Saturday 23 September 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ The Doll House by Phoebe Morgan

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for The Doll House by Phoebe Morgan where I welcome Phoebe to my blog where she has kindly provided a very interesting blog piece on 'How working in publishing changed your perception/motivated you to write'.  I was thrilled to be asked by Helena Sheffield from Harper Collins Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the extract so without further ado, here it is:

I did write before getting into publishing, but since being in the industry I do have quite a new perspective on it all. As a fiction editor, part of my job is to work out which books will sell and which won’t, and I spend the majority of my time reading and analysing manuscripts with the aim of making them stronger, tighter and ultimately more readable. As an editor, I put myself in the role of the reader, but when writing my own books this is harder. It’s so important to try to imagine how someone else, someone totally unconnected to you, would feel when reading your book for the first time. Would they want to read more than a page? Would they be confused by your characters? Would they be satisfied by the ending? 

I really believe that we all need that outside perspective on our work, because when you’ve worked on something for so long, you do lose sight of it and it’s impossible to see it with fresh eyes. I’m very lucky to have had excellent editorial feedback from the team at HQ on my book, and the points they made were all things I agreed with but which I just hadn’t seen because I’d been staring at the page for so long. So it’s always worth having someone else read your work, whether that’s a professional editor, an agent or just a trusted friend who will give it to you straight.

Working in publishing has also given me a good insight into the amount of competition which is out there. There are many, many brilliant books in the world but I don’t think it ought to be a competition – there’s room for everyone, and what one reader might like, another might hate. Some of the books I’ve published have received rave reviews, but amongst those reviews there’s nearly always the one-star brigade, and that’s fine – no book can please everyone, because writing and reading are ultimately subjective things. However, being aware of the competition is a good thing because it’s motivating; I see other books with stand-out hooks and feel excited to read them. I look at the covers of other novels and wonder how mine sits against those, and I read as much as I can to try to understand what makes some books work and others not. 

In a publishing house, I also get to see the inside process of how books are made, which I now take into account when writing. I hear sales people explain how important the cover is, and digital experts emphasise the key factors of pricing and promotion. I understand how publicity and marketing work, and above all I appreciate how much hard work goes in to bringing a novel to the market. It’s so much more than just the author, and that is something I try to think of when I’m struggling with a plot point. We all work hard at our jobs, and if this is going to be mine too, I need to have another coffee and keep going as anyone else in publishing would.

Friday 22 September 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ The Angel by Katerina Diamond

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for The Angel by Katerina Diamond where I welcome Katerina to my blog where he has kindly provided an extract to me for her upcoming release. I was thrilled to be asked by Sabah Khan from Avon Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the extract so without further ado, here it is:

The doorbell rang and Martina answered it, her heart beating fast. It was still glowing outside even though the sun had gone down, the snow reflecting the street lamps. Satisfaction crept over Martina as she saw a flicker in Charlie’s eye, a recognition that she was a beautiful woman. She hadn’t seen that look for a while, least of all from her husband. He handed her the baby formula. She looked at the tin in her hand, confused for a moment, almost forgetting why she had invited him over. Smiling, she walked inside, leaving the door open and without even asking the question. She put the formula next to the sink and turned to see Charlie standing behind her, a little too close. She could see him concentrating on making sure his eyes stayed fixed on her face; no glancing down.

‘Would you like some wine?’

‘Yes please, that sounds perfect. Can I put the baby down somewhere? He’s just nodded off.’

‘Sure, put him in the cot with Jamie.’

Charlie disappeared upstairs and Martina adjusted her breasts, undoing one more button on her dress. She took the roasted chicken she had made in the afternoon out of the oven and placed it on the table, then set the table for two and took a bottle of white wine out of the fridge.

Charlie appeared again and smoothed down trousers nervously before sitting at the table. Martina served him some salad and a leg of chicken while he poured the wine for them both. She cleared her throat. This felt like a date, which hadn’t really been her intention. Or had it?

She tried to think about Sophie laid up in bed, or her husband stuck at work, kept away by the snow. The smaller villages outside the city were never really a priority for the salt that the council sometimes provided to keep the roads clear.

They ate together, making small talk while the babies remained asleep. Martina opened a second bottle of wine, aware that she was feeling tipsy, a welcome warmth in her belly that only came when she was drunk. It had been so long since she had relaxed, it hadn’t even occurred to her before how tense she felt usually. Being in a conversation with a different man awakened her to how bad the conversations she had with her husband were, with him always making her feel stupid or shutting her down before she had even started.



When a burned body is found in a disused signal box, suspicion falls on lonely teenager Gabriel Webb. There’s no doubt he was at the scene of the crime, but does he deserve what awaits him in prison?

DS Imogen Grey is certain there’s more to the case than meets the eye. But while she struggles to convince those around her of the truth, her partner DS Adrian Miles is distracted by his own demons.

When a brutal double murder is reported, their investigation is stopped in its tracks. Is the body in the box even who they thought it was? The duo realise Gabriel might have been locked up for a crime he didn’t commit. But with enemies watching Gabriel’s every move, they may be too late.

Miles and Grey are back in the thrilling new novel from bestselling author Katerina Diamond, perfect for fans of Karin Slaughter and M.J. Arlidge, Orange Is The New Black and Locked Up.

Wednesday 20 September 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ The Mother by Jaime Raven

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for The Mother by Jaime Raven where I welcome Jaime to my blog where he has kindly done a Q&A session with me. I was thrilled to be asked by Sabah Khan from Avon Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the Q&A so without further ado, here it is:

  • What inspired you to write your first book? 

The first Jaime Raven book was THE MADAM. The story is about a prostitute named Lizzie Wells who goes to prison for a crime she didn’t commit. While she’s inside her young son dies so when she gets out she seeks revenge against those responsible. 

I live in Southampton on the South coast and one day I discovered that the city has a dark side. It’s home to a large number of prostitutes, or ‘escorts’ as many like to be called. Anyway, it was this that inspired me to come up with the storyline for THE MADAM.

  • Can you share a little of your current work with us?

I’m busy at present helping to promote THE MOTHER while at the same time finishing off my next book for Avon/Harper Collins. This book is out early next year and I’ve just completed the first draft. It’s provisionally called THE THREAT and is set in London. I don’t want to give anything away at this stage because the team at Avon haven’t seen it yet. Fingers crossed they like it. 

The promotional work for THE MOTHER takes up a fair amount of time because I have to write magazine features and blog posts, and do interviews. But I actually enjoy it and I know how important it is to get your book noticed in what is such a competitive environment.

  • How long on average does it take you to write a book?

It usually takes me six months to write a book of about 85,000 words. The book I’m now working on is over 100,000 words so it’s taken a little longer. Of course, that doesn’t include the editing process which begins after I submit the manuscript, first to my agent and then to Avon.

  • What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life? 

The biggest challenge for me is having to push myself to write between 1,000 and 2,000 words a day even when I don’t feel like it. The pressure becomes more intense if I have to work to a deadline. 
I also find it hard to deal with my fiercest critic - ME! I agonise over the smallest thing and this leads to many, many sleepless nights. 

The research I find easy and fun thanks to the internet and the Google search engine.

  • What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Trying to switch off. It’s always a problem for me because I find it difficult to concentrate on anything else. Once I start a book I can’t stop thinking about how it’s going and what I’ll put in the next chapter. It’s true to say that it takes over my life and there’s very little room for anything else. Thankfully my family members and friends are very understanding.

  • What books have most influenced your life? 

These would be books written by two of the greatest crime writers – Agatha Christie and Mickey Spillane. My mother was a huge fan of both and she encouraged me to read their books in my early teens. That was how I became hooked on crime novels. The pair are very different writers but they both knew how to put together riveting stories. 

  • Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? 

I’ve been following with interest fellow Avon author C L Taylor. I’ve read all her books – The Lie, The Accident, The Missing and The Escape. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed them all and look forward to her next book, The Treatment, which is due out in October. 

  • Have you ever gotten writer’s block?

No I haven’t. Whenever I get stuck I force myself to write down anything as long as it’s legible. It doesn’t have to be any good or make any sense. The point is to get something down on paper, which means you’re continuing to move forward with the book. I can knock it into shape later and this works for me every time. 

  • What’s your favourite under-appreciated novel?

It’s a book called The Mark, which was the first in a series of thrillers by American author Jason Pinter. It features a journalist named Henry Parker and was a bestseller in the US. But as far as I know it didn’t do so well here. And that’s a shame because it’s fast-paced and action-packed. A prime example of what makes a good thriller.

  • How do you select the names of your characters?

I have a list of names that I’ve pulled together from newspaper stories and TV programme credits. When I start developing a story I refer to the list and this helps me decide on names for characters. But I also sometimes use the names of friends and relatives. The ruthless villain in my new book is named after a boy I used to know who was a horrible bully!


I’ve taken your daughter, as punishment for what you did…

Prepare to be gripped by the heart-stopping new thriller from the author of The Madam, the read that taps into every mother’s worst fear. 

South London detective Sarah Mason is a single mother. It’s a tough life, but Sarah gets by. She and her ex-husband, fellow detective Adam Boyd, adore their 15-month-old daughter Molly.

Until Sarah’s world falls apart when she receives a devastating threat: Her daughter has been taken, and the abductor plans to raise Molly as their own, as punishment for something Sarah did.

Sarah is forced to stand back while her team try to track down the kidnapper. But her colleagues aren’t working fast enough to find Molly. To save her daughter, Sarah must take matters into her own hands, in a desperate hunt that will take her to the very depths of London’s underworld.

A gripping new voice in crime fiction, this book is perfect for fans of Martina Cole and Jessie Keane.

About The Author: Jaime Raven is an award-winning journalist who has worked for newspapers including the Sun and the Daily Mail, as well as a former script writer and TV producer. She is the author of The Madam, and lives in Southampton.