The prequel to my Battle of the Undead series will be out soon – my publishers, Evernight Teen have arranged a virtual book tour to celebrate the release.
The prequel to my Battle of the Undead series will be out soon – my publishers, Evernight Teen have arranged a virtual book tour to celebrate the release.
So, why do a self-interview?
Well, Nicky at the risk of appearing schizophrenic I thought perhaps I could use this opportunity to ask myself the questions that don’t tend to get asked in other interviews. And of course, be incredibly honest with my answers. You can’t lie to yourself, well you can, but it’s not healthy!
What advice would you give a new writer?
Honestly, only go into writing if you are passionate about it. I love writing, always have, but if you don’t have the time and energy to properly dedicate to it, it’s best to find another hobby/ career. People who are outside the publishing industry tend to not know the efforts that have to go in to getting published, sure they’ve probably read big time author stories romanced up to the point where it’s three steps away from reality, but they’ve not experienced it themselves. To be fair, until they do, they won’t understand. There are lots of friends and even family in my life that only see the end product of the book in their hand, they don’t see the nights I stayed up editing, the lunch times I worked on my blog, and all the spare hours I could get my hands on to actually write. Only other authors truly appreciate these efforts. So, finding other writers to talk to is paramount to keep your sanity!
What question do you dread in interviews?
How did you come up with the idea for your novel? I hate seeing this question as the answer is always awful sounding. There are so many ideas, characters and plots that go into writing a novel and they all spring from somewhere – some can be very personal. I always try to be honest in interviews, so I find it really hard to spin my answer in such a way that I don’t sound psychotic or condescending!
Your new book Bad Timing continues the Battle of the Undead series with Evernight Teen. Was writing a second book harder?
Oddly, no. I have an overall plot for the series in my mind, so it kind of felt cathartic to get the story on paper. I love the character of Britannia and I feel a certain sense of duty to get her to her ending, whether it’s happy or not. The one thing I am worried about with it though, is that you have to read the books in order for them to make sense. I’d hate for a reader to start with Bad Timing as they’d have no idea what is going on!
How do you feel about promoting your own books?
I’ve worked in sales and marketing now for 16 years, so I really enjoy it. As the author, I’m passionate about my work so getting it out to the widest audience possible is as much my responsibility as my publishers. Some days I can’t write a coherent sentence to save my life, so it’s nice to have another job to get on with which is just as productive. I also really appreciate it when readers and bloggers help me to get the word out – makes me feel like I’ve done something right.
Tell us something about yourself that you wouldn’t normally reveal…
I’m highly competitive but incredibly lazy. This makes for an interesting combination. My inner self is pretty much always at war. A big part of me wants nothing more than to turn on Netflix and binge watch with a tub of mint choc chip ice cream. The other part of me wants to win, to push myself to my limits and get to the top with hard work and dedication. The latter tends to win more battles, but it’s an ongoing war!
What do you feel passionately about?
Helping other writers find their way. I have a writers’ group that’s really busy and I’m volunteering to do creative writing workshops for local schools and libraries. Writing can really help to focus you, exorcise demons and if all goes well give you an extra income. I’m currently striving to provide the support for wannabe authors that I didn’t get when I was younger. I also really enjoy inspiring other writers. I have quite a busy mind, so playing muse to others is a great way for me to focus too. If I could get a job as a muse, I’d be there like a shot!
What was the best story you ever wrote?
I love all my stories, I wouldn’t put them out into the world if I didn’t. But there are three short stories that I put my whole heart into. For Audrey appears in the So Long and Thanks for all the Brains anthology – this story is about a zombie dog protecting his child owner in a zombie uprising. It never fails to make me cry! Bad Baby appears in the Bleeding Ink anthology. It was an idea based in science but marinated in emotion. The Red Fingers appears in Grotesquerie anthology, is probably the most ‘out of the box’ story I’ve written, it’s all from the point of view of a musical talent. The Battle of the Undead series published through Evernight Teen is my first sole author books, so these will always have a special place in my heart.
How do you deal with bad days?
Everyone has them, I try to remember this, but I have developed a trick that makes me feel so much better…the montage. Montages are mostly found in scripts but sometimes in prose; it’s where a character skips through a portion of their lives in short scenes; this leads them to their destiny, usually with uplifting music – think Rocky training to Eye of the Tiger. After a bad day, I sit down, close my eyes and imagine my day as a montage of events (usually to the song Nine to Five by Dolly Parton) Once finished I feel better, that I the protagonist of my own story is heading toward my destiny, one country song montage at a time!
What are you working on at the moment?
Well, it’s the last installment of Battle of the Undead, Bad Karma and also the 2nd installment of my new series, The Twisted and the Brave. I also have another story eating away at my brain, like a toothy worm – but I’ll update you all on this one when I know more.
Due out very soon through Evernight Teen, the prequel to Bad Blood and Bad Timing – Traitors’ Gate. A historical urban fantasy that takes you back to where it all began…
EVERNIGHT TEEN is celebrating their anniversary this month with a 3rd Birthday Blog Hop. It’s EVERNIGHT TEEN’s birthday but we’re giving out the presents with a Grand Prize of a $100 Amazon gift certificate!
EVERNIGHT TEEN books feature fresh teen fiction that is raw, gritty and real. Whether paranormal, contemporary, sci-fi or suspense, our books are about real issues and pack a strong emotional punch. You’ll find cutting edge fiction that today’s young adults can relate to and will keep you turning the pages long into the night.
I’m proud to be an EVERNIGHT TEEN author. Enjoy this tease from my book, Bad Timing – Battle of the Undead Book #2
“If there’s someone there, you’d better show yourself. Unless you want me to cleave off your head,” I shouted. I heard a cough and saw a tall, well-built man slip from the shadows. He wasn’t bad looking, but his dark hair was styled with cement-like gel and his eyes were far too blue to be natural.
“Apologies. I wasn’t sure if you were friend or foe.” He nodded at me.
He was a vampire, probably a little younger than me.
“Who are you?” I asked.
“My dear, you are the one trespassing on my territory. It should be me asking questions of you.” He gave me a sly smile, as if he was trying to get away with something. Like he’d farted and was waiting for me to smell it.
“If this was truly your territory you’d have attacked me, not slunk in the shadows like a sniveling child.” I pulled my axe back so I held it by the handle and it rested on my shoulder.
He put his hands up; he was unarmed and laughed beneath his breath. “I now understand the Elders rule.”
He was referring to the old, no female vampires rule – misogynistic t scumbags. It was then that I got a good whiff of blood, live human blood.
“Have you got people here?”
“Why yes, we’ve collected a few to take to the Highlands. Would you like to join me for a drink?”
And he’d been openly feeding off them, great!
“No, I’ll give that a miss. Where are they?”
“In the store room, back there. They’re uninfected,” he said with a sweeping invitation with his arm. “I must say, I’ve never seen a female vampire so beautiful.”
Good grief, did he think this was some sort of date? That we would sit back and watch Dawn of the Dead whilst munching on scared survivors? What an asshat!
I narrowed my eyes and walked to the door he was pointing to. He smiled and gestured for me to open it. I did. Now I was fully aware that this could have been a trap, but even if a hundred vampires descended on me, I still had an axe to Red Queen their asses back to Wonderland.
“May I introduce myself?” he said behind me.
“No.” I stepped through the door and was hit with the smell of both old and fresh blood. I took in the large warehouse back quickly: boxes were piled high with electronics, gadgets and God only knows what other useless items, but there were also people crouching by them. They were blindfolded and roped together with a thick unforgiving plastic vine. Some were still bleeding from where he had fed off them. Some were whispering prayers in ragged voices. Some slowly pulled at their bindings, more like they were an itch than a problem. But all cowered when they heard his voice. There was a collective shiver that even caught me in its terrible wake. Whoever this vampire was, he was truly living up to monster status now.
“Here,” he said as he lifted the plastic rope and pulled the nearest person toward us, “have a drink.”
I looked at the young boy bound and blindfolded before me; he had blood all down his Simpson’s t-shirt and he’d pissed himself, probably days ago now. This was what the Highlands were going to be like, just with slightly less feeling and more order.
“My name is Ludwig. What’s yours, my blonde haired vixen?” He pushed the boy at me and I moved so that I was stood between them.
“What?” Ludwig’s eyes widened. He’d heard of me, the lack of blue hair had been what had put him off the initial recognition. If I’d looked more like my old self he’d have run from me, or attacked me in the shop. I might never have discovered his little person larder.
“Yeah, I was forced into a make under.” I smiled sweetly at him, “Ludwig, you have something on your sleeve.” I swung the axe so hard that it cleaved his arm straight off. Blood sprayed across me, splattering my face and streaking the front of my hair. Unlike human blood, vampire blood is cool, smells metallic and tastes like sea water, kind of like your blood tastes to you. Some vampires get a taste for their own kind; those were usually the ones that the Elders sent me after.
Ludwig’s look of shock was only matched by his girlish scream. He clutched at his leaky stump and shuddered. I lifted the axe again, this time to cleave off his head, but he must have regained a modicum of resolve, as he caught the axe’s blade in mid-swing. I quickly slipped my hands down the handle and, palms up, slammed it vertically so that its blade crushed against his skull. I heard a sickening crack as bone crumbled against the force. He keeled and stumbled back through the shop’s doors. I edged forward and crouched, sweeping my leg out to trip him over. Once he lay sprawled on the floor, I lifted my axe a final time and off rolled his head. It tumbled down the flat screen TV section.
The tethered humans were now desperately pulling at their bonds. I guess the big bad that had just killed their torturer was probably not someone they wanted to stick around and have tea with – better the devil you know.
I moved carefully toward the nearest boy. I gently took his blindfold from him and he blinked a few times and recoiled at my presence.
“It’s okay,” I said, hands out, palms up, “I’m here to help you. I won’t hurt you.”
The boy edged further away from me, pulling on all their ropes. He particularly dragged all of the survivors onto the floor. I suddenly had an image of me leading them like a chain of dogs through the streets. If Satan had been on a leash, he’d have died. If I couldn’t do that to a dog, I’d be damned if I was going to be responsible for leading an all-you-can-eat zombie buffet conga line.
“Look, I know you have no reason to trust me, but…”
“You’re one of them,” said the boy, looking past me to Ludwig’s twitching corpse. He must have been old; it can sometimes take a while for the magic to leave older vampires.
“We’re not all the same you know.” I stepped to his side and took a blindfold off a nearby woman, “Wait a minute, them?”
The woman gave me a quizzical look, “There’s another one. He had red hair and a posh accent; like from Downton Abbey.”
Okay, now time was of the essence. I pulled out my pink handled knife and sliced the rope between all the humans. I removed all their blindfolds and counted them: twelve.
“Right, here are your choices. You can say here and wait for Red, whoever he is, to come back and drink you dry, or you can follow me and I can get you the hell out of zombie central.”
“Zombies?” they all said together.
“You haven’t noticed the slathering zombie masses?” I asked.
“No,” said an older man, who had managed to pick up a plank of wood and hide it behind his back while I wasn’t looking.
“How long have you been in here?”
The man chose then to swing the plank at me, which I caught and crumbled in my grip. The small crowd gasped and I think they were just about to all fall onto me, when the bell at the door of the shop chimed.
“Oh no, it’s him. He came back for us.” A young girl of no more than thirteen cowered near me. I turned to her.
“I won’t let him hurt you. I told you, we’re not all the same.”
She bit her bottom lip and squeezed out a fat tear that rolled down her ruddy cheek.
“My name is Britannia. I know this is all a bit…” I struggled for the right word, “…weird, but I’ll get you some place safe. You just have to trust me.”
“So, let me get this straight.” The boy whose blindfold I’d took off first edged toward me. “You’re a friendly blood sucking demon, and there are zombies outside. But you’ll protect us? At what price, you gonna feed off and kill us one by one like your friend there?” He motioned at Ludwig’s now still body. I kicked the vampire’s corpse out of the door and into the main shop, out of the eye-line of the humans.
I didn’t have time for this. I needed to get a new radio, some food and get back to the zoo. I needed to tell Tate I was alive and for Josh and Jack to know I was on my way to them. I hadn’t even bothered to ask these humans’ names and here I was trying to protect them, while they challenged my ethical code. I was just about to give the boy what for, when a rumbling groan echoed through the store. I peered out to see a group of zombies shuffling toward Ludwig’s body. Once there, they began to rip him apart like an overcooked turkey. There were stuffing- and cranberry sauce-like substances cascading out of the yawning cracks they were making with their bare hands. I gagged and quickly closed the door.
Bad Timing is out now! For buy links, click here…
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The sequel to Bad Blood is OUT 18th DECEMBER!