1. Would you describe the plot of your novel, The Willow Tree, to us?
It's a dark horror story that focuses on the lives of three people--from their different perspectives--and we follow them through what happens. One of the main protagonists is a man named Nick, who is searching for his girlfriend who died the night of a terrible massacre.
We have a taste of the paranormal, with shapeshifters and demons introduced--so it gets a bit darker as the story progresses. One of my influences is Stephen King, so I think the story reflects that a little bit.
2. What is The Fragment Trilogy, and what gave you the idea to write it?
After the first book, I decided to write another two about old characters and some new ones that came to me during the writing process--I just couldn't get them out of my head! The second one focuses on a girl who is possessed, as well as a boy and a girl who meet at university who have more in common than they had ever imagined. The third one introduces a new villain as well as a man who can travel between two different worlds.
The initial idea for the story was influenced by my love of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as well as The Chronicles of Riddick. I wanted to write a story about strong characters with paranormal abilities who have to go on a journey of some description. Seven years later it's completely different to how it first began, but I am really proud of what the stories have become.
3. How did you decide to pursue publication through Britain's Next Bestseller, and how does the process work?
This is a new scheme where the readers choose who is published--basically I have until September to obtain 250 pre-orders, and if I do this I get a publishing contract.
You can pre-order via the website, and it costs the orderer NOTHING until the campaign ends in September, and that's only if I am successful. I am also throwing in a free bookmark with every order, and there are other offers on the website, too, so it's a really good way for readers to support the books they love and be part of helping out writers.
Anyone who pre-orders will also get their name printed in the book as a supporter if they wish.
4. What's your favorite thing about writing suspense fiction--and what's the hardest thing about it?
I love having scenes that almost read like film scripts. I like a lot of tension and building up to a moment, and always leaving the chapter in such a way that the reader will want to then turn the page to the next one.
The difficult thing I have found with writing in general is that sometimes I lapse into "telling" rather than "showing"--I think all writers can relate to this! It's so embarrassing reading it back, and also frustrating to then have to re-word entire scenes, but it's always worth it.
5. How do you keep motivated as a writer?
I have this strange need to write--at least every few days--so I don't really suffer from writer's block. I do take breaks sometimes as writing can be draining, so for example I'll say to myself "when you've finished this draft, have a couple of weeks off"--and I do, and I find that when I come back to it, I am really refreshed. Sometimes it's nice just getting home from work and sitting in front of the TV all night.