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Author Interview: Rebecca Bradley

I am absolutely thrilled to welcome Rebecca Bradley – Crime writer extraordinaire to my home on the web. We live in a reading world where eclectic tastes have blossomed. People no longer stick to a certain genre, and instead embrace multiple genres. Any kind of reading is still reading, afterall.

Seeing her debut Shallow Waters recently released, I couldn’t help but nag Rebecca until she agreed to answer some questions.

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  • Tell us a little about Shallow Waters

 Shallow Waters is a police procedural crime novel and for a first novel it’s quite dark. It involves the abduction and murder of teenage girls, though I like to think that there has been a light touch when dealing with detail. Early reviews have agreed with this point so far.

It’s told in first person narrative from the point of view of the female DI, Hannah Robbins, so readers can feel as though they are a part of the investigation with the team. It is also the first in a series so it won’t be the last you see of Hannah Robbins.

  • Being set in your home town of Nottingham, what features about the place attracted you enough for it to be your setting?

Nottingham has a lot going for it in terms of it being a setting for a crime series. It is a city that has a deep historical background, especially for crime fans. It’s cosmopolitan and lively yet lives side by side with the old historical side like the castle and also the caves that run underneath the city centre. Several years ago it was known in the press as Shottingham due to a gun problem in one of the estates just off the city centre when there was a spate of shootings between rival gangs. There are so many dark corners and hidden gems in the county that it’s a minefield of treasure for a crime writer. It also boasts the oldest pub in the country, though that fact is up for debate with another.  I could go on forever listing what I know about Nottinghamshire but you’ll just have to keep reading the series to find out what is so great about it.

  • How does DI Hannah Robbins (your central protagonist) differ from other crime protagonists? Does she have any unusual quirks?

We get to see Hannah up close and personal because of the first person narrative and this gives us a real insight into her. She’s good at her job and determined to do it right. She sticks to the rules and isn’t one to go off on her own, but we do see that she has a heart. She gets affected by things, confused, hides from family confrontation, she’s human, people will recognise her. She also has a difficult personal relationship to deal with and we see how she manages this with her job. There is an interesting back story hinted at that will cause some issues in later novels.

  • How important is the villain in a crime novel? Did you find it difficult to get inside the head of a dark character?

I think the antagonist is as important as the protagonist. They are up against each other even if there are points in which they don’t realise it. This book was grim in places and yes some of the scenes were dark and hard work, so I had Hannah and her team react appropriately to them. They are human and even if they’re doing a job, they still have to balance that out with who they are and Hannah lets them vent when they need to.

  • What research did you embrace when looking for authenticity in Shallow Waters? Did you do it all online? Are you influenced by the many crime shows on TV?

I prefer to watch the American crime shows. I think they can be a bit darker. I also love American crime novels, though there are of course some fantastic British writers out there who I do love reading. Saying that, I don’t like gratuitous violence, it’s not about that, it’s about perception, about what you don’t say and don’t show. I know a lot of police officers as well, so I had a lot of help there with that side of it.

  • A lot of crime series have a duo, and perhaps it is that chemistry that hooks the readers. Does your DI have a partner, or have you worked things a little differently?

She has a team and during the novel she works with most of them, but she does have a DS who she works with a lot, DS Aaron Stone. He’s kind of her opposite. Where she’s led by her emotions, he’s analytical and only wants to work from evidence and facts, they balance each other out because he isn’t good with social context so he leaves that to Hannah.

  • When did you discover your love for the Crime genre? It’s almost entirely an adult’s market – what made you pick up your very first crime novel?

I’ve always loved it. As a child I was reading The Famous Five and Secret Seven, then I moved to Nancy Drew before upping my game to Agatha Christie. After that the world was my oyster.

  • I’ve read that short, snappy chapters make crime novels more appealing. Do you agree? Is this a writing technique you’ve used for your writing?

I love short chapters and yes, I have adopted this in Shallow Waters. I feel it helps keep things moving. You constantly want to know what is going to happen next.

  • Crime novels make up a large proportion of the book buyer’s spending. What is it about this diverse genre that appeals to so many do you think?

I think crime is so diverse that you can cover a multitude of issues within it. It also gives the reader a real sense of good versus bad with good always overcoming the bad every time. There’s a sense of justice when in the world all around us we see so many things that are so unjust. Readers also have a fascination with policing, law enforcement, the people who get to lock the bad guys up for real and crime fiction vicariously puts the reader through that experience.

  • Writing about death, murder and grim crime scenes must take its toll. How do you separate yourself from the dark nature crime novels demand?

I’m very good at compartmentalising. And I also know it’s not real. That helps.

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  • Excluding other crime novels, what other genres do you enjoy reading? Tell us a book that absolutely took you by surprise.

I have become a YA convert and love the genre. A book that took me by surprise was A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. I didn’t expect it to have me sobbing loudly like a baby, so much so that my son asked me to stop reading it.

  • In your opinion, what makes a bad crime novel?

There are stereotypes that everyone knows about now and I think if you wrote a crime novel with a protagonist filling out all those stereotypes it wouldn’t get you very far. You need to come up with your own characters.

  • At the time of writing, Shallow Waters is currently sitting at no.45 in the Kindle Murder charts. Reception of it seems to be very high indeed – how have you handled such praise?

To be honest, how well it is doing has taken me somewhat by surprise. When you self-publish a novel and put it out into the world you can’t have any expectations, so to see it doing well and gathering some good reviews has me smiling hard on a daily basis. I’m truly grateful and I’m taking each day as it comes.

  • A little bird has told me that this is only the first in a series. How many books do you currently have in mind?

It’s an open ended series. As long as I have stories for Hannah and her team. I’ve finished the first and I already know the next three books, so I can’t see me running out of idea’s any time soon. I also have ideas for other crime books as well, so I need to start typing faster!

  • As you may know, fantasy is a genre I specialise in. Let’s have some fun – write a short blurb for a great new fantasy crime novel.

Now you’re asking the tough questions! OK, let’s try this…

The date is 2352 and planet Earth is now inhabited by a new kind of human, an evolved human, evolved to cope with the extremes of nature they come across. A human that is attuned to the earth and can manipulate natural fibres like wood and plant life, only some humans use this ability to get themselves ahead, forging weapons and traps. Lenko Travis is wanted for multiple murder and now he has his eye on the highest prize, the Sphere of Armden which would provide him the power to manipulate the oceans. The Clements unit are an elite section of the earth’s law enforcement dealing only with those using their power against the planet and now their sights are set on Travis. A battle of far-reaching consequences rages as they go after him. Can they bring him in before he sets in motion a series of events that will send the planet over its tipping point after all these years.

How’s that? You can tell I have a thing for our environment can’t you? Also I struggle with the definition of fantasy and science fiction, so I’m not sure if I’ve hit the right tone…

Thanks for having me, Dan.

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What great and honest answers, Rebecca, although, it sounds to me like you might be onto a story there – gap in the market, eh? eh? I wish you all the best with the book and the series as a whole.

About Rebecca Bradley

FullSizeRenderRebecca Bradley lives in Nottinghamshire with her family and her one-year-old Cockerpoo Alfie, who keeps her company while she writes. Rebecca needs to drink copious amounts of tea to function throughout the day and if she could, she would survive on a diet of tea and cake while committing murder on a regular basis, in her writing of course.

Once a month Rebecca hosts a crime book club on Google+ hangouts where you can live chat about a crime book everyone has read. It’s great fun. Members join in from the UK, the US, France and Australia on a regular basis. As it is online, there are no geographical boundaries and you can sit in your home to join in

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‘A gritty police procedural, with no-holds barred and a shocking insight to the reality of some. Dark and disturbing, yet exceptionally compelling.‘ – Mel Sherratt, author of Taunting The Dead.

‘Tense, compelling and utterly absorbing. DI Hannah Robbins is a force to be reckoned with.’Jane Isaac, author of The Truth Will Out.

‘I found it quite a creepy read, with the descriptions of a girl shut in the cage playing on my mind long after I closed the book, something that doesn’t happen too often, and that I can only put down to the writing which snuck underneath the hard skin of this reader.’
‘Shallow Waters is a complete novel but one that leaves you wanting to find out more, especially about Hannah which means that I will definitely be watching out for the next in the series.’ C Bannister, Amazon top 300 reviewer.

When the naked, battered body of an unidentified teenager is found dumped in an alleyway, post-mortem finds evidence of a harrowing series of events.

Another teenage death with the same MO pushes DI Hannah Robbins and her team on the Nottingham City division Major Crimes Unit, to their limits, and across county borders. In a race against the clock they attempt to unpick a thick web of lies and deceit to uncover the truth behind the deaths.

But it doesn’t stop there. When catching a killer isn’t enough, just how far are the team willing to push themselves to save the next girl?

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I Hate My Voice

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I Hate My Voice

I’ve decided that I need to blog more this year. And when I say blog, I mean not just book promos for fellow authors. I’m a writer, I have fans (which actually sounds really strange). My fans, and real human beings want to know more about me, so this year, I’ll ramble on about what I like, my thoughts, my reactions. I welcome you all to comment and join in. Come and say hi, I won’t bite.

But this evening, I’ve decided to talk about something I don’t like. It’s something I feel holds me back – it stops me from doing things, creates anxious frustration when I’m offered the chance to take part in things. Most of us, and I’m sorry to be sexist, but statistics do show that it is mostly women – there are things that we simply don’t like about ourselves. You know what I mean, don’t you – the does-my-bum-look-big-in-this sort of self-concious nag that is never too far away from your mind. Big ears, crooked teeth, nervous twitch – the list is plentiful.

I hate my voice. And by voice, I mean my actual voice, not my writing voice. Some people, people I’ve trusted to tell, think I’m being silly, but I honestly, truly feel so negatively about it. In public speaking events, book talks, talking to readers, I suddenly become aware of my my pitch, my tone. How do I sound to other people? Are they taking me seriously, or are they trying their damn hardest to not laugh. I’m naturally an introvert anyway – aren’t most bookers? But when I start to over think things, I actively become quieter. I try to answer in the easiest and quickest ways. When it gets so bad, I often become aware that I just nod or shake my head.

Now I know a lot of people don’t like their voice when they’ve heard themselves back on telephone answering machine – that sort of thing.

hate my voice1Where did this come from I hear you ask? Well, if I dig deep and go back, I guess it stems back from my early teenage years. I’m not going to go into murky depths of puberty changes, but everyone knows, when a boy progresses into a man, their voice breaks. Only, there isn’t a one off event where the voice does ‘break’ – it’s more a lengthy period of about a year where the voice will squeak, go high-pitched, even cut off entirely!

I remember an event where, after seeing a bad school photo, I went into my form room and told my friend that the photo was rubbish. Only, when I said it, my voice went extremely loud and squeaky. If I had a had a sip or two of helium balloon beforehand it may have been funny, but I didn’t. The entire class heard me and laughed. Can’t kids be cruel sometime? Rather than shaking it off, laughing at myself for how silly it was, I took it to heart. It tore at my insides.

We all have an idea of how we sound when the noise echoes in our head, but it is in fact very, very different. I’m no longer a teenager. I successfully meandered my way through puberty and survived the hormone attacks that period brings. My voice no longer ‘breaks’.

So why do I still get nervous about it all? Why do I give a damn what people may think of my voice? I can’t change it, can I? Confidence breeds success and all that. Maybe if I stopped setting myself back on what I think people may think and got on with things, I may discard this silly trait altogether.

We’ll see. I’m contemplating doing an occasional vlog (video blog) post. My nice new shiny laptop has a webcam feature! Ooohhhh – sexy, right? I haven’t made my mind up yet. Who knows? Maybe I will throw caution to the wind and go for it!

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A New His Dark Materials Short Story

 

A New His Dark Materials Short Story

I couldn’t believe it when I read that Philip Pullman had teamed up with Audible to release a new short story set in his His Dark Materials universe! I (as well as every other fan) have been waiting patiently for news of the infamous Book of Dust for ages! But we had no idea that a short story would be released. It’s a little shame that it isn’t actually available in book format, but imagine my horror when I realised that it was exclusive to Audible members only!

Northern Lights was the first book I read when I returned to reading after taking a hiatus. Perhaps it had to do with age, or maybe that I found the books I picked up lacklustre, but I went off reading for a bit in my early teens. I was recommended Northern Lights by a school friend, and I fell in love all over again. Philip Pullman’s stories have been a huge inspiration to me, in my own writing, and I often return to them when I am in need of escape of the stressful chores of reality.

I have discovered this morning however, that this new short audiobook story is now available to download from Amazon!! For less than the price of a cup of coffee no less!

I didn’t really know what The Collectors would be about, but I’ve read it has something to do with art and the deliciously dark and sultry Mrs Coulter. I love her character and thinks she makes an exceptional antagonist. I can’t wait to put my headphones in and listen to this sweet story.

philip pullman the collectors

“But the thing is,” said Horley, “they didn’t know each other at all. Never heard of each other. It wasn’t about the makers. Only about the works.”

On a dark winter’s night in 1970, Horley and Grinstead huddle for warmth in the Senior Common Room of a college in Oxford. Conversation turns to the two impressive works of art that Horley has recently added to his collection. What the two men don’t know is that these pieces are connected in mysterious and improbable ways; and they are about to be caught in the cross-fire of a story which has travelled time and worlds.

Philip Pullman is one of the most well-loved and admired British authors of the last few decades. He has written numerous novels for both adults and children, most notably the award-winning His Dark Materials trilogy. The Collectors, written exclusively for Audible, serves as a great introduction to this series, while revealing a little something extra to fans of Lyra and her world.

The Collectors is narrated by Bill Nighy, the Golden Globe and BAFTA award-winning actor whose work on stage, screen, and radio has included Love Actually, the Pirates of the Caribbean series and a multitude of TV, stage, and radio appearances.

 

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Yes, I work in a Supermarket.

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Yes, I Work in a Supermarket

I had to think twice about writing this post. Well, for a number of reasons really. Of all the things I get asked when fans, readers and reviewers question me is: Does Writing Pay Well? If all us indie authors got a pound for every time we get asked that question (or something similar along those lines) we would be rich. Writing does not pay well. And by this I mean in monetary value, and excluding the huge famous authors like Terry Pratchett, Stephen King and JK Rowling – who incidentally get paid huge advances.

But how do you pay the bills? I get asked next. By working a normal job, of course. And for me, that means, stacking shelves at a supermarket. It was a job I fell into when I left Sixth Form – you know, the kind of job you always say it’ll only be temporary until you find something else, but that’s never how it works out. You know what I mean, don’t you? I’ve been working at this job for nearly ten years now – and let’s just say – it pays the bills.

And that’s when the funny looks come. The dirty, I’m-going-to-look-down-my-nose-at-you kind of looks. What is it with British culture that makes people think they are better than others simply because people work in a supermarket? I’m always polite and carefully attempt to move the conversation on – but inside I’m seething. People are not better than me because I simply stack a shelf. They may earn more than me, do more important work than me, hell, even get a lot more enjoyment from their job, but that doesn’t mean they are better than me as a human being.

It gets me down.

It’s difficult. I live in a moderate English town than is steadily building. In days gone past, Gainsborough was an industrial town – lots of factories alongside the River Trent, among others. But as industry fell into decline, so did the town and employment is difficult. Now, apart from super specialist jobs like solicitors, nurses, electricians and plumbers – that sort of thing – there isn’t much scope for jobs. Retail, cleaners and care workers just about sums it up. If I want a more respectable job lets say, I would need to commute. But wages aren’t great and I would need to take travel into account. I’m sure a lot of people who read this may be in exactly the same position.

I know what some of you are thinking. Why I am I justifying myself for working in a supermarket? Does that mean I think it so abhorrent I cannot bare to admit it?

Well sometimes, yes. But what’s my point?

The next time you go and do your shopping, please have a little respect for those that allow you to buy your shopping and groceries. We aren’t thick, stupid, underachievers who don’t have dreams and still live at home with Mummy and Daddy.

Yes, I’m a writer, a published author, but I’m also a general assistant at a supermarket. If any of you have read my books, would you say that I’ve taken something away from them now that I’ve admitted to the whole world what my day job is? (well night job if I’m being technical as I work during the night.)

Life’s hard, for want of a more expletive word, and unfortunately, money does make the world go round. And while my royalty rates aren’t great and five figure, I need to find some way of paying my rent etc.

Here’s an official shout out to all the lowly shelf stackers of the world who have aspirations and dreams, but unfortuantly, at this current moment, cannot fulfill them. Keep going, guys – you are doing great!

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A New Year is Upon Us

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You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” CS Lewis

With each new year brings new resolutions, goals, aspirations and dreams. I did think about not writing this blog post. I didn’t want to bore people. But then I thought: what the hell. I’m sure some of my readers do want to know what I have planned for 2015.

I plan on writing more in 2015. *Don’t laugh – I can hear you* I’m sure this was one of my goals for the beginning of 2014, but life did what it does best – gets in the way! Here Lies Love was great to get stuck into, but apart from a few competition entries, I actually did very little writing for the most part.

With the awful news of Ghostly Publishing shutting down, I kind of shoved The Black Petal to one side. But only the other day, I snook a peak and got my editing head on. It has been so long since I last looked over the mss (manuscript). Glaring errors poked their ugly heads out at me. I had to get my green pen out! So far I’ve re-edited the first two chapters.

I’m not sure what the future holds for it yet. I had a load of rejection emails regarding it, which many writers will tell you is a pretty soul destroying thing.

If you’ve been following my updates, then you’ll know that towards the end of 2014 I had been working on book 2 in my fantasy trilogy – The Black Petal being the first. The Golden Lyre is 50k words in. I really want to get that finished as well as making a start on the Here Lies Love sequel. The problem is, I have too many stories in my head. They are all vying for my attention.

I guess the surprise idea that has been circulating in my head is about one of my characters introduced in The Caseworker’s Memoires. I would love to get a plan down for that one.

Stories don’t write themselves!

Did I bore you? All the above are on my to-do list. *sighs* there really isn’t enough hours in the day, are there?

I hope everyone had a fantastic festive season. I got plenty of new books! But I’ve got no idea how I’m going to fit everything in! If someone has invented a machine that means you never have to sleep, I volunteer to be your guinea pig!

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Garden Teaser Trailer

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I’ve had an early read of this and let me tell you: Jane’s writing is extremely child friendly and reminiscent of Enid Blyton. Great classic with a steampunk twist.

Originally posted on Autumn Orchard:

We are excited to share with you the first teaser trailer for Jane Yates’s upcoming steampunk novel Garden. Due for release on Feb 12th 2015, the book can be preordered now!

Tell us what you think of our trailer.

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#JurassicWorld Trailer

Social media and the general world wide web is ablaze with excitement as we recently saw the release of the first, official trailer for the new Jurassic World.

Well, what do you think? Me? I loved it! Fantastic evolution from first film to this, if I’m honest. I’m not sure what Michael Crichton would have thought. Perhaps the concept has been taken a little too far, but I think it certainly raises the God question and ethics into question once again. I know some people think it is a shame that the original cast members aren’t in here, but sometimes new faces freshen up something that was seen as extinct. *excuse the pun :) But take Jurassic Park 3 for instance, a poor, poor film, that I rarely watch. I think the only part in that film I enjoyed was the bird cage bit. But with Steven Spielberg at the helm again, I’m sure this won’t be just style over substance. It really does have a Terra Nova feel to it.

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Just remember guys, Jurassic Park started off as a book. Grab it here and get clued up! Amazon UK / US