Splendid Q&A with Author Fiona Cummins

 

Fiona Banner

 

 

 

fionacummins_378

 

 

 

Fiona Cummins is an award-winning former Daily Mirror showbusiness journalist and a graduate of the Faber Academy Writing a Novel course. Rattle, her debut novel, which sold at auction across Europe, is published in the US by Kensington. It has also been optioned for a TV series with scripts penned by The Grudge screenwriter Stephen Susco. Fiona lives in Essex, England with her family.

 

 

 

Interview Key Shows Interviewing Interviews Or Interviewer

 

 

 

 

INTERVIEW – FIONA CUMMINS

 
Compare your career as a journalist and your career now as a novelist.
In some ways, they’re two sides of the same coin. After 12 years on the Daily Mirror, I’m used to meeting deadlines and being edited. Both jobs shine a light on stories that have emotional resonance.

 
But publishing works so slowly compared to newspapers. In my old job, I’d write a news story and within a few hours it would have been sub-edited, laid out and printed. My first novel was published twenty one months after I signed my deal.

 

 

 

Typewriter with Novel buttons, vintage

 

 

 

Tell us about the Faber Academy Writing A Novel course and why you decided to attend.

 
I heard SJ Watson (Before I Go To Sleep) talking about it on the radio and I loved the sound of it. It was expensive and I’d just left my job, so I was worried we couldn’t afford it, especially as I had no idea whether I could write a full-length manuscript. But it gave me permission to take myself seriously as a writer. I also learned the importance of finishing what you’ve started.

 

 

Do you feel like you know your own writing process now?

 
Not really. Every book has a different feel about it. Rattle took multiple drafts to get right while The Collector took one. My third novel – I literally finished it about two hours ago – is quite complex and will need some more work, I think. But I have approached each of them in the same way. I don’t plot, it’s much more of an organic process. I have a rough idea of the shape of the story and that’s it. I don’t tend to start writing until I know the first line, and often, the last.

 

 

 

Rattle book

 

 

 

In another interview you talked about talent.”Talent is all very well tenacity, self-belief, originality, and the ability to get the words on the page….” I love this definition of talent.

 
Describe your experience of tenacity and how this affects writers.

 
I think it’s about keeping the faith. Talent is important, but persistence is key. Novels are rejected for so many reasons, some of which have nothing to do with an ability to write well. An editor is unlikely to buy a book about a crime-fighting circus act if she bought one like it the week before. A literary agent might already have an author writing a novel about a crime-fighting circus act and wish to avoid a conflict of interest. The market may have seen several books featuring crime-fighting circus acts and have become saturated. The point is, we all need a healthy spoonful of good luck too, but if you give up, you won’t even get a chance to lick the spoon.

 

 

 

Kind leckt den Löffel ab

 

 

 

 

Describe your experience of self-belief before after publishing your books.

 
If you don’t believe in yourself, no-one else will. It takes a lot of discipline to sit in front of a computer and write every day, to keep writing and polishing and editing. What keeps us going? Faith that we can do it. But not blind faith. It’s important to listen too. If your manuscript has been rejected by multiple agents multiple times, perhaps it’s time to think very carefully about where you might be going wrong and the best way to fix it.

 

 

 

Describe your experience of originality and how it can benefit writers.

 
Publishers are always looking for fresh voices, for the Next Big Thing. I enjoy books that do things a little differently, that have a distinctive narrative voice or approach their stories from an interesting angle. I try to do this with my own writing too.

 

 

 

original red grungy vintage stamp

 

 

 

 

Have you ever wanted to quit writing?

 
Never. I’ve been frustrated when I can’t make my stupid brain match my vision for a book, I’ve been beset by self-doubt, I’ve ridden the emotional rollercoaster of rejection and disappointment but why would I ever want to quit the best job in the world? Someone is paying me to sit in bed, wearing my pajamas, drinking tea, eating biscuits and making stuff up. You’ll have to prise my laptop from my cold, dead fingers.

 

 

How important is it to “Keep going?”

 
This was a regular refrain throughout the Faber Academy course and weirdly, this had never occurred to me. I made the mistake of thinking that if the first chapter wasn’t right, the book wasn’t right. We were encouraged to keep writing. First drafts can be worked upon, and often, the end informs the beginning.

 

 

 

 

never give up try again keep going

 

 

 

 

 

What are you working on now?

 
I have just finished my third novel. It is set on an ordinary street but some of the residents of The Avenue hide some very dark secrets indeed.

 

 

 

 

Thank you image

 

 

 

 

Fiona Cummins

Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

 

 

 

The Collector Fiona cummins

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

How to Engage Your Readers with Facebook Live

IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY!

 

 

Vintage television

 

 

 

 

SPF Podcast 108 Cecelia Mecca FB LIVE

 

 

 

 

Full Transcript | Free Facebook Live Guest Prep Sheet

 

 

 

How do you engage your readers? Tell us in the comments!

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

Twitter | Facebook | AudioSpy | MTW | Book Reconn

 

 

 

 

MTW Large Banner 2018

Blog Tour: Unworthy by Stewart Giles

Unworthy cover

 

 

 

THE UNWORTHY MUST PAY

 

DS Jason Smith is dragged away from paternity leave when a woman is killed with her baby in the next room. When more women with children are brutally murdered, Smith discovers that they all have something in common – they all share a secret. When he finds out that the mother of his own child is on this list of ‘Unworthy’ women, he finds himself in a race against time to stop the killer before his whole world comes crashing down around him.

 

Available on Amazon

 

 

 

BLOG TOUR - Unworthy

 

 

 

Don’t miss the DS Jason Smith series

 

 

 

Vintage detective looking through a magnifier

 

 

*********

 

 

Book Review - 3d rendered headline

 

 

 

One of the first things that stood out to me is the brutal nature of the crime and motivations of the killer. Someone with a twisted sense of justice takes matters into their own hands. There’s also an excellent sense of mystery throughout the book that connects the victims together, but what is it? What underlying factor connects them together? A fascinating crime with a brutal killer on the loose; DS Jason Smith and his team have a huge case on their hands. Stewart Giles, you gained another fan!

 

 

 

Stewart Giles Amazon photo

 

 

 

Stewart Giles – Author Bio

After reading English & Drama at three different English Universities and graduating from none of them, I set off travelling and finally ended up in South Africa, where I still live. I enjoy the serene life running a boat shop on the banks of the Vaal Dam. I came up with the DS Jason Smith idea after my wife dropped a rather large speaker on my head. Whether it was intentional still remains a mystery. Smith, the first in the series was finished in September 2013 and was closely followed by Boomerang and Ladybird. Occam’s Razor, Harlequin and Phobia (a series of short stories detailing Smith’s early life) were all completed in one hazy 365 days and Selene was done and dusted a few month.

 

 

Amazon | Goodreads | Facebook

Blog Tour: The Condition Trilogy Book 3, The Final Correction

Condition-Trilogy-Banner-1

 

 

The Final Correction

 

 

 

The Condition book 3

 

 

 

 

About Audiobook #3

 

Author: Alec Birri

Narrator: Jonathan Keeble

Length: 6 hours 34 minutes

Publisher: Essential Music Limited⎮2018

Genre: Science Fiction

Series: The Condition Trilogy, Book 3

Release date: Jan. 17, 2018

 

Synopsis: The third and final part of a dystopian trilogy based on the author’s command of a top secret government unit.

So, Professor Savage has been unmasked as the monster Alex Salib always knew he was. But what was their agreement, and why is she still determined to see it through? The war on terror appears to be back on track, but why does President Kalten seem hell-bent on ramping it up – are the Americans seriously intent on starting World War Three?

And what of the treatment itself? Despite Savage’s arrest, the “corrections” go on, but to what end? The laws of unintended consequences are about to cause a seismic shift in the very nature of our existence. But then our new master knows that and won’t let it happen until we’re ready….

Ready to accept the unacceptable.

 

Buy Links for Audiobook #3

Buy on Audible

 

 

 

Book Review - 3d rendered metallic typeset

 

 

A mind boggling and very imaginitive book. From start to finish this has everything from nanobots, artificial intelligence to mad professors and strange experiments. Fascinating. Narrator Jonathan Keeble is absolutely spectacular.  His accents ranged from american with a country twang, British, Scottish, Irish,  and various spanish dialects. SPECTACULAR.

 

 

 

Alec Birri_

 

 

About the Author: Alec Birri

Alec Birri served thirty years with the UK Armed Forces. He commanded an operational unit that experimented in new military capabilities classified at the highest level (Top Secret Strap 3) and it is this that forms the basis of his novels. Although semi-autobiographical, for national security and personal liberty reasons, the events and individuals portrayed have to be fiction but are still nonetheless in keeping with his experiences.

 

WebsiteTwitterFacebook

 

 

 

jonathan_keeble

 

 

 

About the Narrator: Jonathan Keeble

If you regularly enjoy listening to audiobooks then this Shakespearean actor will need no introduction. Winner of a 2016 SOVAS award, Jonathan’s voice is rightly recognized as being one of the best, and his narration of The Condition Trilogy is no exception.

 

LinkedInIMDB

 

 

 

 

 

Your elusive creative genius with Elizabeth Gilbert

IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY!

 

tv

 

 

 

 

Your elusive creative genius | Elizabeth Gilbert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

Dealing with ANXIETY as Writers

IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY!!

 

 

Old Classic Television In A Room

 

 

 

Dealing with ANXIETY as Writers

 

 

 

 

 

How do you deal with anxiety as a writer? Tell us in the comments!

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

 

 

Books & Blurbs: March 15, 2018

Books and Blurbs March 15

 

 

BOOK AND BLURBS MARCH 15, 2018

 

I know where you live Pat Young

 

 

 

Penny believes she’s being watched. Yet no one should know where she lives.

Penny seizes the chance of a new life for her family when her husband is offered a job in Europe.

At the airport they meet charming Sophie, fluent in French and looking for work as an au pair. Penny, struggling to cope in France, offers Sophie a job and she soon becomes an important part of the family’s life. But Sophie is hiding something.

Then Penny’s toddler son, Ethan, is abducted and an international hunt for the child begins. The police beg Penny and her husband to take part in a television appeal but the couple refuse. Unknown to the police, Penny and Seth have new identities and are determined to lay low and protect them. But it may be too late for that.

Who has taken Ethan and why?

Are the couple’s true identities linked to the abduction?

And who has been watching them?

To save her son Penny may have to put her own life on the line

 

 

Blurb rating 8/10

 

Yes. I decided to rate blurbs, why not?

This book sounds very interesting.  It sounds shrouded in mystery, suspense and secrets. That sounds like a recipe for a good book! You have a family with a hidden past, hidden identities, in the midst of troubling circumstances leading to an uncertain future. I”m hooked.

 

 

First chapter impression…

 

First impressions are everything, right? I love where this story begins. A couple with an unspoken past that required witness protection involving the FBI. They went as far as getting new identities, so you now its gotta be pretty bad. So it makes you wonder. What happened to them? But that wasn’t even the first impression.

Penny, seems paranoid about someone watching her at every turn. Why is she paranoid? Who is watching her, and why?

Then they meet Sophie at the airport on the way to France. Right away I’m thinking who is the “Sophie” character. She’s already on my radar for a shady person.

This was a great lead in for the first chapter!

 

 

 

********

 

 

 

Rattle US cover

 

 

On still nights, when the curve of a winter moon is smudged in the flow of the River Quaggy, the dead clamor for him. And sometimes he coaxes the living to join them. To other people, his victims might be mere medical oddities. To him, they are fascinating specimens, worthy of display. Above all, he is a collector, eager for recognition even as he hides in the shadows.

Detective Sergeant Etta Fitzroy is the first to recognize the connection between the disappearance of a young girl and a cold case that almost cost her the career she’s sacrificed so much for. A faceless psychopath is walking the streets of London, tantalizing the authorities with clues, taunting them with his ability to spirit his victims out from under their very noses.

Better than anyone, Etta Fitzroy understands loss. But this is one contest she will win if it kills her . . .
 

 

 Blurb Rating 10/10

 

Now that’s how you do a blurb! The first section poetically reveals the mysterious antagonist lurking in the shadows. By reading it you can sense his uniqueness, M.O., and ambition for recognition. Excellent.

Every serial killer requires a hard nose detective, and that sounds like Detective Sergeant Etta Fitzroy.  I like the fact that this has a female lead. intriguing indeed.

 

First Chapter Impression…

 

The first chapter was juicy! Fiona Cummins is quite poetic in her delivery and has a great command of the language. Her sentences flow nicely leaving you wanting more. I loved the use of metaphors to reflect the nature of the predicament of the family.  A lot is revealed in such a short chapter.

 

 

*********

 

 

 

Let me Lie

 

 

 

The stunning new novel from Clare Mackintosh, the international bestselling author of I Let You Go and I See You.

The police say it was suicide.
Anna says it was murder.
They’re both wrong.

Last year, Tom and Caroline Johnson chose to end their lives, one seemingly unable to live without the other. Their daughter, Anna, is struggling to come to terms with her parents’ deaths, unwilling to accept the verdict of suicide.

Now with a baby herself, Anna feels her mother’s absence keenly and is determined to find out what really happened to her parents. But as she digs up the past, someone is trying to stop her.

Sometimes it’s safer to let things lie….

 

 

Blurb Rating  10/10

 

I’m totally loving this blurb!

The police say it was suicide.
Anna says it was murder.
They’re both wrong.

How can you not love that? Isn’t it striking?

Need I say more? Even in the blurb, nothing is as it seems. You can tell this is extremely suspenseful. Can’t wait to read this one.

 

First Chapter Impression…

 

Very fascinating first chapter! I love how she begins this book. A person flirting with death, or decision that might lead to it at the slightest misstep. The person speaking then turns their attention to their loved one, conversing back and forth in romantic tones. Who will die first? It doesn’t say who is speaking but we can infer it’s Anna’s parents based upon the blurb. Tom and Caroline Johnson. Impressive beginning.

 

 

********

 

 

 

 

The Plea Steve Cavanaugh

 

 

“Rip-roaring legal thriller…Twisty, bloody, and convincing.” —Ian Rankin
An innocent client. A wife in jeopardy. Who will take The Plea?

When billionaire David Child is arrested for the murder of his girlfriend, Clara, the FBI believes they can get him to testify and take down a huge money laundering scheme.

Con-artist-turned-lawyer Eddie Flynn is given the job: persuade David to plead guilty and give the agents the evidence they need. If Eddie can’t get David to take a plea bargain, the FBI has incriminating files on Eddie’s wife – and will send her to jail. But David swears he didn’t murder anyone.

The evidence overwhelmingly shows that David killed Clara: the security video showed no one else entering their apartment, the murder weapon was in his car, and he was covered in gunshot residue he can’t explain. Yet as the FBI pressures Eddie to secure the guilty plea, Eddie becomes increasingly convinced that David is telling the truth.

With adversaries threatening, Eddie has to find a way to prove David’s innocence and find out if there’s any way he might have been framed. But the stakes are high: Eddie’s wife is in danger. And not just from the FBI…

The Plea is a locked room mystery from Steve Cavanagh, the author Nelson DeMille compares to John Grisham, Scott Turow, and Brad Meltzer.

“The Plea is one of the most purely entertaining books you’ll read this year. It’s a blast.”
—John Connolly, bestselling author of the Charlie Parker novels

 

 

Blurb Rating 10/10

 

From reading the blurb you can tell the plot is rich in detail, dilemma and complexity. I think I was hooked even half way through. It’s a winner. Steve Cavanagh is one of the new authors I’ve found that I can’t wait to read!

 

 

First Chapter Impression…

 

Even the first sentence is packed with intrigue, and it’s only the prologue! This is going to be a gritty legal thriller full of conflict, tension and moral dilemmas. Juicy, juicy, juicy. Hooked! Definitely recommend this one. I only read the prologue and was so excited had to stop and write something.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Write High-Volume Fiction In A Sustainable Way With Toby Neal

IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY!

 

 

TT 2 image with kid

 

 

 

How To Write High-Volume Fiction In A Sustainable Way With Toby Neal

 

 

 

 

 

Hope you enjoyed this one! Drop us a line in the comments!

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

 

MTW Large Banner 2018

Blog Tour: The Condition Trilogy by Alec Birri

Condition-Trilogy-Banner-1

 

 

 

Condition book one

 

 

 

About Audiobook #1

Author: Alec Birri

Narrator: Jonathan Keeble

Length: 6 hours 32 minutes

Publisher: Essential Music Limited⎮2018

Genre: Medical Thriller

Series: The Condition Trilogy, Book 1

Release date: Jan. 17, 2018

 

Synopsis: The first in a dystopian trilogy based on the author’s command of a top secret government unit.

What if all brain disorders were treatable? Few would lament the passing of dementia or autism, but what if the twisted mind of a sex offender or murderer could be cured too? Or how about a terrorist or maybe a political extremist? What if we could all be “corrected”?

It’s 1966, and RAF pilot Dan Stewart awakes from a coma following an aircraft accident into a world where nothing seems to make sense anymore. Not being able to recall the crash might be expected, but what about the rest of his life? And what’s stopping him from taking his medication? Is it brain damage that’s causing paranoia about the red pill, or is Dan right to think something sinister is going on?

His horrific injuries don’t make any sense either – a post-crash fire caused him to suffer almost 100% burns. How is it even possible to survive that? Are the hallucinations and strange dreams trying to tell him something? They are, and he’ll soon find out what, but not before his doctor’s sure the shock won’t kill him.

 

Audio Sample

 

Buy Links for Audiobook #1

Buy on Audible

 

 

 

 

Book Review - 3d rendered headline

 

 

 

 

I loved this book. The writing combined with the excellent performance of narrator Jonathan Keeble made it great book. The Condition is a psychological medical thriller of its own kind. Author Alec Birri does an exceptional job of unraveling his plot, compelling point of view, and drawing headlong into the story. It seemed like one domino lead the next one, and so forth. Very entertaining with lots of suspense. Can’t wait to start book two!

 

 

 

 

Interview Image Alec Birri

 

 

 

 

 

What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?

Horses for courses. It’s just a different experience. Having said that, it would worry me if no one read at all.

 

 

 

Audiobook image with headphones Alec Birri

 

 

 

 

How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?

Celebrate? I’m the original mister grumpy – the word doesn’t exist in my vocabulary! I carry on writing. There’s a running joke in the military, usually spouted by someone when morale is at its lowest: ‘Never mind, lads – the sooner this job is done, the sooner we can start another one.’ 😀

 

 

 

Celebration ballons

 

 

 

 

In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series?

I think a series works better than a stand-alone when it comes to the business side of things, as the first can be given away, but that’s not how Condition started out – when it became too big for one novel I split it into two and then, as the words mounted, three books. I’m 25k into my current work, and have no idea if the word count will end up being 40k or even 400k. I write the story and stop when it’s told.

 

 

 

Condition Teaser 1

 

 

 

 

What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Seek out danger. Nothing like a near-death experience for freeing the imagination! Seriously though, get out of your comfort zone. There’s a good reason why the likes of Frederick Forsyth have visited war zones or risked crossing deserts just as hostile. No money to do that? Then hang out with your local ambulance crews, paramedics, police and get the experience second-hand. Anything that brings you into contact with the uncomfortable.

 

 

 

 

Ask image

 

 

 

 

 

Alec Birri_

 

 

 

Alec Birri served thirty years with the UK Armed Forces. He commanded an operational unit that experimented in new military capabilities classified at the highest level (Top Secret Strap 3) and it is this that forms the basis of his novels. Although semi-autobiographical, for national security and personal liberty reasons, the events and individuals portrayed have to be fiction but are still nonetheless in keeping with his experiences.

 

WebsiteTwitterFacebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Entrepreneur mindset with Chris Ducker

IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY!

 

 

Cartoon TV toon

 

 

 

The Entrepreneur mindset with Chris Ducker

 

 

 

 

James talks to serial entrepreneur Chris Ducker about the Rise of the Youpreneur and why self-published authors fit this business model perfectly.

Thanks for watching!

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

MTW Thin Banner April 2018