Q&A Interview

Q&A Interview with Lissa Pelzer



I am very excited to welcome Lissa Pelzer
 to my blog page after reading No More Birthdays and giving it a 5 star review. Lissa has kindly offered to take part in my Q&A Interview…. So without further ado here is Lissa Pelzer



Can you tell us a little about yourself and background?
I’m from North Wales originally, but at 16 went to Ohio as an exchange student and essentially didn’t come back until I was 23. After coming back and going to university to study anthropology, I landed a graduate scheme job in Canary Wharf, writing copy, content and romance stories for extra cash. Six years later, I’d really had enough of the lifestyle and the debt it was creating and ditched it to try and start a winter season nanny agency business in the French Alps. I tagged along from there to the Atlantic and a bar job and one eventful night 7 years ago I met a nice German who was just passing through…. I live, work, drink and speak German now… Quite an unexpected outcome.

When did you know that you wanted to become a writer? and how did you go about it?
I remember it quite clearly. I was reading the 2nd book in Highsmith’s Ripley series and stupidly mistook her economy of style for a lack of complexity or difficulty in the writing process. I was writing my dissertation and started writing ‘a novel’ as a form of procrastination. At the time, I thought I knew what I was doing, breaking down Highsmith books into their composite parts and following the pattern, as if I was trying to reassemble a clock. It didn’t go anywhere and I was just constantly re-editing the first 7 chapters for 2 years. But then I started in a writing group at Birkbeck in London and the teacher said there was something in there. I spoke to an agent who was also keen but asked me to make some changes. Of course, after making the changes, they decided they didn’t like it anymore and called the new version ‘boring’ and not what the market was looking for.
I just kept writing and looking for chances to earn money from it. Slowly, opportunities came in. After the first setback, I didn’t think I would ever publish anything in the Crime genre. I don’t write crime stories with chainsaws or machine guns or SAS heroes. It was only in the last 2 years that I saw that independent publishing could be seen as a respectable way to publish. I think in the last few years we’ve seen a quality of work emerge independently, which would have been traditionally published 20 -30 years ago. The huge overheads of securing a market share in the current flooded market, means a traditionally published book needs to have a wide and broad following and often this comes at the expense of anything special or different. 

Can you tell us what genre your books are and the audience you write for?
I write crime and suspense. I think my audience are crime fiction lovers who don’t care where the book is set, as long as it is engaging. They are mainly women, from 18-99 and younger men. In the few reviews I’ve had from guys in their 40s, 50s and 60s, they seem to take offence at the treatment of the male characters in the stories. I don’t think my writing is misandristic but obviously, it touches a sore spot somewhere. 

What is your writing process? and how long does it take?
I usually start with an opening scene of a feeling and then write until the plot starts to form in an opportunistic manner. Then I stop and plot it. Then I write it, try to develop the scenes to create escalating tension, pull my hair out by the roots, give up, cry, get over it and carry on. But even with a perfect plot, something chances, simply because if you stick to the plot, you get bored yourself too. It also takes me months to proof read anything because I can’t see my own mistakes for love nor money. 

Are your characters based on anyone you know or are they just fictional?
Both. Sometimes a supporting character will be someone I met but didn’t get to know very well. This is good because it’s enough to keep writing the scene but not too much that you can’t shape them as you will.
I find if I based them too much on real people, characters are simply boring. 

Have you written about a personal experience in your novels?
Not personal experiences but personal feelings. 

What research do you do?
Hardly any. I always set stories in places I know and write about things I already know. I sometime consult google maps if I forget which road goes where. 

Who would you like to co-write with and why?
Hmmmm….good question. I think I’m really a total introvert and any type of team or group activities brings me out in hives. That’s one of the things I hate about offices, how you have to cooperate when often you can do the job better and quicker on your own. Darn it – I’ll have to say, no one at all.

What’s your favorite book?
Only one???? For it’s sheer economy and influence on my life, I’d have to say The Talented Mr Ripley, Patricia Highsmith. But that is only because I couldn’t put another above it for fear that Highsmith might come back to life and devise a simple and cunning way to dispose of me. I find with many good books, each one is my favourite while I’m reading it. 

What’s your favorite food?
Sushi, closely followed by McCoy’s salt n’ Malt Vinegar Crisps.

What’s your favorite film?
Again it depends…. I love Raider’s of the Lost Ark and can watch it every Christmas. Likewise, the Anthony Minghella version of The Talent Mr Ripley was really beautiful. But right now, I have a very young son, so I can also quote every line in Cars 2 with near studio precision. 

What’s your favorite song?
The Brazilian Jorge Ben classic Mas Que Nada, covered by Sergio Mendes, That’s the Bossa Nova tune playing in Austin Powers when he’s riding through Las Vegas on top of a double decker. You know it when you hear it. To me, that song just says, cocktails, sunshine, eternal youth and not a care in the world. 

How can readers find out more information about yourself and your books?
I have a Facebook page, obviously Lissa Pelzer (Author). And an Amazon author page and I’m on Twitter @LissaPelzer.


Thank you Lissa for dropping by my blog today and taking time out to do this interview. I hope all you readers have enjoyed it has much has me.














Q&A interview with Oliver Tidy

I am very excited to welcome Oliver Tidy to my blog page on his publication day. Oliver has kindly offered to take part in my Q&A Interview…. So without further ado ere is Oliver Tidy


Can you tell us a little about yourself and background?
In my late thirties I went back to education as a mature student to qualify as a primary school teacher. Before then I’d worked in a variety of unskilled manual jobs. I then taught for a few years in UK primary schools before deciding that I didn’t want to be diagnosed as clinically insane before I was fifty. So I decided to try life abroad as a teacher of English as a foreign language. Much easier.
After six years of that I took a year’s sabbatical – that’s where I am now – to see if I could make it as a writer. By ‘make it’ I mean support myself financially. If I can make it pay this year I’ll do another. If I can’t I’ll be looking for teaching jobs next summer. (Falls to his knees and starts praying for shedloads of Amazon downloads.)

When did you know that you wanted to become a writer? and how did you go about it?
I’m one of those bitten quite late by the writing bug. I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I can remember and a book collector for many years. I tried to write when I lived in the UK but there were too many distractions for me. When I moved to Turkey, six years ago, I found the time and space to have a go. It’s since become something of a daily habit.
I started writing at work – being an English teacher abroad there is lots of free time during the day. It snowballed from there.
Can you tell us what genre your books are written in and the audience you write for? 
I currently write three series: The Romney and Marsh Files are essentially British police procedurals; the Booker and Cash stories are British private detective stories and my Acer Sansom novels are international thrillers.
I started off writing for me. Then I craved some reader feedback so I self-published. (No one else was interested in reading my stuff apart from my mum and I think she skim-reads most of it.) These days I write for anyone who wants to read me, although I find that the books in each of my series are far more popular with a British readership than any other.

What is your writing process? And how long does it typically take to write a book?
I’m on a year’s sabbatical at the moment. I could afford to try writing full-time for a year and so I invested in myself. I write in the mornings from nine until one with a couple of coffee breaks thrown in. Then I usually get back to my desk from eight in the evening until midnight. I don’t generally write at weekends much. On a good day I can manage five-thousand words.
Using this routine I’ve completed the first drafts of two books in two months. I leave them alone for a couple of weeks – I start other writing projects – and then come back to them for editing before sending them off to my proofreading friend. When he’s done he pings them back and I deal with all the formatting and then upload them to Amazon.

Are your characters based on anyone you know or are they just fictional?
There is a lot of my thinking in two of my central protagonists. I’m not sure I should name either. There are bits and pieces of people I have known in some of the other characters. I find it helps a lot with dialogue writing to imagine myself having conversations with particular people I know.
Have you written about a personal experience in your novels?
There is nothing from my personal experience in any of my novels other than my experience of some of the locations. (I want to make it quite clear that I have never had a ‘relationship’ with a monkey.) 

What research do you do?
As and when I feel I need it I make use of Google (maps, street view and satellite) and then Wikipedia. So useful. And free! I’ve also gleaned some useful local information from travel blogs for my Acer Sansom novels. (There was no way I was going to Iran! Not with my tattoos.)
In my Acer Sansom novels he spends some time in Turkey. I’ve drawn on my personal experiences of places to write the geographical aspects of the books: where I met my wife, where we had our honeymoon, where she ‘fell’ off the cliff during our first row. (She’s fine now.)
But mostly I make it up as I go along.

Who would you like to co-write with and why?
I’d love to co-write something (anything) with JK Rowling. It’s not that I think she’s the best writer out there but think of the millions of books we’d sell with her name on the cover. Kerching! I’d never have to work again.
What’s your favourite book?
A dictionary. I love words and I get so much satisfaction out of reading a perfect and concise dictionary definition. (Does that make me weird?)
What’s your favourite food?
My mum’s home-made blackberry and apple crumble – cold from the fridge. I can eat that any time of day or night until my tummy hurts.
What’s your favourite film?
Dirty Business starring Acer Sansom. It hasn’t been done yet but it’s going to be my favourite when Ridley Scott realises it should be made.
What’s your favourite song?
Ding Dong the Witch is Dead. (I’d better not say why. Some people who are still grieving for her might read this.)
How can readers find out more information about yourself and your books?
My blog is the best place to find out about me and my books. They are all listed there with their blurbs and there are pages of reader feedback.
My blog is more of an online diary of my journey as a writer. I started it when I decided to self-publish, three years ago. I make at least one entry a week. The blog is as important to me as any of my books.


I would like to say a massive thank you to Oliver for taking time out to do this interview. I have to say you do make me laugh and I hope you readers all enjoy it to.









Q&A Interview with Michael Wood


I am very excited to welcome the one and only Michael Wood To my blog page after reading his brilliant debut novel For Reasons Unknown Michael has kindly offered to take part in my Q&A Interview….Without further ado ere is Michael Wood


Can you tell us a little about yourself and background?

I am a former journalist and currently work as a freelance proofreader as well as a crime fiction writer. I’m Sheffield born and bred and that’s why I’ve decided to set my novels here. I am a huge crime fiction fan and love series novels. 



When did you know that you wanted to become a writer? and how did you go about it?

I’ve always been interested in writing and telling stories. English was my favourite subject at school. I started off writing comedy scripts when I was a teenager. Looking back, they were probably awful. 



Can you tell us what genre your books are and the audience you write for? 

I write crime fiction and the book is aimed at adults. I am very interested in the psychology behind a crime; why the person commits a murder. For me, the ‘why’ is more important than the ‘who’. 



What is your writing process? and how long does it take?

I like to hand write very detailed notes before I begin typing them up. I write a full plot outline then hand write the first few chapters before going to the laptop. I like to write a few chapters ahead but not too far in front as I alway have new ideas as my typing. 



Are your characters based on anyone you know or are they just fictional?

They’re all fictional.



Have you wrote about a personal experience in your novels?

I have extensive knowledge of mental health issues so I’ve used that in some of my characters. 



What research do you do?

Whatever is needed. I plot my story first then whatever I need to research I look into it. I love finding out new facts. 



Who would you like to co-write with and why?

Excellent question. I’d love to collaborate with Val McDermid. She’s a brilliant writer, very chilling with amazingly rounded characters. She writes fast-paced and fluid prose. Once I pick up one of her novels I can’t put them down until they’re finished. 



What’s your favorite book?

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. 



What’s your favorite food?

Any green vegetable. 



What’s your favorite film?

I have so many favourite films. This really is a tough question to answer. I recently re-watched L A Confidential. It’s wonderfully directed.
What’s your favorite song?
I have a soft spot for Strange and Beautiful by Aqualung. It’s extremely haunting. 

How can readers find out more information about yourself and your books?
Follow me on Facebook and Twitter. I’m working on a website at present.


I would like to say a massive thank you Michael for taking time out to do this interview. Hope you all enjoy it.











Q&A Interview with Leigh Russell


I would like to welcome the lovely Leigh Russell to my blog page who has kindly offered to take part in my Q&A Interview…..Without further ado ere is Leigh Russell


Can you tell us a little about yourself and background?
There was no long term plan to become an author. Throughout my early years I was an avid reader, studying literature at university for four years after which I taught English for more years than I can remember. One day I had an idea and began writing and haven’t stopped since. Seven years, and a dozen books later, I’m still writing. 

When did you know that you wanted to become a writer? and how did you go about it?
F Scott FitzGerald said, “You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.” That was certainly my experience. I had no plans to become a published author, but had an idea for a story and began to write. The narrative took over, until the story had written itself out. Only when it was finished did it occur to me that I had written a book! So I sent off the manuscript, and two weeks later had a call from a publisher who was interested in my work. The rest, as they say, is history. My debut, Cut Short, came out in 2009. I was lucky to be published so quickly, but I think it’s far more difficult to find a publisher these days. 

Can you tell us what genre your books are and the audience you write for?
My books are murder mysteries, or crime fiction, set in England. My current Geraldine Steel and Ian Peterson series are psychological police procedurals, often described as “page turners”. My new Lucy Hall series which launches in February with Journey to Death, is also a crime series. It differs from my other writing as my young protagonist, Lucy Hall, is not a police officer, and she has adventures solving crimes overseas.. My audience is anyone who reads crime fiction.

What is your writing process? and how long does it take?
I have been delivering two books a year, one for Geraldine Steel and one Ian Peterson. That allows me six months for each book. Having such challenging deadlines helps me to stay focused. It’s hard work with everything else I have to do, working on edits and appearing at literary festivals, talking in libraries, giving interviews, and signing books, so I never really take a day off. Even my holidays are research trips abroad. But I love what I do, and consider myself extremely lucky to have this opportunity to write full-time. 

Are your characters based on anyone you know or are they just fictional?
My characters are never based on people I know. They must be composites of people I’ve met, and characters I’ve read about or seen in films. But I never consciously model them on anyone I know.

Have you written about a personal experience in your novels?
No, never. My books are pure fiction. They are “what if” scenarios. What would you do if you were alone in the house at night and, in the darkness, you heard a door open? What might happen if you went into work one morning and discovered a dead stranger lying on the floor in your office? 

What research do you do?
My contacts on the police have been invaluable, and I have spent time shadowing and consulting them, as well as visiting prisons and morgues. The internet is a fantastic resource, but I prefer to get my information from real people, experts on their field. I have consulted all sorts of people, from the UK’s leading experts in DNA and forensic anthropology, to market traders and shop assistants, all experts in their own way, in areas in which I have no experience. Locations also need research, and I’ve spent a lot of  time in York, where one of my series is set. This year I had to stay in the Seychelles for a few weeks researching the first book in my Lucy Hall series. That was a difficult challenge! I also had to visit Paris and Rome, all for the purposes of research. Yes, it’s hard work being a crime writer… 

Who would you like to co-write with and why?
That is an interesting question. I envy writing partnerships, like Michael Stanley (who live on different continents!) and Nicci French. It must be wonderful to have constant feedback like that, but I’m not sure anyone would put up with my erratic writing schedule. In addition to my lack of routine, I’m very impatient, so I can’t imagine anyone wanting to work with me. My ideal co-writer would have be a very long-suffering man, as men and women’s perspectives can be slightly different (I hope I don’t get in trouble for sounding sexist… !) but, like most authors, I don’t think I would cope with co-writing with anyone else. Part of the fun of writing is that I can do whatever I want… until the editing process begins….

What’s your favourite book?
I have so many favourites, it really is impossible to pick just one. Among my favourites are To Kill a Mockingbird, The Remains of the Day, Pride and Prejudice, Of Mice and Men, Frankenstein, 1984… I could go on for a long time…. 

What’s your favourite food?
Again, I have several. My daughter makes a wonderful lentil curry, but Ferrero Rocher would have to come a close second… and chips… 

What’s your favourite film?
Play Misty For Me, Hitchcock’s later films, Austin Powers..

What’s your favourite song?
Again, it’s difficult to pick just one, so I’m going to cheat again and name three: Darkside of the Moon (Pink Floyd – I love that whole album), You are the Sunshine of my Life (Stevie Wonder) and God Only Knows What I’d Be Without You (Bee Gees).  

How can readers find out more information about yourself and your books?
Links to all my books are on my website, http://leighrussell.co.uk, along with links to my Facebook and twitter pages, and my blog. Readers can also find my forthcoming events listed, and contact me there with any questions.


Thank you so much for this interview!


A massive thank you Leigh for taking time out to do this interview. Hope you all enjoy it.











Q&A Interview with Micheal Kerr



I would like to welcome Michael Kerr to my blog page who has kindly offered to take part in my Q&A Interview…..Without further ado ere is Mr Michael Kerr


Can you tell us a little about yourself and background?
A.  I wouldn’t know where to start without writing a book.  I grew up in Hull.  My father was Yorkshire man and my mother a Glaswegian, so I don’t have a wallet; I wear a sporran with a padlock on it.  Only kidding. My parents met during WW 11. Skip a William Brown kind of life as a boy, and several false start careers, and I somehow wound up joining the Prison Service and stayed with it for twenty+ years.  I must have been a little crazy, but I wanted a challenging career, and I got it.
I took early retirement and now live in a small cottage in the Yorkshire Wolds with my wife, Joan, and a newly acquired cockatiel, Joey, that strayed into our garden and was in need of saving.  How come I didn’t know they were so noisy? Parrots, not wives.J
 When did you know that you wanted to become a writer?  And how did you go about it?
A.  I had the urge to write from being about twelve, but life got in the way. I started writing short stories in about 1999, won a couple of competitions, and then wondered if I could string 100,000+ words together.  Once I’d written one novel I couldn’t stop.  Writing became an obsession.
Can you tell us what genre your books are and the audience you write for?
A.  I write mainly gritty, violent crime fiction, but did not consider a target audience.  I just write what I want to and hope that readers find it entertaining.  I also dabble with horror and Sci-fi and children’s fantasy. I believe that a good story has to be character-driven and compel a reader to turn the pages.  I also like a decent, satisfying ending with no loose ends.
What is your writing process? And how long does it take?
A.  ‘What if?’ Is a question that I imagine most authors of fiction ask themselves when they start writing a book.  I think up a dilemma, then run with it and ask myself: Where? Who?, How? Why?  Answering all the questions writes the book.  And I write at any time of the day or night, when I’m in the mood and don’t have other things that need to be done.  I don’t ever want to know what is going to happen next in a story.  I let the characters draw me along and surprise me, if that makes sense.
Are your characters based on anyone you know or are they just fictional?
A.  Most of my characters are loosely based on people that I have met or known.  I think of an actual person that fits the part, and then give them a new identity.
Have you written about a personal experience in your novels?
A.  Yes on many occasions.  I believe that fiction seems more real if some events, both good and bad, have actually happened to you.
What research do you do?
A.  I pop to Google and Wiki when necessary, but try not to fall into the trap of using too much research.  It increases the word count, but can be boring.  I can sometimes read pages of info, then only use one or two sentences, shaped the way I want them to be.
Who would you like to co-write with and why?
A.That’s easy.  No one.  Writing a story is, to me, a very personal occupation.
 What is your favorite book?
A.  As a kid I loved the William Brown books by Richmal Crompton.  And then I moved on to Mark Twain and H.G Wells, as well as books such as Moby Dick and Treasure Island.  There were so many.  As for my choice of one book now, it would have to be The Stand by Stephen King.  There were so many thought-provoking scenes in it, and it eventually led to my small homage by writing Re-emergence.
What is your favorite food?
A.I eat more healthily these days, but like the odd treat.  As for my favourite meal, it would have to be steak, eggs over easy, mushrooms, onion rings and fries, with black coffee of course.  And I love cheese.  What else goes as well with red wine?
What is your favorite film?
A.  That is a real toughie.  On the Waterfront starring Marlon Brando comes to mind, as does The Vikings starring Kirk Douglas, but I know I’d answer this question differently tomorrow or next week.
What is your favorite song?
A. I’m a big Dean Martin fan, but to pick one song he sang would be impossible.  Let’s say ‘Little Green Apples’.  His version of it is outstanding.

How can readers find out more information about yourself and your books? 
A.  I have a Michael Kerr page on FB  And all my books can be found on Amazon kindle.  Just type in Michael Kerr kindle books. https://www.facebook.com/MichaelKerrAuthor/?fref=ts


Thanks for posing the questions, Shell.  I enjoyed answering them.
A massive thank you Michael for taking time out to do this. I can not wait to read more of your books. 

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