Hannah Warren

Platform for writerly ideas & confessions ©

Mist

Written By: Hannah Warren - Oct• 26•14

mist

 

Another recurring theme in The Cottage On The Border  – to be published by Thorstruck Press in November -  is MIST.

The definition of mist is: a cloud of tiny water droplets suspended in the atmosphere at or near the earth’s surface that limits visibility (to a lesser extent than fog; strictly, with visibility remaining above 1 km).

More importantly, however, is our personal relationship with mist, everyone has it. To me it is the most dangerous type of weather, just because it is so still, so dense, so sudden. Storms can be extremely destructive and frightening but at least you hear them coming;  snow is treacherous but visible, you can prepare for it; hail stones and heavy rain also make noise to prepare you for their arrival, but mist…? Mist is a sniper.

Only a couple of weeks ago commuters on my local motorway were suddenly caught unawares by low hanging morning mist, at three places simultaneously, killing several, wounding many and the wrecked cars were sufficient to fill a modest scrapheap.

Mist leaves you without sense of time or direction, it robs you of your most important survival instincts: your senses. And that’s just the physical part of it.mental illness

Mist also conjures up mental notions. In The Cottage On The Border the main character Jenna Kroon de Coligny always finds herself in misty conditions when there is also a fog in her head. She can’t think clearly, mist envelopes her both inside and outside because she doesn’t know what to do with her life, which path to choose, where to go, whom to ask for help. Mist is a part of her mental illness. The Polder landscape at the end of October that she retires to is always full of mist and I can guarantee you that this is truthful as I live in these surroundings myself. Cold, grey mist belongs to the the autumn when the last dripping leaves let go of their stems and all in nature becomes humid and still.

On yet another level the mist is the prelude to darkness, after all mist prevents the light of the sun from shining through. The next realm is that of the dark forces. Even in the Bible Peter – where he talks of false prophets (and Markus Brenner is definitely a false prophet!) – says: “These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them“.

fijdfe For me personally, mist is also symbolized by the fifth chakra. Located at throat level, Vishuddha chakra is associated with the element ether (Akasha) and controls the principle of sound related to the sense of hearing. Its colour is a pale, smoky, misty violet. Reigned by the moon quality, this chakra is also called “the widow’s chakra” because men tend to die earlier than their wives, leaving them widowed. So it’s the chakra of mourning, the loss of what you knew to be true. As if you arrive at a narrow passage (the throat is the narrowest place in the human body) with loads of bulky suitcases filled with and precious memories & personal stuff but you have to leave most of it behind to travel to the sixth chakra: insight.

I could go on about the theme of mist for much longer but will conclude with a part from the very beginning of The Cottage On The Border where Jenna finds herself lost in the morning mist, wounded, in her nightie, out of her senses.

“All was still. A low fog was hanging over the meadow, covering the grass and the cream-coloured cows. In a gush of wind the veil floated upwards, showing their bulky shapes in the diffuse morning light. They stood in that typical cow mode, impervious to the human mind, just stolid watching. The next moment they were gone again, absorbed by the mist. The grey shards drew closer and enveloped the girl’s thin white nightdress, glued strings around her alabaster body, spun webs around her hair, her arms, her legs. She welcomed the webs, opened her arms, felt dressed in filigree again. She was back on stage. Adieu downfall! If only her legs would stop shaking. Then she would dance again, dance again.
Everyone was waiting for the day to break, ready for the change it would bring but nothing happened. No sunrise was scheduled for that autumnal Monday. Somehow Jenna knew the reason for it all but it kept escaping in the mist of her thoughts. A dark force was rising, pushing the light away, refusing to wait in the wings any longer. It was omnipresent, clouding her head as it hovered over the straight row of chorus line dancers, all focused intently on the rising curtain. They knew exactly what to do, the steps, ten-thousand times rehearsed, so intricate, always in time, not one step out of line, fast, smooth and wonderful. The trampling feet swayed forwards, backwards, until one stumbled … it had to be her! There was a hissing in her ear, something about a doom-or-glory type of person, expected for 2,000 years, feared, bespoken, that ‘thing’ in our sub-consciousness, sub-human, which we repress, we are so good at repressing, pressing it down to where it is forgotten, until next time. She was holding her breath—can’t say we haven’t been warned—and then she fell. Warned? Mr Mozzi simply dismissed here, she was ill, too thin, that was all. It could have happened to anyone. She only had to eat, to eat more, more, more.
Before her eyes, the filtered scene was changing. The silhouettes of the horned beasts loomed up, moving closer to the fence. They rested their dewy eyes on her. A fraction later, the air was split in two by the high shriek of an invisible chainsaw. Abruptly, it stopped again. The cows fled, their galloping hooves throwing up sods of wet mud. Jenna shivered, fear enveloped her like a grey, wet blanket weighing her down. The fog had become so thick that she was lost in time and place. From the other side of the veiled wall, Vincent was calling her name.

jenna

The Point Of No Return

Written By: Hannah Warren - Oct• 22•14

Hannah's FB banner2 (3)

 

 

 

 

In every dramatic story the main character goes through a point of no return. In The Cottage On the Border, my new Thorstruck Press novel coming in November, Markus Brenner – as a boy of 5 – witnesses how his Nazi-sympathizing mother is humiliated after World War Two. She is put on a wagon where her head is shaven roughly in front of the entire community. Earlier that night his father has been arrested for his wrongdoings, the handing over Jews and resistance fighters to the enemy. Not understanding what is happening to his parents, the boy’s powerlessness festers and a seething hate is born. It will awaken in Markus’ soul a rage that is going to leave a trail of disruption and fear throughout Western Europe in the second half of the 20th century.

This is generally labelled Neo-Nazism but Markus’s Movement “Eradication” could reign under any fanatical political or religious flag. I believe that the terror of terrorism, born in the latter part of the 20th century and continuing in the 21st, is one of the biggest threats to the human right for safety and freedom. The cruelty of sudden, vicious attacks on innocent people is the true ulcer of our times. Every terrorist will have his or her own history, that moment the wrong choice was made. The Cottage On The Border shows how two generations are shaped on similarly wrong decisions.

This is but one of the themes of my new novel.

Here’s snippet of Isobel’s public humiliation.

isobel.jpg2“German whore! Scum of the earth! Whore, whore, whore! We’ll get you.”
Isobel wanted to recoil in horror, but she was grabbed roughly by the sleeve of her coat and dragged down the stairs towards the angry masses. Markus was taken away from her and started screaming at the top of his voice. Above all the jeering Markus’s crying could be heard, shrill and inconsolable.
“Mummy, mummy, mummy!”
Two police officers picked her up and placed her on a farm cart with two horses in front. One of officers pulled off her elegant hat and threw it into the crowd who got hold of it and ripped it to pieces. Bits of the long pheasant feather were seen whirling down. The crowd roared and waved clenching their fists at her.
Two men held Isobel’s arms behind her back, a third brought out a pair of scissors. With rough movements, he cut off her long blonde locks, threw them on the ground, stamping his feet on them. Then, when most of her hair was gone, he got a pair of shears from his pocket to shave off the rest of her hair until her skull was bare and bald. Blood was oozing from the cuts made by his rough treatment. Isobel was hanging limply in between the two men, almost on the brink of fainting. Markus’s crying had reduced to an agonised whimpering. When they were done shaving her, the boy was picked up and placed on the wagon as well. Farmer Hermsen, the Brenner’s neighbour, took his place on the box and whipped the horses into movement. Hermsen slowly manoeuvred cart and horses through the crowds, who were still delirious, shouting over and over again.
“Serves you right, German whore … traitor, traitor, traitor!”
Isobel was shown in this disgraceful state throughout the provincial capital of Middelburg, together with her five-year-old son who didn’t, and couldn’t, understand why people were treating his mother like this, all the time shouting the most awful words at her. He had been naughty in his life but nothing like this had ever happened to him. His mother must have been very naughty, but what had she done? And what had his father done? Why was his Pa taken away from them as well? Hermsen drove mother and son all the way to Oud Land and everywhere along the road people came out shaking their fists at Isobel, calling her names. Her head was bent down, blood dripping down on her chic beige jacket, her skirt, her hands, her nylons were tattered, her soul broken. At the gate of Oud Land Farm they were thrown off the cart and left to themselves. Isobel fell by the side of the road, unable to get up. Markus stood next to her, looking at her closed eyelids and he was afraid she had died.

TO BE CONTINUED

 

Release November 2014: The Cottage On The Border

Written By: Hannah Warren - Oct• 18•14

1924842_755168261197322_3106324557973190171_nIt is with immense pride & joy that I am finally able to announce the publication of my second novel: The Cottage on The Border by Thorstruck Press in November 2014. Exact date will soon be made public. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be blogging extensively on this new release. I hope you will become as enthusiastic about my new novel as I am. I’ll also let you know when it is available for pre-order.

The Cottage on The Border has ‘ripened’ for 13 years before being ready to be consumed. The story original came to me in a dream shortly after my writer dad passed away in 2001 and handed the pen down to me to continue the job.

This family saga, with a hint of autobiography where the war part is concerned, is based in the Netherlands and Germany. It spans six decades of troubled family history, unravelling the traumas of too many secrets and lies through the eyes of 19-year old Jenna Kroon de Coligny, descendant of one of the oldest Dutch aristocratic families.

Here’s the family tree:

familieboom

Soon more on these complicated family relationships and the deep unhappiness that binds them. An inspiration to write the book has certainly been the famous opening line of Anna Karenina by my all-time hero Lev Tolstoy: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Both Jenna’s grandparents and her parents are without exception extremely unhappy in their own way.

One of the basic rules of characterization is that in the course of the story the main character goes through various stages and as a result develops. Becomes better or badder; is either  victorious, or perishes. And yes, sometimes death can be considered a victory as well, a successful completion to earthly existence. There is a beautiful saying (unknown): “The grape passes through the press to yield wine. Your life must pass through the press of passion and pain to yield the wine of wisdom.”

Here’s a taster to The Cottage on The Border. It is part of Chapter 17: The Door to Life.

No, Vincent would never get this. Vincent didn’t think in terms of death. He thought in terms of life. Like Dora did, like Theo. But the Brenners and the Kroon de Colignys thought in terms of death. They were from a world where the dark souls gather to spin their yarn, the underworld.
“Jenna, breakfast.” Vincent’s baritone was calling her from the bottom of the stairs. She hid her head under the blankets lying as still as a corpse. She heard him call again. In a minute he would be knocking on her door.
But Jenna had no lust to face this day, not yet. She was a small child again lying on a warm blanket on the lawn. The sun was out. She woke from her afternoon nap hearing happy birds chirping in the large chestnut tree, a waft of sun-drenched roses drifted up her nose. Vincent was close by talking to Mama Dora, his voice shrill and cheerful. He was chattering about train engines and Mama Dora replied in short, affirmative sentences. Jenna pulled herself to a sitting position to watch mother and son sit together on the old wooden bench that leaned against the wall next to the front-door of the farm, right under the two big windows with all the little window panes. Vincent went on and on about his trains, meanwhile rasping his sandaled feet in the gravel. Mama Dora’s full round face was one big smile. When she saw Jenna had woken up, she gestured for her to come sit with them but Jenna let herself drop on her back again, pretending to sleep. She didn’t want to hear the drone of their voices anymore, so she put her fingers in her ears.
The bedclothes were drawn back. Vincent’s face was hovering over her, a deep line of concern between his brown eyes, showing above the round spectacles.
“I’m only playing hide-and-seek,” Jenna lied glad to see the line ease out a little. She tried to pull the blanket back over her but he held it tight.
“Time to get up, Jen. How did you sleep?”
“Didn’t.”
“That sucks. How come?” It sounded too shrink-like. Funnily enough, she could see he knew it too. She didn’t answer, but slowly got up meanwhile slipping into her dressing gown. It was freezing cold in the small bedroom that, once upon a time, must have been Markus’s. Following Vincent down the stairs, she hesitated. She would have to walk into that kitchen where the murder had taken place. Faint in her legs Jenna had to hold on to the railing. She lingered on the threshold, as if trying to get past Isobel but a strong hand was stopping her. It froze her in her tracks. Vincent was busy at the stove with his back to her, so he didn’t see the seizure that attacked her, made her collapse in the doorway.
When she came round, she was lying on the bunk in the corner of the kitchen. Vincent had his stethoscope around his neck. He was sitting close by talking into his mobile. Jenna heard him say:
“Pulse normal, no temperature. Oh, I see she’s coming around. Talk to you later, Jean. Yes, I will call you on your hospital number this afternoon.” He slipped his phone into his pocket turning his full attention to her.
“What happened?” Jenna asked; her voice small and girlish.

duitslanddansschoen

 

TO BE CONTINUED :-)

 

Audiobooks Part II

Written By: Hannah Warren - Oct• 10•14

vuur

The steep rise in the interest for audio books has not been received favourably by everyone. Having been used to ‘reading’ books as the sole way to consume literature, ‘listening to books while multitasking’ is bound to be frowned upon by print purists. Basically, they doubt that the listening experience will deliver the same experience as sitting down and reading silently. Well, you don’t have to be a print purist to understand the two of them (reading versus listening) are very different experiences indeed. But the question is: does it matter? Watching a film based on a novel is not the same either but each experience has its own beauty and its own fulfillment. What’s more, most of us writers stem from the oldest profession in the world: the oral tradition. I bet many of my writing pals were the ones telling scary tales by the campfire on the beach as teenagers or making up fairy-tales when little brother, sister or cousin wouldn’t go to sleep. The step to penning down these fantasies was not such a big one. In essence oral and written storytelling have the same source: the artist’s imaginative powers. There may be a difference how our brains absorb stimuli of the eyes or the ears but the same old heart will beat quicker when the suspense rises.

luisterenHowever, you may be pleased to know that scientific studies also show that for competent readers it hardly matters whether they listen to a story or read it. The format has little bearing on their capacity to understand and remember a text. Some even argue that listening to a text can even improve understanding, especially for difficult works such as Shakespeare, where a narrator’s interpretation of the text may help to convey the meaning.

Because multitasking while listening is a relatively recent phenomenon, little is known about how well people absorb stories while they’re driving, lifting weights or chopping vegetables. Commuters account for half of all audio book buyers, according to research firm Bowker, which tracks the book business. A study by the University of Virginia researched reading and listening comprehension and found that multitasking does compromise a listener’s attention, unless the task is fully automatic. Jogging on a treadmill wouldn’t hamper you to fully absorb the text but running on a trail might. So, driving on the motorway will probably keep your attention fully fired whereas complicated traffic situations will make you loose it. No harm done there. I’m sure a listener will notice the distraction without being told by scientists and reread the passage or relisten to it when things have quietened down. After all, this story absorbing is for fun and you want to hear what’s happening.

boeksSome writers worry that the practice of silent reading may become extinct due to the audiobook boom, as impatient and busy readers are no longer taking the time to concentrate on their works of art. This view sees humanity as becoming the passive consumer, to whom reading has become a secondary activity that is performed while doing other, more important stuff. This way, we would lose that deepest and most important kind of reading, turning in to our own world where we may hide together with the story. Humanity seems to be on the brink of succumbing completely to technology, where we can do anything and everything simultaneously, including reading. I cannot but agree I often marvel at the ability of people younger than me to do multiple things at the same time but I always put that down to the development of the human race: we’re becoming quicker, more intelligent, more versatile. As yet, it’s hard to say whether this ability is to the benefit of the human race or going to leave us burned-out and shattered before ripe old age has set in. Really I don’t know. Time will tell.

mtAudible is meanwhile funding cognitive research at Rutgers University to study the brain activity of test subjects while they are reading a text, listening to it, reading and listening simultaneously, and switching between the two modes. The results of the research have not yet been published, but there are early signs that suggest that listening to a narrator may be more emotionally engaging than silent reading, particularly for men, according to Guy Story, Audible’s chief scientist.

Book lovers with a long history of reading texts will most probably need a longer time to adapt to listening to books. The change is much bigger than it was from paperback to Kindle. I’m an example of this trepidation myself. My publisher Thorstruck Press kindly gifted its authors a number of audiobooks but I fidget and doubt where and when to listen to them. Do I have the necessary equipment? Will I sit down to listen or go for a walk and try it out? The idea of the freedom to do two things I love at the same time, walking and ‘reading’ sounds enticing but my restricted phone is incapable of storing the audiobooks and my tablet might slip out of the pocket of my coat.

However, I’ve decided to become a test subject myself! I want to find out whether it is true that it is easier to recall the parts listened to than the passages read, which apparently is the case when a talented narrator has read the book. I want to be able to say when people ask: Have you read that book? No, I listened to it! And I want to write my first Audiobook review.

So: Audiobooks III will solely be based on my own experiences. See you back in a couple of weeks when I return from traipsing the Polder land and listening to Indigo Vamporium and Offshore. Sorry Paul Rudd, I’m too afraid to listen to horror book Sharc.

boekz

Audiobooks Part I

Written By: Hannah Warren - Sep• 29•14

10426307_737499296297552_181805453661631210_n

I’m very happy & proud to announce that my debut novel Casablanca, My Heart will be turned into an audiobook narrated by Kate Fisher. Hopefully available for Christmas. :-)

High time to find out some facts and figures about this booming new industry: The Audio Book.

We all know the printed book industry has suffered a great deal from the digital revolution. In the second half of the 20th century, films, television and then the internet have torpedoed centuries of book-reading monopoly. But now in a funny way literacy is spreading again due to the arrival of the Audiobook. People who aren’t used to picking up a novel outside their holidays, are massively embracing the new technology…and again “reading books”. It’s so very convenient to listen to snippets on your smartphone during your workout, while commuting, cooking, cleaning or walking the dog. And the wonderful thing is that when you want to continue reading in bed before you go to sleep, the eBook on your Kindle will switch exactly to where the narrator left off. This makes listening/reading interesting to a whole new group of “book lovers”. beer

When my publisher Thorstruck Press announced our novels would be turned into audiobooks (at least some 20 are currently being read by our narrators or have already been released and the number is growing every day!), I was still very unaware of the huge industry behind this new technology. My mind frame was still the recorded books for the blind, the “talking books” from the 1930s. Renamed “audiobooks” in the 1970s when cassettes replaced the original records. These books on cassette decks enjoyed some popularity in the 1980s – also for the non-blind, after which CD’s followed, but overall audio books failed to keep pace with other forms of digital entertainment. Personally, I’ve listened to one or two in my car but never got the hang of it. Did you? These narrated books were very expensive, $50 or more (for example, $100 for Stephen King’s lengthy “The Stand”), so audiobook lovers usually borrowed them from libraries just like ordinary books.

Today, audio books are booming business. The reason: every soul owns a smartphone and we love to experiment with all the downloadable apps. So, the smartphone has broadened the pool of potential listeners extensively. You can download an audiobook onto your phone with just one click, often for almost the same price as an eBook. The prices have dropped due to lower production costs and higher demands. Today, an average audiobook will cost you around $20.

By 2013, audiobooks had grown into a $1.2 billion industry. So far, Audible, which Amazon bought in 2008, has paired some 26,000 eBooks with professional narrations. The company is adding more than 1,000 titles a month and aims to eventually bring the number to close to 100,000. (figures in 2013). Audible has a subscription service with millions of members listening to an average of 18 books a year.

 

boek2Audiobook producers have been dramatically increasing their output. 13,255 titles came out in 2012, up from 4,602 in 2009 (Audio Publishers Association).

Audiobooks are now a brand of their own. Some audio publishers see them as a distinctly different medium from the printed book, calling them “audio entertainment”. Sometimes these stories are exclusively aimed at narration only, holding their own as original works of art. In a way, these full-cast dramatizations resemble the old radio plays, complete with music and sound effects. And how popular radio plays were at the time!

Some novelists are bypassing print entirely these days and release novels as audio exclusives, such as the British novelist David Hewson, who released his new mystery “The Flood” straight to audio with no print edition. But “audio authors”, who have embraced this new hot medium, usually already had quite some avid listeners to their earlier recorded work. Like with eBooks “listeners” can leave a review on Audible. We can gain some insightful advice from Mr Hewson as writing for audio apparently requires different techniques to prose writing.

-          Word repetition becomes glaringly obvious. So do unintentional rhymes. boek

-          Location changes have to be telegraphed at the beginning of the scene, so that listeners do not get confused.

-          Complex sentences, long subordinate clauses do not work, people get bored and confused by them.

-          Aim for the writing to disappear so that all people hear is the story.

 

audible This is just to give you an idea what the Audible screen would look like on your smartphone, not to make any advertisement for a device or Audible.

In my next blog I will investigate the passionate debate of advocates and opponents of listening to versus reading books.

 

Oh and thank you Thorstruck Press for responding adequately to the changes in the book industry!

Poll: Is your writing style geared to the present-day reader?

Written By: Hannah Warren - Sep• 20•14

lezer

I’ve never made an attempt at disguising I’m a fan of 19th century literature (French, Russian, English). Although I read (past and present tense!) plenty of contemporary novels, I am mostly inspired and influenced by the very start of novel-writing as we know it. Austen, the Bronty Sisters, George Elliot, Stendhal, Flaubert, Dostoyevsky to name but a few, and of course my all-time hero Lev Tolstoy. Time after time I can pick up one of his books just for the pleasure of savouring his sentences. This love for old books goes so deep that I’m currently taking a shot at writing a historical novel myself, Daughter of the Alvar, set in Sweden in the 1890s. No Iphones, sex-talk, SatNav or fast-food but horse-and-carriage, chaperoned walks, poachers and kitchen maids.

However, I’m currently going through a phase in which I wonder whether indulging in the work of dead authors may be making my own writing style a tad old-fashioned. I may be running the risk of writing for my own pleasure, with zero commercial appeal. So, from a sales point of view I was interested in writers’ opinions on the marketability of their books and created a poll on Facebook. Ten people were so kind to answer the 6 questions. Thank you so much.

Here are the results!

strand

 

 

 

 

 

 

Question 1: Do you feel you can tap into the interests of today’s readers?

-          That’s a difficult one. I hope so but I don’t obsess about it.

-          Yes

-          Yes – for the segment of the market that I target. (I could not tap into YA, or Hot hot romance – not my area of expertise – age, interest or otherwise.)

-          No.

-          I can tap into a niche market of today’s readers, not into a wide pool.

-          I think I can sell to serious readers.

-          Most of the time. It depends on the genre

-          Yes.

-          Yes, I write fantasy with a strong streak of humour. People like my characters and the situations I get them into.

-          Some of them, I hope.

you

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Question 2: How much does your audience matter to you?

-          I feel my audience is a niche one and they matter very much although it’s often hard to find them.

-          A lot

-          Audience is everything if you are a publishing author. If you write solely for your self – that’s another game altogether

-          A great deal.

-          My audience is very important to me, their comments and feedback keep me inspired to continue writing for those whose tastes veer from the norm

-          I write the stories that I can put my hear and soul into. My audience is ever so important, but I can’t write a genre that I have no interest in.

-          Vital. If you want your book to sell.

-          A lot

-          A lot, but in the end the only judge is me. If I’m not entertaining me then I doubt I am entertaining the audience.

-          Fair bit

bests

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Question 3: Do you think best-seller writers have fine-tuned antennae with which they detect the general taste?

-          I’m sure some do, but others may be best sellers because they’re celebrities and have employed ghost writers. But other variables such as luck and timing are also important.

-          No

-          Yes quite possible- also a shot of luck, and sometimes their books are so good they generate a new taste.

-          Probably.

-          Not really, I think they choose to write in the most popular genre, generally, which gives them the widest pool of potential readers. Then they need to have a compelling plot. Once someone has had one bestseller they have a huge pool of people willing to try their next book, but if it doesn’t live up to the first book they will lose that audience quickly.

-          I think that if an author writes chic-lit, mysteries, and romance (geared for younger readers) they can sell books, if they write reasonably well. I have an antenna but I go with my gut. I put too much into a book to try and write something I don’t really want to. It wouldn’t be any good.

-          I think they pick the trends and look out for what is hot right now. Sometimes, though, they make the trends.

-          No

-          No. I think they write good work and then circumstances turn the readers towards them.

-          Again, some of them.

writing

 

 

 

 

 

 

Question 4: Is it possible to learn to adapt your writing to the taste-of-the-day?

-          That’s interesting , Hannah, because I feel that my writing is very contemporary in style and yet I wouldn’t necessarily say ‘it’s the taste of the day’. For me, the taste of the day – certainly in terms of genre is – for paranormal and also for trilogies, although some writing is perennially popular eg romance. But I think you’re asking more about writing style. I guess you can learn about writing in a contemporary style eg more concise sentences, shorter sections, shorter books etc but if it isn’t something instinctive then that might make it more of a chore, certainly more challenging at any rate.

-          Yes

-          If you want to, yes – but you should only do so if it interests you. For example, I’d never write a zombie book – I’d be terrible at because it is not a topic I like or know about.

-          Yes.

-          I’m sure it IS possible, but it doesn’t interest me.

-          It’s possible for some writers.

-          If you want to sell books I think you have to do this to some degree.

-          Yes

-          It must be possible, but what fun would it be?

-          I am trying

old

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Question 5: Could it be related to age, e.g. not being in touch with what is en vogue when you get older?

-          I think age is a factor but I find it fascinating, for instance, watching the changes in language and colloquialisms. I think it’s important to keep abreast with changes in such things if you want characters to have authenticity and speak in the lingo of the day. Equally, if your novel is set in the past then it’s also important for the language and other details to be authentic. It really irks me, not only in books, but in TV series that are set in the past when they use figures of speech from a much later time.

-          NO

-          There are always a wide range of tastes – older writers can write for the 90 million baby boomers in Nth America – know your audience!

-          Yes.

-          Doubtful, my work is not for the ypung ;)

-          It could be.

-          I think we can all be young at heart. But you need to read what your readers are reading and try to tune in from there.

-          Yes

-          No, people are people. Nothing has changed except a few words and phrases.

-          Yes, I can relate to an internet world, but smartphones & texting are still unknown territory.

thought

 

 

 

 

 

 

Question 6: Anything else you’d like to add to this topic?

-          I just want to thank you for the opportunity to partake in this thought-provoking discussion. Thanks Hannah!

-          No

-          I cannot bring myself to write down to my readers: so I don’t.

-          Building an audience is a difficult thing. Consistency has to be a big part of it. People who buy one of your books and like it must get the same experience if they buy another.

-          <3

 

 

On book trailers

Written By: Hannah Warren - Aug• 31•14

plaatje

Some of you may be surprised to learn that writers use book trailers – short (1 to 2-minute videos usually on YouTube) to promote their published work.

Book trailers are a fairly recent phenomenon in the publishing business. They exist no more than a decade and find their origin in the movie trailer. Since the development of video sharing sites such as YouTube, book trailers have really taken off. Their idea is to pique interest in the newly released book so they’re exclusively meant as an extra advertising tool to pitch sales.

Most trailers are produced by publishers but plenty-a self-published author prides himself on producing his own these days. There are various apps and DIY kits to help you create your professional-looking book trailer.

Usually (but freedom is everything!) the trailer starts with the book’s cover and from there develops in a number of shots with text and underlying music. However, they vary greatly in how they are produced. Some look like fully scripted mini-movies, while others are just enhanced PowerPoint presentations. The one thing they share in common is the desire to highlight the book, and convert viewers into buyers. A good trailer is supposed to help with that, to boost the credibility of your book. If you have a video that is shot beautifully and perfectly covers the atmosphere of your book and meets today’s high levels of visual expectation, you may be able to use your trailer as the perfect tool to get noticed.

But above all, it needs to look professional. The way you package and present your video has a direct effect on your potential readers, publishers, reviewers, etc.

booktrailer

 

It’s true, the popularity of book trailers has exploded, and apparently some have gone viral. Still, if I type in ‘book trailers gone viral’ in Google, the harvest is meagre. Just one hit showed up immediately: Kelly Corrigan’s home-made book promotion trailer with millions of viewers.

Who reads these days and who – consequently – watches book trailers? Is that our problem? I guess that in order to attract attention to your trailer, it will have to be extraordinaire, surprising, beautiful, unique and then – perhaps – with a pinch of luck, you might have yourself a winner. Maybe yours can go viral and help you sell more copies of the book than you ever expected.

A girl can dream, no?

Anyway, I’m proud of my own new book trailer for Casablanca, My Heart and don’t want you to miss it. My colleague at Thorstruck Press, the author Paul Rudd (yes author from the UK, not the other one!) created the movie and I assisted with the text. I have no idea if it meets all the above-mentioned requirements but I love it. When I just checked it had had 123 views since 21 August and 8 likes and that made me relatively happy.

Casablanca, My Heart book trailer

So don’t forget to click on the link, and please like my book trailer and subscribe if you want. Let’s go viral!  :D

 

Thorstruck Table Talk with…. Elaina J. Davidson

Written By: Hannah Warren - Aug• 28•14

elaina

Today, I’m sharing my table with Elaina J. Davidson, a fantasy writer from South-Africa. Elaina fires my curiosity. We haven’t really ‘met’ as writers yet, although I’m fully aware of her lush, exquisite prose, her huge lexicon and that Chameleon-like capacity to go from straight-forward messaging to Muse-filled imaginative writing. I’m not surprised to learn in this interview that she is also a poet. She has vibrancy, sensitivity, a soul that sings. Elaina is one of those writers who melts the words on her forge and turns them into impressive images.

Questions about Thorstruck:

When did you join Thorstruck Press and which book(s) of yours have they published so far?

I was invited last year and joined in January 2014, yay! Thorstruck published The Tinsal Deck and Latticework earlier this year, and The Kallanon Scales now in August.

473130933414208434903

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you like about your new publisher?

On the pulse, progressive and an absolute pleasure to work with!

What’s the best thing that has happened to you since you joined TS?

I became part of a wonderful family!

 

 

Personal questions

Which adjective describes you best? One adjective and I (Hannah) will guess why you chose that one.

Quiet.

Oops! There I go, out of the window, my crystal ball thrown after me! What foolhardiness to think I could say something meaningful about a friend’s character trait? Who would call herself ‘quiet’?

Let me think.

Yes! I’ve never ever heard Elaina raise her voice in any of her comments and remarks. She slipped into my life and my heart when I was first suffering the blow of my daughter’s illness – or somewhere before that, I don’t really recall – but I do recall her suddenly being there, always sending love, positivity, supporting me, supporting others, helping everyone, all the while silently going her own creative way, never shouting or arguing or being ‘political’. (Although I managed to let her make a political statement in this interview :-) ) Elaina’s symbol on Facebook is a butterfly. One of nature’s most beautiful creatures that produces no sound and always brings joy.

If you were transformed into an animal right now, which one would it be?

Tiger. The quiet, solitary, watchful, strong and dangerous feline, and gorgeous too!

You are a time-traveller and have just boarded your comfortable flying limo that instantly takes you to 2114. From your distinct point in space you see the current human race struggle for survival. What change would you implement immediately?

I would remove religion from the equation, and thus the need to ever fight for supremacy of belief.

In what other era would you like to have been born?

In the time of legends :-)

What is your worst habit and why can’t you shake it off?

Procrastination. There is always so much to do that I find it difficult sometimes to prioritise, and thus tell myself it’s okay I can do it tomorrow. Thus, sometimes things don’t get done.

Favourites:

-          Colour? Green

-          Country? Ireland

-          Veggie? Tomato (or is that a fruit???)

-          Season? Autumn

-          Thorstruck author? Everyone!

-          Clothing item? Jeans

-          Tree? Oak

-          Beverage? Coffee

-          Time of day? Night

-          Author? Steven Erikson

-          Family member? Unfair!

-          Body part? Zero

Choose one of your favourites and seduce us into agreeing with you.

Have you ever seen green so much that you think you fell into a dream? That is Ireland for you! It isn’t called the Emerald Isle for nothing :-) Ireland is steeped in history, what with ruins and standing stones dotting the landscape, and is pretty with hedges and stone walls and tiny cottages … and glorious in castles, lakes, hills, trees, foxes, rabbits, ravens and crows and magpies, and bridges, pubs, towns, boats … I could go on and on! Ireland is in my soul forever.

Dislikes:

-          Politician? Mugabe

-          Genre? Happily-ever-after

-          Food? Green beans

-          Chore? Ironing!

-          Sport? All-of-it

-          Author? Seriously, I don’t dislike anyone intensely enough for a name to come up

-          Group? As above

-          City? Johannesburg

-          TV-programme? Soaps

-          Fashion style? None

-          Job? Accounts

-          Character trait? Complacency

-          Climate? Wind!!!!!!!

Choose one of your dislikes and in flaming words convince us of its horrors.

Why do I dislike Accounts??? I have nothing against keeping records, but find the drudgery of having to record every cent spent, then having to balance everything, the worst kind of mind-numbing device ever invented by the human race. I took Accountancy at school, thinking it was a subject that would stand me in good stead later in life, and hated it. I worked for a time in the Accounts department of a bank … and despised it. I think you get that ‘dislike’ here is a tame word! Dry figures in columns, bought here, spent there, made a loss here, a slight profit there, all good, yes, required, yes, but not ever again will I do it. There is nothing creative in there, in my opinion. My record keeping is in my fashion, and so what if it doesn’t quite balance? :-)

What was the best lesson you ever learnt?

I have lived in three different countries and learned that life is generally the same no matter where you go. On a basic level- find the local store, the local fuel station and so forth, and you carry on living generally as you did before. Faces change and scenery, culture, expectations, and yet it isn’t so different. If we could really understand that about ourselves, there would be little need for confrontation.

Choose what you like best. You must choose!

-          City or countryside – countryside

-          Car or train – train (although not so much in Africa!)

-          Man or woman – as true friends, nothing beats the sisterhood

-          Night or day – night for writing, day for nature’s sounds

-          Ebook or pocket – pocket

-          Main course or dessert – main course (I don’t have a sweet tooth, although you could bend my arm for cheesecake)

-          Flower or beast – Love flowers, but love having kitty with me to enjoy them :-)

-          Sea or mountains – mountains

-          Sex or talk – talk

-         Mud bath or ice bath – mud bath! Brrrr!

-         Online friends or neighbours – online friends

-         Kids or old folk – kids

-         Thinking or doing – thinking

-         Agreeing or disagreeing – um, depends on the subject!

On writing:

To what extent do dreams play a part in your writing?

Huge. Many of the short stories in Latticework, for instance, are based on dreams. Some of the stranger scenes in my Lore series come directly from visitations in the dark. In The Kallanon Scales Tristamil stands before a wall with runes on it- another dream …

Which word encompasses your writing style best?

Imaginative, I hope!

Describe your writing spot in three colourful sentences.

This is what it will be (have just moved house): An L-shaped desk which will probably always seem untidy, because it’s not about neatness, rather the creative prompts. It will be on a mezzanine with 360 degree view- mountains on the one side, rural directly below, ocean beyond- and I’m wondering how much work I’ll actually get done with a view like this!

Writers tend to observe their fellow humans everywhere they go, always on the hunt for potential new characters. When did you first realize you were shamelessly staring at your own species?

I don’t look so much as listen. I’ve always listened to others speak and that is how I discover human nature.

Who is your all-time favourite character. Your own or someone else’s.

His name is Elianas, and he makes an appearance in every Lore book, in a manner of speaking, but it’s only in Lore of Sanctum (the final four volumes) that he steps from the shadows. Boy oh boy, he is absolutely my favourite character of all time!

If you have other obligations in life next to writing, how many percent of yourself is writer, you reckon?

I’d like to say 100% because writers think about writing even when not doing so, but realistically? Probably around 50% of the time – unless there’s a deadline involved!

You are a successful genre writer but now your publisher has decided to push you out of your comfort zone by ordering you to write a book in a genre which is absolute not your cup of tea. Like an actor, you will have to be able to fit the new role. Which genre would your publisher give you? Share the first paragraph of this novice work with us.

My publisher understands I am most comfortable with fantasy :-) but I am working on a literary novel (very hard for me and it may still morph into the fantastical!). Here’s an excerpt:

The lime green table top stinks of rotten cheese. This wasn’t a conscious thought then; it comes to me now, years later, when life has instilled an abhorrence of anything cheese. My dislike began that day. It was the dining room that stank, not the table, I know that now, but kids’ judge according to what is before them at a given moment. On that day, at that table, I did wonder if anyone had cleaned the surface of the horrid thing before calling us to our meal, and I remember wrinkling my nose in disgust, only to earn a smack against the side of my head.

THANK YOU for joining me at my table, sweet-smiling Elaina!

Elaina’s Bio

Elaina is a galactic and universal traveller and dreamer. When writing she puts into words her travels and dreams, because she believes there is inspiration in even the most outrageous tale.

Elaina was born in South Africa and grew up in the magical city and surrounds of Cape Town. After studying Purchasing Management and working in the formal sector as a buyer, she chose to raise and home-school her children. She started writing novels around 2002, moving from children’s stories, poetry and short stories to concentrate on larger works. She lived with her family for some time in Ireland and subsequently in New Zealand. Returned now to South Africa, she realises the vibrancy of Africa has much to do with the inspirational side of her work. Something happens daily, something to shock, something to uplift … and the colours and diversity of nature itself fires the imagination.

Elaina has published the Lore of Arcana series – The Infinity Mantle, The Kinfire Tree, The Drowned Throne, The Dragon Circle – with Wild Wolf Publishing, and The Tinsal Deck and Latticework with Thorstruck Press, and Thorstruck has just launched the first in the Lore of Reaume series as well – The Kallanon Scales. She has self-pubbed Our Friend Thomas Henson and Lore of Arcana, a companion work for the first series.

Elaina’s Links:

Elaina’s Writing World http://elainajdavidson.blogspot.com/

Bards and Tales http://bardsandtales.blogspot.com/

Multiverse Tales http://multiversetales.blogspot.com/

Facebook Author Page http://www.facebook.com/ElainaJDavidsonAuthor

Lore of Arcana http://www.facebook.com/LoreOfArcana

Lore of Reaume http://www.facebook.com/LoreofReaume

Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005WUAIWS

 

 

 

Thorstruck Table Talk with… Bill Kirton

Written By: Hannah Warren - Aug• 21•14

Mugshot2-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing Bill Kirton, a man with a huge writing C.V., is somewhat humbling to this modest scribbler from the Dutch Lowlands. In fact, I had the nerves to write him a while ago that I was going through a low point in my writing confidence and he, whom I imagined to bask in a constant warm embrace with the Muse, wrote back:

“I was sorry to read that you’re in a discouraged phase at present. I think we’ve all been there at various times and the ’What’s the point of doing this if no-one’s reading it?’ feeling is fairly common. On the other hand, we do it because we’re writers and not carrying on would deprive us of the pleasure of creating and would, frankly, be sort of unnatural. (…)

I don’t know if it’s any help but I’ve been working on my own WIP for nearly two years now. It’s a sequel to The Figurehead and I’ve been stuck at 30,000 words for months. I’ve no idea whether readers will want it but I want to finish it myself. In a way, I feel I owe it to the characters (which sounds stupid but makes a strange sort of sense to me). And, in the end, we write because we write. It’s who we are and what we do.”

I do hope Bill doesn’t mind my citing parts of our correspondence but I can tell you his words have helped me tremendously to understand the mechanisms behind the Critic-Worm-In-The-Brain-At-Work. All in all, I have a deep respect for this versatile writer, whom I lean against lightly for advice and guidance.

Welcome to my table, dear Scottish Bill, teacher and author!

Questions about Thorstruck:

When did you join Thorstruck Press and which book(s) of yours have they published so far?

June 2014 and, so far, The Sparrow Conundrum and Alternative Dimension have appeared as ebooks.

7949617

 

  1. 7225349

 

 

What do you like about your new publisher?

Speed of response and the way that contacts are between people, not with some nameless entity.

What’s the best thing that has happened to you since you joined TS?

The two books have got covers which reflect much better what’s inside them.

Personal questions

Which adjective describes you best? One adjective and I (Hannah) will guess why you chose that one.

Curious.

That’s a safe adjective for a writer, innit? Without curiosity no creation. But I think there’s more to it where Bill is concerned. If you check out his vast curriculum vitae, you can only imagine with what zest for new ventures he gleefully rubbed his hands together and shouted ‘let’s do it!’ And heh-heh-heh if you see what out-of-his-league genre Bill chose to surprise us with, I must agree Bill is -above all – curious!

If you were transformed into an animal right now, which one would it be?

I’m a Leo so the choice has been made for me.

You are a time-traveller and have just boarded your comfortable flying limo that instantly takes you to 2114. From your distinct point in space you see the current human race struggle for survival. What change would you implement immediately?

This is going to be boring but I’d get rid of the limo and all the other symbols of excess, waste, uncaring power and inequality. We need to refocus our values, put people first, not things. It would need a global indoctrination programme that eliminated artificial social, political and religious hierarchies but indoctrination’s already endemic so by then it would definitely be an option.

 In what other era would you like to have been born?

I think my generation’s been one of the luckiest in all sorts of ways but if you’re forcing me to give it up, I’ll take the 1830s in France.

 What is your worst habit and why can’t you shake it off?

Oh dear, I suppose I sometimes sympathise with Gore Vidal’s quip: ‘It is not enough to succeed, others must fail’. I condemn myself for it and suppress it but if it keeps sneaking up, it must be coming from some psychic area over which I have no control.

Favourites (one word only)

-          Colour? Black.

-          Country? France.

-          Veggie? Asparagus.

-          Season? Spring

-          Thorstruck author? Me.

-          Clothing item? Shirt.

-          Tree? Birch.

-          Beverage? Hot chocolate.

-          Time of day? Night.

-          Author? David Mitchell.

-          Family member? Me.

-          Body part? Thumb.

Choose one of your favourites and seduce us into agreeing with you.
You gaze out over the sea, its dark blue slashes its horizon across the paler blue of the sky – gorgeous. But blue is the colour of conservative politicians. So you shift to red with its roses, poppies and … Labour politicians. So how about yellow? Nope, the Lib Dems have grabbed that one. Green? Well, at least the Green Party’s less toxic but it’s still turned the colour into something political. So, an absence of colour, a darkness, a place where seduction finds no distractions, where everythning’s possible. Yes, black.

Dislikes (one word only)

-          Politician? Most.

-          Genre? None.

-          Food? Shellfish (some).

-          Chore? All.

-          Sport? Shooting.

-          Author? Dan Brown etc.

-          Group? Plutocrats.

-          City? None.

-          TV-programme? ‘Reality’ (All).

-          Fashion style? Most.

-          Job? Sewage disposal.

-          Character trait? Competitiveness.

-          Climate? Benign.

Choose one of your dislikes and in flaming words convince us of its horrors.

I despise those inadequates who insist that being first is all that matters. Stop handing out silver and bronze medals, they say, they’re for losers. Gold, winning, that’s all there is. An athlete trains for years to achieve the desired standard, she makes the final, but if she doesn’t come first, she’s nothing, useless. She’s wasted her time. Teams of all sorts work their way through competitions beating others at every step. Then they lose in the final, so they’re as worthless as the minnows they beat on the way. People who express such sentiments must have something seriously wrong with their psyche, a great gap which swallows up pleasure and allows only one tiny aspect of existence to survive. Being first is the sole satisfaction. How sad to live the life of a winner, surrounded by losers and emptiness, only to discover that there’s one race none of us can ever win, and it’s the only one that matters.

What was the best lesson you ever learnt?

If you want to get lucky, you have to take risks.

 Choose what you like best. You must choose!

-          City or countryside. Countryside.

-           Car or train. Car.

-           Man or woman. Woman.

-           Night or day. Night.

-           Ebook or pocket. Pocket.

-           Main course or dessert. Dessert.

-           Flower or beast. Flower.

-           Sea or mountains. Sea.

-           Sex or talk. Talk.

-           Mud bath or ice bath. Ice.

-           Online friends or neighbours. Online friends.

-           Kids or old folk. Kids.

-           Thinking or doing. Doing.

-           Agreeing or disagreeing. Disagreeing.

On writing:

To what extent do dreams play a part in your writing?

I don’t think they do, unless you mean that daydreaming state when you just relax and let your imagination go wherever it wants. If that counts as dreaming, it’s responsible for some of the best ideas I’ve had. But then developing and communicating the ideas calls for focus and work.

Which word encompasses your writing style best?

Practical

Describe your writing spot in three colourful sentences.

Two desks littered with photos, pens, objects, papers, bits and pieces of the most varied, irrelevant stuff imaginable are set at right angles to each other. Between them, there are boxes, files, a bin, a home-made portable sound studio and, on the wall, an enormous poster for the film Germinal. But, in amongst all the clutter, there’s this monitor, a glowing screen which is all clarity and which channels the galloping, confused thoughts I have into shapes which I can control – a hint of order in the chaos.

Writers tend to observe their fellow humans everywhere they go, always on the hunt for potential new characters. When did you first realize you were shamelessly staring at your own species?

There’s no shame in the staring – it’s what we do with the shapes we see that can be intrusive. We interpret people, turn them into things which they’re not. They give rise to other characters, ones which will never exist in ‘reality’ but which are nonetheless more real than the objects at which we stare. Anyway, I think we stare into rather than at things – and it’s something I’ve always done.

Who is your all-time favourite character. Your own or someone else’s.

I think I fell in love with Emma Bovary when I was about 18. Her choice in men was appalling and I knew I was the one she really wanted and needed. Since then I’ve re-read the book countless times, given lectures on it, realised what a masterpiece it is and how it’s about far more than her. But I still have a big soft spot for her.

If you have other obligations in life next to writing, how many percent of yourself is writer, you reckon?

Writing’s more than putting words on paper or on screen. It’s also how you present yourself to others and to the world through the words you choose and the selves you create. There’s also the fact that many of my ‘other obligations’ also involve writing of some sort, so the writer bit is probably well over 75%.

You are a successful genre writer but now your publisher has decided to push you out of your comfort zone by ordering you to write a book in a genre which is absolutely not your cup of tea. Like an actor, you will have to be able to fit the new role. Which genre would your publisher give you? Share the first paragraph of this novice work with us.

(First, I’d change my publisher.) I suspect they’d ask me to write erotica. In which case:

Dennis was baffled. When Genevieve had asked him to undress, he’d anticipated their usual quick grapple which would be over in minutes and give him plenty of time to tee off with Gerald at four. But then she’d wrapped her fur coat around his waist, made him sit in the chair, taken the laces out of his shoes, bound them tightly around his biceps and told him to go out to the shed and fetch that heavy antique sword which she’d found in Mrs Robinson’s junk shop on Acacia Avenue. It was difficult enough carrying the bloody thing without his shoes slopping loosely as he walked. Back in the kitchen she’d made him stick it hard into the overhead beam then superglued his hands to the hilt. Now, all he could do was stand there and listen to her singing that Country song she liked so much, the one about the blind orphan who’d been savaged by the stepfamily’s wolfhound. Where was the sweet, innocent young girl he’d married? She knew he was supposed to be meeting Gerald, so why was she just calmly chopping carrots on the kitchen table?

“Listen Bubbles, honey,” he said. “I really need to get my clubs organised. I’m supposed to be teeing off at 4.”

She looked up, her eyes cold, strange.

“There’s not going to be any golf,” she said. “I have other plans for the afternoon.”

“But, Gerald… I mean, he’ll be expecting me to…”

“Shut the fuck up,” she said. “If this knife slips and I cut my finger, the next target for it will be your genitals.”

That was scary. She never said ‘genitals’. Whenever she started using posh words he knew he was in trouble. It was that bloody 50 shades book again. When she started reading it, he’d thought it was about cats or knitting patterns for cardigans; that’s the sort of thing she usually read, but from the moment she’d…

His thoughts were interrupted as she approached him, still carrying the knife and two carrots.

“Bubbles, please,” he whined.

“Shut it,” she said. “All these years, all that boring missionary sex… Things are about to change. I want real sex. And it starts here.”

He tried to draw his head back as she pushed the points of the two carrots up his nostrils.

“Now,” she said. “Time for some immaculate fornication.”

(And that, Hannah, is why I don’t write erotica.)

Bill’s Bio:

Bill was born and brought up in Plymouth but has lived most of his life in Aberdeen, Scotland. He’s been a university lecturer, actor, director, television presenter and RLF Writing Fellow. He’s written plays, songs and sketches for radio and stage as well as several novels, two of them satirical, one historical, one for children and a series of five police procedurals. He’s won 4 awards and been long-listed for another. He’s also written five books for students on writing, study skills, and work skills.

Bill’s links:

His author pages are:

Thorstruck Press

Amazon USA
Amazon UK
Website and Blog

Thank you so much for this interview, Bill! It’s been a great pleasure getting to know you better! 

Thorstruck Table Talk with….T.K. Geering

Written By: Hannah Warren - Aug• 13•14

My third interview with one of Thorstruck Press‘s authors is with T.K. Geering aka Tee Gee, a fantasy-writing lady from the garden of England. Tee is currently putting the final touch to a complete new edit of Soulfate. We can’t wait for it to be in print again.

Welcome to my table, funny, precious Tee!

Tee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Questions about Thorstruck

When did you join Thorstruck Press?

Hello my lovely Hannah, well if it’s fun you want…. I can deliver.

I dithered about joining Thorstruck for a while because I was still awaiting my ‘paperwork’ etc from my previous publisher. However I finally joined them in June 2014 as I couldn’t wait any longer and made a complete fresh start.

What do you like about your new publisher?

(1)   Communication (2) Professionalism.

To me it’s like being out on a bitterly cold day with a thin coat and being caught in a blizzard. You turn the corner and there waiting to welcome you is your new home. Lights glowing, a roaring fire waiting to warm you, a cup of your favourite hot beverage as you toast your toes.

What’s the best thing that has happened to you since you joined TS?

Meeting old friends again, making new ones! A brand new book cover which I can’t stop looking at :-)

Personal questions

Who are you?

I’m the witch that circles over your house nightly. See me reflected in the full silver moon, high up in the skies on my broomstick. Black cloak flapping in the night air. Pointed hat held on with used knicker elastic and a little black cat sitting in front of me.

Which adjective describes you best? One adjective and I (Hannah) guess why you chose that one Just one! …..

Mad!

*clears throat* right, affirm that your friend and colleague calls herself mad is tricky business. Before I know it I will be heading towards a fall-out from friendship :-). Still, I know why Tee considers herself mad as a hatter, which she is – of course – only as a matter of speaking. Let me adorn her with some other adjectives that sound a little friendlier but still have the same connotation: humorous, unconventional, surprising, original. Get the picture?

If you were transformed into an animal right now, which one would it be?

A fly. (OK it’s not an animal but…) Imagine being able to fly around completely ignored listening in on conversations. OR an elephant he/she could remember everything I tend to forget.

You are a time-traveller and have just boarded your comfortable flying limo that instantly takes you to 2114. From your distinct point in space you see the current human race struggle for survival. What change would you implement immediately?

I’d land and knock their silly heads together for not listening to the grandparents and parents about global warming. I would then re-educate them about the parched earth they are trying to scratch a living from before showering them in chocolate bars…. No one’s perfect after all. :-)

In what other era would you like to have been born?

Hm…There are so many eras I have lived through already. Colonial America I think in New England BUT with today’s drugs and medicines.

What is your worst habit and why can’t you shake it off?

Re-arranging furniture in the home and office (as the guy I work with will attest too). Why can’t I shake it off? Because change is good. Otherwise you get stale.

Favourites (one word only)

-          Colour? Yellow

-          Country? England

-          Veggie? Carrot

-          Season? Spring

-          Thorstruck author? Me :-)

-          Clothing item? Knickers

-          Tree? Willow

-          Beverage? Tea

-          Time of day? Evening

-          Author? Austen

-          Family member? Granddaughter Madison Teresa (Mad Tee) :-)

-          Body part? Bum

Choose one of your favourites and seduce us into agreeing with you.

Difficult because I have a couple… OK then knickers. Who can resist the feel of a soft silky pair of knickers next to your skin whatever sex you are. Ha Ha I couldn’t resist that.

Dislikes (one word only)

-          Politician? Where can I start? How about Cameron. Nothing to do with politics. I just think he is arrogant.

-          Genre? Horror

-          Food? Brussels sprouts

-          Chore? Changingtheduvet (one word)

-          Sport? Cricket

-          Author? E L James

-          Group? Def Leppard

-          City? London

-          TV-programme? Big Brother

-          Fashion style? Tights

-          Job? Editing :-)

-          Character trait? Lying

-          Climate? Winter

Choose one of your dislikes and in flaming words convince us of its horrors.

I hate Brussels sprouts. We always had them at Christmas when I was growing up. The stench of them cooking used to invade the whole house. Puts me in mind of cow manure. You put one on the fork and it sits there defying you to put it in your mouth. Ugh! Gross. AND they give you very smelly farts … I wont give them house room for anyone!! Well you did ask, lol

What was the best lesson you ever learnt?

To remember to keep my mouth shut from time to time.

Choose what you like best. You must choose!

-          City or countryside

Countryside

-          Car or train

Car

-          Man or woman

Hm that’s a hard one – Man

- Night or day

Night

- Ebook or pocket

Pocket

- Main course or dessert

Main course

- Flower or beast

Flower

- Sea or mountains

Sea

- Sex or talk

Talk – What’s sex? Am I missing out on something?

- Mud bath or ice bath

Mud bath – Love getting down and dirty lol

- Online friends or neighbours

Online friends

- kids or old folk

Kids – you can’t give old folk back to their parents

- Thinking or doing

Thinking

- Agreeing or disagreeing

       Disagreeing because it can encourage good debate at times.

On writing:

To what extent do dreams play a part in your writing?

To be honest I don’t think they ever do. I rarely remember my dreams.

Which word encompasses your writing style best?

Unique

Describe your writing spot in three colourful sentences.

A bamboo chair filled with cushions. Sitting with a laptop on my knees. Back door open to my garden so that I can watch the wildlife at play as I write.

Writers tend to observe their fellow humans everywhere they go, always on the hunt for potential new characters. When did you first realize you were shamelessly staring at your own species?

I was in the canteen at work and an Inspector came over to join me. He was easy on the eye. 6ft something with soft but penetrating eyes. As we talked I knew instantly that I had found Erasmus. He thought I was totally wrapped up in what he was discussing with me.

Who is your all-time favourite character. Your own or someone else’s.

Nickoli Morozov (Nick to his friends) He’s a Russian ‘sleeper’ working under-cover as a fire fighter. His task is to eliminate a female DCI who deals in anti-terrorism. At the moment it’s a short story but I think it will turn into a full novel at some point.

If you have other obligations in life next to writing, how many percent of yourself is writer, you reckon?

Probably about 70% but having said that, my mind is always buzzing with story ideas.

You are a successful genre writer but now your publisher has decided to push you out of your comfort zone by ordering you to write a book in a genre which is absolute not your cup of tea. Like an actor, you will have to be able to fit the new role. Which genre would your publisher give you? Share the first paragraph of this novice work with us.

This actually happened to me when I went to spend a few days with my previous publisher based in San Francisco. They challenged me to write a true crime on an American tragedy. When I heard what it was my instant reaction was “No way!” After a couple of glasses of wine, I realised I was actually plotting the story and writing it in my head. So I agreed. I wept enough tears to fill the river Shannon and it ripped the guts out of me as I was writing it as a fly on the wall. Watching the scenes unfold in front of me. After a four-month break I finally finished it. When they read the MS their reaction was “awesome” with an adjective preceding it.

Here is a paragraph or so from it…

There are nearly six thousand kilometres and the North Atlantic Ocean between us and yet I can imagine myself in this young man’s inner sanctum. It’s a bedroom shrouded in black encompassing total darkness. As my eyes adjust and I look on, I feel several emotions pass through me…

I’m swirling in some sort of black hole in which this man feels safely cocooned. Am I really feeling a sense of total sensory deprivation or is it my imagination running wild? I comfort myself with the thought that maybe he is trying to emulate the safety of his mother’s womb. Who knows…?Whilst trying to come to terms with my naive thoughts, he begins to stir and finally wakes. As he lays there staring at nothing in particular I find myself drawn to his vacant black eyes. They remind me of black coals, just staring into space. I shudder and wonder what he is thinking. Does the blackness of this room bring him comfort, or a feeling of power and dominance? I don’t know and I don’t want to know. He scares me somehow.

I watch in voyeur’s fashion as he moves from the bedroom to………

Tee’s Bio:

I was born and bred in Hasting Sussex England and now live in Kent more commonly referred to as the garden of England. A variety of wild animals comprising, squirrels, foxes and wild birds constantly come calling in my garden for dinner and a chat.
For the last twenty four years I have worked for the Kent Police Force as a volunteer. If you were to ask any of my colleagues why they love working with me they would say ‘because she’s barking mad and completely off the wall.’
I started to write initially in my teens for amusement, but began to write seriously about five years ago. I didn’t chose to write fantasy it chose me… In the past I have lectured to ‘A’ level and Performing Arts students on creative writing. It became an extremely interesting sideline and gave a natural break from editing, reviewing and writing.
My writing style has been compared to J.K. Rowling and Jean M. Auel, and my books are now sold worldwide.

For more info on T.K. Geering please visit the Thorstruck Press website.

7777388