Well, I’ve been offline for a little while because I had to go through some medical stuff but I wanted to catch up with you and say hi!
And when I say hi, I talk… A LOT. So you have my blog, something FREE I’m announcing, and a Q&A… how’s that? Sound good? Hurray, read on…
So, you’ll be pleased to know that Full Circle is in with my publisher and we’re also going to give you a fully rounded novel version of The Whistleblower. It’s going to contain the same key points you need for The Above & Beyond Series but this version, in Susan’s voice is going to take in all that Renee and Frei were going through when their little Missourian entered their lives.
For those of you who haven’t read The Whistleblower, don’t forget that the two series are completely FREE on here which I’m going to put in Mobi. and ePub formats for you on here too. Please just remember that I’m an author not a typesetter so if there’s crazy formatting going on, let me know and I’ll do my best to resolve it.
New Series to Download!
Also, I miss writing to you. I really enjoyed giving you episodes so I’ve decided I’m going to give you another FREE downloadable monthly series. Yup, you heard me. This one is going to be a crime series set in South Wales called Candleford.
Aggie Candleford is fresh from prison… again. She’s stuck working at a fast food restaurant and licking her wounds only for a childhood friend, Ellen Chalmers, to beg for her help. She has a dead doctor in her exclusive holiday complex, a whole host of powerful suspects and if it leaks out, Chalmers stands to lose the only money she has left. Chalmers can only delay calling in the police for a week before someone realises the doctor is missing.
It’ll take someone disreputable, someone who doesn’t mind stealing and lying to weed out the truth and Aggie has a knack for just that. She has to work fast to determine whether the doctor died naturally… or if the powerful suspects have an even murkier side than her.
It’ll work just like The Whistleblower did, with a downloadable PDF but also I’ll attempt mobi. and ePub for you too.
You’ve been sending in your kind thoughts, support and questions so I thought it might help to answer them:
When is the next Aeron book coming out?!!
I know that it’s highly unusual that there’s no strict publication date for any of Aeron’s books. That being said they are normally released during the autumn period (September to December.) I promise that the emphasis is on getting the book right, making sure the story is better with every book and that you get the best possible experience. But… don’t forget, I always try to give you plenty of Aeron to read with The Whistleblower and I’ll be writing you a new series called Candleford.
Why is Aeron dense/blind/ignorant… to Renee. WHEN are they getting together… you hear? WHEN? [mini spoiler alert – up to Black Ridge Falls]
This always gives me a giggle. You see, Aeron is 27 nearly 28 when you meet her and in Full Circle she’s 29 nearly 30. She’s gone from being locked up and forgotten in The Empath to realising how she feels AND saying it out loud in Black Ridge Falls.
She’s been through a lot since she first walked onto the page but hopefully you see that she is really blossoming slowly, steadily but surely. With Aeron, she’s strong, she’s good, she’s unbelievably heroic and unfailingly compassionate… but she’s also a woman inside. One who grew up thinking no one loved her and she was incapable of loving anyone romantically.
She’s naïve to many things yet feels so very wise in others. In short, she’s human and unsure and conflicted which makes her a joy to write. Stick with her though… you never know what is possible with her.
You’ve sent in Full Circle, so how did you tackle bringing the whole series together?
Oy… big question! I mean it’s a huge book (in size too) and took some time to get right and I’m pretty sure my editor may pull far more out of me yet.
But, I had the closing scene in my head when I began the series. I knew where Aeron got to, I knew roughly how she got there but I had no idea how beautiful writing her would be. I feel so blessed to have been allowed to tell her story.
Aeron’s voice, her sayings, her way of moving just flows and I had to go to some really, really hard places with her that had me crying while I wrote. I know I pulled back sometimes from really going for it which will need to be resolved before it hits the virtual bookshelves. Full Circle really echoed where I was while writing it. I’m not sure if that’s an energy anyone will pick up on but maybe it’s there beneath the words.
Then there were countless plot threads to tie up, the overarching theme to reveal, a whole cast of characters to sort out, several locations involved, and that was without trying to ensure all the details I gave as extras from The Whistleblower got filtered in. I’m not sure how well I did but it took every tool in my writing box!
Without saying too much, the two big things I want people to feel when they close that cover (or electronic equivalent) are: that you feel it resonated with you and that you want to go back and read the whole series again!
How did you feel about finishing up Aeron’s story?
Relieved… I got her there. I absolutely adore her and the entire cast so it felt good, really good that she was where I’d visualised her being.
Um… not really because she’s not gone anywhere. It’s Aeron, so she’s always hanging out in my head somewhere. Ask me that again though when I haven’t hung out with her on the page in a while…
Do you feel you’ve changed/grown as a writer since you started writing Aeron? Can you take us book by book.
Yes, massively. I think I’m far more aware of the elements I need to use when and where.
I had this raw story and way of writing when I penned The Empath and I grew with each book. Back then The Empath was very thriller like and only introduced snippets of the story that lay underneath. I made the decision to only have Aeron’s POV for sixteen chapters before I let you into Renee’s head. I broke a rule entirely on purpose because I wanted you to feel that connection to Aeron but also to understand her isolation and loneliness.
In Blind Trust I wanted to break more rules so I deliberately used first, second and third person POVs but for a reason. Yannick needed to feel threatening yet completely different from Sam’s voice. I also needed Renee to look as guilty as Aeron had because I was mirroring their experiences. Then I took Renee from the story actively for the best part of the book because Renee is utterly human and emotional. It’s something people feel is “weak” and it does irritate some readers but, the more you know of her, the more I hope it was clear how conflicted and courageous she was for not being perfect.
I felt like I jumped a level in Untrained Eye because I learned a lot from writing La Vie en Bleu which I took through the GCLS Writing Academy. Sandra (Moran) had an entirely different style to me but I remember her talking to me about slipping in research during a chat. She taught me a whole load of things without even realising but it triggered a new tool I could play with. I had to ease Renee out to distance to give Frei the time and space to announce herself as the third part in their relationship. Frei, who was unlikeable had to become likable and Renee needed to show how unlikable she could be.
Then, when I began being mentored by Emma Darwin my level jumped. Hindsight was a book I really challenged myself to break more rules in. It’s backstory in a front story and Aeron and Renee are present but it’s Frei’s past that dominates. I also needed to introduce the physical toll on Aeron but cement the bond between the three of them.
Noble Heart was tough for me to write because it was a risk. Up until then, Aeron and Renee were under the radar. Romances for the three of them were all under the radar but then I had to make the decision that was right for Aeron and it meant that their relationships would all change. It was hard because I lost some readers while others demanded “pay offs” and I had to fix on what was right for Aeron.
Black Ridge Falls was probably the easiest book of the series to write. It was simple:– get her up the mountain, get her off it. Only I had a crunch point pivotal to the series which I had to hide in plain sight. I needed to lose every pronoun for Owens’ voice and I had to give you enough of what happened to Charles Black without actually telling you why… and then, of course, I made the decision for Aeron to do… what she did… where she did… and well… I was sure readers were going to throw things at me. (Some might have but I was too far away.)
Full Circle demanded I used all the tools I’d learned to date. I had to look at weighting the narrative between Aeron and rest of the cast. I had to make sure everyone felt present and their stories made sense to the overall picture. I also had a lot to throw at the reader because when we hit the crunch part, it was full throttle.
What have you learned about yourself as a writer?
I am learning all the time. One thing that’s resonating with me right now is that, when you put pen to paper, you have to write the book you want to write.
I’ve learned that when you strip away all the business side and the publicity side, I’m still a writer underneath. I love creating stories, pouring myself into them, researching, learning, sharing what I’ve learned and feeling the buzz of completing a manuscript. Whether a million people read my work or two, I’m an author, I’m an artist and I love what I do.
What would you tell newer writers?
Do what you love and love what you do. Write from your heart and soul and write what matters to you. I recently cheered myself up before an operation by reading my own work. I write the books that I will read over and over again. So, even if no one else out there loves them, I do. Do what you love and love what you do.
What up and coming projects do you have for us to look out for?
It’s me, so there’s always a new story to talk about. There’ll be a crime novel out later on this year which I will talk about when I can. At the moment The Île Blanche Series is on hold because I needed to divert my attention to making sure I got Aeron right. There will also be Pulling The Rug to look out for which will be a rework of Aladdin. Then there’s The Whistleblower in novel form and Candleford online here.
At the moment, I’m more inclined toward crime and thrillers but it doesn’t mean there won’t be romance.
Recently, my writing has changed and is taking in what I naturally found easier and fusing it with what I’ve learned and am continuing to learn to harness. I feel that I’ve reached a point where I’m happy to say “this is me, my style, my writing. I’m proud to be me” whereas before I think that I wasn’t so comfortable. Hmm… maybe I grew a bit?
Anything you want to say to the readers?
A whole lot! Mainly, I want to say thank you. I’m a little bit different and my writing reflects that. But, it’s a double edged pen for me sometimes so it’s really a huge boost when someone goes out of their way to say how much they enjoyed a book. It reminds me that someone out there hears me and an insanely wise mentor said to me recently that writing is about that, it’s about hoping people hear you. I hope that when someone reads my work they feel good, they are moved and they leave the story uplifted.
So that’s what I want to say, I guess. I hope I make you smile. I hope my words move you and inspire you. I hope I give you sleepless nights and make you “shhh” the person next to you because you’re reading “one more chapter.”
Thank you very much for sticking with me and supporting me. I will do my best to continue put you through the mill.