Where Do Cats Hide?

This month, I’ve been talking about what I write and how I write it, with some random things thrown in for good measure.  Today, the random thing is cats.

I believe I’ve established before that many writers have cats.  However, I have not gotten into the finer details about cats, such as where they hide… and they DO like to hide.

Can you find the cat here?

Above is part of my desk.  Normally, it isn’t quite so messy; and normally, I also wouldn’t show it off (or frankly even take a photo of it) in this sloppy condition.  However, look closely.  Do you see the yellow eye peeking out?  If not, I’ll help you in a moment.

So, yes, indeed, cats love to hide.  What they do NOT like is to be dressed in fine evening wear and told to pose.

This is Zsa Zsa. See that coy smile?

When you’re a cat that belongs to a writer who’s also a professional photographer, anything goes.  Out of all my cats, Zsa Zsa, or “Zsazsy” as we often call her, is the tiniest.  I like to think she’s French (ooh la la!), so I also call her “ma petite chat.”  When she speaks, she even says, “Le meow.”

Anyway, like her brother and sisters, she likes to hide.  Were you able to spot her up top?

Heeeere’s Zsazsy!

There she is!  So this concludes my posts for June.  But today’s post about pets is a good segue into what July’s topic will be: PET PEEVES.  Happy Last Day of June, Friends!

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Author Interview – Sandra Danby

Recently, I posted a Call to Writers, asking my fellow author bloggers to allow me to interview them for guest-spots on my blog.  (If you are interested in participating, please contact me.)  I asked everyone thirty-five questions — some were basic, and others were multi-part inquiries — and I asked them to answer only what they wanted to or what was applicable. My friend and fellow-blogger, Sandra Danby, had some very interesting responses which I’m sure will captivate you, as well.  After you read her interview, please be sure to hop on over to her blog and follow her for a regular dose of her charm.  And now, I present Sandra…

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sandra danby (1)About me:

Total book addict, reading them, writing them, buying them. Grew up on a small dairy farm at the bleak edge of East Yorkshire where England meets the North Sea. At the age of four I was making magazines full of my own stories, at 21 I was a journalist. Now I write fiction full-time.

Links:

Sandra Danby blog [Fiction – Short Stories – On reading and writing] http://www.sandra.danby.com/

Notes on a Spanish Valley blog [Living in rural Andalucía] http://www.notesonaspanishvalley.com/

Linked In – uk.linkedin.com/pub/sandra-danby/16/674/911/

Twitter @SandraDanby https://twitter.com/SandraDanby

Google+ – https://plus.google.com/104331863214756383475/posts

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/Sandradan1

Read my flash fiction @ Ether Books – http://catalog.etherbooks.com/Authors/1037

Facebook – www.facebook.com/sandradanbyauthor

Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/sandradan1/

My novels:

‘Ignoring Gravity’ is my first novel, now available to pre-order from BNBS Books. I’m writing the sequel now, ‘Connectedness’. I have plans for at least two more novels about Rose Haldane, adoption detective. After that, a stand-alone novel and a YA trilogy.

My published work:

sandra danby (4)‘Ignoring Gravity’ to be published by BNBS Books in September 2014. This is a new crowd-funding imprint in which the readers get to choose which books are actually published, so I need 250 pre-orders to get my publishing contract. Help me hit my target by pre-ordering ‘Ignoring Gravity’ now at www.britainsnextbestseller.co.uk/book/index/IgnoringGravity

sandra danby (2)

 

 

 

My stories have been published in two anthologies:-

sandra danby (5)‘Tin-Can’ and ‘The Biscuit Tin’ in ‘The Milk of Female Kindness: an Honest Anthology of Motherhood’ [pub 2014, Kasia James] is available from Amazon and The Book Depository

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Milk-Female-Kindness-Anthology-Motherhood/dp/0992389119/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1393341952&sr=1-1&keywords=the+milk+of+female+kindness

sandra danby (3)‘Magic and Mischief’ in ‘Diaspora City: the London New Writing Anthology’ [pub 203, Arcadia], is out of print now but some copies still available from Amazon

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Diaspora-City-London-Writing-Anthology/dp/1900850753/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1393341927&sr=1-1&keywords=diaspora+city

Published or self-published?

My publishing contract with BNBS states that ‘Ignoring Gravity’ will be published if I get a minimum of 250 orders online. Publication is scheduled provisionally for September 2014. BNBS only accepts authors who are willing to self-promote. Talking to friends who are self-published, and others who are trying to go the traditional route, it seems to me that book publishing is changing radically. Gone are the days when an author could hide away. Everyone has to promote, including blogging, tweeting etc, as the most important thing is to build a relationship with readers. So the UK book publishing world is watching the BNBS launch with interest and not a little curiosity.

How old were you when you started writing?  When did you know you wanted to be an author?

I actually can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing stories in some form or another. Writing is who I am.

What would you say motivates you to keep writing?

I dislike anything which distracts me from reading and writing. Journalism gave me the discipline to sit down every morning and write. I’ve never had writer’s block, something journalists don’t have the time for. And I love my characters, I want to tell their stories.

Who are some of your favorite authors?  What are you currently reading (or what is the last book you read)?

Currently reading ‘Citadel’ by Kate Mosse, the third in her Languedoc trilogy. I seem to be reading a lot of novels set around World War One and Two and the moment.

What is your preferred reading method?  (i.e., kindle, nook, paperback, hardback, etc.)  Why?

I read on all platforms. I now review a lot of books for my blog which are sent to my Kindle. I love hardback books but a) they are expensive and b) take up a lot of shelf room. Books are piled on every available shelf in our house, and all over the floor of my study. Too many books… not enough time!

Do you write in first or third person, past or present tense, and why?

The earliest draft of ‘Ignoring Gravity’ was first person, past tense. On advice from my writing tutor I switched to third person, past tense, and made much quicker progress. I was at that difficult stage of extracting myself from my character, that’s much easier now all these years later.

Do you “always read” or do you take breaks between reading books?

Always. I could never contemplate not reading a book.

How many books would you say you read in a year?  How many at any one time?

I average one novel a week, so 52 a year. Plus non-fiction. That sounds like a lot!

*.*.*

ABOUT YOUR CURRENT BOOK:

What is the title of your current work in progress of the most recent manuscript you’ve completed?

‘Ignoring Gravity’, my first novel, is currently with my wonderful copy-editor at Fiction Feedback.

What is your novel’s genre?  Would you say there is a sub-genre?  What makes yours different than other books in the same genre?

I struggle with genre labels, I guess it is general fiction. It is a story of identity, adoption and family history, subjects which appeal to men and women, so I would not describe it as ‘women’s fiction’.

What inspired the current or most recent story you’ve completed?

I’ve always been interested in identity, what makes us, us. I think it stems from my own childhood. I’m the youngest of three children, 8 years younger than my brother, 10 years younger than my sister. I was a very imaginative child and I used to invent scenarios: what if I belonged somewhere else, a different family, a different country. It’s something I think a lot of children think about. This idea stayed with me. It wasn’t something I actively thought about, but it was in the back of my mind. I should say I’m not adopted and I had a happy rural childhood.

What is your target audience’s age, gender, etc.?

Mostly female I think, though my male readers have enjoyed it too. All ages, I’ve had interest from people in their 20s and people in their 70s.

Do you want to tell us a little bit about your story?

Rose is a journalist in her thirties who thinks her life is okay. She’d like a new job, a bigger flat, but on the whole her world is settled. Then she finds out she is adopted and everything changes. Her parents lied to her. She doesn’t know her real name anymore, her medical history, her genetic inheritances.

When a child is adopted today it is usual for the story of the adoption to be explained to the child from an early age. But this didn’t happen to Rose. She was given up for adoption in the 1960s when the rules were different. Secrecy was the big thing: to protect the child and both sets of parents from harassment. But that secrecy can cause huge problems for anyone trying to trace their birth parents now. And some birth parents never wanted to be found. Ever.

In the Sixties, to be a single mother was a shameful thing. Single parent families weren’t accepted by society as they are today, so more babies were adopted.  And of course there were no computer records; files go missing, letters misfiled, names misspelled. So Rose decides to use old-fashioned journalistic research to discover the story of her birth.

*.*.*

ABOUT HOW YOU WRITE:

How often do you write?

Every weekday, and on weekends if at all possible.

Approximately how many words do you write at each sitting?

I have no target, realistically 500 words minimum, maximum anything up to 4000.

Do you do your own editing or send it to someone else?

My journalist training makes me a tight editor but nothing replaces the role of trusted readers. My husband always reads my drafts, and my regular writing group friends see every chapter from the very first exercises. Once I am happy with a final draft, it goes to my copy-editor.

What is your method of writing?  (i.e., Do you write the entire manuscript, then go back and make changes?  Do you plan chapters as you go along or write the story then go back and add chapters?  Do you re-read as you go along or after you are done with the first draft?)

A bit of all of those. I have a period in mind, and a subject, which I research. Usually during the course of that, the plot slowly starts to form. I start off with a broad brush plan which gets more detailed as I add in the clues and red herrings and work out Rose’s path to the truth; planning this is a bit like planning a murder mystery. I don’t write in chapters, I write in POV action sections so it’s easy to slip in a new section wherever it is needed.

Do you have a muse?  If so, please elaborate. If not, what inspires you?

No muse. I am driven to tell my story, that’s what makes me sit down each day.

How long does it take you to write a full manuscript?

It is 13 years since I started ‘Ignoring Gravity’, but there have been years of inaction in between. I’ve been writing ‘Connectedness’ for two years, again with breaks. If I sat down to write a novel and do absolutely nothing else, I guess it would take 1-2 years.

Do you give yourself a word limit for each day or a time limit to finish your novel?  If so, please elaborate.

No word limit, no time limit.

How do you come up with your character names and geographic location / business names?

I like inventing characters, I often choose names using the index of my atlas. I also have a baby names book, a bit cheesy but it does help. Quite often I will give a character a dummy name and then as the character becomes fully-formed on the page I find the real name occurs naturally to me.

How long (or how detailed) are the notes you take before you start writing?

I am always researching a future novel, it’s an ongoing process. This morning I clipped a story from the newspaper and typed up a few notes and stored them way. I enjoy researching and have to be careful that it doesn’t take over from the writing. So loads of notes.

Do you have any “must haves” to help you write?  (i.e., a full cup of coffee, a view of the ocean, etc.)

No, I can write anywhere, any time. Pen and paper, laptop, iPad, computer in a hotel business centre. Noisy, quiet. I’ve done them all.

Do you only write during a certain time of day or in a certain location?  If so, do you make yourself stop after a certain time?

Nope, anywhere will do, when I can grab the time. One successful short story was written on a train journey.

Does your real life ever neglected because of your writing?  If so, how do you feel about that?

There is not enough time in the day to do everything, so I compromise and try not to be hard on myself.

What is the quirkiest thing you do or have ever done when writing?

Err, better ask my husband about that one!

*.*.*

ABOUT YOUR WORK:

If you have written more than one novel, which is your favorite and why?

I will always be fond of ‘Ignoring Gravity’, as my first novel. I think my writing improved during the course of writing it, so ‘Connectedness’ feels more accomplished. I am more confident and I think it shows on the page.

If you could be one of your own characters for a day, who would it be and why?

I’d like to be artist Justine Tree in ‘Connectedness’ with my art on display in major museums around the world like London’s Tate Modern and MoMA in New York.

If one of your books became a movie, who would you choose for the “perfect cast” of main characters?

George Clooney is about the right age for Nick Maddox in ‘Ignoring Gravity’, possibly Gemma Arterton for Rose.

What is the oddest thing you have ever researched for one of your books?

The symptoms and causes of motion sickness.

What is the most difficult thing you have ever researched for one your books and why?

Adoption, it is such a personal thing to discuss with people. The edges can be very raw for people, decades later.

*.*.*

Thank you, Sandra, for allowing me to interview you.  I hope everyone else has enjoyed learning about you and your work as much as I have.

~Rachel

 

This is NOT the Zombie Apocalypse!

I am not a sci-fi person.*  And as I define sci-fi, I mean I do like TV shows such as The Twilight Zone or Quantum Leap.  Or The Jetsons.  I do like ghost stories and paranormal stuff.  But I do not watch such shows as Star Trek or Walking Dead.  I just don’t really get into outer space stuff or things like different intelligent species.

Once, my sister dragged me to Avatar with her, and I was the only person in the full theater who sat there clenching my teeth and growling the entire time.  I was sandwiched between my sister Michelle who kept gasping and putting her hand up to her mouth, and the man on the other side me who was, I believe, Tommy Chong’s doppelganger.  He kept slapping me on the knee and saying “Groovy!”  (Yes, really!)  Then I’d scowl at him, and he’d look at me and gasp and say, “Oh, I’m sorry.”  Then I’d glare at Michelle and between my clenched teeth say, “I hate you!”

I sometimes even have dreams that would probably make a really good sci-fi book or movie, but I just can’t wrap my head around them enough to do anything with them.  Just last week I had a dream about a zombie apocalypse, and I woke up saying, “Now where in the world did THAT come from?”

So, having said that, for today’s Throwback Thursday, I’m going to share one of the most embarrassing pieces of work I’ve ever written.  I was nine years old when I wrote this, and, yes, it was the first and only time I ever dipped my toe in the sci-fi pool.  I had a toy typewriter at the time, and I distinctly remember playing with my Barbies in the backyard when I had the “AHA! moment” to run inside RIGHT NOW and write this corny story.  So, if you want a good laugh today, then feel free to have one at my expense.  I don’t mind.  Really.

Click to enlarge (Page 1) — {How about these uniforms? LOL!}

Click to enlarge (Page 2) — {Half a cat? Really? LOL!}

Click to enlarge (Page 3) — {The Little Miss Universe Pageant? What girl wouldn’t want THAT title? LOL!}

Click to enlarge (Page 4) — {Check out Mrs. Maduley’s rear end! LOL!}

The Adventures of Starbaby (5)

Click to enlarge (Page 5) — {In case you’re wondering, yes, those are cat’s ribs on either side of Starbaby. LOL!}

And this is me at the age I wrote this sci-fi masterpiece after my one and only time fishing as a kid. Check out my fancy bellbottoms! Groovy!

 *Absolutely no offense is intended to all the wonderful sci-fi authors or fans.  I’m sure your work is very good.  I just don’t “get it.”

Today’s Ten Million Dollar Question Is…

Okay, well, the truth is, I don’t have ten million dollars to give you.  I hope you would’ve read this post even without the prospect of becoming an instant millionaire.  But the thought of being financially blessed does tie in with today’s “Wondering Wednesday” question…

Do you take the time to celebrate the things you have or focus more on what you still want?

The Offering

This is Calico.  She’s lived outside of my house ever since we moved here five years ago.  She was fully grown then, though much more scrawny.  She’s a very feral cat, and she’ll hiss wildly if you get within ten feet of her.  That said, she’s learned that at my house, we’re cat people, and we feed her twice a day.  So now, like clockwork, she comes walking up to the front sidewalk for her daily fix of food.

Calico

It sometimes frustrates me that while she grants us the privilege of feeding her regularly, she will not allow us to even walk near her, much less touch her.  When it gets cold outside, such as this past year, we’ve finally been able to get her to lay on a blanket that we put outside with catnip on it.  But the poor girl refuses to take shelter from the rain.

My son Jeremy besides being a music engineer, works building, screening, and repairing pool enclosures.  He even built a little screen room for Calico which was made with a type of screen that doesn’t allow water to penetrate so she could still feel like she was outside.  But she refuses to even get near it.

Jeremy

But just when I get the most frustrated with poor Calico’s demanding personality, she does something kind such as leaving an offering on my front doorstep.  Usually it’s a dead mouse or bird, or perhaps a snake.  Thanks, Calico.

But Calico isn’t the only kid around these parts to leave offerings.  The other day, I went to my computer and found that my son had left me a gift on my mouse pad.  Thanks, Jeremy.

Dehydrated Lizard Carcass

Yes, that’s right.  It’s a dead lizard that he found dried up in a gutter he was working on that day. Wasn’t he sweet to save it in his pocket all day long to bring home for me?

Yeah.  Sweet.  But at least he’s getting better.  A few years ago, he and his friend Austin found something else that they wanted to bring me…

Old Dead Alligator

Yes, that is indeed a dead alligator!  They found this rotting gator carcass in the woods behind my house and thought it would be a great idea to bring it home and leave it on my front porch for me to find!  Of course I made them put it back and wash their hands, and a couple of days later somebody else found it and cut off its head, then the day after that, the game patrol or some such authority came and took it away thankfully.  (I’ll admit, it was me that insisted on taking photos first.)

But don’t worry.  I know how to reciprocate.  Just last night, Austin brought me a live ball python.  Jeremy hates snakes (and spiders and roaches, oh, my!).  So, of course, being a good mother, I attempted to help him alleviate his fear by wrapping the snake around my neck then going to give him a hug.  Unfortunately, he saw it and ran screaming before I got close.  But there’s always the holidays…

At any rate, at least my son thinks to bring me things.  After all, it’s the thought that counts, right?

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?  What’s the largest gift you’ve ever received?  What’s the oddest thing you’ve ever found in someone’s pocket when you did laundry?

 

Author Interview – Kerry Donovan

Recently, I posted a Call to Writers, asking my fellow author bloggers to allow me to interview them for guest-spots on my blog.  (If you are interested in participating, please contact me.)  I asked everyone thirty-five questions — some were basic, and others were multi-part inquiries — and I asked them to answer only what they wanted to or what was applicable. My friend and fellow-blogger, Kerry Donovan, had some very captivating responses which I’m sure will enchant you, as well.  After you read his interview, please be sure to hop on over to his blog and follow him for a regular dose of his charisma and wit.  And now, I turn the microphone over to Kerry…

*.*.*

ABOUT YOU::

kerry donovan (3)1. Please tell us your name (or pen name) and a little bit about yourself:

Hi Rachel, I’m Kerry J Donovan. I don’t use a pen name. If I put my work up for sale, then I reckon people ought to know whom to blame, right? Seriously though, I’m proud of my writing and want to put my name to it.

I am Irish born, lived much of my life in the UK, and now call Brittany my home. I have three adult children, and three grandchildren, all of whom live in the UK.

2. Please provide the link to your blog (and website, Facebook fan page, Twitter, etc.):

Website: http://kerryjdonovan.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KerryJDonovan

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KerryJDonovan

3. How many books have you written?

kerry donovan (2)Dozens, but I guess you’re really asking how many books have I published? Currently, I have two published, and one in the process of publication. Both the published works are character-driven crime thrillers in my DCI Jones Casebook Series:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-DCI-Jones-Casebook-Raymond-ebook/dp/B00CR039OA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398240080&sr=8-1&keywords=kerry+j+donovan

http://www.amazon.co.uk/DCI-Jones-Casebook-Ellis-Flynn-ebook/dp/B00GXHWTV2/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1398377651&sr=8-2&keywords=kerry+j+donovan

kerry donovan (1)My soon-to-be published novel is a change of pace and genre for me. The Transition of Johnny Swift is a paranormal, science-based thriller. You can find out all about it on my website. The book is available for pre-order right now:

http://kerryjdonovan.com/the-transition-of-johnny-swift/

Next up will be a compilation of my short stories, which I intend to sell directly via my website, just for fun.

4. If you have been published, did you self-publish or use traditional publishing? Why? 

The DCI Jones Casebook series is self-published. Why? I fell into self-publishing really. It wasn’t so much a plan, but I wanted to generate a following for my main hero, Detective Chief Inspector David Jones and wrote a 12,000-word novelette to introduce him to the world. Traditional publishers don’t tend to hands short stories any more, they tell me there’s no market so I self-published and sell through the usual online outlets (Amazon, B&N etc). I found the process easy.

There are advantages and disadvantages to the self-publishing process. Prime advantages are speed to publication and I get to keep a higher percentage of the royalties. The prime disadvantage is the lack of support—I have to do everything from promotion to cover design.

As for The Transition of Johnny Swift, crowd-funded publisher Britain’s Next Bestseller has accepted it on their lists. All I have to do now, is sell 250 pre-orders and I’m guaranteed a publishing deal (hence the mention of ‘pre-ordering’ above.)  🙂

5. How old were you when you started writing?  When did you know you wanted to be an author?

I’ve been writing since I could first hold a pencil – aged four, but completed my first full-length novel in 1985, at the ripe old age of twenty-eight. However, in 1986, I burned it in a ceremony to the Gods of prose – it really was that bad. A sort of Cold War thriller set on a USAF base in the UK.

Over the years, I’ve written everything from peer-assessed journal articles (I’m a published scientist), to cycling blogs. The only thing I never did was write a diary.

I took up writing seriously in April 2011, after I’d finished renovating my cottage in Brittany.

6. What would you say motivates you to keep writing?

The stories and characters come at me from nowhere and won’t leave me alone until I’ve committed them to the word processor. It’s really annoying. I lose sleep if I’m not writing the next story. My current short piece is set in pre-WWII Germany, the weekend before the burning of the Reichstag. Hell if I know where that story came from.

7. Who are some of your favorite authors?  What are you currently reading (or what is the last book you read)?

I primarily love any crime thriller author, Connelly, Grisham, Coben, Dexter… the list is endless.

8. What is your preferred reading method?  (i.e., Kindle, Nook, paperback, hardback, etc.)  Why?

I am a late convert to Kindle. Love it, especially the ability to increase the font size. These days, my tired old eyes need the assistance of large print, but I’m too vain to buy a large-font book, which advertises my advancing age.

9. Do you write in first or third person, past or present tense, and why?

All three depending upon my mood and what I want to do with the story. I tend to write in close POV because I never could get along with the head-hopping omniscient narrative style, which I find takes me out of the story. The DCI Jones Casebooks are written in third person past tense, as it seems to suit the mood of the hero. David Jones is a difficult man to get to know and third person suits him.

On the other hand, Johnny Swift is in first person present tense, because I want the reader to be right there in the head of the lead character—suffering along with him, if you like.

10. Do you “always read” or do you take breaks between reading books? 

I’m rarely without a book to read – another joy of having an e-reader.

11. How many books would you say you read in a year?  How many at any one time?

A dozen or so and I’m really ODC about these things. I only ever read one book at a time.

 *.*.*

ABOUT YOUR CURRENT BOOK::

12. What is the title of your current work in progress of the most recent manuscript you’ve completed?

I’ve just started the sequel to The Transition of Johnny Swift, as yet the working title is Terra Nova, but that’s likely to change.

I also have two Casebooks on the go. One is a sequel to Ellis Flynn; the other is a prequel and takes place in 1975, when David Jones was a fresh-faced Constable on his first beat in South Wales.

Oh, and I’ve decided to pull some of my short stories into an anthology to be released a couple of months before The Transition of Johnny Swift. It’s all go at Chez Donovan.

13. What is your novel’s genre?  Would you say there is a sub-genre?  What makes yours different than other books in the same genre?

The Transition of Johnny Swift spans a number of genres from outright paranormal to science-based fiction. The Casebooks are crime thrillers, almost police procedurals in their detail. But I think what makes my stories stand out are the characters. I like to build believable, nuanced characters. Another difference in my writing is my science background. I am a respiratory physiologist and know how the body functions. I bring my eye for detail into everything I write. For example, you’ll never see me write “the blood pumped through his veins.” Why not? Arteries have pulses, not veins.

14. What inspired the current or most recent story you’ve completed?

Inspiration for The Transition of Johnny Swift came from the title, which arrived one wet afternoon. Simple as that. I liked the sound of it and wanted to know what story it contained.

15. What is your target audience’s age, gender, etc.?

Very definitely adult. To expand a little, I think my work suits a more mature, thoughtful audience. I tend to write slow-burners that need concentration. There are very few car chases, gun battles or fisticuffs in my stories.

16. Do you want to tell us a little bit about your story?

Yes please. My latest story, THE TRANSITION OF JOHNNY SWIFT tells the tale of a young man’s fight to save his family from a threat nobody else can see or understand.

Frank Brazier—the book’s lead character and narrator—is a successful racing driver. After a night celebrating a win, he accompanies his sister, Paula, to London by train. The train derails and sends Frank into a hellish world of pain and confusion.

Three days later, Frank wakes in hospital with horrific injuries. Blind in one eye, suffering intense migraines, he can barely move. Worse still, he hears impossible voices that cannot exist. In the next room, Paula is on life support. The doctors say she’s brain dead. They want to pull the plug on her machines, but Frank knows better—one of the voices he hears is Paula.

The book follows Frank’s slow recovery from his physical injuries and his battle to save both Paula and the rest of his family. The doctors dismiss his claims as the wild ramblings of a man with brain damage (he has pieces of metal in his head—parts of the train).

Neither his father nor girlfriend believes him either. Only his imagined, elusive ‘friend’, Shadow-man believes. But is Shadow-man real? And if so, is he there to help or harm?

 *.*.*

ABOUT HOW YOU WRITE::

17. How often do you write?

Most days you’ll find me tapping at the keys, after I’ve finished my ‘day job’. I start to feel a little ‘antsy’ if I’ve not written a thousand words in a day, although I’ve not written much recently as I’m trying to promote the new book.

18. Do you do your own editing or send it to someone else?

Aha – I’d love to afford an editor. Currently, I edit the m/s at least twice before sending it to a couple of writer friends in a quid-pro-quo arrangement. I’m also a member of the online writer’s group, Scribophile and their feedback has been superb. My wife reads the ‘final’ version for typos and grammar checks.

19. What is your method of writing?  (i.e., Do you write the entire manuscript, then go back and make changes?  Do you plan chapters as you go along or write the story then go back and add chapters?  Do you re-read as you go along or after you are done with the first draft?)

I do all of those, but mainly I’m a ‘pantser’, in that I rarely map out a whole book. I tried doing that once, but moved away from the plot after about a page-and-a -half. I’ll tend to finish a m/s first and then revise to fill in the gaping plot holes my method creates. This isn’t the most efficient system, but it’s the only way I can work.

20. Do you have a muse?  If so, please elaborate. If not, what inspires you?

No muse, I’m afraid. The plot and characters arrive, tell me what to write, and I acquiesce to their demands.

21. How long does it take you to write a full manuscript?

Tee hee. I started one book in 1996 and it’s still not finished, but I’ll return to it one day. Nowadays, I’ll finish a ‘shoddy first draft’ in about three months. Then the real work starts. Edits, rewrites, and yet more edits. The completed book is never ready until about six months after I start.

22. Do you give yourself a word limit for each day or a time limit to finish your novel? If so, please elaborate.

Nope, I’m not that prescriptive. I do however, have an idea in mind for the length of the book, and create a spreadsheet to calculate how long it’s going to take to finish the first draft. I’m a little OCD when it comes to countdowns.

23. How do you come up with your character names and geographic location / business names?

Toss a coin, think of a number and ignore it – I don’t know. Locations are either real or fake, but my characters are all real.

24. How long (or how detailed) are the notes you take before you start writing?

True ‘pantsers’ do very little research. I am very old and have accumulated so many useless pieces of knowledge in the course of my life, some of which are used in my stories. For example, did you know that British longbows were made of Yew wood, the sap is on the outside and the heartwood is on the inside (to increase the recoil tension)? Don’t know how I’m going to include that into my stories, as I don’t do period pieces.

Experience is key. I am a trained cabinet maker/furniture designer. I also hold a PhD in Sport and Exercise Sciences. Both of these identities inform my writing—I’ll leave the reader to decide where and how well.

25. Do you have any “must haves” to help you write?  (i.e., a full cup of coffee, a view of the ocean, etc.)

Apart from birdsong, which I get a load of in my home here in Brittany, I need silence. No music, no vacuuming, no traffic noise. A cup of tea and a biscuit will help occasionally, but peace and quiet are essential.

26. Do you only write during a certain time of day or in a certain location?  If so, do you make yourself stop after a certain time?

I have my office in the attic and stop when I’m tired. When on a roll, I’ve been known to write through the night and sleep through the day. As a granddad with kids and grandkids in a different country, my wife and IU can take siestas whenever we choose.

27. Does your real life ever neglected because of your writing?  If so, how do you feel about that?

Never – unless you ask my wife, when the answer becomes – always!

28.What is the quirkiest thing you do or have ever done when writing?

I refuse to answer that on the grounds that I might incriminate myself. I understand that in the US, this is called standing on the 5th amendment?

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ABOUT YOUR WORK::

29. If you have written more than one novel, which is your favorite and why?

My favourite novel is always my WIP. I love to find out where the story’s going and what’s happening to my friends, the characters.

30. If you could be one of your own characters for a day, who would it be and why?

Didn’t I tell you already? I am DCI David Jones (sic).  DJ is kind, clever, slightly ODC, and almost never wrong. The only way we differ is that DJ is short and slim and I am tall and not slim, and he’s nice and I’m horrible. Also, DJ is a bachelor and has no kids, I have three children and three grandchildren, all of whom live in the UK.

31. If one of your books became a movie, who would you choose for the “perfect cast” of main characters?

I’ll pass on that question.

32. What is the oddest thing you have ever researched for one of your books?

For The Transition of Johnny Swift, I researched string theory, quantum mechanics, and driving a Formula 1 racing car – that odd enough for you?

33. What is the most difficult thing you have ever researched for one your books and why?

My novel, The DCI Jones Casebook: Ellis Flynn, involved child abduction, paedophiles, and snuff movies. I didn’t like researching that one little bit, but the story is uplifting and ultimately one I am very proud to have written.

Thanks very much for allowing me the time to talk about my favourite subject.

Regards,

Kerry

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Thank you, Kerry, for allowing me to interview you.  I hope everyone else has enjoyed learning about you and your work as much as I have.

~Rachel