July 2014 coffee cake and Crime Event With Sk Paisley

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A young woman vanishes into the cold Glaswegian night. Nine years later, one man is forced on a journey into his  buried past to reveal the truth behind her mysterious disappearance.

Take a Breath is set in gangster-ridden Glasgow. With razor-sharp pace and authentic urban grit, it charts the relationship of Paul and Lena, mining the darker side of love, as time and again they engage in a grim, obsessive dance. From their first tumultuous meeting, following their reconnections over several years, each encounter is more intense than the last. However, Lena is not the only one entangled with Paul. He has fallen in with notorious crimelord Manny Munroe, a name synonymous with drugs, prostitution and a ruthless lust for violence.

1. How did you get started writing

The first time I read S.E. Hinton’s, “The Outsiders” I wanted to be a writer. I had seen the film and loved it so my parents bought me a copy of the book, the old Macmillan hard back with all the actors on the front. I was eleven or twelve and went on the read all her books over and over again. I used to write my own stories set in her world of Oklahoma in the 60’s about groups of friends hanging outside drug stores, having drag races, smoking cancer sticks, using all this crazy American slang. Those were my first attempts at writing, although I don’t think I ever showed them to anyone. I still have them in a box somewhere in a cupboard.

After school there were a few years when I more or less stopped writing, just the odd paragraph here and there. I was studying Law at University and there wasn’t much room for creative pursuits. Then I started a degree in English and Theatre, and as part of it, I did a short course in playwriting. The final outcome was a one act play, called Lena & Stu which later developed into Take a Breath. When I restarted, I realised how much I missed having it in my life.

2. What drew you to write a crime novel

I didn’t actually set out to write a crime novel. I started out with two characters, Paul and Lena and knew I wanted to have some kind of ill-fated love affair. The crime element came along later. As the stakes rise ever higher, Take a Breath offers a chilling look at the organized crime realm of Glasgow, where everyone is connected and no one leaves unscathed. With searing narrative, complex characters, and the seamy backdrop of Glasgow’s mean streets, this arresting work of fiction will leave you hanging on every tautly written page. many different designs until I got the perfect one that I wanted (Vanessa was very patient!). I’m really proud of the final product because I know how much work went into it. It took about three months in total and every day there was new work delivered. It was a very exciting time.

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

I read some of S.E. Hinton’s adult stuff recently and like to flatter myself to think her influence can still be seen in mine. She has a beautiful writing style. There’s a great interview with her at the end of Some of Tim’s Stories, in which she describes how she approaches a story, starting always with the characters. I like to do this too. Some of my favourite writers are William McIlvanney, Louise Welsh, Irvine Welsh, Iain Banks, Bret Easton Ellis, but I wouldn’t necessarily say my style of writing is like theirs.

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

I decided quite early on to go down the self publishing route so I didn’t pursue any traditional publishers. I think it’s very difficult for any new writer to get a deal in today’s market, from what I’ve heard. My husband had already published books as a business venture, setting up the independent company “Celandine”, so we followed the same process for my book. We did it through Amazon Create Space and I have to say, it was one of the highlights of writing the book. I got to work with brilliant people, my amazing editor, Lucy Ridout who I found on the Society for Editors and Proofreaders website, and my wonderful proofreader, Jane Hammett. Through Elance, I found Vanessa NoHeart who did the beautiful cover and interior design. I was involved with every element of the book’s production, going through many,
It has allowed the book to get out where people can read it and we are going through the process of getting the book in to retailers in the UK. I have even been approached by an Italian publisher who wants to do a translation. Maybe other publishing deals will follow.

5. What was the inspiration when you first starting writing Take a Breath

I sat with the first 10,000 words for years before I had the courage to show it to anyone. I gave it to my husband and he was so positive about it, I started taking the idea of being a writer seriously. He was my inspiration.

I also took a lot of inspiration from my favourite books, films and TV Shows. When I saw the movie, Villain, and the relationship in between Richard Burton’s and Ian McShane’s characters, I knew what element was missing in my characters’ relationship. I also had a playlist of ten or twenty songs that I used to listen to, to get me into the right mood when I was writing. A lot of the lyrics were relevant to what I was writing that day.

6. There are many interesting characters in your Novel, do you have a particular favourite one

Paul was always the main driving force. I had a clear idea of him from the start. So he was my main character. Maybe because he was male, I found him easier to write. Writing in a different gender gives you a bit more freedom. In the early drafts Lena was really just a shadow reacting to him. It took a lot longer to develop her character. She started out as a kind of vampy, femme fatale but she didn’t end up that way. I ended up making her a lot softer, more vulnerable. The middle chapters told from her point of view were a late addition and I’m really glad they’re in there. I grew to really love her character too.

7. Why did you choose to set your novels in Glasgow

I’m from Glasgow and when I started writing the story I’d never spent any length of time outside Glasgow. It’s an environment I know well and it’s got a long tradition of gritty, urban drama. I don’t think it’s necessarily the real Glasgow but a kind of imagined one in which all the details are exaggerated and the atmospheres are heightened.

8. Take a Breath is already getting positive reviews and comparisons to some of crime fictions big names, how does that make you feel

Getting a positive review of your book is a great feeling. To know that you’ve put your work out there and it has given someone enjoyment is pretty special. Regarding comparisons to other crime fictions big names, I think that might be a bit premature. Those authors usually have multiple works and I need to get my head down and get the next one written.

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

I read books about true crime in Glasgow and gangster biographies. I read a lot of newspaper articles and used public resources from the internet. For the technical aspects I was able to interview a retired police officer and that was very helpful.

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

Not really, although there are definitely elements of people I know or have known. A lot of the stories are one’s I’ve been told and exaggerated for effect, other people’s experiences I’ve hijacked. For a while in my early twenties I had a group of friends and we sometimes hung out at one of their flats in the Anderson High Rises. I’m not really in touch with any of them anymore but if any of them do come across my book, they might recognise small parts of themselves. Also, as a kind of placeholder in the early drafts, until I could think of something more suitable for the character, I described Paul with my husband’s tattoos and some other similar physical descriptions which he found very embarrassing, so I had to change them. I think some personality characteristics stayed behind though, but he would disagree. He’s much cooler in real life than Paul.

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

I am quite lucky to have had advice and encouragement from William McIlvanney, whose own writing I greatly admire. I’ve also corresponded with some well known authors who gave encouragement and some tips on publishing. Most writers are surprisingly approachable and helpful and many have given good advice via interviews and articles.

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

I’m sure there must be. Maybe Annie is closest to me. She has a lot of rage. Lena is the opposite of me, what I would have like to have been like, tall, beautiful, street-wise, confident in her own skin. I think she’s quite loveable.

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

I’ve started my next novel and I’m trying to get a first draft done just now. It’s about a girl who moves to live on an island in Scotland (undecided as yet), with her new boyfriend and his strange mother who is recovering from illness. She starts to find out some quite disturbing secrets about his family history. Isolated, and completely removed from her own life, her mental health begins to deteriorate.

14. There are many crime novels set in Glasgow, what do you think makes your Novel stand out from the rest

I like to think the characters and their love story; the tragic entanglement between the three main characters; Paul, Lena and Manny.

15. As an up and coming crime writer do you have words of advice you can share

If you want to write, you should do it. Have the confidence to start and don’t be afraid to think what you’re writing is good. I think if you have ambitions to write and the drive to take pen to paper, that’s 90% of it. The rest is hard work, perseverance and the energy to polish, polish and re-polish what you’ve written for as long as it takes for you to be satisfied with what you’ve got in front of you.

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http://www.skpaisley.com/

Amazon Author Page

http://www.amazon.co.uk/S.-K.-Paisley/e/B00J4R9KYM/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

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For only a week from the 21st July to the 28 july the above book will be in the Kindle Countdown Deal for 99p so if you are looking for a great crime book to read for a great price then I suggest that you make it this one.

A young woman vanishes into the cold Glaswegian night. Nine years later, one man is forced on a journey into his buried past to reveal the truth behind her mysterious disappearance.

Take a Breath is set in gangster-ridden Glasgow. With razor-sharp pace and authentic urban grit, it charts the relationship of Paul and Lena, mining the darker side of love, as time and again they engage in a grim, obsessive dance. From their first tumultuous meeting, following their reconnections over several years, each encounter is more intense than the last. However, Lena is not the only one entangled with Paul. He has fallen in with notorious crimelord Manny Munroe, a name synonymous with drugs, prostitution and a ruthless lust for violence.

As the stakes rise ever higher, Take a Breath offers a chilling look at the organized crime realm of Glasgow, where everyone is connected and no one leaves unscathed. With searing narrative, complex characters, and the seamy backdrop of Glasgow’s mean streets, this arresting work of fiction will leave you hanging on every tautly written page. Less

Here is the link to buy this book for yourself
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B00J456QGO/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1405531189&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SX110_SY165

Book Review the last refuge craig robertson

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***** 5 STARS

You can run from your past but you can never hide from yourself… When John Callum arrives on the wild and desolate Faroe Islands, he vows to sever all ties with his previous life. He desperately wants to make a new start, and is surprised by how quickly he is welcomed into the close-knit community. But still, the terrifying, debilitating nightmares just won’t stop. Then the solitude is shattered by an almost unheard of crime on the islands: murder. A specialist team of detectives arrives from Denmark to help the local police, who seem completely ill-equipped for an investigation of this scale. But as tensions rise, and the community closes rank to protect its own, John has to watch his back.
But far more disquieting than that, John’s nightmares have taken an even more disturbing turn, and he can’t be certain about the one thing he needs to know above all else. Whether he is the killer…

The Last Refuge is a change in direction for author Craig Robertson who is known for his Glasgow based crime series featuring Police Photographer Tony Winter and DS Rachel Narey, to a crime novel set in Faroe Islands which can be found to the northwest of Scotland and halfway between Iceland and Norway, the eighteen islands that make up the Faroe Islands are isolated, windswept and seem a good place for the main character John Callum to leave behind his demons and nightmares which pursue him. This change of setting has not done anything to change the way in which the author Craig Robertson can turn out a truly stunning crime novel, in which the Faroe Islands themselves are used like a major character in the story rather than just a setting.

The best way to describe the Last Refuge is to imagine if Tartan Noir meet Nordic Noir you begin to get a general picture of what you are going to get. A little warning when you begin this novel, then put everything else aside and be willing to immerse yourself in the storyline as it is fast paced, well plotted and with excellent characters that you will not want to put down for anything or anybody. What really stands out is the raw brooding power which runs through the storyline from start to finish, John Callum, the central character is a man on the edge, He’s filled with demons, haunted by past events so he relocates to the Faroes to start again, He’s a lost soul seeking resolution and absolution. From the opening pages where a plane hits turbulence you know you are for a bumpy ride. That combined with the stark and unforgiving landscape, the long winters, little daylight and inhabitants with Viking ancestry, swirling mists and language barriers which delivers a backdrop that underpins conflict and emotional turmoil in the central characters. In conclusion if you have not yet given The Last Refuge a read then I recommend that you do before long, you won’t be disappointed.

Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (22 May 2014)
ISBN-10: 1471127737
ISBN-13: 978-1471127731

July 2014 coffee cake and Crime Event With Simon Sylvester

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The island has always seemed such a safe place, such a friendly community. Now the possibility of a killer on Bancree is dangerously close to home.  Nobody moves to the remote Scottish island of Bancree, and few leave – but leaving is exactly what seventeen-year-old Flora intends to do. So when a mysterious man and his daughter move into isolated Dog Cottage, Flo is curious. What could have brought these strangers to the island? The man is seductively handsome but radiates menace; and there’s something about his daughter Ailsa that Flo can’t help but feel drawn towards.
People aren’t only arriving on Bancree – they are disappearing too. Reports of missing islanders fill the press and unnerve the community. When a body washes ashore, suspicion turns to the strange newcomers on Dog Rock.
Convinced of their innocence, Flo is fiercely determined to protect her friend Ailsa. Could the answer to the disappearances, and to the pull of her own heart, lie out there, beyond the waves?

1. How did you get started writing? 3. Which writers past or present have influenced your style of writing? (The author Simon Sylvester has combined Q1 & Q3)
It’s all Hunter S. Thompson’s fault. When I was in my mid-twenties, I was feeling a bit lost. I was working in television as a camera assistant, but the London lifestyle was grinding me down. When I was offered a job on a travel video in Australia, I decided to stay on and wander around for a year. While I was backpacking between hostels, I read pretty much constantly – and one of those books was The Proud Highway, the first collection of letters by Hunter S. Thompson. I already liked Thompson’s work, but The Proud Highway finds him at the same age as I was then, and just as poor, and burning with this righteous outrage about the world. I found his writing addictive. I started keeping a blog about my travels, and copied Thompson’s style pretty much exactly. When I moved back to Britain, that blog was enough to land me a job writing for two magazines, and soon after, I started writing fiction. I wrote short stories, mostly, and then an experimental novel. It wasn’t very good, but it was all part of moving away from writing like Hunter S. Thompson, and towards writing like me. I suspect a lot of writers go through a similar journey of aping and then rejecting their heroes. I have a much healthier relationship with my favourite authors now: Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Sarah Waters, Iain Banks, Roberto Bolano.

2. What drew you to write a crime novel?
It wasn’t a conscious decision. I just knew that The Visitors was a mystery story, and mysteries need to be solved. Everything around that has been quite organic. I simply had an instinct that it was the right genre.

4. When you first started writing did you find it hard to get publisher interest?
I was halfway through the first draft of The Visitors when a friend introduced me to his agent. I sent her a short story and a synopsis of the novel. She asked to see the finished manuscript, which took me another six months. I sent it away, prepared for a rejection, but somehow she loved the book and wanted to take me on. She’s great – quite aside from our 40-minute debates about Game Of Thrones, she knows the publishing business inside-out. She knew which editors at which publishers were looking for what sort of work, and placed The Visitors with Quercus Books in the first round of submissions. I’ve been very lucky to have found such an amazing agaent and such a great publisher.

5. When you first thought about writing The Visitors, what was your inspiration?
I was on holiday in Grogport on the inner coast of Kintyre, looking out across the Kilbrannan Sound to Arran, and the bay in front of us was a mirror. I had an overwhelming sense of all the life boiling below the water, but unseen on the surface, and I started to wonder what that might look like as a story. We saw seals and otters swimming at dawn and dusk, heads above the water for heartbeats and then gone, and the story began to draw together in my head. There were seals everywhere. By the time we left, I’d filled an A4 pad with notes. I started writing almost as soon as we were home.

6. There are many interesting characters in your Novel, do you have a particular favourite one?
I especially like Izzy, the beachcomber. He’s a cheery soul, for the most part, and he’s a great storyteller. The longer I spent with Izzy, the more I came to believe in the power of stories. That in turn has brought me closer to storytelling in my own writing. I know it sounds like that’s back-to-front, but one of the reasons I write is to interpret my world. It’s often through writing about something that I come to understand it.

7. Why did you chose to set your novel on a Fictional Scottish Island? / 8. Is the Island of Bancree based on a real Island in Scotland? (The author Simon Sylvester has combined these questions as well) I knew right away that I wanted to set The Visitors on an island. Kintyre would have been perfect, but it’s a peninsula, and that makes it too easy to access and escape. I fished about for a better place, but couldn’t find anything quite right. Islay was too big, and Gigha was too small. Jura was too desolate. Iona too empty. In the end, I invented my own. I grew up in Inverness, and factored my own experiences in – canoeing on Loch Maree, drinking in Dores, camping in Applecross, bouldering in Torridon. My island, Bancree, is a jigsaw of all those places.

9. What kind of research have you had to undertake for your Novel?
Most of my research was taken up with selkies, which storyteller Izzy brings into the book. I also looked at things like the migration patterns of basking sharks and birds, maps of the Hebrides, ferry timetables, Gaelic words and whiskies. Between completing my first draft and beginning my first redraft, I took a week’s holiday on Islay, and drowned myself in the sights and sounds and smells of the island. When I returned to the manuscript, all those sensations were fresh for the redraft.

10. Are the characters in your book based on any real life?
No more than all people share similar traits. I haven’t based any of the characters on real people, but all people share some universal experiences: love and loneliness, comfort and hate. In knowing real people, and in living my own life, I try to bring those same experiences to my fictional characters. If I ever based a character on a real person, the end result would very, very far removed from the original. I write fiction to get away from real life, not to replicate it.

11. Since you have started writing have any well known authors given you any advice?
I’m good friends with the novelist Ali Shaw (The Girl With Glass Feet, The Man Who Rained), and he’s been incredibly helpful. He doesn’t really give me advice so much as discuss his own experiences. Having gone through a similar journey several years ahead of me, he’s able to share his own highs and lows. I would feel quite isolated to do this entirely alone. Writing thrives on community.

12. Do you see any of your characters’ personality in yourself and vice versa?
Not really. My lead character in The Visitors, Flora, is the kind of teenager I perhaps wish I’d been – a little more courageous, a little less scared of doing her own thing. I think there’s a real danger in trying to write yourself as a character, especially in genre fiction. You’d wind up obsessing over how you presented yourself to the world, rather than how the character reacts to the unfolding story.

13. If you can, would you give us a sneaky peak into any future novels you have planned?
I’m well into the first draft of my next novel, which is called The Hollows. It’s another mystery, about a woman returning to her childhood home after years away, and unlocking secrets her father has buried in a huge swamp. After a couple of wrong turns, I’m starting to find my way, and I’m enjoying it. After that, I’ve another three or four novels planned. There’s a murder mystery in an Ullapool retirement home, a road trip in a polluted mountain range, and a ghost story in black-out London. All I need is time to write.

14. The Visitors has already received positive reviews and has already been compared to the writing of some of the well known crime writers, how does that make you feel?
Crikey, has it? I didn’t know that, so I don’t know who those writers are – but it’s very humbling to be compared to anyone. After spending so long inside my head while writing the book, it’s now both petrifying and exhilarating to share it with other people. The good reviews are wonderful. The Visitors plays with genre a little, and it feels like readers are getting what I tried to do. It’s validation, I suppose, and it gives me confidence for writing my next books.

15. As a up and coming crime writer do you have words of advice you can share?
It feels very strange to be up and coming. For whatever it’s worth, my advice is to carry a notebook and pen, all the time. Take public transport and eavesdrop. Work crappy jobs in bars and cafes. Listen to unfamiliar radio stations late at night. Read books about completely new things like sumo wrestling or glassblowing or the history of salt. On the days you don’t feel like writing, research or redraft or go for a walk and a think. Travel. Live out of a suitcase or a backpack for a while. Support indie bookstores. Read your work aloud, even if it’s to an empty room, then have someone read it back to you. Fight like hell for your local library. Go to open mic nights and scare yourself. Talk to strangers. Keep a blog. Stay hungry. Be honest. Be kind.

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http://www.simonsylvester.wordpress.com
www/twitter.com/simonasylvester

Amazon Author Page

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Simon-Sylvester/e/B00J7C0MV4/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Free Books

If you are looking for two good reads for your kindle that won’t break the bank this Summer, and you like Scottish crime fiction then these are the novels for you. The links to buy these novels are at the end of each advertisement for the novel

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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 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…

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Five-Pick-Sticks-Grasshopper-Lawns-ebook/dp/B00G23LUQW/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1405102481&sr=1-4&keywords=ej+Lamprey

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Book Two in the Cass Lynch Mysteries by Marsali Taylor.

When a visiting yachting couple go missing from the Shetland oil capital of Brae, sailing skipper Cass Lynch overcomes her mistrust of the land world to ask for help from her old adversary DI Gavin Macrae. He discovers a link to international art theft, and warns Cass to steer clear – but when one of her sailing pupils goes missing, she goes alone to discover the secrets of the Neolithic tomb known locally as a ‘trowie mound’ … Ghosts, folklore and a nail-biting finale at the local show come together to make an atmospheric, fast-moving thriller.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Trowie-Mound-Murders-Lynch-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B00J8MA8TE/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1405102598&sr=1-1&keywords=marsali+taylor

July 2014 coffee cake and Crime Event With Catherine g Gault

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Secrets can be murder. Kate McKinnery’s a social worker, a protector of children, a fixer of broken lives. Yet her own life is built on a lie. Edinburgh’s the festival city but it’s October, the party’s over, and Kate needs answers. Her auntie Jean might know but she’s not telling and people around her are getting murdered. More secrets, but is someone dying to tell or killing to keep? Kate struggles to unmask a murderer whilst searching for the truth about her past. But how much does she really want to know? Are some secrets best left undisturbed?

1  How did you get started writing?

I’ve always written, always carried stories about in my head though never attempted a to write a novel.

2  What drew you to write a crime novel?

I read a lot of crime novels so felt comfortable with the structure and I felt it provided a focus for the story, a guide almost that sort of led me through the novel.  I added to that by setting the novel over 10 consecutive days and having the murders occur in a somewhat enclosed setting, the idea being that it provided a framework which I thought might be helpful given it was my first novel.

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

I’m not sure I would say any have influenced the way I write.  It took me a while and writing a lot of rubbish to find my own style.  I’m not keen on lots of narrative viewpoints and detailed backstory, and tend to keep a tight rein on authorial comment.  I’d say Ian Rankin is particularly good at that and, of course, the sense of place.  But it’s difficult to judge whether there’s an influence or simply that his style appeals to me because mine has some similarities.  

4  When you first started writing did you find it hard to get publisher interest?

Yes and I put the book on the back-burner for a while.  I made a lot of changes when I returned to it, for the better.  So it’s likely that in its earlier incarnations it wasn’t really ready for publication.  I chose to self-publish partly to get the book out there but also to stop myself tinkering with it.  I then did get a publisher for the e-book and that’s been helpful though in terms of the process it is a bit backside foremost.

5  What was the inspiration when you first started writing Bones and Whispers?

I’d had it in mind to write a crime novel for some time and early retirement provided an excellent opportunity to get on with it.  I knew someone who had spent some time in a sheltered housing complex, which, I must say, was excellent and not at all like Leapark.  However, it did seem a useful setting for a crime novel in that it is a relatively enclosed community and, as I’ve said earlier, I thought that might make a first novel easier to handle.  I had also worked for the Social Work Department alongside social workers and liked the idea of a social worker as the protagonist and someone with good investigative skills.

6  There are many interesting characters in your novel, do you have a particular favourite one?

I do like Kate.  I find her interesting and rich in possibilities.  I’m aware that may sound a bit odd given that she’s my creation but she has developed in some ways that I didn’t initially foresee.  I also like that she’s from a working-class background and she never forgets that despite her middle-class lifestyle. 

7  Why did you choose to set your novels in Edinburgh?

I love Edinburgh.  It’s an ideal setting for a crime novel.  It really is a Jekyll and Hyde city and wonderful in terms of getting a sense of place.  I also think of it as having its own personality.  I agree with Kate when she describes it as ‘disdainful, knowing its worth, wearing its history like a crown’.  It makes me feel insignificant, a blink of the eye compared to the eons the city in some form has been in existence.

8  Bones and Whispers is already getting positive reviews and comparisons to some of crime fiction’s biggest names, how does that make you feel?

Flattered, and delighted.  It’s also very encouraging and keeps me going when I get stuck on my current novel.

9  What kind of research did you have to undertake for your novel?

In the end I didn’t do much research.  Initially I read bits about forensics, the police, double-checked with friends about the social work aspects.  I now do research if I come up against something I’m not sure of.  I think there can be a temptation to try to shoe-horn in information just because you’ve researched it regardless of whether it moves the story on. 

10 Are the characters in your book based on any real life?

No and so far no one has suggested they see themselves in the novel.  Obviously, we pick up loads of impressions of people we’ve met or even just noticed in the street.  My characters are composites of those with a bit of imagination thrown in rather than actual representations. 

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

Yes, Marianne Wheelaghan.  I did a class she tutored at Edinburgh University a few years ago called ‘Start Writing Your First Novel’.  That helped me move what I’d already written to a different level.  Later, Marianne gave me some excellent advice on early drafts of Bones and Whispers especially the need to focus in on crucial scenes and fixing them in the reader’s mind.

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

No, though again it’s possible there are aspects of my personality in a number of characters.  I like the idea of crime fiction as an opportunity to go down ‘mean streets’ in a vicarious fashion from the safety of an armchair or my laptop.  Kate does that very nicely for me.  There are also aspects of Jean’s character that are familiar in the doubts and uncertainty about decisions she’s made in her life though I wouldn’t like to think I’m as doleful as she is!

13 If you can would you give us a sneaky peak into any future novels you have planned?

I’m currently working on the follow-up to ‘Bones and Whispers’.  Lots of readers have asked what happens next for Kate in relation to her personal life and I want to explore that.  Of course there will also be at least one murder that Kate will decide she has to investigate which may or may not lead her to a sex-trafficking ring.  Unfortunately none of it is ready for public consumption at the moment. 

14 There are many crime novels set in Edinburgh, what do you think makes your novel stand out from the rest?

I think having a social worker as investigator is unusual as is the focus on a group of elderly people at the centre of a murder investigation.  And possibly the narrative style in that there are primarily two characters through whose eyes we see the story unfold.  I like the idea of leaving space for readers to decide who is reliable as a narrator, how much they chose to believe. 

15 As an up and coming crime writer do you have words of advice you can share?

For me what works is to write even if it’s rubbish.  When I get stuck, which I do frequently, I find an element of the story I think I can do something with and work on that.  And, basic though it may sound, a good story is the key.  Even in earlier incarnations, ‘Bones and Whispers’ did make people want to keep on reading to find out what happened next.

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http://www.pilrigpress.co.uk/authors.html

Amazon Author Page

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July Crime Questions 6 10 nominees for the Second There’s Been a Murder Crime Blog Book of The Year

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6. THE GOOD PRIEST – GILLIAN GALBRAITH

In the house of a Roman Catholic bishop a man lies in a pool of blood. Out in the bishop’s diocese the quiet life of parish priest Father Vincent Ross is about to be thrown into turmoil by a terrifying revelation. There are ugly scandals being hidden by the church he has served for so long, and a murderer is on the prowl. The police and the authorities are groping in the dark, but Father Ross has been given special information that he cannot disclose to anyone. It gradually dawns on him that he and he alone can unravel the mystery and bring the nightmare of violence to an end. He must put his personal safety, his reputation and finally his life on the line.

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7. THE VISITORS – SIMON SYLVESTER

The island has always seemed such a safe place, such a friendly community. Now the possibility of a killer on Bancree is dangerously close to home.

Nobody moves to the remote Scottish island of Bancree, and few leave – but leaving is exactly what seventeen-year-old Flora intends to do. So when a mysterious man and his daughter move into isolated Dog Cottage, Flo is curious. What could have brought these strangers to the island? The man is seductively handsome but radiates menace; and there’s something about his daughter Ailsa that Flo can’t help but feel drawn towards.

People aren’t only arriving on Bancree – they are disappearing too. Reports of missing islanders fill the press and unnerve the community. When a body washes ashore, suspicion turns to the strange newcomers on Dog Rock.

Convinced of their innocence, Flo is fiercely determined to protect her friend Ailsa. Could the answer to the disappearances, and to the pull of her own heart, lie out there, beyond the waves?

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8. THE DEATH GAME – CHRIS LONGMUIR

In 1919, the horrors of the Great War are over.

Kirsty Campbell, former suffragette and a policewoman in Britain’s newly formed women’s police service, returns to her home town of Dundee to become the city’s first policewoman.

But what horrors will Kirsty, a young policewoman with her own demons to fight, have to face in Dundee? And how will she cope when the sins of the past come back to haunt her?

A deadly game of sacrifice and death.

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9. THROWAWAYS – JENNY THOMSON

Huddled in a doorway, in a blonde wig and my best Pretty Woman outfit, I’m already soaked to the skin. Any minute now, a car will pull up and the occupant will ask me how much I charge for sex. As downward spirals go, this is bad. But I’m not here because I’m reduced to turning tricks for a living. I’m here to catch a killer… Throwaways – that’s the word they’re using for the Glasgow sex workers who’ve gone missing. But two people do care and Nancy Kerr and Tommy McIntyre won’t stop until they discover the truth; even if it gets them killed.

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10. SEVEN EIGHT PLAY IT STRAIGHT – EJ LAMPREY

The Edinburgh Festival, dazzling hectic backdrop for another murder

In Seven Eight Play It Straight Edge’s actress stepdaughter is performing in a successful Fringe show during the Edinburgh Festival. Long-standing hostilities are set aside when a violent and bloody murder strikes all too close to home, but the temporary truce doesn’t last after Fiona accuses Edge of the murder.

This is unlike the other books in the series in a few ways. Like all the others, it is a stand-alone book, they don’t have to be read in sequence. If you are a series regular, there’s still murder, and it is still a whodunit, and the friends are very much in evidence, but it is Edge and her stepdaughter, the actress Fiona Bentwood, who take centre stage. The title, instead of being Lay Them Straight as in the nursery rhyme, is Play It Straight; there are scene breaks rather than conventional chapters. There’s even fancy dress, performing artists, melodrama, totally contrived coincidences and theatrical makeup in the climax, but how not, during the fabulous Edinburgh Festival?