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December 2014 up and coming crime author of the month with Alison Gray

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How did you get started writing?

I’ve always enjoyed writing stories. As I child I loved writing stories and even made my own magazines for fun. When I was a teenager I started writing a novel set during the French revolution, although I never finished this. So I feel as if writing is something that has always been there with me, although it has lain fallow for periods of my life.

What drew you to write a crime novel?

I enjoy reading crime novels and thrillers for relaxation so it seemed an obvious thing to try and write in the genre that I enjoy. I do have a love of history as well and of biographies and travelogues. Most of all I’m interested in the stories of people’s lives and I think you can find that in any genre.

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

In the past, I’ve been influenced by gothic romance writers Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney. I also loved Mary Stewart’s thrillers and historical writing and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is probably my favourite novel of all time.

In the past few years, I’ve been influenced by Camilla Läckberg and Elly Griffiths. Both of these authors write series where crime drives the individual stories but the characters drive the series. Patrik Hedstrom (a police detective) and his wife, Erica Falck (a writer) are together in the first novel in the series and their relationship and family life grow and develop throughout the Fjällbacka series. Elly Griffiths’ forensic archaeologist protagonist, Dr Ruth Galloway, is just one of a multitude of interesting characters in her crime series.

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

I have to admit I haven’t tried very hard to get publisher interest. I’ve probably tried less than twenty times to get interest from agents or publishers, although I’ve tried pitching at various conferences where the interest was enough to spur me on but not enough to lead anywhere. At the end of 2013 I decided to self-publish in 2014 and so far that’s been very rewarding. There’s been a huge learning curve and I’m still learning but I do feel part of an independent author community now and that’s enjoyable while is has also been very satisfying to see the entire process through from first draft to published book.

There are many interesting characters in your novel. Do you have a favourite one?

I’m interested in my protagonists and how they develop through their relationships and the things that happen to them. I don’t really have a favourite character, although if I was to pick one whom I’d like to see a bit more of in future, it would be Lieutenant Angelo Christofis from my novel, Hibiscus Fruit.

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

I’ve done real-life research where I’ve travelled to areas I’m writing about to walk in the footsteps of the characters. I’ve also done virtual research where I have used the Internet. In terms of procedure in crime novels, I’ve contacted ex police officers with my questions and that has been extremely helpful.

Are the characters in your books based on any real life characters?

No. All of my characters are completely made up.

What do you think makes your novel stand out from all the other Scottish Crime Fiction novels out there?

Although I’m a Scottish Indie Author and my first standalone novel – Out of the Tower – is set in Scotland, my current crime series is set in the Aegean and the North East of England where I currently reside. So perhaps the fact that this series isn’t based in Scotland makes it different.

Do you see any of your characters personality in yourself or vice versa?

The characters are smorgasbord creations from all of life’s possibilities – a hair colour here, an eye colour there, a personality trait from this person and a hobby from that one. But if I were to pick one characteristic in my characters that I see in myself, it’s the constant questioning of everything that goes on around me I probably relate to most.

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

I’m planning a series of eco thrillers with a young Danish activist. This may be futuristic or young adult. I’m not sure at the moment. I’m also thinking of a historical series, although I don’t yet know which time period it would be set in. And then there are a few ideas buzzing around in my head for standalone psychological thrillers but nothing I can reveal yet.

What was your favourite scene to write in your novel, and why?

The scene that I most enjoyed writing in Hibiscus Fruit didn’t make it into the final draft! Writing that sets the scene is probably my favourite type of writing because with every word you are constructing a new reality and all possibilities lie before you at that point.

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

Read. Write what you love. Finish what you start. Seek feedback. Assess the feedback for what you can use. Stay true to yourself and to your stories. Polish your work. Release it into the world. Be proud of it. And repeat.

Novels

Out of the Tower
Hibiscus Fruit ( DS Abbey Foulkes 1)

https://twitter.com/_alisongray

https://www.facebook.com/AlisonGrayScottishIndieAuthor

Amazon Author Page

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Alison-Gray/e/B00JRFX966/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_3?qid=1418035485&sr=8-3

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