Tag Archives: Q&A

An Interview with Leye Adenle – Q&A

A couple of years ago one of the panels I attended at TOPCWF had a late substitute on it in the form of Leye Adenle. Not an author I was aware of at the time, he was such a fantastic addition to the panel that I rushed straight out to buy his book at the book tent. Clearly I wasn’t the only person as by the time I got there they had sold out, so I had to wait a while to get my hands on a copy of Leye’s crime novel ‘Easy Motion Tourist’. Once I did though Leye soon became one of my favourite authors and so as part of October’s Black History Celebration Month I was delighted to be able to do a Q&A with the man himself.

Hi Leye and thanks for your time. Firstly have you always been a writer and who inspired you? Do you prefer writing short stories, novels or articles?

I have always written, even when it was just crayon on the walls of my parent’s home. For as far as I can remember, and since when I was reading, I’ve wanted to be a writer and I’ve written. As a child I started with poems, short stories and even comics that I drew with my brother, then I had many failed attempts to write complete novels, then I did even more short stories and even managed some complete manuscripts that I shall never allow anybody to read. I lost one manuscript that I really loved, and recently, while searching for something else, I found a complete novel I wrote in longhand in a notebook. Of all the forms of writing, I like writing articles the least, but I still like writing them.

The books I read from a young age inspired me to write – it must be that because I cannot remember a time when I did not want to be a writer. 

Can you tell us what a typical working day looks like for you?

My working day starts with the alarm, followed by a mad dash to get to work. I take the long bus route when I’m not running late. This gives me the chance to read whatever book I’m reading at the moment on a upper deck window seat. Each day at work is different, apart from reoccurring meetings, due to what I do. I coach software developers, software development teams, and organisations. After work, depending on the day of week, I either go to the gym then go home to write a few pages of the book I’m writing at the moment, or I go straight home and write a few pages of the book I’m writing at the moment. 

How would you spend a perfect afternoon away from work?

The perfect afternoon away from the day job would be spent in my favourite coffee shop on my favourite chair next to the socket to plug in my laptop. 

Are you an avid reader yourself? If so, which authors do you find yourself returning to time and again? 

I love books. ‘Wouldn’t be a writer otherwise. These days I read two books at the same time; one fiction and one non-fiction related to my day job. I tend to only read non-fiction when I’m writing which means I go all greedy in-between writing as I catch up with all the titles I’ve been stockpiling. 

I have read Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart almost every couple of years for the past twenty years or so. If any unpublished manuscripts of his were to suddenly surface, it’d be like winning the lottery for me.

I cannot stop reading Lee Child’s Jack Reacher. I was crazy about James Patterson but got exhausted trying to keep up. It’s kinda comforting knowing that there’ll always be a new Alex Cross novel.

What is the one thing that you wish people knew about Lagos that no one ever knows?

Lagos is a state, not a city. Yeah, it’s big. Massive. Twenty million people. That’s because its a state! Argh!!! 

Finally can you tell us a little about what you are working on next?

I’m working on some Unfinished Business with The Amaka Series. 🙂

That’s great news and I’ll definitely keep an eye out for that.

This is a series that I would highly recommend for all fans of gritty crime fiction. If you would like to find out how good this Nigerian Crime Series is for yourself then you can find both Easy Motion Tourist and his latest When Trouble Sleeps from amazon.

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Gentleman Jack by Christina James BLOG TOUR – Q & A

When Salt Publishing got in touch to see if I would like to read a copy of the latest by Christina James I jumped at the chance. It is not often that you get a novel set in the lovely(?) fen land near my home town of Peterborough. Gentleman Jack starts with an investigation into the theft of expensive farm machinery (this the fens after all so there has to be a farm involved!) However the story soon turns more sinister as a serial killer makes his mark. I am delighted to welcome Christina to Acrimereadersblog.

Hi Christina and thanks for joining me today. Have you always been a writer?

In a certain sense, I think all writers believe they have always been writers – or at least, have always been both inspired and tortured by writing dreams!  I certainly intended to be a writer well before I left primary school, and was writing (very derivative) Angela Brazil style writing stories at that time.

Are your main characters such as DS Juliet Armstrong inspired by people you know?

All my characters except one – one of the more minor characters who occurs in only two of the books  and is based directly on someone from  ‘real life’ – are either entirely invented or composites of several people I have known.  Juliet comes from my imagination only; Tim Yates, her boss, shares certain characteristics with a couple of people I know – but only traits –  he is very much his own person as well.

Can you tell us what a typical working day looks like for you?

I have a day job which is quite demanding and involves a lot of travel.  I therefore don’t have a ‘typical’ working day.  But I expect you mean a typical day as a writer – and I do try to block out periods of time when I do nothing but write.  Typically, then, I would write 1,000 – 2,000 words in the morning, revise them after lunch and then either write a post for my blog or do some work for other authors (I’m a part-time editor as well).  The next day I would revise the previous day’s work again before starting on my next 1,000 – 2,000 words – revise, revise, revise is my mantra.  (By this I generally mean ‘simplify’, rather than ‘embroider’.)  Every few days I will also revise the previous block of about ten chapters or so, to make sure the tone is right and I haven’t committed to any contradictions.  On days like this I will also fit in a brisk country walk.

 How would you spend a perfect afternoon away from work?

Either going on a leisurely walk in the country or reading a good book.  Or making a cake – I am a keen baker.

Are you an avid reader yourself? If so, which authors do you find yourself returning to time and again?

Absolutely!  I always have several books on the go.  The only author I read time and again is Jane Austen – I read her whole oeuvre every five years or so.  I also return to some of the other classics sometimes – for example, I have just re-read The Moonstone. I read as many books by other Salt authors as I can.  My all-time Salt favourite is The Clocks in this House all tell Different Times.  I also think that The Litten Path is an outstanding debut novel; and there are other Salt authors with whom I am in frequent contact whose work I admire: Marie Gameson, Mark Carew and Catherine Eisner, to name but a few.

Finally can you tell us a little about what you are working on next?

Yes: it is a modern take on a country house crime novel, set on an island in the River Welland, near Spalding, which actually exists. One of my friends suggested the island as the setting for my next novel and I thought it was an inspired choice.  The owner of the island has very kindly shown me round it since I started work on the book.

That sounds fascinating, I look forward to reading it.

Thanks very much for joining me today Christina. To find out more about Gentleman Jack please visit the other stops on the blog tour and pop over to Randomthingsthroughmyletterboxtomorrow for the last stop on the tour:

Gentleman Jack blog tour

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A Gallery of the Dead by Chris Carter – Q & A BLOG TOUR

I am delighted to welcome Chris Carter to acrimereadersblog today. Although I had of course heard of Chris, for some reason I hadn’t actually read any of his books. Therefore when I was invited onto his blog tour I jumped at the chance to discover someone new to me, and I can’t believe it has taken me so long. Gallery of the Dead is a chilling read about a serial killer who seemingly kills people at random. Each scene is played out in all it’s gruesome glory with some truly disturbing images. Yet there are also elements of humour and social interaction between the FBI and the local police that provide some welcome distraction from the murders. This is an excellent read that I would thoroughly recommend to those of you who like your crime fiction definitely hard boiled.

Welcome Chris and thank you for joining me. Gallery of the Dead is your 9th novel I believe all featuring Robert Hunter. Where did you get the inspiration for Robert?

Well, since I was writing a crime thriller, it was obvious that I needed a detective, so I just created one out of the blue.  At first, there wasn’t much thought put into his character.  I just created a detective that I thought would work.

Most people don’t know this, but my first novel – The Crucifix Killer – was supposed to be a stand-alone.  The original story didn’t end very well for Hunter and Garcia.  It was my agent who suggested that I made Hunter into a series character.  In our first meeting he told that he loved my story, but my ending didn’t work.  We discussed a whole spectrum of possibilities and I ended up re-writing the last twelve chapters of the book to move Hunter from a one-off character to a series one.

Do you still like your main character or ever think about killing him off so you can write about someone else?

I actually really enjoy writing Hunter stories, so much so that I actually miss the character when I an in between books.

Did you always want to be a writer?

No, not ever.  The truth is that I had never planned on writing a book.  I never thought about a career in writing and I never spent any time thinking up stories or developing characters in my head that I would one day want to write about.  My submersion into the world of books – writing books that is – came out of a dream I had back in 2007.  I didn’t exactly leave music to become a writer.  I had stopped being a professional musician many years before I had the dream that led me to write my first book.

I believe you have had a few varied jobs in your time, other than being a writer obviously, what was your favourite?

Hands down I would have to say being a musician.  I absolutely loved being on stage with a band

Can you tell us what a typical working day looks like for you?

My typical working day is quite boring, I would say.  I always start my days by reading what I wrote the day before and editing as much as I can.  I will then work all day until I reach my desired target (usually a certain number of words).  Some days I will get there quite quickly, others I will write all the way into the evening before reaching that target.  Some days I spend the entire day just researching something that I would like to include in the novel.

How would you spend a perfect afternoon away from work?

Easy – partying.

Are you an avid reader yourself? If so what are some of your favourite authors?

I know that this will sound quite sad, but for an Author, I read very, very little – around two books a year, if that.  I also don’t have a favourite writer.  Not now.  Way before I decided to write my first novel, I used to love reading Frederick Forsyth.  I guess I still do, he just doesn’t release as many books anymore.

Finally what are you working on next?

I am already working on my next novel.  I usually only take around one month off between books

Well I shall look forward to that, in the meantime I will definitely try and catch up on the previous adventures of Robert Hunter. Thanks very much for joining me Chris.

Pre-order Gallery of the Dead from amazon

 

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Only Daughter -Q and A with Anna Snoekstra BLOG TOUR

I am delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for Only Daughter and it is a pleasure to welcome author Anna Snoekstra to the blog. Only Daughter is a gripping read set in Australia. In 2003 Rebecca Winter goes missing, 11 years later a woman appears claiming to be the missing Rebecca. What follows is a twisty read with a really surprising ending.

Thanks for joining me Anna. I really enjoyed your book. What was the inspiration behind Only Daughter

I was interested in the gap between the ages sixteen and twenty-five, the things that happens between those times in your life which can’t be taken back and will shape the person you become.

Do you have a ‘day job’? Or do you manage to write full time?  

I resigned from my job working at a cinema in September 2015, so it has been exactly one year that I have been writing full time. On weekends I often nanny, which is a great way to get a bit of extra income as well as have some fun outdoors! I love children and writing can be solitary, so this is a great balance for me.

Can you tell us what a typical working day looks like for you? 

I write out of a shared warehouse space, which gets freezing in winter and blisteringly hot in summer. I try to get there by 8.30, but often fail. Usually I’ll spend my first hour or so replying to emails, tweets and messages. Since I live on the other side of the globe to my publishers and agent, I usually wake up to a very full inbox.

By ten I try and turn the internet off and put my phone on the other side of the room. I’ll pour a coffee and look back on where I left my writing the day before. At the moment I’m working on editing. I work very visually, so I make huge boards with cards for each chapter pinned on them as well as notes and questions. I’ll usually stare at this for about an hour and pull my hair out a bit before getting started.

How would you spend a perfect afternoon away from work? 

Me and my husband love taking mini- day trips. If I had the afternoon off, it would be nice to drive to a little town out of Melbourne. There are so many beautiful little country towns only an hour’s drive away. Maybe if it was an extra special afternoon off we’d stop off at a winery.

That sounds like a lovely afternoon off, especially the winery! Are you an avid reader yourself? If so, which authors do you find yourself returning to time and again?

I always have a to-read pile towering on the side of my bed. I attempt to read at the very least a book a fortnight, although it’s always tricky to find the time. For crime writers I can’t go past Tana French, she is just amazing. Although, I’ve never re-read any of her books. They were traumatic enough the first time! I always come back to Stephen Kings book On Writing. Every time I re-read it I learn something new.

Finally, can you tell us a little bit about what you’re working on next? 

Yes! I’m so excited about my second novel, Dolls. It’s about a young woman who desperately wants to be a journalist, and how far she’ll go to get her story. It will be bigger in length and scope than Only Daughter, but will be dealing with similar themes of young women going to very dark places.

I’ll look forward to that coming out. Thanks very much Anna, its been a pleasure hosting this stop on your tour.

A review of Only Daughter will be here soon, and to read more about Anna visit her other stop today at Alba in Bookland tomorrows tour stops at Gin Books and Blankets and Stephs Book Blog

 

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Distress Signals – Q and A with Catherine Ryan Howard

As you may remember I recently read an excellent novel called Distress Signals based around the idea of cruise ships. I’m now delighted to be able to welcome to acrimereadersblog the author of that novel, Catherine Ryan Howard who has agreed to answer some questions.

Thanks for joining me Catherine, and thanks for the advanced copy of your debut novel. What was the inspiration behind the story in Distress Signals?

Back in late 2011 I read an article by Jon Ronson in the Guardian’s Weekend magazine which detailed a number of mysterious or unexplained disappearances from large cruise ships. He mentioned the International Cruise Victims organisation, which really struck me because I thought cruise ships were sunny, idyllic places where people went to have relax and have fun and drink cocktails with little umbrellas in them. I’d never once associated them with anything dark or untoward. I started doing research online and I was really quite shocked at what I found. I thought, A cruise ship is the perfect place to get away with a murder. And then, You should write a novel about that.

Exactly what I had always thought. Certainly not now, I think you may have put me off cruising for life. What would you say your typical working day is like?

I am the world’s worst procrastinator, so it’s 90% coffee-making and Twitter. 3pm is the danger time because I work from home and that’s usually when a nap suddenly starts looking like a REALLY good idea. It also almost always involves a trip to Starbucks. I love a wet (i.e. no foam) venti latte and two years or so ago I moved from Cork, which had just ONE Starbucks at the time, to Dublin which has one on every corner, so it’s difficult to resist the temptation. Plus, it helps resist the naps!

I did not know that wet meant no foam, I’ve always taken the wet part for granted when ordering coffee! Obviously it would include coffee, but what else constitutes your ideal afternoon off work?

Maybe lunch in the Pepperpot café in Powerscourt Townhouse Centre (near Grafton Street in Dublin), book-shopping in Dubray Books (on Grafton Street) and then a read-in-one-sitting session with my purchase on the couch at home until the sun goes down.

That sounds like my kind of afternoon. Do you read a lot yourself and if so who are your favourite authors?

I haven’t got much reading for pleasure done in the last couple of years, because I’ve been at college full-time AND editing Distress Signals and writing Book 2, but normally yes, I do. My favourite authors are Michael Connelly and Harlan Coben. I also love Tana French, Caroline Kepnes, Gillian Flynn… Outside of crime/thrillers, I love Kazuo Ishiguro and Lionel Shriver. And Jess Walter wrote what is probably my favourite book of the last five years, Beautiful Ruins. I could go on – the list is endless, really!

If you were not a writer what would be your ideal job?

For a very long time I dreamt of having a very specific job: a Biosafety Level 4 virologist specialising in the Ebola virus and working at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infection Diseases in Fort Detrick, Maryland. (Don’t ask!) It’s probably for the best I stuck with the writing instead…

Hmm, moving swiftly on! What are you working on next?

I’m finishing the first draft of Book 2, which is another standalone thriller due out this time next year.

I can’t wait! Thanks very much for answering my questions Catherine. I look forward to reading your new book next year.

If you would like to find out more about Catherine, or Distress Signals see below:

Read a preview of the first three chapters here:

https://catherineryanhoward.com/access-your-exclusive-preview/

Amazon.co.uk link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Distress-Signals-Incredibly-Gripping-Psychological/dp/1782398384

ABOUT CATHERINE: 

Catherine Ryan Howard was born in Cork, Ireland, in 1982. Prior to writing full-time, Catherine worked as a campsite courier in France and a front desk agent in Walt Disney World, Florida, and most recently was a social media marketer for a major publisher. She is currently studying for a BA in English at Trinity College Dublin.

http://www.DistressSignalsBook.com

http://www.CatherineRyanHoward.com

Twitter: @cathryanhoward

Instagram: @cathryanhoward

Facebook: facebook.com/catherineryanhoward

 

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The Girl in the Red Coat – Q&A with Kate Hamer

A while ago I was lucky enough to read a copy of The Girl in the Red Coat which was the debut novel by Kate Hamer, my review can be found here. To celebrate the launch of the paperback version of the book I’m today taking part in Kate’s blog tour and managed to catch up with her to ask a few questions.

What was the inspiration behind the story in The Girl in the Red Coat?

It was twofold really. Firstly, it’s a book about the relationship between mothers and daughters. When I took a look at novels where this was the main feature they seemed very thin on the ground which seemed strange for such an interesting and potent relationship. Secondly, I kind of ‘saw’ Carmel – not in reality of course but in my mind’s eye. She was a little girl wearing a red coat, standing in a forest, lost. From that moment on I knew I wanted to find out what had happened to her.

I believe you attended a novel writing course whilst writing the book, did attending this influence you a lot? Did it change the plot of your novel at all?

The plot didn’t change at all but the course encouraged me to look at the book with a technical eye as well as the emotional one. I also met a bunch of brilliant people. Sharing your work can be hard but if you want to be published it’s essential. It was a great environment to do that in – everyone passionate about books and supportive but not afraid to say what they think.

What is your typical working day like?

I try to start by at least 9.30 to harness that morning energy. Of course everyone’s different but I’ve spoken to many, many writers who are the same, and for whom the mornings are the most creative buzzy time for writing. I start by going over work already written. I’m always tempted to read the novel right from the beginning but as I get further and further into it that becomes completely untenable as you’d spend the whole day reading! I carry on working until mid or late afternoon and then make myself go out for a walk. Sitting writing all day isn’t the healthiest of occupations! Sometimes, I’ll go for a walk anyway – if it’s really not working. I don’t think it’s a good idea to keep sitting there when it’s really not flowing. I find thinking time just as important as writing time.

What is your ideal afternoon off work?

I love window shopping – the business of other people, lights, fashion, window displays. For me it’s the perfect antidote to sitting in a room alone writing. Then it would be on to an early supper with friends or family – perfect!

That sounds like a perfect afternoon to me! Do you read a lot yourself and if so who are your favourite authors?

I read constantly but with always a slight anxiety that I will never be able to read absolutely everything I want to in one lifetime! I think reading is the most important thing for a writer to do. In terms of favourite authors that changes all the time depending on what I’m reading – at the moment I’m immersed in reading the Italian author Elena Ferrante. But I do have old favourites – Maggie O’Farrell, Edna O’Brien, Ian McEwan. I love unputdownable dark twisty thrillers such as Erin Kelly’s ‘The Poison Tree’ and it’s also great to read very new stuff – two that have really caught my eye that are being published this year are ‘The Trouble with Goats and Sheep’ by Joanna Cannon and ‘The Anatomy of a Soldier’ by Harry Parker. Both brilliant reads.

Thanks for the recommendations, I’ll have a look at those. If you were not a writer what would be your ideal job?

I fantasise about being a gardener sometimes, though generally when the sun’s shining so I’d be a rather fair weather one!

Finally what are you working on next?

I’m on the second draft of another novel. It’s a coming of age tale again, threaded through with the supernatural. These dark months over the winter have been great to get immersed in it.

Thanks very much to Kate for taking the time out of her busy schedule to answer these questions. I look forward to her next novel coming out.

The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer is out now (Faber & Faber, £7.99)

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