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Interview with author Terry Tyler

WWM: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

I live in the north east of England with my dearly beloved husband.  I have five novels on Amazon, the most recent one, Full Circle, published on 12th April.  I wrote about 10 novels in the 1990s but didn’t do much with them and then had a ten year break; however, in writing terms those 10 years were not wasted as many aspects of those ten years have featured in my novels!

WWM: What are your aspirations for your writing career?  What does success look like to you?

I don’t have aspirations for any sort of career; I’m in my 50s and kinda slowing down in some ways!  But I intend to keep writing and publishing novels.  I am 16K words into the next one, and have ideas for more.  Success? Every time someone reads one of my novels and likes it, that’s success.  I just hope that my readership will continue to grow and that my writing will improve all the time.  Of course I’d love to be traditionally published one day ~ what writer wouldn’t?!

WWM: There are thousands of self-published authors out there, most of them either on Twitter or Facebook (or both, plus more), all vying to promote their wares one way or another.  How do you try to stand out from the pack?

I don’t try to stand out from the pack, as such, I just hope I do anyway – ha ha ha!  Joke.  I’m glad I’m not starting out with my first book now, I have to say; I’ve heard there are 4 times as many titles out there as there were a year ago.  Or it might be twice as many, or 6 times, I don’t expect anyone really knows.  I’m lucky that I had already achieved even a small established readership before the market became so crowded.  As far as standing out from the pack goes, I think you have to be true to yourself and say/write what you really think/feel; if you try to appeal to a certain group of people you can come across a tad bland.

WWM: How effective do you find Twitter or Facebook for marketing your books?  What works best for you?

Lots of people I know on Facebook have bought my books, but that is because I already knew them, either in real life or through other sites, before I began publishing on Amazon.  I don’t know how effective Facebook is for marketing because I don’t know where every purchase comes from!  I’m on a good Kindle user group and many of the people on there are readers of mine; but I don’t think of Facebook as a marketing tool; it’s a social networking site, and I’ve always enjoyed using it, and the far superior MySpace, in its day.  I have a Facebook author page, but that’s only so I can keep any ‘book stuff’ away from my personal page, which is for everything else in life; people don’t want book promotion stuff in their news feed.   As for Twitter – I started using it because someone told me I should, when my first book came out.  Through Twitter I have not only found more readers but also ‘met’ many, many interesting people, writers and otherwise, some of whom have become real friends.  It’s marvellous for networking and making new contacts, but it’s much, much more than that.  As for the actual marketing side of things, without Twitter I would probably not have become so widely read; second to television and newspapers it’s the best way of getting something ‘out there’.

WWM: Any secrets you'd like to share on how to market a book?  Any words of caution on how NOT to market a book?

Think ‘outside the box’.  Sorry – no, I don’t like phrases like that either!  Don’t just read marketing articles on Twitter and do what it says; think of the best way you might reach potential readers for your particular type of book.  Enjoy it.  If you think of Twitter as a chore, you won’t use it effectively.  It’s no good going ‘Oh God, it’s that time of day again’ and robotically doing 50 retweets then churning out the same tweets for your books that you’ve been posting every day for three months.  That isn’t ‘creating your social media presence’ or ‘building your author platform’ or any other marketing clichés!!  If you are interested in what other people have to say, interested in their blog articles, other writers’ books, then people are more likely to be interested in you.  Oh, and never, ever tweet links directly to people who haven’t asked for them – you know, those ones who say ‘thanks for the follow/RT, here are my books’.  Awful.  Same goes for auto ‘thanks for follow’ DMs.  Remember that there’s a whole world out there, it isn’t all about you and your book.

WWM: You’ve previously had books on free promotion via KDP Select.  How did you find that? 

Amazing – and not so amazing.  A year ago a free promotion got me nearly 18,000 downloads and got my first two books into the **paid** (!!) UK Top 100.  I couldn’t believe it, it was almost frightening.  I made it work via Twitter – if it wasn’t for that, I doubt I would have achieved what I did.  However, the free promotions don’t work so well anymore.  I did one last November that was good in that it found me a few more readers and gained some lovely reviews for the book, but was a mere ripple as opposed to the tsunami of the first one!  I promise I don’t use awful metaphors like that in my books, by the way!  In general, I know two or three people who’ve done KDP free promos recently and had similar marvellous results, but for most people it doesn’t happen.  I think this is because of 3 things:
  • There are so many books on free all the time, these days, that it’s no novelty.
  • Amazon appears to have changed its algorithms so that people don’t get the same post-promo visibility.
  • Everyone has got Kindles jam packed with free books, so many only download a book, now, if they think there’s a good chance they will read it.

I am staying on KDP partly because I can’t be bothered to change, and partly because I want the option of putting a book on free in the future, should I ever want to again.  I don’t have any plans to do so at the moment, though.  

WWM: Last year, in particular, there was a big hoo-ha about some well-established authors either faking reviews for their own work, or posting negative reviews for other authors in their genre.  What are your thoughts on the “dark arts” of the publishing/marketing business?

Oh, aren’t you fed up with this subject?  I am – but I still find myself talking about it!  I think what matters is the overall reception a book gets.  Those pathetic individuals can post all the fake reviews they like, and slag off the competition, but if their own book is not much cop it won’t do them any good in the long run.  We’ve all seen them – a book that gets eight five star reviews in the first week of publication, either from all their mates or from fake profiles, then no other ones for the next 6 months.  Don’t get het up about it – such desperation won’t benefit them.  As for posting negative reviews for other authors in their genre – sad, sad people!   The writers who receive such reviews should feel flattered that they are seen as such competition!

I wrote my first book of this batch, You Wish, before I knew about publishing on Amazon, and many of my friends read it in manuscript form and loved it.  When I published, in November 2011, I asked them to review it.  About six of them did.  Although these people had genuinely read and enjoyed the book (and bought it when it came out on Kindle), I didn’t realise at the time that these reviews, from people who had never reviewed anything else, would look a bit daft - I think many people make this mistake!  

WWM: What was the last book you read?  What did you like or dislike about it?

The last Kindle book I finished was Life’s a Ditch by CLR Dougherty – a factual account of Charles and his wife Leslie’s experience travelling the waterways of the eastern US.  I loved it from start to finish – flowing, interesting and funny!

WWM: Lastly, if you were an animal, what animal would you be and why?

Hate this question, but I’ve got to answer it, haven’t I?  I dunno.  I like animals but I’m not especially into them.  I feel a bit of an affinity with lions, as I am a Leo, so either a lion or a cat, I suppose.  A lion because it’s the king of the jungle, and a cat because they have a pretty excellent life.  Either that, or a bird, so I could just fly off somewhere new if I didn’t like where I was.

Many thanks for wanting to interview me, Paul – I hope my answers are of some interest to you and your readers!


Except from “Full Circle”:


     Good morning!
     Ariel Swan woke up thinking, I’m thirty-bloody-two, and look at me.
     Just twelve months before, the very word ‘morning’ had filled her soul with joy.
Back then, the dawn of each glorious new day heralded a jog along the shoreline of the Pacific Ocean before going back to her apartment on Fountain, West Hollywood, just around the corner from Sunset Boulevard, to breakfast on fresh papaya and a wheatgrass shake.
     Now though, ‘morning’ meant dragging herself from the sofa bed in her friend Emily’s flat to look out onto the grey pavements of south London before waiting tables for little more than minimum wage.
     Sometimes, Ariel’s morning was actually the afternoon.   
     Wasn’t meant to turn out like this, was it?
     “I feel more excited about you than I have about anyone, for years.”
     So said Theodore W Perlmutter, president of Pacific Coast Records.
     Her fifteen minutes of fame had lasted less than fifteen months, and she hadn’t become very famous, anyway.  
     She felt like a former X Factor contestant, mooching back into the parental home in North Shields clad in baseball cap and shades, whilst being snapped by the gleeful lower echelons of the paparazzi.
     Except that not many people in the UK knew or cared who she was, either.
     Friday.  For most people, the countdown to the weekend had begun.  Not so for restaurant staff, alas.
     The blinds in the living room were still closed - Emily was careful not to disturb her when she left for the office at eight each morning - but Ariel could tell from the light shining through that, yes, the day was yet another typical of August in England.  Warm and muggy, dull and dreary.  No wheatgrass juice or fresh papaya in the fridge, either, but that was her own fault; lethargy prevented her from seeking out such delicacies.
She threw back the duvet, stretched, yawned, and got up to open the blinds.  No mountains in the distance, no random palm trees along the pavements, no Barney’s Beanery just around the corner for the Sunday morning breakfast indulgence.  Smoked Salmon Benedict and blueberry pancakes whilst reading the Los Angeles Times.  Her tastebuds ached.
     She remembered the morning of the video shoot for her (unsuccessful) first single.  A drive along the coast in an open topped Cadillac with a ludicrously hunky Argentinian model called Raoul, or Randy, or Raif, or something, at the wheel.  Wasn’t hard to live in the moment when you had moments like that going on, was it?
     “So, what’s in store for me today, eh, World?” she said, out loud, in a bad West Coast accent, as she looked at the street below.  “More of the same, right?”
     Ten years before, when she was twenty-two, her life had jogged along much as it did now.  A rubbish job, the lack of a permanent home, frustration, unfulfilled dreams.  Back then, though, even the frustration was fun.  Ten years ago, her life had stretched out in front of her, the years waiting to be filled with adventure, success, the extraordinary.  She’d achieved much of it, too.  Ariel had been there, done that, and bought the Stella McCartney frock for her first public appearance.  But now it was all over.


Interview with author Alan McDermott

WWM: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

I’m a husband and father of twin daughters from the south of England.  During the day I work as a web developer, creating applications for the NHS, and in the evenings my time is spent with my family.  In my spare time, I wish I had more spare time...

WWM: What inspired you to get into writing?

Ever since my daughters were born I have been trying to find a way of making a little extra money.  I wrote a training manual for those looking to get into software development, but sold just a handful in two years.  I also created a couple of websites but they brought in exactly zero pence, so when a colleague read one of my short stories and told me to get it published, I looked into it.  I found Smashwords and uploaded Recidivist, and shortly afterwards I started work on Gray Justice.

I don’t know if I would have devoted so much time and energy to my writing if it wasn’t for the girls, so they are my inspiration. 

WWM: Do you remember the first story you wrote?

I wrote Recidivist and another short story back in 1990, and followed those up with a couple of novellas.  I didn’t try to get them published as it was just something to do between jobs, but 20 years later I rewrote Recidivist, having remembered the story.  The novellas were lost, sadly, but I vaguely remember one of them and might one day try to revive it.

WWM: Can you tell us something about the Tom Gray series of books as a whole?

It started out as a single book, but once I got to the end I decided to leave it open.  I wasn’t really planning on writing more about Tom Gray until the reviews started coming in, and it seems he was quite a popular character.  In the second book, set a year later, Tom finds himself in the Philippines with a new name and a new face.  He is trying to adjust to the new life that’s been forced upon him when he is kidnapped on a visit to the southern islands.  A few friends from book one are sent in to help him but they become embroiled in a battle for survival.

Needless to say, they manage to escape, and book three charts their journey back to the UK as they seek to clear his name and get his identity back.

As with Gray Justice, there’s plenty of action and intrigue to keep everyone satisfied right up to the last page.  For those who prefer a series in one volume, you can get the entire trilogy at a discount price.

WWM: Are you working on a new book or series at the moment?

I was planning to write about something else, but many people have said they want even more of Tom and his friends, and so they will be back in the as yet un-named book 4.  This time they will be facing totally new adversaries.  I might also work on a different book at the same time and see how that works out.

WWM: Where can people go and read your work?

Gray Resurrection US:

WWM: You have had some great success on both the paid and free listings on Kindle.  Any secrets you'd like to share on how to market a book?

I don’t think there really is a secret to what I’ve achieved, apart from timing.  I did quite well with my first KDP promotion back in April last year.  It ran just before they changed their algorithms and I managed over 1800 sales in two weeks.  My next promo wasn’t as successful as they pulled the book off the shelves after a few days because someone couldn’t read it on a Kindle with the background colour set to black (I know, who does that??).  Things tapered off after that and I was down to about 300 sales a month, but book 3 gave me a decent January.  February was the start of my recent surge.  I’d put my book free on Smashwords, B & N and Apple, and Amazon US price-matched near the start of the month.  I had 33,000 free downloads and a lot of those came back for the other books, but things really picked up when Amazon UK set it free on February 27th.  That coincided with a change to their T&Cs which meant the freebie sites weren’t pushing free books as much, and after I hit the top 3 in the free list I stayed there for three weeks.  That helped lift the other books into the top 300, where they’ve been for most of the month.

I think price-matching was definitely the turning point, and I would recommend it to anyone with a series of books.  Be warned, though.  Amazon’s T&Cs state that they will price-match at their discretion!  I found this out to my cost when they took it off free without notice.  At first I was furious, but when it generated 1400 sales in under 3 days and catapulted me into the top 50 paid, I was delighted… until they put it back on the free list again!!  I asked what they were playing at but they don’t want to tell me.  It their way or the highway.  It doesn’t make advertising or promotions easy to plan, but it’s a great way of getting your book onto kindles.

WWM: What was the last book you read?  What did you like or dislike about it?

I’ve just finished the fourth book in the Jet series by Russell Blake, and so far the series has been fantastic.   As a writer with a family and full-time job, I haven’t really had time to do much reading, but these are the kind of books that keep you up at night.  His characters are well-drawn, and the action is always convincing.  Jet is an ex-Mossad agent who just wants to leave her past behind, but when a Russian oligarch learns that she’s still alive it triggers a chase over just about every continent.  I can’t recommend them enough.

WWM: What do you like/dislike about indie publishing?

I like the fact that I have complete control.  I get to decide the price and I get a much bigger percent of the royalties than I would if I were going through a publishing house.  I also have no time constraints: I write as and when I like rather than when someone tells me to.  With no targets to hit, I am under no pressure, and I write much better when I’m relaxed.  Oh, and the most important difference:  I decide if my book is good enough to be published, not someone I’ve never met.

Although I would get fewer royalties with one of the big six publishers, they do have their benefits: Proofreading, editing, cover design and marketing to name a few, but these are also things I can pay for, so they are not out of my reach.

All in all, I think self-publishing is the best approach for me.

WWM: Good reviews, mixed reviews, bad reviews - what are your thoughts on each of those?

I was lucky in the early days, and at one point I had 25 reviews on Amazon UK, with 24 being five stars and the other four stars.  That was a big help in getting people to take a chance with a new author, and played a big part in the trickle of sales I had during those early days.

After my first KDP promotion, I got my first one-star review.  I didn’t know how I would react if I got one, but I was fortunate that only a few days earlier I had a read a blog post by John Locke on this very subject.  John likes bourbon, but his wife prefers wine and his young children hate the smell.  That means just 1 in 4 people in his house likes bourbon, but that doesn’t make it a poor product: It just has its target audience.  

When I got my first one-star I just shrugged it off, though I had to laugh at the second one.  Apparently the plot for Gray Justice is full of holes.  This from someone who said in their review that they’d only read the sample!  How can you comment on the storyline if you haven’t read the whole story?  That’s like watching the first fifteen minutes of The Wizard of Oz and panning it because you don’t like black and white films!

WWM: Lastly, if you were an animal, what animal would you be and why?
Probably a sloth.  Given the opportunity I would wake up, take a shower and then sit in the same chair writing until bedtime. 


Excerpt from Gray Justice:

Stuart Boyle held the Subaru Impreza at a steady thirty miles per hour as he headed towards the town centre.  When he stopped at the red traffic lights he gazed around at the people in the cars, on the buses, walking the streets or sitting in their offices, most of them either at work or heading to work.
How could anyone be so stupid?  
Imagine having to turn up at nine each morning and being forced to obey some spotty twat with glasses who doesn't like you just because you're from a poor area; or spending eight hours in a factory packing fruit or toilet rolls.  
And for what?  These people would be lucky to take home £200 a week after tax, yet here he was in a nice motor that took just three minutes to nick and would earn him £500 by the end of the day.
That fact that he regularly got caught didn't bother him: it was an occupational risk he was willing to take.  Capture was simply an inconvenience, another few hours spent in a cell when he could be out casing his next hit.
No, as things stood, work wasn't for him.  
He caressed the wheel of the Subaru he had stolen the night before, wishing he could keep it a bit longer, but he'd already told Sammy Christodoulou that he had it.  Sammy wanted it straight away, and you didn't fuck with Sammy.  No, best to hand it over, take the cash and see what tomorrow brings.  Maybe he'd keep the next one to himself for a few days.
“See what other music they got.” he ordered Martin Kyle, who was sitting in the passenger seat.  
In the back, Tim Garbutt nodded his head to the current beat and voiced his displeasure when the disc was changed.
“Aww, I was listening to that.”
“Stop bleating, Timmy,” Kyle said, switching the CD for something with a bit more drum and bass, “not even my Gran listens to that crap.”
Boyle laughed, but his eyes were on the black Skoda coming towards them.  The thick aerial first caught his attention, and as it neared he saw the white shirts and black epaulettes of the occupants that marked them as police in an unmarked car.  The Skoda passed them and in his rear view mirror he watched it continue for another hundred yards before the blue lights illuminated and it performed a u-turn.
Game on.


Interview with author Ben Hatch

WWM: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I am 5ft 9, ginger-haired, and have a good sense of humour. My favourite food is cheese. I own 11 pairs of trousers and I was once cautioned by police for the theft of a King Edward V11 ultramarine 10 shilling stamps. I was 10 at the time and in the grip of addiction that has since abated.  I’ve been a banker, a postman, a lawnmower salesman, a recruitment consultant, a journalist, a private detective, an insurance salesman, a telesales worker and civil servant. I’ve also worked as a chicken sandwich station monitor in McDonalds. The best job I’ve had is a writer. I’ve bungee jumped, sky-dived, dyed my hair blonde and I once got told to fuck off by Denis Healy. One day I’d like to swim the channel.

WWM: What inspired you to get into writing?

My dad was a comedy writer in the 60s for BBC radio. He used to write sketches with John Cleese. I was about 11 when I discovered these in a briefcase in the loft with some old camping equipment. They were written on thin blue tissue paper and I couldn’t believe how funny they were. I started off writing comedy sketches in the style of Monty Python then I read Catcher in the Rye and after that (minus the phase when I wanted to be a snooker pro like Alex Hurricane Higgins) I always wanted to be a writer.

WWM: Do you remember the first story you wrote?

Yes. It was about a Scottish Nationalist terrorist cell who kidnapped people with holiday homes in The Trossachs, made them wear Argyll socks and forced them to hear lists of Scottish achievements in literature, sports and the arts while eating tartan lidded boxes of shortbread. It was called the Devolutionists.

WWM: Can you tell us something about your book, “Are We Nearly There Yet?”

It’s about a 8,000 mile road trip my wife and two kids went on while we were researching a guidebook about family friendly attractions in the UK. It’s the single best thing I’ve ever done in my life. We visited about 500 attractions, ate out in restaurants so many times my daughter came to see everything laminated as a children’s menu. She once ordered spaghetti from a flyer for an Epson printer in PC World. But the book is and isn’t really about travelling with kids. It’s about families really, being in one as child, as an adult and also a grandparent. My dad was dying as we toured the UK so it’s about this phase of your life too. It’s sad. It made Terry Wogan cry and funny. It made John Cleese laugh. It’s also about marriage.

WWM: Where did the idea for the book come from?

It wasn’t my idea. I’m too thick. I wrote the guidebook up and I was leaving so many funny stories out or else they were being cut by my editor, that he felt sorry for me and put me in touch with a publisher that specialised in travelogues. It came about this way. So thank you Mark Henshall.

WWM: Are you working on a new book at the moment?

Yes. I am working on the follow up, The Road to Rouen (a good pun hey?) is about 4-month road-trip we went on round France doing the same thing except with the extra pressure that I don’t speak a word of French and the kids refused to eat baguette (“because it’s pointed and weird”).

WWM: Where can people go and read your work?

It’s available in most Waterstones stores under travel. Larger WH Smiths probably carry it and of course on Amazon in kindle form where it’s a £1.99 bargain and also in paperback for old-schoolers.

WWM: What is the last book you read? What did you like or dislike about it?

I read Rachel Cusk’s A Country Life. She’s a fellow Brighton author. It’s great, like Jane Austen but with jokes. There was nothing I disliked about it. It’s a good read.

WWM: Which writers inspire you and why?

I admire writers who go in for characters with strong and very individual voices – JD Salinger, Hunter S Thompson, Graham Greene, Richrad Yates of the dead ones. Of the alive ones I’m a big fan of Geoff Dyer, Sean Condon, and Dave Eggers. And loads more people I’ve temporarily forgotten.

WWM: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Just write all the time. Then after you’ve finished, rewrite. It’s all in the rewriting unless you’re Jack Kerouac There are no magic shortcuts.

WWM: Do you have any advice on how to market a book?

Get on twitter.

WWM: Good reviews, mixed reviews, bad reviews-What are your thoughts on each of those?

I’m all in favour of good reviews and not surprisingly less keen on bad reviews. I have mixed reviews about mixed reviews. When I get a bad review I like to assume that the person is motivated by bitter jealousy or that they’re too stupid to understand what I was trying to convey. That way I don’t take what they have to say to heart or have to take it into consideration. Delusion is as useful a tool for a writer as a thick skin.

WWM: If you were an animal, what animal would you be and why?

I would be a cheetah simply because I would love to be able to run at 70mph to the shops to buy cheese. Plus I would like to have their small beautiful faces that they love so much they keep stroking them with saliva-slicked paws. The spots would be nice too. Either that or an ultra loyal mongrel dog that never left the graveside of his dead master and had a great collar.


Excerpt from “Are We Nearly There Yet”:

Checking into our lodge in the Kielder Forest  the Geordie reception-man 
recommends I buy a bottle of Avon Skin So Soft, a face cream used by the British Army, which trains here. It’s apparently better than any insect repellent.
‘The army use Avon Skin So Soft!’ I ask the man.
‘Aye, tha one with tha green bottle. Not tha pink one, mind. That’ll mackya skin soft alreet, boot they’ll bite yer aal tha saym. That’s the good thing aboot tha bats,’ he says.
‘What is?’
‘They eat tha midgies. Now, yanar where yagannin…’ 
‘You have bats?’
‘Aye, an’ buzzards. Tawny ools, barn ools, grey ools, puff adders, rinbow trowt.’
‘Puffer adders! What, in the forest?’ I ask.
‘No, al’orver. Ah found one doon by tha lodges lastweek. But divvent worry, they winnit harm ya if ya divvent harm them.’
‘What could they do?’ I ask.
‘And what would happen then?’
‘Yer OK unless yer hev a weak hort or,’ and he looks towards the kids in the car, ‘well, it’s not for young bairns, mind. 
Were yer not warned afore yer came?’
Dinah and I argue on the way to our lodge about whether or not we were warned afore we came. 
Was she warned afore we came? 
‘No. The brochure didn’t mention puff adders, Ben. He was winding you up. What’s this?’
‘It keeps the midges away. The army use it.’
‘Avon Skin So Soft! What do they use for camouflage – Smokey Brown Eyeshadow? He’s taking the piss. What did he actually say about the adders?’
‘He saw one by the lodges last week.’
‘He said that?’
‘Dinah, why would I panic you? You panic all the time. What’s in it for me? It’s. what. he said.’ 

At the lodge Dinah insists I unload the car alone.
‘Oh I see, it’s OK if daddy gets bitten, is it?’
‘Do you want me to do it too and the kids run out?’
‘Noooo, I’ll do it.’
‘Why are we waiting here, mummy?’
‘Nevermind, Phoebe,” says Dinah.
‘But why?’
‘Phoebe, just do as you’re told.’
‘But why, mummy?’
‘Because of the puff adders, OK.’
‘Puff adders!’
‘Snakes, Phoebe.’
‘Dinah, is that wise?’ I shout from behind the boot.
‘In real life, mummy?’ Phoebe asks.
And Dinah, too beleaguered to filter stuff now, replies, ‘Yes, in real life.’
‘Love, can I have a word?’
‘If there are the snakes you say there are, Ben, I think the children ought to know.’
‘OK. You know best.’
‘Charlie, there are snakes,’ says Phoebe. ‘Loads of snakes.’
‘Not really!’ says Charlie, fear crossing his face.
‘Yes,’ says Phoebe, nodding. ‘There are snakes everywhere, aren’t there, mummy?’
The situation’s finally calming when something else happens. 
I’m feeding Charlie when I hear buzzing sound coming from what I think is the failing battery in the clock on the living room wall. 
But how silly of me to assume it could be something as innocent as an triple A battery? 
It’s a bat, of course. 
A live bat trapped in our lodge. 
It’s the lowest point of the entire trip so far, as the bat I’ve disturbed begins whipping around the living room at great erratic speed. 
It doesn’t bump into anything because, of course, it has echo location
but that doesn’t stop the children crying and besides it’s a hard concept to explain, echo location. 
‘Phoebe, stop crying! It’s OK. They won’t fly into you because bats send out sonar bleeps through their larynx that bounce off objects, sending differing rebound signal frequencies back to the bat’s ears giving them a clear picture of what’s in front of them.’ 
It also doesn’t help that I’m involuntarily ducking every few seconds myself as I’m saying this. 
‘Ben, do something!’ shouts Dinah
Tears spring from Charlie’s eyes. 
Phoebe’s in my arms, whimpering.
“We’ve been here five minutes!’ I shout. 
‘Five minutes! And we’re already at crisis point. This is ridiculous. Open the door, Dinah. It’ll probably just fly out.’
‘You open it.’
‘I’m holding Phoebe.’
‘Well, I’ve got Charlie.’
‘Don’t ask her!’
‘I wasn’t. I was going say, go to Mummy, actually.’
Phoebe runs to Dinah. 
‘Ben, for God’s sake!’ 
And it returns. The reason I really hate bats. 
Growing up in a windmill, bats would fly around the sails at night. 
Once, aged 11, in the middle of the night, whilst sat on the toilet, I’d heard a high-pitched squeaking noise. 
Unable to determine it’s source, I’d stood up and, peering into the bowl, inches from where my bum had just been, 
from where my face was now, 
was the most disgusting thing I’d ever seen – 
a bat covered in my shit 
flailing about in the toilet water. 
It had flown in through the open window. 
‘Ahhhh!’ I shout now dashing for the door. 
The bat arcs towards me but at the last moment flies through the door. 
I slam it shut and face my family expecting – what? Cheers? Congratulations? 
I’ve saved us, slain personal demons in the process. 
Dinah rises and shepherding the kids toward the bathroom, she says, ‘God, you’re a coward!’


Interview with author Tim Vicary

WWM: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m an author and university teacher living in the countryside near York. My wife and I share our home with two cats, two dogs, two horses, and occasional visiting grandchildren. I used to run marathons and half marathons (very slowly) but now I’m getting old so I try to keep fit by cycling and swimming whenever possible.

WWM: What inspired you to get into writing?

As a boy I always loved reading, and I liked playing around with the essays we had to write at school, too. I once wrote a four page  history essay about Henry VIII in Byronic verse. (the teacher replied in verse too) That was fun, so I thought: ‘I’ll see what else I can do.’

WWM: Do you remember the first story you wrote?

The first book I had published was a children’s story called Alfred’s Oak. It was a spooky story about ghosts, and some badgers which lived under an ancient oak near my grandmother’s house. It had fantastic illustrations – better than the story, probably.

WWM: Can you tell us something about your books?

I’ve written a series of three legal thrillers set in York, about a tough lady barrister called Sarah Newby; and four historical novels. Two of  them – The Blood Upon the Rose and Cat & Mouse – are set in Edwardian England and Ireland, the same period as the TV drama Downton Abbey, and the other two are set in earlier periods.

WWM: Where did the idea for the novels come from?

The idea for the first Sarah Newby book – A Game of Proof – came from some trials I witnessed. I used to take students to court, and one day we saw a rape trial which was pretty harrowing because the woman had to give evidence about all the humiliating things she said had been done to her. But it was her word against his, the jury weren’t convinced, so the man was acquitted. That happens quite often, I think. But then, a month or two later I was back in court, and there was the same man, accused of raping a completely different woman, but the story she told was almost identical to that of the first. And the man was acquitted again.

It turned out that the prosecution had wanted to try to the two cases together, but they weren’t allowed to. And that made all the difference, it seemed to me. If TWO different women, who’d never met each other, had been allowed to tell identical stories about the same man, surely he would have been convicted. But that wasn’t allowed to happen.

I told this story to my daughter, who was training to become a barrister. ‘Courts are supposed to provide justice,’ I said. ‘No, Dad,’ she said. ‘It’s not like that. What happens in court isn’t about justice. It’s a game. The game of proof.’
So that’s where I got the title for my book.

WWM: Are you working on a new book at the moment?

Yes. There are three books so far in the Sarah Newby series – A Game of Proof, A Fatal Verdict, and Bold Counsel. I’m planning a fourth.

WWM: Where can people go and read your work?

All my books are published on Amazon, as kindle ebooks. 

WWM: What is the last book you read? What did you like or dislike about it?

It was called The Homicide Chronicle, Defending the Citizen Accused, by Ralph Shamas. I’d never heard of this man before, but I found it on line and read it in a day on my kindle, so it was pretty compelling. It seems this man Shamas is a genuine US lawyer who is now a judge in New Mexico, and the book was a fictionalized account of one of his most dramatic trials, as defense lawyer. So it was a bit like John Grisham, but true. I liked all the accurate details, and he told the story pretty well. But there two rather strange things about it. He uses rather formal, almost pompous language, which seems to come natural to him. 

But the really strange thing was, he claimed that he only ever defended people if he believed they were innocent. I found this really surprising; in fact I couldn’t imagine how he made a living. I mean, that’s just not how the system works over here, and I find it hard to believe it can work in Arizona either. Even if someone’s guilty, they still need a defense lawyer, don’t they? 

The way I portray Sarah Newby, it’s slightly different. If a client tells her he’s not guilty, she’ll defend him. She doesn’t have to believe him; she just accepts what he says. It’s up to the jury to decide on guilt, not her. It’s only if the client actually admits his guilt to her, that she has a problem. At that point she advises him to plead guilty, or she’ll drop the case. But usually, she doesn’t ask.

I’d love to discuss this with Judge Shamas.

WWM: What writers inspire you and why?

Many, but I’ll mention just one: Ken Follett. He writes thrillers and historical novels, like me. But unlike me, he’s hugely successful at it, so I use him as a model. One of the things he’s very good at is writing very simply, but clearly; he goes to the heart of a problem in very few words. That may look easy but it isn’t; it’s a great skill. And his other great skills are making you making you believe in the characters, and care about them enough to want to keep turning the pages; basic stuff, but vital.

WWM: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Find an author you admire (like Ken Follett for me) and read his books two or three times, really thoroughly, to work out how he does it. Then try to do the same thing yourself.

WWM: Do you have any advice on how to market a book?

I wish I did! Get a good professional cover, make sure your book is properly edited and devoid of all typos, then spend a lot of time on twitter and blogs like this, and hope for the best. Read books by self-published authors which give you their tips.

WWM: Good reviews, mixed reviews, bad reviews –what are your thoughts on each of those?

Be grateful for the good ones. Read the mixed ones carefully, because they sometimes make sensible points. And NEVER, EVER, respond to a bad review - the reviewer will delight in insulting you further, online, where everyone can see it. 

WWM: Lastly, if you were an animal, what animal would you be and why?

I think I would like to be a buzzard or an eagle, so that I could float above the world all day, look down, and think; ‘That’s all mine. No one can hurt me up here. I can strike wherever and whenever I want.’

But on other days I would rather be a sloth, and just sleep.


Tim’s website:

Excerpt from “A Game of Proof”:

AS SARAH wheeled the Kawasaki into the street something tugged at her memory. She glanced at her watch and swore. 7.40. Her daughter Emily had a school concert that night and she had promised to go. When did it begin - eight? Eight thirty? Pray God it was the latter. Quickly she fastened her helmet, settled herself in the saddle, and turned the key. The engine purred smoothly. I must be quick, she thought. Not so much freedom after all.
But as the bike wove its way swiftly down the street the old thrill returned. It was so powerful and free, compared to a car. Why shouldn’t she enjoy it, this daily adventure on the roads? It was her reward for long hours of work, for all the disasters of her childhood.
If Emily was late for the concert and threw a tantrum, so what? Secretly Sarah regarded her daughter as spoilt. What did Emily know of trouble or poverty?  Nothing, compared to her mother.
Sarah had been fifteen when she met Kevin Mills, and he had been seventeen. She had been an ordinary conscientious working-class girl at her local grammar school, not particularly clever or pretty, five foot six with short dark hair. The first risk she had ever taken was to drink two halves of lager and lift her miniskirt for Kevin in the back of his parent’s yellow Ford Cortina; and that risk had ruined her life. She still remembered, almost every day, the lonely dread for weeks afterwards waiting for a period that never came. And then the morning sickness, and telling her mother. 
And Kevin.
Kevin was of course a devil, a satyr to have seduced an underage schoolgirl, but he had great pride. He was shorter than other boys, but wiry and strong, able to command respect with a look or sharp word. Nobody put him down; he was too dangerous for that. He was also capable of great charm. She knew he’d had other girls but he’d chosen her. She had felt proud and excited to be with him. Not afraid, not then.
Not even when she told him she was carrying his baby.
At that moment, he had been brilliant. Or so she had thought at the time. She could remember how the angry pimple on his forehead flared red as the rest of his face went white with shock. But then, when the truth had sunk in, he had puffed out his chest like a little fighting cock - he had been proud! She was pregnant with his baby - he had done it before most other boys on the estate! So two days later he had stood in her front room with her hand in his and told her parents he was going to marry her. Not asked them, told them. At seventeen years old he said he loved her and wanted her children and they were going to get married.
Such fools they both were. 
They were married when she was sixteen, and the social services found them a council house on the Seacroft estate in Leeds. It was a dreadful estate; their house had damp running down the walls so freely that they saw snails crawling above the cot. The wallpaper was peeling off, the window frames were rotting and the weeds were two feet high in the garden, growing out of the dog muck that the previous tenant’s three rottweilers had left.
But at first it didn’t matter. It was their own house and they were young and determined and it almost seemed like a game. They furnished it with second-hand carpets and a plastic three piece suite, a brand-new cot from social services for the baby and a mattress on the bedroom floor for themselves. In the kitchen they had a Baby Belling cooker with two electric rings only one of which worked when the oven was on. Her mother gave her a cookbook called Healthy Eating for Less Than a Pound a Day, and Sarah came to know all its recipes by heart. Often things were burnt or underdone but in those first few weeks it didn’t matter because afterwards, so long as the baby was asleep, they could go up to their own bedroom in their own house and make love as long and adventurously as they liked.
And they did like. When Sarah’s father had described Kevin as a randy little sod he had been telling the exact truth and Sarah, aged sixteen, responded with delight and enthusiasm. That grubby bedroom, with a mattress and a rug on the floor, a stained mirror and an old chest of drawers with paint peeling off it, became for that brief period their version of the Arabian Nights. In those first few weeks of marriage Sarah’s sexuality blossomed as suddenly and completely as a flower in an arctic spring.
But then it faded, never to be the same again. The demands of real life piled up outside the bedroom door. Unwashed dishes, crying baby, dirty nappies, shopping, social worker, doctor, colds, cystitis, measles, vaccinations, electricity bills, pegging out the washing, rent demands, broken windows, cleaning, cooking, milkman’s bills. Sarah wanted to go home, but she couldn’t - this was home. And Kevin was away so much. He was a plumber’s apprentice, off to work at eight in the morning and then not back again for eight, ten, even twelve hours. Then he wanted food, sex, and sleep, in that order. He would play with the baby for a few minutes but wanted it go to sleep afterwards. When it didn’t, he became jealous. When it woke in the night, he was annoyed. When she cooked badly, he became irritable. When she was too tired or ill for sex, he became angry.
The first time he hit her was when she tried to discuss an electricity bill as they were undressing for bed. She had read about this technique for extracting money from your husband in a magazine in the doctor’s waiting room, whose agony aunt had clearly met no one like Kevin. Kevin just slapped her and continued with his lovemaking as though nothing had happened. The electricity was cut off a week later. She covered the bruise on her face with powder.


Interview with author Hardit Singh

WWM: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Originally a graduate in the Computer field, and it was whilst studying in University I discovered my passion for writing. I am a practising Sikh and live a simple life in the South West of England. Some of my other interests are playing Indian classical instruments, hiking, and painting.

WWM: What inspired you to get into writing?

After taking up reading again in my late teens, I got this urge to write after closing each book I read. I was fascinated with the power of the written word and how our imaginations projected these imaginary worlds. It was then I decided to write a novel out of pure fun and excitement. 

WWM: Do you remember the first story you wrote?

The first story I remember, was in English class during high school. I can picture myself writing it with a pencil in an exercise book, as part of an assignment, and I think it was a story about a kidnapping. 

WWM: Can you tell us something about your books?

I like to write stories that are driven by the character and less by plot. Characters are why I write the books I do, and I always want them to send a message to the reader by the time they get to the end of one of my stories. I like to write fast paced stories and do my best to go to places that are needed, no matter how dark.

WWM: Where did the idea for the novels come from?

Sometimes ideas come from a type of character I want to write about, which is how my first novel Driver came about. I wanted to write about someone who was in a world he was not meant be in. Other times my ideas stem from a situation, and this was the case with my follow up novel Traffic

WWM: Are you working on a new book at the moment?

Yes. I have just recently finished the first draft of my upcoming novel called Safe Haven. It is a story about the difficulties of family and discovery of friendship.

WWM: Where can people go and read your work?

My work is available in most ebook formats, such as Kindle, Nook & iTunes, to name a few.

WWM: What is the last book you read?  What did you like or dislike about it?

Under the dome by Stephen King. I liked reading the prose from one of the finest authors we have today, and it is so easy to slip into the world he creates. What I found a little challenging with the book was the length of the story. There was a long build up towards the end and I feel this could have perhaps been shorter.

WWM: Which writers inspire you and why?

Michael Connelly & Thomas Harris sparked my writing interests, and it was Connelly's books that really continued to motivate me to finish my first works. I enjoy the fast pace of his books, the bluntness of them, and most of all how they are character driven. I also take a lot of writing lessons from Richard Price. His ear for dialogue is unique and I feel he is an under-rated writer.

WWM: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Read and write everyday. You have to immerse yourself in the writing world and be prepared to dedicate yourself to it.

WWM: Do you have any advice on how to market a book?

I think the key is to know what you want and continue to change your approach until you get there. Marketing is extremely tough, especially in the current climate of ebooks, and you just have to persevere. 

WWM: Good reviews, mixed reviews, bad reviews - what are your thoughts on each of those?

For reviews I will say that they can be useful for feedback, whether good or bad. Lessons can always be learned and confidence can be gained, but it is always wise to remember they are just opinions. Don't let anything deter you in continuing to tell the story you want to tell.

WWM: Lastly, if you were an animal, what animal would you be and why?

I would like to be a dolphin. I'm sure they have lots of fun in their pods and get to see the beauty of the oceans.


Hardit Singh's Official Website:

Excerpt from “Traffic”:

A Regular Day At The Office
 Melanie Swift analysed her face in the mirror of the ladies toilets. She could see a partial red handprint on her cheek, where her last client got slaphappy. Her hand quivered as she touched the sore spot.
She closed her eyes and squeezed out tears, quickly wiping them away in anger. She had cried enough today, and not only that, she stole a bottle of vodka from the storage room and managed to get blind drunk. Now she was tired of feeling sorry for herself, and she couldn’t take any more self-pity.
“Just get through today,” she said. “Just a few more hours and you’ll be ok.” Her eyes betrayed her words. They were fatigued and her gaze was long. She balled her hand into a fist and held it tight.
Her mind drifted to the last evening she spent with her family. After tucking in her younger sisters, she joined her parents for dinner. She imagined for a moment that she was there. She found a way out of this slavery and was now in the only place she wanted to be: home. An inner voice told her that this would soon be a reality, and before she could continue with her fantasy, a protruding thought pulled her out of it.
A couple weeks after Melanie met Diego, her boyfriend up until the day she was taken, she remembered how he brought her a designer coat.
She never mentioned her love for fashion to him, which only a few close people knew. At the time the gift overwhelmed her, and it immediately slipped out of her mind. But even in a drunken haze, she had clarity on this odd circumstance.
 The door suddenly swung open – which interrupted her thoughts. A girl walked in and stood beside Melanie, as she peered into the mirror. She was here for the same purpose — she placed her makeup bag on the counter and then unzipped. It was a welcomed distraction, as she didn’t want to even spend another moment thinking about Diego. The thought of him now made her sick. Melanie quickly applied her foundation, mascara, eyeliner, and lipstick. When she was done, she stared back at herself in the mirror. Her face was now relaxed and her hands were steady. Her eyes were no longer filled with sorrow; they were wide and alert, but vacant. She played with her blonde bangs until she liked how they framed her face.
Melanie glanced at the girl next to her and immediately knew that she hadn’t been trafficked for long. She wasn’t using waterproof mascara, which was essential here, in case you gagged on the client’s penis or your own spit ran into your eyes.
“What’s your name?” asked Melanie.
“Take this.” She handed her a bottle of mascara from her own bag and told her she could keep it before walking out.
Melanie walked along a short narrow passageway that led back to the club, and just as she rounded the corner, she began to feel lightheaded. Before she could slow and steady herself, she stumbled in her high heels and fell to the floor – her knee taking the brunt of the impact.
“Shit!” She quickly grasped her knee, and rocked back and forth trying to fight back the tide of pain. This was her fault, she knew – everything was her fault. Besides still feeling the effects of the alcohol, the only food she had eaten all day was a cereal bar and it was now late evening. She got to her feet and rubbed her kneecap until she was able to walk again.
At the end of the dimly lit corridor Melanie opened the door to the club. Her eyes adjusted to the soft purple haze that filled the room. She turned the corner and stopped momentarily to get a view of the tables. The club was almost empty, but it was still early. She spotted her client on the other side of the room, sitting at his usual corner table. He was a businessman old enough to be her father. He visited her like clockwork – every Saturday night at 8pm.
As Melanie made her way across the room she saw Sally – her pimp – fanning out pictures of the girls on each of the tables. She passed by her without saying a word and consciously looked away. When she reached the table, her client was talking on his phone. He smiled as she sat down. Melanie flashed her practiced smile and noticed he hadn’t taken his eyes off her cleavage since she walked across the club.
The client’s name was Martin; he had a full head of grey hair, which was brushed back. Melanie never asked his age but guessed he was in his early fifties. She learned that he was a loner, and he told her that he would regularly relieve himself with the aid of his large porno collection. She didn’t know whether this was supposed to impress her, turn her on, or win her sympathy. The only thing it said to her was that he was lonely with a lot of time on his hands.
She looked down and picked up one of Sally’s leaflets. It looked cheap and behind the times, which summed up this club. There were grainy pictures of all the girls with their statistics. A paragraph below contained their likes and dislikes, which Sally plagiarised from an escort site. She looked at her profile and read what her supposed tastes were. It said she was a giver and her biggest turn-on was to fulfil a man’s dirtiest fantasies. It went on to say she was a sophisticated girl who loved getting down ‘n’ dirty and would leave you wanting more. The punch line at the end said, “Please fill my tight, wet, empty hole, and you won’t regret it.”
“Hi, sweetheart, sorry about that. What you got there?” Martin slowly removed the leaflet from Melanie’s hands. “Mmm… nice, but I don’t need to read this; I already got the best girl.”
He lifted Melanie’s hand off the table and kissed it. His exalted smile nauseated her.
Martin exhaled and stood up. “I can’t wait another second, let’s go.”
Melanie led him to a door at the side of the bar and up a flight of stairs. A man dressed in black met her on the landing. His name was Fernando and he worked for Sally.
Fernando rose from the chair and pulled out an earphone. He lifted his baseball cap and scratched his head. “Evening Martin,” he smiled and held out his hand.
Melanie continued down and turned left at the end of the corridor. The room at the end was hers for today’s shift. 
Inside it was like all the others she had been in – dingy walls, loosely fitted carpet, and a pungent smell of perfume. A small window, admitted little light, and a lamp filled the room with a soft glow, doing little to hide the dinginess. The large window below was boarded up. She thought for a moment how it could’ve been smashed. Besides the large slab of wood, nailed onto the window frame, the only thing out of place was the bed. It was king size with silk bedcovers that rested on a firm mattress, and the steel frame ensured that it was sturdy – allowing clients to hammer away without fear of injury.
As soon as Melanie stepped inside, she moved across to the desk and put down her makeup bag. She took out a tube of lubricant and squeezed a generous amount into her hand, before putting it down her mini-skirt and into her panties.
“Don’t get started without me.” Martin stood in the threshold and looked on with lust in his eyes and a satanic smile.
Melanie quickly looked away. She stripped off her clothes with her back to him.
A cold hand then squeezed her shoulder. She cringed when he kissed her on the back of the neck, before breaking away from his grip. She turned around and did her best to smile.
Martin held her face with one hand, using his thumb to gently brush her cheek, and with the other, he rubbed himself hard.
Melanie moved to the desk and pulled open the middle drawer. She ripped off the square foil package from the large snake of condoms and gave it to Martin. While he slipped it on, she lay on her back with her legs spread.
There was no foreplay. Martin wanted to use every one of his twenty minutes to push himself inside of her, and fulfil whatever desire he had inside his head. During these twenty long minutes, Melanie tried her best to focus on something else, but as usual, it was no good. Her mind always returned to her dark reality, and it consumed her, there was no getting away from it, when a man – in this instance old enough to be her father – was using her as one would to feed their drug habit. Her only lifeline was hope. Hope of getting out of here one day, and escape the darkness that shrouded her life.
When Martin finished, his phone rang, as if whoever was calling knew that his appointment was over. He moved to the edge of the bed, with his back to her, and pulled out his phone from his trousers, which were hung over the bedpost. Melanie looked at the bedside table, on the other side of the bed, and saw his wallet. She could see half a dozen twenty pound notes poking out. Her mind, like a pendulum, swung between going for the prize and leaving well enough alone. With hesitation, she made up her mind.
Martin exhaled after putting down his phone. “The wife.” He shook his head. “She wants to know where I am every minute of the fucking day. By the time I get home, we got nothing to talk about. Women!” He then turned his head and smiled. “No offence, love.”

Interview with author Adrian Dawson

WWM: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

I was born at home (a police house) near Pontefract in Yorkshire, England, in 1971. Having been a fan of all things creative for most of my life, I eventually settled on illustration as the day job and initially became an airbrush illustrator, producing work similar in style to my heroes; Philip Castle and Chris Achilleos. In 1988, one of my bosses placed a Mac under my nose and I've never looked back. My subsequent creative career has spanned digital illustration, retouching, advertising, graphics, web development and copywriting. At the age of 22 I started my own design agency, of which I am still, almost 20 years later, the Creative Director and which, for the most part, I love to bits.

I first wrote Codex, a high-tech thriller, in 1998 and submitted it in 1999 to the Christopher Little Literary Agency who, under Patrick Walsh, signed me immediately. Unfortunately, Patrick was unable to place my work and ultimately left to form his own literary agency. Then a guy called Dan Brown came along with books called "Angels and Demons" and "The Da Vinci Code" and my work was even harder to place...
I really do think Dan deserves his success, but if ONE MORE PERSON says that Codex copied HIS themes…

Codex was released digitally in the spring of 2010 where it stormed the iBookstore charts, heading straight to Number 2 in the Mysteries and Thrillers section. It was also the #1 bestselling full length thriller on the iBookstore of 2010. The paperback version, released in December 2010 by Last Passage, has also been extremely successful.

I am a self-confessed perfectionist who takes exceptional pride in the depth of research and detail I include in my work. Also, I've seen WAY too many films lately with lame endings and, as such, I also ensure that I have a killer ending to my novel before I write so much as a word.

I currently live in Nottingham with my chocolate labrador: ‘Magus’.

WWM: What inspired you to get into writing?

I honestly don’t know. I’ve had a fascination with writing, words and language for as long as I can remember. Outside of the novels I love wordplay, puns and general 'pen is mightier than the sword' stuff.

WWM: Do you remember the first story you wrote?

It was a full-length novel called "Dreamland" about Area 51. It was appallingly written but I felt the themes were good. Unfortunately, given the TV output that followed in the years after, even the themes soon seemed outdated.

WWM: Can you tell us something about your books, "Codex" and “Sequence”?

Both are carefully crafted and complex thrillers and both had the endings long before a word was written. As stated, Codex has been likened to Dan Brown’s work, despite being written much earlier, so with Sequence I found an idea that no-one else had ever had or was likely to have. Something truly unique.

WWM: Where did the idea for the novels come from?

With Codex it was 'What if a 747 was blown out of the sky and it transpired not only that it was done just to stop one person getting home, but also what if the bombers had deliberately made the event huge (rather than shooting their intended target in a dark alley) just so that they could surreptitiously draw somebody into their game?'

With Sequence it was 'What if you could send somebody back to steal and hide something, years ago, and then dig it up today. Be the reason an artefact was lost to history. How complex would it become if, somewhere in between, that item was stolen again and you didn’t know when?'

WWM: Are you working on a new book at the moment?

I am working on the 'Sequel to Sequence' - [Sequoia]. Following [Sequioa] will be Sequitur and then the Sequence Trilogy is complete. As such, I am currently researching 'Memory' set in a future world of memory replacement and 'Remote' - a modern day master criminal using the technology we all use today to commit two simultaneous crimes.

WWM: Where can people go and read your work?

Amazon (Paperback and Kindle), iBooks, Waterstones (Paperback), WHSmith Travel (Paperback). Or, given that I still copywrite for my agency, any number of bus-sides and magazine advertisements.

WWM: What is the last book you read?  What did you like or dislike about it?

Hannibal by Thomas Harris. The prose was beautiful but, by the latter part of the novel, the plot was being stretched so far that the flaws were becoming quite transparent.

WWM: Which writers inspire you and why?

Thomas Harris (Prose), Stephen King (Sheer variance of themes and moods), Michael Crichton (Themes and Science), Jeffrey Deaver (Pace).

WWM: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Be your own critic. Don’t think every word you write is great. Stare at it, read it aloud, over and over and then… make it great.

WWM: Do you have any advice on how to market a book?

Social networking is the key now. Facebook, Twitter, Klout et al. Keep plugging away but don’t alienate your followers by just being about book sales. Let them see you also.

WWM: Good reviews, mixed reviews, bad reviews - what are your thoughts on each of those?

On iBooks, as an example, I have 131 ratings and over 100 are five star. There are less than 10 two star or less. In terms of reviews, there are 15 and only one is negative. I just remind myself that, on launch, Apple were (according to some very well respected journalists) foolish to make a phone. The iPhone had no camera, no USB and it would never sell. It was lambasted at every turn and it was going to ruin Apple.

Enough said.

WWM: Lastly, if you were an animal, what animal would you be and why?

A dog. Walked, fed, loved and zero stress. What’s not to like?


Excerpt from “Codex”:

Three rows behind, Father Emile Tomazo looked away from the in-flight magazine and carefully removed his glasses. He closed his eyes for an instant and pondered a journey which would culminate in a talk to the underprivileged of the Big Apple’s Latin Quarter. And yet now, having spoken briefly to the young girl, it seemed as though his entire trip might somehow have been tainted. Opening his eyes again he looked over the seat-backs and watched the girl in reverse three-quarter view, her own eyes closing and her breathing slow and heavy. He knew that she carried a weight with her and he felt shamed that he had not taken a little more time to alleviate it. Some words of spiritual comfort might have offered some respite from her fears, perhaps. Somehow, he doubted it. Even so, perhaps when the flight was settled and the seatbelt lights were extinguished his sense of duty to his Lord would make him amble down and deliver some anyway.

He pictured the screams he had seen in her eyes at the time she had almost begged her question toward him, her fragile voice possessing all the weakness and desperation he had always assimilated with a confessional. Worse, he could almost feel her grip on his arm again, her slender fingers desperate and tight.

“If I knew nothing of God or Sin, would I still go to hell?”

Though taken aback by the question, and sceptical as to how it might relate to her ragged appearance, it had only taken Father Tomazo the briefest moment to reply as honestly as he could. 

“Of course not,” he had said. “Not if you did not know.”

And her eyes had instantly lost themselves and become cold. Not at him, presumably, but at the institution with which his waxen collar affiliated him. As she turned away, the contempt in her voice had been some of the harshest Father Tomazo had felt in fifteen years of serving his God. 

“Then why the fuck do you people tell us about them then?”


Interview with author Mel Sherratt

WWM: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

Well, I like shoes…killer heels in particular. I was born and still live in Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire, which is where I based my first book. I come from a working class background, am high school educated and have worked a number of various jobs over the years – none of them creative. After being made redundant from my last role of training and development consultant for the local authority, I decided to take a year out to write full time and I haven’t looked back since.

WWM: What inspired you to get into writing?
I think I’ve always been into writing. I remember as a teenager borrowing every library book I could find on ‘how to’ write – no matter what genre it was. And I can remember borrowing the same books again years later. But it wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I finished a first draft of a novel.
WWM: Do you remember the first story you wrote?
Yes, it was about Gerry the Gobstopper who was kidnapped from the sweet shop by Black Jack and Fruit Salad. I can’t recall, however, if it had a happy or a murderous ending.
WWM: Can you tell us something about your books, "Taunting the Dead" and "Somewhere to Hide"?
TAUNTING THE DEAD is mostly police procedural and features Detective Sergeant Allie Shenton as the main character. When a local woman is murdered, she has to work out who from her family and friends is telling lies and also why they want to cover up exactly what they were doing instead. So it’s kind of everyone is lying to everyone else and her too. As well as that, by getting too close to the main suspect, the husband of the victim, Allie puts both her marriage and her career on the line.
SOMEWHERE TO HIDE is an emotional thriller, more about the fear and affects of crime. It’s the first in a series, THE ESTATE, and each book will have a different main character that pops up somewhere in the preceding book. This book is about a halfway house for women in jeopardy, run by Cathy Mason. She can pack a mean punch when threatened but has a secret in her past that comes back to haunt her, not only putting her life in danger but also the women that she should be looking after.    
WWM: Where did the idea for the novels come from?
TAUNTING THE DEAD came from watching/listening to clips of local and national news where if someone was murdered, sometimes friends and neighbours would say what a lovely person they were. I got to thinking what if they weren’t particularly liked, more tolerated. From this came the idea to have five people, friends and family members, who all could have been in the vicinity at the time of the murder. 
SOMEWHERE TO HIDE came from two sources. The first is that I spent eight years as a housing officer for the local authority. I had a lot of admiration for people who were getting through whatever life would throw at them. Sometimes people were much happier than me and I hadn’t got any problems compared to them, if you know what I mean. The idea for the halfway house came from an episode of THE SECRET MILLIONAIRE where a woman looked after young girls. She was so inspiring, giving up her time to help as much as she could.
WWM: Are you working on a new book at the moment?
Yes, I have three written in The Estate series. The next, BEHIND A CLOSED DOOR, is due out in October and the third, FIGHTING FOR SURVIVAL is out in January 2013. I also have ideas for two further novels in the series. For the next month, now that SOMEWHERE TO HIDE is out, it will be BOS – bum on seat to get BEHIND A CLOSED DOOR ready. The main character in this one is Josie Mellor. She’s a housing officer so it’s about some of the cases she deals with on the estate, as well as some of her work life around domestic violence starting to mirror her home life. There’s also a series of burglaries/murders/attacks on vulnerable tenants’ that needs addressing too.
WWM: Where can people go and read your work?
At the moment, my books are available on Amazon Kindle but over the next few weeks they will become available on most e-reading platforms such as iBooks, Sony and Kobo. I’m also creating a paperback version which should be available if anyone wants a hard copy. 
WWM: What is the last book you read?  What did you like or dislike about it?
Honestly, I’ve been so busy for the past few months that I haven’t read a book all the way through in a long while – and I hate to skim read. Terrible for a writer, I know, but I can’t read anyone else while I’m drafting or rewriting work of my own as my head is too full to switch off. I used to book review for the main publishers but I’ve had to stop that too. At the moment I’m reading Simon Lelic’s THE CHILD WHO which I picked up at Theakston Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival last weekend and am really enjoying it. Simon has got ‘show not tell’ down to a magical tee. I wish I could write like that. Where he has beauty, I have grit. His style is stunning. 
WWM: Which writers inspire you and why?
Anyone who writes a great story inspires me, partly because I know what goes into writing a book that twists and turns. I like to read authors such as David Jackson and Will Carver who do twisting and turning to perfection but equally I like authors such as Adele Parks and Dorothy Koomson who tackle gritty subjects with an emotional element as well. 
WWM: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
If you want to write a book, perhaps give yourself permission to write the whole thing rather than hone the first three chapters like I did for years until I plucked up the courage to write through to The End. For me, I find if I have a draft to work on, then anything can be added or deleted to create a story. Another tip is to find out what works best for you! You have to write the words.
WWM: Do you have any advice on how to market a book?
That’s a tough one for me. People are always asking me how I sold so many copies of TAUNTING THE DEAD. I had no marketing strategy but for two years previous I’d built up a blog, High Heels and Book Deals, which people were familiar with. I also charted some of my writing journey on there, along with my decision to self publish. I think this helped me to gain momentum and then the rest was word of mouth, so I’ve been told, for it to go so quickly up the Kindle charts.
WWM:Tell us briefly about your path to publishing. What have been the highs and the lows?
I’m not sure I can ever tell you briefly about my journey as it’s been going on for over twelve years. In that time, I’ve written six books, hoping to get better each time. Two of them went out to a few editors and were rejected. Taunting the Dead went out to several editors last year and was rejected. Even though I chose to self publish, I still dream of a traditional deal with a publisher and an editor who can nurture me. Fresh eyes are paramount to good books. 
Highs were getting one step nearer to a book deal. Lows were the times I’ve been THAT close but alas, still another no. And of course the main high for me at the moment is that TAUNTING THE DEAD did so well, getting to number 3 in the overall Kindle chart and staying in the top ten for four weeks at number one in police procedurals, thrillers and mysteries. I also write women’s fiction under a pen name and that has sold equally as well. I’m delighted.
WWM: Good reviews, mixed reviews, bad reviews - what are your thoughts on each of those?
One thing I won’t do is review a book that I didn’t like. I’m a firm believer of another man’s meat is another man’s poison so even though I might not like something, it doesn’t mean that other people won’t. Reviews on my book have been mostly good but the odd one and two star reviews? They sting but they show the book isn’t for everyone. My writing is gritty. I write about sex, violence and murder in TAUNTING THE DEAD and there’s a lot of cursing. In SOMEWHERE TO HIDE, I write about domestic violence. These topics, and my characters, are not for everyone. For me, sometimes I want to answer some of the negative comments but I have to remember - not everyone likes wearing high heels… Not everyone is going to like my writing style or stories.
WWM: Lastly, if you were an animal, what animal would you be and why?
A dog, as long as it was a pet and treated like mine. Dexter is a Fell Terrier and has a great life. He sleeps on the settee or on the chair in my office for most of the day, getting the occasional treat when I stop for coffee. He’s walked often while I mull over plot lines and is talked to constantly, keeping me company. 
Excerpt from “Somewhere to Hide”:
The White Lion public house stood forlorn in the middle of the Mitchell Estate. Before the recession, it had been a thriving business. Now all that was left was a boarded up building with a For Sale sign hanging haphazardly by one nail. Rubbish bags sat alongside two single mattresses, a few wooden pallets and a settee in the car park, the low wall around it missing many of its bricks.

Austin Forrester had been watching it for three days before making his move. During this time, he’d seen only one other loner like himself. The youth was in his early teens, scraggy and unkempt, wearing clothes that hadn’t seen water in months.

That afternoon, he watched him leave and disappear out of view before leap-frogging the wall and legging it to the back of the building. He felt around the edges of the windows until he found the metal sheeting that had been jemmied open. Within seconds, he pushed himself through the gap and jumped down to the floor inside.

Once his eyes adjusted to the shadows, Austin moved quickly. A door creaked as he pushed it open to find what used to be the kitchen. He walked on further and the building opened up into a lobby. Coming to a flight of stairs he chose to go up two steps at a time, his speedy heartbeat the only sound he could hear. He came across a room with a single mattress on the floor. A grubby sleeping bag lay on it, the zip opened and pushed wide. Empty beer cans and takeaway cartons were piled high on top of a beer crate serving as a coffee table. Austin breathed through his nose, the pile of clothes and trainers at the foot of the mattress adding to the stench inside the room.

Less than ten minutes later he was out again, leaving no signs of his presence. So when he went back at midnight, the youth didn’t stand a chance. The first he knew of anything was when Austin pinned him to the bed, his gloved hands squeezing tightly around his neck. Sensing he was fighting for his life, the youth struggled to pull his arms free of the sleeping bag and thrashed them about, clawing urgently at Austin’s gloves. His breath came out of his nostrils in fits and starts. Austin moved with him, holding him down and avoiding his knees pushing up, trying to flip him off balance. Finally, the youth’s arms and shoulders flopped.

 Afterwards, Austin lit a cigarette and inhaled deeply. Funny how things work out, he thought, glancing around the room again. This place couldn’t be a more perfect hideout for him to watch and wait. He’d be in the thick of things but inconspicuous when he needed to be.

He took another long drag and stared at the corpse beside him. For a moment, he wondered why the youth was here, what his story was, and his background. Had he been dragged up through the system too? 

Although he felt the anger brewing inside, he knew he had to bide his time for the next few months. Besides, it wouldn’t take long to put his plan into action. He already knew the date it would all come to a head. The fifteenth of August 2012.

Everyone on the Mitchell Estate would know his name by then.

Interview with author Tony Parsons

WWM: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

I was born into a working class family who lived in a rented flat above a greengrocer’s shop on the border of Essex and the East End. My dad was a greengrocer and my mum was a dinner lady. I was an only child and my mum read me stories from the moment I was born. I could read long before I started school and there were always books around. That is why I am a writer – because I fell in love with stories. Coming from a poor family put a bit of fire in my belly and has helped me when my career has hit hard times. I wanted to try to make a living telling stories – that was my ambition. It is still my ambition – to tell stories that people want to hear. 

WWM: Can you tell us something about your most recent novel, "Catching the Sun"?
CATCHING THE SUN is about a British family who leave the UK for a new life in Phuket, Thailand. The hero, Tom, is very much like my memory of my father – a hard working, simple man who only wants a good life for his family but, no matter how hard he works, he can’t seem to get ahead. So he accepts a job with a dodgy character called Farren in Phuket. It is a book about family, and it is also a love letter to Thailand. I wanted CATCHING TO SUN to feel saturated in sunshine – just capture the way your spirit lifts when you are in the sun. I spent years researching it and I hope it paints an authentic and loving picture of Thailand, as well as telling a tale for our times.  CATCHING THE SUN is a book about escape, and how you can never escape from yourself.
WWM: Which writers inspire you and why?

All good writing inspires me. Anything good inspires me. There are books I love and return to every few years – ON THE ROAD by Jack Kerouac, LOLITA by Vladimir Nabokov, GREAT EXPECTATIONS, and lots of what people would call popular novels – THE VIRGIN SOLDIERS by Leslie Thomas, ROGUE MALE by Geoffrey Household, anything by Raymond Chandler, all the James Bond books by Ian Fleming. I am a big fan of thrillers – right now I am re-reading THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS by Thomas Harris. I think re-reading great books you read long ago is very rewarding. You often appreciate a book much more the second or third time around, although of course you have to love it in the first place.
WWM: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
My tips for aspiring writers would be – get an agent (as Keith Waterhouse said to me), keep earning (as my dad said to me) and never stop trying (that’s what I say to you). You are only ever beaten when you admit you are beaten. The empty page goes on forever. If you are a born writer then it never ends, and nothing any critic or publisher or anyone else ever says can change that. The hardest thing for an aspiring writer is getting read – it is asking an awful lot of someone to read your 100,000 word manuscript. Most people have enough trouble dealing with their own career to have the time to spare for someone else’s. that is why you need an agent. It’s what they do. 
WWM: What have been the highs and lows of your career to date?
MAN AND BOY was my biggest high because it sold millions in dozens of countries around the world. But the initial reaction to the book – from every publisher in London apart from HarperCollins – ranged from negative to indifferent. So that was a low – when nobody was interested in this book that I wrote from the heart. 
WWM: What trends do you see emerging in the world of publishing? Do you embrace the rise of the ebook?
I have no choice but to embrace the rise of the eBook. You have to deal with the new technology. You can’t fight it. I still think that people prefer the printed word – but eBooks and physical books are not in competition with each other. They are just different ways to have the same experience. 
WWM: Lastly, if you were an animal, what animal would you be and why?
If I were an animal, I would be a dog – a German Shepherd. Loyal, loving, secretly shy, very territorial, willing to die for those I love, intelligent, home loving, and fond of licking my testicles.
Excerpt from “Catching the Sun”:
  On the first day we watched the elephants come from the sea.
  ‘Look!’ Keeva cried. ‘Look at the sea!’
  I sat up but I could see nothing. Just my daughter - Keeva, nine years old, stick thin, pointing out at a sea so calm it looked like a lake made of glass.
  Tess, my wife, stirred beside me and sat up. She had been sleeping, worn out by a night in the air and coming seven thousand miles. We both watched Keeva, down where the sand met the water, excitedly waving her arms in the air.
  I could actually see the heat. We were on the beach at Nai Yang, just after breakfast, and the air was already starting to shimmer and bend. I thought - If it’s this hot so early in the day, what will it be like later?
  Keeva was jumping up and down by now.
  ‘Oh!’ she cried. ‘You must see it! Oh, oh, oh!’
  Our boy, Rory, was between me and Tess, on his stomach, a wet and battered copy of My Family and Other Animals on his lap.  He looked up at his twin sister, adjusting his glasses, impatiently shaking his head.  Then his jaw dropped open.
  ‘Oh,’ he gasped.
  Tess laughed, and stood up, brushing the sand from her legs, and all the exhaustion of the journey seemed to vanish with her smile.
  ‘Can’t you see them?’ she asked me, taking Rory by the hand as they began walking down to the sea.
  Then it was suddenly there for me too, this thing poking out of the water, a gnarled tube moving towards the shore.  It looked like some prehistoric snorkel.  Then there was another one.  Then two more.  All these prehistoric snorkels, steadily moving towards Hat Nai Yang.  And always getting bigger.


Interview with author Phil Church
WWM: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 
I live in Cambridge, work as an English teacher, drink too much coffee, love books, films, spicy food, games, occasional exercise and I used to be an archaeologist. 
WWM: What inspired you to get into writing?
I have always loved reading and I enjoyed creative writing at school. I started writing regularly when I left university. I had a notebook I carried around and filled with short stories. I finished my first book in my mid twenties but I was never very happy with it so I just kept plugging away until I found a style I enjoyed and some material I really wanted to use.
WWM: Do you remember the first story you wrote?
I do remember writing a very violent zombie story at school when I was eleven or twelve and taking it home to my parents. They thought there was something wrong with me.
WWM: Can you tell us something about your book, "Thrift"?
It tells the story of a lazy teacher who is more interested in getting home to the pub than actually teaching anything of value or making a difference.
WWM: Where did the idea for the novel come from?
The book was inspired by some of the ridiculous things that happen in teaching. There is an expectation that teachers should be professional and diligent even when faced with total apathy and indifference. I liked the idea of creating an incredibly disinterested teacher who was happy to lie his way through a series of potential disasters. Some people think he is based on me, which is rather unkind.
WWM: Are you working on a new book at the moment?
I am having a go at a crime book at the moment. It tells the story of a supermarket manager who tries to solve a series of murders in his village. I am also writing a sequel to Thrift. 
WWM: Where can people go and read your work?
Thrift is available for Kindle on Amazon. 
WWM: What is the last book you read?
I just finished Ben Hatch’s Are We Nearly There Yet? which I thoroughly enjoyed. Very funny, but also rather dark and sad in places. I am also working my way through A Feast for Crows and Suttree which are both brilliant. 
WWM: Which writers inspire you?
There are so many to choose from I started to write down a massive list, but actually I am going to pick just one. I think Magnus Mills is fantastic. I find his books hilarious, although they are quite unusual, and some people don’t find them funny at all, which makes them even better as far as I am concerned. I love the way he has had international success but still drives a bus. I have read a few interviews and he seems very down to earth and wise.
WWM: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
When you first show people your work everyone has tips to improve, gives you differing advice or thinks they know ways you could write a bestseller. My advice would be just ignore them and write something you would enjoy reading. 
WWM: Do you have any advice on how to market a book?
I think this is a hugely complicated business and I have only tried a few ways so far. Twitter has been most successful for me. I imagine there are plenty of blogs and forums that I have yet to discover!
WWM: What do you like/dislike about indie publishing?
I like the excitement of checking sales and trying to market yourself. There are plenty of highs and lows! On the downside, it is very time consuming and I imagine it would be great to have a publisher look after your publicity. Especially when work keeps getting in the way.
WWM: Good reviews, mixed reviews, bad reviews - what are your thoughts on each of those?
I feel very lucky to have had so many good reviews. The first bad one I had hurt a bit, but on reflection people should be allowed to have their opinion and personally I think you are very unlikely to write a book that will keep everyone happy. As long as some people enjoy your writing you know you have not failed completely.
WWM: Lastly, if you were an animal, what animal would you be and why?
I like the idea of being an eagle. Flying looks exhilarating and I imagine being at the top of the food chain makes life more enjoyable.
Excerpt from Thrift:
On a Friday afternoon I was attempting to explain the intricacies of a Sherlock Holmes story to my increasingly confused class. I had twenty-four year eleven students. Most had their ties undone and were swinging back on their chairs. There was a strong smell of cigarettes coming from a girl near the front. The air was warmed by a spell of unusually hot autumn weather.
‘I hate this Shakespeare,’ said Melanie.
‘Does Holmes have a gun, sir?’ said Billy. ‘I would have loads of guns if I was him.’
There was a general nod of approval from the other students.
‘M16,’ said Marvin.
‘AK47,’ said Jules, and fired an imaginary machine gun burst over the heads of her classmates.
‘Holmes is not that kind of character,’ I said. It was becoming increasingly warm in the room and I could feel sweat building on my brow. ‘He uses his mind to solve cases.’
‘He would so lose to Wolverine,’ said Adam.
‘Or Batman. Batman has cool stuff,’ said someone else. My class had managed to miss the point of Holmes in spectacular fashion. The comments were coming thick and fast and I was losing track of who was saying what.
I put my hands up to try and bring some order to the lesson.
‘I think we may have become confused somewhere along the line,’ I said. ‘Perhaps if we read the actual story things might become simpler? In this opening scene Holmes is sat in his flat talking to his housemate Dr Watson.’
I held up my book in preparation to read. I liked to think I was a good reader, and sometimes I added some accents or sound effects to bring life to the text. In my mind I was rehearsing my plummy Holmes accent and the more sinister tone I would use to narrate the legend of The Hound of the Baskervilles.
My confidence was knocked when I noticed there were some disapproving looks from the students. 
‘He lives with a man?’ said Jules. ‘Is he gay like you, sir?’
I sighed heavily.
‘Just because he lives with another man does not mean he is gay. We have been through this before. Sometimes two men live together out of necessity or because they are friends.’
‘But you live with your boyfriend because you go out together?’
‘I don’t have a boyfriend.’
‘You do so. You have two.’
‘That was all a misunderstanding.’
‘It’s ok, sir,’ said Melanie. ‘Lots of people are gay these days. We don’t mind if you and Holmes are gay.’
Despite the awkwardness of the moment, I found the reassuring nods from the class quite encouraging. It was unusual to gain any moral support from my students, and I found myself almost moved by their empathy for my apparent homosexuality.
‘Neither of us are gay,’ I said, ‘but thank you for your support.’
Melanie looked unconvinced.
‘Whatever, sir,’ she said.
‘More importantly than my personal life, shall we read?’ I said.
I did my best Sherlock Holmes impression and added some appropriately gothic sound effects while my students mostly fell asleep or listened to music.
Interview with author Russell Blake
WWM: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 
I'm a broken down carny barker hoping for a little love while struggling to make ends meet. Actually, that's not far from the truth. I moved to Mexico almost a decade ago with a plan to waste away in Margaritaville after selling my company, but fate and circumstance intervened and I got the writing bug again about a year and a half ago. It had bitten me once before, but all it left was a welt that time, so I wisely decided to move on and do something profitable with my existence. But left to my own devices here I eventually returned to it, and started scribbling out a few chapters of an idea that intrigued me, and from there I was back in the saddle - this time for real. I decided to give it a year of writing virtually non-stop to see if I could produce efforts that folks wanted to read, and I'm happy to say that enough have found my work interesting so that I'll keep doing it. June 7 was my one year anniversary. And I didn't even get taken to dinner or kissed. Sigh.
WWM: What inspired you to get into writing? 
Originally, I think it was a love of language - of the written word, and the lyricism and musicality and emotion that a well turned phrase could evoke. I grew up on Loveraft, Ludlum and Harris, and then discovered Pynchon and David Foster Wallace, and I think I was hooked after that. So being a reader made me want to write, just as being a writer now makes me want to read more. Very circular. What moved me to keep at it was the joy of getting it right - when you sort of hit a kind of rhythm with the words, and it feels like you're flying. I can't explain the sensation any better than that. It's almost a magical kind of transcendent state, absent the orange robes or incense.
WWM: Do you remember the first story you wrote? 
I do. It was in fifth grade, and it was very Lovecraft - I think I titled it Satan's Doves, and I believe it was a loosely plagiarized effort inspired by Robert E. Howard's Pigeons From Hell. I remember my teacher was horrified, but still gave me an A. I think she was too frightened of me not to at that point.
WWM: Can you tell us something about your books? 
I write action/adventure thrillers that are based on conspiracies - in the Ludlum mold, although I'd say my Assassin series is more Forsyth. I bounce around depending upon my mood - I always wanted to write an Umberto Eco-style book, a la Foucault's Pendulum (which many confuse with being a Dan Brown thing, but they're one generation too late), so I wrote The Voynich Cypher. I love Tom Harris, so I tried my hand at a police procedural with Fatal Exchange, and now with my next one, Silver Justice. Something about serial killers gets the juices flowing - I'm probably not well, I know. And my Assassin series - Night of the Assassin, King of Swords, Revenge of the Assassin, Return of the Assassin - is more of a balls out adventure series about the world's most deadly assassin. But mostly I stick to suspense/intrigue where an unlikely protagonist is forced to confront impossible odds to save him/herself, and where nothing is as it seems. I hate predictable stories, so I try for the unexpected, and delight in jarring and making readers think. 
WWM: Where do the ideas for your novels come from? 
In the larger sense, from my knowledge of conspiracies - some of which are pure bunk, but some of which are accurate descriptions of reality. That's always the undercurrent of my novels - that the truth isn't what the reader necessarily believes it to be, or has been told that it is. Getting more specific, I'll come up with a one sentence idea and then flesh it out. Like my newest one I'm kind of plotting now - I came up with it while halfway through my next release, Silver Justice, which features a single-mom FBI agent who is a complete asskicker. I was eating lunch (code for drinking) and thought, how about a female ex-Mossad assassin who faked her own death but is now being hunted by shadowy figures intent on silencing her? And I had this mental image of the book cover pop into my consciousness, and it was titled, Jet - all black and red. Just that - the title, cover idea and the single sentence concept, got me excited, so I wrote a paragraph outlining the idea, and put it away to work on later. That will be my next one - I've learned that when you get that inspiration you should run with it, and get it out while it's vital. I was going to write a sequel to Fatal Exchange next, but Jet intruded, so Jet it will be.
WWM: Are you working on a new book at the moment? 
I just finished the third draft of Silver Justice, and trimmed it from 108K words down to 92K, and am sending it off to the editor. I'll take 10 days off while I sort of turn over the idea for Jet and get it fully formed (I want plots within plots, twists within twists, and I find plotting a one sentence summary of each chapter works well for that, but I tend to get distracted so it takes a bit of doing to make it all the way through), and then I'll just sit down and write it, 10-12 hours a day, non-stop until it's done. I tried writing 3 hours here, 5 hours there, but that doesn't work for me - I need to fully immerse myself in the story and not come up for air until it's over. It's a crap recipe for a personal life, but it's the only process I've found that works - an OCD approach to novel writing. Weird. I just find that if I don't do it that way, that the ideas seem more disjointed, and the flow lacks the continuity I want, so I need to do a lot more heavy lifting in rewrite, whereas if I just plow through it, rewrite is a breeze. Go figure. I know most don't write that way, but it's the only thing that really works that I've found.
WWM: Where can people go and read your work? 
My Amazon page has all my books listed, and my blog ( has a few excerpts and a lot of rambling and musings on the craft, as well as whatever pops into my head. It's a rather eclectic hodgepodge, but I like it. Link to my author page: AMAZON:

WWM: What is the last book you read? 
I suck as a reader lately, because I'm so busy writing. But the last one was Sandcastle and Other Stories, by Justin Bog, who is a noteworthy talent in his own right. I have a reading list of about 80 books now, and they keep accumulating, so I will probably take August off and do nothing but read to try to make a dent.
WWM: Which writers inspire you? 
Ludlum for sheer high quality output as well as ability to hold my interest. Forsyth for his storytelling and use of language. David Foster Wallace because he was the best writer of my generation. Harris for his gritty creation of a compelling monster. Stephen King for being so workmanlike and sensible about his gift, which is a remarkable one. And of course, anyone who can write about glittery vampires or ex-CIA operatives for whom this time it's personal with a straight face...
WWM: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers? 
Decide why you want to write. If it's because you want to sell books, then I have nothing to tell you. Selling books isn't writing - it's selling books. If it's because you have a need to write that consumes you, or a love of it, or because you have a story that won't let you alone, then I would say write, and then write some more. They say it takes 10,000 hours to master a discipline, so prepare to clock your 10K hours to get really good at it. If you don't like that advice, then I'm probably not the right guy to be talking to. I believe that talent is nothing without a commitment to develop your skill and master your craft. I guess you could say I take writing very seriously. My belief is that if you commit to mastering something, you'll find an audience once you're worth following. Probably most importantly, write because you have a burning passion to do so. If the passion fades, then find something else that excites you and makes you feel alive and vital. Writing does that for me, so I write. If it didn't, you couldn't pay me to do it. Not that anyone's threatening to...
WWM: Do you have any advice on how to market a book? 
Not really. I suck at marketing. I tweet some, I write blogs that a decent number of folks like to read, and I try to be original. I also do a lot of interviews and guest blogs - probably one every couple of weeks. Beyond that, I think so much of this is luck, and having a respectable catalog so once a reader finds you, they have a body of work they can dive into, that the marketing is mostly hit or miss. What worked last week won't work next week. Last year's gimmick won't work this year. In the end, I think all you can do is commit an hour a day to whatever you're doing, and then spend the rest writing. That's been my recipe.
WWM: Good reviews, mixed reviews, bad reviews - what are your thoughts on each of those? 
I almost tend to ignore all reviews at this point. For a while, I was militant about bad ones, and would respond to them (mostly because I hated the bullying tone of those insisting you should NEVER respond to critics - who the hell gives you the right to dictate what I can and cannot do? I say they can bite me), but I realized that there's no point, just as there's no point in reading great reviews about your work and getting fired up. Everyone has a different skill level and a different ability to grasp any experience, so some will get what you are doing, some will hate you for it, and still others will scratch their heads. I've gotten five star reviews that are ludicrous - as an example, one for King of Swords, which is a modern-day assassination thriller set in Mexico against a backdrop of cartel violence, rated it five stars, and advises that if you love sword fighting books, this one's a winner. Given that the only sword in the book is the one in the title, that review is puzzling. I don't think they read the book. Just as that is baffling, so too are the one stars where you're accused of X or Y or Z, and yet there is no X or Y or Z in the book. I've come to the conclusion that about 10% of all reviews you get are pure BS with no rhyme or reason. The other 90% are probably meritorious, but with varying degrees of accuracy. In the end, if you have 70% saying your work is illiterate and needs editing, you probably have a problem. But beyond that, I think you have to step back and treat them as meaningless. Fact is the best books are usually not popular, and the most popular books aren't the best. Get over it already, and go write something else. Something better. Having said that, as readers, we can give back to authors by leaving positive reviews for work we like. Even if we as authors don't think that reviews are that meaningful, many readers do, and it can make a difference, so you should try to leave good ones for books you felt were good. I do. But I don't leave negative or 3 star reviews. If a work isn't worth at least 4 stars, I don't review it. I try to keep it more positive that way.
WWM: Lastly, if you were an animal, what animal would you be and why? 
A bear. They get to sleep a lot, are shiftless and serve no useful purpose I can see, and seem happy as all get out about it. Although I read recently that pigs have orgasms that last 20 minutes. So pig would be a close second. But with my luck I'd be a frigid pig, so I'll stick with bear. Bears rock!!!
Excerpt from King of Swords:
Three Years Ago
  Armed men lined the perimeter of the large contemporary home on the secluded stretch of seashore just above Punta Mita, twenty-three miles north of Puerto Vallarta. The stunning single-level example of modern Mexican architecture sat on a cove, where the heavy surf from the Pacific Ocean flattened out over the shallow offshore reef a hundred yards from the beach. Nine foot high concrete walls ringed the compound, protecting the occupants from prying eyes and would-be intruders. Not that any were in evidence. The property and the coastline for a quarter mile in each direction belonged to the house’s secretive owner – Julio Guzman Salazar, the Jalisco cartel’s chief and the eighth richest man in Mexico, although his name didn’t appear on any roster other than the government’s most wanted list.
The building’s Ricardo Legorreta design boasted thirty-eight thousand feet of interior space, with nine bedrooms in the main house, separate servant’s quarters adjacent to the twelve car air-conditioned garage, a full sized movie theater with a floating floor, its own solar and wind power generation system, and a full time domestic staff of eleven. An Olympic-sized swimming pool with an infinity edge finished in indigo mirrored glass tile created the illusion of water spilling into the deep blue ocean.
The white cantera stone pool-area deck took on a pale cosmic glow as the last sliver of sun sank into the watery horizon, making way for the dark of a late-November night. The armed men encircling the house were hardened and efficient, exuding a palpable air of menace as they roamed the grounds, alert for threats. The security detail, which traveled with Salazar everywhere he went, consisted of eighteen seasoned mercenaries who were proficient with the Uzis they held with nonchalant ease.
Motion detectors provided an early warning system outside of the walls, where infrared beams crisscrossed the expanse between the beach and the house, ensuring that nothing could penetrate the elaborate defenses undetected. Salazar could afford the best security money could buy, and his private army comprised not only Mexicans and Nicaraguans and Colombians, but also two South Africans and a Croatian. All had seen more than their share of combat, either of the civilian variety in the ongoing drug skirmishes between rival cartels, or in full-scale armed conflict in the Balkans or Africa.
At seven p.m. precisely, the bright halogen headlights of expensive vehicles began making their way down the long road from the coastal highway that connected Puerto Vallarta with Mazatlan, and through the enormous gates of the opulent home. Each car was allowed inside to drop off its passengers after undergoing scrutiny from the men charged with Salazar’s protection, who inspected the SUVs inside and out. During the next hour, seven Humvees and Escalades discharged their loads before pulling back out of the compound and parking in a brightly-lit area designated for the purpose. Two armed guards patrolled the flat expanse, guns loaded and cocked.
In the constant drug wars that were the norm on mainland Mexico, every minute held the possibility of instant death for those in the trade, and so the men on the security team were in a constant state of readiness for attack. Their vigilance had paid off many times over the past decade, when rival factions had attempted to challenge Salazar’s stranglehold on the Jalisco trafficking corridor. He’d emerged victorious from that series of ever-escalating brutal engagements, the last of which had culminated in nineteen corpses beheaded or shot execution-style in Culiacan over a three month period.
The Sinaloa cartel was the most powerful in the world, and for some time had nurtured its aspirations of expanding its lethal tentacles into Jalisco, the neighboring state to the south – Salazar’s home turf. The Sinaloa cartel controlled much of the marijuana produced in Mexico and had grown to be the largest cocaine and heroin trafficking entity in the world, handling over seventy percent of all Colombian product that made it into the U.S.. Salazar’s operation was considerably smaller, but the brutality of his tactics made him a difficult adversary to encroach upon; after ten years of unsuccessful attempts to execute him, an uneasy truce now held sway.
The lush, planted areas of the compound were lavishly appointed. The beachside pool deck’s verdant landscaping was circled with the flicker of tiki torches – placed there for the big event that was just getting underway. An eighteen-piece mariachi band in full regalia had assembled by the massive palapa over the hotel-sized outdoor pool bar. They aired their traditional music for the guests, who were almost exclusively children and their mothers. It was Salazar’s oldest son’s seventh birthday; the party was an important event. Attendees had come from as far as Mexico City to honor Julio junior’s big day. There was a giddy sense of privilege and wealth in the festivities – the boy had been presented with a pony, along with every imaginable video game and technological miracle a young man could wish for.
Clowns and acrobats japed and tumbled around the sidelines, performing astounding feats of dexterity and contortionism amid long bursts of yellow flame from a troupe of fire-breathers. Peals of adolescent laughter punctuated the melody of strumming guitars and blaring horns and violins, while the women circled the children’s area clutching piña coladas and daiquiris in their lavishly bejeweled hands. All the guests knew one another – Salazar’s social circle was small and exclusive.
Off to the side, Salazar and a handful of his closest male friends and associates stood beside a fifteen-foot diameter fire pit, smoking Cuban cigars and drinking five-hundred dollar tequila from brandy snifters as they discussed business in hushed tones, occasionally glancing a watchful eye over their wives and offspring. Salazar was easily distinguished from the group due to his height and distinctive beard – he was barely five four, and sported a Lincolnic beard in the fashion that his father had affected until he’d died in a car crash when Salazar was nine years old.
Two female dancers in traditional folk garb approached the specially erected stage with a male dancer in the classic Mexican vaquero outfit, who executed a series of exhibition tricks with a lasso, dancing with the whirling rope to the delight of the assembled children. When he was finished, the trio remained on the stage. A spotlight flicked on. From a newly-pitched tent adjacent to the pool, a man in a black suit emerged, flamboyantly brandishing a large sombrero. He bowed to the arc of enraptured kids before finally placing it onto the head of the birthday boy.
The crowd laughed and clapped in mutual surprise – this was one of Mexico’s most beloved singers, popular for two decades before Salazar’s son had been born. He swiveled and moved onto the performance area with a practiced ease and began singing one of his most famous ballads, a perennial favorite with young and old alike. The adults sang along and clapped, as did the children, who were captivated by the theatrical production numbers and the pomp of the event.

A small prop plane meandered along the coastline at an altitude of nine thousand feet, its lights extinguished, its radar off and its radio silent. The pilot held up a hand with two fingers extended, and then watching his digital timer, made a curt gesture, signaling to the man in the rear that it was time. The passenger, dressed head to toe in black and with a balaclava covering his face, nodded and gripped the lever of the sliding door on the fuselage’s side, twisting it and forcing it open. He was instantly buffeted by a blast of warm air which tore at his clothes and burned his eyes, until he pulled a pair of night vision goggles into place and hurled himself into the dark, rushing void. The wind clawed at him as he tumbled through the night sky. After counting to twenty, he pulled the handle of his specially-configured parachute harness and whumped to a near halt, the straps straining at the arrest of his descent.
A black rectangular glider-parachute billowed above him as he manipulated it with two handles, until he quickly got his fall under control and directed himself at the glowing patch of coastline where the party would now be in full swing. He glanced at the luminous hands of his oversized military-blackened Panerai watch and smiled under the woolen mask. So far everything was going according to plan.
A few minutes later, through his night vision goggles, he could make out the flat roof of the main house, where three armed sentries watched the proceedings by the pool and scanned the beach for threats. He was now barely fifteen hundred feet above the compound. Even at that altitude, he could hear the music and singing, and make out the shrieks of glee from the children as they chased each other around the party tables to the bouncing melody of the band. As he’d hoped, the volume of the musicians drowned out any hint of flapping from his chute. The rooftop security men were engrossed with the show, so were unlikely to look up.
He connected the right control cable handle to a clasp on the harness, which made steering more difficult but was essential to momentarily freeing up his hand. From a strap on his chest, he grappled with the grip of a MTAR-21 compact assault rifle; a small, evil-looking weapon with a handmade silencer and flash suppressor. The gun was affixed to the harness with a three foot nylon rope to prevent an inadvertent loss during the nocturnal descent. He groped until he felt the familiar pistol grip and trigger guard, and flipped the safety off. He was now two hundred feet above the roof at the far end of the house – the three sentries were still on the beach side of the roof, watching the entertainment and scanning the surf line.
When he was twenty yards above the men, his weapon belched two short bursts, catching all three guards unawares and ending their lives before they could register any surprise. His feet alighted on the waterproofed concrete surface next to them, and he immediately reeled in the chute, securing it in place with one of the guard’s guns after shrugging out of the harness.
Eighty feet away, on the far end of the roof, a gathering of gulls stood with a black bird – a raven or crow – in their midst, silently observing the new arrival from the sky. A sound from below startled them, and the gulls alighted. The black bird remained, as if undecided, and then with a squawk also flung itself into the night.
He stole his way, catlike, to the corner of the house nearest the beach and carefully unpacked the contents of his small backpack, extracting two spare 32-round magazines for the gun, a black nylon rope with a grappling-hook, three grenades and four smoke grenades, a fiber optic scope on the end of a black aluminum telescoping rod, a heavily modified sniper rifle with a collapsible stock, a silencer and ten-round magazine for it, and a waterproof camera. He slipped one of the magazines into a pocket on the side of his pants, along with the camera, and turned his attention to the sniper weapon.
Inspecting the rifle and confirming it was intact, he drew several deep breaths, preparing himself for what was to come. He carefully threaded the silencer onto the barrel and unfolded the carbon-fiber stock, then inserted the magazine and silently eased back the precision-machined bolt, chambering a round. Ready now, he flipped the night vision headgear up and out of his line of sight and peered through the telescoping fiber optic lens at the festivities below. He quickly located the group of male guests and confirmed Salazar was among them. Satisfied that his quarry was in his kill zone, he surveyed the rest of the deck and spotted three security guards unobtrusively standing in the shadows at the base of the portable lighting towers that illuminated the party. Returning his attention to Salazar, he calculated the distance and the strength of the light breeze – not that it would make much difference on a shot that was no more than forty yards; it was force of habit.
One of the fallen sentry’s radios crackled as a coarse voice intruded, demanding a status report. He reached over and turned the volume down, then returned his focus to the celebration, this time peering over the edge of the roof through the scope of the rifle.
Salazar was gesturing at the famous singer like an orchestra conductor, singing along with him, obviously well on the road to inebriation, when the top of his head blew apart, speckling his entourage with bloody shards of bone and brains. A second ticked by as the shocked group registered what had happened, even as the band continued playing, unaware that the party had just come to an abrupt end.
The farthest security guard lurched backwards, dropping his gun as he died, and then the screaming from the crowd began. The other two sentries swiveled around with weapons in hand, searching for assailants. A slug tore the second guard’s throat out as it sheared through his spine, and the third guard’s chest erupted blood even as he wheeled around to his fallen associate. Pandemonium reigned as the women ran crying towards the house with their terrified children in tow. The band fell silent and hurriedly made for cover behind the concrete pool bar, instruments clattering against the deck stone as they took flight.
A large exhibition light exploded in a shower of sparks, then the other three quickly followed suit, and finally the spotlight shattered, leaving only the torch flames and a few indirect wall sconces on the house. Salazar’s friends had rushed to their families and were herding them to safety inside, leaving the pool deck empty save for the band and the trembling entertainers.
On the roof, the uninvited guest tossed the rifle onto a dead guard’s chest and methodically lobbed the grenades over the front of the house, not looking to see where they landed, their detonations ample evidence they’d found a mark where the rest of the guards had been stationed. He raced back to the beach side of the roof, pulled the pins on the smoke grenades and threw them onto the right side of the pool deck, allowing the breeze to waft a dense fog over the area. Satisfied with the effect, he wedged the steel hook into the concrete roof rim and tossed the line over the side. He scanned the walkway that ran along the wall’s edge to confirm there were no armed assailants immediately proximate, and swung his legs over the side, sliding down the rope to the ground, where he landed in a crouch.
From the plants at the side of the deck, the dead guards’ radios crackled with panicked orders as he moved through the smoke to the fire pit, where Salazar’s corpse lay sprawled face down on the white cantera in a pool of blood. He hauled on a shoulder and flipped the body onto its back, then fished in his pants for the tarot card that was his signature. Carefully balancing the image of a crowned man holding a sword on the cartel kingpin’s mangled face, he took two pictures with the little camera before returning it to his pants pocket. He reached down and stuck the card in Salazar’s gaping mouth so that he could be sure it wouldn’t blow away during the ensuing action. Peering through the billowing clouds that largely obscured the house, he pulled the tab on his last smoke grenade and tossed it onto the sand, enveloping the beach with an impenetrable haze.
A hail of bullets tore a chunk of stone from the deck a few feet from him; he swiveled in a crouch and fired a few short bursts from his silenced assault rifle in the direction of the barking male voices. Another bullet ricocheted off the fire pit, signaling that it was time to make his departure. The surviving guards from the front of the house were closing in, and even he was reluctant to take on over a dozen armed men in a wide-open gunfight.
He unclipped a final grenade from his backpack chest strap and pulled the pin, flipping it roughly twenty feet towards the house, and then unclipped the MTAR-21, emptied the magazine in the direction of the approaching guards and tossed it aside, satisfied with the screams of pain from their direction. He wrenched the night vision goggles off his head and threw them as far as he could towards the house before turning to run for the beach. The grenade’s concussion delivered yet another delay for his pursuers – the shrapnel from the explosion would stop any chase long enough for him to get a thirty second lead, which was all he needed. He sprinted to the water line across the luminescent sand and without hesitation dived into the mild surf, swimming energetically as he strained towards the mouth of the cove.
A beam of light played across the water from the beach, and he sensed bullets shredding through the waves around him as he plowed further from shore. Counting to himself, he swam submerged for twenty seconds at a time, coming up for gulps of air before plunging into the safety of the deep.
Once he was past the rocks at the mouth of the cove he angled to the right, and within a few moments reached a slimy outcropping of rocks a hundred yards from the angry killers on the shore. He fumbled around in the dark until he found the smooth fiberglass side of the black jet ski he’d secured there the night before and hurriedly tore the camouflage fabric from its sleek hull and freed it from the rocks. The tide had risen to the point where the small watercraft slid easily onto the waves, and within seconds the engine fired and he tore off into the sea, jumping easily over the surf that roiled atop the reef line.
A few bursts of distant rifle fire chattered across the water but he was already out of range – the shooting was little more than a lament from the thwarted security. Savoring the adrenaline rush as he flew over the small swells at forty-five miles per hour, he reached beneath his chin and pulled the soaking balaclava over his face, jettisoning it into the sea as he plotted a course south, where a vehicle waited on a lonely stretch of beach for his nocturnal arrival.
Tonight would be the stuff of legends, he knew. In a business where money flowed like water, he’d just pulled off the impossible in a spectacular and flamboyant manner. After this, he’d be able to command whatever fee he wanted, and there would be an international waiting list of eager clients. He’d left the card in Salazar’s maw to seal the deal and continue to build his reputation. It had started years ago, as an idea he’d gotten from an article he’d read about the American war in the Middle East, where the kill squads assigned playing cards to each target they were hunting. He’d liked the idea, but had taken it one step further. When he’d begun his career as contract killer, he’d made a point of leaving a tarot card with a depiction of the King of Swords on it, and he’d adopted a nickname that now struck fear into the hearts of those he targeted.
King of Swords. El Rey de Espadas. Or as the press had taken to calling him, El Rey.
It might have been a little melodramatic, but nobody was laughing now that his legacy of impossible kills was the stuff of front page headlines. Not since the days of Carlos the Jackal had an assassin gained such notoriety, and he’d carefully selected the contracts he’d taken for maximum publicity value, in addition to the money. He’d quickly developed a reputation as a phantom, an invisible man – a contract arranged with him was as good as putting a bullet in the target’s brain at the time the deal was negotiated.
El Rey was a star, a legend, and even his clients approached him with a certain trepidation when they required his services. These were generally men who butchered whole communities to make a point, but who deferred to El Rey out of respect.
He’d earned that respect the hard way, by taking the sanctions that were considered impossible and then delivering. In his circles, respect was earned at the edge of a knife blade or the barrel of a gun. It was blood currency. And now, he could name his price. Tonight’s logistics had cost him just under a hundred thousand dollars – the contract price had been two and a half million. Not a bad evening’s work. But after this, his rate would start at four million and quickly increase from there, depending on the level of difficulty.
Off to his left, the lights of Punta Mita’s expansive coastline sparkled in the overcast night. Some of the homes along that stretch of beach cost well over five million dollars, he knew. Rich Gringos and successful narcotraficantes were the only ones who could afford them, and with a little luck, soon he would be part of the elite that called the area home. But he’d need to do a few more jobs before he could hang up his tail and horns and call it quits, and he was in no hurry to retire. El Rey loved the adrenaline rush of the kill; the more planning involved and the greater the level of challenge, the better.
He glanced down at the dimly illuminated compass he’d mounted beneath the handles and made a small adjustment to his course, musing at the direction his life had taken as he sliced through the inky water, effortlessly making his escape into the warm tropical night.
Interview with author M.G. Wells
WWM: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 
I grew up in large, wild family with eight siblings and two colorful parents.  I’m an artist, produced playwright and writer and who enjoy working in multiple genres.  LIGHTMASTERS: Number 13 is my debut novel, mainly geared for young adults and children of all ages.  I love to read, listen to audio books, watch films, music and photography.
WWM: What inspired you to get into writing?
Fascinated with words, I wrote poetry in my early teens. Due to my competitive, chaotic family life, I escaped into the world of reading and devoured thousands of books of every genre. Escaping into different worlds and learning about other cultures intrigued and inspired me to be a writer.

WWM: Do you remember the first story you wrote?

The first story I wrote was DAYTONA, based on my experiences as a teenager. I grew up in this gritty tourist town filled with interesting, bizarre people and felt compelled to write a story based on my vast experiences.
WWM: Can you tell us something about your book, "LightMasters: Number 13?

Jessica is a smart, bold teen who discovers she has a unique destiny on her 13th birthday. After her parents’ death, Jessica is stuck living with her weird, gassy grandparents in a small town in upstate New York. Constantly bullied by her harsh schoolmates, this Georgia girl feels like a total loser and outcast.
Sad about being forgotten on her 13th birthday, Jessica is lured into the forest by a strange spiral light she spies from her bedroom window. In the woods she encounters three magical beings, who call themselves Lightmasters. The leader, Dragateen, tells Jessica she has special powers and is needed by the Lightmaster alliance to defeat an invisible alien beast, who feeds off human fear.  Intrigued, she agrees to be transported to another dimension where she is tested for her courage, strength and ability to overcome a series of intense obstacles. 
Life changes drastically when Jessica returns to Earth. Her reality shifts and people start turning into reptilian monsters. Course, it doesn’t help that it’s Halloween, which makes it even more bizarre.  The story follows Jessica on a wild adventure as she learns to empower her mind, conquer her fears, and help rid the world of an invisible alien enemy who hates humans.

WWM: Where did the idea for the novel come from?

My experience of feeling isolated as a teenager, and Louise L. Hay’s book, You Can Heal Your Life, which focuses on the magic of thoughts and intention.

WWM: Are you working on a new book at the moment?

Yes, a sequel to LIGHTMASTERS: The Gate.
WWM: Where can people go and read your work?

LIGHTMASTERS: Number 13 is available in Kindle eBook at Amazon USA and UK only, which I don’t understand. The Paperback (English version only) is available at Amazon in USA, UK, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Spain as well as Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository. GoodReads lists all the additional outlets where the paperback can be purchased.

WWM: What is the last book you read?

I just finished re-reading LightMasters: Number 13, so I can get into the flow of the sequel.
WWM: Which writers inspire you?

Thousands. Some of my favorites include, Stephen King, Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, J.R.R. Tolkien, Jane Austen, Michael Critchon, Roald Dahl, J.K. Rowling, Terry Brooks, Madeleine L’Engle, C.S. Lewis, Agatha Christie, John Irving, William Goldman, Lewis Carroll, William Shakespeare and Mark Twain.  
WWM: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Stay focused on your project, do your best to block out everything and just go with the flow. Be open to positive criticism, cultivate self-confidence and write something every day. Above all, believe in yourself, learn to be the master of your universe and keep creating. Avoid the delusion your first, second or third draft is your best. Hire a talented editor before you publish anything.
WWM: Do you have any advice on how to market a book?

Do as much pre-promotion you can via newspapers, radio, blog tours, etc. Also, GoodReads, Facebook and Twitter are fantastic, free promotional sites to join. There are millions of people on Twitter all around the world with whom you can connect. If you cannot afford to create a website, you can create one free at Weebly:

WWM: What do you like/dislike about indie publishing?
I like the freedom of indie publishing. You can do your own thing without the approval of anyone. I dislike marketing. It takes a lot time away from creating. I have to admit, I do have a tremendous admiration for my GoodReads, Facebook and Twitter friends, who have been very kind and supportive to me.
WWM: Good reviews, mixed reviews, bad reviews - what are your thoughts on each of those?
All artists are subjected to criticism. Do your best to ignore insensitive comments and avoid lashing out if someone does not resonate with your work. If you believe in yourself, the opinions of others don’t matter.
WWM: Lastly, if you were an animal, what animal would you be and why? 

In fantasy, I’d love to be the majestic Phoenix. In reality, I’d love to be a dolphin since I love the ocean.

Artist/Author Website:
Lightmasters Website:
Excerpt from LightMasters: Number 13:
Chapter One: Forgotten
Today is my thirteenth birthday, but no one bothered to remember. It really sucks being forgotten on your birthday. I’m especially disappointed with my best friends, Hank and Emma. A year ago we were closer than three peas in a pod. Now, they rarely ever call. I guess it’s hard since they live in Georgia. I used to live in Georgia too, but now, I live in New York with my gassy grandparents in a log home on the edge of the forest. Truth is, I feel lonely most of the time.
My name is Jessica T. Wyrd─pronounced word, not weird. My schoolmates don’t get me and like to call me weirdo weird. I hate being made fun of all the time. I think they’re envious because I’m smart. Now, I wouldn’t call myself beautiful but I am cute. I have green eyes, fiery copper hair, and a temper to match. My friend, Cleopatra Quinn, says I act more like a boy. She thinks I should let my hair grow long, but I have no desire to be like all the other girls. Most of them are so phony and gossip way too much. I don’t want to be no sheep either. 
Watching TV with my grandparents is gross. They slurp orange pekoe tea and eat burnt sugar cookies. They’re watching some black and white movie that’s older than my underwear. Even though the show is kind of lame, it distracts me from feeling homesick. My grandmother burps like a weed whacker, and the floor rumbles. This is not a good sign. Not good at all. After the burps usually come the farts, which are a trillion times more smelly and disgusting. 
Without a word, I bolt upstairs to my room and flop onto my bed. I like to keep things neat and tidy. A Tree of Life tapestry is mounted to the ceiling. It reminds me of my father. He was into Celtic knot symbols. I miss him. My parents, Drew and Amanda Wyrd, were professors at Emory University in Atlanta. A year ago on my birthday, they were murdered by a drunken truck driver and died instantly. It totally ruined my life. This is why I’m stuck living with my father’s parents. My grandmother’s cooking is gross too. Living in the North is so different. It’s colder and there’s no good barbeque. Me and the old farts have nothing in common. Unfortunately, I have to live with them until I’m eighteen. 
A buzzing catches my attention, and I rush to the window. A white spirally light hovers before me. I push open the window. When I reach out to touch it, the spiral drifts toward the forest. Filled with excitement, I pull on my hiking boots, jacket, gloves, and run downstairs. I rush past my grandparents, who are still watching TV. My grandmother chews with her mouth open, and my grandfather taps a spoon against his mug in protest. 
“Fer fartsakes, stop yer clanking,” Grandmother Wyrd barks in her sassy, Welsh brogue. 
“Stop chewing like a wild hog!” Grandfather Wyrd snorts. 
I dash to the front door and reach for the knob. 
“And just where do ya think yer going, lassie?” my grandmother’s voice booms. 
“I just need some fresh air is all.” 
“Well, don’t ya be leavin’ the yard!”
“Oh, let the lassie be, ya old dragonbooger,” Grandfather Wyrd snaps in my defense. 
“Mind yer mouth, ya blubbery old barnacle! Now lassie, I mean what I say. Ya don’t want a pack of hungry coyotes to eat ya, so be careful.” 
I duck outside, and the cool autumn air chills my bones. I jog through the red and gold leaves that blanket the yard where my grandfather’s three old clunkers sit beside the garage. My favorite is the 1955 red and white Chevrolet Sport Coupe. With some work, it could be a really cool ride. The ‘57 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser looks like a car the Grim Reaper would drive. It’s black with dented chrome fenders and a rusty hood. The 1966 silver Ford Thunderbird Landau is ready for the junkyard or a tall cliff. Although my grandfather says he’s going to fix them up, he never does. 
Those cars really annoy my grandmother. Everyday she threatens to call a tow truck and have them hauled away to the junkyard. Most things seem to irritate my grandmother, especially my grandfather. One time, I heard her scold the old dude for breathing too loud. She’s a real piece of work. I search the sky for the light and see a strange green haze around the full moon. Totally disappointed, I head home. Big deal, I’m thirteen. Thirteen is an unlucky number anyhow. Without warning, the spiral light appears, and I run after it into the forest. 
“Happy birthday, Jessica,” a husky female voice speaks. 
Dread bubbles in my belly. The light shifts into a shimmering, see-through face. It smiles and winks at me. Suddenly, my knees buckle and I fall to the ground. 
“It is not my intention to harm you,” the unearthly being assures. 
Scrambling to my feet, I try to look cool even though I feel like a total idiot. 
“How’d you know my name?” 
“You are universally known, Jessica T. Wyrd.” 
“That’s just not possible.” 
“Nothing is impossible.” 
“No offense lady, but you’re full of biscuits and gravy.” 
She laughs, and her face shifts back into a spiral, which zooms out of sight. 
“Hey, ya going?”
 “Follow me and you’ll find out,” its voice vibrates. 
I swallow my fear and jog after the spiral. The moment I reach the picnic platform, the light fizzles like a cheap Fourth of July sparkler. I jump back when two crows caw. Their beady eyes glow amber and green like lasers.
 “Watch your step, Number 13,” the green-eyed crow warns. 
“No way she’s Number 13,” the amber-eyed crow cackles. 
“The others are waiting for you,” says the green-eyed crow. 
Freaked, I run down the rocky path and smash face first into a giant oak tree. The last noise I hear before I pass out are those dang crows. It sounds like they’re laughing at me. 
Cool snowflakes melt on my face. My eyes pop open when I hear footsteps in the leaves. Thankfully, three deer stroll past and not a pack of coyotes. I scramble up the rocky path, and bump face-first into the monstrous oak once again. Suddenly, the same three deer stroll past me. I run up the trail, and the oak appears again. Annoyed, I kick the tree. A wild gust of wind forces me onto my butt, and three blue orbs materialize above me. One glows and expands, then shifts into a lady with long, brown hair. Her sapphire velvet robe glitters as she steps closer. Her warm hazel eyes glow like liquid caramels, and her soft pink lips stretch into a smile. 
“It is unwise to kick the sacred oak, Jessica,” she says gesturing to the tree. 
“Hey, how’d you know my na…?” I start to ask. 
Before I can finish, a tall dude with shaggy black hair, amber eyes and a blood red robe heads toward me. I turn to run, stopping when an enormous being twice the size of the others stomps my way. This giant person is shrouded by a black velvet hood, and the ground vibrates with every step. A hand the size of a baseball mitt whips off the hood, revealing his snarly face.
Wild orange hair spews from his scalp like corkscrews. His scruffy beard is redder than fire, and his razor sharp teeth look like they could crack walnuts. The bulky dude’s olive eyes squint at me. He draws a long sword from a brown leather sheath and holds it above my head. 
Interview with author D.G. Torrens 
WWM: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 
Hello, firstly I would like to thank Paul for inviting me here today it’s a great pleasure indeed. I am a mother, writer, blogger and an avid reader! I devour books at such an incredible rate. I love to read as much as I love to write. I have recently published my autobiography for my daughter, so when she is older she will better understand the hard road I travelled to get to where I am today. My story is not for the faint hearted so you will need to get your tissues at the ready. I am hoping that my story will inspire many people world wide; to give them hope and encourage people to realize their own dreams… I live by the motto “The child first & foremost”

WWM: What inspired you to get into writing?
I was inspired from a very early age, as a child brought up in the state care system I would spend a lot of time in the poorly stacked library, reading everything and anything in sight. I was very taken with “Enid Blyton” stories and would read them all over and over again. It was my safe place, where I could be left alone and go unnoticed. Writing poetry soon followed. When I was around 9 years old I wrote my first poem, and then many more followed. This was a form of expression for me at that time and helped me with my inner sadness. 

WWM: Can you tell us something about your books, "Amelia's Story" and "Amelia's Destiny"?
“Amelia’s story” is the first part of my story, it tells of the tragic life Amelia had to endure for many years at the hands of her cruel mother and then a very unhappy time spent in the “State Care System” once Amelia’s mother was deemed an unfit mother. This follows the journey of Amelia and her siblings until eventually they are all separated and sent to different parts of the country never to have contact with each other again until adulthood. “Amelia’s Destiny” continues where the first book ends. This is about Amelia’s determination not to become a statistic and to fulfil her dreams. As an adult her destiny is in her own hands now, however, there are still many obstacles placed in her path along the way. Amelia triumphs over adversity and eventually fulfils her dreams…
WWM: Are you working on a new book at the moment?
I have just completed my third book, this is my debut thriller novel “OBSESSION” I am very excited about this and it is currently with my publisher being edited as we speak… I love thrillers and have read many over the years, I felt I had a thriller of my own in me!
WWM: Where can people go and read your work? 
Amelia’s story and Amelia’s Destiny by D.G. Torrens are both available for download on Amazon UK & USA 
WWM: What is the last book you read?
Save My Soul by K.S Haigwood I truly loved this book. It was one of the best indie books I have read this year along side “Gray Resurrection” by Alan McDermott.

WWM: Which writer(s) inspires you?
Gosh there are so many:  From the classics it has to be: Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and Emily Bronte. Thriller writers: James Patterson, John Grisham, Richard North Patterson, Patricia Cornwall. Of course I have to mention J.K. Rowling; for she achieved so much from so little in the beginning I have a lot of respect for her.
WWM: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Yes, the most important thing to consider before publishing your work is to employ an editor! In the UK it will cost you around £360 well worth the money. Trust me I learned this the hard way. I published my first book with out the help of a professional editor and I truly wish I had thought more about it. However, if you know a very good English teacher who would be willing to edit your book for free even better!! An author who has edited their own work has not had their work edited at all… I have since had my first book re-edited. Also the book cover is very important, before you make a final decision on your cover make sure it stands out as a thumbnail as this is really important, it needs to catch the eye of the reader.
WWM: Do you have any advice on how to market a book?
Gosh yes so much! Firstly if you have not already done it, then join Twitter as this is a great promotional tool. There are lots of indie authors on twitter and many have become great friends of mine, we all promote each others books give each other advice and so on. Set up your own website and tweet about it on twitter and share your blogs on FB too. Guest post on other blogs and have others guest post on your blog too. Join as many Face-Book writing groups and book groups as possible they are full of wisdom, and have answered many lingering questions I have had myself! Also register with another good place to promote your work and get it into the hands of more readers and it’s free. Do as much promotion as you possibly can before your book is released.
WWM: Good reviews, mixed reviews, bad reviews - what are your thoughts on each of those?
When you get your first great review it is an amazing feeling. I have had a lot of fantastic reviews for my books the average being five stars! However, I have also had one or two not so great reviews two star and three stars. This is not so great to wake up too… However it is the nature of the job we do, you have to take the good with the bad. Not everyone is going to like your work, everyone has different tastes, everyone has different ideas on what they think is a good book. So I think of it as grounding! Bad reviews serve to make me strive to be better. 
WWM: Lastly, if you were an animal, what animal would you be and why?
If I were an animal I would be a Bengal Tiger! Because they are supposed to be lucky not to mention they are a very beautiful animal.
Face-book author page: 
Twitter name @torrenstp

Excerpt from “Amelia's Story (Part I)”:
A Childhood Lost
I did not know what it was like to live without fear, or to wake up in the morning with my mother in the kitchen getting breakfast ready. I woke up each morning to closed curtains, mother still in bed drunk from the night before (nursing a bad head ache). On days like these Jake and I awoke to our bedroom doors unlocked and can only assume she thought to unlock them in advance of her drunken spree whilst we were already asleep. We had to get our own breakfast every day (Ready Brek and Cornflakes were a favourite I recall)! During the winter we would favour porridge, but there was no microwave back then so we would have to make do with cold milk if Mother was unable to get out of bed.
I could not reach the cupboards so I would stand on a chair and climb onto the high kitchen top! After feeding and dressing ourselves, we would go out the front of the house and play with the other children. More often than not it would be near 1 o’clock in the afternoon before our mother surfaced, and always in a bad mood, shouting and screaming because we had left a mess in the kitchen. After she had berated us to the point of bringing us to tear’s mother would then throw us out of the house and shout further abuse at us, in front of the other children. We would not be allowed back into the house until dark, but this suited both Jake and I.
During the hot summer days, we would play with the older children from our square and often all head down to the wide river, with over hanging trees. The other kids had been going to the river long before Jake and I. They had made a make-shift swing out of an old tyre and a bit of rope (we thought this was the best thing ever!) we spent whole days hanging onto the swing and would jump off into the deep river below without any fear at all! Those days away from our mother were good days…and earned a place in my memory bank for the future which was pretty empty.
We also spent many summer days scrumping in an old orchard attached to an old ruin near Madley School. The orchard was well stocked with damson trees, pear trees, apple trees, plum trees and many blackberry bushes. We would be armed with old Carrefour plastic bags – lots of them – and all would eventually be filled with fruit until they were bursting, forgetting we would have to carry them all the way home! Jake and I would climb to the top of the trees teasing each other seeing who could climb the fastest and there were many times when we would slip and fall, but this did not stop us, we would get straight back up onto our feet and within seconds we would be at the top of the tree again! In the grounds of the old ruin there was a sundial several hundred years old – I remember this so well because I was transfixed by it as a child, thinking it was beautiful. Just outside the front of the old ruin was a small lake which we used to skim stones into.  We would hold competitions to see who could skim the furthest!
I believe this old ruin has now been made into a luxury hotel. However, in those days this beautiful old building with large over-grown gardens was our place – Jake and Amelia’s secret place faraway from the clutches of our evil mother. At the end of the day we would carry our bulging bags all the way home in the hope to please our mother, and on these occasions, for just a little while, she would smile, accept the fruit and start baking apple pies, blackberry pies and plum pies. They were delicious our mother was a great cook and produced great wholesome food. When she was on form she could be quite pleasant during her more peaceful periods … but it never lasted. Not ever.

Interview with author Rebecca Scarberry

WWM: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I was born in Southern California and now living in the very secluded Boston Mountains of Arkansas, on a non-working farm. I retired when I was forty-five years old as a claims analyst, working for a health maintenance organization in Las Vegas, Nevada. Prior to that, I was a buyer for Hughes Aircraft, a legal secretary and a manager for a builder/developer in Palm Springs, California. Prior to writing a screenplay and other fiction, I was an artist (scrimshaw). It was during final edit on my screenplay that a very similar movie came out. Therefore, I tossed it into the trash.  I wrote my first novel one year ago. That novel has been shelved until I get the nerve to finish editing it. My short story, “Rag Doll” and my incomplete novella, “Messages from Henry” are posted on my blog. Once a month, I post two chapters.    

WWM: What inspired you to get into writing?
I have been an avid reader since 7th grade and I have always dreamed of writing a screenplay and a novel since the age of twelve. After writing my first book report, I began to see the books I was reading in more depth. Writing the book reports forced me to analyze exactly what I enjoyed about the books. In doing so, I began to discover I had a vivid imagination. I would take parts of the books and create my own stories in my head. They sounded so good to me I decided I could write just as well as any of those authors. Well, I didn’t have the happiest of childhoods and never got around to fulfilling my dream until I was thirty-seven.  

WWM: Where did you get the idea from for your novella, “Messages from Henry”?
Two different authors, following me on Twitter, told me about short story contests they had heard of. I had never entered any contests of this kind and thought I would try it. While I sat on my front porch, I tried to think of storylines that people might like. A blackbird landed on my bannister and sat there staring at me for the longest time. That’s when I got the bright idea to write about a homing pigeon and his devotion to his owner.   
WWM: Can you tell us something about the story?
“Messages from Henry” is about a pure white Rock homing pigeon, Henry. His owner, Evelyn, has been kidnapped for ransom and Henry is trying to save her life by bringing messages to Tammy, Evelyn’s neighbor. The kidnapper is a very dangerous man and he won’t set Evelyn free until he gets one million dollars. Killing another human being is not beneath him. When I began writing the story, I intended it to be for young adults, but I have since changed my mind. Of course, Henry’s capabilities aren’t realistic, but adults still seem to find the story very intriguing.      

WWM: Are you working on a new book at the moment?
“Messages from Henry” isn’t quite finished yet, as I stated. I’ll be adding around four more chapters and posting them on my blog. When I finish that, I’m thinking about expanding the other short story I wrote, “Rag Doll” into a novella also. “Rag Doll” is about the body of a young woman found in a diamond park in Arkansas. She was brutally murdered. 
WWM: What is the last book you read?
The last book I read was Shape-Shifters & Succubae by indie published author, Dino    Simonetti. I wrote a review and gave it 5 stars.  

WWM: Where can people go to read your work?
I post all of my works on my blog and no place else. 
WWM: Which writers inspire you?
My favorite author is Nelson DeMille and my favorite book is The Gold Coast. Since I’ve been reading ebooks for nearly a year now, I’d like to name a few indie authors who inspire me: Des Birch, Micheal Rivers, Mike Wells and Douglas Wickard. Just by reading their books, I have become a better writer.
WWM: Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
Yes. An aspiring author can save himself or herself a lot of time by using Beta readers who are not family members. The reason I recommend this is because family members tend to try to tell you what you want to hear instead of what they really think. They don’t like to hurt other family members’ feelings. Another tip is, use no more than ten Beta readers. When more than five of the ten Beta readers tell you the same thing, trust them and make the necessary changes. This is the only advice I have so far, for I’m still learning by trial and error.
WWM: Good reviews, mixed reviews, bad reviews - what are your thoughts on each of those?
So far, I only post my works on my blog, but I have read and reviewed a ton of ebooks since I joined Twitter, almost one year ago. I have never written a bad or mixed review. I read forty to fifty percent of a book before deciding it’s not worthy of a review. I wrote an article regarding my process in “Supporting Authors One Read at A Time Magazine”.  I’ll furnish the link here. I feel that if a book isn’t worthy of a review after reading forty to fifty percent, then I shouldn’t waste any more of my time writing a review. Many disagree with me and think the readers need to know which books aren’t any good. They are right, but this is my policy and I’m simply not going to change.
WWM: If you review other indie writers’ books, what is your approach to reviewing those?
I’m no different from any other reader out there. I’m not and they aren’t reading any books based on how the author published it. Before I read a book, I read most of the reviews written for it. A lot of the time, I read the authors’ biography also. I make sure I know what genre the books are and what age group they are written for. I don’t pay much attention to one through three star reviews. I have read many of them and I can often tell the reader never even read the book. This infuriates me so much, I no longer read any reviews awarding less than four stars. 
WWM: Lastly, if you were an animal, what animal would you be and why?

I would love to be a bird. Since I have a terrible fear of flying in airplanes, being a bird would be perfect. When faced with a problem and unsure how to deal with it, I’d just fly away and forget about it. I’ve always enjoyed being a team member, so to be part of a flock of birds, appeals to me.  
Link to the magazine article Rebecca wrote re: her review process:
Excerpt from “Messages from Henry”:
Messages from Henry
 A Novella by Rebecca Scarberry
  The first thing I notice when I walk out onto my wooden front porch is the silence. The birds, normally tweeting away as they hop from branch to branch in the cedar tree above my bird feeder, are nowhere to be found. Not even a buzzard flies overhead, in search of its morning feast. I feel a strange tension in the air.
I sit down in my rickety pine rocking chair, bundled up in my puffy red down jacket on this chilly November morning. Cinnamon, my longhaired orange cat, is startled by the loud creak of the chair. She runs out from under the chair, sits under the table and gives me a sneer as though I scared her intentionally.

I place my coffee on the wrought-iron table and search the meadow and the cow pasture for any movement.  Not even the sound of a distant dog barking, hawk squawking or wild turkey gobbling can be heard in the distance.  Even Cinnamon sits under the table, turning her head from side to side, searching the trees and bushes for any sign of life.

Fluttering wings startle us.
“Henry, what are you doing here?” I ask my neighbor Evelyn’s pure white homing pigeon, which has just settled on my bannister. “You better skedaddle before Cinnamon decides to jump up there. What’s that tied to your foot? Evelyn joking around and sent a note to me?”
Henry stares at me with his bright yellow eyes and tilts his head to one side as I move towards him. I have grown quite fond of Henry over the years since his mother, having laid only one egg for some reason, refused to care for him once he had hatched. Evelyn, my elderly neighbor and close friend, took Henry into her home and handfed him. Her husband, Des raised and sold white homing Rock Pigeons, which can find their way home from extremely long distances, and made quite a bit of money doing so. Des passed away one year ago, and my husband, Frank, passed away two months later. . .
Once Henry could eat regular feed, Evelyn put him in her yard where he could roam freely — unlike the other pigeons, which she keeps in a large aviary. I have always enjoyed helping when I visit.
I untie the note from Henry’s leg and read it aloud. “Help, he is going to kill me, Evelyn.”
My swollen, arthritic hands tremble as I hurry inside the house. I let Evelyn’s phone ring eight times before disconnecting and dialing the sheriff.
“Sheriff Kincaid here, how may I help you?”
“Warren, you have to go over to Evelyn White’s house right away. Henry just brought me a note from her. She’s in trouble.”
Ever since childhood, the three of us have been good friends.  I suppose the three of us were drawn together by our red curly hair and our unusual aqua blue eyes. Warren knows all about Henry’s devotion to Evelyn. 
“Is Henry still at your house?”
“No, once I took the note off his leg, he flew away.”
“Wait a half hour and then meet me at Evelyn’s house. I want to secure the scene before you arrive.”
When I pull up in front of Evelyn’s house, Sheriff Kincaid and a team of three investigators are there. Before I reach the front door, Sheriff Kincaid grabs my arm. “We’ve found evidence of a struggle inside. I can’t allow you to enter. Investigator Ryan Hobbs will be in touch with me just as soon as they know more. Hobbs is the tall, thin man with blonde hair. He just came out of the house.”
“Was blood found inside?” I ask as my hands tremble. 
The look on Warren’s face reveals the answer and I start crying. He takes me in his arms and tries to comfort me. He says, “We will know more once the investigators run tests. Tammy, how do you suppose Evelyn was able to get paper and pencil to write that note?”
“Evelyn always has this tiny little pad of paper with a small pencil attached that she either stuffs in her bra or a pocket. She’s writing her memoirs and whenever she thinks of something she wants to add, she has it handy.”
Warren walks me back to my Jeep. I have a heavy heart and fear I may never see my close friend ever again. 
He hesitates before opening the driver’s side door for me and asks, “Does Evelyn have a substantial amount of money or do any of her relatives?”
“Evelyn isn’t rich so to speak, but her only child, Scott Bury, as you know is a very successful novelist. Why do you ask?”
“It’s possible the kidnapper might call him and ask for a ransom.”
The next day, while I am cleaning out my chicken coop, I feel the same unfamiliar tension in the air as the day before. There isn’t even a slight breeze and there is silence all around. The sun has just peeked over the mountain, setting the sky ablaze in lavender. There’s a thin layer of frost on the tops and outer branches of the trees. The frost sparkles in the early morning light like a kaleidoscope. The reddish brown bark of the nearby madrone trees stands out against the forest of pines.  Any other day, the chickens would be pacing and clucking, anxious for their morning feed. Today they are all quietly standing in a row, looking out through the chicken wire. I begin to wonder if the chickens are staring at something behind me. As soon as I turn around, I see Henry. He’s standing motionless and quiet as he stares at me with fear in his eyes. I hurry over to him. “Henry, I see you have another note for me.”  
I carefully remove the note from Henry’s leg. I don’t want to contaminate any evidence, so I immediately take it into my house and place it inside a plastic bag. I get into my Jeep and head for the sheriff’s department. I find Warren on the telephone. I lay the plastic bag on his desk.  He tells the person he’s talking to that he’ll call them back.
Warren looks concern. “Another note from Henry?”
“Yes, I didn’t even read it. I took it right into the house and put it inside this bag.”
Warren opens one of his desk drawers and pulls out a pair of white plastic gloves. “Sure wish you would have brought Henry with you also. He might have some evidence on him that could be helpful.”
“As soon as I removed the note, he fought to get away. He pecked my hand and it hurt, so I let him go. Sorry.”
“Don’t worry about it, Tammy. Let’s see what the note says.” He reads aloud, “Riverside Park, outbuilding.”
I say, “I’m glad the person holding Evelyn captive isn’t taking her out of state. Riverside Park isn’t far at all.”
“I’ll call you later with our findings. Riverside Park is a big park with lots of outbuildings. Don’t get impatient, it will take quite a while to search and collect any evidence, if there is any to be found.”
I open my mouth to protest, but Warren raises his arm in a halting manner and rushes towards the front door.
Warren calls me four hours later. He’s excited. “Just as I pulled into the parking lot by the restrooms, a dark blue Honda Civic was speeding towards me with a Josephine County police officer on his tail. I saw Evelyn looking out of the back window of the Honda.”
My knees weaken and my pulse increases thinking about my poor friend trapped inside a vehicle with a possible murderer.
 “I followed them to Murphys Pass. The outdoor arts and crafts fair was set up in the street and the driver of the Honda tore right through one of the barricades! We lost sight of him soon after.” 
I sat staring into space, asking myself if I recall ever seeing a dark blue Honda at Evelyn’s. Warren interrupts my train of thought, “Tammy, are you still there?”
“I’m here, Warren. Could you see the driver of the Honda?”
“No, the sun was reflecting on the windshield. All I saw was that it was a man.”
“What was the reason the police officer started chasing the Honda to begin with?”
“A park visitor thought she heard a woman moaning when she walked by the Honda, parked near the restrooms. There was nobody inside the vehicle that she could see. She got concerned and called it in. When the police officer arrived, he said there was a white pigeon on the roof of the Honda. He could see a man inside. Seconds later, the driver took off, heading for the parking lot exit.”
Again, my knees weaken and I have to sit down at the dining room table. My mouth becomes dry.
“The police officer described the pigeon and it sounded exactly like Henry. We’ve put out an all-points bulletin regarding the Honda. Hopefully someone will call with some valid information.”
“What about the license number? I assume the officer on his tail must have gotten it.”
“The driver switched plates with a white 2000 Cadillac.”
Interview with author R.D. Teun
In this interview we're talking to R.D. Teun, a horror author from England.
WWM: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
RDT: I am a complex person in nature, stubborn in a lot of respects, which has helped me a great deal in the world of writing. I’m a loner by choice; my time is very valuable to me. I’m not selfish, it’s just I don’t really have a great deal of time for the more social aspects of life. Which in a sense is a paradox because I’m often on Twitter, yet there I can talk with other writers and exchange ideas, discuss the publishing world and other aspects. Frankly, I’ve always been a dreamer; I’ve always asked the big questions on life. In my fiction, I seek the perfect metaphor for the human experience, as I perceive it. I began with writing post-apocalyptic fiction in an effort to answer one singular question, which as you read this particular series you’ll understand the genesis of the question; if given the power over another species, wouldn’t you want to examine their passions? As we speak, the first book (there are three in total) is in talks with a publisher who is keen on the series (they have been chasing me for a year for the books so I think they are more than just inquisitive), so let’s watch this space.      
WWM: What inspired you to get into writing?
RDT: Escapism. That joy of being lost in a book, to be completely lost within the pages and thoughts of another was something that I wished to share, also I have many stories gnawing at my gut ready to be spilled onto the page. Beyond that, I suppose it would have to be both Clive Barker and Stephen King.  
WWM: What got you interested in writing horror?
RDT: That’s a difficult question; I suppose it is the perfect vehicle for my thoughts and ideas. One day I would like to shake the Horror label and branch into a fiction genre that is my own. In addition, I think that some people of a darker disposition such as me seem to take to it like a duck to water.    
WWM: Are you working on a new book at the moment?
RDT: Well I’m working on a novel now that is very different from what I have done before. I’m looking into the horror that is found within man. I cannot say too much at moment for fear of tipping my hand and ruining the twists that I am often very fond of writing into my books. I’ll never write the same kind of book or story twice so now I’ve done my vampire story and I’ve done my post-apocalyptic epic (well nearly). I have another book in the development stage that is going to be my most complex novel to date; basically it will verging more along the lines of fantasy horror then straight horror.       
WWM: Where can people go and read your work?
RDT: I am not what you would call a prolific writer; I tend to write very slowly. For the moment, all that is in print is my vampire short “Suicide Solution” found in an anthology called “Wake Up Dead”. It is not your average vampire story; in fact, I very much doubt you would have read anything like it before.  A bold statement I know, but as a long time vampire fan (by that I mean real vampires such as the ones written by Anne Rice, not ones that glow like fucking disco balls on crystal meth) I felt as though I should give it a little shake up and bring something new to the table. I must say a lot of people were a little lost by the ending; however, the answers are all there, everything you need to know; all it takes is some very close reading. I promise you, you’ll be rewarded. 
WWM: Traditional or indie publishing: what are your thoughts?
RDT: This is where I may land myself into hot water.  For me, based upon personal experience and observation, it’s about where you want to be as a writer. If you wish to “make it big” then the indie circuit will not be for you. The smaller publisher only really seems to reach other writers; they seem to lack the necessary marketing needed to give a book a real chance of being read by the non-writing public. Then they are mostly run by a couple of people who tend to self-publish their own work alongside others. There is nothing wrong in this, if you’re happy with this then go for it. However, if you want to get a larger readership and in some respects be taken more seriously, then traditional is a better route to take. Harder but perhaps more rewarding because a lot of indie writers use the indie circuit as a means to an end. One that often is a road leading towards the traditional publisher.   
WWM: Which writer(s) inspires you? Any particular books?
RDT: Any writer who has the balls to say the world “I wish to take this slow ego-destroying path to be a writer” is an inspiration for me. Risk takers inspire me, well-executed books that don’t just change a story but also change the way we read; Id (written by Paul Craig) is a perfect example of this.   
WWM: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
RDT: Well I am just at the beginning of my career, so the only advice I can give is be persistent. Don’t be afraid to try something different. Also, ignore any voices that say that this is not possible; you will regret not giving it your best shot. After all writing can only be improved with more writing. 
WWM: Good reviews, mixed reviews, bad reviews - what are your thoughts on each of those?
RDT: Well you can expect to see all three as your career progresses.  It is wonderful to get a five star review, however a mixed review is not much to worry about either. When it comes to a bad review, one or two you can kind of accept. Nevertheless, there is an old saying that springs to mind with bad reviews; if ten Russians tell you that you are drunk, it is best to lie down. By that, I mean if ten people give you a bad review then something has gone wrong somewhere, so seek the mistake and rectify it in the next book. 
WWM: Do you think a mixed review would impact your sales?  
RDT: No. But if they (the reviewers) are all picking up on the same thing, it would be best to recognise where the problem is and remember not to make it again on the next book. Clarity in your writing is paramount; people need this to be truly lost in your fictive dream.  
WWM: If you review other indie writers’ books, what is your approach to reviewing those?
RDT: No different from when I review a Stephen king book or a Clive barker book, we should all be acting as professional as they are. Okay we may not have a big publisher behind us, but that does not warrant poor writing. I have turned away more opportunities to write reviews then what I have accepted. If a book is that poor (I review as a reader and not a writer, I am not in a position to review as a writer yet.) I will simply refuse to write one, I won’t kill someone’s confidence like that, and I think a simple refusal says it all. When I do give a five star review, you can guarantee I believe the writer to be as good as Stephen king or Clive barker. I will never piss up someone’s leg and tell him or her that it is raining.   
WWM: Lastly, if you were an animal, what animal would you be and why?
RDT: A wolf. A lone wolf. As much as I write alone, I know I can depend on my fellow writers as with any good pack to help and support me when I need it. I’m also a lone wolf by nature and I tend to blaze my own trail regardless of consequences. I will hunt down my story relentlessly until I get what I get what I need.   
Excerpt from Deliver Us From Evil (The Events of Roman Jones):
His eyes sprung open, his breath fleeting as if taking his very last. His hands grasping for the sheets as though he was falling through air trying to hold onto nothingness. His sheets clammy with cold sweat. His stomach, the very pit of it was churning with thick, clotted dread. He hoped, he prayed that everything was okay. Checking his hands, to see if the blood from his dream was still upon them. His feet swung to the side of the bed, the sheet clinging to his body. Roman’s feet touched the smooth wood. His legs moved, not as quickly as he wished. Wiping the sleep from his eyes, Roman quickly made his exit from the bedroom. Reaching the top of the staircase Roman took gentle steps as he descended, with each step a creak replied from the stairs. As he climbed down the stairs, he passed pictures of family and friends hung on the wall, like the one taken with him and his friend Michael holding up a prize fish they had fought so hard to catch. Rods in hand holding up their prize and posing for it to be forever be immortalised as that place, at that time. His foot finally reached the bottom step, the other hitting the hallway floor. From the direction of the living room, Roman could hear music. Familiar and pleasing to the ear. The music played its innocent tune, chasing away the darkness in the sweetness of light tones. 
And if that mocking bird won’t sing.
Singing its lullaby, the gentle tinkles of the xylophone with the velvet mother's voice crooning her lyrics from the old music box they had bought their daughter, India. From the top shelf of a charity shop it came, snuggled within the softness of other toys it was so darling, it would have been a crime to leave the music box there. It was the size of a rubix cube, small enough to fit in a child’s hand. On one of the faces of the box sat an engraving of a clown. On the remaining sides, a picture of the big top with an elephant just outside the entrance. On the top was the ringmaster armed with a whip and chair, taming the lion. Lord of its natural environment, now tamed into submission. The box itself with the paint that had chipped away in places, a little yellow here, a little red there, also a little rusted at the sides and corners. The box still had a place upon the shelf, despite the ravages of time creeping upon the metalwork. 
Papa’s gonna buy you a diamond ring.
Roman stood in the doorway, his rugged cheeks dissolving into a smile as the dread made its quiet exit.  His daughter always the sunshine of his mornings stood there, facing away from him, indulged in the everyday gentleness that was morning television when children made their early starts, before the adults awoke to begin their day. His heart pace eased, its rampant beat began to settle, and the television was all but a little girl frozen in time, next to a chalkboard with black and white bars like those of a piano laying beneath, playing its fuzzy silence to itself. India was stood there with her back turned in her pyjamas, her favourite clown cuddly toy suspended by the one arm that needed to be reattached badly, its threads barely holding on. The rest of its body lay upon the floor.  
Papa gonna buy you a mocking bird.  
“India honey, remember what daddy said.”
(Not so close to the TV.)  
“Where is the cartoons baby girl?”  
And if that mockingbird won't sing.
Motionless stood India. Not even a small note of recognition. Just the same position, head swaying with light ease from side to side, clown dangling at her side. How fickle those little threads were, the sign of a well-loved toy.  
“India, darling c'mon I know you can hear me.” His voice climbing a little, his head thrown to the floor, taking a deep patient breath. His eyes passing over the floor, following the trail of discarded toys. A tiara here, a well-groomed doll there.  Still the same, a little different. A small one Roman noticed. Small red dots on the carpet a little trail leading from the direction of the kitchen, Roman looked closer. The red cotton lipstick around the clown’s mouth seemed a little smeared as though it had been given a harsh red kiss. 
Papa's gonna buy you a diamond ring.
The music box played, not caring who listened as long as it was heard. 
“What’s wrong baby, you hurt?” Roman was praying it was just that India had been attacking the raspberry jam again. Just how many times had he warned her about picking up the glass jar. Closer Roman stepped, arm outstretched... 
If only he had stepped outside into his back yard, where his collection of African grey parrots were homed, he would have found the mutilated body of his wife. Laying there upon the cold ground like a delicate broken toy. The beautiful birds bearing witness to the ugly violence, with no voice to warn or to speak of what they had seen. Only the incessant banter they exchanged amongst themselves, speaking in a secret language.  Roman heard the music of the box, the banter of the birds. He did not hear the sound of the door handle rattling at the entrance of his house.
Interview with author A. R. Silverberry
This interview we're talking to author A. R. Silverberry, author of fantasy novel Wyndano's cloak.
WWM: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’ve been a psychologist for twenty one years, working with children, adolescents, and adults. From childhood on, I always had some creative enterprise going. My brother and I used to put on puppet shows, and later, made  movies. In high school, I played in rock and jazz bands, and my undergraduate degree was in music composition. In 1998, I started writing seriously, and haven’t looked back. Wyndano’s Cloak is my first novel. I’m pleased to say that it’s won a number of awards.

WWM: What inspired you to get into writing?
I was really into the Oz books as a child. I checked some of them out of the library, and my wife and I read them out loud to each other. At some point I thought, “It would be cool to write something like this.” Once I started, I was hooked. There’s such a rush you get from the process, creating whole worlds and people out of thin air. It’s a wonderful feeling when the characters are real to you, when you know how they’ll respond to any situation.
WWM: Where did you get the idea from for your book, “Wyndano’s Cloak”?
Between 1998 and 2003, I worked on a fantasy novel. When it was completed, I realized that book needed revisions to unify it, so I set it aside to think about it. The end of that book suggested the main characters in Wyndano’s Cloak, along with the core conflict. I saw the climax of the story in a visual flash. The beginning and a plot outline unfolded quickly from there. Wyndano’s Cloak is a stand alone book, not the second book in a series. If that unpublished novel ever sees the light of day, it will be a prequel, as The Hobbit was to the Lord of the Rings. Everything is wrapped up at the end of Wyndano’s Cloak, but many readers tell me they love the characters, and are asking for a sequel. Who am I to argue!
WWM: Can you tell us something about the book?
It’s a tale about empowerment and trusting the gifts or talents that we are all blessed with. Here’s the setup: 
Jen has settled into a peaceful life when a terrifying event awakens old fears—of being homeless and alone, of a danger horrible enough to destroy her family and shatter her world forever.

She is certain that Naryfel, a shadowy figure from her past, has returned and is concentrating the full force of her hate on Jen's family. But how will she strike? A knife in the dark? An attack from her legions? Or with the dark arts and twisted creatures she commands with sinister cunning.

Wyndano's Cloak may be Jen's only hope. If she can only trust that she has what it takes to use it . . .
If you love stories with secrets, riddles, mystery, treachery, and intrigue, you’ll enjoy Wyndano’s Cloak.
WWM: What got you interested in writing fantasy?
Fairy tales and myths were my mainstay as a child. Even in high school, I was reading them. By then, I was also reading anything by Tolkien I could get my hands on, and lots of Robert E. Howard. Not just the Conan stories, but the creepy tales set in the south. Ultimately, I think writing fantasy flows from my personality. I saw a blow up recently of one of my elementary school class pictures. Everyone was smiling at the camera, but I was gazing off with a dreamy expression. Wish I could remember what land I was seeing.
WWM: Are you working on a new book at the moment?
I’m working on the second draft of a fantasy novel for adults, part survival tale, part spiritual journey. I don’t like to say more this early in the process. Too many things can change!
WWM: What is the last book you read?
The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, by Barry Lyga. It was one of those rare books that is carried by voice. The main character would frequently break off to comment on something that just happened. Few writers can pull that off, as it stopped the forward movement of the story, but Lyga does. In fact, those were the most interesting parts of the book. I listened to an audio tape of it while driving to work. Usually, listening doesn’t work for me; my mind wanders. I was glued to that book.
WWM: Where can people go and read your work?
Currently, the hardback is available worldwide through any online or brick-and-mortar bookseller, but it’s discounted off my website. The ebook edition is on sale through Amazon, itunes, and Barnes and Noble. 
WWM: Which writer(s) inspires you? 
Tolkien, Dean Koontz, and the classics, like Dickens, Jane Austen, and Melville.
WWM: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Stephen King said it best: Read a lot and write a lot. Do it daily; suit up and show up, that’s when things happen in the writing. Learn the craft through classes, books, or both. Beyond that, get as many eyes on your manuscript as you can, and get it professionally edited.
WWM: Good reviews, mixed reviews, bad reviews - what are your thoughts on each of those?
I love the first, bite my tongue on the second, and pray I never get the third! Bottom line, how someone responds to art is subjective, and very personal. No book, painting, movie, etc, is for everyone. Go to any classic and you’ll see what I mean. For example, I just looked up the ratings on Amazon for A Tale of Two Cities. Out of 575 reviews, there were 70 people who gave Dickens’ masterpiece three stars, 36 who gave it two stars, and 36 who gave it one star! This was the book that Dean Koontz wished he had written.
WWM: Do you think a mixed review would impact your sales?
It depends on what they say, where they post it, and how many people read it. Human nature is such that many people go to the lowest rating first. Unfortunately, they may decide not to read the other reviews after that, or the lower review negatively biases them. On the other hand, a few lower ratings may validate the higher ratings, making them more credible. In other words, people might be suspicious of a book that only has five-star ratings.
WWM: If you review other indie writers’ books, what is your approach to reviewing those?
Initially, I only posted a review if I thought the book merited 4 or 5 stars. I know how hard writers work on their writing, and I just can’t bring myself to hurt their efforts. Lately, I’ve been pulling back on reviewing. In the past, authors wrote blurbs, not reviews. I’m more inclined to work that way. By the way, I think many reviewers have gotten away from what a review should be, which is a thoughtful appraisal of the work in question. I saw an interesting blog post last year, How Not To Write a Book Review, which addresses just this point. According to the article, there were three aspects of a review: What the book is about; what the author says about what the book is about; and what the reviewer thinks about what the author says about what the book is about. Nothing more, nothing less. How many reviews on Amazon meet this classic criteria? Very few, I think. So what do they represent? A popular vote? And what does popularity have to do with art? Absalom, Absalom!, by William Faulkner, “the greatest artist the South has produced,” whose work is, “without equal in our time and country,” is currently ranked #239,678 in Books. Food for thought.
WWM: Lastly, if you were an animal, what animal would you be and why?
I offer two. A snow leopard, because I can work alone and focus for hours on a project. That solitary quality is helpful for a writer. The second animal is a cumberland sheepdog. They’re friendly, loyal, and devoted, and that fits me to a tee.
Wyndano’s Cloak Excerpt:
Alert, Jen backed away from the tree and studied it at a crouch.  The air was still.  The grass motionless.  But the leaves stirred and fluttered.  Words floated down.  At first they were indistinct, as if someone called through a distant snowstorm.  One word emerged clearly, and an icy finger traced down her spine.
She heard her name.
She backed away until she squatted on some rocks that extended into the pool. Every muscle—sun-hammered and wind-hardened like metal in a forge—was poised to spring.  Phrases whispered down.  The only sense she could make was that something was coming.  Something dangerous.
She thought of her family.  Fear tightened around her heart.  She was a hair's-breadth away from running to them.  Her feet stayed rooted to the spot.  Maybe she'd hear more.
 A small splash made her look at the pond.  Two more followed, as if someone had thrown pebbles.  Nothing had fallen into the water.  But ripples spread out and ran into each other.  More splashes erupted like tiny volcanoes, until the whole pool was agitated with colliding rings.  A circle of calm emerged below Jen's feet, pushing the waves back.  Pale and ghostly, a face rose from the muddy bottom of the pool until it floated just below the surface.  Little hills and valleys lined the features of an old woman, as if olives lay under the skin.
 "Medlara."  Jen spoke under her breath, unwilling to believe her friend could hear her.
 Medlara smiled, but her expression hardened.  Words whispered from the pool.  Jen leaned forward, straining to hear.  She got little more than fragments, as if a storyteller jumbled the pieces of a tale.  One phrase repeated, like a riddle.  "If you meet . . . a harp, you must . . . If the worst happens, seek the answers—"
 Jen dropped to her knees, hoping to catch more.  Medlara's hands appeared just below her chin.  She clasped them, and lifted her eyes as if she were imploring Jen.  She mouthed two words.  They might have been, "Forgive me."
Streaks of blue snaked and flowered in the water, as if someone had dropped in dye.  Tendrils of mist rose from the surface and licked the ring of rocks.  Soon the whole pool was covered.  Spilling over the edge, the cloudy vapor surrounded Jen.  She backed onto the shore, but the stuff sprouted up on all sides, walling her in, and formed a ceiling above.  It crept along the ground until it met her feet.  There it paused like an undulating sea.
Jen studied the mist.  "She's trying to show me something.  But what?"
There was no time to wonder.  Fog rose before her like a giant shadow.  Black.  Forbidding . . . 
She stepped back.  Looked behind for an escape route.  The fog surged forward and pulled her into the inky darkness.  She could no longer feel the ground, as if everything solid and beautiful that she cared about was being ripped away.  She tried to scream but terror rose from the pit of her stomach and froze in her throat. 
The rest was a dizzy kaleidoscope of tilting and falling, of wandering lost, with no way out, no way home, no way back to a world of light and love, until the mist melted away and she collapsed, shaking in a pool of sweat.


  1. Great interview with Becky! It's fun learning more about her. Plus, that's fantastic writing in Messages from Henry. I definitely want to read this book. I'm impressed by this author. :)

  2. Fantastic Interviews! Best wishes to you and ALL the authors. Enjoy the Journey!

  3. Thanks for your support! Wishing you much peace and prosperity ƸӜƷ

  4. Great interview with M.G.WELLS. I like that this interview includes an excerpt from the book. Lots of information about the author and her wonderful book. A great read for anyone who wants to get lost in a book.

  5. Excellent interview with M.G.WELLS! I like that you include the excerpt from the book. I like to know about the authors I read, this interview does that and more. Great job!

  6. This is a excellent page to learn about authors and their books. WWM does a wonderful job and has many different authors on here. Keep up the good work MMW. I've read a few of these books because I learn on blogs like this. Thank you for helping authors reach peeps like me.


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