Category Archives: 10 Questions With…

10 Questions with…Frank Westworth

Today I bring to you my 10 questions feature with author Frank Westworth. If you’ve been following my reviews you’ll know I’m a big fan of his work.

 

Frank is the author of the brilliant Killing Sisters series and also the JJ Stoner short tales I love so much.

If you havent already please take a look at the Author Spotlight I did for Frank last year.

You should also check out my recent reviews for the following books –

The Stoner Stories – Volume 1

The Redemption Of Charm

I hope you enjoy the Q&A 🙂


 

First of all welcome to my blog Frank. The first question has to be the most important… so obviously I want to know if you are a tea or coffee kind of man? Or do you prefer something stronger?

Both. Everything. No limits. Whatever tastes right. No constraints. If I want to drink a coffee – I drink coffee. Tea’s the same, there are tea days and there are coffee days. And there are … something stronger days too. They are the jewels. When that time is the right time, only Stolichnaya will do … if there’s none nearby, then maybe Famous Grouse, or a lot of cheap beer. A lot… an awful lot.

Once a month I tend to let my hair down (not that I have much these days) and enjoy a slap up takeaway meal. I mean as much as I can eat. It’s my guilty pleasure. What’s yours?

Guilty? There is a thing. Why feel guilt about a pleasure? You deserve pleasure, and so do I. But… rules got laid down in all of us when we were growing up. I can still feel a little guilt about breaking those rules. So… ordering more food than I can eat, and wasting the rest. Drinking more than is sane, to the point of embarrassment. Riding a motorcycle further and faster through the wildest storm in the darkest night through the Welsh mountains…
Forbidden conversation in the dark hours on forbidden topics with people you don’t know and do not even like.

Are you afraid of anything strange? I myself am afraid of clowns which I believe is totally justifiable.

No. Fear is a strange thing. I’ve died twice – although I can’t recommend this much as a learning experience – and after that very little is a concern, almost nothing is an actual fear.

Are you a morning or night person?

Depends. A beautiful dawn is as beautiful as a beautiful evening, and the blackest night is as challenging as the brightest day.

Rufus appears out of nowhere with a time-traveling phone booth. You can go anytime in the PAST. What time are you traveling to and what are you going to do when you get there? (For those of you who don’t know who Rufus is… watch Bill and Ted. I love those movies!)

  1. I want to endlessly sit in an audience anywhere and listen live to Jimi Hendrix playing Little Wing. Loop. Repeat. Forever.

Now an important question. I don’t want facts, I want opinion. How many sides does a circle have? (I’ve had many a drunken conversation on the topic, exciting I know)

Four. Accept no other answer.

Ok so I guess I should ask some questions about your writing. Give me five words to describe JJ Stoner.

Relentless. Loyal. Vindictive. Clever. Violent.

Do you have any inspirations inside and outside of the writing community?

Oh yes. Far too many to list – you’d doze off. Every brilliant book is a unique inspiration, like every outstanding movie, and every great piece of music, and standing in love with mountains, forests, rivers, ships and cities. Everything, pretty much, is an inspiration – something to think about and enjoy.

What’s currently on your own bookshelf?

I’m reading Entanglement by Zygmunt Miloszewski, after that comes Kings of America by RJ Ellory. And after that? I’m not sure whether to dive into something SciFi or maybe another thriller of some kind. There’s a lot of books on the shelves.

What’s next for Frank Westworth?

A holiday – off to Malta. Holidays are the very best times to write fiction, and as I’ve hit the end of the trilogy I need to get into the fourth book. Trilogies always have four books, right? Right.

Thank you Frank..this is a fun little Q & A 🙂 Ha

To find out more about Frank’s work head to Murder, Mayhem & More or Goodreads

10 Questions with…Prue Batten

A former journalist from Australia who graduated with majors in history and politics, Prue Batten is now a cross genre writer who enjoys creating fiction from history and fantasy.

She is also regularly commissioned to write short stories for a miniature book-press in the United States, where the narratives are bespoke bound and illustrated, and purchased by miniature book collectors across the globe.

She is also a farming partner, dog owner, gardener and embroiderer, swimmer and kayaker who is about to release her fifth historical fiction book, Guillaume, on the 10th December! she is here today to answer David’s Ten Questions! 

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Q1 – What would you say to convince readers to read your book?

I like writing about the ordinary man of my era (twelfth century/Middle Ages) who is in extraordinary circumstances. There’s enough action and drama to keep the adrenalin pumping and enough blind corners to keep the brain guessing.

I’m not afraid of using emotion or of creating a world with texture and colour and I’m also not at all afraid to kill off those characters dearest to me. I like the shock factor!

I’d also say that Book One of The Triptych Trilogy, Tobias, was a semi-finalist in the prestigious MM.Bennetts Award for Historical Fiction for 2016 and was also awarded a gold medal by Indie B.R.A.G in 2016. It’s also a finalist in the 2017 Chanticleer Chaucer Awards. So hopefully, readers will find the writing of Guillaume (which is Book Two in the trilogy) just as good.

Q2 –When can we expect the last book of the trilogy to be out and can you give us any juicy info on it?

The sequel is Michael and it will be delivered toward the end of 2018.

Michael takes us back to Byzantium – specifically Constantinople. Readers might remember Tobias’ shattering adventures within that city. The time is only a year further on – 1194AD – and will hopefully be as compelling and dangerous as Tobias’ and Guillaume’s stories.

Q3 – To give your readers some insight into your life as a writer how long did it take you to write the book? Including the editing process and any re-writes you made.

From the moment I begin my research, to writing drafts, to formal editing, my novels take roughly a year each. I’m a slow writer compared to many, but any faster and I would lose my thread.

During the writing, my cover designer is working on my cover, so that by three months before publication, the cover is ready for public release.

After the third draft, the novel is sent to two trusted beta-readers and then the final draft shoots off to Super-Editor-Man, my trusted editor in the UK. He works in two chapter blocks and it takes about a month of to-ing and fro-ing. Then a final read through/line-edit is done. One copy goes to my e-formatter and one back to my cover designer who formats for print.

And that’s it!

Q4 – What made you decide to become a historical fiction writer in the first place?

Serendipity.

I was writing a fan-fiction story for my blog. It was based on Guy of Gisborne from the TV series. It was fun and light-hearted and I took my Guy far from the familiar Robin Hood trope – what his life would have been like if the dice had fallen in a completely different way.

At one point I found I was researching far more than one would for a light fan-fict for blog entertainment and so I took the story off my blog, re-thought it, re-titled it and thus The Gisborne Saga was born. Also, serendipitously giving rise to the characters of The Triptych Chronicle.

One thing I will add is that I always find the title ‘historical fiction writer’ almost too grand for what I am and what I write. I write what I consider ‘soft historical fiction’ as opposed to the excellent literary work of writers like Dorothy Dunnett, Elizabeth Chadwick and Hilary Mantel. They and others like them are the true representatives of the genre of historical fiction.

Q5 – What are your views on historical accuracy when writing fiction? I note from other books I’ve read in the same genre some reviewers can be quite negative to any inaccuracies.

I think historical accuracy is required where it is possible to locate it in primary and secondary sources. But where there is questionable fact, or diverse fact, I think a Fiction writer is at liberty to interpret as he or she sees fit, as long as they mention it in their Author’s Note. If readers interpret one’s facts differently, then that is the price writers have to pay.

Q6 – Would you contemplate writing a book in any other genre?

I have and I do.

I’m what’s commonly called a cross genre writer. I have written a historical fantasy quartet called The Chronicles of Eirie, one of which won a Readers’ Favorite silver medallion for fantasy in 2012 (A Thousand Glass Flowers).

And this year, I wrote a children’s story about a wombat (based on the wombats on our sheep farm) and it’s been illustrated in the UK by the wonderful Dave Slaney. It’s called Nugget and it’ll be released in print for Christmas stockings this year! It’s already available as an e-book.

I love being a cross-genre writer. It’s such an adventure and I think it keeps my writing fresh.

Q7 – Who have been your biggest influences within the writing community?

Oh golly! Dorothy Dunnett, first and foremost! Rosamunde Pilcher, Guy Gavriel Kay, JRR Tolkein, to name just a few of hundreds. In the past Anya Seton, Rosemary Sutcliffe, Henry Treece, Mary Stewart… But truly there are many writers through the years who have all played some sort of role, because I’ve loved reading and books since I was given my first book as a toddler and one learns such a lot as one grows older.

Q8 – What book(s) are you looking forward to reading in the coming months?

Matthew Harffy’s Blood and Blade. Juliet Marillier’s Den of Wolves, Ann Swinfen’s The Novice’s Tale, Selina Seak Chin Yoke’s The Woman who Breathed Two Worlds. And finally, The Penguin Lessons by Tom Michell. A hugely eclectic collection. And hopefully, the TBR pile will be added to over Christmas!

Q9 – Where do you get your ideas from?

My ideas come from obscure sources – a piece of stumpwork embroidery, a paperweight, a piece of paper-cloth, Robin Hood, a piece of twelfth century music, a picture of dwarf minstrel, a Byzantine icon, a wooden cabinet, a map – idiosyncratic little things that whisper in my ear that they just might have a story to tell. The ideas often expand as I walk my dog on the beach or soak in the bath!

I tell myself stories for a long time before I put pen to paper. Oh, and that’s another thing – I actually write in long hand. That’s usually my first draft.

Q10 – Future plans? I’m sure we’d all like to know what you’ve got planned.

A new fantasy as the opener of a new series – title and series name yet to be decided.

Audiobooks.

The final of The Triptych Chronicle.

A collaboration with one of the UK’s best on a story set between Britain and colonial Australia.

And that’s just for starters! Gosh – I’ll be in my eighties at this rate…

Thanks so much, David, for interviewing me. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the process of examining my writing life – it’s been fun. Best wishes to you and to all the readers!

 

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Click here to head to Amazon to check out the upcoming release Guillaume –  myBook.to/Guillaume

To find out more about Prue and her work check out the links below!

http://www.pruebatten.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Prue.Batten.writer

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/pruebatten

10 Questions with…..Brian K. Larson

So since is started to really get into reading a few years ago i’ve become a big fan of Brian’s work. He has fun ideas and his storytelling has always kept me hooked. Today happens to be release day for his latest work Time Squared. Look out for my review in the not to distant future!

Happy release day Brian!

Now, Brain has very kindly answered a few questions. Sit back, enjoy and at the end of it i hope you’ll be tempted to give Brian’s work a try if you haven’t already

Let’s talk about your latest released book. Tell us a short blurb about the book, please?

Time Squared is a book about, well, time travel. Here’s the synopsis:

Jonas Arnell, Tipper Montgomery, and a crew of seven launches from Jupiter Station on the Aevus. They’re sent to investigate a mysterious signal coming from the star Gliese 667.

Nearly destroyed from a surprise attack to prevent the mission, they retire into cryogenic sleep for the nineteen month journey.

When they awaken, their world is turned upside down as they discover the origin of this mystery signal; their own ship. Only the crew and the ship’s skiff are missing.

Landing on the planet, they discover a time chamber where an accident has altered their time-line. Now they must travel through time to stop the paradox from occurring.

Where did your idea for the story come from and how long did it take to write?

This book was originally inspired by the 1960’s TV show, “Time Tunnel” that I watched as a kid. I was enthralled by the idea, or, possibility, that we could travel through time.

Time Squared was one of my easiest books to write with a completed manuscript in two months. I love science fiction and when you toss time travel in, well, it becomes even more awesome.

How did you come up with the title?

Time Squared has several been inspired by many different works. However, one comes to mind is an episode on Star Trek: The Next Generation called Time Squared where Captain Picard discovers his shuttlecraft floating in space. When they bring it onboard, Captain Picard is inside. It’s a wonderful time travel episode. However, the crew in this book finding themselves and the title are the only things you will find familiar. The story does take on its own life and after ready a couple of chapters, you will be hooked.

 

 

 

Do you stick to one genre or do you dabble in others, too?

I mainly write Science Fiction. However, my last 3 book series titled ‘Warlords,’ mixed science fiction and fantasy. I had one review state that he loved the books and I didn’t trip over one genre over the other, it was blended nicely.

What are you currently working on?

Currently, I’m working on volume 2 in the ‘Time’ series titled, ‘Time Fractured.’

Which manuscript did you have the most fun working on?

By far, the manuscript I had the most fun writing was the third book in the ‘Warlords Series’ titled ‘Blood Scroll of Antares.’ The words flowed onto the page, and I had a clear understanding of every aspect of the story. I found my groove on this one for sure.

 

Let’s talk about you, the author, now. What do you do when you aren’t writing?

If I’m not sitting behind my keyboard writing my next best seller, I tend to binge watch Netflix series. My favorite one is newest ‘Battlestar Galactica,’ followed by ‘Fringe.’ Currently, I’m just starting season 3 of ‘Lost.’

 

 

Tell us about your favorite cause.

I support the International Dyslexia Foundation. They help others recognize and deal with Dyslexia.

 

Are you coffee or tea?

Most definitely a coffee person, but I do like tea as well.

And lastly, what is the one thing you wish people who DON’T write would understand about writing?

Writing is NOT an easy profession. Sure, the story ideas come fairly easy. However, it takes a lot of planning such as world building and creating unique character that reader will love. Lastly, it’s not all about writing. When you’re an independent, or Indi author, my job’s not done when the manuscript is done. Revisions, editing, doing the book layout, as well as all the marketing fall to author. Having some experience in business with project management does help a great deal.

Author Bio:

Brian was born and raised in Seattle in 1959. He grew up in the town of Mount Lake Terrace, a small suburb north of the city. Brian, being the youngest, had two siblings, his eldest brother, Mike and sister, Pam. School was challenging, as Brian suffers with Dyslexia, a learning disability that affects 1 in 15 Americans. That didn’t stop Brian. He was named “bookworm” in school because he always had his nose in a book.

Brian received his MBA in 2010 in Business, now writes for fun, living his lifelong dream of writing science fiction books. He enjoys his off time, with his seventh grade sweetheart, Diana Rose now for going on sixteen years. She has been by his side and continues to supports his writing. Brian says that without her encouragement, his dream would never have become a reality. They now live in Marysville, Washington, and enjoy three wonderful kids and eight grandchildren. They range from newborn to thirteen, and he says they are so special and great to have around.

It is Brian’s hope that through his writing he will fill hearts with joy to readers all over the world, sparking their imaginations.

Links:

Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/bklarson

Time Squared link US: https://amzn.com/B01F6A9I2Y

Time Squared link UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01F6A9I2Y/

Personal: www.secretofthecrystal.com

10 Questions With…… Nick H. Brown

Ok folks so today Nick Brown released a new book containing 3 science fiction short stories called Dead Eyes (You can find my review here)

After reading the book i had a few questions on my mind which Nick very kindly offered to answer.. take a look


 

Q1 – So Nick, you have a new book out and it’s not a Historical Fiction book like we might have expected… What made you decide to write a Science Fiction book?

I’ve always written sci fi – in fact I wrote two novels before I even considered historical fiction. I enjoy having a blank slate to start with and the freedom that the genre gives you. This is just a short ebook but I might look to write a full novel in the near future.

Q2 – The book is made up of three short stories, all of which I thought were brilliant. You have a talent for writing short stories, you give enough of a story to make the reader happy and feel they take something away with them but hold back enough to encourage your readers to come back to you for more. Where do your ideas come from? Are they simply bigger ideas that don’t really come to full fruition?

Thank you. I try my best to resolve the stories in a compelling way. That doesn’t always mean a twist but really it’s not so different to a novel – the story just has to move a little more swiftly and reach a satisfying conclusion. The ideas come at different times. ‘Four Numbers’, for example, I wrote specifically for the collection. Whenever I have an idea for something, I note it down – I might come back to it the following week or five years later.

Q3 –Are there any particular books or authors you’ve enjoyed within the Sci Fi genre?

I’ve always been a big fan of Iain M. Banks and Douglas Hill, a Canadian author.

Q4 – Are there any other genres you might try your hand at one day?

Possibly fantasy; and I’d like to try something contemporary at some point.

Q5 – Who have been your biggest influences/supporters within the writing community?

Writers are very supportive of each in general and we can add to that bloggers and reviewers like yourself who are now a crucial part of the writing world. I also belong to the Historical Writers Association and have many friends in the industry who I keep in touch with via social media. When meeting in ‘the real world’, a few beers are usually involved.

Q6 – How important to you is the feedback from your readers?

I’m always very interested in what readers have to say and I can’t help reading every review. Fortunately most are positive! I don’t think I would ever alter anything because of feedback unless there was an obvious theme. Everyone has an opinion – including editors and agents. Of course I always listen to them but it’s very important as a writer to know your own mind.

Q7 – How do you deal with negative feedback?

Violence! No, honestly, if I read something that strikes a chord then it could be something to learn from. But usually I just disagree and swear about it! Over time you get used to it but unfortunately they tend to stick in your mind more than the positive comments.

Q8 – For anyone who is not familiar with Agent of Rome books how you would describe the series to them?

The series follows Roman ‘security service’ officer Cassius Corbulo – plus his ex-gladiator bodyguard Indavara and Christian servant Simo. Their adventures have taken them all over the eastern Empire and – hopefully – combine mystery, action and intrigue.

Q9 – If you had to pick, which of your books would you say you’ve most enjoyed writing or which are you most proud of and why?

I really enjoyed writing ‘The Far Shore’ – the third book of the Roman series. I suspect it was because I knew it was working out well. Like all novels, it turned out differently to the original conception but it was exciting to write and hopefully that translated for the reader.

As for ‘most proud’ – that probably goes to book two, ‘The Imperial Banner’. Second novels are traditionally difficult and this one took the series in a different direction. I was also working as a teacher and had less time due to the publishing deadline.

Q10 – Future plans? More Sci Fi? I’m sure we’d all like to know what you’ve got planned.

More sci fi, I hope; and some historical fiction too. Watch this space!

To connect with Nick head to his website, Twitter, Goodreads, Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

10 Questions With…… Robert Southworth

Today i bring to you a interview with the talented Robert Southworth who is largely responsible for my love in books, After reading the first book in his Spartacus series i was hooked!

Rob very kindly agreed t answer a few of my questions 🙂

Q1 – How long have you been a writer and what influenced you to first put pen to paper?

In my heart I have always been a writer, like many would-be authors I spent many years
jotting down ideas or writing the first chapter of a novel I was determined to finish. However, I suppose it has been around 5 years now where I can actually call myself an author. It may sound silly but I still smile every time someone asks me what I do for a living.

Q2 – I’ve read all your books so far and you seem to find a story where many wouldn’t see any.. Which lead to a very unique story. Where do your ideas come from?

Partly through the interest in the subject matter, partly through wanting to be that little bit different. The rest is probably something close to insanity as the ideas arrived at the strangest of moments. In the middle night, changing my youngest son’s nappy…usually when a pen and paper aren’t available.

Q3 – With the new book you seemed to change your cover designs quite a few times. Some authors don’t seem to put much time into the designs. Do you think it’s important to get the cover image right?

It’s vital to me and part of the creative process. Unlike many authors, I only have a broad outline of the novel before I write it. So building the cover helps me visualise the world in which I want to immerse myself. The reason for a cover change is often because, as the story progresses so does my idea of what the novel is truly trying to say. It is also important to attract the readers but that is secondary in the process but still key to the production side of a novel.

Q4 – I’d be interested to know out of the novels you’ve wrote do you have a favourite?And if so why? I won’t lie… I love them all…

Tricky one, but for quality of work I think The Reaper’s Breath simply because I’m learning my craft and I think that this novel shows the improvement. However, two novels stand out for enjoyment in terms of writing Spartacus III because of the challenge of creating a book that was in essence one long battle scene. This was departure from my other books, where I usually try to keep action scenes to short punchy sequences. The other and probably my favourite overall is Wrath of the Furies. Virtually every character is from my imagination; it was my first attempt at a thriller and was a joy to write.

Q5 – Who have been your biggest influences/support within the writing community?

Oh lots, authors such as Lofting, Ashman, McKay, Bayliss, and Rule have all played major roles in supporting me in both the creative side and marketing. However, I have to mention Sajjad Tameez because without his support I would never have had the confidence to actually put my books out there.

Q6 – Are there any books/authors you’re looking forward to reading this year?

Ooo loads both Paula Lofting and Louise Rule should have new books out this year and I have been lucky enough to see snippets of both and they are going to be something else. On a sad note, I will miss the chance to buy Terry Pratchett’s books, a pure genius that will be missed by many.

Q7 – As well as being a writer I note you write reviews too. Is this something you enjoy?

Absolutely hate it…when it’s a book I don’t like, love it when it’s a book that I enjoy.

Q8 – How important is feedback from your readers?

It’s so important for very different reasons. Firstly, from a purely sales reason, good reviews and lots of them will spread the word and so you gain more readers. The second reason is even more important. I have yet to meet an author who isn’t plagued with self doubt. It is an affliction that seems to travel hand in hand with being an author and I am no different. To hear that someone enjoys your work fills me with joy and banishes self doubt…at least for a little time. I am lucky to have found readers who love my work and offer a great deal of support.

Q9 – Any plans for a sequel to Wrath of the Furies? .. I particularly liked that story 🙂

Yes… but not sure when. The sequel has been planned for some time, Hades Beckons centres on the kidnapping of an important Parthian official and his family, just as Emperor Hadrian is entering peace talks. I hope to begin the tale later in the year.

Q10 – Plans for the future? I’m sure we’d all like to know what idea you are working on

Interestingly it’s quite a tricky question. I have had a number of requests to turn my story telling to the early part of Spartacus’s life. I have actually outline a few idea’s and a three part series called Legend is in the preparation stage with the first book being called Born of Blood. I also want to continue the Ripper Legacies and do the follow up to the Wrath of Furies. If possible, and it is a big ‘if’ I would like to write The Reaper’s Touch, Born of Blood, and then Hades Beckons within the year. However, that would require a great shift in my work life balance, one which I cannot ensure. That said, I would definitely like to get at least two those books on the shelves before 2017.

Rob’s latest book is out now! Click here for my review of The Reaper’s Breath!

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Click the image above to head to Amazon.co.uk to purchase your copy today!

 

10 Questions with…Keith Nixon

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Today i bring to you an interview with author Keith Nixon who kindly offered to answer some of my questions. I hope you find this as insightful as i did myself.

Q1 – How long have you been a writer and what influenced you to first put pen to paper?

Since I was about nine but I really started writing properly about 25 years ago in my early 20’s. It was a historical fiction novel – my wife’s grandfather stole a train in WW2 Italy to escape from the Germans. I initially wrote historical fiction as I felt I could only write something around a central event. I started my Roman books because of a visit to Maiden Castle. It’s a massive structure and I wondered how the Romans had managed to take it. Otherwise the drive to put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) is just something inside. I’ve no idea what produces it.

Q2 – I’ve read 3 of your books so far and they cover quite different subjects. Do you have a particular favourite genre?

My preference is crime. However, I can’t help but add a humorous edge (usually based on sarcasm) at least somewhere in a novel. I might try and outright humour novel next…

Q3 – Where do you get your ideas from and does it take long to see them come to full fruition

That’s a very difficult question to answer. It’s usually from a single spark. It might be an event, big or small that either happens to me, I hear about or read a newspaper article on. Or it might be a person and their behaviour or a couple of words that just makes me want to tell a story around it.

I’m a fast writer, but a slow congealer of a story. I take quite a bit of time pulling all the threads together and reworking story arcs. A 60-70,000 crime novel will take me six months. Considering I can write 1,000 – 2,000 words in a day if I’ve a clear run, that’s quite a stretch. Historical fiction is more like nine months, just because of all the layers of research that need to go in. Mind you, The Eagle’s shadow took nearly two years and nine redrafts.

Q4 – I’d be interested to know out of the novels you’ve wrote do you have a favourite?And if so why?

I’m up to seven published novels now and two more currently being beta read. They’re all a bit different. I’d probably choose The Fix, primarily because I’ll likely never produce anything like it again. I just had a lot of fun pulling it together and I never intended to have it published. Putting it out opened up so many things for me – a whole world of friends and experiences that I wouldn’t have otherwise had.

Q5 – Who have been your biggest influences/support within the writing community?

My biggest influence initially was Ian Rankin. His was the first crime novel I read (the seminal Black and Blue).

In terms of people I know and have worked with the list goes on. The crime genre is very supportive. There are lots of writers, bloggers and reviewers so willing to give of their free time.

Quite remarkable. So I couldn’t really name a single name for fear of leaving someone out. I’m very lucky…

Q6 – Are there any books/authors you’re looking forward to reading this year?

I read a lot less than I used to. A mixture of less time and a struggle to find novels that really do it for me. Tony Black is one author I always read, there’s a rumour he has a new Gus Dury novel out. Can’t wait for that…

Q7 – I note on your website you’ve done a few reviews yourself. Is this something you enjoy and plan to do more of?

Same issue of reading less really. I do enjoy reviewing, it’s a great way of connecting with other authors. I tend to cover crime (unsurprisingly), debuts and Scottish authors, but not exclusively.

I’d like to do more, but time is limited – writing a lot, busy job and family!

Q8 – How important is feedback from your readers?

Extremely important. Reviews are very hard to come by. I’ve sold about 15,000 copies of The Eagle’s Shadow, yet (at time of writing) reviews on Amazon UK are at 92. That’s a tiny level of respondents. I’ve learned a lot from feedback, primarily because as the author it’s a wood for the trees thing. I can see and hear all the behaviours and speech of my characters, but the reader is in a different place. If I’ve badly communicated the plot, they’ll soon tell me. It helps me grow as an author. I’ve been fortunate enough to have far more positive responses than negative.

Q9 – I particularly enjoyed The Eagles Blood & The Eagles Shadow, any plans to revisit Caradoc any time soon?

Caradoc was the one that properly started it for me so absolutely, yes. They’re my best sellers, but the longest to write. I’m just planning my as yet unnamed third Caradoc novel (it’ll have Eagle in the title, for sure). Ironically it’s my 10th novel. Once Caradoc sails away then I expect Fionn will take up the mantle with his own series.

Q10 – Plans for 2016? I’m sure we’d all like to know what you plan to bring us this year

Lots! The two crime books I have in beta (the fourth Konstantin novel and a police procedural) will come out at some point, depending on the publisher, and Caradoc 3 at least. I’d expect to have one further novel well underway by the end of 2016. I just wish I had more hours in the day…

Thank you Keith 🙂 I truly appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions and help myself and other readers have a little insight to your life

If you haven’t already take a look at my Author Spotlight post for Keith to see why i enjoy his books so much.

To find out more about Keith’s books head to Goodreads, Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

You can also connect with Keith via his website, Twitter and Facebook

10 Questions with… Steven A. McKay

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Today i bring to you an interview with the awesome Steven A. McKay author of the brilliant Wolf’s Head which is book one of his Robin Hood series.

The series is currently made up of 3 novels and 2 novellas. If you’ve not had a look at them please click the images below to be directed to my reviews 🙂

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Now on with the questions!!

1) For anyone who follows my blog I’m sure they will be aware of your work but for anyone who’s not read any of your books yet what would you say to them to get them to give them a go?

It’s historical fiction without the “gadzooks” or “prithee” bollocks. I wanted to write stories set in medieval times but with people you and I could relate to. Normal people, rather than high born knights and ladies. Of course, I’d like to think the tales are exciting and keep you on the edge of your seat but I’ll leave your reviews to deal with that…

2) After reading your Robin Hood series you’ve left me needing more, you’re going to fill that void with a Christmas novella staring Friar Tuck. What made you decide to give the good Friar his own story?

I wanted to write a Christmas tale because I love the season so, really, who else could star in it? It’s a Christian holiday, whether you celebrate it in that way or not, so it was obvious the bold friar should take the lead.

3) I personally love a good novella; I feel it can give a great insight to an author’s writing style while also giving the author a great chance to elaborate on characters or events touched on in other books. I know not all readers agree. What are your views?

Some stories aren’t made to be told in 100,000 words. One of my favourite writers is HP Lovecraft – can you imagine ANY of his stories stretched out to novel length? They’d be awful! They work perfectly as novellas, and I’d like to think my two shorts work as well.

In terms of writing them, they’re great fun, it’s almost like a holiday! You don’t have to worry about side-plots or extra characters, you can just concentrate on one storyline and keep it simple and I really enjoy that because my full length novels tend to have lots of other stuff going on.

Amazon clearly agree – they have the Kindle Singles Programme which is described as “Compelling ideas expressed at their natural length” and Friar Tuck and the Christmas Devil was accepted into that exclusive programme so that says it all for me.

4) Looking back at my reviews for your books so far I note a common theme. Namely you’re not afraid to kill off characters. Were you not worried your readers might not like the direction you took?

No, when I’m writing a book I don’t think about how readers will view it. Don’t get me wrong, once it’s done and it goes out I shit myself wondering if anyone will enjoy it! But in the writing process I do whatever I think will work. When it comes to killing off characters, I feel like if I DON’T kill characters it would be unrealistic and readers would see them as superheroes which is not what they are at all.

They are, as I said earlier, normal people, and normal people die.

5) One of the best things about your Robin Hood series is that you’ve put a new twist on the old tale. Why did you decide to move away from the well-known tale we all know and move away from Sherwood Forest?

The original, very first Robin Hood stories were set in Yorkshire. When I started to research the legend my idea was to make it as close to the first stories as possible so I was surprised – and pleased – to find that fact out. It gave me something new right from the off. Who else writes about Robin Hood the Yorkshireman?! That old story has been done to death and even now there’s new novels about him coming out every few months but as far as I know I’m the only one placing him where he was originally, in Barnsdale, in the time of Edward II.

6) Who have been your biggest influences within the writing community?

The two guys that inspired me to actually do it were SJA Turney and Gordon Doherty. I saw their books doing so well, even without the backing of a publisher, and it gave me the confidence to do it myself.

In terms of my actual writing, it’s hard to say. Bernard Cornwell is an obvious influence but I take bits from whatever I’m reading that strikes a chord in me, such as the aforementioned HP Lovecraft, or John Fowles whose The Magus I recently revisited. It all goes into the old brain box and comes back out in my writing in some way!

7) To give your readers an insight in to the writing process how long does it usually take to get from an idea to publication? Do you have many rewrites?

I couldn’t really give an answer to that for the simple reason I have an 8 year old daughter and a 2 year old son! When I wrote my debut novel, Wolf’s Head, and the follow up The Wolf and the Raven, I only had my wee girl and she would be in bed at 8pm every night so I could get to work. But now, my boy is up to all hours being wild hahaha! It’s meant I’ve not been able to work as much as I’d like on my new book and even the last one took longer than it should have.

In general a novel takes me about a year from start to finish. I don’t really rewrite anything much. I tend to ADD things rather than rewriting them.

I seem to be really lucky in that respect – a lot of writers can spend all day working on a chapter then bin the lot because it’s crap! If I write a chapter it ends up in the book pretty much as I wrote it in that first sitting.

8) How important is feedback from your readers?

It depends. I really appreciate constructive criticism that I can do something about – for example someone said in a review that my new Rise of the Wolf audiobook had a line that repeats. So I’ve been working with ACX and my narrator this weekend to get that sorted. That was invaluable feedback.

I do read EVERY review that appears on Amazon and I take in what’s being said. I’ve adjusted plots or even just character traits as a result so yes, I do take feedback on board. I’d be daft not to.

9) So far you’ve stuck with writing about Robin Hood and the other characters within the series. Do you ever think you’ll move away from them onto something new?

Oh aye! I’ll write one more Robin book to finish his story off, with perhaps another novella using those characters, but then I’ll move onto a completely new series. I’ve got loads of ideas for it – a main character, titles, plot lines, even the books I’ll need to research the period!

10) Linking in nicely with the previous question.. Future plans? I’d definitely like to know what you’ve got planned for us next

I’ll be sticking with Britain as the setting but going a few hundred years further back in time from my Robin Hood books…I plan on making the next series about a druid but he’s more like a cross between Little John and Friar Tuck than the old white-beard from the Asterix stories! This guy will be a hardman who’s a real product of his time, so possibly something of an anti-hero…

I can’t say more because I’ve not really planned anything out. I need to tie up the Robin Hood series

first so, next year, 2016, keep your eyes peeled!

Thanks for this Steven! Very much looking forward to reading more books from you in the near future 🙂

If you didn’t know Steven’s latest novella is available now! and it’s perfect for Christmas. Click the image below to head to Amazon where you can get your copy!

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