Interviewing the Book Reviewer – Jill from Books n All

Interviewing the Book Reviewer – Jill from Books n All

I thought that along with interviewing my favourite authors, I would like to interview my fellow book bloggers.  Introducing Jill.

Jill is not only a busy book reviewer but she also runs a small book promotions company, Books n All Book Promotions.  She is amazing at her job and hosts launch parties and plans blog tours for latest releases.

Handing over to Jill…

First off, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hi, my name is Jill Burkinshaw (but just call me Jill)  I am mother to 5 wonderful children who are now adults and living all over (1 in San Francisco) so I book in advance to catch up with them.

Someone got my star sign wrong when I was born because I was born Libra and Librans supposedly have difficulty making decisions but that definitely doesn’t apply to me.  I make decisions, BIG decisions suddenly and once a decision is made I will move heaven and earth to see it through. 

I now live in Matlock in the heart of the Peak District with my partner and dog.  Sheba and I spend a few hours a day exploring the countryside.

I have always loved reading and I have fond memories of swapping books with Mum.

Jill on Book Reviews

How soon after finishing a book do you write the review?

As soon as possible after finishing reading so that I don’t forget anything

What are the best and worst parts of being a Book Reviewer?

I always worry that I haven’t done the book justice.  That is the worst part if I really love a book I always worry that I haven’t managed to put in the right words to encourage others to buy the book.  The best part is knowing that every review plays a very big part in promoting the book.  If a book gets to the top of the Amazon charts I know that my review contributed to that even in such a tiny way.

Jill on Reading

Do you have a favourite book? Tell me about it.

Not really I read a lot of books and I have many I really like but I couldn’t pick just 1

What is your favourite genre and why?

My favourite is Crime Fiction, especially psychological thrillers,  The darker the better

Who are your favourite authors?

All the Joffe authors and several self published authors including Stewart Giles, Stephen Puleston and Adam Croft

Does your family get your passion for reading?

Probably not.  Mum was a big reader and my children all read books but not with the same passion as I do.

What items are essentials to have by your side when you read?

A cuppa.

Do you have a favourite place to read? Tell me about it.

In bed.  I like to sit in bed with peace and quiet and read. 

Do you think audiobooks, eBooks or physical books are better? Why?

I was always a paperback reader and although I was bought a Kindle as a present I had never used it.  Then I got Bells Palsy and it killed the nerves in the left hand side of my face including my eye.  My eyesight was badly affected and the ability to make the text larger on my Kindle was a life saver.  I have been addicted to ebooks ever since.  Audio books I cant get on with. I agree they have their place and uses for sight impaired people but the noise and reading just don’t go together for me.

Jill’s Random Thoughts

Do you ever feel inspired to write your own book?  Have you ever written your own book?

No I have no aspirations to write anything other than reviews I have no imagination I would be really rubbish at it.

What inspires you to get out of bed every day?

The thought of going walking with Sheba (my German Shepherd)

What is your most unusual reader’s quirk?

I think the main one is I can’t stop reading until I reach the end of a chapter.  This can be more problematic than you think if a book has long chapters as I have to work out if I have time to read it or stop where I am.

Do you feel like you would be a better book reviewer if you wore sparkly rainbow socks during your reading sessions?

No I don’t think what you wear has anything to do with reading or reviewing.

 

Interviewing the Author – Stewart Giles

Interviewing the Author – Stewart Giles

Today, I would like to introduce another of my favourite authors to you, Stewart Giles.  Initially, I wasn’t keen on Stewart’s writing style but he’s certainly grown on me and I’m now rather fond of him.

Stewart’s crime fiction novels have been published by Joffe Books but he’s now self publishing the majority of them.  He’s certainly pretty amazing to do the writing, publishing, and promoting isn’t he?

Links to some of his most popular books can be found at the end of the interview.

So, for now, I will hand the stage over to Stewart.

First off, would you tell us a little bit about yourself and your books.

Hi there. I’m Stewart Giles, 45 years old and living in the sunshine of South Africa. I’ve written 12 books so far – all crime thrillers. 9 DS Jason Smith books and 3 Detective Harriet Taylor ones.

Stewart on Writing

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I research as I go along. I research just about everything. In fact, if the FBI ever got hold of my browsing history there would be some probing questions to be asked.

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

It depends. I wrote one of my books in three weeks and another in six months.

Are any of your characters based on people you know?

Definitely. Especially the ones who end up dead. Although I won’t elaborate on that.

Is there anything you regret about the books you have written? (Characters, Storylines, etc.)

One of the underlying themes in one of my books makes me cringe a bit when I read it now.

What items are essentials to have by your side when you write?

A big tub of wine gums, my CD player and a photo of my dad behind me.

Do you have a favourite place to write? Tell me about it.

I used to write everything out free hand in block capitals and I could write anywhere. Now, I’m a more civilised writer – everything is done in my study, surrounded by other people’s books.

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?

I wrote a series based on Willard Price’s ‘Adventure’ stories. I was 8 or 9.

Stewart on Feedback

Do you read the reviews of your books? How do you deal with the negative ones?

I read all the reviews. If the negative ones are constructive, I use them to improve on my stuff – if they’re downright nasty, I laugh them off. A thick skin is essential in this industry.

Do any of your family members read your books?

My mum is my biggest fan. She’s read everything I’ve written. My brother is also a keen reader of my stuff as are my cousins.

Stewart on Reading

Who are your favourite authors?

I love Scandinavian Noir Crime – Henning Mankell, Lars Kepler, Gunnar Staalesen, Antti Tuomainen, Ragnar Jonasson etc.

Stewart’s Random Thoughts

What does literary success look like to you?

If I can make people laugh, cry or scream with my books then I consider it a success.

Do you believe in Writer’s Block?

I see it more as the brain telling you do go and play with the dogs instead.

What inspires you to get out of bed every day?

Usually my bladder, but sometimes I look forward to the next few chapters.

What is your most unusual writer’s quirk?

I like to write in sparkly socks. I feel it makes me a better writer.

Do you feel like you would be a better writer if you wore sparkly socks during your writing sessions?

Oh, I thought 14 was the last question.

Stewart’s Books

The DS Jason Smith Series

The Detective Harriet Taylor Series

Interviewing the Book Reviewer – Joanna Larum

Interviewing the Book Reviewer – Joanna Larum

I thought that along with interviewing my favourite authors, I would like to interview my fellow book bloggers.  Here’s the first of the Book Reviewer interviews, Joanna Larum.

Joanna is not only a busy book reviewer but she is also an author herself.  Her latest book, Martha’s Secrets was released earlier this month and it’s a fantastic read.

Now I’m handing over to Joanna who will, no doubt, entertain you. 🙂

First off, tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am Joanna Larum.  I spent 25 years working for the library services. Now I’m retired and have time to read again.

Joanna on Book Reviews

When did you start reviewing books and why?

I have reviewed books on Amazon since about 2010. I aim to encourage writers who write the books I like and spread the word to other readers.

How soon after finishing a book do you write the review?

Usually immediately, but always very soon after.

What are the best and worst parts of being a Book Reviewer?

Best – being able to talk about books and encourage other readers. Worst – when I’ve read them all and I’m waiting for a new one!

Joanna on Reading

What is your earliest reading memory?

Finally being able to read the ends of all the stories my big sister began reading aloud to me before I started school.

Do you have a favourite book? Tell me about it.

The Minipins by Carol Kendall. It is a junior book which I first read in 1962. I still have a copy of it. Wonderful story.

What is your favourite genre and why?

Not just one! Historical, fantasy, crime, saga etc. The only one I don’t like is horror!

Who are your favourite authors?

Oh heck! Tolkien, Anya Seton, Rosemary Sutcliffe, Joy Ellis, Stewart Giles, Charlie Gallagher, Daisy White, Gretta Mulrooney, Norah Lofts, Catherine Cookson, Steve Parker, Helen Durant, etc etc

Does your family get your passion for reading?

NO

What items are essentials to have by your side when you read?

Chocolate.

Do you have a favourite place to read? Tell me about it.

Anytime, any place any where!

Do you think audiobooks, eBooks or physical books are better? Why?

Can’t do with audiobooks – too slow! I love ebooks and physical books equally.

Joanna’s Random Thoughts

Do you ever feel inspired to write your own book?  Have you ever written your own book?

Oh yes! I’ve just finished my 7th historical novel, Martha’s Secrets. I’ve also written a book for children Rowandell and have others half written.

What inspires you to get out of bed every day?

My writing and my cats and grandchildren

What is your most unusual reader’s quirk?

Books I really love I will read over and over and over again.

Do you feel like you would be a better book reviewer if you wore sparkly rainbow socks during your reading sessions?

No, but I would be a better reviewer if I got chocolate delivered every day.

Joanna’s Books

Interviewing the Author – Joy Ellis

Interviewing the Author – Joy Ellis

Today, I would like to introduce one of my favourite authors to you, Joy Ellis.  She also happens to be my best stationery loving friend. 

Joy’s crime fiction novels are published by Joffe Books and she has sold over 1 million copies.  What an acheivement, don’t you agree?  

Links to some of her most popular books can be found at the end of the interview.

So, for now, I will hand the stage over to Joy.

First off, would you tell us a little bit about yourself and your books.

I’m Joy Ellis and I write crime novels set in the Lincolnshire Fens. All my novels are inspired by the landscape here, thought by some to be flat and uninteresting, but most know that they possess an airy beauty with 360degrees of sky and miles of misty waterways. I live with my partner Jacqueline, who is a retired police officer, and now in-house police procedural consultant (and tea-maker!) We have three Springer spaniels, so have ample opportunity to tramp the fen lanes looking for good spots for a murder!

Joy on Writing

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I research long and hard. I love that part of writing. Every time you learn something new.

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

Three to four months.

Are any of your characters based on people you know?

Inadvertently! But never intentionally!

Is there anything you regret about the books you have written? (Characters, Storylines, etc.)

I wrote one stand alone novel called Beware the Past. Spoiler alert!!!! At the end I left the team in tatters, the DI retiring and his sergeant in ITU not expected to recover. Fine for a stand-alone, but…. they want a sequel. Rats! How do I get out of that one?

What items are essentials to have by your side when you write?

Tea. Tea. Tea. Dog biscuits, because I’m rarely alone, And I have to have my lucky thesaurus (given as a gift by two lovely people who are no longer with us), several four leaf clovers, a selection of rocks and crystals, an amethyst angel and a small brass Buddha, (I’m covering all bases here) two plastic aliens, a set of angel cards and a china dog picking four leaf clovers. Not that I’m in any way ritualistic….

Do you have a favourite place to write? Tell me about it.

My office, surrounded by all of the above.

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?

A ghost story, written around the age of eight?

Joy on Feedback

Do you read the reviews of your books? How do you deal with the negative ones?

I find reading reviews desperately hard. I do read them because some kind soul (mostly although not always kind) has taken the time to read and digest every word that I have written, so that needs recognition. Constructive criticism I welcome, and I work on, but I’m very sensitive and serious negativity in a review can block my writing for days. I take everything to heart, if someone says my book is pants, then I believe them and immediately consider giving up!

Do any of your family members read your books?

Just Jacqueline, as my police procedural advisor, all the rest of my family are long gone, bless them!

Joy on Reading

Who are your favourite authors?

One is tempted to say Helen H Durrant, Charlie Gallagher, etc and all the other Joffe books authors, but if I’m to be serious I adore British women crime writers from Agatha Christie and PD James to Elly Griffiths and Kate Atkinson. In a very different vein, Paulo Coelho, Charles Dickens, Umberto Eco and the man who wrote what I consider the most chilling crime novel ever, the 1966 true story/novel,  In Cold Blood, and that is Truman Capote.

Joy’s Random Thoughts

What does literary success look like to you?

Simply seeing your name on the cover of a book. Success!

Do you believe in Writer’s Block?

Big style. Only hit me once, but it was devastating!

What inspires you to get out of bed every day?

Three dogs with crossed legs!

What is your most unusual writer’s quirk?

If I don’t start writing very early, like around 6am,  I think I’ve jinxed myself for the rest of the day. Weird, mind-set, but then I do kill people for a living.

Do you feel like you would be a better writer if you wore sparkly socks during your writing sessions?

Now that’s a thought! But frankly, no.

Joy’s Books

The DI Nikki Galena Series

The DI Jackman and DS Evans Series

Blog Tour – Jay Raven on To Snare a Witch

Blog Tour – Jay Raven on To Snare a Witch

Today, I’m opening the Blog Tour of Jay Raven’s, To Snare a Witch.  To be honest, I’m delighted to have been given this privilege, it isn’t bestowed on many.

Gothic horror writer Jay Raven reveals the surprising discovery he made when he began delving into the world of hexes and spells.  So without further ado, let’s give Jay the stage.

When I decided to write To Snare A Witch, a sorcery-themed story set in 17th century England, one thing I knew for sure. Whatever else the narrative contained there’d definitely have to be a terrifying scene with a poor screaming innocent being burnt at the stake, vicious dancing orange flames licking around their writhing body as smoke swirled and piles of faggots crackled and flared at their feet.

Readers would expect it and the event would inject drama, dread and danger while instantly giving the chilling tale a sense of historical accuracy. All I had to do was work out how far into the book to place it.

That was the idea, except when I began to research the execution of those accused of black magic, I learnt that the mental picture literally seared in our collective consciousness was wrong!

In England those accused of witchcraft weren’t burnt to death but hanged. Unlike Europe where practising witchcraft was a religious crime (an offence against God), in England and America it was classified as a civil offence, a crime against the community. That meant it was technically a felony, and the punishment for felonies was the gallows.

Coming across this information gave me a dilemma. Press on regardless with my blazing bonfire scenario and risk the ire of historians or ditch the firelighters and kindling and employ the noose and hangman instead.

It would mean a major rethink and give me the challenge of devising an alternative scene just as frightening and grizzly.

In the end, I reluctantly – and I can’t stress how reluctantly – decided to come down on the side of history rather than Hollywood.

But I haven’t given up on my terror-filled sizzling scenario. I intend to set a future instalment of To Snare A Witch on the continent where burnings were the norm. The only snag there may be the rumour I’ve heard that not everything about all those fiery executions were quite the way you’d imagine.

According to some sources, victims were often strangled first and it was their lifeless corpse that was immolated afterwards. Granted, it was still a horrible way to leave this world, but if it’s true it suggests that those poor souls executed went through less suffering than horror films might have portrayed.

To Snare a Witch is available to buy by clicking the link below:

About To Snare a Witch

No female dares spurn the lecherous advances of Sir Henry Cruttendon, 17th Century England’s most reviled nobleman. To do so risks a retribution that would terrify the Devil himself.

But Elizabeth Fiennes is no ordinary woman, blessed with stunning beauty,  intelligence and guile. Coming from an influential family, she believes she is safe.

What she doesn’t understand is that the Earl is determined to satisfy his lust and plans to use the wave of witch trials, fear and superstition  sweeping the countryside to force her into his clutches.

And as he springs his malicious trap it triggers a chain of unholy events plunging hunter and prey into a maelstrom of deceit, terror and depravity – leaving them both staring into the face of true evil…

About Jay Raven

Jay Raven is the author of Gothic chillers and historical horror reminding readers that the past is a dangerous place to venture, full of monsters and murderous men. 

He blames his fascination with vampires, witches and werewolves on the Hammer Horror films he watched as a teenager, but living in a creepy old house on the edge of a 500-acre wood may have something to do with it.

Links
Website: http://www.jayraven.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iain.pattison.1
Twitter: @jayravenauthor