Author Interview: Liz Cowley and Donough O’Brien

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Today I am delighted to welcome Liz Cowley and Donough O’Brien to my blog. Liz and Donough are the authors of ‘Serial Damage’, which I review here.

1. You have done what so many writers dream of and had your novel published. How have you found this experience?

Liz:

Very rewarding, and also very interesting, writing jointly with my husband Donough. And the publisher, Urbane, is a joy to work with – far easier than some I’ve known. I never thought I’d write a novel – or more accurately half of one – or dovetail so smoothly with a co-author without any disagreements. He does action, I do reaction – and it’s a recipe that seems to work.

Donough:

To tackle something completely new, a crime novel instead of the illustrated history books that I normally write, I realised that to get the detail right we needed outside expertise. Luckily we knew, or got to know, top detectives, judges, psychologists, gun makers and surgeons, and they gave us the accuracy we needed. Most of the places round the world we featured we have actually visited, which was another help.

2. Urbane require collaboration with authors in marketing their books. Has this worked out as you expected?

Liz:

Yes, very well. While Urbane promoted us, we do our bit with a series of launch parties round the country in aid of charity. We also helped to promote the book in both the UK and Ireland using our own media contacts. It helps that we were both from marketing and advertising backgrounds.

Donough:

We contacted the media in places where our ‘murders’ take place, like Cornwall, Kent and Ireland and the local press and radio stations were happy to feature us. Most media are intrigued by a husband and wife writing team, but it also helped that Liz’s latest book of amusing poetry, Pass the Prosecco, Darling! was coming out at the same time. A woman who can write light poetry and heavy murder is surely very unusual.

3. Have you done many live author events and, if so, do you enjoy them?

Liz:

Yes, quite a few. National radio like Saturday Live and lots of local radio. I’ve also given speeches at the Hampton Court Flower Show. My poetry books were made into a live stage show in Dublin and London, and the show was the finale of the West Cork Literary Festival at which I appeared.

Donough:

In addition to the charity events, we have been on the radio a lot and in my case television (BBC Breakfast, etc). I enjoy such events and also meeting all sorts of people.

4. What is your approach to the on line reviews of your book?

Liz:

They are very important – it thrills me if they’ve enjoyed my books, and if you get criticism, you learn from it. In many ways, it reminds of my many years as an advertising copywriter – starting with picturing the audience and then learning from the feedback if you’ve got it right.

Donough:

Yes, very important and one should never worry about criticism. You can’t please everyone!

5. When asked what you do, do you describe yourself as a writer?

Liz:

A writer (never a poet) although I’ve had seven poetry books published so far. I’m afraid the word ‘poet’ tends to make people freeze!

Donough:

Having drifted into this, I call myself an author – I don’t know why!

6. Are you going to do this again – is there another novel in the pipeline?

Liz:

We already have. Urbane are publishing From One Hell to Another next year. Our heroine is a Spanish girl in the French resistance. Once again Donough pulls the triggers and I do the emotional bits.

Donough:

And in February I’ve got a thriller about the IRA coming out with Urbane called Peace Breaks Out. I wrote it with my friend Robin Hardy, famous for The Wicker Man film, who has sadly just passed away. And Liz and I have just finished a sci-fi novel called Testosterone. So collaborative writing seems to work for us.

 

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Liz has had a long career as an advertising copywriter and Creative Director, working in several of the world’s leading agencies. A long-time fan of poetry, she enjoyed success with her first collection, A Red Dress, published in 2008 and her second, What am I Doing Here? (2010), which were then made into a theatrical show – first staged in Dublin, then chosen as the finale of the West Cork Literary Festival and later touring the UK. Her next book ‘And guess who he was with?’ was out in February 2013. Two poetry books for gardeners, Outside in my Dressing Gown, and Gardening in Slippers are selling very well, not only in the book trade but also in garden centres.

Before turning to writing, Donough enjoyed a successful marketing career in the US and Europe. His previous books include Fame by Chance, looking at places that became famous by a twist of fate; Banana Skins, covering the slips and screw-ups that brought the famous down to earth; Numeroids, a book of numerical nuggets, and In the Heat of Battle; a study of those who rose to the occasion in warfare and those who didn’t. His latest historical book was WHO? The most remarkable people you’ve never heard of.

 

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Serial Damage is published by Urbane Publications and is available to buy now.

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Author Interview: Thomas Hocknell

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Today I am delighted to welcome Thomas Hocknell to my blog. Thomas is the author of ‘The Life Assistance Agency’, which I review here.

1. You have done what so many writers dream of and had your novel published. How have you found this experience?

Publication is a fence I’ve been running to leap over for twenty years without any thought as to which way to land – forward roll, the splits, or careen into the nearest gorse bush to emerge quicker than I went in. Time will tell, but at risk of sounding like one of those positive affirmations back-dropped by a rose, publication day was one to savour. Although, it mainly involved sweeping up untouched children’s breakfast cereal and being asked to pay for 4-months worth of backdated Sunday papers at the local newsagent. I used to think writers lived somewhere indefinably special, but they walk among us.

It was certainly a day to quit worrying about MS spell-check missing thong instead of thing throughout the 300 pages of the Life Assistance Agency.  It’s a day like no other, although most writers would claim it’s the best day to start writing the next novel.  Which is lucky, because the most popular question since publication is “Have you started a 2nd one?” I mean talk about not being allowed to rest on your laurels.

Publication day is the sort of day that validates those annoying motivational Twitter status updates involving ‘following your dreams’, and ‘Stars can’t shine without darkness.’ The sort of updates that no one says to your face in fear of being strangled, and without which Twitter would be diminished to people declaring themselves as coffee addicts, uploading photos of cats and flogging vampire novels thinly disguised as porn. Or is it the other way around?

But it’s been wonderful. A dream has come true even if it was a 10-year overnight success. If anything it still feels a little surreal, but it certainly changes your relationship with writing. You suddenly have readers beyond immediate family!

2. Urbane require collaboration with authors in marketing their books. Has this worked out as you expected?

They do. They are an independent publisher, but not having been published before means I have no idea of how it works elsewhere. I’ve been blogging at Idle Blogs of an Idle Fellow for 2 years, and that has gained a secure and loyal following, for which I am deeply grateful. It’s resulted in a kind of established market, albeit a small one. And the generosity of support from friends on Twitter (let’s not call them followers) has been flabbergasting. Ultimately though, you can’t keep flogging the book; it has to take on a life of its own. But there’s no better feeling than seeing it in a bookshop window.

3. Have you done many live author events and, if so, do you enjoy them?

At the first book launch, I so hated being the centre of attention that I found myself still up at 3:30am imploring people to stay, and that it was too early to call it a day. Actually, ask me this again next week, as I have a second one lined up.

4. What is your approach to the on line reviews of your book?

Well, I initially declared I wasn’t going to read any. So, once I’d read them all, I found myself in a collapsed state best known as depression. It’s amazing how one negative review can skewer the glow of the good ones. If I’m honest, it also made me feel exposed and a little vulnerable. I was reminded of the Edna St Vincent Millay quote – “A person who publishes a book willfully appears before the populace with his pants down. If it is a good book nothing can hurt him. If it is a bad book nothing can help him.”  I thought it best to buy some smart new pants.

However, as the weeks passed, the review about me not knowing what genre I was writing in began to sting less. After all, I’ve never chosen to read a novel according to its genre. Then a complete stranger compared the Life Assistance Agency to Douglas Adams’Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. He only wrote 2 and a half of these novels, which I always wanted more of. I’m cautious when aligning myself with such a great like Adams, but he was a huge influence that I’m happy to shout about it. His sentences were so unpredictable that you get the sense even he didn’t know where they were going.

5. When asked what you do, do you describe yourself as a writer?

That is a brilliant question. I do now. Or rather no one has asked since I was published, which is a bit annoying, so I don’t know for sure. I look forward to not saying I’m a social worker, at least initially, although that is what pays the mortgage. The most popular question when people hear that you write is “Are you published?” like it’s something that inevitably happens to every writer. Of course you want to grab them by the lapels and scream ‘D’you have any fucking idea how hard it is to get published?’ This is now avoided by simply pointing them in the direction of my T-shirt emblazoned with I’M PUBLISHED.

6. Are you going to do this again – is there another novel in the pipeline?

See what I mean about not being allowed to rest on your laurels! There is actually. I’m pleased to say that this novel can be seen as cue for further adventures of the Life Assistance Agency, which will vindicate its proprieter Scott Wildblood, as much as it will annoy his partner Ben Ferguson-Cripps. I love writing, at least when it’s going well. It’s like pottering about in a garden shed but without the spiders and tripping over the patio heater you don’t recall buying.

Where my readers can find you

Blog: Idle blogs of an idle fellow – Journeys from the fax

Twitter: Tom Angel (@TomAngel1)

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Thomas Hocknell is from Kent and lives in London. He has been a social worker, car salesman and gardener. He attended the Faber Academy and The Life Assistance Agency is his first novel. His blog, Idle Blogs of an Idle Fellow, aims to embrace random topics of modern living, but mostly complains about other people’s inability to make decent tea. He also writes for Classic Pop magazine, the Good Men Project and The Line of Best Fit.

 

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The Life Assistance Agency is published by Urbane Publications and is available to buy now.

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Author Interview: Simon Michael

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Today I am delighted to welcome Simon Michael to my blog. Simon is the author of ‘The Brief’ (which I review here) and ‘An Honest Man’ (which I review here).

1. You have done what so many writers dream of and had your novel published. How have you found this experience?

Like many of the Urbane authors, this is not my first experience of being published. I was published by large traditional publishing houses in the 1990s, WH Allen and St Martin’s Press. On my return to writing I found that the publishing world had changed completely in the intervening 25 years. In the traditional model, which until recent years had no alternative (except, perhaps, vanity publishing) you gave your cherished baby, the work on which you had dedicated months or years of your life, to the publishers in return for an advance on royalties and they did exactly what they pleased with it. You had little or no say in blurb, jacket design, marketing, advertising or pricing. Many of us found it to be a poor experience, and I know even well-established and highly regarded writers who felt let down by the process. We produced commodities, books, for the publishers to dispose of as they thought fit.

The advent of the Internet has changed all that. The polar opposite to the traditional publishing model is self-publication, and anyone can do it and have their book available on Amazon and similar formats within hours. The downside is that it joins millions of other self-published books, and even if it’s brilliant it may never attract a readership.

Urbane Publications offers an intermediate model whereby publisher and author work together in partnership. Profits are divided much more equally (although there is usually no advance) and decisions are taken jointly. When it works, it is a very empowering experience but it depends on the personal relationship between author and publisher which may not always be problem-free, and authors have to expect success to come more slowly, if it comes at all. Small independent publishers cannot afford large sums of money for marketing or publicity.

2. Urbane require collaboration with authors in marketing their books. Has this worked out as you expected?

My part has been more demanding, but also more fun, than I expected. I have designed and produced posters, travelled with a suitcase up and down the country to bookshops, sold the concept and persuaded them to stock the books, and contacted scores of libraries, book groups and bookshops to secure speaking engagements and signing sessions. I am presently involved in arranging a photo shoot for a life-size poster of me wearing court robes and carrying a shot gun!

Urbane have opened doors for me, by getting me onto panels at literary festivals for example, and they have been excellent at managing the pricing and offers on Amazon, something I wouldn’t have been able to do without help.

One of Matthew Smith’s particular strengths lies in cover design; some of his covers for the fiction books have been outstanding and have attracted a great deal of enthusiastic social media comment.

3. Have you done many live author events and, if so, do you enjoy them?

To date I have had approximately 10 speaking engagements, I have 4 more in the diary before Christmas, and will organise more in the New Year. I am aiming at speaking at least twice a month.

I do enjoy them very much. 37 years’ at the Bar and singing in an R&B band allowed full rein to my love of performance, and I didn’t think through the fact that, when I retired to write full-time, that part of my personality would no longer find expression. In fact this is even better. My talks are developing into a “one-man show” with anecdotes from life at the Bar, some personal history as well as insights into the period of the novels (1940s and 1960s) and readings from the books. I am even thinking of adding some music from the periods.

4. What is your approach to the on line reviews of your book?

Fortunately I have only had one poor review, a 2* review on Amazon by someone who had obviously never read the book. You read about competitor authors putting poor reviews on Amazon, and it is my guess that this was an example, so I should probably feel flattered that they saw me as serious competition.

More generally however I often reply thanking the reviewer because I know it takes time and effort to give a review, and few reviewers appreciate the difference it makes to profile and sales. Although all of the reviews of The Brief were 5* and 4* (with the exception of the one referred to above) several reviewers had interesting insights as to the pacing of the first half of the book, and in those cases I have replied agreeing with them and have borne the criticism in mind in the later books.

I enjoy having a dialogue with my readers, and I recognise that I am still learning my trade, so insightful analysis by literate readers is invaluable.

5. When asked what you do, do you describe yourself as a writer?

I have begun to describe myself as a writer but I’m still a bit shy to do so, because it smacks of arrogance and, of course, very few people have heard of me as yet. If, as is often the case, the response is “Oh, have I heard of you?” the inevitable reply “Probably not” is a bit deflating. But my agent is working on a lead regarding a TV series, and hopefully that will all change.

6. Are you going to do this again – is there another novel in the pipeline?

There is indeed, at least three and probably more. The reviews suggest, and I believe, that I’m getting better as a writer as I learn my trade, and the third book, The Lighterman, is complete. It will be published in May 2017, and the consensus is that it’s the strongest so far.

The fourth novel is already part-written. The Charles Holborne series is a long way from the psychological thrillers or police procedurals of which there are so many exponents at present. This series is about a particular man, Charles Holborne, something of a maverick barrister with a background as a boxer and criminal himself. I throw him into the turmoil of the gangland culture of 1960s London, the corrupt police and the biased judiciary. They are thrillers, with a crime/mystery at their heart, and often courtroom scenes on the way, but Charles is on a moral and personal journey and therefore the series of books has a definite arc. He’s presently in the middle of that arc so there are several books to come, but when he’s finished his journey, assuming he survives, I will need to think carefully what to do next;

I want to avoid the stories becoming formulaic. The title of your blog “Never Imitate” is something I identify with closely. Most people who know me would say that I have never followed the path well-trod, and Charles Holborne is an extension of me.

Where my readers can find you

Website: simonmichael.uk

Facebook: Simon Michael (@simonmichael.uk)

Twitter: Simon Michael (@simonmichaeluk)

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Simon Michael was called to the Bar by the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple in 1978. In his many years of prosecuting and defending criminal cases he has dealt with a wide selection of murderers, armed robbers, con artists and other assorted villainy.

A storyteller all his life, Simon started writing short stories at school. His first novel (co-written) was published by Grafton in 1988 and was followed in 1989 by his first solo novel, The Cut Throat, the first of the Charles Holborne series, based on Simon’s own experiences at the criminal Bar. The next in the series, The Long Lie, was published in 1992. Between the two, in 1991, Simon’s short story “Split” was shortlisted for the Cosmopolitan/Perrier Short Story Award. He was also commissioned to write two feature screenplays.

Simon then put writing aside to concentrate on his career at the Bar. After a further 25 years’ experience he now has sufficient plots based on real cases for another dozen legal thrillers.

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‘The Brief’ and ‘An Honest Man’ are published by Urbane Publications, and are available to buy now.

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Author Interview: Angelena Boden

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Today I am once again delighted to welcome Angelena Boden to my blog. Angelena is the author of ‘The Cruelty of Lambs’, which I review here.

1. You have done what so many writers dream of and had your novel published. How have you found this experience?

Writing The Cruelty of Lambs was in part a cathartic exercise. Being a survivor of psychological abuse I felt I was using my main character’s voice to express repressed feelings. I finished the first draft very quickly, writing for 4 hours every morning. It was the endless drafting and redrafting that was the really hard work!

2. Urbane require collaboration with authors in marketing their books. Has this worked out as you expected?

I have over 30 years of running my own business and collaboration with partners has been critical to its success. I think the days of authors handing over their creation to publishers and sitting back while the money rolls in are long gone. Urbane is ultimately in the driving seat but I’ve been working hard to raise the discovery of the book through social media, bringing on board my own PR consultant for TV contacts and proactively putting my story out there. As a professional trainer and presenter, I am already getting offers to talk on coercive control, a hidden form of domestic abuse.

3. Have you done many live author events and, if so, do you enjoy them?

I’ve got a book launch at Waterstones in Birmingham on November 23rd thanks to local contacts – the book is set in Birmingham – a signing in my current home town of Malvern on December 7th , one in Bakewell, where I grew up on Monday November 21st and one next January in Ludlow, Shropshire. I was interviewed on Sky Sunrise on Nov 12th which was a great experience. I hope for many more. My book is not only a gripping read, so say the reviewers, but also raises awareness about an issue people don’t want to admit exists.

4. What is your approach to the on line reviews of your book?

I wrote a recent blog piece about how to handle reviews (link here). I am grateful for people who have given up a few hours of their time to read the book and accept their opinions. I don’t engage in dialogue. If they are negative but have something useful to add to my learning then I take it on board.

5. When asked what you do, do you describe yourself as a writer?

I’ve had a fabulous career as an international trainer until I semi- retired aged 60. These days I do on line coaching and counselling for people who are struggling to make sense of their lives and of course writing but in answer to your question, to call myself an author is …. Well I have to pinch myself! It’s my childhood dream come true.

6. Are you going to do this again – is there another novel in the pipeline?

My second book is finished and has just come back from beta readers. It’s called The Future Can’t Wait and tackles another gritty topic that is swept under the carpet and yes… controversial as well. I hope to keep writing until I drop!

Where my readers can find you

Website:  angelenaboden.com

Twitter: The Cruelty of Lambs (@AngelenaBoden)

Facebook: bodenangelena

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Angelena Boden has spent over thirty years training, coaching and counselling in the field of interpersonal conflict and communication. As a linguist, she has lived and worked overseas, travelled extensively and spent periods in Iran where she learned Farsi.

She is the author of three business books, published by Management Pocketbooks Ltd and is a freelance journalist.

A former resident and graduate of Birmingham, the setting for The Cruelty of Lambs, she is a passionate defender of a city she believes is misunderstood.

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The Cruelty of Lambs is published by Urbane Publications and is available to buy now.

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Book Reviews – Guest Post by Angelena Boden

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Today I am delighted to welcome Angelena Boden to my blog. Angelena is the author of ‘The Cruelty of Lambs’, which I review here. As a book blogger I was interested to read this author perspective on book reviews. I will be posting my interview with Angelena tomorrow.

You’ve agonised over plot, characters and dialogue, driving your household or friends crazy as you divert conversations away from them and back to your book: your wonderful debut novel which you are sure is going to reach great heights. Dreams of Hollywood fill your star-gazing moments.

Your family indulges you, oohing and ahhing over your opening paragraph, then express amazement when you tell them you’ve written 80,000 words. ‘But it’s so hard to get a publisher these days,’ they say with a smirk and a wave of insecurity hits you. A year’s work or more could be all for nothing. ‘Well, I can self-publish,’ you hit back. Millionaires are made on the back of a 99 cent erotic thriller.’

Whichever way you go with your book, traditional, independent or self-publishing you will have to face the day when that great creation you’ve given a painful birth to, nurtured and had to let go to find its own place in the wider world. That is unless you are happy to simply store it under the bed for secret readings in the early hours.

Who knows, it might be discovered when the kids are clearing out the house and it wins a cheeky posthumous award and they fight over the resulting royalties.

Most debut authors fear negative reviews. It’s like starting your first job and being shredded during an appraisal. Self-doubt creeps in, fragile egos get massacred and recently printed pages of that second novel get tossed in the air.

When The Cruelty of Lambs hit the marketplace there’s no denying I was nervous. I’ve been in a creative business long enough to know that not everybody likes or wants your product. As writers we have to accept that. Reviews are like a one way missile. Sensible authors don’t retaliate or demand from the reviewer a blow by blow account of why they didn’t like it.

Reviewers not only provide a valuable service to potential readers but also to authors. I appreciate the time a reviewer has taken to read my novel and the careful crafting of their response to it. If there is something in there I can use for future books then even better. A criticism might sting for a minute or two but it won’t throw me into despair or an emotional breakdown. Quite the reverse. As Hillary Clinton said recently, Anger isn’t a plan.

A plan should be to keep improving and polishing your craft, learning from more experienced authors and write, write, write. It’s tough. It’s a marathon not a sprint and no matter how much work you put into it, it’s guaranteed that a percentage of the reading public might not like it.

So, what should you do if you get a bad review?

In a word, nothing. It’s still a review. Focus on the positive ones. Definitely don’t rush to a social media site to complain! Remember why you write. Many of us are driven to put fingertips to keyboard.

Those words are busting to come out. Make sure they are not loaded with poisoned arrows at reviewers who have been kind enough to give up a few hours of their day to focus on your work. It’s not personal even if it feels like it.

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The Cruelty of Lambs is published by Urbane Publications and is available to buy now.

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Author Interview: Guy Mankowski

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Today I am delighted to welcome Guy Mankowski to my blog. Guy is the author of ‘An Honest Deceit’ which I review here

1. You have done what so many writers dream of and had your novel published. How have you found this experience?

It’s very exposing to write something that is so personal and then have its value publicaly debated- and An Honest Deceit is my most personal novel yet. In order to create a lifelike, credible world in a novel you have to portray the world as you know it. So you are putting a great deal of yourself into the characters and the setting you present and so it can be strange when the book is finally released because people are evaluating you. An Honest Deceit is my fourth book and because it is so personal the whole process has felt intense. But it is wonderful when people engage with something so personal and take it to their hearts and I’ve had some touching messages.

2. Urbane require collaboration with authors in marketing their books. Has this worked out as you expected?

I think that because novels are personal a personal touch is needed, so Urbane’s collaborative approach works. It is good to have a publisher you can contact at any time and debate ideas with. The publishing industry is changing and I think that approach is required to give books a fighting chance in the big bad world. You aren’t just competing with other books for attention but with video games, X Factor, newspapers, whatever Donald Trump has written last night on Twitter. To get people to take a story to their heart requires work.

3. Have you done many live author events and, if so, do you enjoy them?

Yes, I’ve done talks on my travels to Russia to research a novel on ballet and talks on how I met experts in corruption and worked with whistle-blowers to research An Honest Deceit. I am doing a talk next week with Books On The Tyne about how I turned this research into a thriller. I find the talks nerve-wracking to be honest. It is hard to make a private process public. Like any venture the writing of a novel requires sheer graft and tenacity and people are more interested in hearing about the latter than the former.

4. What is your approach to the on line reviews of your book?

I dismiss the good ones and analyse the bad ones that seem credible because I want to be a better writer. I don’t want to compete with Jordan’s latest biography and just get a few book sales. I want to compete with the writers who made me feel alive and who expressed how the world really is, like Albert Camus and Leonard Cohen. I have a long way to go.

5. When asked what you do, do you describe yourself as a writer?

Yes. I write to try and make people feel less lonely.

6. Are you going to do this again – is there another novel in the pipeline?

My next novel is called A Club Called Meaning and it’s about a nightclub where everyone gets to live their fantasy life for one night. It’s also about how the elite class and the super rich are pulverising the artistic class and it’s nearly finished.

Where my readers can find you

Website: Guy Mankowski.com

Twitter: Dr. Guy Mankowski (@Gmankow)

Blog: Guy Mankowski

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Guy Mankowski is a journalist, academic and author. He was born on the Isle of Wight and educated at St. Johns College Southsea, commuting to school every day by hovercraft. He was then educated by monks at Ampleforth College, Yorkshire. He trained as a psychologist, working in a hospital by day and as singer of a signed band, Alba Nova, by night. He holds a PhD in Creative Writing and currently lectures in Creative Writing at York University. An Honest Deceit is his fourth novel.

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An Honest Deceit is published by Urbane Publications and is available to buy now.

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Author Interview: Christina Philippou

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Today I am delighted to welcome Christina Philippou to my blog. Christina is the author of ‘Lost in Static’ which I review here.

1. You have done what so many writers dream of and had your novel published. How have you found this experience?

Amazing! It started slowly – I decided to get back to writing (which I used to love) whilst on maternity leave so as to keep the brain functioning. Somehow this morphed into a novel which morphed into a publishable novel which morphed into a published novel thanks to Urbane Publications…

My journey to publication, like most people’s, was filled with ups and downs, but it’s all been worth it to see the final version of Lost in Static and the lovely reviews that have come with it – I’d recommend the experience to everyone!

2. Urbane require collaboration with authors in marketing their books. Has this worked out as you expected?

I didn’t know what to expect, if I’m honest! I’ve heard so many horror stories about having everything dictated to you (from those with large publishers) to being ignored (from those with some independents), but I’ve found working with Urbane a joy – I’ve had a say in my cover, edits, and marketing suggestions. There’s been a bit of a division of labour, with me concentrating more on the online side and Urbane on the traditional side, but it has worked well so far.

3. Have you done many live author events and, if so, do you enjoy them?

My debut has only been out a couple of months and my participation in live author events to date has been in the audience or as a volunteer at the Guildford Book Festival, so not much to report there! However, my non-author working life involves a large amount of public speaking (I’m a university lecturer, mainly teaching forensic accounting), so I’m happy to entertain people live as well as through the printed page.

4. What is your approach to the on line reviews of your book?

As a book blogger myself, I know the importance of reviews for both authors and readers, and I read all reviews of my book that I am aware of. I appreciate that not everyone will enjoy Lost in Static, and that’s absolutely fine (in fact, part of the book’s message is designed to grate with certain readers).

Overall, it’s been a great experience, reading reviews of my book (especially as the vast majority are very positive), but it’s also been interesting. As Lost in Static is written from four different students’ points of view, there are inevitably four protagonists with very different personalities at its heart – and I’ve been fascinated by how different readers have identified with or lauded different characters. It’s made me realise even more the importance of communication, as people are so diverse in their thoughts, ideas, and preferences!

5. When asked what you do, do you describe yourself as a writer?

Good question! Depends on the company I’m keeping at the time, I suppose. Saying I used to be an accountant and now teach accounting sounds far less exciting than ‘author’ to most…

6. Are you going to do this again – is there another novel in the pipeline?

Yes, yes, yes! I’ve got the writing bug now and, of course, I know that I can write a whole novel that people will enjoy (or hate). I’m currently whipping the very originally named ‘Novel 2’ into shape – it’s darker than Lost in Static, but still plays with perspective (this time age).

Where my readers can find you

Website: Christina Philippou | Writing round the block

Twitter: Christina Philippou (@CPhilippou123)

Facebook: Christina Philippou

Instagram: Christina Philippou (@cphilippou123)

Google+ Christina Philippou

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Christina Philippou’s writing career has been a varied one, from populating the short-story notebook that lived under her desk at school, to penning reports on corruption and terrorist finance. When not reading or writing, she can be found engaging in sport or undertaking some form of nature appreciation. 

Christina has three passports to go with her three children, but is not a spy. Lost in Static is her first novel.

 

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Lost in Static is published by Urbane Publications and is available to buy now.

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