Getting to know the person behind the print. Every Thursday I will be interviewing an author. This is our chance as readers to find out how  authors tick , what brings their characters to life and how the creative process works.

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR  S. E. ENGLAND

Sarah England is a fiction writer based in the UK. Originally, she trained as a nurse in Sheffield before spending nearly 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry, specialising in psychiatry – a theme which creeps into much of her work.  Sarah has hundreds of short stories and serials published in magazines & newspapers all over the world, but her most recent work is the ‘Father of Lies’ occult horror trilogy, which was released last year.

 

I have just finished reading Father of Lies which I understand is the first part of a trilogy and I really enjoyed it, even though I did have to invest in a night light! How did you come up with the idea for the story?

Well, I had been writing magazines stories for many years when I met a lady who not only inspired the story but broke my heart. She was/is a victim of satanic ritual abuse and suffers badly, horrifically really, from a condition that used to be known as multiple personality disorder (now dis-associative identity disorder).  I will never forget her reaction when we began to touch on her past: I’ve never seen anything like it and I’ve nursed some very ill people over the years. Anyway, with a psychiatric background and a strong interest in all things supernatural, I then started to research her condition, demonology and exorcism. The research was so terrifying that I couldn’t keep the books in the house afterwards. Nor could my friend – she burned them! It was very hard to write and was originally intended to be a stand-alone novel. However, it soon became clear there was much more to tell and then suddenly I was writing for 14 hours a day to bring out the other two.

Without giving too much away, as I plan to read the two remaining books, how you feel your writing changed over the course of the three titles?

Oh yes, readers noticed it changed.  I think the characters began to flesh out considerably and take on a life of their own. I felt them leaping out in my imagination and I was there in their heads. Maybe that gave me confidence because I forgot about myself as a writer and just lived and breathed  the story. I also did more and more research into the occult and black witchcraft, which spurred me on and opened up more and more doors of possibility. In the final book, it was pretty spooky because I did not know how it would transpire… I didn’t even know if I could do it…but piece by piece it came to me as if by magic. I planned very little – it really was a journey. I should add that everything in my personal life transpired to stop me writing those books. A lot of weird things happened, particularly while writing the first one… it’s all been very odd.  Some of the readers have said that too. Maybe it’s the fear within us?

What kind of research do you do when preparing to write a book and how long would you say you spend on research before you begin the first draft?

I do a lot of research. In Father of Lies I had my medical background to draw on, but I researched demonology and also exorcism in the Catholic church. For the next two it was black magic and the occult, witchcraft and the bubonic plague. For the one I am currently writing, the research has taken a month.  Actually, I have to admit it’s one of my favorite parts to writing books… I really love it.

What would you say is the most difficult part of the creative process?

Oh, plotting! I am no good at this… I have ideas and characters, atmosphere and detail but plot… meh….This is where I force myself and tear my hair out to get it in the right sequence. With book 1 I had a lot of to-and-fro in time, and I tried to reduce that in subsequent books to make it easier for the reader.

What is the genre you find the most challenging to read/ write?

Well my heart isn’t in sweet romance or vampires or the apocalypse. And I would not want to write  or read erotica…squirms….I have definite stories that come from me, somewhere within, and those are what I love to do.

How do you find the balance between writing what you want and meeting the wants of the potential readers?

Ah! Well, when I wrote for magazines I had to write romance and I had to write in the house style, so I can discipline myself – but I lost my way. I now write what I feel passionately about and hope that comes across. However, after Father of Lies was first released, I read the feedback and made some adjustments – like not so many time changes, and making sure the characters the readers had come to care about were not left hanging in jeopardy!

AS a horror writer, how do you manage to create such frightening scenes and not scare yourself? because Father of Lies is pretty scary! 

The short answer is that I do scare myself. Very badly!  I had some seriously creepy things happen – the air would freeze around me while I was doing the research; and I had a ghostly visitor one night too. By the time I was writing Magda I was getting used to it, but still everything transpired to stop me writing it, and I had night terrors with each book. Yes, if you have even the slightest doubt that there is something there other than we humans…. And you’re alone…you can be really freaked out! And I, alas, have no doubt whatsoever that there is a dark side.  Just because we can’t see it, define it, explain it – does not mean it isn’t there… Shriek!

How difficult do you feel it is for a female author to get her work noticed in this genre compared to men? 

Hmm, both myself and fellow female horror authors have noticed how much more criticism we get than our male counterparts.  Male horror writers don’t get it nearly as much. Having said that, the support I have had from 95% of the readers has been tremendous. Inspiring and encouraging…At times I did feel dispirited but there must be a steel core inside me somewhere because I just keep on going! As for getting noticed, well that’s the really tricky bit, especially in a niche genre like supernatural horror when you are not with a major publisher.

Was writing something you always wanted to do or did it happen by chance?

God yes! My mother was an English teacher and by the age of six I was reading her cast-off Victoria Holt novels (70s) lol… I was always making up stories in my head and got and A in English ‘O’ Level at the age of 14. However, life gets in the way and I was kind of engineered into nursing. Then I had a mortgage and bills to pay and so it goes on. I finally got the chance to study creative writing and began to write short stories for magazines when I was in my early forties. It took a year before anything was published, but I’ll never forget the first acceptance! I smiled all day.  It warmed my heart like no amount of sales achievements ever could. I think that’s when I knew what my long and rocky path was going to be. It’s a kind of love-hate relationship.

What are your plans for the future?

Right now I am working on my fourth book. This is a stand-alone chiller and is firmly under wraps. However, it is very close to my heart and will, of course, be dark and sinister. I am quietly excited about it: my fingers tingle and my heart leaps about as it takes form.

If you could change one thing about the way books are published/ marketed what would it be?

Oh, that the big publishers would take on more new writers and not just go with the tried and tested money-makers and those who move in the right circles. I think readers should be given new blood and lots of it.

Thank you so much for interviewing me, Gemma! It is a real pleasure.

Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to share some of your genius with us. Can’t wait to finish this series and will keep my eyes peeled for your new book when it hits the market!

If you would like to read my review of Father of Lies, head over to the main page. Reviews of the two remaining books will follow soon.

 

 

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR GIDEON

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This weeks interview is with multi talented Author, Gideon.

Gideon has been writing since a very early age, primarily poetry but he progressed to novels later in life. When not enveloped in writing he has a deep interest in spirituality and mysticism. during the day, he works in the outside world while dreaming up new characters for the next book. Gideon`s love of spirituality and fantasy has been the greatest influence for his work.

Thank you Gideon for  taking time out for this interview. I  read and reviewed  Jayded your latest title and I really enjoyed it. How did you come up with the idea for the story?

I was reading a book about the path of the soul and how life can be really difficult for all of us in the lives that we lead. Events such as divorce or being homeless have a major impact on the physical and psychological self. I wanted to write about a man who loved his faith but hated the world he was brought up in. The trauma he had received in various forms throughout his life changed the way he saw and interacted within the world.

It was a very compelling book. I can imagine it will hold a lot of readers interest.You have written several titles now, how do you think this one differs from the others?

I think this one is a lot darker. It speaks of the pain of not being able to fit into modern society, when your different from everyone else. When I write poetry, or verse they are filled with my love of the divine and the greatest qualities of man

Writing novels is quite a change from poetry , I must say you have made it look effortless.In regards to your writing What would you say is your writers Kryptonite?

Stress, that’s it. Once I am stressed I can’t do a thing. So, the manuscript will just sit there.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing if at all?

The first time my book was published. I was over the moon. I didn’t realise then how much needs to go into making a good story.  I look back at them and think oh I could have done this or that different. With each book, I write, I hope the quality gets better.

Your latest book has a very interesting subject matter. What kind of research do you do when preparing to write a book and how long would you say you spend on research before you begin the first draft?

Jayded was easy to write. I have spent my life growing with people who are exactly like those in the book. From the aspiring witch who does not really know her craft to the many wonderful followers of nature and the old ways that exist in every community around us. In the story, there must be a little piece of thousands of people all rolled up into a few characters.

What would you say is the most difficult part of the creative process?

I have always found that the characters come to have a life of their own. I may have planned out how the story-line will go, but then they take over and it all goes down the pain but in truth I love how it always turns out. That’s the difficult part, adapting my vision of the story so the characters agree with it.

You have very relate-able characters in your book, are they based on anyone you have come across in life?

The characters are based a little piece of so many people, both positive and negative.

How do you find the balance between writing what you want and meeting the wants of the potential readers?

I write what I love and pray that the readers will find great joy in the story as well.

If you could change one thing about the way books are published/ marketed what would it be?

That it was simpler to get your work seen. It is so difficult for any author to get their work out there without paying vast sums on advertising.

What are your plans for the future?

I am about to release a book on poetry and verse and then I will cast my mind to writing Jayded part two.

I wish you luck in your next release and look forward to Jayded part two.My review of Jayded part one can be found on the main page of this site. If you love a good mystery mixed into an amazing story about spirituality this book is for you.

 

 

 

 INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR BETH HALE

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This weeks interview is with author Beth Hale. Beth Hale writes about what she knows: strong, Southern women and the men who love them. She twines believable characters, realistic circumstances, and heart-felt emotions together to create sassy, sexy contemporary romances. She draws inspiration from the everyday life problems we all face and expands them into vivid, interesting, hard-to-put-down stories.

I have just finished reading Bourbon Street Heat your latest title and I really enjoyed it. How did you come up with the idea for the story?

I imagined a woman going on vacation and finding the courage to do something she’d always wanted to do. After playing around with that idea for a while, the plot for Bourbon Street Heat came together.

 It is a great book I really enjoyed it. You have written several titles now, how do you think this one differs from the others?

Bourbon Street Heat has light themes of BDSM in it—a first for me, as my other titles are considered more straight contemporary romance.

What would you say is your writers Kryptonite?

My own self doubt. Sometimes it rears its ugly head, and I begin to think everything I write is garbage.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing if at all?

It taught me to write a little faster, just to get the first draft done. After that, I can go back and revise and edit to my heart’s content—but that first draft has to be written.

What kind of research do you do when preparing to write a book and how long would you say you spend on research before you begin the first draft?

That all depends on the subjects I’m researching. For instance, during my research phase for Bourbon Street Heat, I spent a good six weeks combing internet information sites, books, and asking people involved in the lifestyle questions. I took reams of notes and went back for more research and question asking during the writing process. I wanted to be sure I had it right.

What would you say is the most difficult part of the creative process?

Making the characters do what I want them to. Ha. Once a character is brought to life on the page, he or she takes on a personalty and it’s hard to control them. I usually let my characters guide the story.

What is the genre you find the most challenging to read/ write?

I can read any genre, and love books in all of them. The hardest for me to write is fantasy. It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around a fantasy world long enough to make a story work.

How do you find the balance between writing what you want and meeting the wants of the potential readers?

For me, I write what I want to write. I love my readers and want them to love my stories, but I have to tell the story that’s inside of me at a given time. I will say that, due to reader requests, my first book (Trusting Jack) evolved into a three book series. People loved James and Norah and wanted stories for them too.

What are your plans for the future?

I plan to release another Dallas Fire & Rescue Kindle World novella in July of this year, and hopefully the final book in the Unexpected Emotion Series. I’m working on Tempting Norah now.

If you could change one thing about the way books are published/ marketed what would it be?

I wish big book store chains were more open to indie authors. There are so many talented indie authors out there, and so many people are missing out on fantastic books because the big book store chains like Barnes & Noble won’t give them a chance.

Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to do this interview it was great getting to know a bit more about you and your writing. I look forward to reading your future works.

Beth’s latest release at the time of this interview Bourbon Street Heat is available from amazon. You can also read my review of the title on the main page of the site.