the first two books in the DI Fenchurch series out five weeks apart and they’re pushing for me to write the third one, which is pretty much unheard of in trad publishing circles. The only exception I can think of is the success Bookoutoure have had with Angela Marsons Kim Stone series, where the books were published very quickly.

On balance, though, I love having the blend. I know a few trad authors who’re stuck publishing just one novel a year, so everything has to go into that book, and it doesn’t seem to have a positive effect on their health… And the social side of being with a publisher can’t be ignored – the parties T&M run every year have let me meet a load of different authors, including yourself, and it helps share stories and pain points and successes. Keeping perspective is one of the hardest things when you’re locked in a room for eight hours a day with just a fat cat for company.

What’s a typical writing day?

When I’m writing, it’s usually a sprint, so getting up at seven-ish for a quick breakfast. I go to the gym four or five times a week, usually about 9, 9.15, so I take a break for that. Then I’m back at it until lunchtime. I usually work straight through to about six at night, though in winter I break to walk the dogs at about three, not a problem in the summer. I usually aim for a word count of about 7,000-10,000 when I’m doing that heavy-lifting phase, mainly so I get through it. Then I can spend a couple of weeks fixing stuff. But I tend to work in an agile way, everything’s timeboxed and focused, there’s no diversions allowed!

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

Information is harder than ideas. 

Ideas I usually get from news stories. I use Feedly to subscribe to a load of newspapers and blogs, and skim through them every day saving stuff off to Evernote. I’ll sift through that selection every month or so, and find something that catches my eye and I’ll file a note in my ideas file. Other than, it can be stuff coming out of the ether that I just get struck with. Those are harder to replicate…

Information is the hard bit for police procedurals. Murder cases are pretty easy, as everyone’s seen or read hundreds of books/shows/films with a dead body on page five and a post-mortem and forensics and interviews and so on. The challenge there is in making the story as good as possible, as unique and different, with interesting characters. The book I’ve just published focuses on sex crimes, which is a harder thing to do – the victims are still alive, forensics are different and police procedure isn’t so well-documented. Luckily, I know a few officers, including a couple of serving ones, so that does help.

Of all the books you’ve written, which is your favourite?

It’s always the latest one. The first two Fenchurch books I’m particularly pleased with as I think I’m maybe pushing the genre in a slightly new direction. MISSING, the first Hunter book, is similar as I’m focusing on sex crimes and giving voice to a different set of victims. It allows for the victims voice to be heard dramatically, instead of through exposition.

Have you ever yearned to collaborate with another author, and if so, who?

I have collaborated with Al Guthrie, though the project we selected is pretty much the hardest thing either of us have ever tried to do. I did my first draft two years ago after Al had done a couple on his own and we’re still back at the drawing board stage, five drafts in. It’s been a great experience seeing how someone else works and picking up skills. Al’s very big on character, particularly motivations and what makes each person unique, but also on writing craft and I’ve learnt a hell of a lot of good tricks from the process. Just hope one day we publish the bugger!

What’s the easiest and hardest things about writing?

The easiest for me is sitting down and bashing away at a project. I can do that till my Spidey-sense starts tingling to tell me I’m working on something that’s rubbish.

The bit I enjoy most is outlining. That’s when it’s fresh and exciting and all the weird little twists and insights come out. Compare with proofing where I’m just done with that book and can’t put any more emotion into it.

The hardest bit is editing, mainly because I could just keep changing it all the time. I have to be very disciplined and go with what the editors are telling me and just keep it at that.

When you’re not writing, how do you relax?

Going to the gym, watching TV (box set stuff, not live), watching football, walking the dogs, going for drives with my girlfriend and generally just spending time with her.

Where can we find your books?

They’re all on Amazon or you could look at my website, 

Sunday, 14 August 2016

My interview with Jennifer Chase

Back across the pond, this time to California, the home of Jennifer Chase.  With her German shepherd Odin by her side, Jennifer writes the Emily Stone vigilante detective thrillers. Emily Stone doesn’t have a badge. But that hasn’t stopped her from tracking down some of the West’s most dangerous criminals.

Tell us about your latest book

I write the multiple award-winning Emily Stone Thriller Series. My latest book, Dark Pursuit, leads the vigilante detective on a case of the Tick-Tock killer that pushes her psychological and physical endurance to the extreme. Emily Stone is not your ordinary detective; in fact, she tracks down serial killers anonymously and covertly under the radar of law enforcement. The Tick-Tock killer abducts a victim and in four days, almost to the minute, he dumps the body leaving the cops with very few clues. That’s where Emily Stone comes into play using her innate abilities of investigation and criminal profiling to track the killer. It’s not without a price.  
What was the hardest part of writing it?

For me, writing a series, and keeping the storyline fresh and engaging for readers keeps me on my toes. I write all my books to stand-alone, but I have a personal competition to write bigger action scenes and twists for each book.  

Do you outline your books first, or just start writing and see where it takes you?

I outline my stories. This is a loose outline where I can change things if the storyline calls for it. I like to think of an outline as a roadmap of the book, and then I can take one of those other roads occasionally if the mood strikes me.

How has your background influenced your writing?

I have been behind the scenes as far as police departments are concerned. I know what goes on with forensics and how investigations are done from the real people that do these jobs. I spent my internship several years ago in forensic lab comparing fingerprints, studying crime scenes, and learning my way around a morgue. In addition, I’ve been threatened and stalked by a real textbook psychopath, which has inspired me to fine-tune my killers. Writing fiction allows for creative license, which is fun, but I’m keenly aware of procedures, realities, experiences, and technology. I try to give the reader the excitement of a police procedural, while striving to keep the story thrilling.  

What has been the best moment of your writing career so far?

That’s difficult to answer. It’s a great moment when you finish any book—whether it’s your first or tenth, and having readers enjoy it. When I won the gold medal for action through Readers’ Favorite for Dead Burn really was a great moment for me—it validated my work and that I can write action thrillers. I’m very grateful.

What is your ultimate writing goal?

I want to keep writing books and short stories, and adding a few new series to my arsenal. I cannot ignore the fact that I would love to have my Emily Stone Series made into films. Who wouldn’t, right? There are some things going on behind the scenes, but that’s for another interview.

Which authors do you read for inspiration?

There are so many awesome authors out there. I mostly read mysteries, thrillers, and horror. However, I seem to gravitate toward authors like Jeffrey Deaver, Lee Child, and David Baldacci. Besides these wonderful authors, I find inspiration from true crime authors as well. 

Where can we find out more about your books?

All of my books are available on Amazon worldwide, in addition to most online book retailers. 

Here’s a link to Dark Pursuit.

For more information about my books and crime related articles:

Author Bio:

Jennifer Chase is an award-winning author and consulting criminologist.  She has authored six crime fiction novels, including the multiple award-winning Emily Stone thriller series along with a screenwriting workbook.
Jennifer holds a Bachelor degree in police forensics and a Master's degree in criminology.  These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Interview with Luke Romyn

Luke Romyn has been gracious enough to join me for my next Q & A session.  Luke is the USA Today bestselling author of over a dozen titles, the most recent of which was the page-turner Walking with Shadows.

What made you decide to write your first novel?

There was no definitive moment of clarity where a beam of light struck my forehead and I thought, “Eureka! I’m going to torture myself for the rest of my life.” I’ve always been drawn to writing, especially fiction, and it simply seemed a natural thing to try. I’m not the kind of guy who sits back and wonders ‘what if?’ If I conceive something that might be cool, I go out and do it. This was what happened with my first book. I sat down, looked at the screen, and began writing. It was hardly a smooth path from there to here, far from it, in fact, but I’ve always held the final goal in mind, and with that in hand, all I need to do is pave the road with words, hopefully good ones.

Tell us about Walking with Shadows, and how did you come up with the idea?

The concept for Walking with Shadows came to me while sitting down with a friend having coffee. I threw the idea out to him, of a writer flung together with a young boy, who tries to bridge the gap between their lives with fictional stories, and it kind of grew from there. My friend, who is highly intelligent but hardly a reader, was blown away by the concept, so I figured it was worth a shot. If I could interest someone who didn’t like books, then the reading community was likely to be more receptive, right? The end result is my proudest writing achievement thus far. 

Your writing covers a few genres.  Which is your favourite?

I despise genres. Genres should always be for readers, not writers. If you limit yourself while writing, your novel will never achieve its full potential. That being said, all my novels tend to have some elements of adventure in them and I loosely call them all action-thrillers. 

How has your personal life influenced your writing?

Early on in life, my parents taught me the joy of traveling. I remember standing in Tiananmen Square in China before the famous protests in 1989. I’ve walked inside one of the Pyramids of Giza and through the Valley of the Kings. I’ve swum with sharks in Tahiti and wrestled in the mud with rescued elephants in Thailand. 

On the work side of things, my two-decade career as a security contractor has let me see another side of life, one slightly less glamorous than the traveling. I’ve had to disarm people with guns and knives, wrestle with psychopaths on drugs that give them near-superhuman strength, and convince gangs of bikers it’s a good idea not to kill me. I’ve had to sneak a group of female strippers out of a country without notice, and manage a group of male strippers in a country where they weren’t exactly welcome. I’ve chased feral pigs out of movie sets on a $200,000,000 Stephen Spielberg production, and protected celebrities from escaped prisoners in Fiji. 

Throw all these elements together with an over-active imagination and you end up with the foundations of a Luke Romyn action-thriller. 

You have a huge social media presence.  How important is that when it comes to marketing your books?

Social media is good for brand recognition, but not so useful when trying to tout a product. Sure, I still throw out the occasional mention for one of my books to let people know when something is going on, but too much blathering about how great they are tends to become white noise, which people tone out. I believe it’s more important to get people to like you as a person, rather than as a product. If they like you personally, they’re more likely to look beyond the superficial and take what you have to offer more seriously. To do this, I reach out with humour, interesting articles related to reading, anything that I feel might put me in touch with readers. I see a lot of writers posting article after article about writing, which is great if you’re trying to impress other writers, but when you’re looking to make a connection with readers you’re going to be off target. It’s a slow and tedious progress, but definitely worthwhile in the end. 

What has been the highlight of your writing career so far?

Sometimes, I find myself trapped inside a bubble so much that a lot of the achievements going on around me don’t truly sink in. I’m so focused on my current project or marketing and networking that events slip by without my recognizing how significant they are. One highlight that blew me away, however, happened while I was totally outside that bubble, and as such made a bit more of an impact. 

While traveling with my wife in New York last year, I was standing on a street curb when I noticed a tall man, dark skinned and dressed nicely, staring at me while we waited to cross the street. Now, being an Australian in a New York, every stereotype of getting mugged or dealing with a crazy person slipped through my mind. Nevertheless, I smiled at the man and said hello. He asked me if I was Luke Romyn and I said yes, shaking his hand. Apparently he was a huge fan of my books and veritably gushed over meeting me. This was the highlight of my career, and will stay with me forever.

What would be your ultimate writing goal?

World domination. Or at least to be able to afford to pay the bills. 

Where can we find your books?

I’m currently exclusive on Amazon Kindle for e-books. Print versions of all my books are available through CreateSpace, Amazon, and various other retailers. My website is

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Interview with Russell Blake

It is my great pleasure to introduce one of the true heavyweights of Indie publishing, New York Times bestselling sensation Russell Blake.   With fifty (count them, 50!) novels under his belt since he started out just five years ago, Russell has built up a tremendous following and caught the eye of thriller legend Clive Cussler.  They have collaborated on two books to date, and Russell’s Jet series has been given its own Kindle World by Amazon.

What was it like teaming up with Clive Cussler? 

As you might imagine, getting to work with a living legend was an honor and a thrill. He’s very much a gentleman, and knows more about writing a bestseller than I ever will. I learned a lot, and got the added bonus of having his agent, also an erudite fellow, represent me. So a win all around.

Your latest work is the superb post-apocalyptic dystopian thriller The Day After Never.  What is it about, and what inspired you to write it? 
I’ve been saying it’s the best writing I’ve done, and I stand by that. It follows an ex-Texas Ranger in the days after the collapse of civilization due to a confluence of economic and disease-related events. Think Clint Eastwood from the spaghetti western days, set down in a Mad Max world, and you pretty much have the idea.

I know you manage an extraordinary daily word count.  What’s a day in the life of Russell Blake actually like, and does it really involve so much Tequila? 
Is that some kind of a dig? “So much?” I prefer to think of it as just the right amount. As to a day in the life, I wake up (always good), feed the dogs, eat breakfast and gulp down a cup of coffee, and then begin writing. I’ll break for lunch and at the end of each chapter, and motor through until I hit my word count for the day, which is usually 5K. When really roaring, maybe 7K. Then comes dinner, which yes, often includes something to soothe my brutalized nerves. That will usually end in jail, at a strip club, or spooning a 300 pound Samoan cook on a tramp steamer to Jakarta. But always making for a good story.

I mentioned the Jet series being one of Amazon’s Kindle Worlds.  What does that entail, and how can other authors participate? 
Amazon approached me to put JET into their KW program, wherein interested readers and authors can pen stories in that world, using my characters, and those they dream up, in any sort of story that doesn’t involve pedophilia or a donkey. Their rules, not mine. Anyone can write in the world, and they get to keep their characters as their intellectual property. Several talents have sort of kick-started their careers doing it, most notably Jason Gurley and Tom Abrahams, who have gone on to huge success, so it can be a great deal all around.

To be a successful writer, you also have to be a reader.  Which authors float your boat? 
Besides the masterful Alan McDermott, you mean? James Lee Burke, David Foster Wallace, Lawrence Block, Kurt Vonnegut, Ray Bradbury, Hugh Howey, Ben Fountain, Boston Tehran. I could go on for an hour. I love a lot of authors for different reasons, but those are my faves at the moment.

Your blog has some fantastic advice for new authors, but what would be the one thing that they need to get right? 
From a business perspective, to view the creation of content as a separate endeavor from operating a publishing company, and to develop the necessary skills and devote suitable time to both. The biggest mistake I see beginning authors make is to eschew the crass commercial aspect of selling books because they are arteests. Creating content is the artistic endeavor, but the day you want someone to care and buy it, that’s publishing and retail, and any competence as a content creator won’t help in the retail marketing business. They are distinctly separate businesses. From a writing perspective, it’s to ensure they can tell a hell of a story that compels readers to turn the pages. Craft, lyricism, grammar, all important, but if the story ain’t racing along, it won’t matter. Assuming competence at crafting a sentence, it’s all about the story.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? 
Marry rich and loaf all my life. Perhaps whip the servants when they misbehave.

What jobs did you have before you became a writer? 
Ha! Name it. Everything you can think of. I ran companies in high tech and import/export, made wine, played and produced music, started an architectural and construction business, did some small venture capital – the gamut. I can’t say I was cheated out of opportunities, that’s for sure.

Is there one question that you wish interviewers would ask you, but they never do?  If there is, what is the answer? 
Tough one. I usually just rant about whatever pops into my head, so they’re lucky if they get to even ask the ones they want to. You’ve done a remarkably good job with yours, so I defer to the master.

If you could go back to 2011, when you published your first book, what, if anything, would you do differently? 
I would write in one single genre instead of a mishmash, and I would stick to a series rather than writing stand-alones. Don't get me wrong, I love Fatal Exchange and The Geronimo Breach and Zero Sum, but readers like series, and you either give the reader what he wants, or he goes elsewhere. I didn't want to limit my literary genius to any one thing, which was a mistake. Fortunately, I figured it out toward the end of the year, but doing so ate 6 months I'll never get back.

Where can we find out more about you and your books?  
I blog at Have an author page at where you can find all my books. My facebook is - that about covers it!

Thanks for having me on, Alan. Very kind of you to sully your reputation with the likes of me. Appreciate it.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Interview with Stephen Edger

It’s time to introduce Stephen Edger, a crime and thriller author from the south coast of England with eleven novels to his name.  Stephen also has a law degree, which gives him a good understanding of the inner workings of the UK justice system.

Tell us about your latest work.
My latest novel, Downfall, is a mystery thriller, featuring Private Investigator Johnson Carmichael. He’s in his late forties, and at the start of the book we find him grieving the sudden loss of his teenage daughter. He’s surviving on a diet of bourbon and amphetamines, and buries himself in work. He takes on a sixteen year old murder case to hide from his nightmares. There are lots of twists and turns along the way.

Of the characters you’ve created, which is your favourite?
I can’t say I have a clear favourite, though I always enjoy writing the villains. There’s just something about accessing that part of my personality that I find riveting. It freaks my wife out!

How difficult is it to write when you have a young family?
I am disciplined with my writing. I wake up and write for up to two hours before work each morning. But I’m lucky, and work from home most days, which means I still get to spend lots of time with my wife and children, rather than being stuck in traffic.

What’s your strangest writing quirk?
I do most of my thinking whilst walking the dogs. Each novel has a plot structure written down so I know what I’ll be writing each day. When I take the dogs out, I put in headphones and picture the next chapter’s scene unfolding. That way, when I get back to my desk I can write what I’ve just pictured.

What is it like to get fan mail?
I’m always embarrassed when I hear positive things about my books. Like most writers, I suffer with chronic self-doubt, and only tend to believe the negative things I hear. 

How do you treat negative reviews?
I try very hard not to look at my reviews, but usually give in to temptation. I don’t have issue with reviews where readers simply did not enjoy the story, but some reviews can be very hurtful. I try not to take it to heart, and the easiest way to do that is to look at the bad reviews some of my writing heroes have received. It helps keep things in perspective.

What would your perfect writing retreat look like?
Ooh, I know this one! A wooden shack on a secluded beach in a tropical paradise. I would write each morning in the shack, and sun bathe in the afternoon with a cocktail and a good book.

Which author are you reading at the moment?
I love reading crime thrillers. I am a massive Simon Kernick fan, but have read all of his. I am just about to read my first Peter James book, and I can’t wait to get started. 

Where can we find your books?
All of books are available on Kindle, iTunes, Nook and Kobo, as well as in paperback from Amazon. If you go to your local library, you can even request they order the paperbacks in for you.

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