TWO NEW CRIME THRILLERS LAUNCHED
I do hope you enjoy the two new novels. At last, after all the agonizing deliberations, wild guesses and teeth clenching, I’ve decided to keep my name – one pen name for all the novels. I think that way it will be far easier to display and have a chat about.
I am just about to launch them on the net but not before putting them on here. I shall put the first chapters of each on the post in the following two weeks. You can the have a taste of them. I would love to receive your comments.
In a famous beauty spot, two young boys make a gruesome discovery. Called to the scene, Detective Chief Inspector Daniel Redd, and his new partner DS Felicity Dove, face the mutilated bodies of a young couple; nearby is a stack of old bleached bones. On the chest of the male is a scrap of parchment; the message indecipherable.
Detective Chief Inspector Daniel Redd and DS Feliticty Dove race to a crime scene at a new build site. The body of a young woman posed in antique clothes, her throat mutilated, lies half frozen in an attic; her mouth sealed with wax. From the chilling contents of the note left with the victim, Redd knows the killer will not stop.
Exciting news. We have Nick Stephenson with us today. In the first twenty-four hours, Nick had 50,000 downloads on his first book ‘ Panic’ featuring criminology consultant Leopold Blake.
Hi Nick, So good to meet you. The readers love you. What a fantastic debut. Now for an exciting chat. I really enjoyed your newest books, ‘Departed’ and ‘Panic.’
Thanks, Katy! I’m glad you enjoyed them – I had a blast writing them too.
First of all, 50,000 downloads – Wow. Astronomical Meltdown to huge success. Tell us how this happened?
A mixture of luck, advertising, and a little black magic (no kittens or goats were harmed). First of all, it’s worth mentioning that the 50,000 downloads were part of a free promotion, so people weren’t paying full whack for these books – more’s the pity – but “Panic” managed to hit the coveted number 1 spot in the charts over in the US, making the book the most downloaded ebook in the world for that day… which is kinda cool.
As well as getting me some great exposure and some potential new fans, getting “Panic” out there, even as a free download, has already helped improve sales on my other (full price) books – so I’m pretty happy with that.
As to how it happened? Well, first of all I wrote a book I was happy with, got a fantastic designer to create a cover for me, then sent it off for a thorough edit. I then slaved away at changing nearly every sentence to make the writing flow better and developed the dreaded “editing fatigue” over several weeks hunched over my keyboard.
After the release, I worked hard to get some good reviews off the bat, and then submitted the book to several advertising services who promoted the title to their subscribers. And, voila! Sounds a lot easier in retrospect, but the book has been out since March 2013 so it really has taken all that time to start building up an audience – nobody ever said the writing game was easy!
Could you tell us a little more about you and your work – what makes your work tick for you?
I write thrillers with a mystery/crime edge, that blend action, humour, and lots of unexpected plot twists. My writing style is fast-paced and very plot driven, and I try to have a little fun and not take things too seriously – think along the lines of TV programmes like CSI, The Mentalist, Elementary, Sherlock, Castle, Die Hard, NCIS and you start to get the idea.
For me, I always wanted to write a book that was a mash-up of all the fiction that I love to read – and anything that keeps me turning the page and guessing who the bad guy really is all the way through gets a double thumbs-up in my book.
At what age did you realize you are a writer?
I’ve always had a knack for stringing together the odd sentence or two, but I never even considered writing as a viable career option until the Kindle came along and changed the literary world as we know it. For the first time in history, talented authors were finding a way to side-step the arduous and often predatory publication process, and start taking control over their own work and getting it into the hands of eager readers.
For sure, this has resulted in a lot of, shall we say, “questionable” fiction, but readers are smart enough to know what they want to read – and those writers who put the effort into making their work the best it can be are starting to see some real results.
What inspired you to write your latest books?
I bought my first kindle a couple of years ago and discovered about half a dozen indie authors whose work I absolutely love – and that’s what gave me the inspiration to knuckle down and get “Panic” written. It took nearly 8 months from start to finish, and underwent at least a dozen re-writes during that time, to become what it is today. And I’m sure if I sat down at the typewriter I could spend another 8 months tweaking it, but at some point you just have to let go.
To put that into perspective, “Departed” only took 4 months to write, and I think it’s even better than “Panic”, so I hope the upward trend continues!
Do you research for your stories?
A huge amount!
“Panic” is set in New York, which I’ve only visited twice, so I spent a lot of time on Google Street view trying to get the atmosphere and layout realistic enough that a New Yorker would find it believable. I also had to come up with some vaguely believable science to explain some of the plot points, as well as looking into police procedure, how the FBI works, American politics, martial arts, firearms… the list goes on!
Similarly for “Departed”, I had to do quite a bit of desk research on the historical murder cases that the book references, as well as quite a bit of psychology theory, not to mention the geographical details – even though the book is set in London, which is only a couple of hours away, it would be extremely arduous to do all that research on foot.
The difficultly came with balancing the research and technical info with the writing itself, so as not to overwhelm the reader with distractions – this is fiction, after all, so people don’t need to know exactly how a virus can be transmitted over wi-fi, or how a sniper rifle works, or how explosives work… so the real trick is figuring out what to leave out. Often, several hours of research would result in just a couple of sentences.
Where did you do your research? The Net – Library – your own private library? If you do have a private library how many books do you have and what?
I would love a private library! Most of my books are spread across the house in a very haphazard fashion, and may of them have been chewed by the dog, who enjoys climbing up shelves. Any precious tomes are kept out of reach, but I do most of my reading on the Kindle these days – it’s just so easy to find stuff I like to read, and I don’t have to wait for delivery. Most of the time, it’s cheaper too. Mind you, there’s nothing quite like the feel of a physical book, so I still indulge from time to time.
Almost all of my research was done online – it’s amazing what you can find if you look hard enough. For example, there’s a pivotal scene in “Panic” that involves a showdown in the famous Butler Library, part of Columbia University. I couldn’t find any floor plans that detailed what the building actually looked like inside, so I spent days trawling through Tumblr until I found a few people who had taken interior photos and been kind enough to make the images publicly available. As you can imagine, I didn’t get a whole lot written that week…
Do you have a private space to write?
I’m a nomadic writer – I tend to write wherever I happen to fall during the day (or night). Ideally, I’d like to be a little more structured and sort myself out a proper routine, but I’ve found it works for me most of the time.
How long do you write each day?
I aim for 1,400 words, 5 days a week. Some days I’ll exceed that, but most days I’ll stop around that mark, however long it takes.
Do you write to music? If so – what kind? Does it inspire you?
Unlike other writers, whose superpowers astound me, I can’t concentrate if there’s much noise going on, so I keep the music off while writing. If I could listen to music while writing, I’d probably opt for something non-obtrusive like classical or jazz. I enjoy the occasional blast of Sidney Bechet from time to time…
Do you get emotional writing – feel for your characters? Even live them?
I definitely do. There’s something quite intimate about putting yourself in someone else’s body, even someone you made up, so I tend to feel the emotions of my characters as they experience them. Unfortunately, for my characters, that usually involves them getting shot at…
What do you have with you when you write? Coffee, sweets, etc.?
An endless supply of quality coffee. That’s about it!
Can you share what you are presently writing or hope to write?
I’m currently reaching the half way point for Leopold Blake #3 – “Wanted”, which will be out in October. This book sees the characters attempt to unravel a deep conspiracy in Paris, while being hunted down on both sides by a deadly assassin and the French police. It’s probably the most ambitious of the three books – I’m slightly worn out just talking about it!
After that, I’ll either carry on with the Leopold Blake series, or start a new series – I’m not sure yet. I have a few ideas, though.
Do you have aspirations to write in other genres as well?
I like the idea of giving horror a go, as the genres are quite similar. Where a thriller tends to build tension and threat throughout, most horror books just hit the ground running and don’t let up – so it sounds like an absolute blast. I’m lucky enough to have made quite a few author friends (many of whom write horror), so I’ll be emailing them for advice if I decide to take the plunge.
How does your family feel about the life of the writer as it can get kind of solitary at times?
I always put my family first in whatever I do, so often this means I don’t get as much writing done as I’d like. But for me, this is an easy choice. I’ll disappear for most of the day when I’m writing, but I’ll always be around in the evenings to pull my weight at home. They might all be a little sick of me, to be honest…
Now Nick I hear you have a fantastic offer – a giveaway Kindle Paperwhite. Do tell us more.
As a big, massive THANK YOU to everyone who’s downloaded any of my books or dropped by here to read this interview, I’m currently offering one lucky winner a free Kindle Paperwhite or an Amazon Gift Card to the same value – just my way of giving back a little and trying to get more readers out there experiencing the Kindle revolution!
If any of your readers want to enter, all they have to do is click over to my site and drop their name and email address into the signup form. Everyone who enters will also get a free ebook copy of “Panic” as a thank you for taking part. The competition closes on the 22 August.
Here’s the link: http://noorosha.com/books/kindlepaperwhite/
And good luck!
Nick Wow, this has been so exciting. I’m sure there will be so many dashing to Amazon and elsewhere for your books.
Fingers crossed… and thanks for having me over!