Interview with author, Thea Hartley

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Hi Thea, welcome my blog. I notice you’ve recently published a book called, The Fall of the French Letter King, which is the third in a trilogy about your grandfather, father and the family business. I enjoyed the first two books, how does this one differ to the others?

This book is far more personal. It covers a period of my life from the beginning of my teens to my twenties. A lot happened at that time which affected me as well as my parents, so I have written about some painful memories and events . It is very powerful and reveals many secrets.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

Recounting these very personal and painful memories. The self disclosure was extremely difficult.

What was your favourite part of this book to write and why?

I enjoyed the parts about other people in the town, especially a famous fight which I witnessed. I liked it because it wasn’t about me and because it was so humorous.

How long did it take to write and how did you research for it?

This book took about a year. Most of the research was already done for the two previous books. However, I did have to check with some people about including them etc.

Do you have any plans for any future novels?

I already have a fictional novel almost completed called “Under the Clouds of War”, after that I plan to write a temporary psychological thriller. I haven’t any plans for more factual books however.

Tell me a little about a typical writing day for you…

I get up, have breakfast and usually write until around noon. I stop then for lunch and go shopping or do housework etc. Some days I pick the grandchildren up from school. I return to writing later in the evening around 5pm. It depends how I feel and how things are going to determine how much writing I will do. Maybe a few minutes or several hours. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and write.

Where are you most comfortable writing?

Although I enjoy writing and get a lot of satisfaction out of Psychological thrillers and crime fiction, I am most comfortable writing historical romances.

Which authors have most influenced your life and why?

I have been influenced by Peter James, Val McDermid, Barbara Erskin, and Phillips Gregory. I love their individual style of writing, their ability to weave a complicated story and the way they draw the reader in.

If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?

I have already had it…as a psychology and Counselling lecturer and therapist. I had that career before I became an author.

Did you learn anything from writing this particular book?

I learned a great deal about myself from writing this particular book. Especially what an idiot I had been. I became very angry with myself and wished I had done things differently. If you read the book, you’ll see why.

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, here on Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?

I prefer email and messenger. Email me on thea1710@hotmail.com.   I also encourage responses to my Facebook pages and website ( thea writes.co.uk)

And finally, where can readers buy a copy of your latest book?

Amazon is probably the easiest place to buy my book, whether in ebook or paperback. It is also available in various bookshops such as Waterstones.

 Many thanks for a great interview, Thea!

Thank you Lynette for interviewing me on your blogspot.

 

Excerpt: What Lies Ahead

Vince Conway looked up from his desk as Ruth entered the office. “Any luck with the Morgans?” he asked brightly.

Ruth shook her head. “Not a lot to be honest.”

“What did you find out about their relationship with Frances Donovan?”

“Well,” Ruth said, seating herself opposite Vince. “It sounds as if Cathy Morgan and Frances were quite good friends up until a few months ago. Then they had a bad falling out.”

Vince sat forward in his seat, his azure blue eyes glittered with interest as he lightly tapped his Parker pen on the desk. “Any idea why they fell out?”

Ruth nodded. “Yes. It appears to be over some bingo win. Frances won fifteen thousand pounds at that Castle Bingo Hall in the town. According to Cathy, the pair always shared any winnings between themselves, it was an unwritten rule. Though this time…”

“I’m guessing Frances became greedy and refused to share her winnings?” Vince studied Ruth’s face as if it held some clue to what might have gone on.

Ruth nodded. “You’ve got it. Mostly their winnings were small over the years, the odd hundred quid here or there, but now this was in the thousands, the goal posts changed. Apparently, Frances claimed all the money for herself.”

“Any idea what she spent it on?” He placed his pen down on the desk in front of him and stroked his stubbled chin.

“Aha,” Ruth nodded. “She jetted off to Las Vegas for a fortnight and spent the rest on a new conservatory.”

“Hardly seems worth losing a friend over, though…” Vince said, lifting his pen once more and twiddling it thoughtfully between his fingers.

“Yes, I agree. And Cathy is very bitter about the whole thing. Very bitter indeed. In fact, she said she thinks it was partly to blame for her recent breakdown.”

“Breakdown?” This was the first he’d heard of any mention of a breakdown. Then he remembered how she’d dithered about calling into the station to see him almost as though she were afraid to leave the house.

“Yes, she’s been off from work for some time now as a result, she was nursing at Prince Charles Hospital, a ward sister. A good nurse by all accounts, dedicated to her profession.”

“That’s extremely interesting.  That young woman who was murdered in Cyfarthfa woods a few years back worked there. Can you get onto the case and find out if there’s any link with her and Cathy?”

“Will do, boss. So no one has picked this guy up as yet?”

“Nope. The Woodentops have been searching outhouses and sheds that kind of thing but it’s my guess he’s gone to ground.  What we’re dealing with here is a very clever individual. He strikes, retreats, strikes, retreats. His form of defence is attack and he works with a military precision.  I think it might be worth getting him profiled.”

Whatever or whoever this man was, there was no doubt in Vince’s mind that he would strike again, the question was, ‘but when?’

 

 

What Lies Ahead

What Lies Ahead

The loss lies where it falls…
Cathy Morgan has recently suffered a breakdown, which causes her to take sick leave from her work as a ward sister. One morning, she is awoken by her husband Denzil, who has some distressing news for her. Someone she knows well has been murdered. Not only that, but there appears to be a connection with that murder and that of a young nurse called, Alison Marsh, who died some ten years ago.

It’s Detective Sergeant Ruth Carter’s first day back in work after giving birth to her son, Jacob  Not only is it her first day back on the job, but now she’s a single mother after breaking up with her long term partner, Pete. Her partner at work, Detective Inspector Vince Conway, is concerned for her welfare. They’ve missed one another, especially after being involved in solving the case of another serial killer the following year.

As the pair investigate the recent murder and other events that occur, it becomes apparent that the crimes are linked to a secret organisation operating in the community who call themselves the, ‘Inner Sanctum’. But who is committing the murders and why?

Crime Fiction Book #2 in the Trilogy:

#1: What’s Left Behind
#2: What Lies Ahead
#3. What Doesn’t Kill You

Fans of Peter Robinson and Mark Billingham will be gripped by this exceptional new voice in Welsh crime fiction.

Interview with Romance Novelist, Rachel Brimble

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Hi Rachel, welcome to my blog. I remember meeting you years ago at the ‘Write From the Heart’ workshop at Cirencester in 2005. Back then, you were just beginning your journey as a romance author. What have you achieved publishing-wise since then?

Wow, 17 years ago?! Where does the time go? My eldest has just turned 18 and I can remember that workshop was one of the first days I left her all day with my husband, lol! Well, my first full-length novel was published by The Wild Rose Press in 2007 and since then I have had 17 novels and 2 novellas published. As well as that, I have book 18 coming out in August, book 19 in November as well as two others contracted. I’m constantly busy!

When did you first realise that you wanted to write romantic fiction?

At first, I had no idea what I wanted to write but once I started looking at my chosen reading and how these stories interested me, romantic suspense became the first genre I set out to write. I still regularly write romantic suspense, but also write mainstream romance and historical romance.

Where’s your favourite writing spot?

For the last two years, I’ve had my own home office which I adore – before that I wrote wherever I could. The kitchen table being the usual place to find me! Those days in the summer when I can take my laptop outside are my absolute favorite, though. Bliss!

Tell me a little about a typical writing day for you…

I am lucky enough to be able to write full-time so, as much as possible, I treat my writing as I would a job outside of the house. Four days a week, I work from 8.30am to 5.30pm (with a couple of dog walks in between) and the fifth day I spend visiting my parents. I try hard not to work at the weekends but, more often than not, I manage a couple of hours on Saturday and Sunday.

Who inspires you?

So many people! For my writing, it’s Nora Roberts, Jill Shalvis and Jodi Picoult. Personally, my mum, Maya Angelou and my friends.

Could you tell people a little about your latest release, please?

Cover (best).jpgMy latest release is the sixth instalment of my Harlequin Superromance series, the Templeton Cove Stories. SAVED BY THE FIREFIGHTER is a second-chance story where the hero and heroine have to come to terms with loss in order to move on. This book was inspired by the devastation I felt when I lost my beloved black Lab, Max. I just couldn’t seem to move on and poured everything I was feeling into my writing.

The readers and reviewers have loved this book which is fantastic! All these books can be read stand-alone, by the way J

Does your book have a particular theme?

See above – bereavement, strength and overcoming pain

Who is your favourite character in the book and why?

Trent, the hero. He’s strong, capable, loving and, of course, darn nice to look at! He makes this book for me with how he is determined to help Izzy (the heroine) through her trauma, despite struggling with his own losses. A real man!

Is there a villain/antagonist in your book?

No – this one is mainstream.

How long did it take to write and how did you research for it?

My books usually take me around 5-6 months from idea to final draft. As this is book 6 and I know Templeton so well, there wasn’t a lot of research involved. All the emotions I wanted to convey were already inside me.

Do you outline your books before you begin writing or do you write very much by the seat-of-your-pants?

I have found a process that works for me every time nowadays. I start with a premise and then complete character sketches for my hero, heroine and villain (if I have one). Doing the sketches usually brings out their goals, motivations and conflicts. I then compile a full chapter plan of around a paragraph for each chapter which then makes the synopsis writing easier.

After that, I write the first draft from start to finish without looking back. The hard part comes in the following drafts!

Do you have any plans for any future novels?

Always! I have four pages of ideas on a file on my computer as well as a bulging notebook in my handbag. Right now, I am finishing book 8 in the Templeton Cove series as well as working on a new series proposal for Harlequin and an outline for a new Edwardian romance. Busy, busy!

If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?

I am definitely working my dream job, but if I had to choose something else, I would love to work with dogs in some way.

What’s the best thing about being an author for you?

All of it! I love the writing, editing, promotion. You name it, I enjoy it. I feel incredibly blessed to be doing what I love every day.

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, here on Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?

I am a Twitter nut so that’s probably the best way to keep up with my personal and professional antics, but I love to hear from readers any which way. Here are my links:

Website: http://rachelbrimble.com/

Blog: http://rachelbrimble.blogspot.co.uk/

Twitter: @rachelbrimble or @templetoncove

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rachelbrimbleauthor/?fref=ts

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1806411.Rachel_Brimble

And finally, where can readers buy a copy of your latest book?

Amazon US: http://a.co/2QInDDv

Amazon UK: http://amzn.eu/5vk04Sh

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/saved-by-the-firefighter-rachel-brimble/1123750035?ean=9781488006906

Many thanks for an interesting interview, Rachel!

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Wear Bright Colours for Me

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Well worth 5 stars!!!

I loved the story of Amy and Luke that spanned many lifetimes. The author brought the characters to life as their escapades ran throughout the ages, from Roman days to the present time. It was a very vivid story for me interwoven with sub plots and intrigue. I felt I was actually there as if a traveller in time, the unseen observer.

The story takes the reader from life time-to-life time where the characters appear in various incarnations. The author has a highly developed style of penmanship that draws the reader in and doesn’t let go. I particularly enjoyed Emma and Phillip’s story during the Elizabethan age as it’s a time that fascinates me. It’s obvious that the author has researched the factual side of this book very well as it’s all down to the detail! The descriptions are so colourful and bring the story to life.

I don’t know how Ms. Hartley does it but her books get better and better. I really feel I could see this one on the big screen!
If you’re interested in all things spiritual including, karma and reincarnation, then this is the book for you!

Highly recommended!!

Blurb

Birth, death and rebirth…a continual cycle. Through countless centuries a curse follows potential soulmates Amy and Luke.

From their life as African slaves in 65 BC to professionals in contemporary London, they are destined to be forced apart.

Many lives, many tragedies… and a relentless enemy whose karma is bound up with theirs.

This is a brilliantly woven story of the possibilities of reincarnation and the affect of karma on individuals as they try to battle through the traumas of each rebirth.

“A unique story which will make you think seriously about reincarnation”.

Purchase book here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wear-Bright-Colours-Thea-Hartley-ebook/dp/B01CLWUQG2

 

Why I became an Indie Author

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July 2006

The doorbell rang and I went answer, I was bleary eyed and still in my dressing gown. Stood on my doorstep was the postman with a couple of heavy looking, cardboard boxes in his arms. Immediately, I realised those boxes contained copies of my first ever published novel, ‘It Happened One Summer’. It was as if all the fruits of my labour [well that book was my first baby] had suddenly been delivered in those brown boxes.

My heart skipped a beat. I thanked the postie and hefted the heavy boxes through to my living room table, my hands shaking as I tore open the first box to inspect its wares. That particular book was more than two years in the making. It had taken nine months to write, edit and revise, before submitting to a publisher. Then it was several months before I heard my manuscript was accepted and another two years before it would see the light of day. The publishing world moves at a very slow pace at times!

Anyhow, I had decided this particular book would be sold to help raise funds for a local charity I worked for. The charity which needed a new building was keen to put on a big launch at a local castle, which both scared and excited me at the same time.

I picked up a book from the box and inspected it. It was such a thrill to see so many books bearing my name on the front cover.

“Come and take a look at this!” I called to my teenage son.

He came over and picked up a book to inspect it, flipping through the pages. “Mam, they’ve spelled your name wrong!” he exclaimed.

“No, can’t be…” I chuckled nervously. My son is a big joker, so I really thought he was having me on, particularly as my name was spelled correctly on the cover. I picked up a book and flicked through its pages. He was right. Although the book had my name as Lynette Rees on the cover, inside at the top of each page was the name, Lynette Reese – an extra E added to my surname.

I had no idea what my editor had been thinking, other than Reese’s Peanut Buttercups! My publisher was American and that product is popular across The Pond.

I picked up another book and flicked through its pages, hoping that book would be different somehow. But no, all books bared the same mistake. I was mortified. It would be too late to order new copies for the launch as those boxes of books had already taken weeks to arrive.

I immediately contacted the publisher who refused to take any responsibility for their error. They didn’t even offer any free copies of an amended version of the book, so in the end I had to use those books for the launch.

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My first book launch

Did it spoil a special day? No, not really. All copies sold out, there wasn’t even one left for the Mayor! We immediately ordered more and I was reassured that this time the mistake would be amended. But the damage was done, I no longer trusted the publisher, particularly as I had to pay a $90.00 so-called set up fee for some deal they had with their printer. The lady who did the printing was also one of their authors.

A second follow-up book was due for publication, but I demanded my rights back after the first print run fiasco, and finally after some argy bargy, got the rights returned. I did self-publish for a while using Lulu.com, which was okay. Someone gave me free cover art for it, but I wanted the book to look more professional, so I found a new publisher, who published the first and second books without asking for a single cent! I also received some free copies of both books, so that was a bonus.

So that was a lesson well learned after my dealings with that first publisher: DO NOT PAY A PUBLISHER ANYTHING AT ALL!!

Actually, I’ve learned several lessons over the years regarding publishers.

Another publisher who claimed that her authors earned up to $3000 a month, published one of my books. I’d worked really hard on that book but disliked the assigned cover as the hero of the story had man boobs!! Seriously, the couple on the cover looked attractive, but my eye was continuously drawn to his size 46 GG cups! I pointed this out to the publisher in an email asking if I could have the cover changed. She laughed it off and made out that the cover artist would trim them, but when she sent me the new cover it looked exactly the same as the first to me! I also hated the fact the book’s title was changed to a bland one, too — ‘Beneath a Sicilian Sun’ sounded more like a Thompson Holiday ad to me than a steamy, suspenseful novel.

Whether the cover and title affected book sales I don’t know, but after a year of the book hardly selling a copy, I asked for my rights back and self-published it. That book has gone on to sell far more copies than it ever did with the publisher. I was now using the title I wanted for the book all along, which is, ‘The Sicilian’s Proposition’. The publisher refused to allow me to use that title as she said it sounded too ‘crime oriented’. Well there were some elements of crime in the book anyhow, so go figure! After all that work, I received a cheque for a measly two dollars from the publisher! Not even enough to buy a cup of espresso coffee! She hardly made me an offer I couldn’t refuse!!

The third publisher I had problems with published my crime fiction book. I asked could it go into print as I wanted to sell it at a local book fair. He categorically refused, saying the only way that could ever happen would be if I paid him £500 for the privilege!!! Obviously, I didn’t take him up on his offer that was another I could well refuse! I could have published that book myself free of charge using the Create Space website. I asked for my rights back, which he refused to give me. He told me I couldn’t get them back unless I paid him another £500! Notice a pattern here? He has since relented and I’ve got the rights to the book reverted to myself without having to pay anything. I’ve since republished that book under a different title and it has a new cover. It’s now sold more copies in a couple of weeks than that publisher did in a couple of years for me!

Authors shouldn’t kid themselves. If a publisher asks for ANY money, be it as a ‘set-up’ fee for a printer or to issue print copies in general, then that’s not right at all. The publisher should ALWAYS foot the bill.

MONEY SHOULD ALWAYS FLOW TOWARDS THE AUTHOR, NOT AWAY FROM THEM!!

What I love most about Indie Publishing is that I have full creative control over my work. I can change the cover and title of my book if I feel it’s not selling as well as it should; I can even make changes to the story if necessary; and best of all, I can set my own royalties. With Kindle Direct Publishing I can set my royalties at up to 70 % per book, that’s far more than any publisher would ever pay me.

I love self-publishing, though I do think it needs to be done well. Authors need to have their work proofread and properly formatted. Self-publishing shouldn’t mean sloppy publishing.

Authors like Rachel Abbot and L. J. Ross have done tremendously well for themselves becoming extremely successful, bestselling authors, in their own rights – newspaper articles have been written about them and their individual rising success!

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The Workhouse Waif by Lynette Rees

I was astonished when my own book, The Workhouse Waif, hit the bestseller list on Kindle last October, which proves if you have the tenacity to keep going and do what you feel is best for your own interests as an author, then you can become successful. As I write this, the book is number three in the Victorian Historical Romance chart alongside The Waterstone Book of the Year and the Richard and Judy Bestseller! Not too shabby for a self-published author, don’t you think?

In all honesty, I wished I’d listened to my son who tried to encourage me to self-publish years ago. Still, I’m doing it now and my book sales are fantastic as a result, I’m earning far more as an Indie author than I ever did when I was with any publisher!! It’s more than I could ever have dreamt of…