Welcome to the seven hundred and fifty-fourth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with psychological thriller novelist Rebecca Reid. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Rebecca. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
Rebecca: I am a happily-married mother of three, living in Ireland. I guess writing has always been a part of my life. I wrote as a hobby when I was young, I studied English at university and after dabbling in journalism from the age of 16, I realized I wanted so much more from my writing – I wanted to make people experience something, I wanted to capture them in my own world.
Morgen: I live in England and have shamefully never been to Ireland. I’ve only been to Scotland once and that was a couple of years ago. I’ve heard that Ireland’s such a beautiful place (as Scotland is), one day… Are your books available as eBooks? How involved were you in that process? Do you read eBooks or is it paper all the way?
Rebecca: Given that ‘The Coop’ is available as an ebook on Amazon you would expect me to say I read ebooks wouldn’t you… but I don’t. I am a slave to paper, it’s all about the feel and the smell for me, perhaps they’ll bring out a scented Kindle one of these days!
I quickly discovered that getting a novel kindle-ready is no joke. It takes time and patience but it is entirely worth it when you see the finished product.
Morgen: It is, absolutely. I was daunted by the prospect but I’m lucky that I’ve been working with computers for years (my father sold them and my brother has always been in I.T.) so it wasn’t as hard as I’d expected. I’ve put a how-to-create-an-ebook guide on my blog for those considering it. Although many of the authors (and editors, publishers, agents) I’ve interviewed have said they read eBooks, I can count on one hand those who’d stopped reading paper books. Did you choose the titles / covers of your books? How important do you think they are?
Rebecca: As I am self-published I am lucky enough to have total control of my books, especially over the cover art, a control I would hate to relinquish in the future. The cover is everything; it is the first thing people see. If it doesn’t grab the readers, nothing will. It not only has to portray the soul of your story but capture people enough to want to take the time to read the synopsis. From the moment ‘The Coop’ was complete, I knew who had to design my cover, the renowned artist Neil Shawcross and I was lucky enough to have him agree to the challenge.
Morgen: It is a great cover (I love quirky illustrations and animations). What are you working on at the moment / next?
Rebecca: I have just completed the second edit of Book 2 – ‘Thickets Wood’ which is due for Kindle release in March / April 2013 and am about to embark on the journey of writing my fourth novel. I am terribly excited. Like a kid in a sweetie shop. The feeling of this new manuscript has been with me for a while now, just dying to get out and explode onto paper, so I am impatient to see what happens, where it takes me.
Morgen: I’m doing my fifth NaNoWriMo this month and know that feeling. This year’s a dark (and twisted) crime story which I’m relishing and although I didn’t plan much (it started life as a piece of flash fiction) I’m enjoying what’s coming out. Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Rebecca: I am entirely the second option. I simply get a notion or a feeling for something, no idea of the who, what, where or whens but when the nag is there, I know it is time to write.
Morgen: 🙂 Most authors I’ve spoken to have been ‘pantsers’ and I like to think that if it’s a surprise to you, it’ll be a surprise to the reader. Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Rebecca: Funny you should ask that, as only today when I was editing ‘Thickets Wood’ I realized how little attention it needed, that after the more lengthy process of editing ‘The Coop’, I had obviously become aware of certain things. Let’s hope that continues with each novel.
Morgen: Absolutely. This is my sixth novel (my third-written debut novel has just come out, with another on its way before Christmas, the rest are still in files) and I can tell when I’m starting to waffle, so reign myself in (or I write it but cross it out in case I find it is necessary to the plot after all). Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?
Rebecca: I think every author must. I keep mine hidden away in a drawer for a day that I may feel the time is right.
Morgen: At least being more experienced you’ll be able to see which parts need buffing. How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
Rebecca: I have to admit that I cannot believe how much marketing is needed for a self-published book. Honestly, it is endless. You could never network enough! I mainly use Twitter and Facebook to chat with people and try to connect over all things literary but there is so much out there and only so many hours in the day, especially when you are raising three young children.
Morgen: Marketing is usually the answer to “What’s your least favourite aspect of your writing life?”, partly because it’s so time-consuming. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Rebecca: Never try to be something your not.
Morgen: I like that. 🙂 If you could invite three people from any era to dinner, who would you choose and what would you cook (or hide the takeaway containers)?
Rebecca: Tim Burton, Roald Dahl and Stephen King. Oh I can see it now, on the right night, with all those men in the right mood, it would be unforgettable. As to what I would cook, I would keep it simple with a classic tagine or curry.
Morgen: I’m with you on Roald Dahl and Stephen King. I think Roald is why I write dark tales with a twist, and I blame Stephen for me wearing glasses (I used to read his early books by torchlight under the duvet) What do you do when you’re not writing?
Rebecca: I adore film and theatre; I think they are utterly inspiring. However, most days you will find me grabbing a coffee and going for a nice long walk, kids, dog and no doubt the odd bike or scooter thrown in for good measure.
Morgen: 🙂 Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how valuable do you find them?
Rebecca: I am always on Facebook and Twitter. I think they are an essential part of being a contemporary author. You can no longer write a novel and stay out of the limelight, our society wants personalities, they want to like not just your book, but you.
Morgen: It is. You’re the ‘brand’. What do you think the future holds for a writer?
Rebecca: I think it is going to be a very tricky path to follow. There is so much change, so little control and no rules. Each and every one of us is out to prove that we have what it takes to make it.
Morgen: But I think never a better time to be an author. Where can we find out about you and your writing?
Rebecca: I have a website – http://rebeccareidauthor.co.uk. On Facebook I’m rebeccareid.thicketswood and @thicketswood on Twitter. I post all my interviews, news and guest-posts on the website so if you ever miss anything you can catch it there.
Morgen: Thank you very much, Rebecca.
I then invited Rebecca to include an extract of her writing…
That wasn’t the only reason she lay by the door.
The thud of steps was echoing through the gap; they were in the distance. She was panicking, her breathing quick and shallow. She just hoped they’d stop short or pass. Stop or pass. Stop or pass. Stop or pass.
He staggered toward the coop, the weight of the girl bearing him down, pushing his feet deeper into the sticky ground; it was quite a distance. Drey stood over the Cauldwell boy for a moment; he knelt rocking in the dirt, the noise of his grinding the only thing breaking the silence, he wasn’t going anywhere. Drey dropped his hold, picking the shotgun up off the ground before pacing after Howard, now almost at the coop.
And a synopsis…
Enter The Coop, a dark and misleading psychological thriller.
A girl, apparently imprisoned in a room, is the thread of mystery running parallel to the tale of Thatchbury village.
Meet Howard and Lilly. They take you on a journey through Thatchbury where Mathew, the child from the coop, shoots Jodie Tiding, and so unravels the history of his loveless raising, her innocence and the dramatic events leading them to disaster.
The Coop is a darkly compelling vision of the layers of consciousness. Although conceived as the first novel in a trilogy, The Coop stands alone as a brilliant individual work of fiction.
Rebecca Reid was withdrawn from school due to illness at fourteen. Being limited in the things she was able to do, she wrote all the time − poetry, stories, feelings, thoughts. At 16 she had her own page in the local weekly newspaper, the Bangor Spectator, in which she covered anything and everything: fashion, beauty, film, teen issues etc. At 17 she became a model, doing catwalk, photographic work, and TV. In 2008 she graduated in English from Queens University, Belfast, and she was awarded an Arts Council writing grant in 2009. Married in 2007, she lives in N. Ireland with her husband and their three daughters. The Coop is her first novel, and part of the Thickets Wood Trilogy.
Follow Rebecca on Twitter: www.twitter.com/thicketswood.
Visit Rebecca Reid on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rebeccareid.thicketswood.
Pick up your copy of The Coop at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009BBGY0E.
Rafflecopter Code for Kindle Fire HD Giveaway: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1a49cf48
You can also leave a comment below this interview, then fill out the form at http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2012/09/29/pump-up-your-book-presents-the-coop-virtual-book-publicity-tour-kindle-fire-hd-giveaway.
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