Alanna Knight MBE

Edinburgh-based Alanna Knight, author of historical crime series including the Inspector Faro mysteries, has also been awarded an MBE, appearing on the honours list under her given name of Gladys Knight.
She has written over forty novels since the publication of her award-winning debut Legend of the Loch in 1969. Born and educated in Tyneside, she now lives and writes in Edinburgh after a time in Aberdeen.
She is the creator of the Inspector Faro series of Victoria detective novels, which are set in Edinburgh around the 1870s. Knight also has a series of novels featuring Faro’s daughter, Rose McQuinn, and has written a number of historical and gothic novels. She has also written for none-fiction books, numerous short stories, and two plays.
Alanna Knight is one of the three Femmes Fatales, and was a founding member of the Scottish Association of Writers. She is also an artist, and has created portraits of fellow Scottish authors.

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http://www.alannaknight.com

30 Great Crime Reads from 2013

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James Oswald

Natural Causes

The Book of Souls

Ian Rankin

Saints of the Shadow Bible

Aline Templeton

Bad Blood

Michael J Malone

A Taste for Malice

Matt Bendoris

Killing with Confidence

T. F. Frank Muir

Life for a Life

Douglas Skelton

Blood City

Malcolm Mackay

The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter

How a Gun Man Says Goodbye

Ed James

Dyed in the Wool

Chris Longmuir

Missing Believed Dead

Emma L Clapperton

Beyond Evidence

Quintin Jardine

Pray for the Dying

As Serious as Death

Jenny Thomson

Hell to Pay

Alex Gray

The Swedish Girl

Denise Mina

The Red Road

Doug Johnstone

Gone Again

Peter May

Entry Island

Mark Douglas-Home

The Women Who Walked into the Sea

Janet O`Kane

No Stranger to Death

Helen Fitzgerald

The Cry

Stuart MacBride

Close to the Bone

Ann Cleeves

Dead Water

Craig Robertson

Witness the Dead

Douglas Lindsay

A Plague of Crows

Sinclair MacLeod

Inheritance

Myra Duffy

End Game at Port Banntayne

David Shaw MacKenzie

The Interpretations

Free Book on Kindle

If you are looking for a good read for the holiday season on your kindle that won’t break the bank, as it is free for the next two days and you like Scottish crime fiction then this is the novel for you

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THE RELUCTANT DETECTIVE RETURNS
Craig Campbell leaves his native city to investigate the disappearance of a young woman from St  Andrews. Initially, it appears to be a simple case of a girl escaping to start a new life but it soon becomes apparent that there are ominous undertones.
When a woman’s body is found on a nearby beach the case takes an even darker turn. Craig focuses his attention on the seedy world of escorts and their clients. A pimp with a violent history and a number of witnesses with their own secrets to protect block his investigation.
He finally breaks through the wall of lies and discovers a gruesome truth that leads to a dramatic and explosive climax.

Here is the Amazon link so that you purchase the book for yourself

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Good-Girl-Reluctant-Detective-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B0057AOXS8/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1388076128&sr=1-1&keywords=the+good+girl

Peter May signings in January for launch of entry island

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UK EVENTS

Saturday 11th January, 7pm
Event in association with Waterstones, Aberdeen
Venue: MacRobert Lecture Theatre, MacRobert Building, Kings Street, University of Aberdeen
Tickets: £5/£4 concessions
Tel for tickets: 01224 592 440
Email: aberdeen@waterstones.com

Mon 13th January, 7pm
Event with Waterstone’s, Inverness
Venue: Inverness Town House. Inverness Town House, Inverness, IV2 4SF
Tickets: £5
Interviewer: Robert Taylor, Editor of Inverness Courier
Tel for Tickets: 01463 233500

Tues 14th January, 12.30 – 2.00pm
WHSMITHS, Glasgow Signing
Venue: 53 – 55 Argyle St, G2 8AH
Contact: Brian McIntyre, 0141 204 063
Email: 1148.mgr@whsmith.co.uk

Tues 14th January, 7.00 – 8.30
Waterstones, 38 Avenue Centre, Newton Mearns, G77 6EY
Venue: Primavera Bistro, Newton Mearns
Tickets: free (but need to book)
Tel: 0141 6163933

Weds 15th January, 7pm
Event with Blackwells, 53 – 62 Southbridge, Edinburgh EH1 1YS
Venue: The Roxy Theatre, 2 Roxburgh Place, EH8 9SU
Tickets: £5 (price includes £4 off purchase of a copy of Entry Island on the night)
Tel: 0131 622 8222
email: events.edinburgh@blackwell.co.uk

Thurs 16th January, 11.30
Informal signing: Waterstone’s, Ocean Terminal, Edinburgh

Thurs 16th January, 12.30 – 1.30
Formal signing: Waterstone’s George Street, Edinburgh
Tel: 0843 290 8309 to reserve a signed copy

Thurs 16th January, 6.30pm
In association with Waterstone’s, 35 Commercial Street, Dundee DD1 3DG
Venue: Steps Theatre, The Wellgate, Dundee,DD1 1DB
Interviewer: Helen Brown, Dundee Courier
Tickets: free but booking essential
Tel for tickets: 01382 200322

Tues 21st January, 7pm
Waterstones’ Piccadilly, London
Tickets: £5/£3Tel: 020 78512400
Email: events.piccadilly@waterstones.com

PARIS EVENTS

Wednesday 22 January 2014
Signing 6-7pm
Presentation 7-8pm
Venue: WH Smith,
Address: 248 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris
(Metro: Concorde)
http://www.whsmith.fr/evenementsE.htm
RSVP to books@whsmith.fr

Thursday 23 January 2014, 18h00
Venue: Librairie L’Écailler
Address: 101 Rue du Théâtre, 75015 Paris, France
Phone:+33 1 45 75 30 72

Friday 24 January 2014,18h30
Venue: Librairie Maruani
Address: 171 Boulevard Vincent Auriol, 75013 Paris, France
Phone:+33 1 45 85 85 70

Saturday 25 January 2014, 15h00
Venue: Librairie Gilbert Joseph
Address: 26 Boulevard Saint-Michel, 75006 Paris, France
Phone:+33 1 44 41 88 88

Saturday 25 January 2014, 18h00
Venue: Librairie Acacia
Address: 33/35 bd du Temple, 75003 Paris, France
(Métro République ou Filles du Calvaire)
Tél. : 01 48 04 76 52

Most wanted Author Interview Number eight with Peter May

Peter May was born in Glasgow. From an early age he was intent on becoming a novelist, but took up a career as a journalist as a way to start earning a living by writing. At the age of 21, he won the Fraser Award and was named Scotland’s Young Journalist of the Year. He went on to write for The Scotsman and the Glasgow Evening Times. At the age of 26, May’s first novel, The Reporter, was published. May was asked to adapt the book as a television series for the British television network the BBC, and then left journalism in 1978 to begin to write full-time for television.
May’s novel, The Reporter became the prime-time 13-part television series entitled The Standard in 1978. May went on to create another major TV series for the BBC – Squadron – a drama involving a RAF rapid deployment squadron. In the following fifteen years, May earned
more than 1,000 TV credits. He created and wrote major drama serials for both BBC and the Independent Television Network in the UK including Machair, which he co-created with Janice Hally for Scottish Television. The long-running serial was the first major television drama to be made in the Gaelic language and was shot entirely on the Isle of Lewis location in the Outer Hebrides. The show, which May also produced, achieved a 33% audience share and made it regularly into the top ten in the ratings in Scotland, in spite of the fact that it had to be broadcast with English subtitles as only 2% of the population of Scotland are Gaelic speakers. During his time working in television, May wrote the novels Hidden Faces (1981) and The Noble Path (1992), and in 1996 May quit television to devote his time to writing novels.

While working on his standalone thriller ‘Virtually Dead’, May researched the book by creating an avatar in the online world of Second Life and opening the Flick Faulds private detective agency. He spent a year in Second Life, working as a private detective, and was hired by clients for cases ranging from protection from harassment by stalkers to surveillance and infidelity investigations.

The Lewis Trilogy
The Blackhouse (Quercus 2011)
The Lewis Man (Quercus 2012)
The Chessmen (Quercus 2013)

The Enzo Files
Extraordinary People (Poisoned Pen Press 2006), (Quercus 2013)
The Critic (Poisoned Pen Press 2007), (Quercus 2013)
Blacklight Blue (Poisoned Pen Press 2008), (Quercus 2013)
Freeze Frame (Poisoned Pen Press 2010), (Quercus 2013)
Blowback (Poisoned Pen Press 2011), (Quercus 2013)

The China Thrillers
The Firemaker (Hodder & Stoughton 1999), (St Martin’s Press 2005), (Poisoned Pen Press 2008), (Quercus 2012)
The Fourth Sacrifice (Hodder & Stoughton 2000), (St Martin’s Press 2007) (Poisoned Pen Press 2008), (Quercus 2012)
The Killing Room (Hodder & Stoughton 2001), (St Martin’s Press 2008) (Poisoned Pen Press 2009), (Quercus 2012)
Snakehead (Hodder & Stoughton 2002), (Poisoned Pen Press 2009), (Quercus 2012)
The Runner (Hodder & Stoughton 2003), (Poisoned Pen Press 2010), (Quercus 2012)
Chinese Whispers (Hodder & Stoughton 2004), (Poisoned Pen Press 2009), (Quercus 2012)

Standalone novels
The Reporter (Corgi, 1978)
Fallen Hero (N.E.L., 1979)
Hidden Faces (Piatkus 1981), The Man With No Face (St Martin’s Press 1982)
The Noble Path (Piatkus 1992), (St Martin’s Press 1993)
Virtually Dead (Poisoned Pen Press 2010)
Entry Island (Quercus 2014)

Photo books
Hebrides (Quercus 2013) Photo companion to The Lewis Trilogy, with photographs by David Wilson.

Television drama
The Standard (BBC 1978) (13 episodes) creator, writer
Squadron (BBC 1982) (10 episodes) co-creator, writer
Take The High Road (Scottish Television 1980 – 1992) writer (200+ episodes), story & script editor (700+ episodes).
The Ardlamont Mystery (BBC 1985) (Single drama) writer.
Machair (Scottish Television 1992-96) (99 episodes) co-creator and producer

Film
The Killing Room (Les Disparues) movie to be produced by French production company, French Connection in partnership with Korean Dream Capture Studios[20] Action to be transferred from Shanghai, China to Seoul, South Korea.

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1. How did you get started writing

My parents taught me to read and write before I went to school, and I wrote my first story when I was four years old. So I got the bug at a very early age and haven’t stopped since.

2. What drew you to write a crime novel

Accident. I wanted to write a novel set in China about genetic engineering. It turned out that the best way to tell my story was through the investigation of a murder. That first Chinese novel turned into six, and that set me irrevocably on the path of the crime writer.

3. Which writers past or present have influenced your style of writing

All my influences come from my early reading – Hemingway, Steinbeck, Greene, Huxley, Bates, an Irish-American writer called J.P. Donleavy, and of course Raymond Chandler.

4. Since the Lewis Trilogy, you have become a popular crime author who has been compared to some of the great crime authors, how does that make you feel

I have been writing all my life, but it’s only recently that my books have become bestsellers. It’s very gratifying finally to receive that recognition – an overnight success after forty years!

5. When you first started writing did you find it hard to get publisher interest

When I was first sending off manuscripts, the publishing industry was more open and diverse, and so I was lucky to find a publisher with only my fourth novel. I was still only twenty-five, so my previous attempts had been something of a learning curve. I think I would find it much harder to get published today – in fact, when The Blackhouse was first circulated to British publishers it was rejected by every one of them!

6. There have been so many interesting characters in your different series of Novels, do you have a particular favourite

I will always have a soft spot for both Li Yan and Margaret Campbell, the main characters in my China series.

7. You have set your novels in many different countries and places, do you have a particular favourite place or is there any where you would like to see a future novel set?

I loved my time in China, and of course I live in France which has a very special place in my heart. But I think the Isle of Lewis probably provided my favourite location.

8. The Blackhouse was originally written in french was it hard to translate into English especially as it had Gaelic words, and why did you decide to write it in french

The Blackhouse was written in English. It was only after being rejected by publishers in the UK that it was bought and translated by my French publisher. It was they who then sold it on to the British, and around the world.

9. What kind of research did you have to undertake for your books

I never write about a place I haven’t been to, so my research always entails a lot of travelling. I do a huge amount of research reading and always seek out experts in the subjects I am writing about. The research generally takes two to three times as long as the writing.

10. Are the characters in your books based on any real life

No. Characters are always composites of people I have met or known, along with characteristics I have pulled out of my imagination.

11. Since you have started writing have any well known authors given you any advice

All the advice I received on writing came early in my career. Basically, I have learned for myself the hard way, simply by doing it. Working in journalism helped in terms of being able to research a subject and write quickly, and my career as a scriptwriter honed my abilities to write dialogue. The one piece of advice I have always remembered and always passed on is “write about what you know”.

12. Do you see any of your characters personality in yourself and vice versa

I think the writer always draws on personal experience to flesh out characters, so that almost every character has a piece of yourself in him, or her.

13. If you can, would you give us a sneaky peak into any future novels you have written

“Entry Island” is my new book. It is just out in e-book format, and will be available in hardback from Boxing Day. It is a story which takes place between contemporary Quebec, in Canada, where a murder takes place, and historical Hebrides during the Highland Clearances. Obviously there is a link between the two. And I am currently working on a book which draws inspiration from real events that occurred during my teenage years.

14. If you were given the opportunity to write a follow up novel to any of your series, which one would you choose and why

Probably the China series. It is ten years since I wrote the last book in that series and I know that China has changed so much in that time. It would be interesting to go back to witness those changes, and see what ten years have done to Li and Margaret and their relationship.

15. As a blossoming crime writer do you have words of advice you can share

Believe in yourself, keep writing no matter what, and write about what you know

http://www.petermay.co.uk/

Amazon Author Page

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Peter-May/e/B000APG4K0

Answers to December crime question – Tartan Noir Quiz

1. In Val McDermid The Distant Echo, What was the nickname that the four students give to their group while at University

The Lads Fae Kirkcaldy

2. In Lin Anderson, Deadly Code, What is the name of the island where Rhona Macleod grew up

Isle of Skye

3. What two Scottish Crime Fiction Novels have has a similar storyline to two major catastrophes that have happend in Scotland

Locherbie Bombing – Quintin Jardine – Skinners Ordeal

Dunblane Shooting – Ian Rankin – A Question of Blood

4. In Ian Rankins Malcolm Fox Novels, What is the official name given to the team that Malcom Fox works for

Complaints and Conduct Department

5. How many times has Denise Mina won the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award

Two Times 2012, 2013

6. What is the name of the Scottish Crime Writing Festival that takes place over a weekend in September in Stirling

Bloody Scotland

7. In Peter Mays The Blackhouse, What is the English equivalent to the Female Gaelic name Marsaillie

Marjory

8. In Aline Templetons DI Marjory Fleming series, What is the fictional name of the Dunfrieshire town where the Police HQ is set

Kirkluce

9. What book won the Deanston Scottish Crime Book of the Year in 2013

Malcolm Mackay – How a Gun Man Says Goodbye

10. In Stuart McBrides book Birthdays for the Dead, What is the name of the fictional Scottish city where the book Is set

Oldcastle

11. In Gillian Galbraiths Alice Reid Series, The Novel The Road to Hell sees Alice have to deal with two major upsets, What we’re they

She was Suspended from Work pending a Disciplinary Hearing
Her Boyfriend was Killed in a Hit and Run Accident

12. How many different Series of Books has Tony Black written

3 – Gus Dury – Rob Brennan and Doug Michie

13. In Micheal J Malone Blood Tears, How does Ray McBain escape police custody when he became a suspect in the murders

He manages to convince his colleagues not to handcuffs him and then when his guards are having a conversation with another colleagues near the fire escape door he quickly and silently opens the door and escapes. Hiding in the car park between the cars. Then his ally and colleagues Daryl has left his car keys in the wheel trim of his car and let’s Ray know to use them to escape.

14. Which author has written novels called Ghost in the Machine, Devil in the Detail, Fire in the Blood, Dyed in the Wool and Shot through the heart

Ed James

15. In Anna Smith’s Rosie Gilmour Series, What newspaper does Rosie work for

The Post

16. In Mark Douglas-Home Sea Detective Series, What is the name of Cal McGill ex wife

Rachel Newby

17. At the moment how many novels and short stories are they in the DCI Andy Gilchrist Series by Frank Muir

5 – Eye for an Eye,
Hand for a Hand,
Tooth for a Tooth,
Life for a Life
A Chirstmas Tail

18. What are the Jobs of Lorimers wife Maggie and Sollys wife Rosie in Alex Gray Novels

Maggie – High School English Teacher
Rosie – Pathologist

19.  Can you name two authors that have set there books in the city of Discovery, Dundee

Chris Longmuir and Russell D MacLean

20. In Myra Duffy Isle of Bute Mystery Series, What is the name of Alson Cameron’s Husband and Younger Daughter who appear in some of the novels

Simon and Deborah

BONUS QUESTIONS

Can you put Ann Cleeves Shetland Series in Order of Publication

Raven Black
White Nights
Red Bones
Blue Lightning
Dead Water

In Ken McClure Steven Dunbar Novels, What is the name of the fictional government body that Steven Dunbar works for

Sci – Med

Coffee – Cake And Crime Event With Michael J Shanks

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Everyone wants to do the right thing. Sometimes doing the right thing can lead you down a path from which there is no return. Follow Galston McGee and James Bisset as they journey through 1970s Glasgow, white-collar fraud and organised crime. As their lives intersect, the consequences are deadly and catastrophic. Dark Orchid is a fast-paced story of love, greed, resurrection and revenge.

How did you get started writing

I have always written stuff. It’s not something I have recently started. Whether it was letters to family during my time in the Royal Navy or short stories at school. Writing is something I have always enjoyed. It helps me to relax and is the perfect foil to my other life which is jam packed with work, and normal day to day stuff. Some people watch telly, some work out, some play computer games – I write. I started more ‘formal’ writing, if you can call it that, a few years ago with my blog and a couple of years ago I just decided to give writing a novel a try -just to see if I could.

What drew you to write a crime novel

I like all genres of writing. I read everything from horror to thrillers to crime. I don’t read much romance though. This particular novel is a crime novel just because the story lead me down that route. Before starting I had a couple of scenes in my head and the fraud at the base of the story. Beyond that, it just came out as a crime novel as I worked through it. I didn’t really have a master plan at the beginning, I just wrote it and it became a crime thriller of sorts. My blog is a forum where I write about anything and everything.

Which writers past or present have influenced your style of writing

Very hard to single out any particular writer who has influenced my style of writing. It would also be very arrogant of me to even think my style is similar to some of the great writers out there. I still have a long way to go I believe. I think the first time I read Trainspotting was a crystallising moment for me though. It had just been released and I was kicking my heels around at the Fringe festival in Edinburgh. I remember carrying it with me everywhere that weekend, reading whenever I was sober enough or not at some show or other. Apart from thinking at the time it was the best book I had ever read I also remembered thinking ‘I could do that’. I didn’t (and not sure I could) but it certainly inspired me to do something.

I love lots of authors from lots of genres though, from Sebastian Faulks right through to Lee Child. In short I just enjoy reading.

What was the inspiration behind Dark Orchid?

If anything inspired Dark Orchid it would be the insights I have as to how company financial processes work. By day I am a Finance Director and thus have a good oversight into the day to day financial processes of companies.

The opening scene which is fairly gruesome was inspired by a sentence in Mario Puzo’s the Godfather. I read it many many years ago and it stuck with me. Most likely because of how horrible it is.

When you first started writing did you find it hard to get publisher interest My experience of searching for a publisher was interesting. I was very well prepared for a Tsunami of rejection letters. Once I felt I had the manuscript in a reasonable shape, I took the approach of blanket bombing publishers -with zero response. I didn’t even get the expected rejection letters – I got silence. A friend recommended her publisher John Hunt as perhaps someone who might take it on, so I contacted them and they came back positively.

John Hunt is a small UK publisher who are willing to take a risk to showcase new and unknown authors so it was a good match. The downside to a small publisher is the lack of resources they have to devote to individual titles so the author is very much closely involved in the whole process from copy editing, design and ultimately marketing. I do, however, quite enjoy the challenge of marketing myself, an unknown author, in what is a saturated marketplace. One fun thing I have started doing is an ‘anonymous book’ drop. I leave copies of the book in certain locations bookmarked on a page where something gruesome or interesting happens -with a personalised note inside. I have received several positive responses from people who have ‘discovered’ it. Total strangers emailing me is very nice indeed.

Book writing and now book marketing is fun and I intend to keep it this way. I am always looking for new and imaginative ways to market Dark Orchid.

There are many interesting characters in Dark Orchid, do you have a particular favourite

Without a doubt Galston is my favourite character. You can get away with so much when writing about a character with such a skewed moral compass. You can do things you would never think of doing in real life and use language which would normally make your eyes water.

Having said that Sabine was also a very interesting character and I very much enjoyed writing about her. I know lots of people named ‘Sabine’ so this did raise a few eyebrows-especially given her occupation. Without wanting to give too much away, I knew very early on she would be the one to bring everything to what I considered a satisfying end.

Why did you decide to set Dark Orchird in the 1970`s

Purely because this worked out as the time of Galston’s early years. I really wanted him to be a man in his 60s having lived a life of violent crime and starting to get tired and jaded by it all. The maths worked out perfectly. Setting scenes in the 70s also allows for smoky bars, flares and I think it’s generally a period in history when things were less ‘clean’ or antiseptic. Smoking bans, health and safety, cctv and a generally healthier or cleaner lifestyle doesn’t lend itself to gritty violent crime. It seems to work better in a looser and less well controlled society.

Why did you decide to set your books in Glasgow

I own a flat in Glasgow and travel there once a month to visit my son who lives in the city with his mother so I know the city well. I grew up in Inverness and, even though I am sure it occurred, the capital of the Highlands doesn’t lend itself to stories about organised crime and violence. Its seems much more fitting to set it in the central belt. The places and locations I have used are places I know very well in the city.

What kind of research did you have to undertake for your book

There is very little in the book which required detailed knowledge of elements outside what I already know through my job. I did have to spend some time getting dates and some facts for the real life events which occur within the book correct. I also tried wherever possible to get the geography and landmarks accurate although there are one or two inconsistencies. One example of this is the Limmat river which flows through Zurich, the town I live in. I described it as flowing into the lake of Zurich when in fact it flows out of the lake. A good friend of mine took great pleasure in pointing this out after he finished reading it.

Are the characters in your books based on any real life

Most of the characters are a mix of people I know for real. Attitudes and mannerisms are based on real people, including myself. I would say Galston’s political views are my own. Beyond that, everything else is my own imagination. Thankfully I don’t mix in circles which would normally bring me into contact with real life versions of the characters. Meeting them in the interests of research was something well beyond what I was willing to do.

Since you have started writing have any well-known authors given you any advice

I was very fortunate enough to have Christopher Brookmyre read through Dark Orchid and he kindly gave me an endorsement for the back cover. He also took the time to email me advice on areas for improvement in the book which was very good of him. In particular he, as a native, pointed out errors in my depiction of the Glaswegian dialect. I think for my next book I am going to ‘employ’ some Glaswegian friends as ‘Weegie’ consultants to avoid these errors in the future. Not sure how well that will work but will definitely be fun.

Additionally I had the opportunity for Lee Weatherly to review a very early draft of my second book and she gave me some invaluable feedback.

Do you see any of your characters personality in yourself and vice versa As I said, the personalities of James, Ewan, Craig and Galston all take some elements of my own personality mixed in with people I know, or have known.

If you can, would you be able to share with us any future novels you have planned I have just finished the first draft of my second novel ‘True & Fair’ and have sent it out to friends for a first read through. I am some way from finishing it but happy with the general story line. Given how my first book ends there is little left for a follow on novel, which in retrospect might have been a little foolish.

This new novel is set in London and Marseille but with similar themes of white collar crime and a hidden past being revealed throughout the text. I would imagine if my publisher is as excited as I am with it it will be released some point later in 2014.

You have been compared in your writing to some of the big names in Scottish Crime Fiction already, how does that make you feel?

Of course I am very flattered. I think these comparisons are much more flattery than real though. I aspire to one day be able to do what they do but until that time I am happy with being published and will continue enjoying my hobby regardless of its success or otherwise.

As a blossoming crime writer do you have words of advice you can share

If you enjoy writing, write. Write as much as you can, seek advice and listen to it. Don’t believe in writers block, that’s just procrastination and recognise it as such. It also doesn’t matter if you are published or not. Write because you enjoy it and that’s good enough. I play football for fun, I knew from a very early age it wasn’t a career option for me but I still do it. I don’t see why writing should be any different.

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http://mikeshanks.blogspot.co.uk/

Amazon Author Page

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Michael-J-Shanks/e/B00E3FYK0Y/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Book Review – Eden Seed – Damian Peck

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***** 5 STARS

Matt Malcolm is a devil-may-care marketing manager who inadvertently discovers an ancient seed that has the ability to extend the normal human lifespan by more than nine hundred years, disease free. Representing a huge pharmaceutical company, he blackmails their competitors who pay up to maintain the status quo. Six months on, however, he loses his job and finds his lover murdered. With the only test crop of The Seed destroyed, a trail of destruction is left over Eastern Europe and North Africa as the rival companies and a religious sect called the Seraphim embroil him in the search for the true source of the wonder drug, known as The Eden Seed.

I must admit when it comes to thriller novels I have never really been a big fan of these, and I would have to say I much prefer crime novels. That is until I was introduced to this novel, Eden Seed the First in the Matt Malcolm Series by Damian Peck which has changed my option for the better.  It is a mixture of a fast paced action adventure thriller that also mixes in the mystery, murder and intrigue of a crime novel the perfect mix of both genres for me.  I also loved the fact that the novel takes you on a journey through different places and countries as I love traveling and experiencing new things and this blends in really well to the mystery of the novel, which if it had been set in one place I don’t think it would have had half as much of a thrill factor.

The best way I can describe how good this novel is to say this is what would happen when you mix Ian Flemings James Bond with Dan Brown The Davinci Code and you get this novel, Eden Seed.  And this novel definatley lives up to this as it is one rollercoaster of a book that has you living the High points and low points of the main character Matt Malcolm.  And in Matt Malcolm you have the perfect love to hate relationship main character as in the first chapter he is a self centred, pain in the backside, in your face and arrogant character that you ever did meet. But by the next few chapters you actually start to feel sorry for Matt as he blunders his way through trying to find his missing colleague and trying to find the Eden Seed. So it is just left for me to say I can’t wait for the next book in the Matt Malcolm Series, and that someday they decide to turn these books into a film as I for one will definitely pay money to see it.

Paperback: 312 pages
Publisher: Olida Publishing (May 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0955878926
ISBN-13: 978-0955878923
Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 15 x 22.6 cm

Coffee – Cake And Crime Event – With E J Lamprey

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Life may not begin at (nearly) sixty but it certainly takes some unexpected turns for golden girls Vivian and Edge, fellow residents at the Grasshopper Lawns Retirement Village in Scotland, after the murder of an unpopular resident. Edge’s niece is a sergeant in the small local police force, so they are not only kept up to date, they start picking up clues that no-one is passing on to the police.

The murder sparks off a lively investigation, friendships with bon vivant William (a vast and charming SF writer) and sardonic new neighbour Donald, and will be enjoyed by armchair detectives everywhere.

This is the first in a cosy whodunit series set in the beautiful Firth of Forth area just north of Edinburgh.

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In One Two Buckle My Shoe the engaging Edge and Vivian solved a flurry of murders at Grasshopper Lawns with their new friends Donald and William, but life has now settled back to normal; as normal as it can be in this particular Scottish retirement village, where residents are chosen for their interesting histories. Vivian and William are relishing their lively flirtation, there’s a new resident with a dreadful dog, and Sylvia is enjoying the visit of a devoted and handsome nephew.

Even the death of a young and pretty Nigerian girl doesn’t seem to need the murder-solving talents of the four friends, as it was so obviously a suicide. The most exotic visitor is the enigmatic Dallas from Louisiana, with life-changing news for Vivian; but when Death makes a personal call, events take a more sinister turn.

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Website dating for the over-fifties is definitely a boom industry, but for some it has been a dead end, and the Scottish police want to know why. Sergeant Kirsty Cameron’s aunt Edge is the right age to become the bait in their investigation, and even has some recent murder-solving experience on her CV, making her the perfect candidate.

The third whodunit in the Grasshopper Lawns series dives gleefully into the murkiest end of the senior singles dating pool (where the predators lurk) with Edge secretly hoping to meet someone special. It’s spring, and it seems the rest of the world is in love, is there someone out there for her? Preferably not the murderer, of course.

The murders of the recent past were solved with her friends Vivian, Donald and William, but this investigation is so covert, not even they can know why she is suddenly so keen to meet a series of slightly dodgy men. They do insist on riding shotgun in the pubs and restaurants all murders of the recent past were solved with her friends Vivian, Donald and William, but this investigation is so covert, not even they can know why she is suddenly so keen to meet a series of slightly dodgy men. They do insist on riding shotgun in the pubs and restaurants all round the beautiful Forth area in Scotland, which is a bit of a nuisance when Mr Right does come along. Unless he’s just another dead end…

1. How did you get started writing
In crayon – all my drawings had a story. I wrote my first story at nine, and cut up my mother’s magazines to illustrate it, she wasn’t impressed.

2. What drew you to write crime novels
I enjoy reading them, but it took me ages to try one, now it is my favourite writing. Plotting a murder is like doing a jigsaw, I work out ‘whodunit’, then write the puzzle pieces to hide the picture for as long as possible.

3. Which writers past or present have influenced your style of writing
Mary Stewart probably the most. Agatha Christie, of course. I really enjoy Sue Grafton

4. What was the inspiration when you first thought about writing the Grasshopper Lawns books
I’d love to not have to work, so retirement for me beckons like a bright light, but for many it can be lonely. Perfect world would be an affordable retirement village, interesting neighbours, lots going on but total independence, something stimulating (like murder) to accelerate friendships … idle thoughts that just grew.

5. When you first started writing did you find it hard to get publisher interested
I wish I could say they were interested now, marketing would be so much easier. I do have an agent for earlier books, but the Grasshopper Lawns ones have never been submitted to a publisher, because novellas are not a commercially-popular length. I like the total control of self-publishing, but professional input would be great. Independent publishing is so new, I think soon there will be professional quality marketing experts and agents who will choose books they believe in to work on, I hope so. Being chosen by a really good promoter would open doors that just aren’t open to an individual.

6. There are so many interesting characters in the Grasshopper Lawns novels, do you have a favourite one
Thank you! Probably Donald, he was chilly and remote at first but I like him more with every book. With the others, what you see is what you get, Donald has layers. And I really like Kirsty, she’s got so much future, the others are slowly winding down and she’s powering up, with her whole life ahead of her.

7. There are now three books available in the Grasshopper Lawns Series, do you have a favourite one so far
Five Six, without a doubt. It was such fun to write!

8. What kind of research did you have to undertake for your books
I didn’t know much about shares before I wrote Three Four, so I had to research much more than I ended up using. One of my beta readers is an accountant, and was a real help picking up a few gremlins that slipped through. I’ve done some on-line dating, so Five Six was practically pre-researched, part of what made it such fun to write. Because there was much more of police procedure in Five Six I had to ask Police Scotland some very odd questions, they were really patient and helpful. Eleven Twelve, the way it is planned now, will need the most research, I’m hoping to get onto an archaeological dig on the Antonine Wall for that, fingers crossed

9. The Grasshopper Lawns Novels are named after a kids nursery rhyme, what was the inspiration behind this
That’s Sue Grafton’s influence, with her alphabet murders. I liked the idea of a series with a clue to even a minor theme in each title, and this rhyme was ideal, even gave me ideas, for every book except Seven Eight. I’ve had to cheat a bit with that – the working title is Seven Eight Play Them Straight.

10. Are the characters in your books based on any real life
Vivian Oliver is very loosely based on a real person I’d known all my life, it’s really handy to have another voice to call on sometimes when you’re trying to think what a character would say in a certain situation. Donald is even more loosely based on a good friend I had years ago, who was a set designer and used to get us house tickets for opera. (I don’t much care for opera but opening nights, once in a while, can be fun.) William was originally a disreputable older man who used a zimmer, but a large friend of mine uses two walking sticks and I ‘borrowed’ those and made William younger, more in line with the others. Some of our mutual friends are convinced William borrows more than the sticks! That’s been quite restricting, I have to be careful what I write about William as a result, so I wish I hadn’t done it but too late now. Lesson for next time.

11. Since you have started writing have any well known authors given you any advice
I wish! My favourite crime-writer, Mary Stewart, lives in Edinburgh, I would dearly love to meet her

12. Do you see any of your characters personality in yourself and vice versa
Yes and no. What they say and do comes from me, so there must be some crossover, but sometimes I read something back and wonder where on earth it came from!

13. What do you see for the future of Kirsty Cameron in your books
Kirsty has a boyfriend now that I like, I think Drew will stay around. I’ve pencilled in Kirsty getting engaged / married in Thirteen Fourteen, and I’m pretty sure there’ll be a baby in Seventeen Eighteen, just because it works so well with the titles. Whether she’ll still be with the police, or have branched out in some other direction, no idea yet. She is the only character with a real future, at an age where her life could change completely at least once.

14. There are many authors who now write Scottish Crime Fiction, what do you think makes your books stand out from the rest
There are some truly brilliant Scottish Crime Fiction writers who will always dominate the genre. I’d be happy to appeal to readers who like cosy whodunits and enjoy the Scottish setting, I accept it will never be a best-seller format. I was surprised that my books sell best in the US until I read that there are upwards of fifty million people worldwide with a Scottish heritage, that’s a lot of us with a proud dash of tartan blood.

15. As a blossoming crime writer do you have words of advice you can share
Beta readers. The more, the better. It’s so easy, when you’re setting up and solving murders, to leave gaps in the plot without even noticing, my pre-publication readers ask what happened to so-and-so, or why I raised a red herring but then left it dangling, and of course they’re trying to solve the murder before the characters do, so they’re really quickly onto anything that wasn’t tidied up properly. It can be a bit bruising, but they are worth their weight in gold. I am always looking for more, especially new ones who don’t know the series so can really feed back on whether the latest book can be read on its own (and I am happy to pre-read for another writer in return). The first few happened by luck, friends without Kindles who wanted to read One Two and gave such useful feedback that I sent the Three Four manuscript to them before publication. I’ve got other stuff out under another name, and have (different) beta readers there too. Five Six was the first time I actually asked for more readers (through LinkedIn) and I hope to have at least eight for Seven Eight when it reaches reading stage. I can’t recommend beta reading enough, especially for an independent writer. I do have a very good editor but editing is a different agenda, she’ll check my writing but not my logic, a reader’s viewpoint, even when it isn’t necessarily what you expected to hear, is priceless.

Still to come
7 8 play them straight
9 10 a big fat hen
11 12 dig and delve
13 14 maids a courting
15 16 maids in the kitchen
17 18 maids in waiting
19 20 my plate is empty

Links to the books (i.e. will go to the closest Amazon for the reader)
http://viewBook.at/B00AVQDKXC  link to One Two
http://viewbook.at/B00C4FE0TG link to Three Four
http://mybook.to/FiveSix link to 5 6

OTHER NOVEL WRITTEN BY E J LAMPhe Passing of Mrs Parker Woodburn

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http://elegsabiff.wordpress.com/

Amazon Author Page

http://www.amazon.co.uk/ejlamprey/e/B00AVX1QKE/?tag=viewbookat-21

One To Watch December crime author of the month – Heather Atkinson

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1. How did you get started writing

I have loved to read since being small and I’ve written little snippets of stories my whole life but it was only when my children started nursery and I had a bit of free time that I began to think of it as a serious career option. Dividing Line was my very first novel and it still amazes me that its taken off as well as it has. Writing is something I have to do, it’s an obsession.

2. What drew you to start writing crime fiction

I’ve always been intrigued by the darker side of human nature, what drives people to do bad things and I love to read crime fiction. Plus it’s a very versatile genre, you can write from the police’s perspective or the criminal’s or the victims’. You can make the story action-packed or you can create something purely psychological. Neither do you have to write about murder. The story doesn’t have to be about a serial killer to make it a crime book. The possibilities are endless.

3. Which writers past or present have influenced your style of writing

Martina Cole has to be one of my strongest influences, particularly with regards to my Dividing Line series. Karen Rose, Ann Cleeves, Agatha Christie and Stuart MacBride have all influenced my work too. I also enjoy reading the Brontes, Daphne Du Maurier and Edgar Allan Poe, who are wonderful at exploring the really dark side of ourselves.

4. You have written many different books, do you have a favourite one so far

I’m very fond of all my books but I think the Dividing Line series is my favourite. I know the characters so well that it’s no effort writing them. Do You See Me? Is also one of my favourites. This is one of my lesser known works but I really love the story and the characters.

5. When you first started writing did you find it hard to get publisher interest

It’s very difficult to get publisher and agent attention in such a competitive market. There are only so many rejections one person can take, which is why I turned to self-publishing and it was the best move I ever made. Finally I’m carving out a career doing what I love, I’m getting my name out there and I get messages from people telling me how much they love my work, which really does mean the world to me. I couldn’t ask for more.

6. You have just started writing a new series of books the Blair Dubh Trilogy, what was the inspiration behind these books

The beautiful country of Scotland itself was my inspiration for the new Blair Dubh trilogy. Blair Dubh is fictional but the village I live in sits on the edge of the Firth of Clyde and the main road has a tendency to flood in the winter and the road occasionally gets closed off. It isn’t anywhere near as isolated as the village in my book but that’s what gave me the idea. I thought the isolation, the sense of being completely cut off from humanity, would be very evocative and what better backdrop for a serial killer than the brooding hills and mountains of the stunning Scottish countryside.

7. You have set your novels in many different cities in the UK, do you have a favourite you like to use

I have set many of my books in Manchester because it’s a city I’m very familiar with and that I’m fond of. I like to write about places I know and where I feel comfortable because I think it gives the book more authenticity. However now I’ve lived in Scotland for a few years I’m setting more of my books here because I love it so much.

8. Your books have also featured many memorable characters, do you have one that is your favourite

I’m fond of most of my characters, but Rachel and Ryan Law have to be my absolute favourites. I think of them as one entity rather than two indiviual characters because they’re so close. I like how at heart they’re good but they can easily be bad. It lets me really push them to their limits, which makes them fun to write.

9. What kind of research have you had to undertake for your book

I’ve had to do a lot of research into police procedure, court procedure and major incident procedure. A lot of this information is freely available on the internet but I have also asked a police officer and people I know with expertise in these areas. I spent quite a few years working as a medical secretary in several different surgical departments so I have quite a good background as to how a hospital works and a very basic medical knowledge, which helped me write Above Reproach. As most of my main characters inevitably experience a sourjourn in hospital my previous career has helped me write a lot of those scenes too. I love history, so my bookcase is stuffed full of books on the Victorian era, the nineteen twenties, Scottish history and the first and second world wars, which helped me no end writing Bleed Through, Grave Memories and Listen for the Rain, all set in eras I love. I’m a firm believer that if you set a book in a specific historical period it’s important to get the details as accurate as you can.

10. Are the characters in your books based on any real life

I do base some of my characters on actors. For example, Frank in Dividing Line was based on Ray Winstone, Terry on Reece Dinsdale and Frankie McVay on Frankie Boyle. Martina Maguire was a dedication to Martina Cole. Ash Winters in Winter’s Sun was inspired by Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Andrew in Lady Maskery on Jason Isaacs and Peter in Do You See Me? was based on Tom Hiddleston, all actors I greatly admire. I’ve never seen anyone in real life to match the Ryan Law in my head though, unfortunately!

11. Since you have started writing have any well known authors given you any advice

In September this year I attended the Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festial in Stirling. At the Masterclass the wonderful Alex Gray gave me some very helpful advice about how to hook a reader at the start of a book. The truly fabulous Val McDermid also gave a fantastic speech packed full of helpful tips.

12. Do you see any of your characters personality in yourself and vice versa

I think every writer puts a little of themselves into their characters and makes them do things we don’t have the nerve to do ourselves. Like a lot of my female leads I can be stubborn and I’m not afraid to say what I think but, like them, my family is the most important thing in the world to me.

12. Do you see any of your characters personality in yourself and vice versa

I’m currently working on the fourth Dividing Line book, which involves major turmoil in the lives of the Maguires and the Laws. In fact the events are so big that they’re going to cover two books, the ending of the fourth running straight into the fifth. There will be many more books in this series, I want the characters to grow with me in the years to come. The fourth Dividing Line book will be available on Amazon by the New Year.

I am also working on the final two books in the Blair Dubh Trilogy as well as a novel set in the Victorian Era about a serial killer, plus two more brand new contemporary crime novels, so there’s plenty more to come. I would also like to write the sequel to Bleed Through, but as yet that’s a way in the future.

Your writing has been compared to some of the great female crime writers, how does that make you feel

I regularly get compared to Martina Cole, as well as other female crime authors and it’s an honour because they are truly great writers. Martina Cole’s Dangerous Lady and Maura’s Game are two of my favourite all-time books and the inspiration for Dividing Line.

15. As a blossoming crime writer do you have words of advice you can share

The most important thing is to read as much as you can and learn from the greats but also find your own style, That will give you your own voice and make you stand out from the crowd. It’s a vastly competitive market so you’ve got to do all you can to get noticed. Set up your own website and regularly blog. It’s not as scary as it sounds! Get a Twitter or Facebook account. If you publish on Amazon use the Author Page facility so people can learn more about you and interact with you. Do your research too. If you’re not a police officer then there will probably be inconsistencies but try to be as accurate as you can. Also try to put an unusual spin on the book, you don’t have to write a police procedural. Stories told from the criminal’s point of view are popular and put a twist in your novel, a shocker that no one sees coming. The main thing is that your reader keeps turning the page and wants to get to the end of the book. One last thing, write more than one book. Show everyone you’re not a one-trick pony. A series of books will be much more popular than a stand-alone novel. When I write a book, in my head I’m writing the sequel. This helps you set the next novel up so they run into each other seamlessly.

Dividing Line
1 Divided Loyalties
2 A Family Divided
3 Breaking Away

1 Dead Eyed Dad
2 End Game
3 Cold to the Core
4 Do You See Me?
Winter’s Sun
Listen for the Rain
Grave Memories
Above Reproach
The Elemental (Blair Dubh Trilogy #1)
Bleed Through
Lady Maskery
Half Life

The A-List:
Shadow Lives #1
Shadows Darken #2
Shadows Deepen #3
Shadows Rise #4

http://m.heatheratkinsonbooks.com/

Amazon Author Page

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Heather-Atkinson/e/B007SF3JK8