How this Author got started…plus my best release yet…

sentinel-rising-release-party

It struck me recently that while we’ve been carrying on this merry dance, I’m not sure if my readers know of the journey (an oft used phrased but relevant here) and how I got here.

So to that end, here are some Q and As sent to my new Virtual Assistant/Author PA.

Q1. what are you working on now?
A. Shikhari Connection, book two in the Reardon Files series. I’m excited about this one because it delves more into the paranormal, and I’ve created a new world of my own creation “The Etherworld” where the two characters me (and based on feedback) and my readers love, Gypsy and Connor battle supernatural creatures to save the life of Renee, Gypsy’s niece. I think I’m finally ready to take on the more fantasy side of urban fantasy for this one. I was originally fascinated by beings that could be either guides or hunters between worlds, depending on the being. I did some research and found the ancient Indian word “Shikhari” for a hunter or guide, used usually when hunting animals

Q2. when will your next book be out?
A. Ask me that when I’m not exhausted from a full-time business, three children, a busy writing business and promoting and editing like the wind on Sentinel Rising which I hope will be my most successful release yet. Seriously though, I hope it will be sooner rather than later, although while I’m editing and promoting there seems to be little left in the tank to write, brain dead takes over. I’m hoping for Feb or March 2017 for a complete first draft when I’ll put it up on pre-order and stress myself out with deadlines yet again 

Q3. Where do you get your inspiration?
A. Not sure to be honest. I’ve always had an active imagination and my mum tells me I was reading at 18 months which sounds wild to me. I very much agree with the comment from my author idol, Stephen King. He says that ideas are like a sieve, the sand goes through the sieve but the good ideas that stick around become a novel. That’s exactly how it happens for me, I know this because my first novel I gave up on and didn’t finish, the idea didn’t stick around long enough to sustain my interest to finish it, so I figured readers would be bored too. Thank goodness that title never saw the light of day. Some of the best ideas happen while I’m not writing, especially when I’m either in the shower or doing housework. Don’t think that means I’m going to do either of those things more though okay?

Q4. Do you write full time or have a day job?
A. I wish I wrote full time but I have a very busy day job, so my hobbies are pretty much sleeping and reading, in that order sometimes. Like many authors, I dream of earning enough from author royalties that I can write books a lot faster than I do now. Writing supernatural suspense thrillers is my favourite kind of playtime.

Q5. how long did it take you to write the book?
A. This one (Sentinel Rising) took me a bit longer than the other four. I spent 4-6 times longer plotting this one out as its more of a mystery where the bad guy isn’t revealed to the end, (I read a lot of mysteries and crime books) which was a lot trickier, but I wanted to give it a go. First draft took me six months off and on, as looking back I think I doubted myself a bit more due to a slight shift in genre and viewpoint. I’m confident the extra time spent means for a better book though. The reviews will tell me if my confidence was misplaced.

Q6. What inspired you to write it?
A. I really wanted Connor Reardon to have his own series. It felt at times in series 1 that he was stifled in Gypsy’s shadow, and I wanted him to break out on his own for the first book of his own series, and he’s definitely done that. I love mystery novels, and love the suspense, so wanted to try that with my own brand of supernatural/psychic/awesome abilities thrown in, so this was my first go at that. I’m proud of finishing it, if truth be told.

Q7. what was the hardest part about writing it?
Writing from Connor’s point of view, a man, and also not switching viewpoints. All of the earlier books were told in multiple viewpoints and some in first person. For this title, I wanted to write in a similar style to some of my favourite authors namely Michael Connelly, Ray Bradbury and Ian Rankin and in the process hopefully entice some blokes to read my books! I’m not sure if I’ve succeeded in understand and writing from a male private investigator/ex cops point of view, hopefully once some men read it they’ll let me know.

Q8. how long have you been writing?
A. As long as I can remember. My first ‘published’ title in the strictest sense of the word happened in primary school at the age of 7. I named it ‘the Owl that couldn’t Twit Twoo’ I couldn’t remember the word for Hoot but now I remember I hadn’t come across that word in any books at that age. Then I took a long time off due to being told by a parent that I’d starve if I became a writer so didn’t start my own copy writing business until my first child was born in 1998. In 2013 I wrote my first non-fiction book, as writing fiction and baring my soul was still too scary. I tried a novel in 2013, but didn’t finish it (crappy idea that didn’t have enough juice to carry me through to completion) but in 2014, got together with a friend, and the idea for Gypsy Hunted (which started as a short story) got me through 63,000 of my first novel. Woo hoo! I haven’t looked back from there.
Q9. do you listen to music when you write? if so what?
A. Occasionally although I get distracted by lyrics when I’m writing words, the two opposing forces of words clash and mingle and interrupt my flow. The Lord of the Rings sound tracks, or another one called “Where civilization lay” is inspiring too.

Q10. what snack do you eat while writing?
A. Salt and vinegar pringles or Pork Krackles in a pack, sold at my local Woolies store, but they discontinued the line and stopped selling them recently. If I had the time or the inclination, I’d start an online petition to get them back!

Q11. do you have a playlist for you book?
A. Yes, for series one it’s on you tube and my blog (search for Crime fiction playlist Andrea drew). Each song applies to a scene from each of those books that stood out to me. My latest favourite is Black Betty by Spider Bait as in this book I loved the idea of Connor being a bit more edgy, he was just so well behaved in the first series. So, he traded in his Australian Ford Falcon, his “company” car as a detective, and bought a hotted up muscle car, a black 1970s Australian charger. What a beast. Usually I prefer music with no lyrics when I’m writing so film and music soundtracks, but if I’m writing an emotional scene ‘The Pretender’ by the Foo Fighters always fires me up.
Q12. who did you base your characters after?
A. They start as my ideal character with some personality trait or element I love. For example, with Gypsy I wrote the abilities I wish I had, in a situation where she raced against the clock to find a killer and save her own life. CoBuy Sentinel Rising herennor of course was and is the ideal man, but I’ve written him for five books now and he’s asserted himself and become his own person now. I don’t think I’ll ever stop writing about these characters, they are so dear to me and almost as real and dear to me as my own family, embarrassing as that might be to admit. Sometimes I remember the scenes in my book so much, and get lost in there, that I forget about real life, and don’t remember what was happening at the time I wrote them, only the life I lived through my books!

Calling all Beta Readers!

Hey everyone
Yeah I know I’ve been hidden amongst the undergrowth that is writing life, with not a blog post to be found,but I’m back.
Why? How come? What gives love?
Well, actually its the manuscript I’m working on. I’ve got quite a bit to say about this one. I’m struggling with a few things. As the first book in the second series I have no clue about the title. Originally this was going to be the Sentinel series but the name for book 1 of series 2 changes daily.

Why?

Well this one is more of a mystery. The reader won’t know who did it until the very end. The loose ends will tie up then.

There’s also some paranormal in it, but not until the reader is into the first third of the book. So now at the 20K mark, the paranormal side of it is only just coming into play.

I love writing paranormal so right now I’m not sure whether to scrap the first 20K and start again, rewrite it, or go with another story idea.

So I’m hoping my lovely beta readers will pick the first third of the book apart.
It isn’t polished or edited yet.
I do however want to know the following (I really do)
a) Is this story boring compared to the Gypsy Series (this one is told by Connor Gypsy’s now husband)
b) What do you like about the story so far? What do you want to see more of?
c) What doesn’t work for you?

I have the first 20K in PDF, kindle and epub format so if you’d like to read it, and can get feedback to me back in a week, please email me back and I’ll send it through.

Yes the story is unfinished so you’ll be left hanging. If you think you can handle it, please let me know 🙂

Interview with Carrie Bedford author of “The Aura”

the aura coverBOOK BLURB

SHE KNOWS WHO’S GOING TO DIE! BUT NO ONE WILL BELIEVE HER…

Life spins out of control for London architect Kate Benedict when suddenly, she sees a dancing aura above certain people’s heads that seems to signal death. Suddenly she’s psychic It can’t be! Psychic’s not acceptable in her circle, where the supernatural is strictly for the superstitious. And yet…people are dying. People close to her.

Kate’s tentative attempts to talk about her new-found metaphysical gift are met with eyerolls, so much so that she can’t even tell the nice Scotland Yard detective who’s investigating the death of a close friend, Rebecca Williams. And now Rebecca’s neighbor has an aura!

So what’s Kate to do but try to save him by turning detective herself? A break-in and attack on her boy friend confirm that the murderer’s catching on that Kate knows too much. But he (or maybe she) has no idea that what Kate knows is a little on the paranormal side.

Fans of traditional British mysteries (and female sleuths) will love watching competent, reasonable Kate try to harness supernatural abilities she not only doesn’t understand, she doesn’t even believe in! And those who love international mysteries will particularly enjoy the vivid scenes in Italy, where the story begins and, in some ways, ends.

WHO ELSE WILL LIKE IT: Anyone looking for a new, fresh female sleuth, as well as fans of paranormal suspense, traditional (yet not too cozy) stories, contemporary British women detectives like the ones found on the BBC’sROSEMARY AND THYME and MURDER IN SUBURBIA, and mysteries with a metaphysical twist, like Kay Hooper’s Bishop Files series, Iris Johansen’s THE PERFECT WITNESS, and Heather Graham’s Krewe of Hunters books.

“Carrie Bedford is a real find, and The Aura is engaging paranormal suspense … Bedford is a fine writer, an accomplished novelist, and a terrific storyteller whose characters ring true and pull us deep into the mystery.” -Shelley Singer, author of the Jake Samson-Rosie Vicente mystery series and Torch Song, first in the Blackjack near-future thriller series.

 

carried bedford author picture

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

1. Did you do any kind of research to determine the details of your characters’ lives / lifestyles?

Yes, lots. I enjoy the research component of writing and it is also the perfect excuse to not actually write! For my first book, which is historical fiction, I spent years, really, to gather all the information. For The Aura, the research was less intense, more focused on things like checking geographical details, or learning how an architectural firm works. The Aura sequel takes place in a medical setting, so I’ve done lots of research on hospitals, morgues and the pharmaceutical industry.

2. The best book/s you ever read?

I’m not sure I can point to just one. I have eclectic tastes. I’ll read anything from Shakespeare to Clancy and my kindle is crammed with books that I think are brilliant: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett, The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, A Passage to India by E.M. Forster, most of the Brontes’ books, The Name of the Rose by Umberto Ecco, anything by Arturo Perez-Reverte. Recently, I read Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See and Adrian J Walker’s End of the World Running Club.

3. Do you have strange writing habits?

I started writing when I was still working full-time with two young daughters at home. I worked on a laptop and took it with me everywhere, using the waiting time to write, regardless of the location — dentist offices, dance studios, sitting in a car park. I developed the ability to write in short bursts of activity and still do that, although now I’m lucky enough to have more time and often write for hours without a break.

4. Where did you grow up?

In London. I love that city and visit it often. It was a natural choice of setting for The Aura.

5. How did you get into writing?

I won a Greater London Essay Competition when I was young, and always wanted to write fiction after that. All through college and my career, I wrote, but it wasn’t fiction. About eight years ago, when I was living in Italy, I was inspired to write a historical novel about the Roman empress Galla Placidia. I took some online writing classes, met some talented and inspirational classmates and I haven’t stopped writing since.
6. What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your books?

I think it was discovering what a kick writing is! I get the same kind of endorphin rush when I’ve had a good writing session that I experience when I exercise. And I was also surprised by just how absorbing writing can be. I inhabit my fictional worlds and talk to my characters. It’s a wonderful retreat when I need a rest from the real world!
7. you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?

Yes, I do. As a reader, I always look at the cover before considering buying a book. If the cover is attractive or intriguing in some way, I go on to read the jacket copy to see if it’s something that will interest me. I think a badly designed cover can turn off or mislead potential readers very quickly.

8. What is your favorite quote?

It’s a quote that a friend and fellow novelist gave me. I like because it applies to writing and life and everything in between.

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I remain. — Frank Herbert, Dune.

9. What do you consider your best accomplishment?

I think it would be what so many women accomplish every day. Having a career, and children, a marriage and a (time-consuming) hobby and finding ways to make them work together — and remembering to be grateful for all of them. But if I had to pick one, it would be being a mum. I love it!
10. What’s the worst job you’ve had?

It was a summer job when I was a student, working in the accounting department of a large manufacturing company. No computers, just adding machines. Eight hours a day of staring at numbers in a windowless room full of people all doing the same thing. It was mind-numbing – the antithesis of creative writing.

Thank you Carrie!  You can buy “The Aura” by clicking the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/Aura-Kate-Benedict-Paranormal-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00MV3HQL0/

Literary agents and Amazon pre-orders

archway image for gypsy hunted coverI’m sorry readers I know it’s been a while since I posted. It’s been nearly two months which feels like a lifetime ago.  What’s happened since then and why the absence?  Well, primarily commercial work (I write copy as well as professional resumes and cover letters and have done for many years now) combined with three children (6,9 and 16) and plugging away at my manuscript.

Why so long?  (Maybe it hasn’t been that long in the scheme of things but it sure feels like it from where I’m sitting)

I’ve been editing and finalising Gypsy Hunted my first novel/fiction title.  What that means is email exchanges with my US based editor Therese Arkenberg, I send her 10-20K words and it comes back with changes, some comments.  Things like “Include an action beat here” or “Connor sighs again.  Is he human or is he eey-ore?”

That’s taken time.  As has writing the final scenes.  The scenes were already written but after collaborating with my editor, we realised that there wasn’t enough of the psychic factor in the ending, after all Gypsy Hunted is a psychic suspense thriller.

So now after what feels like a mountain of writing and editing, it is done and stands at 61,000 words.  I am currently checking it for typos and giving the manuscript its 423rd read through 🙂

On the literary agent front, an agent has asked for a copy of the full manuscript, which was an unexpected surprise, so watch this space for announcements.  If there’s no announcement then I guess you know this was yet another rejection as none of us like to broadcast them.  Do we?

A couple of weeks ago Amazon quietly notified me of the brand spanking  new pre-order function brand spanking new woohoo!  This means us self published independent authors can sell copies from amazon pre-release.

I loaded up my cover, description and a draft manuscript and it went live to the amazon store on 2 September.  Release day is Oct 28 2014

You can buy Gypsy Hunted for 99 cents prior to release day here

So far it’s ranked nicely selling around 25 copies in as many days.  Will be interesting to see what happens on release day and whether I’ll get a surge in amazon ranking or it will remain the same.

If I don’t blog again before release day, I’ll talk to you all again on Oct 28!