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Author Spotlight no.56 – Quentin Bates

Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the fifty-sixth, is of crime novelist Quentin Bates.

Quentin Bates is a writer and journalist who has recently made the move into fiction with the first of a series of crime novels set in present-day Iceland:

Frozen Out (Constable & Robinson) 2011, published in the US by Soho Crime as Frozen Assets.

Also in German as In Eisigem Wasser (Lübbe, 2011) and in Dutch as Bevroren Tegoeden (Karakter, March 2012).

Cold Comfort, Soho Crime, 10th Jan 2102, Constable & Robinson, 15th March 2012.

Published in German as Kalter Troost (Lübbe, summer 2012) and in Dutch as Schrale Troost (Karakter, summer 2102).

A third book, tentatively titled Chilled to the Bone, is well on the way to completion and takes Gunnhildur right away from the city and into mountains, villages and farms of the rural western fjords.

And now from the author himself:

If I’d had a crystal ball to peer into, I’d have started work a year or so earlier. It’s also a long story that I won’t go into here, but I spent a long time living in Iceland, that large volcanic rock surrounded by fish and with a population the size of Croydon’s.

There are two schools of thought. One is that you should write about what you know, as that gives your work an authority and grounds it firmly. The opposite school says that you should write what you don’t know about as that way there’s so much enjoyment to be had from finding out things you never dreamed existed.

The decision to write a book set in Iceland was simple enough. I know Iceland very well and parts of it I know intimately after living there for a decade. On the other hand, with a squeaky clean record of boring honesty behind me, I didn’t know a great deal about police work other than from reading crime novels – so it was practically a perfect combination.

I came a little late to writing fiction after a motley career as a seaman, truck driver, teacher and a few other things before finding my way into journalism through a series of odd coincidences. Then came the idea of trying to write fiction – just in time to fit in with the wave of Scandinavian crime fiction. It wasn’t intentional, although it may look like a case of a bandwagon being hastily jumped on. My first crime novel, Frozen Out (Frozen Assets in the US), was going through the copyediting process just as Stieg Larsson started his sadly posthumous climb up the bestseller lists in English.

My rotund heroine, Gunnhildur, came to life quite suddenly as I was playing with the initial ideas that eventually became Frozen Out. To begin with she wasn’t the main character. Gunna was the sidekick. After putting away the fledgling manuscript and coming back to it a few weeks later, it was obvious that the main character was a dull collection of clichés, while Gunna, who had more or less jumped onto the page one day, cracking her knuckles and demanding to be taken seriously, was the far more interesting character. I have to admit to being deeply fond of her, even though I give her a rough time, load her with challenges and generally make her life difficult.

Writing Frozen Out was a long process in bursts of activity punctuated with periods of idleness. Well, not so much idleness as the day job that takes up valuable writing time.

Morgen: “A bandwagon being hastily jumped on” I love that, and, as you say, being able to do whatever you like to your characters. 🙂

You can find more about Quentin and his writing via his website http://graskeggur.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, Twitter and Facebook.

      

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with murder mystery and YA author JT Lewis – the two hundred and seventy-fourth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me. You can read / download my eBooks from Smashwords (Amazon to follow).

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2012 in ebooks, Facebook, novels, Twitter, writing

 

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Author Spotlight no.53 – Chelle Cordero

Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the fifty-third, is of Chelle Cordero.

Chelle has come a long way since first joining the Vanilla Heart Publishing queue of authors nearly two years ago with her first novel, Bartlett’s Rule. Now with nine novels on the market, she has solidified her standing as a Romantic Suspense author (7 romantic suspense & 2 mysteries). She also has short stories in the VHP anthology With Arms Wide Open, Mandimam’s Press anthology Forever Friends, the VHP anthology Nature’s Gifts, VHP anthology Passionate Hearts and Mandimam Press anthology Forever Travels.

Bartlett’s Rule was named one of Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s Top Ten Reads for 2009; Final Sin was a 2009 Pushcart Nominee; and Hostage Heart, Final Sin and A Chaunce of Riches were nominated in the 2009 Preditors’ and Readers’ poll and had top-ten finishes. Chelle Cordero was recently featured as one of the authors in “50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading” published by The Author’s Show in 2010.

And now from the author herself:

As a child I kept notebook after notebook of writing attempts. In one case I created an entire TV series written specifically for my then-favourite actor; the series he was in was cancelled and after all, wouldn’t his agent be thrilled that someone cared enough to come up with a new script for him? The agent was unimpressed.

I did a favour for a community organizer when I was 18 and wrote a brief article for the local weekly paper. It was published and while I didn’t receive any monetary payment, seeing my name in the by-line was a “pure adrenaline” rush. For years I went back to writing my TV series, (hey even though the agent didn’t like it, I did) and short pieces of prose.

Finally, pregnant with our daughter, I decided to work from home and write full-time. I lucked into an underpaid, monthly column in the cable guide pretty much right away. Other non-fiction spots followed, luckily most had better pay rates. I felt like literally stumbled into writing as a profession.

That was the first time I announced (sort of proudly) that I was a writer. I had gotten paid for my writing and except for that one ungrateful actor’s agent, I had never known rejection. My ego was definitely inflated.

However most of the people who took my pronouncement seriously asked if I had written any books. I had to be honest, while I enjoyed writing ANYthing, I really wanted to create stories, fiction, romantic stories of suspense, mysteries…

So while working freelance as a journalist, raising two precocious kids, keeping a home and volunteering in my community, I found the time to start writing stories. Despite the long list of published credits I had, agents told me I was too new to take a chance on and I finally knew what it felt like to receive a rejection.

My ego was still so super-inflated that each time I received a rejection, I became more determined to get a novel published – I used to tell everyone that I wanted to grow up to be a novelist. I kept writing and finally in late 2007 I submitted a manuscript called Bartlett’s Rule to Vanilla Heart Publishing; it was accepted (there went that ego again!). I finally felt grown up.

I am still a freelance journalist and I enjoy my work. But I LOVE letting my imagination run away and create characters and stories. I still get that pure adrenaline rush each time I see my name on the spine of a book. I enjoy taking different experiences of my life and fashioning it into a novel. It’s amazing to see how something as simple as a grocery store encounter can turn into the beginnings of a mystery.

Nine novels later, short stories in five anthologies, two writing guides and scores more newspaper articles, I absolutely love my life.

I will send anyone who sends an email to ChelleCordero@gmail.com with “Sampler” in the subject a FREE .pdf sampler of all my novels and writing guides.

For more information about Chelle, visit her website at http://ChelleCordero.com or her blog at http://ChelleCordero.blogspot.com. All of Chelle’s novels are available in print or e-book through online retailers like Amazon and Barnes and Noble and various e-book formats like Smashwords.

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with Alison Richards – the two hundred and sixty-third of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me. You can read / download my eBooks from Smashwords (Amazon to follow).

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2012 in ebooks, interview, novels, writing

 

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