Author Interviews

All posts in the Author Interviews category

Author Interview – Carolyn Waugh on her debut novella The Oasis Of Time

Published August 16, 2016 by bibliobeth

Himik-02

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY – CAROLYN WAUGH

Carolyn has worked in a laboratory for almost forty years now but in her spare time for pleasure and to de-stress she likes to read (a lot!), mostly fantasy and romance novels. Then a few years ago she started to jot down some notes which then turned into stories. Friends were interested and wanted to read them and when they had, they told her she should try and get them published. Carolyn tried a few publishers and unfortunately was rejected so gave up for a couple of years when she tried again and was accepted by an American publisher. She hopes that people who read the story enjoy it as much as she enjoyed writing it.

Click on the book to get to the link to Good Reads!

51A4mt+WaiL

For my review of The Oasis Of Time, please click the link HERE.

INTERVIEW WITH CAROLYN WAUGH

I’d like to welcome Carolyn to bibliobeth today and thank her very much for her time in giving this interview.

1.) Have you always been a big reader and what’s the earliest memory you have regarding something to do with reading?

Yes, I’ve always been a large reader, usually reading up to five books a week! My earliest memory is my mother teaching me how to read, I must have been about four years old so I could read before I went to school which I found very useful.

2.) What was your favourite book to read as a child or teenager?

Fiction mainly, because it was something I found you didn’t have to concentrate too hard on but I do like Alistair MacLean as well and people like that – anything with a bit of murder and intrigue in!

3.) If you had to live on a desert island for six months what three books would you take with you?

Does a series of books count as one?! (bibliobeth: Yes, I think it could!) Okay, I would take the Harry Potter series, probably the series I’m reading at the moment by Sherrilyn Kenyon which is a group of books of all different types (I’m reading Dark Bites at the moment) so you don’t get bogged down into one type of book and lastly, War And Peace – I can be quite eclectic in my tastes!

4.) The Oasis Of Time is your first published novella with Amazon. Have you any plans to write a full novel or do you prefer to write short stories/novellas?

I like writing short stories but I would like to try, maybe in the future, my hand at a novel but I would like to see how the short stories take on first and see if they can sell. I know I’ve given them to several friends and they seem to enjoy reading them which is good. The problem is trying to get them published as it seems to cost so much unless you’re a published/known author as people aren’t willing to take that risk on you.

5.) Jay and Lilly don’t have the easiest start to their relationship for one reason or another, do you think they change as people through what they both experience?

I think they do because they don’t have certain emotions until they both meet. This brings out both the best and the worst in them and also brings something entirely new to the relationship, something different.

6.) I love the magical quality present in The Oasis Of Time. Is magic a big part of your work?

I think everyone needs a little bit of magic or paranormal to get them out of this world at the moment because there is such death and destruction, everyone needs a bit of light-heartedness and fantasy to take them away and take their mind off it a bit.

7.) Is there a happy ending for Jay and Lilly and might we see them again in a future story?

There is a happy ending and you never know, you might do! I might get the idea of bringing them back for a “part two.”

8.) Are you working on anything at the moment and can you tell us a little bit about it?

Yes I am and it’s a ghost story…. you’ll have to read it when it’s finished!

 

 

Once again, a HUGE thank you to Carolyn Waugh for giving up her time to do this interview and for her wonderful answers to my probing questions! The Oasis of Time was published in e-book format on March 10th 2015 by M-Y Books Ltd and is available to buy now.

Author Interview – Fredrik Backman on his novel My Grandmother Sends Her Regards And Apologises

Published June 13, 2016 by bibliobeth

411545926_th

FREDRIK BACKMAN – A BIOGRAPHY

Fredrik Backman, a blogger and columnist, is the bestselling author of My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry and A Man Called Ove. Both were number one bestsellers in his native Sweden and are being published around the world in more than thirty-five languages.

Click on the books to get to the link to GoodReads!

18774964

For my review of A Man Called Ove which I talked about with my sister and fellow blogger Chrissi Reads, please click HERE.

24407979

For my review of My Grandmother Sends Her Regards And Apologises, please click HERE. Please note, this book has also been published as My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry.

27406704

Britt-Marie Was Here is Fredrik’s new novel, published on May 3rd 2016 by Atria Books which features one of the wonderful characters from My Grandmother Sends Her Regards And Apologises.

INTERVIEW WITH FREDRIK BACKMAN

I’d like to welcome Fredrik to bibliobeth today and thank him very much for his time in giving this interview.

1.) Both your debut novel, A Man Called Ove and My Grandmother Sends Her Regards And Apologises feature complex characters with hidden depths. Which character have you most enjoyed writing (past or future novels) and why?

I think I’m always most fond of the character I’m writing at the moment. I think it has to be that way, maybe not unlike a relationship, you have to be in love with the person you’re with right NOW. You can still be friends with the old characters, but you have to invest your time and your attention to the one you’re with right here. To be honest I think my feelings about the characters go as far as me almost forgetting things about the characters in my old books, since I’m too invested in the present. People sometimes asks me detail questions about an older book and I have to answer “I don’t remember, I have to re-read what I wrote”. That’s not to say I don’t care about the old characters, I really, really do, but the present characters consumes all of me. My thoughts and my feelings and my memories and my plans. My experience is that whenever I write a book like that, giving it absolutely all I’ve got, then the characters become real people to me. I consider them actual human beings, so I begin to view and react to my old books more as documentaries. As if I did an interview with an actual person, wrote a book about it, and afterwards that person continued their life and went on to other things and had an existence without me. Does that make sense?

2.) When the story begins, Elsa has two superheroes in her life – her grandmother and Harry Potter, although she may gather a few more along the way! Who were your superheroes when you were younger, literary or otherwise?

I liked sports. That was my biggest pretend universe. I find sports to be the same kind of escapism as literature or movies of comics: You step into a place where everything is made up but we pretend it’s real. We pretend it matters. We invest real feelings into it. And the second we decide we don’t want to, it all falls apart. Star Wars and Lord of the Rings would be nothing without an audience, and football is the same thing. It’s all pretend, and deep down we know, but we NEED that as human beings. When talking about that psychological model “Maslow’s hierarchy of needs”, where human needs such as “food/housing/friendship” and so on are listed in a pyramid, I always find it odd that “imagination” is never listed. Everyone I’ve ever met has something going on in their head that is all made up, and is absolutely vital to them. It can be movies or books or sports or music or whatever. I don’t know if that answers your question. But if not, I answer “Astrid Lindgren”. She’s my absolute favourite writer. If you don’t love her you and me have nothing in common in life at all.

3. One of my favourite characters in the novel is the brave and biscuit-obsessed “wurse.”I’ve already got a mental image of him in my head but please satisfy my curiosity and tell me what breed of dog he most resembles to you? (If he were a dog of course and not a wurse!)

Well, he’s a wurse. They look they way they look. Like a wurse. It’s like asking “what does a horse look like?” It’s not a thin rhino or a very big monkey or a hairy snake. It’s just a…horse.

And I really wanted to write it the way so that every reader can cast it themselves. I wanted to force people to use their imagination. Which of course backfired, because now I’ve, true story, have had more than thirty different email discussions with people from at least six different counties who’s written me to tell me “DOGS CAN’T EAT CHOCOLATE THEY WILL DIE!!!”. And I answer “well it’s not a dog”. And they reply “DOGS CAN’T EAT CHOCOLATE YOU MORON!!!”. And I answer “well it’s a wurse, not a dog”. And they reply “YOU KNOW NOTHING OF DOGS THEY ARE ALLERG…”. And I answer “IT’S NOT A BLOODY DOG!!! IT’S A BLOODY WURSE!!!”.

4.) Elsa’s grandmother is responsible for the most terrific fairy-tales and the creation of many kingdoms. Do fairy-tales still hold a special place in your heart as an adult?

I think any adult who doesn’t hold a special place for fairy-tales needs to get help.

5.) Are you working on anything at the moment and can you tell us a little bit about it?

I’m writing a book to be published in Sweden this autumn. It’s a lot more serious than my precious ones, according to ones who’ve read it. Less jokes, more story, and perhaps a bit darker. It’s different. So maybe everyone will hate it, I don’t know. But it’s what I wanted to write right now and I thought I have to take the chance now that the publishers actually WANT to publish my books. Because that will all change as soon as they figure out I don’t really know what I’m doing here.

And now for some quick fire questions!

E book or real book?

I don’t care. I read a lot of printed books, I read a lot of others on my phone. I have two kids, I don’t have the luxury of choosing HOW to read. If I get to read I read anything. And “real” book? What does that even mean? “You do book or you do not do book. There is no try.”, as Yoda might have put it.

Series or stand alone?

I’ve always viewed series as just a REALLY long stand alone. Divided into smaller chunks. So…both?

Fiction or non-fiction?

Fiction. Easy. There’s quite enough reality in reality.

Online shopping or bookshop trawling?

Bookshop trawling.

Bookmarking or dog-earing?

Dog-earing.

Once again, a HUGE thank you to Fredrik Backman for giving up his time to do this interview and for his frank and very funny answers. My Grandmother Sends Her Regards And Apologises was published on June 16th 2015 by Atria Books and is available to buy from all good book retailers now! I’m very much looking forward to reading his next novel, Britt-Marie Was Here so look out for a review of it on bibliobeth very soon.

Author Interview – Helen Grant on her Forbidden Spaces YA trilogy

Published January 20, 2016 by bibliobeth

7A09B565-7746-408A-A9CF-CEE519FC6182

HELEN GRANT – A BIOGRAPHY

Helen Grant was born in London. She read Classics at St.Hugh’s College, Oxford, and then worked in Marketing for ten years in order to fund her love of travelling. In 2001 she and her family moved to Bad Münstereifel in Germany, and it was exploring the legends of this beautiful town that inspired her to write her first novel, The Vanishing of Katharina Linden. She then moved to Brussels for three years, and now lives in Scotland with her husband, two children and two cats. Her most recent published novel is Urban Legends, an urbex-themed thriller set in Flanders.

Click on the books to get to the link to GoodReads!

16110931

For my review of Silent Saturday, please click HERE.

18129633

For my review of Demons Of Ghent, please click HERE.

23198014

For my review of Urban Legends, please click HERE.

Why not check out some of Helen’s back catalogue too? Here are the next two on my must read list:

7692967

Helen’s debut novel The Vanishing of Katharina Linden was published in April 2009 and was short-listed for both the Booktrust Teenage Prize and the CILIP Carnegie Medal.

7268549

Helen’s second novel, The Glass Demon was published in May 2010 and short-listed for the ITW Awards Best Paperback Original category.

INTERVIEW WITH HELEN GRANT

I’d like to welcome Helen to bibliobeth today and thank her for her time in giving this interview.

1.) Your Forbidden Spaces novels are set in the beautiful country of Belgium. What inspired you so much about this country to use it as a setting for your trilogy?

We actually lived in Flanders in Belgium for three years, and much of the trilogy is inspired by things I experienced there (not the serial killing bit though, I’m glad to say!). When we moved to Belgium I was still working on my third book set in Germany (where we lived before that) but I was looking around for ideas for whatever I would write next. The area we had moved to was Dutch speaking so I started Dutch evening classes, and the teacher used to tell us snippets of local culture and traditions. Apparently in Flanders the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday is called “Silent Saturday” because none of the church bells ring that day. Children are told that this is because the bells have flown away to Rome to collect Easter eggs from the Pope! When I heard this story, the first thing I thought was that if I had been a little Flemish kid I would have been dying to get into the church bell tower on Silent Saturday and see if the bells really had flown away! And that was what inspired the very first scene of the first book in the trilogy. The heroine, Veerle, who is only seven years old at the time, climbs the tower of the village church with her friend Kris. They are a bit disgusted to discover that the bells are still there, i.e. the grown ups have lied to them. Then they look out of the window and see something terrible happening in the village below. That crime reverberates through the entire trilogy.

HelenTervuren

The author, Helen Grant in Tervuren, the town where Veerle goes to school in the first novel, Silent Saturday.

Photo courtesy of author

The locations in the books – Tervuren park, the Gravensteen castle and Saint Baaf’s cathedral in Ghent, the abandoned factory, the Brussels sewers – are all real ones and I visited most of them for my book research. I really enjoyed visiting the sewers! Sewer systems are one of the most dangerous urban exploration environments of all – there are flash floods, posionous gases, the risk of getting lost and never getting out, not to mention rats and creepy crawlies. It’s all there. A very inspiring setting if you are writing a gritty thriller!

196695_1320422506028_1073468_n

The Brussels sewer system – the perfect place for a show-down!

Photo courtesy of author

2.) In Silent Saturday, we are introduced to one of the most frightening villains that I think I’ve ever read about. Did you find it difficult to get inside the head of someone so innately wicked?

Does it sound weird if I say no? I actually enjoyed writing the scenes with De Jager (the villain) in them. That’s not because I like the things he does. He’s a monster. It’s more that I wanted to take the gloves off and create a really horrific villain. Someone extreme. In my earlier books, it tends to be all about the nasty discoveries after the crime has taken place; this time I wanted to create a real feeling of direct threat. My other villains also tended to have their reasons for killing, even if they were very twisted ones, but De Jager just enjoys hunting down other people. He doesn’t want to relate to his victims as human beings with feelings and motives at all, and one of the things I relished was his dismay when he is forced to start thinking about Veerle and Kris and what they may do.

3.) Our heroine Veerle loves taking risks and in the second novel, Demons of Ghent we see her exploring the rooftops of the city. How much of yourself do you see in our main character?

Ha! Quite a lot. I’m more law-abiding than she is, and I definitely don’t have her head for heights(!), but I totally “get” her interest in urban exploration. I enjoyed writing the Forbidden Spaces trilogy more than anything else I’ve ever worked on. It was partly because I loved doing the research trips but also because I think Veerle’s life is incredibly cool, even with the problems she has.
The other thing is Veerle’s relationship with her mother. I based Claudine on my own grandmother, who also suffered very badly from anxiety. It’s very tough supporting someone who has those kind of issues. You can love them to death but still be exhausted with trying to support them. I really empathise with Veerle’s struggle to do the right thing for everyone including herself.

755E51DF-6340-4CED-9A0D-7F108D055E6D - Version 3

The beautiful St Baaf’s Cathedral in Ghent seen from the Belfort Tower, both of which feature in the opening scene of the second novel, Demons Of Ghent.

Photo courtesy of author

388743_1660814375612_603910616_n - Version 2

Gravensteen Castle, Ghent where Veerle and Bram spend a night, also in the second novel, Demons Of Ghent.

Photo courtesy of author

4.) In the final book of the trilogy, Urban Legends, old ghosts return to haunt Veerle and her family is put under the spotlight like never before. Was it important for you to write about family dynamics in a real and honest way? Do you see a happy future for Veerle?

Yes, it was very important to me. I think a huge part of writing a successful thriller is to make the characters come alive. You have to care about them and believe in them for the story to be exciting and convincing. Plus the plot of the book wouldn’t happen in a vacuum – everyone has family or relationship stuff going on in their lives.
I do see a happy future for Veerle. She has had to be self sufficient at a very early stage in her life and she can be quite spiky and also impulsive. But she is brave too and she is actually a very caring person in spite of her impetuous side. There’s a moment in Demons of Ghent where she is asked to do a favour for someone she doesn’t like, who is in desperate straits, and Veerle does it even though she knows it is going to get her in a lot of trouble. I think she deserves some happiness, and I think she is going to get it in the future – I think bravery and empathy are a great combination.

5.) Are you working on anything at the moment and can you tell us a little bit about it?

Yes, I’m working on a new book unrelated to the Forbidden Spaces books. It’s set in Scotland, where I live now. I’m actually doing a lot of planning and thinking at the moment about where I want the story to go. I think it’s safe to say that it is a mystery and it has some Gothic elements to it. The part of Scotland where I live, Perthshire, is just crying out to have stories written about it. The countryside is full of history – ancient castles, ruined churches, mysterious standing stones. I want to try to make the most of that!

Now for some quick fire questions!

E book or real book?

Real book. I read in the bath! An eReader would be wrecked the first time I dropped it.

Series or stand alone?

Hmmm. Both. The one thing I don’t like though, is a series which is one story hacked into chunks. I like each book to have a satisfying conclusion.

Fiction or non-fiction?

Fiction.

Online shopping or bookshop trawling?

Both, but mainly online – not because I don’t want to support bookshops but because the nearest one is about 17 miles away!

Bookmarking or dog-earing?

Mostly dog-earing, except for old or rare books.

Once again, a HUGE thank you to the lovely Helen Grant for giving up her time to do this interview (and for the fab photographs!). I’m very excited now to explore some of her back catalogue and will probably start with her debut novel, The Vanishing of Katharina Linden. Look out for a review of this and her second novel, The Glass Demon on bibliobeth soon.

Urban Legends completes The Forbidden Spaces trilogy and was published by Corgi on 26th March 2015. This series and of course Helen’s other novels, are available to buy from all good book retailers now!

Author Interview – Jason Starr on his new novel Savage Lane

Published January 15, 2016 by bibliobeth

35697

JASON STARR – A BIBLIOGRAPHY

Jason Starr was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1966. He grew up playing sports, such as tennis and baseball, and dreaming of pitching for the Yankees. In college, at Binghamton University, he took an interest in literature. He worked as a dishwasher, telemarketer, financial reporter, publishing assistant (he was fired from a publishing job at St. Martin’s Press for reading and writing at his desk), and computer networking salesperson before publishing his first novel in 1997.

Starr is the author of nine international bestselling crime novels, set mainly in the New York City area:Cold Caller, Nothing Personal, Fake I.D., Hard Feelings, Tough Luck,Twisted City, Lights Out,The Follower, and Panic Attack. His latest novels,The Pack and The Cravingwere published by Berkley/Ace.

Starr’s work has been published in over a dozen languages and he has been nominated for numerous crime fiction awards. In 2004 he won the Barry Award for Tough Luck, and in 2005 he won the Anthony Award for Twisted City.

In Germany, Cold Caller was adapted as an hour-long radio drama by Deutschland Radio, and was chosen as one of the top 50 crime novels of the past 60 years by the prestigious newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung. In Germany and Austria, The Followerand Panic Attack have been major bestsellers.

Starr has co-written three darkly comic crime novels with Irish novelist Ken Bruen—Bust, Slide, and The Max—and co-edited the collection Bloodlines: An Anthology of Horse Racing, which includes stories by Jane Smiley, Laura Hillenbrand, Daniel Woodrell and Jonathon Ames.

Starr also writes comics and graphic novels for Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Vertigo Comics, and Boom Studios. His 2010 original graphic novel, The Chill, was a Diamond Top Ten Bestseller and was featured on Entertainment Weekly’s Must List. His work in comics has included characters such as Doc Savage, The Avenger, The Sandman, The Punisher, and Batman. His latest comics work is the bestselling Wolverine Max series for Marvel Comics, and the forthcoming comics series The Returning for Boom Studios. His recent non-fiction has appeared in Dodge Magazine, German Vogue, and The New York Times.

Many of Starr’s novels have been optioned for film and TV, including The Follower, which is in development as an original TV series for Lionsgate, adapted by Bret Easton Ellis. A short film based on Starr’s short story The Bully won the 2009 EnhanceTV ATOM Award for Best Short Fiction Film, and was an official selection at the 2010 Palm Springs International Film Festival. Starr also writes screenplays, such as October Squall, produced by Halle Berry and Fox Searchlight, as well as an adaptation of Cold Caller which is in development as a feature film by Smoking Gun Productions/Gil Adler with Clayton Jacobson directing. Starr also recently completed the screenplay for Tough Luck, based on his novel, and to be directed by Michael Rapaport.

Starr lives in Manhattan.

Click on the images below to get to their descriptions on Good Reads! Please note, I’ve just put a few of Jason’s titles in this post, there are many more to check out if you like the sound of what you read.

24796517

For my review of Savage Lane, please click HERE.

6431249

845873

INTERVIEW WITH JASON STARR

After thoroughly enjoying Jason Starr’s new novel, Savage Lane, the lovely team at New Books Magazine arranged for me to have an interview with the man himself. We arranged to meet at The Wallace Restaurant, located within the Wallace Art Gallery in Manchester Square, London where there was a brief opportunity to view the beautiful paintings before I was due to meet Jason. I have to admit to being fairly nervous as other interviews I’ve conducted in the past have normally been through email but I had no need to worry. Jason, dressed casually in jeans and t-shirt immediately put me at my ease and was so warm and welcoming.

optimizely-image

The Wallace Restaurant – nice place for an interview…

Image from http://www.wallacecollection.org/visiting/thewallacerestaurant

After setting my phone up to record our chat (and praying that the recording would work!) we started chatting. Believe it or not, Jason was just a normal, very funny person who had a lot to say and was clearly passionate about his writing. The whole experience felt very informal and relaxed and I felt that I got a real idea of who Jason was as a person as well as an author. It was nice to also find out more about his life – at the time we met he was in the middle of a European book tour which saw him visiting Austria, Germany, England and Italy and it was interesting to find out that he actually studied in London for a while, so he was fairly familiar with the city, one of his favourite haunts being Camden.

paintings

A few paintings from The Wallace Collection

Image from http://www.wallacecollection.org/visiting/thewallacerestaurant

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting and interviewing Jason and now feel much more confident and excited about carrying out further face to face interviews for my blog. Thank you so much to Jason Starr for giving up his time during a very busy book tour and to the editor of New Books Magazine, Guy Pringle and Harriet at No Exit Press for introducing us.

1.) Congratulations on Savage Lane, a fantastic and darkly comic novel that fans of crime fiction/noir will love. How do you think that love or obsession as a theme is represented in your work?

In many of my books there is definitely a theme of obsession but I think of it more in terms of what a character wants i.e. their goal and then trying to dramatise it in a way that is compelling which probably goes back to my background as a playwright. When I’m writing novels, particularly thrillers, I find there are many obsessive characters in my work, particularly in Savage Lane but also in my other novels. For example, in The Follower (which was a book about a stalker) and perhaps in my first novel Cold Caller where many characters want something. In Cold Caller he wanted the perfect job, in The Follower he wanted this ideal relationship and in Savage Lane, every character is obsessive in some way or another! So I think it has definitely become a theme in my books, partly for dramatic reasons because I find it a compelling way to build a thriller but I do think I’m also addressing themes that I think most people can identify with. Everyone has been in situations where they feel somewhat obsessive about things and hopefully readers of my novels can identify with a characters behaviour. This doesn’t have to be necessarily admiring it or feeling like it’s something they would aspire to in their own lives but feeling that they get this character and they understand what they want. I think if you really understand what a character wants, the character becomes compelling.

2.) Many of your characters in Savage Lane have something to hide. Did you have the full story mapped out before writing it or did you surprise yourself at times with an idea?

It’s true, every character in this book does have a secret. I was really just focusing on the situation with Mark and Karen and the dynamics of this married guy and this divorced woman in a small community totally misunderstanding and misinterpreting their relationship. Then I began to build on these thoughts into a novel and it was only then that I thought about the other characters and figuring out who they were. Then I started consciously thinking about each individual having a different obsession and when everything came together it was clear that everyone was hiding something. Mark’s hiding this secret desire for Karen but his wife Debs… well lets just say they’re both hiding things from each other. Then the kids, as teenagers often do, are also hiding things from their parents. All of those dynamics are very relatable for the reader I hope as I think they’re very real. Granted I take things to the extreme in the book but at the same time I am trying to be as realistic as possible. If it comes off as being too extreme I think it’s only because it’s very real.

3.) I found your characters to be complex and incredibly fascinating, especially Mark’s wife Debs. By the end of the novel do you think any of the characters have realised the consequences of their actions?

I think it was very important not to censor myself from being as honest as possible as I was writing. I wrote closely from each characters point of view and I had a real idea of who Mark was as a character. If someone thinks that a character like Mark doesn’t exist in real life that would be false as they definitely do. I think all the characters are delusional in a way and very dis-connected from their own thoughts and actions so I think a lot of them believe in the end that they are justified in their behaviour but I think as the book is a satire, there is a underlying sub-narrative where the reader can hopefully be the judge of their behaviour and decide for themselves whether they approve or not of their actions. I really wanted to have those two narratives or sub-text going on where the character feels justified but the reader understands this is not necessarily true and that they might be getting it wrong.

4.) You are recognised not only for your novels but for comics such as your Wolverine Max series. What are your views on the different ways your work can be interpreted i.e. pure prose versus a more visual medium?

I think when I’m writing comics it’s certainly a much more visual experience, telling the story with images rather than words, in fact in as few words as possible. In the revision process of the comic I will take out as many words as necessary as I don’t want them to interfere with the art which should really be telling the story. In a novel it’s all about the words and you can get deeper into the psychology of the characters and the subtext we were talking about before, those layers of narrative. It might be possible to achieve this with a graphic novel but certainly for a novel the narrative takes on way more importance.

5.) If Savage Lane was to be adapted into a film, whom would you like to play the main characters?

I always think about that but always after I write the book. While I am writing it it’s very hard for me to think for example what a character looks like. I barely describe them in the book, in fact I keep my descriptions to a minimum for a reason because I think it’s much more important to describe their attitude, getting down the way they talk, then each reader can come up with their own image of what this character looks like. Afterwards when I’m done with the book, like anyone I guess I start fantasising about who would play them in a film. Mark is a character that could be very widely cast but would be a difficult choice. He’s not as good-looking as he thinks he is so I’m not sure who would play him, that would be an interesting choice! I guess Diane Lane would be great for Karen and Julianne Moore would be perfect for Debs.

6.) Are you working on anything at the moment and can you tell us a little bit about it?

I usually work on a few things at once. I’ve been working on a new psychological thriller, in the same genre as Savage Lane but very different characters and situation. I’ve also been working on a few TV projects and pilots, crime dramas which I co-write with another writer and working on a new comics projects with a licensed character which hasn’t been announced at the moment. I’m kicking around a few new ideas and I like that way to be honest as writing a book can be very solitary and I’ll keep the whole book in my head until it’s done so it’s a private process, whereas with other projects that are collaborative or in other mediums it’s a good balance to get out amongst the people and not be so introverted.

And now for some quick fire questions!

E-book or real book?

Real book, I think reading is multi sensory. It’s not just about the words, it’s about the smell of a book, the feeling of a book in your hands. E-books can’t replicate that!

Stand alone or series?

Stand alone. Up to this point, I have preferred to write self-contained stories. I do write a co-authored series with Ken Bruen, but in my solo books I like starting with a new set of characters each time.

Fiction or non-fiction?

Fiction. I read a lot of non-fiction too, especially biographies, but for pleasure I prefer losing myself in a good novel.

Online shopping or bookshop trawling?

Bookshop trawling! I just love book stores, and being around books. It excites me and brings me joy.

Dog-earing or book-marking?

Book marking. I don’t like damaging books. Oddly, I feel like a book is a living thing and I try to respect that!

Once again, a big thank you to everyone who made this interview possible. It has also been published in the Winter 2015 edition of New Books Magazine, a subscription I have been enjoying for a few years now which I highly recommend to everyone who is a bit book-mad like myself! Visit their website HERE.

Savage Lane by Jason Starr was published in the UK by No Exit Press on 2nd October 2015. From his back catalogue, I also highly recommend Panic Attack (review to follow shortly!).

Author Interview – Alexia Casale on her new YA novel House Of Windows

Published November 23, 2015 by bibliobeth

6567444

ALEXIA CASALE – A BIOGRAPHY

Shortlisted for the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize. Longlisted for The Branford Boase Award. A Book of the Year 2013 for the Financial Times and Independent.

A British-American citizen of Italian heritage, Alexia is an author, editor and writing consultant. She also teaches English Literature and Writing.

After an MA in Social & Political Sciences (Psychology major) then MPhil in Educational Psychology & Technology, both at Cambridge University, she took a break from academia and moved to New York. There she worked on a Tony-award-winning Broadway show before returning to England to complete a PhD and teaching qualification. In between, she worked as a West End script-critic, box-office manager for a music festival and executive editor of a human rights journal.

She’s not sure which side of the family her dyslexia comes from, but is resigned to the fact that madness runs in both. She loves cats, collects glass animals and interesting knives, and has always wanted a dragon.

Alexia is represented by Claire Wilson of Rogers, Coleridge & White.

Her debut novel, The Bone Dragon, is published in English by Faber & Faber, and in German by Carlsen.

Click on the books to get to the link for GoodReads!

16116963

For my review of The Bone Dragon, click HERE.

23524522

For my review of House Of Windows, click HERE.

Interview with Alexia Casale

I’d like to welcome Alexia to bibliobeth today and thank her very much for her time in giving this interview.

1.) House of Windows is a very different book to your debut The Bone Dragon. Did you set out to write such a completely different story or was it an idea that developed over time?

I started working on a version of House of Windows when I was thirteen, long before I thought of the pieces of story that became The Bone Dragon. Returning to this ‘old’ project after The Bone Dragon allowed me to start as I mean to go on by showing that I plan to write all sorts of books, across all sorts of genres: it’s the story and characters that attract me to a book, not the genre or readership. But I love that Faber took such trouble over the look of House of Windows so there was a connection between the two, at least with appearances!

bibliobeth (“Both the covers are absolutely beautiful, designed by Helen Crawford-White.”)

2.) Our main character in this novel is Nick and his story reads like a “coming of age” epic. Is he based on anyone you know and was it hard to say goodbye to him at the end?

Nick, or a version of Nick, has been living in my head since my early teens so I doubt I’ll ever be rid of him. The thing that’s changed is that he’s no longer demanding that I write his story: he’s out there between the pages to meet other people, so he doesn’t take up my time creatively any more. But he’s not gone, just like Evie’s not gone. I guess it’s like former colleagues who’ve become friends: it’s all fun now, rather than mostly hard work!

Different bits of Nick are based on different people. There’s a certain amount of me in him, as there is with any protagonist, then there are bits of various people I went to University with, and bits and bobs of family members and family friends… The people we meet and know and love and hate are how we understand how people work. No matter what a writer says, that’s the resource we all draw on to create characters.

3.) You paint a beautiful picture of Cambridge in the novel, a city that you know well. Did most of your research for this novel involve having to re-visit and why in particular did you choose to set your story here?

Going back to Cambridge is always wonderful and it was fantastic to have an excuse to revisit some of my favourite places in the University and the town. Mostly I went to take photos in case I needed them for publicity or promotions stuff – I’m hoping to make a book trailer once YA Shot is over! Cambridge is so close to my heart that I didn’t need to re-visit. That’s why the book had to be set in here: I had all the passion and joy in the place that Nick needed and it was a lovely thing to share with him. I got to fall in love with Cambridge all over again through him, sharing all the little details of one of my favourite places in the world.

IMG_4704-001 (1)

King’s Chapel in Cambridge from The Backs (photograph provided by author)

As for the ‘character’ of the University, most people imagine Cambridge is posh and snotty and that it takes itself very seriously, but that’s only true of some aspects and some people. The thing I’ve tried to capture is how Cambridge is a world unto itself and everyone plays along because it’s fun… but we all get how daft it all is. Take the language: you have to learn it because everyone stops speaking English at the gates, but that’s not a hardship because it’s basically a very silly game you all get to bond over. So what most people probably see as a way of excluding the rest of the world is more about building a sense of community around fun and not taking yourself or the whole Cambridge life too seriously. I really hope that comes across. But the bottom line is that Cambridge is beautiful and fascinating: the key aspects of most compelling settings.

IMG_4756-001Trinity Hall, Jerwood Library from Clare Bridge, Cambridge (photograph provided by author)

4.) You touch on some emotional subjects in this novel, in particular the relationship between Nick and his father. Do you think that if their relationship had been better Nick would have been a different person as a result?

Definitely! Nick is emotionally unintelligent and maybe he always would have been, but a loving, healthy family dynamic would doubtless have mitigated his natural cluelessness: it’s hard for someone who doesn’t naturally ‘get’ people if there’s no one to help him figure those things out. If even one of his parents had helped him learn how to relate to other people, he’d have lived a very different life. He’d still be super-smart but maybe if he had been busy having a social life and doing something other than studying and more studying, he wouldn’t have gone to Cambridge at 15… Which is not to say that Nick isn’t responsible for his own choices, but he is still a kid. He gets a lot of stuff wrong but I appreciate how little help he’s had in getting it right. Nick isn’t written to be likeable, but I really hope people will grow to understand him. Even if they still think he’s spiky, difficult little smart arse, I hope they’ll also empathise with him by the end of the story.

5.) Are you working on anything now and can you tell us a little bit about it?

Many things! I’m writing a WWII adult historical novel. And a psychological thriller in a similar vein to The Bone Dragon. And also the first in a potential series.
But obviously the main thing is YA Shot until November!

bibliobeth: (“I actually cannot wait!!”)

IMG_4992-001The Bridge Of Sighs at St John’s, Cambridge (photograph provided by author)

Now for some quick fire questions!:

E book or real book?
Real book EVERY TIME. As a professional editor, ebooks are too much like work.

Series or stand alone?
Depends. Series for fantasy. Standalone for thrillers. Series for historical. Standalone for literary/contemporary. Series for crime. Sometimes. Oh, I don’t know. Just give me all the books and an eternity to read them.

Fiction or non-fiction?
Fiction for pleasure every time. As a researcher, I’m hardly anti non-fiction, but getting the most out of non-fiction is always hard work. Books are sometimes just for fun.

Online shopping or bookshop trawling?
Online at the moment because of time and energy issues! But I LOVE secondhand bookstores. Many of my happiest family holidays of a kid were spent in Hay-on-Wye (aka Bliss-on-Earth).

Bookmarking or dog-earing?
Bookmarks for reading. Dog-earring for permanently marking things I think are amazing. Dog earring for recipe books.

Once again, a HUGE thank you to the lovely Alexia Casale for her efforts in making this interview possible. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next and be assured, I will definitely be reading it.

House of Windows was published on 6th August 2015 by Faber Children’s Books and is available from all good book retailers now. I also highly recommend her debut novel The Bone Dragon which was short-listed for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize.

Author Interview – Piers Torday on his Last Wild series for YA SHOT

Published October 12, 2015 by bibliobeth

yashot

Piers Torday

PIERS TORDAY – A BIOGRAPHY

Piers Torday’s bestselling first book, The Last Wild, was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Award and nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal as well as numerous other awards. His second book,The Dark Wild won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. The third book in the trilogy, The Wild Beyond, will be published in 2015.

Born in Northumberland, where there are more animals than people, he now lives in London – where there are more animals than you might think…

Click on the books to get to their description on GoodReads!

18147153

20736850

23682140

Interview with Piers Torday

I’d like to welcome Piers to bibliobeth today and thank him for his time in giving this interview.

1.) The Last Wild is the first book in your award-winning trilogy and features Kester, the modern day Doctor Dolittle, whose world is threatened by the disappearance of all the animals. What made you decide that Kester should only be able to talk to the animals and not the humans?

Since the Second World war we have seen an epic decline in biodiversity across the globe. Over 40% of species on earth are either extinct or are severely endangered. The reasons for this are multiple, from climate change, to overfishing, pollution, habitat loss, to the spread of disease through global air travel – the list goes on. And the people who will have to ultimately deal with the consequences of a less diverse planet are the children of today. I felt that they were coming into a world where the many wonderful and unusual creatures – who not only share this planet with us, but are critical to its survival – had their needs completely overlooked by one dominant species.  I am not saying that animals had a “voice” before but perhaps there was more of a balance. So I wanted a hero who could connect with that sense of biological disenfranchisement. And, of course, who also often feels they don’t have a say in the direction of their lives? Children. I thought an ability to speak for an ignored majority but not to their shared adult overlords would provoke the sympathies of young readers for the natural world around them.

2.) In the second book, The Dark Wild, the animals decide to get their own back on a world that destroyed them. Do you have a soft spot for any animal character you have written in particular?

I have a soft spot for all my characters, and the animals probably were more fun to write because they are so colourful. I really enjoyed writing the White Pigeon because I have always loved that very silly British word-play, and yet he also surprised me with his heart and bravery. The Wolf Cub is very popular with readers and he was also fun because I think he is a bit like the showoff child I was! The whale was the most challenging – trying to find a poetic language that made sense, and was mysterious while remaining accessible to readers. And of course the Eagle – because he says so little! 🙂

3.) The final book in the trilogy, The Wild Beyond has recently been published with Kester facing the toughest challenge ever and coming up against some dastardly villains! What inspired you to write villains like Auntie Fenella, Selwyn Stone and Captain Skuldiss?

From my own childhood on, I have always enjoyed great villains – from Bond baddies to scary Tolkien wraiths and spiders – and wanted to give my readers the same satisfaction. But it is too easy to create a cod or arch villain who is only scary on the surface, and there is little enjoyable jeopardy to be gained from a perilous situation where the villain doesn’t pose a real threat. So I looked to the villains who scared me the most. Skuldiss, the most sinister of the lot, is inspired by the Child-Catcher from the film of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, only he is an animal catcher – but with the same psychotic glee. Fenella is my tribute to some of the great Disney movie villains like Cruella de Vil or Ursula from the Little Mermaid – vampish and over the top but also seriously nasty. Selwyn Stone was the hardest to write because he is ultimately deranged but he is a real complex person with an ambiguous moral centre. He believes genuinely he is doing the right thing, despite the vast destruction it causes. All I will say is that perhaps some recent notable political figures helped with that one!

4.) You are appearing at YA Shot in Uxbridge this year chairing a panel about nature as a character and concern in YA. Is it crucial for you as an author to get an important message across in your books?

I don’t really have a “message” as such, and don’t really like books which feel didactic or judgemental. But I think an enjoyable read is always about more than just the story. I have no particular view on which of the many proposed strategies to deal with climate change and mass extinction are the right ones, not being a scientist or politician – but I hope my readers are moved to think about the questions involved. Do animals have a right to conservation and protection? What would you be prepared to sacrifice to save the planet? Are there too many of us for a sustainable future on this planet? I think the role of landscape in fiction, in such a rapidly changing world, is going to be major when it comes to defining memory and experience and I think we’re going to have  a cracker of a discussion on this at YA shot.

5.) Do you believe that libraries still play an important role in inspiring young people to read?

Libraries are crucial civic spaces and should be cherished as such. In a hectic, screen dominated world, they offer vital opportunities for reflection and discovery. For some they might provide the only opportunity. It is librarians, and not algorithms, who can recommend books which might just possibly change the course of a child’s life, suggest that book which is a gateway to a lifetime’s journey  of knowledge and curiosity.

6.) Have there been any authors in particular that inspired you as a writer? How do you see the future of YA/MG fiction?

I have been inspired by so many – as a child, Roald Dahl, C S Lewis, Eva Ibbotson, T. H. White – and as an adult, J K Rowling, Patrick Ness and David Almond, to name but a few. Who knows what the direction of YA/MG fiction is, certainly not me. But what I do know is that without doubt it is the most exciting place to work in publishing at the moment. The best fiction for young people seems able to discuss big ideas, experiment with form, maintain narrative drive, AND actually sell books. Win win all round as far as the novel is concerned.

7.) Are you working on anything now and can you tell us a little bit about it?

I am working on a new book, a standalone, which comes out next autumn but it hasn’t been announced yet so I can’t say a thing – but I am very very excited and hope readers will be too.

Now for some quick-fire questions!

E book or real book?
Real book! E-books are good for reading on airplanes or in the dark but that’s about it.
Series or stand alone?
I think standalone – series are great, but people always have their favourite and one off books perhaps make the most impact?
Fiction or non-fiction?
Fiction – I can never finish non-fiction books although I do enjoy them.
Online shopping or bookshop trawling?
Online shopping for instant gratification, bookshops for pleasureable discovery
Bookmarking or dog-earing?
Dog-earing!
Once again, a big thank you to Piers for his efforts in making this interview possible. All three books in the Last Wild series are out now and are available from all good book retailers.
Come visit bibliobeth again tomorrow where I will be reviewing the second book in The Last Wild series – The Dark Wild.
yashot

Author Interview – A. J. Scudiere on the first book in The NightShade Forensic Files: Under Dark Skies

Published October 9, 2015 by bibliobeth

1486959

A.J. SCUDIERE – A BIOGRAPHY

It’s AJ’s world. A strange place where patterns jump out and catch the eye, very little is missed, and most of it can be recalled with a deep breath. It’s different from the world the rest of us inhabit, but anyone can see it – when we read. In this world, the smell of Florida takes three weeks to fully leave the senses and the air in Dallas is so thick that the planes “sink” to the runways rather than actually landing.

For AJ, texture reigns supreme. Whether it’s air or blood or virus, it can be felt and smelled. School is a privilege and two science degrees (a BA and MS) mean less than the prize of knowledge. Teaching is something done for fun (and the illusion of a regular paycheck) and is rewarding at all levels, grade school through college. AJ is no stranger to awards and national recognition for outstanding work as a teacher, trainer and curriculum writer.

AJ has lived in Florida and Los Angeles among a handful of other places. Recent whims have brought the dark writer to Tennessee, where home is a deceptively normal looking neighborhood just outside Nashville. Visit her at her website – http://www.ajscudiere.com

Click on the books to get to their description on GoodReads!

3519864

11795956

21199715

18004714

And The Sin Trilogy, two of which are available now:

4473380

20931341

Interview with AJ Scudiere

I’d like to welcome AJ to bibliobeth today and thank her for her time in giving this interview.

1.) Your novel, Under Dark Skies is a thriller with a difference. You write about a “special” section of the FBI known as the Nightshade division. Do you secretly believe that there’s a lot about the FBI we don’t know about?

I actually do believe there’s a lot that we don’t know, although I’m certain the CIA is much more covert than the FBI. I picked the FBI because I wanted Eleri and Donovan working within the US borders. I wanted them to have and believe in rules and in science, and to struggle with that. Personally, I’m a firm believer that today’s magic is tomorrow’s science. So why not have a special division of the FBI?

2.) We have some terrific main characters in Eleri and Donovan who have some “special” secrets of their own. Did you know the whole of their back stories before writing or did the ideas come to you while you were writing?

I have a deep love/hate relationship with vampires and zombies and, of course, werewolves. Though I enjoy watching some of the shows, I shake my head at the scientific implausibility put forth. When I saw werewolves on TV, I always found myself yelling at the screen, “Conservation of mass!.” How does a 200lb man become an 80lb wolf? And where did his clothes go? Why are they folded under the tree? I had been working on a plausible werewolf for a while – a handful of years! The characters of Eleri and Donovan had been bouncing in my head while I tried to figure it out. So I did know them both very well before I started writing and because of this, I’ve been able to hint at a lot of things to come. You may have noticed there are clues about Eleri’s background – she has some more to figure out over the next several novels. While Donovan is maybe ‘weirder,’ Eleri has skills yet to develop.

3.) Eleri and Donovan are investigating the leader of a religious cult in this novel. Did you have to do a lot of research to explore this theme? If so, what kind of things were you looking at?

I have a bio and psych background in my education and have always found the idea of following a charismatic leader very intriguing. Following a benevolent leader, a group can accomplish great things. Follow a tyrant and people will do horrible deeds under the guise of great work. There have also been recent psychological studies showing that some people are pre-disposed to want to be in a cult – there’s a level of community there beyond the norm. So I’ve always read up on the topic whenever I can and I found it was a natural fit for Eleri and Donovan’s first case.

4.) What kind of novels inspired you to write Under Dark Skies and are you a big fan of any author in particular?

I love Michael Crichton and the way his science fiction was more science and less spaceships. I always like to look at my stories and say “it could happen.” I’m also a huge Nabokov fan. I love the way he could say so much with just a paragraph and how his characters were never what they seemed. I’ve really taken that to heart and my good guys and my bad guys are rarely just one or the other.

5.) This novel looks to be the start of a series for The Nightshade Division. (hooray!) Are you working on anything at the moment and can you tell us a little bit about it?
I’m actually writing and editing at the same time right now. I just finished the third and final book in the SIN Trilogy (Vengeance, Retribution, and Justice)–another series where the lines between the good guys and the bad guys blur quite a bit! And I’m midway through the second NightShade book (oh yes, it’s a serious series!) In the second book, Eleri and Donovan follow up on the call they get at the end of Under Dark Skies. The second story is called Fracture Five, and the case is set in Los Angeles. This is a huge problem for Donovan, who’s not a fan of live people. It’s a case that the two of them aren’t really ready for; when they start pulling threads, those threads lead to some very disturbing places and people.

Now for some quick fire questions!

E book or real book?

E. I like real, but my kindle is a whole portable library. I will admit, if I hate a book on my kindle, I can’t throw it across the room. So that’s not as satisfying.

Series or stand alone?

Both.

Fiction or non-fiction?

Fiction definitely. The latest research is showing that fiction readers score higher on EQ tests and often on IQ tests, too.

Online shopping or bookshop trawling?

Online. I read the reviews!

Bookmarking or dog-earing?

Neither. I’ve always just remembered where I was.

Once again, a big thank you to AJ for her efforts in making this interview possible. Under Dark Skies was published on the 4th of November 2014 by Griffyn Ink as a Kindle edition and you could always check out her back catalogue too!