In The Chair 69: Nell Peters

Welcome, Nell Peters.

11102784_844407928976852_7866671121152746412_nHow would you describe your writing style in only three words?

Nell: Pantster. Twisty. Humorous (until my editor gets his big red pen out!)

If you could have a relationship with one of your fictional characters who would it be and why?

Nell: Assuming it doesn’t have to be a sexual relationship, that would be protagonist DCI Rose Huntingford from the series Double You, Santa’s Slays and (working title) Be Sure Your Sins. Rose is all the Fs – fat, forties, frustrated and fantasising about a job where she’d never again have to look at a dead body or haul herself out of bed before dawn. She has done well to progress so far in the patriarchal Met, but secretly longs to vegetate between designated coffee and lunch breaks in a proper job and get herself a life before it’s too late. I’m very fond of the character, not least because I took her name from my paternal great grandmother, who was born in extreme poverty in Kingston-upon-Thames Workhouse in 1876. Her mother, also Rose, was born there too and it’s impossible to imagine how hard their lives must have been. Real Rose also could have been crushed by the patriarchy and class constraints of Victorian society, but managed to pull herself up by the bootstraps and marry a wealthy landowner – the sort of social mobility that was almost unheard of in those times. What a gal! But then so is DCI Rose, albeit in a very different way.

If you had to exist for a week in one of your books … which one would it be? Would you be a central character or simply watch the story unfold from the sidelines?

Nell: I’d be an also-ran in one of my back list, The Call. It would be entertaining to listen to Gabrielle – an is-she-isn’t-she guardian angel – telling her charge, history teacher Chris Salmon, stories from ‘the other side’. She also puts him right about historical fact – for instance that Jack the Ripper was actually a woman, and why the Titanic really sank. I could learn a lot.

Dead or alive literary dinner party: who would you invite, and what would you serve?

o-jamie-oliver-facebookNell: I’ve sat in this chair before, and went for the usual suspects like Agatha Christie and Ian Rankin – also Jean Jacques Rousseau, because I wrote a dissertation on him and wondered if he’d approve. This time, however, I’d invite some of my fellow Accent authors and others whom I’ve ‘met’ on social media. It’s a huge list, but let’s start with Jan Ruth (she’d only sulk if I didn’t invite her), Jenny Kane, Kelly Hambly, Gilli Allan, Eric McFarlane, Jane Risdon, Georgina Troy, Pete Adams and Eva Jordan. That will be enough for the first sitting, I think – even though we have a 9’ dining table (huge family!) people need elbow room. I loathe cooking and I’m rubbish at it, so I’ll sneak in one additional guest – Jamie Oliver – on condition he does the honours.

If you had to write in a different genre which would it be and why?

shutterstock_185032865-700x467Nell: I recently wrote a 1500 word piece for a charity horror anthology. I don’t generally read or write horror – and I’ve never even seen The Exorcist, but when I was asked to submit, I thought I’d give it a go. And I really enjoyed the whole exercise, helped by the fact that the ‘horror’ brief was pretty loose and humour was allowed (phew!) My story wasn’t uber-gory or full of decapitated ghouls with running sores – nor indeed did it feature any scaly monsters with eight flashing red eyes. I mostly relied upon the suggestion of something ghastly and I suppose it also drifted into the paranormal. I’m not sure if I could manage a full length novel, but I’d certainly give it my best shot.    

What do you dislike the most about being an author?

Nell: Self-promo! I’m an introverted soul and I don’t like to raise my head above the parapet – my mother’s words, ‘Who on earth do you think wants to hear what you have to say?’ remain forever echoing around my head.

Favourite word? Nell: WINE!

Nell Peters was in the chair, author of:

Hostile Witness: http://mybook.to/hostilewitness

By Any Other Name: http://mybook.to/BAON

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In The Chair 68: Anna Legat

Welcome, Anna Legat.

11102784_844407928976852_7866671121152746412_nHow would you describe your writing style in only three words?

Anna: Pacey, acerbic and character-driven.

If you could have a relationship with one of your fictional characters who would it be and why?

Anna: It would have to be Count Karenin! And I don’t mean the stiff, elderly character from Anna Karenina but the one from my DI Marsh mystery, Swimming with Sharks. His real name is Mikhail Lakso – Misha. He is handsome and even more exotic than the Maldivian location of the book. He has a deep Russian soul where many of his dangerous secrets are buried. It’s uncanny how some women are attracted to those dark, broody types. I am one of those women and on occasions (especially those innocuous fictional occasions from which I can walk away unscathed) I like to throw myself at the mercy of a dangerous man. Misha may or may not be dangerous –  ambiguity is his trademark quality. He is a man with a past but, when the fancy takes me, he will sweep me off my feet and take me to St Petersburg to show me the glitz and glamour of the high life. Can’t wait!

P1040507 (2)If you had to exist for a week in one of your books … which one would it be? Would you be a central character or simply watch the story unfold from the sidelines?

Anna: I’ve always been an observer. No centre stage for me! Even at school when all my girlfriends wanted to be actresses or pop stars, I just wanted to write. I could write play scripts for their blockbusters or lyrics to their hits, but I couldn’t care less about coming anywhere near their bright spotlight. So I guess, if I ever landed in one of my books, I would be watching from the side lines. Perhaps I’d be solving somebody else’s crimes. I’d be good at it; hopefully as good as DI Gillian Marsh, the lead detective of my new crime series. I’m definitely as incompetent as she is in my personal and family life – we have a lot in common. My husband would probably argue that I would make a fantastic Hercule Poirot. Apparently we have a few quirks and an odd turn of phrase in common. Surely he’s trying to fit a round peg into a square hole?

Dead or alive literary dinner party: who would you invite, and what would you serve?

Chinese_Fold-Pak_000Anna: I am a very, very bad cook so no literary tycoon would care to come to my dinner. Not the alive ones at any rate if they knew what was good for them! I would probably have to serve a Chinese takeaway, but I would present it nicely on my grandmother’s china complete with her vintage silver cutlery. At least it would look good. I would love to have Ruth Rendell over. She is my absolute literary hero! Her early books in particular had me eating from her hand. But her characters are flawed and twisted, so to lighten the atmosphere I would quite like to share a joke over the prawn cakes with none other than Dawn French. We would have a hoot of a good time! Having Milan Kundera at my dinner table would be a privilege. The Unbearable Lightness of Being made me think long and hard about the meaning and purpose of life wherever and however you happen to live it. It’d be great to talk to him and debate existence well into the night.

If you had to write in a different genre which would it be and why?

Anna: Horror. I love to be scared, but I am too scared to write about it for fear that my worst fears might come to life! Fear is such a powerful emotion. One day I may gather all my courage and write one hell of a chilling horror.

What do you dislike the most about being an author?

Anna: I feel people read less and are less personal about their choices these days. There is this mass culture that has made its way into the world of books so you will have those mega-superstars like EL James, and every man, woman and child will read her indiscriminately until the next mass trend makes way for another celebrity. As a writer I intensely dislike templates and I like to surprise my reader. I just hope readers still like to be taken by surprise.

Favourite word?

Anna: Décolletage. Don’t ask!

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Anna Legat was in the chair, author of: Life without Me & Swimming with Sharks. Web: https://goo.gl/JfQ0Sg

In The Chair 65: Ruby Barnes

Merry Christmas, Ruby Barnes!

SantaToymakerChairHow would you describe your Christmas in only three words? 

Ruby: Bloated, lazy, flatulent
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If you could have a relationship with a literary festive character who would it be and why?

RubyI would have to go for Mrs Claus because I know the window of opportunity when Mr Claus is going to be away from home. And I know she gets neglected in the run up to Christmas as Santa is too busy minding his elves and petting his reindeer.

If you had to exist for a week in a Christmas story … which one would it be?

Ruby: A Christmas Carol. I’ve always been a bit of a Scrooge and I like having the bejayzus scared out of me.

hannibal_lecter_by_crisvector-d6rnj2aDead or alive literary Christmas lunch: who would you invite, and what would you serve?

Ruby:  I’d invite Hannibal Lecter and serve up a few “friends” who have done me disservice, plus a nice Chianti. Skip the fava beans as I’ve always found them a bit sour. If Hannibal the Cannibal is busy then I would go for a more orthodox Yuletide invite list with Thomas Hardy, Agatha Christie, John Irving, John Fowles, Ian Banks and Emily Bronte. I’d still serve up a few “friends” but would cunningly disguise the meat as local Irish cuisine.

If you had to write a Christmas themed story in your current genre, what would the title be? 

Ruby: 2015 has been the year of the zombie for Ruby Barnes so it would be something biblical but undead – Return of The Baptist.

What do you dislike the most about Christmas?

WP_20140622_003Ruby: Being trapped in a cold and draughty house for days on end with the Outlaws.

Favourite Festive Word?  

Ruby: Crumble. Christmas is one of the few times of the year that there’s always apple or rhubarb crumble available with custard. I like it cold so the whole thing gets kind of stodgy. I also like the word crumble as it sounds a bit like Christmas, but mainly because the “cr” sound makes Mrs R cringe like a crazy cry-baby. Actually now I’m really looking forward to Christmas.

Ruby Barnes was in the Christmas chair: Ruby’s work can be found at http://Author.to/RubyBarnes and he has a little something for ya at http://www.rubybarnesbooks.com/

In The Chair 63: D.J. Bennett

Merry Christmas, D J Bennett!

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How would you describe your Christmas in only three words?

Debbie: Indulgent, family and television. I’d like to say relaxing – but really it isn’t! Wine helps…

If you could have a relationship with a literary festive character who would it be and why?

Debbie: What kind of relationship? And I don’t know any literary festive characters apart from the obvious ones like Scrooge – and who on earth would want to have a relationship with him? Altruism would definitely take a back-seat here – unless of course the BBC decide to do a re-make and cast Aidan Turner as the lead, in which case I’ll be first in the queue! What about one of the ten-lord’s-a’leaping? One of them must be sexy and rich, surely?

If you had to exist for a week in a Christmas story … which one would it be?

Debbie: Oh I think it would have to be The Christmas Story. I’m not particularly religious, but imagine being there – in Bethlehem. Being able to listen in and witness the story first-hand. Imagine having the comfort of that level of belief in something spiritual, something bigger than the world we live in? Right now, that’s a strangely comforting idea at the end of 2015.

tumblr_m8za06Cg9e1qf53zzo1_500Dead or alive literary Christmas lunch: who would you invite, and what would you serve?  

Debbie: The Grinch, of course! And I’d serve green eggs and ham and hand out thneeds as presents. Maybe I’d invite the Cat too, as he has a certain outlook on life … We’d debate Truffula Trees and the existence of Whoville, and at the end of the evening Thing One and Thing Two could do all the tidying up.

If you had to write a Christmas themed story in your current genre, what would the title be?

Debbie: Five Gold Rings. It’d be a Christmas serial killer, and each murder would relate to and happen on the twelve days of Christmas. Urban mayhem – cold and dark, icy canals and  everybody’s too busy celebrating to have time to figure out what’s going on. Hmm. I can work with this…

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What do you dislike the most about Christmas?

Debbie: Disruption and mess. I’m very much a creature of habit, order and routine. Typical Capricorn, really!

Favourite festive word? Debbie: After resisting the obvious it’d have to be TINSEL, because it’s just pretty and sparkly!

D. J Bennett was in the Christmas chair: author of the Hamelin’s Child series 

Web: http://ow.ly/UV6Ml

In The Chair 47: Mary Jeddore Blakney

Welcome, Mary Jeddore Blakney.

How would you describe your writing style in only three words? 

Mary: Conversational, character-driven, research-based.

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If you could have a relationship with one of your fictional characters who would it be and why?

Mary: An alien military commander named Chegg, from Damage Control. I tried to make him a villain, but he wouldn’t let me. He’s strong, good-hearted and conflicted, and people like that fascinate me.

If you had to exist for a week in one of your books … which one would it be? Would you be a central character or simply watch the story unfold from the sidelines?

Mary: Could I pick which week it was, to lessen my chances of being killed? I think I’d be one of the aliens in Damage Control – just a minor character so I’d have plenty of time to explore the planet.

150429workingDead or alive literary dinner party: who would you invite, and what would you serve?

Mary: Roddenberry, Tolkein, CS Lewis, Chaucer, Moses, the author of the Epic of Gilgamesh and the authors of the books on Atlantis that were lost in the library at Alexandria. I’d serve whatever sounded good to me that day, since I’d be the only one eating. At least, I don’t think dead people eat.

If you had to write in a different genre which would it be and why?

Mary: Historical fiction. I love to read it, and if it’s done well, it’s very educational and relevant to modern life. Maybe someday I’ll do that, but right now there’s no historical period I know that well.

What do you dislike the most about being an author?

Mary: Having to spend so much time not writing just because of that pesky thing called life.

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Favourite Word?

Mary: Philology.

Mary Jeddore Blakney was in the chair: Author of ‘Damage Control’ & ‘Resist the Devil.’

Web: http://www.maryjeddoreblakney.com/

Authors: Fancy pulling out a chair? Send your answers to the same set of questions with a profile

In The Chair 44: David Carner

Welcome, David Carner.

How would you describe your writing style in only three words? 

David: Minimalist, emotional, fun

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If you could have a relationship with one of your fictional characters who would it be and why?

David: I tell people all the time that John talks to me. John and I have a lot of similarities. While no one can be the introvert John is, and trust me I amped him up to 11 when I wrote him, I am very much an introvert. I am also very cagey in what I say to people in that I say something, knowing you’ll take it a certain way, but if you play the words back in your head you’ll see I really didn’t say what you think I said. If I could have a relationship with one, I guess it would be Sam. Sam accepts people for who they are. She doesn’t judge, and she deals with problems instead of assigning blame. Honestly I think she’s someone we should all try to strive and be like.

If you had to exist for a week in one of your books … which one would it be? Would you be a central character or simply watch the story unfold from the sidelines?

David: I think my fifth book, Days Past, would be the one. In this book, I kind of do a prequel and tell the story of how the group of FBI agents first started working together. I would love to be a fly on the wall to watch everything that happened during their first case. This book is by far and away my favorite. I think I was doing my best writing, and the story was one that had been building within me for several years. When I wrote it, it was like I couldn’t get it down fast enough. I think the fact that it also features a character who is dead in current books (but still a pretty important character) is also one of the reasons I like it so much. In fact, I have more requests to write a book about her, and my 8th John Fowler novel will heavily feature Samantha Fowler.

dc001Dead or alive literary dinner party: who would you invite, and what would you serve? David: I would invite Sir Author Conan Doyle, Craig Johnson (who I have met at a book signing) and Robert B. Parker, and Steven King (his book, On Writing, is one of the reasons I finally decided to sit down and write). I would let Mr. Parker pick the menu and even prepare it if he wanted (long time readers of his Spenser series would understand why). I could invite many others, but these four are by far my favorites.

If you had to write in a different genre which would it be and why?

David: I guess I write mystery/detective, but I like to think I add a bit of romance, and comedy in each of my book. I actually am working on a children’s fantasy series with my daughter. While most of my books are fine for kids to read, they don’t really care about a who dunnit plot for adults. The best part about writing children’s fantasy is my daughter helping me. We both love watching Dr. Who, superhero movies, and she’s even accompanying me to the Star Wars movie that opens in December. While she’s a lot like me, we are very different, and we both like to bounce ideas off of each other. The series is tentatively called Crystalia, but we’ll see.

What do you dislike the most about being an author?

David:  Marketing.  I don’t like it, don’ want to do it, and frankly, I don’t do it well.  I enjoy the creating process, the research, and the hours alone with just me and my thoughts, but getting on social media, or even in front of people and talking about my work…that’s just not me.

Favourite word? David: Cabal.

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David Carner was in the chair, author of: several novels & short-stories.

Web: http://ow.ly/SoTTM

Authors: Fancy pulling out a chair? Send your answers to the same set of questions with a profile pic and one web link to jan@janruth.com

In The Chair 37: Katrina Kantas

Welcome, Karina Kantas.

How would you describe your writing style in only three words? 

Karina: Exciting, raw, dark.

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If you could have a relationship with one of your fictional characters who would it be and why?

Karina: The book I would be in would be my vigilante thriller LawLess Justice and I would be the MC’s sister, Holly. She has a chance to pull her sister Cassandra in the right direction, but fails miserably. Being Cass’s sister could be interesting and fun.

If you had to exist for a week in one of your books … which one would it be? Would you be a central character or simply watch the story unfold from the sidelines?

Karina: I would definitely be on the sidelines and watch the illegal street racing in the novel Rage. I would never have the guts to go flat out on a superbike but was a rush to watch.

Dead or alive literary dinner party: who would you invite, and what would you serve? 

Karina: It would be my honour to dine with the author S.E.Hinton. She is the reason I became an author. I have so many questions for her. I would make her a traditional Greek meal of stuffed tomatoes for starters, lamb on spit and baclava for desert.

If you had to write in a different genre which would it be and why?

Karina: I’m not just a one trick pony. As well as my MC thrillers I also have two collections of flash and short fiction in the genres of romance, thriller, horror, sci fi and comedy. I am currently working on a fantasy trilogy. I’m lucky to be able to write in all genres.

What do you dislike the most about being an author?

Karina: It’s the amount of time needed to market and publicise my books. I have seven so I spend hours trying to promote and find new readers. If I could do it over again. I would wait until I had the money to hire a publicist.

Favourite word?

Karina: My favourite word is very short. I love the word YETI. If you think for a minute what this fictional animal is. A giant bear-like human, that is white (abominable snowman) and also has been “seen” as a brown and hairy ape-like human. I also like the sound of the word… Yeti.

Karina Kantas was in the chair: Author of 7 crime thrillers.

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Web: http://www.amazon.com/Karina-Kantas/e/B0034P98EW/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1436955805&sr=8-1