Chatting with authors-Meet Crime Writer Sandi Wallace.

Sandi has a dual career as a fitness instructor and as a writer. So, she embodies the ‘a healthy mind in a healthy body’ concept.

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That’s a terrific way to put it, Sonia. I also like to think of it as balancing my active, outgoing side with my sedentary, solitary one; both are creative and fun. Anyway, thanks so much for inviting me in for a chat!

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

I read every day and it’s almost always crime fiction. I also love to garden, exercise, canoe, relax, visit the country, and be around great people. An evening at home, enjoying a glass of red wine with my hubby, wood fire glowing and popping, the pup at our feet, the cat on my lap, and a crime show on TV is my idea of bliss.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Since about the age of six, my dream was to be a crime writer.

What brings you joy? Lifts your spirits, chases away a down mood.

A walk with the pup, inhaling the pure air up here on our hill, looking across to the nearby hills cloaked in a pretty blue haze never fails to relieve my computer-sore eyes or to put my worries into perspective, and it reminds me just how fortunate I am. Time in our garden, working or just relaxing, or a simple evening with my hubby also lifts my spirits.200508 IMG_1973

 

What is for dinner tonight? What would you rather be eating?

Chicken and salad. Hmm…a medium-hot Indian curry with peas–rice and garlic naan, or a beautiful Italian pasta dish. Mmm.

Can you tell us a little about your books?

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I’d love to! I have three rural crime thrillers—Tell Me Why, Dead Again and Into the Fog— along with a collection of short crime stories with central police characters, On the Job, all being re-released in fresh editions thanks to my new publisher. Even more exciting, two new titles will soon join the others. The second collection of my short crime stories, Murder in the Midst, is out 11 August and it features eight different women with one thing in common: serious crime. And my fourth rural thriller, Black Cloud, publishes on 22 July. I can’t wait!

My novels all star Melbourne journalist Georgie Harvey and Daylesford cop John Franklin. Combining Aussie Noir, parallel stories led by a journalist and a cop, and gritty rural fiction set in a variety of country locations, my novels can be enjoyed as standalone as the crime aspects are wrapped up within each one, though many people prefer to read them as part of the gripping series, following the lives of Georgie, Franklin and other cast members.

If you’d like to know more about my thrillers, please check out https://www.sandiwallace.com/new-aussie-noir/ or visit my Amazon or Goodreads pages.

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What time of the day do you usually write?
I aim for ‘business hours’ for my work and switch focus to quality time with my family at night. In pre-Covid times, that meant my writing sessions fitted around my fitness industry commitments in that work time, but right now I have bonus availability for writing. And of course, I do work outside those hours when the mood or need strikes.

What is the most difficult part about writing for you?
I enjoy all parts of writing—from the first idea right through to professional editing and proofreading the final draft. Marketing is the trickiest part of being a writer for me. What I like most are personal appearances with the opportunity to talk to and connect with readers and aspiring writers.

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How long do you research for a book?

Research can be a big hole that writers fall into, so interesting, that they spend far longer on it than they need to. I try to be disciplined and focused on the process. For my fourth rural crime thriller, Black Cloud, it was important for me to better understand several technical aspects of the situation I was setting up before jumping into the actual writing, as these points held direct consequences for the timeline, action and events. From there, the story evolved quite organically, but there were some further knowledge gaps that I either flagged and addressed after the draft was down, or I initiated the relevant research and added it in as I went.

What drew you to writing crime?

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Another atmospheric cover

I was destined to write crime after deciding it was for me at that tender age of six. Admittedly, I was first drawn to the genre by enjoyment value—books that gave vicarious thrills and danger, broadened knowledge, explored other cultures and places, exercised the brain, and offered an escape from the real world. But I now love crime stories that offer social commentary about topical issues, situations that are believable, are relatable and happening to imperfect people. Reading—and writing—crime fiction makes sense of things and often brings a type of justice or resolution not always possible in real life.

Have you written in other genres?
Crime fiction is my writing passion, but I have written some short stories that aren’t a crime, along with a fair volume of articles and other non-fiction material to develop my writer’s bio and skills.

Did you ever consider using a pseudonym?
Not for my adult crime fiction. My lifelong dream was to write it, so I wanted to put my name to it. One thing I might try one day is writing crime or mystery books for children or young adults. In that case, a pseudonym would be useful to differentiate my books for my audiences.

Do you have a favourite character that you have written? If so, who? And what makes them so special?

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Yes, my two main characters, journalist Georgie Harvey and country cop John Franklin. It’s great to wear their skin, get inside their head, be in their world. Georgie is determined, strong, and sometimes reckless. Franklin is intelligent, loyal, and a maverick. Both have vulnerabilities, strengths and weaknesses, and both have character traits I’d like to own, and others I am happy not to. I am also fond of, and in some cases love to hate, other characters in each of my stories.

Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions?
We’re asking a lot of our readers. To invest in our stories. To care about our characters and the outcome of the situation we’ve built. To suspend disbelief at times. To care enough to finish the story. We want the story to resonate with readers after they finish and for them to recommend our books to others. It follows, then, that we need to feel it with them. While it can leave us vulnerable, a writer’s empathy and bond with their characters, story and readers are invaluable, is genuine and it shines through. (It is advisable to grow a thicker skin for other aspects of being a writer, though.)

Best writing advice you ever received?
Practice, practice, practice. Keep striving. Keep believing.

Do you have a favourite author and a favourite book, and why?
Oh, no! Naming one favourite author or one favourite book is like choosing a favourite child! I am an avid reader of Australian and international crime fiction. My preference is contemporary novels, and though I read many sub-genres of crime, I’m often drawn to rural crime thrillers, psychological thrillers, and police procedurals I also enjoy a good cosy when the mood strikes. I regularly feature my standout crime reads in my ‘Good Reads’ blog posts at https://www.sandiwallace.com/blog/.

What are you reading now?

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Writers are also readers.

Cause and Effect: Vice Plagues the City (Kind Hearts and Martinets Book 1) by Pete Adams, a stablemate in my new publishing house. Pete has a distinctive, witty, British style and his star is Detective Inspector Jack Austin, a ‘self-labelled enigma’ who runs the Community Police Unit from his deck chair, working a variety of cases while struggling with his mental health issues. Only a little way in, I’m enjoying its uniqueness very much already and know it’s going to take a more malevolent turn very soon.

Favourite quote (doesn’t matter the source)

‘You know it’s never too late to shoot for the stars. Regardless’ If today was your last day by Nickelback.

 

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Thanks so much for the chat, Sonia. I’ve had fun. I hope your followers have enjoyed it, too.

Its been fun -thanks, Sandi.

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Website https://www.sandiwallace.com/

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8431978.Sandi_Wallace

Amazon author page https://www.amazon.com/Sandi-Wallace/e/B00TTIYLVS

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/sandi.wallace.crimewriter

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/sandiwallacecrime/

Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com.au/sandiwallace_crimewriter/

BookBub https://www.bookbub.com/authors/sandi-wallace

Book buy links

Tell Me Why http://mybook.to/tellmewhy

Dead Again http://mybook.to/deadagain

Into the Fog http://mybook.to/intothefog

Black Cloud http://mybook.to/blackcloud

 

 

Chatting with Authors- Meet Anna Jacobs, multi published author.

 

Anna ,thank you for joining us today. It’s shame  that your tour of South Western Australia was cancelled, but it has given you the time to answer some questions for us. Anna is usually incredibly busy, and I know  that her talks are very well attended

 

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Anna Jacobs photo © Liz Seabrook .

 

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

Read books, chat to my lovely husband, spend time with friends, watch TV.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

From the age of 10 when I figured out some people earned their living by writing stories, that’s what I wanted to do.

What’s for dinner tonight? What would you rather be eating?

Leftovers and salad bits as we had lunch at our daughter’s cafe. I’m rather apprehensive of eating different things as I have several severe food intolerance’s. One of my favourites is curry and we’re lucky to have an Indian restaurant reasonably close to home which understands gluten free needs and avoids cross-contamination.

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Photo by Naim Benjelloun on Pexels.com

Your hero?

My husband. He’s a wonderful man, kind to everyone he meets and has been so supportive of me in my career. Also, he’s just – gorgeous!

Sigh, what a marvellous tribute, but he’s equally lucky to have you.

If you could choose three people to invite for a dinner party, who would they be and why?

Various friends whom we’ve known for decades. No one famous springs to mind.

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Now to questions about writing .What time of the day do you usually write?

All the hours I can! It’s my favourite activity. I don’t have the housework gene.

What is the most difficult part about writing for you?

I don’t find it difficult, but some stories are easier to write than others, I must admit.

What is your work schedule like when you are writing?

I’m always writing. I work 7 days if I have nothing else on but take days off if I want to do something else.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Standing stock still, going glassy eyed (my husband tells me) and getting ideas either for new stories or ongoing scenes.

Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?

I hear from readers a lot and love it. I have such nice readers.

Do you have a favourite character that you have written? If so, who? And what makes them so special?

Bram, in the Traders series. He’s medium height, not good looking and yet he’s a kind, lovely man, my very favourite hero.

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The Traders Series is five books it starts with The Traders Wife,the The Traders Sister,The Traders Dream,The Traders Gift and finally The Traders Reward

Set in Singapore and Western Australia in the 1860s. New set of main characters, but some links with characters from the Swan River Saga

Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions?

They could write non-fiction, I suppose. I think emotions are necessary to write good fiction and touch readers’ hearts.

You’ve written contemporary and historical fiction. Do you have a preference?

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I’ve also written fantasy and romances. I like writing them all but there isn’t time to do that, so I’ve stuck to what I call ‘relationships stories’ both historical and contemporary. I don’t have a preference. What I enjoy and need is the variety.

Anna has written over eighty books- now that’s variety.

How do you decide whether it will be a book series or a stand alone?

I only write series these days because readers prefer them, and to tell you the truth, I like to find out what happens to my characters from one story. So they have walk-on roles in the rest of a series.

Which comes first for you, the place to the character?

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Re place or character, neither, really. The setup scenario comes first – not the place necessarily, but a very rough and minimal concept of whatever is happening or about to happen. Then I start work on putting the character into that situation and things start to take on life.

So,you think of a situation ( for example this horrid virus right now) and the think who would be involved and where?

Exactly. And the character is like the yeast in a loaf, makes the situation come to life.

Best writing advice?

If you’re just beginning, write a story, polish then set it aside for at least a year and write another story. Writing one story doesn’t usually teach a person to write professionally. And do not rush to self-publish too early on, either, for the same reason. A goldsmith wouldn’t expect to sell the first piece he made, nor should a writer – well, not until it’s been re-polished thoroughly and other stories written.

That is good advice, we all know that this takes time but we are too impatient.

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Worst writing advice you ever received?

Plan your story ahead. I can’t and trying only give me a boring outline of a story that will never work. It’s when my characters come to life in the setup stage that my stories come to life. Some writers can plan ahead and some can’t, some can half-plan. We’re all different. It’s the finished product that counts, not how you get there. If you need to stand on your head in a corner to write, do it. Whatever it takes.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Buying books by other authors – you can learn from them both what to do and what not to do. You need to read a lot to understand what makes good fiction. So anyone who wants to be a writer and doesn’t read doesn’t make me want to read their efforts.

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A french translation for one of Anna’s books

Do you have a favourite author and why?

I have several favourite authors, but it was Georgette Heyer who inspired me to become a writer. And Anne McCaffrey who taught me to use my imagination as vividly as possible.

What are you reading now?

Frances Brody – the Body on the Train. She write Miss Marple-esque detective stories set in the 1920s which hang together well, with a central group of characters who also seem real.

What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?

Georgette Heyer, CJ Cherryh, Nora Roberts, Robyn Carr, Angela Thirkell, Jean Stubbs, Jodi Thomas, Anne McCaffrey, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury – and countless others. I read 3 novels a week, give or take and always have done.

Who is the author you most admire in your genre?

I’m not sure I quite fit into a genre. I get called a saga writer, but a very wise and experienced editor once said I fit squarely between sagas and straight historical novels. See the list of authors  for my favourites.

Favourite quote (doesn’t matter the source)

“Writing a novel is hard work . . . You have to work long and hard even to produce a bad one. This may help explain why there are so many more bad amateur poets around than there are bad amateur novelists . . . any clown with a sharp pencil can write out a dozen lines of verse and call them a poem. Not just any clown can fill 200 pages with prose and call it a novel. Only the more determined clowns can get the  job done . . . Let’s not kid ourselves. It does take self-discipline.” Lawrence Block “Writing the Novel” p11

 

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Writers are also readers.

 

Favourite book/story you have read as an adult?

At 3 a week, I’ve loved thousands of books.

Favourite book when you were a kid

Enid Blyton’s Adventure series.

What famous author do you wish would be your mentor?

None – not because I’m perfect, but because you learn most by doing i.e writing and by reading other authors’ work IMHO. Writing is something you DO not something you talk about, I think.

Anna Jacobs: Historical stories: ‘Perfect Family’ , ‘A Daughter’s Journey’ (8/19), ‘A Widow’s Courage’ (4/20  Modern stories: ‘Bay Tree Cottage’, ‘Changing Lara’ , ‘Christmas in Peppercorn Street’ (10/19), ‘Finding Cassie’ (1/20)  

Find out more, including list of all books  series at: http://www.annajacobs.com

 

 

Chatting with Authors: Meet Lisa Wolstenholme.

Its always exciting to be able to meet a fellow author and I was sad to miss the launch of Lisa Wolstenholme’s book The Sunrise Girl which was held on December 7th at Katharine  Sussanah Pritchard Writers Centre. By all accounts, it was a lively fun event  Luckily Lisa has kindly answered some questions from me about the book and her writing process.

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Lisa Wolstenholme launching her book The Sunrise girl.

The Book is on my To Be Read List. When you read the description you can see why!

The Sunrise Girl By Lisa Wolstenholme

The Sunrise Girl

Paperback, 328 pages
Published December 7th 2019 by MMH Press
ISBN
0648728005 (ISBN13: 9780648728009)
Edition Language
English
QUESTIONS.

Lisa, can you tell us a bit about your background?

I’m from the UK and grew up travelling a fair bit due to my dad being in the Royal Air Force. I gained a degree in computing and spent a good ten years in the industry, but always felt drawn to healing modalities so studied counselling. I ended up working in a crisis service in Leeds, which I loved, but when I came to Perth, I found I couldn’t use my qualifications to work here as a counsellor. I twiddled my thumbs for several years as my daughter went through primary school, and finally joined KSP Writers’ Centre back in 2014.

Have you always wanted to write?

Absolutely. I’ve always loved reading and have a very active imagination, so writing was the outlet I needed to tie those things together.

You have just released a book, tell us a bit about that.

It’s my debut novel, The Sunrise Girl, about Lucy Fraser, a thirty-something woman who, along with her best friend Em, has spent her twenties partying hard. When she eventually gets married to Joe Morris, she soon realises that settling down is not what she wants. Joe dies, and it’s Lucy’s fault, and the desire to escape her woes is so strong that when Em suggests they go on holiday to the party island of Ibiza, Lucy can’t resist. But Ibiza fuels her hedonistic desires further, so Lucy must figure out what makes her tick and what she truly wants. The key themes in the story are conquering guilt, escapism, addiction, authenticity, and doing what we ‘want rather than what we ‘should’ do.

What inspired it?

I’ve supported many people who struggled with a variety of issues such as addiction and escapist tendencies, so I wanted a character who was heavily flawed and struggling with things that people could relate to. I’ve also witnessed several of my friends go through rocky relationships and marriage breakdowns, so I wondered what made the relationships fail, and how much each person gives up being part of a couple. I wanted to write something relatable in terms of everyday issue and vices, such as drinking heavily and smoking, and what purposes those addictions fulfilled, to make the characters more authentic.

How long did it take to write?

The ideas and ‘scenes’ have been floating around in my head since around 2011, but I didn’t start writing it until 2014. By that time, it was like a movie playing in my mind, so writing it was pretty quick. The rewriting, on the other hand, well-thank God I joined a writing group and learnt how to write properly! And here we are, eight years later!

How do you capture your ideas?

I’m a visual person, so I’ll see something that then sets off a chain of events in my head and images start popping left, right and centre. It can take a while to get them organised, but once an idea comes, it takes hold until I’ve got it out of my system.

What are you working on now?

I’ve just finished going through the second round of edits on my Paw Prints of Love anthology story for Gumnut Press, and after a short writing break over the summer, I plan to get back into writing The Sunset Girl to tell Em’s story.

Do you work on more than one thing at once?

For sure. I’m easily distracted! What is the best and worst advice you received as a writer?

The best advice is to just write regardless of your level of expertise. Chloe Higgins held a workshop at KSP entitled, ‘How to Vomit a Novella’. It was basically telling us to get over ourselves and our hang-ups and just get stuff written. It doesn’t matter how badly written it is-rewrites and edits can help with that-it’s vital to get those creative ideas down on paper.

The worst advice I’ve been given is to ‘show don’t tell’ all the time. I agree with showing not telling in general, but too much of it can stifle the pace of a story and make it way too descriptive, leaving little room for the reader’s imagination to come into play.

Comment by Sonia- that kind of advice re-show don’t tell can leave a beginner quite baffled!

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Write as often as you can, and it doesn’t matter if you think it’s shit. Join a writing group to meet like-minded souls. Read. Read. Read.

Favourite authors?

Paulo Coehlo, Gillian Flynn and Elizabeth Gilbert are a few.

Thank you and congratulations  on  your book

Thank you for interviewing me. 😊

I hope that I  asked Lisa the questions that you would have asked .

You can find her on Facebook  Lisa Wolstenholme Author.