October 2014 up and coming crime author of the month with Mason cross

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1. How did you get started writing?

I’ve always liked writing and making up stories, ever since I was a kid. My school reports always praised my imagination and criticised my habit of daydreaming in class – I think the two were closely related. I told a career advisor at school that the job I wanted was to write Batman. I used to write ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ type books on my parents’ computer, which I would then print out and attempt to sell at school. I also created my own comics, which didn’t turn out so well due to a painful lack of artistic ability. So I guess in a very small way, I got some early experience of self-publishing through those ventures.

2. What drew you to write a crime novel

A couple of things: the first one is the fact I just really love to read crime fiction, from the classics like Chandler and Hammett right up to the present day with people like Connelly, Rankin, Child and Reichs. The second thing is that what I write seems to lend itself to crime and mystery more than any other genre. I enjoy horror and sci fi books and movies, but I’m not sure I would know how to write one. Similarly, I’d have no clue how to write a ‘literary’ novel. The elements I enjoy the most: memorable characters, snappy dialogue, mystery and plot twists, all lead me into the crime section, and you know what? I’m fine with that.

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

Stephen King, Ira Levin, Frank Miller, Neil Gaiman, Ian Rankin, John D. Macdonald, Denise Mina, Lee Child, James Ellroy, Elmore Leonard, Raymond Chandler, Kathy Reichs (to name but a few). I don’t consciously try to write like any of them, but I aspire to create work that gives others as much pleasure as the above writers have given me.

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

I didn’t get any publisher interested until I had an agent, but to be fair, I hadn’t submitted work to publishers as often as an aspiring writer probably should do. I tried my luck with various short stories and found it tough to get anything published, but I did have a few successes with small writing magazines and competitions. My biggest early success was to have a story called ‘A Living’ published in one of the Quick Reads books: The Sun Book of Short Stories.

5. There are many interesting characters in your novels, do you have a particular favourite one?

Obviously I have to say Carter Blake is a favourite, because he’s my protagonist, and the only character that’s in all of the novels. Having said that, my favourite characters to write in The Killing Season were Banner, who’s the supporting lead, and Wardell, who’s the villain. Those two are at the two extremes – Banner is a relatively normal person and Wardell is a mass-murdering psychopath. Blake is kind of in the middle.

6. What kind of research have you have to undertake for your novels?

Different types: obviously the internet is an incredible resource, as long as you do a bit of fact checking, but I like to read good old-fashioned books on subjects relevant to what I’m writing. I also incorporate my own personal experiences through travel. One of the biggest helps in writing a US-set thriller series is having American friends I can interrogate to make sure I get the details right as far as possible.

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

No. For one thing, that’s a great way to get sued, for another thing, it’s much easier to simply invent a character than to try and fit a real person into a book. I do take elements here and there from people I’ve encountered, or add memorable snippets of dialogue I’ve heard in real life, but mostly the characters are completely imagined.

8. What do you think makes your novels stand out from all the other Scottish Crime Fiction Novels out there

The fact that it’s a very American Scottish crime novel! I think Glasgow (where I’m from) has a particularly pronounced American influence, probably from having been such a big shipping town historically. You can see that influence in a lot of ways, from the fact we love country music to the number of successful writers of American superhero comics from here. Even the grid plan of the city centre feels more like an American city than a British one.

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

A little bit. Blake likes process – he’s obsessively driven to complete a job once he’s set himself a goal. He’s also a little tunnel-visioned sometimes and has a tendency to infuriate those who spend time with him. My wife will vouch for the fact that that could describe me. He’s much smarter and better in a fight than me, though.

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

The next one’s called The Samaritan. It’s about a serial killer who prays on drivers who have broken down late at night on deserted roads. Blake realises he may know who’s doing the killing, and gets himself involved in the investigation.

11. Out of all the novels you have written do you have a favourite one that stands out to you?

The most recent one is always a favourite, but I’m excited about the next novel I’m about to start, which is going to be called Winterlong, and should be out in 2016.

12. As a well known crime writer do you have words of advice you can share

I’m certainly not well-known but am flattered by the suggestion! My best advice for writers is the usual: keep writing and don’t give up. Even if you think something’s rubbish, it might turn out not so bad. Remember: there are a thousand ways to fix a rough draft; there’s only one way to fix a blank sheet of paper.

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The first thing you should know about me is that my name is not Carter Blake.
That name no more belongs to me than the hotel room I was occupying when the call came in.

When Caleb Wardell, the infamous ‘Chicago Sniper’, escapes from death row two weeks before his execution, the FBI calls on the services of Carter Blake, a man with certain specialised talents whose skills lie in finding those who don’t want to be found. A man to whom Wardell is no stranger.

Along with Elaine Banner, an ambitious special agent juggling life as a single mother with her increasingly high-flying career, Blake must track Wardell down as he cuts a swathe across America, apparently killing at random.

But Blake and Banner soon find themselves sidelined from the case. And as they try desperately to second guess a man who kills purely for the thrill of it, they uncover a hornets’ nest of lies and corruption. Now Blake must break the rules and go head to head with the FBI if he is to stop Wardell and expose a deadly conspiracy that will rock the country.

http://carterblake.net/

Amazon Author Page

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mason-Cross/e/B00FWO52KC/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Crime Authors and Book week Scotland 2014

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Bloody Scotland presents Sam Alexander
Monday 24th November, 7pm. Free, unticketed.
Waterstones, 174 Argyle Street, Glasgow, G2 8BT
After months of online speculation, we unmasked the identity of Sam Alexander as none other than CWA Dagger Award winner Paul Johnston, author of three bestselling series of crime novels, including Greek detective Mavros.  In this exclusive event, we are proud to support an international author from Scotland and his publisher Arcadia Books who have created quite a stir around the author’s mysterious identity.

Paul Johnston is a seasoned hand at crime thriller writing and his first Sam Alexander novel, set in the North of England, represents a new direction in his writing career. Carnal Acts has garnered glowing reviews with a new approach to the police procedural novel.

Join us in Waterstones Argyle Street on Monday 24th November to toast the start of Book Week Scotland with this exciting event.

The event is free and no ticket is required.

Drime Writers’ Mr and Mrs
Thursday 27th November, 7pm. Free, unticketed.
Waterstones, 174 Argyle Street, Glasgow, G2 8BT

Waterstones are hosting a panel event with some of our favourite literary couples: Helen Fitzgerald & Sergio Casci, Craig Robertson & Alexandra Sokoloff and Russel McLean & Lesley McDowell; discussing the pros (of which there must be many!) and cons of living and working together. It should be a great night and hopefully no one will be crying by the end!

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BEER BOOK BURGER CARO RAMSAY AND CHRISTOPHER BROOKMYRE

For a taste of something truly different come along to an evening combining the Scottish loves of eating, drinking and a bit of banter.

Hear acclaimed Scottish novelists, Christopher Brookmyre and Caro Ramsay talk about their work and feed your stomach as well as your soul at our Book, A Beer and a Burger event at Kirkcaldy Galleries. Ward of the winter chill with an evening of lively banter between the two authors accompanied by a pint and a tasty burger.

Address
Kirkcaldy Galleries
Bennochy Road
War Memorial Gardens
Kirkcaldy
KY1 1YT
United Kingdom
Time
19:30 – 21:00
Date
25 November 2014
Telephone number for queries
01592 583204
Region
Fife
Contact email
jennifer.stewart@fife.gov.uk

Is the venue accessible?
Yes
Ticketed?
Paid, Ticketed

QUINTIN JARDINE

Quintin Jardine will be appearing on Saturday 1st November at the following Waterstones Stores to do signings

10.45am-11.15pm
Waterstones, 175 High Street, Kirkcaldy KY1 1JA.

12.30pm-1pm
Waterstones, 101-103 Market Street, Andrews KY16 9NX

2.15pm-2.45pm
Waterstones, St John’s Centre, Perth PH1 5UX

4pm-4.30pm
Waterstones, The Elements, Almondvale Shopping Centre, Livingston EH54 6GS

LIN ANDERSON

An evening with celebrated crime writer Lin Anderson.

Address
Greenock Central Library
75-81 Cathcart Street
GREENOCK
PA15 1DE
United Kingdom
Time
19:00 – 20:30
Date
25 November 2014
Telephone number for queries
01475 712323
Region
Inverclyde
Contact email
library.central@inverclyde.gov.uk

Is the venue accessible?
Yes
Ticketed?
Free, unticketed (turn up on the day before event start)

ANN CLEEVES

Not just for ladies who lunch, this is a fantastic opportunity for all crime fiction fans to join Ann Cleeves, bestselling author of the novels behind BBC’s Shetland series and ITV’s Vera, over lunch in St Andrews Library.

Sit back and enjoy listening to one of the most popular and talented crime writers around, and if you’re at work, what better way to spend your lunch hour than in the company of Ann.

Address
St Andrews Public Library
Church Square
St Andrews
KY16 9NN
United Kingdom
Time
12:30 – 14:00
Date
27 November 2014
Telephone number for queries
01592 583204
Region
Fife
Contact email
jennifer.stewart@onfife.com

Is the venue accessible?
Yes
Ticketed?
Paid, ticketed

Also Appearing at the following events

As part of a celebration of libraries and reading, popular crime-writer Ann Cleeves has created a Shetland-themed grisly murder mystery which will be played out in Midlothian Libraries especially for Book Week Scotland. A woman has been murdered in the Ravenswick hotel library and it’s your task to find the killer.

Address
Newtongrange Library
St Davids
Newtongrange
EH22 4LG
United Kingdom
Time
19:00 – 20:30
Date
25 November 2014
Telephone number for queries
0131 663 1816
Region
Midlothian
Contact email
jacqueline.elliot@midlothian.gov.uk

Is the venue accessible?
Yes
Ticketed?
Free, ticketed

Also being held at

Address
Gorebridge Library
98 Hunterfield Road
Gorebridge
EH23 4TT
United Kingdom
Time
19:00 – 20:30
Date
25 November 2014
Telephone number for queries
01875 820630
Region
Midlothian
Contact email
elaine.robertson@midlothian.gov.uk

Is the venue accessible?
Yes
Ticketed?
Free, ticketed

Address
Loanhead Library
1A George Avenue
Loanhead
EH20 9HD
United Kingdom
Time
19:00 – 20:30
Date
27 November 2014
Telephone number for queries
0131 440 0824
Region
Midlothian
Contact email
annabel.cavaroli@midlothian.gov.uk

Is the venue accessible?
Yes
Ticketed?
Free, ticketed

JAMES OSWALD

About this event
Originally self-published in 2012, (James’ first book in his DI McLean series Natural Causes) , James has now moved on- he’s now a bestselling author of fantasy and crime books, his crime books shifting an extraordinary 250,000 copies, with Penguin as publisher.

Address
Muirhouse Library
15 Pennywell Court
Edinburgh
EH4 4TZ
United Kingdom
Time
15:00 – 16:00
Date
29 November 2014
Telephone number for queries
0131 529 5528
Region
Edinburgh
Contact email
annie.bell@edinburgh.gov.uk

Is the venue accessible?
Yes
Ticketed?
Free, ticketed

RUSSELL MCLEAN

Author of crime novels The Good Son and The Lost Sister, (featuring Scots Private Investigator, J McNee) Russell McLean also writes short stories, one of which, “Pedro Paul”, was singled out by Publisher’s Weekly as “awesomely dark”.

Address
Gilmerton Library
13 Newtoft Street
Edinburgh
EH17 8RG
United Kingdom
Time
19:00 – 20:00
Date
26 November 2014
Telephone number for queries
0131 529 5628
Region
Edinburgh
Contact email
annie.bell@edinburgh.gov.uk

Is the venue accessible?
Yes
Ticketed?
Free, ticketed

For more information about these and other events you can go to the following website

http://www.scottishbooktrust.com/events/event-types/crime

October 2014 up and coming crime author of the month with Tom odgen keenan

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1. How did you get started writing?
Possibly in the days of ‘love and peace man (giving my age away!)’ when everyone was writing poems and songs about war, life, love. I never took it seriously until I had a go at writing a play and was invited to a play writing workshop by 7:84, which was a great experience. I think writing dialogue spurred me to writing fiction (easy, just fill in the gaps between the dialogue!), and when I started I couldn’t stop.

2. What drew you to write a crime novel
I didn’t really think it was a crime novel until a friend mentioned the first chapter of one of my earlier attempts was like a Quentin Tarantino movie. My writing has always been ‘edgy’, dark, with a bit of sardonic humour, possibly influenced by living in Glasgow.

3. Which writers past or present have influenced your style of writing?
I like to write what I like to read, i.e. writers that keep you on edge, get your emotions going, stab your consciousness. I loved Dostoevsky and his conscience changing characters, or Luke Rhinehart, the Dice Man, where anything goes; but also been greatly influenced by local ‘noir’ writers like William McIlvanney and his Laidlaw, and of course most stuff from Mr Rankin. I also love Jim Kelman, his fantastic dialogue, and Alasdair Gray’s Lanark.

4. When you first started writing did you find it hard to get publisher interest?
Impossible; although as my writing improved the rejection letters became more personal! I think I rewrote my first version of The Father about fifty times and it still wasn’t right. I got shortlisted for the Debut Dagger which was a real boost; an indication for me and prospective publishers that I was on the right path.

5. There are many interesting characters in your Novel, do you have a particular favourite one?
Not really, I think I like ‘bad’ characters more than the heroes; you can do more with them.

6. What kind of research have you had to undertake for your Novels?
Spending a lot of time in seedy pubs trying to get grasp of the way people talk to each other. The Web is such a cheater’s source of information and I exploit it shamelessly; but you can’t beat ‘walking the walk’. I have also been a social worker in mental health for over thirty years, so lots to draw on.

7. Are the characters in your books based on any real life?
Oh yes, some are a composite of some real life characters I’ve known; but sometimes I try to imagine some famous characters and place them in certain scenes. It’s fun thinking about John Cleese as a psychopath.

8. What do you think makes your novels stand out from all the other Scottish Crime Fiction Novels out there
I think I go deep into the characters minds, mess with their heads and their relationships, transform them from good to bad, from bad to good. My tag line for the Father ‘can a good man be made bad’, gives an idea.

9. Do you see any of your characters personality in yourself and vice versa?
I guess there is a lot of the writer in his main protagonist. I see something of him in me and some things of me in him, but I am not an alcoholic, I don’t have a mental illness, and I don’t have a predilection for serial killers who kill by proxy.

10. If you can, would you give us a sneaky peak into any future novels you have planned.
The Father is first in the Sean Rooney series. I’ve started writing the second. I’m playing around with having two antagonists at the start with one become the hero as the story progresses, not sure which one though! It’s fun playing God!

11. What was your favourite scene to write in your Novel and why
I like my prologue, which really sets the scene (of the book). I just let it all go, hitting the reader with a barrage of imagery.

12. As a up and coming crime writer do you have words of advice you can share
Just keep working it; flex that creative muscle in your head and don’t fear criticism, use it to grow; and write every day, whether you feel like it or not.

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Mental illness, alcohol abuse, and the tedium of pursuing typical killers, leave Sean Rooney a pathetic man, a failed forensic profiler, a bit of a loser and definitely retired. DCI Jacqueline Kaminski has other ideas. Faced with a multiple murder – and some headless corpses – she needs Rooney back on the case.

https://www.tom-odgen-keenan.co.uk/

Amazon Author Page

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Father-Rooney-thriller-thrillers-Mysteries/dp/0857161164/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1413392999&sr=1-1&keywords=the+father+tom+keenan