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Why do you write about a woman?
Jessica Daniel just sort of came out when I started writing. There was no grand plan or conspiracy. I always think “write what you know” is rubbish advice. It’s boring. Write what you don’t know, then you actually use your imagination.
What is the Silver Blackthorn series?
This is my young adult / sci-fi / fantasy / adventure trilogy. The first book, Reckoning, came out in 2014. The second book – Renegade – in May 2015 (UK, Australia, Canada) and July 2015 (USA). The final book, Resurgence, was released in 2016. You can read more about it here.
What are the Andrew Hunter books?
This is a crime series that lives in the same world as the Jessica Daniel novels. The first book, Something Wicked, came out as an ebook in summer 2014. The second novel – Something Hidden – was released in 2016. Something Borrowed is the third book and will follow at some point. (I have finished it).
What is January?
This is a short crime story I wrote that is a Kindle exclusive. It is part of a ‘calendar of crime’ – one story for each month. Also out is February, March (starring Andrew Hunter) and April (starring Jessica Daniel). I might get around to releasing May, July (starring Jessica Daniel) or August (starring Jessica Daniel) at some point.
Are you from Manchester / the North?
Nope, I was born in Bath and grew up in Frome, Somerset. I currently live in the north west of England.
Did you always want to be an author?
Not really, but I always wanted to do…something. With the realisation that I was rubbish at football and not that much better at cricket, I went for the next best thing: sports journalist. I have a degree in journalism and spent 10 years working at a national level before the workload of juggling that with writing – essentially two full-time jobs – became too much.
What is As If By Magic?
Because I signed a publishing deal after initially self-publishing, there was a long gap between the releases of Jessica Daniel book 3 (Nov 2011) and Jessica Daniel book 4 (Feb 2013). As If By Magic was self-published, largely to bridge that gap. It’s around half the size of a full novel.
What reading order do the Jessica Daniel books go in?
Locked In; Vigilante; As If By Magic; The Woman in Black; Think of the Children; Playing With Fire; Thicker Than Water; Behind Closed Doors; Crossing The Line; Scarred For Life; For Richer, For Poorer; Nothing But Trouble.
What is your PIN number / mother’s maiden name?
Who is your agent?
For publishing, Nicola at Greene & Heaton; I do not currently have a production agent.
How do you sell so many books as a self-publisher?
An entire industry has sprung up around this which I largely think is attempting to sell snake oil to the unsuspecting. The truth is, a lot is being in the right place at the right time with the right product. It’s being a decent writer and having the technical skills. The best writers might not be the ones who have success. Anyone trying to charge you hundreds of pounds or dollars because they claim they have the knowledge you need are likely lying to you and possibly themselves. If they really did, they’d be living off the royalties of their books, not offering courses.
Not only that but by the time any ‘tips’, ‘tricks’ or ‘secrets’ are widely known about self-pubslishing, it’s already too late because everyone’s doing it. If you want any tip from me, it’s find your own way. Buy a Kindle/generic ereader. Figure it out for yourself. How do you find books? Browse books? Consume books? Don’t waste your entire life on Twitter. You’ll hate yourself and it’s overrated because most of the people who follow you at first will be other writers, who aren’t your audience. I like social media because people who read my books can interact with me. I don’t live on it.
Failing that, visit Joanna Penn’s site. She’s the queen of this sort of thing and really does know what she’s talking about.
Can you sign my book / arm / arse / baby?
Yes, yes, maybe, probably not. I visit shops to which I’m invited, so if I’m anywhere around you, you can come and say “hi” and I can scrawl my name across whatever you want (within reason). If I’m having a good day, I might even remember how to spell it. If I’m nowhere near you, you’ll have to ask one of your local shops if they fancy having me. Barring that, drop me an e-mail and I’ll see what I can do.