Tag Archives: Author interview

Amelia Pasch ~ Author of Murder in Mind ~ A 15th Century Thriller

amelia-paschA warm welcome to my blog, Amelia: what inspired you to write historical fiction, in the 15th century especially?

Thank you for inviting me, Diana. There is a two-part answer to this. I have read historical fiction for a number of years so writing it seemed the way forward when I took up writing full time. As for the fifteenth century, well, it is such an important century, marking the beginning of modern history.

 Your current novel is set in Italy. Is it an area of Europe you have a particular interest in?

In the main, Murder in Mind is set in Florence, for which city I have a grand passion.

The danger of historical fiction is lapsing into 21st century speak whereas your writing style is formal and eloquent – totally appropriate for the genre. Did you find it difficult to adopt this style and can you give writers any tips on how you achieved such consistency?

Italians use the formal inflexion of their language much more than non-speakers of it appreciate. An Italian would only say ‘arrivaderci’ to a relative or intimate friend. For others he would use ‘arrivaderla’, the formal  ending of the greeting. I have had this in mind while writing. Some of the formality in my writing may have a further root in my former career as a lawyer. I shun ambiguity. Apart from these influences, my writing voice comes naturally so consistency is assured. I would urge writers to develop their own unique writing voice to ensure consistency in their work.

That’s fascinating. I certainly agree with your advice to authors. I know it’s an impossible question to ask but can you tell a bit about your current novel, Murder in Mind,  in less than 30 words?

Death stalks Florentine streets. An assassin is at large. With colourful panache, a lady Angevin spy, a young man-about-town, and the Security Service’s chief officer ally to thwart him.

 Hey ,well done. I couldn’t have done that! Murder in Mind is historical fiction – murder mystery – spy novel. I am a fan of novels that do not fit into one genre. Life is like that If you had to pigeon hole your novel into one genre what would it be?

I refer to it as an historical thriller. That seems the best in the circumstances but I take your point about work that traverses more than one genre. That was one the the aspects about your novel, Murder Now and Then that I enjoyed.

 What are you currently reading for leisure, Amelia, and what do you think of it?

The book on my bedside cabinet is ‘Grave Concerns’ by Rebecca Tope. It is lighter in tone than my normal leisure reading but none the worse for that. The protagonist is a funeral director which gives it an unusual but appealing aspect. My next read will be ‘The White Queen’ by Philippa Gregory.

 Oh that’s a novel on my list too. Finally, have you any projects in progress which readers can look forward to in the future?

I am working on a second Florentine novel involving the same trio as in Murder in Mind. It begins on Christmas Day 1497 and ends on the first Saturday of Lent 1498, with action aplenty between those dates – and one or two surprises.

 We’ll look forward to that. Many thanks for joining us today, Amelia. I wish you every success with your writing.


It was my pleasure, Diana.

Amelia’s can be found on:Murder inmind



Murder in Mind is available on Amazon

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Welcome to author of Thrillers ~ TME Walsh

T. M. E WALSHI would like to welcome back TME Walsh who has kindly agreed to be interviewed today.

Hello Tania, what originally inspired you to write thrillers?

It’s the genre I read and love the most, so it felt natural for me to write crime thrillers. I like writing novels that are gritty. I want to wince when someone meets a ‘sticky end’, and I want to feel unnerved. I want to be able to feel the sense of impending danger and the fear, and that’s what I try to convey in my novels. I guess I write a novel that I’d like to read.

DCI Claire Winters is a complex character. Do you like her and do you think she shares any traits with yourself?

Excellent question and one I get asked a lot. I think every author puts a little of themselves into their main characters, whether it be a conscious decision or otherwise.

There are definitely traits of myself in Claire. Personality-wise, like Claire, I’m feisty. I have no trouble speaking my mind and fighting my corner, but I would never dream of being as rude as Claire can be (unless someone gives me cause to be!). I don’t always take things  at face value. Sometimes I see things in others that someone else would miss, and nine times out of ten my intuition turns out to be right, and that is one of Claire’s traits that can be an asset.

I’m not a push-over, and I never wanted my main character to be either, and that’s something I admire in people, so I do like Claire. She’s driven, but this can come across as arrogant and ruthless. (I’m neither, by the way!) Yes, she can rub people the wrong way, but I try to balance it. She has her reasons for being the way she is and more will become clear as the series progresses. She has a good heart and for the most part, she’s loyal once her trust is earned.  Like me, she’ll fight your corner and could be your most trusted friend. Equally, she’s not someone you’d want as an enemy that’s for sure. Don’t cross her!

Your novels keep the readers on their toes. How do you achieve a good pace in your plot?

With crime you have to remind yourself that the central investigation is the backbone of the novel.  All the ‘flesh’ around that ‘backbone’ has to be relevant. Once I’ve written the first draft I look to see what could be cut. If any scenes fail to offer real character development, or add colour to the story, it needs to be cut. With police procedurals in particular, pace is so important. The reader has to be completely immersed in the story to want to keep turning the pages until they find out who the killer is. As an author you hope the reader won’t be able to put the book down until they do. If I feel like the manuscript is flagging at any point whilst reading it through, then I know it needs addressing and I won’t send anything out until I know I’ve (hopefully) got it right.

With my second novel, ‘The Principle of Evil’, I had some excellent advice from Keshini Naidoo, the crime/thriller reader at Darley Anderson Literary Agency. She used to be an editor at HarperCollins. She read the original MS when it was a (huge) 145,000 words. She offered me some sound advice about trimming the novel because 145k words would greatly impact whether a publisher would take it on, and said the pace suffered as a result of the overall length, and she was right.

Keshini offered to read the full MS again after it had been trimmed to around 100,000 words, and despite not taking the submission to the next stage, she was very complementary. I then went on to receive four more full manuscript requests from different agents.

tania walsh The covers for your books are fantastic. I gather you designed them yourself. How did you come up with the design and can you recommend any software to do this successfully as advice for an aspiring author?

Thank you. The covers are testament to what can be achieved using Photoshop. I started using Photoshop in 2006 and spent hours teaching myself how to use it.  It wasn’t easy but I did enjoy it.

With both my novels I started making a list of the themes and anything symbolic that would best represent the novel.

‘For All Our Sins’, for instance, had to feature a priest since the death of a priest is integral to the story. And blood. I have to have blood somewhere! My Dad was kind enough to let me photograph him in my husband’s hooded winter coat. What started off as a ‘stock’ image was then manipulated in Photoshop. It’s a powerful piece of software. Playing around with the colour tones, lighting and layering techniques finally created the image on the cover today.

Similarly with the second novel, ‘The Principe of Evil’, I used my husband’s face in the woman’s hair. The dark grass and ice effect at the bottom of the image, which is supposed to be frozen water, very relevant to the novel, was painted in using the various brushes in Photoshop and a texture layer using a photograph of real ice.

Designing your own cover is not always possible, (or wise, if you can’t even draw stick men!) My advice would be to seek a professional if needed. The cover is so important as it’s the first thing a reader will see, and in the self-publishing world you have to stand out. A quality professional looking cover is a must if you can afford it. If your budget is limited, you could look at the artists on Deviant Art. There might be a student very willing to take on a commission for a fair price.

Many thanks for the excellent advice. Best of luck with your writing Tania!

 Tania, I know you have recently obtained the rights back of your debut novel, ‘For all our Sins’ and have published both this and your recent novel, ‘The Principle of Evil’, yourself and have been successful in this venture. Have you any advice you can pass on here?

I’m still learning what works in terms of marketing etc, but there are a few things that people can take on board.

Never rush to publish your novel. Whatever you publish is representative of you and your skills and your career as an author. Take your time to get it right. Mistakes are OK so long as you learn from them.

Get to know your potential readership. Social media can be a great tool, but I have authors who have followed me on Twitter and if I follow them back, they then send me a generic impersonal direct message purely advertising their own work.

Sorry, but that’s just irritating and I tend to swiftly unfollow them. I don’t believe aggressive marketing campaigns are the key to more sales. Word of mouth is probably the best way for people to get to know you and your novel. The last thing you want is a reputation of being full of yourself. Take an interest in other peoples work and support each other. Even a simple retweet is supporting another author.

Finally, don’t expect overnight success. Be realistic and concentrate on honing your craft. As an author you are always learning.

Finally, I know one day your dream, rightfully so, is to be published mainstream. Like myself you have been through highs and lows. How have you kept motivated, focussed and chosen your current path.

My family keep me motivated, but I’d say my proof reader, Willow, definitely gives me that extra boost I need. Yes, my family are fantastic with their support but I always find I need that extra ‘kick up the bum’ by someone who isn’t so close to me on a personal level. Willow provides an ‘outsider’s’ point of view.

I’m stubborn. I will keep going. I’m not saying rejection doesn’t hurt – it does – but you need to become tough. Grow that thick skin. There have been times that I have nearly given up, but I have to remind myself that I have come close several times to signing with an agent.

I decided to self-publish because I hoped I had a readership. Seeing that my books are selling on Kindle and I’m earning money from that is better than having a finished MS sitting collecting dust in a bottom draw. Besides, you never know who may be reading your work and what doors that could open.

Many thanks Tania for joining us today. You can find out more about Tania and keep up to date with her work at:






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Novels in Crime Week ~ Day 1 Adam Croft

Crime Writer ~  Adam Croft

Crime Writer ~
Adam Croft

I have some special guests on my blog this week and I’m even more pleased to interview Adam Croft on his birthday!

Many happy returns of the day Adam! 
You have been self publishing for several years Adam. What was it like to be launching a book at the time when SP was new and uncertain?
It wasn’t something I really gave much thought to. When I wrote my first book, Too Close for Comfort, it was just something I wanted to do and put out on Amazon at the start of 2011 just to see what happened. I didn’t expect anything to happen with it and really only wanted somebody I didn’t know to buy it and tell me what they thought of it. It started to sell slowly and then kicked off literally overnight about two months later, when I woke up one morning to find I’d had almost 2,000 downloads pretty much overnight. I remember it was 1st April, so I had a bit of a job actually convincing anyone it’d happened. The next thing I knew, it’d got to around 80,000 downloads and I realised that perhaps this was something I’d like to consider doing a bit more of! My only wish is that I’d taken more time over the first book and perhaps even edited it or something — I hadn’t bothered as I’d not read anything about the process of writing and publishing and was only doing it for myself more than anything! I’ve recently revised it, though, so I’m much happier with it now. I spent a good three years absolutely detesting that book.
Can you describe two main factors which contributed to your success?
I wish I could, because then I could do it again. Luck certainly played a massive part. It tends to do so with these sorts of things. I just tried to keep the ball rolling and keep the momentum going, but a few life events and problems have given me a few hiccups along the way in terms of my productivity. One tip I’d give to other writers is to treat your writing as a business. It’s a product, like it or not. Too many writers get too anal about their ‘creativity’ and the ridiculously fine points of writing. It’s all completely academic as it’s irrelevant if you’re not going to sell a single copy. We need to sell books to be able to write books, so any writer who takes the line that they’re purely a creative person and aren’t interested in the business side of things is only fooling themselves — from a self-publishing perspective, that is. Of course, if you’re going down the route of finding a traditional publisher then you don’t have any of those worries and can be a purely creative machine. That’s why I firmly believe the traditional model will never die — it just has to adapt. Those of us who are more entrepreneurial can make our way independently, whereas those who aren’t will get the best results using traditional methods of publishing.
You have two series. Which do you enjoy writing most and why is that? Or did your writing evolve into your current Kemston Hardwick mysteries? 
They both have their own merits. I’m someone who’s very much of a comedy ilk, as comedy’s something that’s been running through my veins since a very young age. The Kempston Hardwick Mysteries have a distinct comedy edge to them, so they’re a lot of fun to write from that point of view. They’re also very logical, ordered and methodical in their structure so they appeal to that side of me. On the other hand, the Knight & Culverhouse thrillers are exciting, fun and pacy — both for the reader and for me. They have a much more liberal, freer aspect to them from a writing point of view. I think the next couple of projects will probably be a departure from both series, though, as I have many more things I want to explore as well as just those two series.
One for the authors reading ~ how do you market your books and get so many reviews on Amazon?
Again, I always feel a bit fraudulent giving advice on marketing and commercial success as it came to me pretty much by luck. You need to build and sustain momentum, though. Encouraging your readers to leave reviews is absolutely vital — it’s your biggest marketing tool. The more reviews you have on Amazon, the more likely people are to buy your books.
For the readers of murder mystery out there ~ describe your main character in your Kempston Hardwick series. Do you like him? What makes him different as a private detective?
Firstly, do I like him…? Yes, of course, I love him to bits. Would I want to be friends with him? No, probably not. He’s very set in his ways — almost as if he’s dropped out of Victorian England and landed in the present day. He’s conservative in many ways, but certainly not politically as he’s travelled the world extensively and has a deep understanding of human nature. He’s a very learned man and has a
very logical mind. He’s quite camp, but not in an extroverted way — he’s actually pretty shy and inward-looking
and a lot of people see him as either eccentric or just cantankerous and short-tempered. I won’t speak tookh3
negatively of him, though. After all, he pays my mortgage!
Hardwick is quite a character. I know since I’ve read ‘Exit Stage Left’ and I am looking forward to
‘Death Under the Sun‘ your recent release which is already downloaded on my Kindle. 
Adam’s blog can be read at www.http://adamcroft.net/blog/
and he is @adamcroft on twitter.
The Huffington Post writes
Adam Croft is a British author and broadcaster best known for the light-hearted Kempston Hardwick mysteries, which blend traditional British murder mysteries with a comedic twist.’
Many thanks, Adam, for being a guest on Diana Jackson’s Muse, Views and Reviews. I wish you good fortune with your writing and an enjoyable rest of your birthday!


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