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Anne Allen ~ 2nd Summer Special of Successful Indie Authors

I’m especially pleased to have this interview with Anne Allen; a successful Indie Author of ‘The Guernsey Novels’. Being a lover of The Channel Islands I have read several of Anne’s books.

I hope this will appeal to writers, fans and potential readers alike…

Welcome on my blog Anne! 

Thank you, Diana, I appreciate you inviting me!

Firstly do you mind me asking was the success in your writing career gradual or sudden?

Definitely gradual! I enjoyed reasonable sales of my first book, Dangerous Waters, which was fortunate as I had ordered a 1000 copy print run. Ever the optimist! It took over a year to sell them all, mainly through Amazon and the lovely Guernsey bookshops and I also had decent sales with the e-books. The sales had declined by the time my second book came out a year later and from then on each new book gave the series a boost. The last few years it has been harder to keep the sales figures up as competition grows. An indie author has to  spend as much time marketing as they do writing, something I’m not keen on. I went ‘wide’ in 2018 meaning my books are available worldwide in all e-book formats as well as in paperback.

Are you single minded in your writing? Do you treat it as your main work and plan your day accordingly or write when the mood takes you?

I retired from my work as a psychotherapist a few years ago so writing is now my only work. In theory I could spend all day writing, but I am not always in the mood and tend to pace myself – a benefit of being an Indie author. And there is always marketing/promotion/social media which eats into the day. My last few books have involved a great deal of research, which I love, and I can happily spend a day or two reading textbooks or surfing online.

Would you describe your main genre is Women’s Mystery? How would you describe your writing style to potential readers?

I’ve never been able to quite pinpoint my genre as it’s changed slightly over the series. Romantic cosy mystery probably covered the first four titles, but the latter ones are more family drama/historical/touch of romance. I think it’s a shame books and authors have to fit into categories, don’t you? I just want to write the story! As regards style, my writing has been compared by readers to Maeve Binchy and Nora Roberts. I am happy with either!

I agree with you so much on this one Anne. I always find it extremely hard to categorize mine in one genre too.

Can you give any writers any marketing tips?

The world of marketing is constantly changing which makes it hard to be specific. Personally, I have always loved and relied on bloggers (bless you!) to help with book launches and general posts about my writing. You need to keep your name out there, and eventually the penny drops and people actually check out your books. It is also helps to give radio interviews and write articles for glossy magazines, either national or local. And at the end of the day, price promotions play a huge part in e-book sales and spreading the word about your books.

Don’t forget you were a speaker at the Guernsey Society weren’t you? I am a member and so I saw your name advertised in their booklet!

Have you one annoying habit you can share with us?

As an ex-therapist, I tend to analyse people and their ‘problems’ and give ‘advice’ when it’s not necessarily wanted!

What pastimes keep your feet on the ground, or maybe not, when you are not writing?

I used to love travel, but with the current situation with the pandemic am not sure if I will consider it even if and when it seems safe. I also love museums, the theatre and cinema which are on hold at the moment. Fortunately I can still read books and watch good drama on television. In the past I have sculpted, painted furniture and dabbled with mosaics, but now all my creativity goes into my writing.

Was there a single moment in your writing life when you thought ‘YES, THIS IS IT’? Can you describe that moment for us?

Two years ago I received, out of the blue, an email from a well-known publisher, asking if I’d like to meet up to discuss books. She complimented me on my Guernsey books, indicating she had read at least one of them. Immediately, I thought, ‘Yes, this is it!’ I naturally replied saying yes and although she did write again nothing was ever arranged. I later heard she had commissioned another writer who wrote in a similar genre. So near, yet so far! I continue to be an Indie author and enjoy my modest success ☺

And finally, do you see yourself writing in five years time and have you ever been tempted to write in a different genre to surprise your readers?

I can’t guarantee I’ll be writing in five years’ time, but at the moment I’d like to think I could be, brain cells permitting. Looking back, I wish I had picked up my pen years before I did. Recently I have been thinking about writing in a new genre, though not sure which. My current series will probably end with the book I’m writing now, and I’ll be free to experiment. Will see what happens!

I’ve enjoyed three books in your series and I love the covers Anne. I have yet to read your latest and seventh ‘Inheritance’ but look forward to reviewing it shortly.

Thank you so much for being a guest on my blog.

 

 

 

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Guest Author Interview ~ Joshua Sutton with his debut novel ‘In Memory’

Author Joshua Sutton

Author Joshua Sutton

Welcome Joshua

Ive just checked out your website. Your bio talks about a career in music but a dream of writing. Ive just interviewed a writer at the opposite end of his career path who has turned to writing after a life in the film industry. Do you find the creative paths of music and writing compatible – maybe even complimentary?

I find that they both integrate with each other as often when I am writing I will have music in the background. It has always been something I have enjoyed and I hope that one day I will be able to combine my two loves of writing and music into one novel, but that is a way of for the moment. I mostly found that when I was creating a piece of music for one of the BA modules I would create plot ideas in my head to fit alongside the music or when listening to certain types of music I can write certain scenes better.  I have been told by a few of my friends who both know my music taste and have read my novel that they can tell when I was listening to Heavy Metal and when I was listening to Classical/Country music. 

Really interesting. I’ll try letting my writer’s imagination flow next time I’m listening to music and see what happens!

Turning to your debut novel ‘In Memory, with its chilling trailer, what led you to write horror?

In Memory started off as a horror novel but always had paranormal influences. After a while of re-writing it became a full paranormal fiction.  I was always inspired to write horror/books using the paranormal by people like H.P. Lovecraft as when growing up I loved the games based of off his work, I have never yet read one of his books but is defiantly something I plan to read in the future. 

Im fascinated by the written word which can cross reality with paranormal. You begin with a tragic case of a lady Sarah Summers who loses everything, even her sanity. She has absolutely no control of her life. It is in this lost world that she faces her demons – or is it the world facing demons in which she is a key part. Suddenly the power balance has altered. Am I guessing that this is a message you are trying to put across?

The demons come to her after she is sectioned in the Marleyland Mental Institute, I think the demons are a key part in her both regaining some semblance of her old self and regaining her sanity as throughout the novel I tried to use Cornelius as at first an aggressor but then someone who becomes a friend and who genuinely cares for Sarah’s wellbeing and wants her to both survive and get over the troubles that she went through. By the end of the first novel I had hoped that readers felt like Cornelius was helping Sarah to be reborn as something else. 

Maybe we all need a Cornelius too. Was your character name ‘Sarah Summerschosen to be cheerful and light for a reason?

I chose the name Sarah Summers because I thought that something about my main character should be happy. Sarah has been through a great deal and when I was planning both her and her overarching story-line, I felt that she should be able to have something happy to her as one of the many endings I have for the In Memory Trilogy is rather depressing for Sarah, I haven’t decided which way the final book will go yet though. 

You explain that you ‘wish to put a new perspective on the written word.Can you explain this to your potential reader?

Most of the books that I read are marketed at YA and some of them I found hard to read as they were unnecessarily twee or crass in my opinion. I found that some of the storylines were rather basic and whilst there are a load of great YA authors put a lot of work into designing their worlds I found that most didn’t. What I want to do is to bring back the hard work and enjoyment that readers find from reading my novels, I want readers to feel invested in the world I have created and invested in the characters I have created. I would love it if one reader related to Sarah or enjoyed the interaction between Sarah and Cornelius. If just one of my readers enjoys the characters then I am happy. 

I’m so glad that there is a surge in YA’s reading. It is a good sign, but you’ll have more of an idea how to reach them.

Well Joshua, before you go, can you tell your readers what to expect next. Is ‘In Memorypart of a series?

Yes absolutely! In Memory is part of a self titled trilogy the second of which ‘Shadowborn’ is currently being edited, the trilogy is set over a period of many years recalling many events and trials that both Sarah and Cornelius have to overcome. I hope to be launching my second novel at the UK Indie Lit Fest 2016 (http://indieliteraryfest.weebly.com/) I hope to see some of my readers there. 

Maybe I’ll meet you there too Joshua.

Many thanks for joining us today and I wish you every good fortune in your life as a writer and your trilogy!

Joshua Sutton’s novel ‘In Memorycan be bought on Amazon:

In the UK

In the USA

Heres the link to Joshua’s Website:

http://joshuasauthor.wix.com/author

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Directing Films, Writing and Mixing with the Famous – Guest Eventispress Author Nigel Lesmoir-Gordon joins me today!

Nigel Lesmoir - GordonHi Nigel
It is a pleasure to welcome you on dianamj.wordpress. Let us get to know you a little.  I know that you have an exciting background in films before you began to write novels ~ can you tell us a bit about yourself?
 
I came into this world in the midst of the Second World War, appearing among the soaring academic towers of Cambridge – the last outpost of ‘civilisation’ before the black-soiled, windswept fens ran their endless way up to King’s Lynn and The Wash. I grew up in the austere and reactionary spirit of post-war England. People felt lucky to be alive. So many had died and there were shortages. Most of our ships had been sunk and we lived under the heavy-hanging threat of nuclear annihilation.

By the time I had made it into my teens Cambridge had blossomed and become prosperous and I grew up in a privileged world. I was 13 when I went off to board at Oundle School and Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel burst incandescently upon the world. I began writing at Oundle and published poems and short stories in the UK, the USA and in France. I toured the UK performing with my poetry & jazz group. My interest in film took me to the London School of Film Technique in 1965. When I left Cambridge to go to the school I moved into a flat in Cromwell Road, South Kensington – the infamous ‘101’. When David Gale wrote about 101 in The Independent he recalled:

“As the 60s began to generate heat, I found myself running with a fast crowd. I had moved into a flat near the Royal College of Art. I shared the flat with some close friends from Cambridge, including Syd Barrett, who was busy becoming a rock star with Pink Floyd. A few hundred yards down the street at 101 Cromwell Road, our preternaturally cool friend Nigel was running the hipster equivalent of an arty salon. Between our place and his, there passed the cream of London alternative society – poets, painters, film-makers, charlatans, activists, bores and self-styled visionaries. It was a good time for name-dropping: how could I forget the time at Nigel’s when I came across Allen Ginsberg asleep on a divan with a tiny white kitten on his bare chest? And wasn’t that Mick Jagger visible through the fumes? Look, there’s Nigel’s postcard from William Burroughs, who looks forward to meeting him when next he visits London!”

During a weekend spent in Cambridge with old friends as part of my experimental work at film school I shot the now cult-movie classic Syd Barrett’s First Trip.

When I joined the industry as an editor I worked for Hugh Hudson, director of Chariots of Fire, on TV commercials and documentaries. The film Performancewas produced from his Chelsea studios. In 1968 I was commissioned by Mick Jagger to co-write a screenplay with Christopher Gibbs (the set designer onPerformance) called The Quest. Marianne Faithfull writes about this project in her biography Faithfull. Mick, Keith and Marianne were already cast and keen to make it. The script we wrote drew on Arthurian legend, Celtic mythology and romantic poetry. Donovan had been writing music for the film and was disappointed when the project stalled due to other Rolling Stones commitments. To make up for this he suggested that I produce and direct a film of him making music sailing through the islands of the Aegean Sea with a small acoustic band. The band was called Open Road and the completed 30-minute film wasThere is an Ocean.

I then moved to the BBC as an editor, cutting dramas and documentaries for two years. I went on to work with Pink Floyd, 10cc, Squeeze, Rainbow, Joe Cocker, Big Country, Wings, Paul Nicholas and Leo Sayer amongst others in the 70’s.

I concentrated on commercials and corporate videos throughout the 80s. I wrote and directed Regiment a documentary about the Royal Air Force’s Infantry Regiment before I made the award-winning television documentary The Colours of Infinity, presented by Sir Arthur C. Clarke with music by David Gilmour of Pink Floyd in 1993. The Colours of Infinity has been broadcast in over fifty territories. It brought the Mandelbrot set and the subject of fractals to the attention of the general public for the first time.

I also directed The Bobby Charlton Story, Reflections Satguru, Rainbow – Live Between The Eyes and the series Whatever you Want for the UK’s Channel Four.

Following the success of Colours I have since written, produced and directed the broadcast documentary Is God a Number? This science documentary looks at the mystery of consciousness and the relationship between maths, the mind and the physical, observable universe.  I then made Clouds are not Spheres, a biographical broadcast documentary on the life and work of the mathematician Benoît Mandelbrot.

My first book Introducing Fractals was published by Icon Books in the USA and in the UK. This book has now sold over 16,000 copies and is available in Italian, Croat, Chinese and Korean. In 2005 I completed a modular DVD called Mandelbrot’s World of Fractals, which I directed, produced and presented for the National Science Foundation in the USA through Yale University.

The short comedy The Mysterious Michael A, starring Nicholas Jones and Joanna Bowen, was written, directed and produced by me in 2007.  This film has been shown at over 20 film festivals worldwide thus far and has been very well received. I directed the acclaimed documentary Brixton Beach in 2008.

In 2009 a compilation of three of my science documentaries, featuring a fractal chill-out film with David Gilmour’s music was released on DVD.  My second book, which was based on The Colours of Infinity, was published by Springer in 2010. The contributors to the film are joined in this comprehensive survey of the fractal theory and practice by some other leading experts in the field. The book features contributions from Arthur C. Clarke, Professor Benoît Mandelbrot, Professor Michael Barnsley, Gary Flake, David Pennock, Will Rood, Professor Ian Stewart and myself. The book includes an online link to the film.

Following the death of Benoît Mandelbrot I appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Last Word describing my relationship to the great mathematician. I have written a tribute to Mandelbrot for the American Mathematical Society. I also wrote his obituary for The Guardian and The Independent.

In 2010 I gave an interview to Conscious TV on fractals and the mystery of consciousness, which can be watched at this link:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZjx-Ix9DVA

 Nothing and Everywhere was my first novel, which I finished in 2011. I have produced a promo film for this romantic, comic thriller. It can be viewed on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdxSkYL5cVQ

In 2012 I presented my science documentaries in Berlin, Kassel, at UCL, Queen Mary College, Imperial College in London, Leeds University and at Waterstones in Cambridge.

I also wrote the biography of an airline pilot and drummer (Tibor January) called Aerodrum in 2013. I have recently completed my second novel, Life is Just… This is not the often requested sequel to Nothing and Everywhere but is something very different indeed. This book tells the story of a perfect family’s fall from grace and its ultimate redemption.  It is published by Eventispress.

I have just produced and directed a fund-raising teaser aimed at investors to garner the finance for the production of the screenplay based on my novelNothing and Everywhere, which can viewed on Vimeo at this link: https://vimeo.com/103056180

Following the worldwide success of The Colours of Infinity on TV and DVD, we aspire to make a new 3D feature film version using existing footage of Arthur C Clarke, Benoît Mandelbrot and Stephen Hawking, new HD 3D fractal computer animations of the Mandelbrot Set, and new HD 3D footage of natural fractals. There will also be a 2D version. The teaser/trailer can be viewed on Vimeo at this link: https://vimeo.com/124986429 (Password: reallyinfinity).

That’s fascinating Nigel. An unusual fusion of maths, science and spirituality in your life giving a tremendous range of experience to bring to your writing. Now to your latest novel ‘Life is Just… ‘ What a brilliant title. I know you want the reader to complete the sentence for themselves but using the title can you sum up the novel in a few choice phrases? 

Life is Just … whatever you make it.

Life is Just … one damned thing after another.

Life is Just … ruled by the Law of Karma: As ye sow so shall ye reap.

That’s a perfect way of giving us a succinct flavour of your novel! It is certainly full of every human emotion – a reflection of a dysfunctional family who have issues which you deal with in an extremely moving way.  I think you’ve described your novel as a period family drama set in the 1960’s. Why did you choose that period in history? 

I think that the 1960’s were a cultural turning point. I was 19 at the time the novel is set. So I was there and I lived it. I grew up in Cambridge and I was still living there at the time the novel is set so I was able to draw on my own vivid memories and experiences.

Odd to think of our lifetime as history isn’t it? Dare I ask if there is an element of autobiography in any of the characters? Which character would you say was most like yourself or maybe your younger self?

Yes it is a semi-autobiographical. The twins Dominic and Mark are the two sides of my personality – the one a poet/mystic, the other a hard-nosed, rational scientist. Although this was a useful device to explore the conflict of atheism and faith, I am in truth Dominic the poet/mystic. He is the hero of the novel.

Now on to what next. Do you think you will write another novel or are some of your other projects more pressing at the moment? When a reader loves ‘Life is Just …’ how long before your next one comes out or perhaps they could read your first novel too.

I am working on the sequel to my first novel.  It is set some 15 years in the future and continues the saga of the hero and heroine of Nothing and Everywherein their battle against the forces of darkness in the shape of their arch-enemy Tigran Gevorkian and the New World Order. This novel is called A Glass of Two Milks.

You do come up with some wonderful titles!

Thank you so much, Nigel, for joining me today and giving us a glimpse into your life, writing and your mind. I wish you good luck with ‘Life is Just…’ which I really enjoyed. 

Life is Just ...

Life is Just …

Life is Just is available on Available on Kindle and in paperback from Amazon worldwide. Here are some links.

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

It is a wonderful summer read to immerse yourself in while relaxing, or good for a bit of escapism if you’ve already returned to the grindstone. It may evoke college memories of your own too.

 

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