Meet the Author: The Deadly Truth by Valerie Keogh

Today we travel to Wiltshire, UK to chat with Valerie Keogh about how being a nurse, the Trans Siberian railway, Cape Town, a donkey, anchovies, Star Trek, ice cream in Lynmouth, and pizza in Giudecca come together as part of Valerie’s past and current life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m from Dublin but live in Wiltshire, UK, about 10 miles from Bath. I qualified as a nurse and worked as one until 2018 when I gave it up to write full time. I also, in my time, worked as a sales representative for a medical company. Plus I went to university as a mature student and obtained a BA in English and an MA in American Literature. I come from a family of 9, I’m the one below the middle child. I don’t have children but I’m slave to a fat cat called Fatty Arbuckle. I love to travel – many years ago, before I married, I took 3months off and travelled around the world, taking the Trans Siberian railway from Moscow to Beijing as the first step, then on to Australia, Fiji, Hawaii and to the US where I hired a car. I loved every minute. My current favourite places are Venice, India and Cape Town.

In which genre do you write?

I write crime and psychological thrillers. I’d like to write science fiction – some day.

How many published books do you have?

I currently have 15 books for sale on Amazon – five of which are independently published. Two are with Bookouture and the remainder with Bloodhound Books to whom I’m currently under contract.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

I always wanted to be a writer but it wasn’t until I saw the headlights of 50 shining in my eyes that I realised if I didn’t stop dreaming about it and actually write that it would stay a dream. So I wrote a full length book, and when it was finished, I started the next. And I haven’t stopped writing since.

What is the most enjoyable thing you’ve found through writing?

The writing community – it’s an amazingly supportive, kind and generous community of people who all want to do one thing – write. I have made some really good friends some of whom I’ve been lucky enough to have met, and some of whom I may never meet but we are still good friends. Since writing, by its very nature, is a solitary occupation, having a network of like-minded people is invaluable.

List 3 interesting facts about yourself.

1. I’m an absolute coward – something I discovered the first time when on a mule ride in the Grand Canyon – I hung on to the poor mule’s mane and didn’t look left or right. Embarrassingly, on the mule in front of me was a very young girl who had no problems at all. I saw nothing of the scenery, just the back of the mules neck. I went on a huge roller coaster in Hong Kong many years ago because my husband Robert wanted to go – I screamed the whole way around despite never opening my eyes.

2. I absolutely love Star Trek – the original series, Generations and Voyager.

3. I’m a nightmare to invite for dinner – having been at a number of embarrassing meals where I couldn’t eat anything, I now forewarn the cook! And just in case anyone is going to invite me – I don’t eat melon, cucumber, green beans, sweetcorn, anchovies, olives, pickles, coriander, cheddar cheese, oysters or offal.

Star Trek fan, here! I love The Next Generation. I can’t wait for the next season of Picard! – Camilla

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

I watched an old favourite last night – Separate Tables- with the amazing David Niven and Deborah Kerr. A black and white movie – it has a host of other stars including Burt Lancaster and Rita Hayworth but it is David Niven’s part that is stunning – a part for which he won an Oscar. It’s a slowly paced movie that depends on subtle facial expressions, and impeccably delivered lines.

This looks interesting! I’m adding it to my watch list. – Camilla 

Do you believe things happen for a reason? Do you have an example from your own life to share why you believe this?

Yes, I think they do – I am a great believer in Fate. Late 2017 I was fired from a nursing job, and was subject to an investigation by the nursing board – the case against me was dropped and I was cleared of any wrong doing but it was a very traumatic experience. During this time I decided, once again, to submit one of my books to a publisher. A few months later I signed my first publishing contract and several months later I gave up nursing for good.

If you could ask your pet three questions, what would they be?

Dear Fatty Arbuckle – why do you run up the road when I know you want to come in, forcing me to come after you and pick you up and carry you back? And why do you always wait until I am curled up on the sofa before demanding to be let out? And finally, why do you like a brand of cat food one week, and turn your nose up at it the next?

What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?

Lynmouth in Devon is my current favourite place to visit and we go for a week every year. It has amazing walks along rivers, through woodland, on hilltops – some flat, some incredibly steep where I swear I’m never going again – till the next time. Wonderful ice cream, lovely restaurants. Blissful.

Describe the perfect solo date you’d take yourself on … where, time of day, weather, place, etc.

When we go to Venice we stay on the little island of Giudecca – there’s a restaurant there and you can sit looking across the Grand Canal to St Marks. This is where I would go – in August, around 8pm, so it’s still warm but the lights are starting to come on, and I’d sit there, drink red wine, eat a pizza, and probably think about the next book I’m going to write.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on a psychological thriller which will be published by Bloodhound Books in Feb 2021.

Tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it.

My most recent book is also a psychological thriller – it came out in September. The Deadly Truth tells the story of Melanie, who is trying to make up for something in her past by living the best life she can. But she finds that her past is catching up with her.

It was wonderful to learn more about you and Fatty Arbuckle, and a pleasure to have you on MTA, Valerie. Sending you hugs, and wishing you all the best! – Camilla

Blurb:

Someone from her past wants to destroy her future…

When Melanie Scott is promoted to junior partner, she thinks she has put her past behind her and while out celebrating her promotion, she meets the handsome and charming Oliver Field.

Melanie has her doubts and is haunted by her mother’s critical voice, which reminds her that she’s messed up before. But when Oliver invites her for dinner, she buries her feeling and accepts his invitation.

She deserves the chance of happiness, doesn’t she?

However, the past she thought she left behind resurfaces when she receives an email containing a name; Anne Edwards. A name she thought she’d left behind.

When the emails escalate, she knows she has to find out who is behind them, but at what cost?

Melanie is about to learn that the past will now shape her future forever…

Where to buy:

mybook.to/TheDeadlyTruth

Social media:

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ValerieKeogh1

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/valeriekeogh2

**************************************************************************

Here are a few suggestions on how to further support this author:

  • Comment on the interview
  • Share the interview using the social media buttons
  • Click through to learn more about the author and their book(s)
  • If interested, buy the book and leave a review

To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla, Founder and Host

Meet the Author: Still Water by Catherine Marshall

Today we travel to Rawtenstall, a small town in Lancashire, England, to chat with Catherine Marshall about how Jackie magazine, visiting the south of France and southern Africa, being bored as a child, the idea of revenge, teaching creative writing, procrastination, freedom, and St Ives in Cornwall come together as part of Catherine’s current and past life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live in Rawtenstall, a small town in Lancashire, England with my husband. I’m originally from Longbridge, on the Birmingham/Worcestershire borders, and left when I was eighteen to do a degree in Literature and Theatre Studies. I began writing for Jackie magazine when I was a teenager, and went on to contribute many short stories and serials to various women’s magazines. I sold two romantic novels and had some deluded idea that my career as a writer had begun. Since then, I’ve had several agents, written and published a few more novels, and worked mostly in education.

In which genre do you write?

My first published novels were romances, because I’d been to the south of France and southern Africa and I knew exotic settings were often a key feature of romantic novels. After a long break, I wrote Masquerade, which my agent said she was going to sell as a psychological thriller. It’s a genre I love to read, so I wrote two more, and they are all currently published by Sharpe Books. My latest novel is a family saga, because the characters have been in my head for years and I wanted to tell their stories.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

When I was a child. During the summer holidays between primary and secondary school, I complained about being bored and my mother suggested writing a story. The story became a book, called The Ravenscroft Family, which I also illustrated. I look back at it and cringe, but at the time it felt like such an achievement. After that, I wrote all the time, mostly for my own amusement, and dreamed of one day becoming an author. It has always been the only thing I’ve wanted to do.

What are you currently reading?

I’ve just finished The Guest List by Lucy Foley, which is a master-class in writing a page-turner.

Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?

The idea for Still Water came from wondering how far someone might go if pushed, and what ‘being pushed’ might constitute. What extreme might someone go to due to rage and disappointment? How far would other factors (eg the character’s back story) make a difference, and how could I write about that so that the extreme act seems both shocking and psychologically true? I’m very interested in the idea of revenge, and what form that might take; it’s the theme of all three of my psychological thrillers.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

I work, usually short-term and part-time, usually in education. I particularly enjoyed teaching creative writing and drama in primary schools. I also love crafts and interior design, though on a very amateur basis.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

That I am very good at procrastination! And that it’s ok (though perhaps this is more about the process than about me) because writing has to happen in your head before it can happen on the page or screen. Even when I’m procrastinating I’m thinking about the story. So that’s another surprising thing, that often it helps if you’re not sitting in front of a blank page. I had the best idea for one of my books whilst crossing a busy road. Luckily I didn’t stop for too long to think about it!

What is the most enjoyable thing you’ve found through writing?

The freedom. Not only the freedom of being your own boss, but the freedom of being able to create worlds. Playing God with your characters. Of course, it’s only freedom up to a point, in terms of the insecurity that comes with being self-employed as well as needing to write something that someone will buy, but still. Freedom.

What do you miss about being a kid?

I miss: the sense of my whole life being in front of me, untrodden and full of promise; lying in bed hearing my parents’ voices downstairs and feeling utterly secure; spending time with my grandparents.

If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do?

Laura in Glories, as her relationships with all the other main characters are so varied. Also, she’s ahead of her time in that she goes to a London art school while most of her contemporaries are becoming secretaries. If I were her, I would pay as much attention to the people around me as to my own ambition, but that might be because I know what happens!

Do you believe things happen for a reason? Do you have an example from your own life to share why you believe this?

I do, largely because I find it reassuring and it gives me hope. I did really badly in my English A level and couldn’t go to my university of choice. But I did get a place elsewhere, and met my husband there. He turned out to have applied to some of the same courses at the same universities I had, so we might have met anyway. It sort of felt like Fate.

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

I’ve always been a good listener, and found it easy to see other people’s points of view. I think this is hugely important in the creation of characters, and everything I write is character-driven. I’ve found that listening to people helps to understand motivation, and to write believable dialogue.

What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?

St Ives in Cornwall. It is the most magical, inspiring place. I first went there on a family holiday when I was thirteen – so a very impressionable age! – and have returned many times since, more recently on an annual basis. It’s the setting for Still Water so I could be there in my head whilst sitting in my study in Lancashire.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on a few different projects. The first is my family saga, Glories, which is intended to be a trilogy. The first book, set in the 1960s, is on query with a few agents. I’m very keen to write the second and third books, but want to wait to see whether there’s any uptake on the first. I’ve just adapted Masquerade as a stage play, primarily for a competition but also to see whether I could. And the third is a novel called Past Life, which is a ghost story.

Tell us about your most recent book.

My most recent published book is Still Water. It’s a psychological thriller set in Cornwall. One of the characters is emerging from an emotional crisis and attempting to rebuild a normal life. For a short time it seems that she has been successful, indeed, her life becomes so much better than she had dared hope. And then it’s all taken away.

It was was wonderful to have you on MTA, Catherine. It sounds like you are working on some fun projects! Wishing you all the best with future books and your amazing projects. – Camilla

Blurbs:

Still Water

Every summer Gil Hunt escapes to the same small town on the Cornish coast. He rents a studio overlooking the bay from Cecily, who owns the café below, and spends his evenings at the bar on the pier or at beach parties with his surf dude friends. Every summer is relaxed and hedonistic and exactly the same – which is just the way Gil likes it.

Except this year, Cecily seems subdued and hankering after change for reasons she cannot or will not explain. Gil, mindful of her restlessness, is distracted by a series of chance encounters with Jemima Gregory, daughter of a local artist. As Cecily spirals away from him and Jem draws him ever closer, Gil’s own actions tie him into a web of other people’s secrets from which there is only the most violent and shocking escape.

Excluded

Stephen Lord is one of the good guys. He believes in justice, second chances and the power of redemption. He is also the headteacher of Rapton Community High School, where the pupils are running wild and the staff on the brink of mutiny.

Dean Bywater too is interested in justice. Fresh out of prison and seeking retribution for a tragedy rooted in his past, he returns to Rapton to find his fifteen year old nephew Callum poised between dreams of an army career and burgeoning criminality.

Meanwhile, A* student Todd is carrying a burden he cannot share even with ace teacher Finn Macallister or his sympathetic form tutor, new recruit Leigh Summers.

As the new school year begins, one small act of cruelty sets in motion a series of events which will have dreadful consequences for them all.

Masquerade

A week marooned among strangers seems to Anna to be the perfect opportunity to reinvent herself. Leaving behind the mess that her life has become to attend a Psychology summer school in Bath, she is hoping for some sense of perspective, perhaps even an escape.

But Anna comes to realise that she is not the only one searching for answers. Among her fellow students are Carys, who is being stalked by her abusive ex-husband, Michael, grieving for the loss of his wife, and Jack, enigmatic and nonchalant and hiding troubles of his own.

As the hottest week of the summer draws on, unsettling events spring from the shadows of their pasts. Reliving old passions and discovering new ones, Anna becomes aware of sinister undercurrents. And amid disappearances and death and the threat of violence, one of her new friends is guarding a terrible secret.

Where to find the books:

Still Water is published by Sharpe Books and is available in paperback and on Kindle from Amazon.

Links:

Connect with Catherine:

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/catherinemarshallbooks/?eid=ARDZ5Nf5wTR8IYOODnbRjWpxP7YnwNjsNXUt501gTnBRH3VAWDH7pNpTrOclrt4Ml_Gs9A4WhdAmpmT4

Twitter

**************************************************************************

Here are a few suggestions on how to further support this author:

  • Comment on the interview
  • Share the interview using the social media buttons
  • Click through to learn more about the author and their book(s)
  • If interested, buy the book and leave a review

To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla, Founder and Host

 

Meet the Author: The Runaway by Linda Huber

Today we travel to Lake Constance in N.E. Switzerland to chat with Linda Huber about how being a physiotherapist, the Brownie Guide Book, a 1940’s drowning, the magic of childhood, cutting her own hair, and Agatha Christie play roles in Linda’s past and current life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I grew up in Scotland, but came to Switzerland over half a lifetime ago intending to stay for a year – and here I still am. After working as a physiotherapist and then retraining as an English teacher after a back injury, I was lucky enough to be able to transform my hobby of the past thirty-odd years – writing – into my ‘job’. I’m hybrid published, with both traditionally and self-published books – nine psychological suspense novels as Linda Huber, all set in the UK, and five feel-good novellas set right here in Switzerland under my pen name Melinda Huber. Nowadays, I live on the banks of beautiful Lake Constance in N.E. Switzerland, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

I can tell you that exactly: I was seven years old and in the Brownies, looking through the Brownie Guide Handbook for a first badge to do. I decided on the Writer’s Badge, wrote the required little story and thought, ‘Wow. This is cool. This is what I want to do.’ Long story short, I’ve never stopped.

Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?

If I tell you that I’ll be giving away the entire plot, so I’ll tell you about an older book, The Cold Cold Sea.

One day back in the late nineties, I started to research my family tree. This was before the internet was helpful with things like that, so first of all I wrote to various relatives asking for info. One of them, an elderly distant cousin, sent diagrams of several families on her branch of the tree. One showed a mother and father with three children. The first two children had names and dates, but the third name, Agnes, had one word beside it: drowned. I was dumbstruck. In the 1940s, a little girl in my family had died, and I’d never known she’d existed. Then I started to wonder… how do parents cope with a loss like that? How do they react, what do they tell the other children, how can their world carry on? Then I thought: what if they don’t cope? And that was the beginning of the idea for The Cold Cold Sea. (I found out later that Agnes had drowned at a swimming pool, aged eleven. Isn’t that tragic?)

What are you currently reading?

Ninety-nine per cent of the books I read are some form of crime fiction. However, at the moment I’m reading Helen Pryke’s Innocenti Saga, a trilogy about the fictional Innocenti family, all the way from the Great Plague to the modern day. It’s set in Italy and the UK, and it’s mesmerising.

What do you miss about being a kid?

The magic. The feeling that the world’s in front of you and anything is possible. The endless summer days with freedom to play. Knowing my parents would always take care of me. Santa Claus. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to go back, just for a day?

List three interesting facts about yourself.

1. I cut my own hair. (I bought a Flow-Bee decades ago to cut my kids’ hair. Neither would let me anywhere near them with it, but I started doing my own, and I haven’t been to a hairdresser for over twenty years now.)
2. I write my shopping list in a mixture of English and German, depending on what I’m thinking and who I’m with at the time.
3. I collect pottery sheep.

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author from the past, who would it be and what would you ask them?

I would choose Agatha Christie, and I’d ask her how she came up with plots for the dozens of books she wrote. She must have been a phenomenally imaginitive woman; I’d love to be able to think like that!

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

Yesterday I watched an Agatha Christie film on TV, which is probably why I immediately thought about her for the last question. It was Evil Under The Sun, with Peter Ustinov. I’ve seen it already and think I watched it again for the distraction; at the time of writing we’re in week 3 of Corona lockdown here in Switzerland, and the world isn’t a happy place.

If you could ask your pet three questions, what would they be?

Our Shiva is sadly no longer here, but I would have LOVED to ask:
1. How come you’re always hungry?
2. Why is rolling in something totally disgusting the best idea ever?
3. What do we have to do to make you sleep an hour or so longer in the morning?

Tell us about your most recent book.

It’s The Runaway (psychological suspense). Nicola, her husband Ed and their fifteen-year-old daughter Kelly move from London to the seaside town of St Ives. It’s supposed to be a fresh start for the family, but things don’t go as Nicola had hoped…

It was lovely to have you on MTA, Linda. I also miss the magic of childhood. What a lovely thought. Wishing you all the best, and take care during these strange times! – Camilla

Blurb for The Runaway:

Keep your secrets close to home…

Bad things happen in threes – or so it seems to Nicola. The death of her mother-in-law coincides with husband Ed losing his job and daughter Kelly getting into trouble with the police. Time to abandon their London lifestyle and start again by the sea in far-away Cornwall.

It should be the answer to everything – a new home, a new job for Ed and a smaller, more personal school for fifteen-year-old Kelly. But the teenager hates her new life, and it doesn’t take long before events spiral out of control and the second set of bad things starts for Nicola.

Some secrets can’t be buried.

Or… can they?

Where to find the book:

At the moment it’s an ebook on Amazon, with the paperback coming later in the year. (NB – my books are all written in British English)

Connect with Linda:

Amazon Author page: viewAuthor.at/LindaHuber
Website: https://lindahuber.net/
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/authorlindahuber/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LindaHuber19
Insta: https://www.instagram.com/linda.huberch/

**************************************************************************

Here are a few suggestions on how to further support this author:

  • Comment on the interview
  • Share the interview using the social media buttons
  • Click through to learn more about the author and their book(s)
  • If interested, buy the book and leave a review

To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla, Founder and Host

Meet the Author: The Butcher’s Daughter by Jane E James

Today we welcome Jane E James as we travel to Cambridgeshire countryside to learn how a farm, a huge bay window, long country walks, a rescue donkey, and the Yorkshire Moors are a part of Jane’s life. Get your walking shoes on, let’s go …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a best-selling author, creating chilling reads that appeal to fans of psychological thrillers, mysteries and dark fiction. I love to weave tense and haunting tales that stay in the reader’s mind. All my books are standalone novels.

I recently signed a two-book publishing deal after my 2nd novel, The Crying Boy (a compelling suspense thriller inspired by actual events) became an overnight best seller on Amazon, knocking both Stephen King and Dean Koontz off the top suspense spot.

When I’m not writing (or reading) I enjoy living ‘the good life’ in the
Cambridgeshire countryside with my ‘all-action-super-hero’ hubby. Rebecca, Carrie, The Woman in Black and Wuthering Heights are among some of my favourite reads. You can catch up with me on facebook and twitter. But make sure you bring Monster Munch and wine…

In which genre do you write?

I am a writer of psychological thrillers, mysteries and dark fiction.

How many published books do you have?

Three standalone novels and a short story

When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

As a girl, I loved all things books and would read for hours. The progression to writing was a natural one. Sadly, I didn’t receive much encouragement, even at school. My English teacher accused me of cheating and failed an essay of mine, claiming my writing was too advanced for my age. It was a set-back, but I didn’t let it put me off. The opposite was true. It made me want to prove everyone wrong.

What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

I still work full time (on a farm, would you believe?) so I sacrifice most of my spare time to write. Luckily for me, my all-action-super-hero-hubby is in the army reserves so is away quite a lot and therefore I get plenty of time on my own to write.

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?

I lost my little dog a month or so ago and still miss him dearly. Not having a dog curled up around my feet while I write feels alien to me. He was very old, almost blind and completely deaf and I would choose him as my mascot.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

Old-worldly. A library full of dusty books, leather furniture and a huge bay window overlooking parkland and woods. My actual space is very different although I do have a wonderful view of the countryside. Nothing but fields.

What are you currently reading?

Poison Orchids by Sarah Denzil and Anni Taylor. Sarah is a friend of mine and I am a big fan of her work.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

In the winter I like to curl up in front of a log fire with a glass of red wine, that sort of thing and go on long country walks. I am a country girl at heart and always have been. I am most at home in muddy wellies, no make-up and a checked shirt. But I can glam up when needed. Lol.

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

I don’t even have to think about this one. I would have afternoon tea on the lawn at Manderley with Daphne du Maurier and I would ask her who she based Rebecca on.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

I’ve toughened up since I wrote my debut novel. When I got my first bad review, I was so upset I didn’t want to get out of bed but now I cope much better. In fact, I welcome all kind of reviews as I think they lend authenticity to your ratings.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve done or experienced to help create a scene?

For The Butcher’s Daughter, I visited slaughterhouses and butcher shops to get a sense of what these places are like. What I saw and heard there changed my mindset forever. As a result, I became a vegetarian and after reading the first two chapters of my book, hubby quickly followed suit.

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? Has this helped with your published writings? If so, how?

No to all the above. I am a note taker and take a little notebook with me everywhere. I keep it by my bed, with me at work, and even in the loo!

What is the most amusing, crazy or inspiring thing that has ever happened to you

Hubby adopted me a rescue donkey for Xmas and I was so touched, I cried for days. He’s a keeper. So is my donkey, Billy O.

You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What song do you listen to before speaking? Or, what do you do to prepare yourself?

I am usually a bag of nerves beforehand. Gives me the shivers just thinking about it…I don’t listen to music, that would put me off, I just keep rehearsing what I am going to say and remind myself that people are nice and want me to do well.

What do you miss about being a kid?

A sense of freedom and lack of fear. I used to ride wild ponies, climb trees and swim in rivers. I think I was always a bit of a loner though and would tramp the countryside for hours on my own with a trusty dog or two. I miss my parents too. You never get over the loss of them. I would give anything to go back for one more day.

If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?

I would be Muttley from Wacky Races. People tell me I laugh just like him. I have included the link below so you can judge for yourself.

If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do?

Most of my female characters are not that nice, or they are nice but end up doing terrible things. The males tend to fair better! Hmm difficult one. I think I would have to choose Venetia from The Long Weekend. Poor kid. If I were to become her for a day, I would make that day count and make sure she had the nicest time possible to make up for all the bad stuff that happened to her.

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

Mama Mia 2. Again! It’s my go-to feel good movie. Love a good singalong.

A penguin knocks on your door and is wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he there?

WTF? Okay roll with this one, Jane. Oh, I know. He would say ‘You did everything penquinly possible amigo,’ then hand me some tortilla chips.

Do you believe things happen for a reason? Do you have an example from your own life to share why you believe this?

No. I am afraid I do not. I think life is what you make it, made up of good choices, bad choices with some good and bad luck thrown in. Although my work often contains supernatural elements, I am not a believer.

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

I am not a quitter. I first wrote The Butcher’s Daughter ten years ago as a screenplay and it came close to being optioned, but in the end the producer decided to go with another project that became a big hit. Was I gutted? Of course, I was. But I didn’t give up. I turned the story into a novel instead.

What’s your favourite place to visit in your country and why?

The Yorkshire Moors. When I was a child, I spent most of my summers in Yorkshire or Wales (my mother was Welsh, and dad was a straight-talking no-nonsense Yorkshireman). I set The Crying Boy in Yorkshire and The Butcher’s Daughter in Wales. The Yorkshire moors are one of the most beautiful and most haunting places on earth.

Describe the perfect solo date you’d take yourself on … where, time of day,weather, place, etc.

A picnic in the woods in springtime with a good book and a chilled bottle of pinot grigio.

Tell us about your most recent book.

My latest book, The Butcher’s Daughter was published by Bloodhound Books on May 13th . It is a tense and haunting psychological thriller with some horror elements thrown in. It is my favourite piece of work to date and took two years to complete as it went through several re-writes.

Thank you Jane for joining us on MTA. It was great having you here and learning more about you and your writing style. –Camilla

Book Blurb:

When Natalie Powers returns home for the first time in thirteen years, she must convince everyone she has fully recovered from the mental illness, which has seen her institutionalised for most of her young life.

But instead of being welcomed back, Natalie enters a baffling world of deception. She must fight her way through the lies in order to discover the truth about her mother’s sudden disappearance sixteen years earlier. To do this, Natalie must also try to make sense of the hazy memories from the past that continue to haunt her.

In the village of Little Downey, everybody appears to harbour a mysterious secret, including her father, Frank, the village butcher, who refuses to discuss the circumstances surrounding Natalie’s mother’s disappearance, but who can Natalie trust if not her own father? Especially when it becomes clear her protector and confidante, Dr Moses, is not all he appears.

Meanwhile, a spate of unexplained clifftop suicides has seen the seaside resort go into decline. Are the villagers somehow involved or is something more sinister at work?

Determined to find out what happened to her mother, Natalie must make sure her own frailty and self-doubt does not catapult her back to the mental institution before she can uncover the truth…

Where to find the book.

Waterstones and other online bookstores as well as Amazon.

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2zpZOlX

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Ny84Zk

Connect with Jane E James:

www.janeejames.com
https://www.facebook.com/janeejamesauthor/
https://twitter.com/jane_e_james

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

Buy Me A Coffee

Meet the Author: The Truth Waits by Susanna Beard

Today we are joined by Susanna Beard as we travel to Marlow in the UK where we learn how dogs, swimming, Margaret Atwood, and falling down a crevasse fit together in Susanna’s life. Grab your swimsuit and let’s go …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hello! I’m Susanna Beard, and I live and work in Marlow, a beautiful town on the river Thames, not far from London, UK. I have a background in PR and marketing and started writing fiction around five years ago – I’m now writing almost full time. I have two little dogs, who get me up and out in the morning and keep me company while I’m slogging away and two grown-up sons, one in London and one nearby in Henley-on-Thames. I love tennis, skiing, my family, my dogs and my garden. I once fell down a crevasse!

In which genre do you write?

I write psychological thrillers.

How many published books do you have?

To date I have two published: Dare to Remember (2017) and The Truth Waits (2018). There are two more in the offing! (Watch my space)

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

When I was seventeen, I told my father I wanted to write a novel. He said: “You can’t write a novel – it’s far too hard. You have to do tons of research, and it’s much more difficult than you think.” I wasn’t hurt, because I know he had great respect for novelists; he just thought people like us didn’t do that. But it stayed in my head, and throughout a successful career in PR, I always knew that one day I’d give it a go. I suppose I don’t like being told I can’t do something!

What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

I swim regularly for fitness, and as long as I can get a lane on my own and get into a rhythm, I work out my plot issues as I plough up and down. I don’t know if that’s a quirk, but it works for me!

What does your ideal writing space look like?

It looks like where I’m sitting now – my office! It has loads of natural light, white walls, pictures of my boys, books and magazines, and two little dogs snoozing in their beds. My desktop is at exactly the right height, I have a proper back-supporting chair, a cup of tea always on the go and in the winter it’s warm as it’s right next to the airing cupboard.

I sometimes crave a beautiful view, like the sea, or a wonderful wild countryside scene, but then I think I’ll just sit and look at it and not get on with the writing. Though last summer, when the weather was beautiful for days on end, I took everything into the garden and wrote and wrote. Being outside (in good weather) is the best!

What are you currently reading?

I’m reading Days Without End by Sebastian Barry. Brilliant.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

I walk my dogs, twice a day, by the river or on the common, or anywhere in the countryside. I swim, play tennis, socialise and have as many holidays as I can possibly afford! Oh, and I read lots of other people’s books, usually ones that are much better than mine, because they give me something to aspire to.

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

It would have to be Margaret Atwood. I think she’s fascinating, and she has a lovely sense of humour. I’d love to hear what she thinks about what’s going on in the world today, and where she thinks it might take us. I think she’s very prescient.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

I’ve learned that I can actually stand up in front of people and talk confidently – something I would have run miles from before I wrote my first book. I actually like it now! I would never, ever, have thought I would.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve done or experienced to help create a scene or plot?

This weekend I’m going to an event called Crime Scene Live at the Natural History Museum. You become a detective for the night and work with actual forensic scientists to solve a murder mystery! I’m so nervous, and so looking forward to it! (I’m taking my son, who’s cleverer than me, and will undoubtedly show up my agedness). I’m hoping to get inspiration and some practical understanding too!

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? Has this helped with your published writings? If so, how?

No – I do neither. I had a diary at school but was hopeless at putting interesting things into it (it was a good record of the weather in certain years though). I’m much better at writing novels!

What is the most amusing, crazy or inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?

Apart from falling down a crevasse? I went to Australia and swam with whale sharks (they’re humungous, bigger than my sitting room and the biggest fish in the world), and also with manta rays and wild dolphins. It was the most fantastic experience; I’ll never forget it.

You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What song do you listen to before speaking? Or, what do you do to prepare yourself?

I listen to Moondance by Van Morrison. It always lifts my heart, and makes me dance around the kitchen.

What do you miss about being a kid?

Not much – I’m just a big kid myself!

If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?

Ooh Tom and Jerry – all that dashing about and finding ingenious ways to confound Tom.

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

I saw The Favourite with one of my favourite actors, Olivia Colman. I thought it was brilliant, and I loved her portrayal of the mercurial Queen Anne.

A penguin knocks on your door and is wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he there?

“Hola conchita! Would you like a fajita?” (He’s going door-to-door selling Mexican food).

If you could ask your pet three questions, what would they be?

What IS it about fox poo that you find attractive?

Why oh why do you scratch holes in my carpets?

Why do you have to roll in the dirtiest, smelliest places you can find?

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

Determination, without a doubt. I think there are many wonderful writers, better than me, who are deterred by the many unexpected challenges of writing and publishing. You need resilience and determination in spades.

What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?

Cornwall (a western county in the UK) – it’s so full of wonderful things: The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Fowey, St Ives, Pastow, Tintagel, Roseland, Philleigh, I could go on! (Don’t go in high summer though, go in spring or autumn when it’s quieter).

Describe the perfect solo date you’d take yourself on … where, time of day, weather, place, etc.

I would go and sit somewhere (safe) on an African reserve, in the shade by a waterhole a couple of hours before sunset, and watch as the animals come and go. It would be warm and sunny, with a light breeze, and I would have a hat, plenty of water, binoculars, mosquito spray, and a comfortable seat on a Land Rover (to make a quick escape if necessary). I would hope to see all sorts: lions, giraffes, hippos, warthogs, jackals…and…and…

Tell us about your most recent book.

The Truth Waits is a psychological thriller partly set in Lithuania. It follows Anna, a successful businesswoman who finds the body of a young girl on a deserted beach in Lithuania. She is compelled to uncover the story behind the tragedy, despite concern from her partner, Will. Everything points towards sex trafficking, but as she searches, her own deepest secrets start to surface.

Why Lithuania?

Because it has the most beautiful, unspoilt, mysterious beach on the Baltic coast (on the Kuronian Spit). It’s miles and miles of sand, swept into strange patterns by the wind, without cafes or bins or rubbish or people, with a dark, lowering sky and a horizon that goes on for ever. The perfect place to put a dead body!

Thanks Susan for joining us on Meeting the Authors. It was wonderful learning more about you. I’m a huge Van Morrison fan too! And, now I’m left wondering about this whole falling down a crevasse incident!! It seems as if it all turned out okay! –Camilla

Book Blurb:

Anna has everything worked out – a successful company, all the comforts she needs and no ties. But when she stumbles across the body of a young girl on a deserted beach in Lithuania, everything changes.

Anna is compelled to uncover the story behind the tragedy, despite concern from her partner, Will. Everything points towards sex trafficking, but as she searches, her own deepest secrets start to surface.

When Will disappears without a trace, Anna is pulled further into the murky world of organised crime. Time is running out for them all, and there’s a killer out there who will stop at nothing.

Where to buy:

The Truth Waits is in all good bookshops and on:

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2J0NnCH

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2IZyIrm

Connect with Susanna:

Website: https://www.susannabeard.com

email: [email protected]

Twitter: @SusannaBeard25

FB: @susannabeardauthor

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

Buy Me A Coffee