Love, care, friendship and togetherness make the Christmas time all the more unique. Christmas also means spreading the affection of our heart into the lives of others & bringing in pleasure & cheers.
Christmas is a perfect time to say love & good wishes for those we cares your. Getting someone wishes on Christmas day is a happy time.
And you will also want to wish them. 🙂
With this announcement I’m truly grateful to have Rachel Abbott as a Guest Author for this week’s blog to interview.
Rachel Abbott is author of Only the Innocent, The Back Road and her third book – If You Leave Me should be released in the UK in March, 2014. Rachel Abbott has spent the majority of her working life running an interactive media company, designing and building software and websites, mainly for education. Her company was sold in 2000, and although she continued working for another 5 years, she also fulfilled a lifelong ambition of buying a property in Italy. The villa was a total ruin, and took about three years to complete, but as it is quite a large property with its own private chapel, it soon became too big an opportunity to miss, and so was turned into a venue for weddings and holidays. Having restored a second property as a full time home, Rachel has now found the time to fulfill her second ambition of writing a novel. Rachel’s books are published by Thomas and Mercer in the US and Canada, and Only the Innocent was launched in paperback, Kindle and audio versions on 5th February 2013 – going straight into the top 10 in the Kindle store. Foreign rights in Only the Innocent have been sold in several countries, including France, Germany, Brazil and Russia. An audio version of the book is also in development.
Hi Rachel, thank you for agreeing to this interview.
- Tell me a little about yourself and your background? What were you like at school? Were you good at English? What are your ambitions for your writing career? Which writers inspire you? Or something that you feel you need to share?
I have lived most of my life in the North West of England – except for the last ten years. Since then I have been living in Italy, and more recently Alderney – one of the Channel Islands.
For many years I owned and ran a medium sized interactive media company, developing software and websites, but I sold the company in 2000 and shortly afterwards we bought our first property in Italy, which needed to be restored more of less from the ground upwards. That was a really exciting experience.
At school I was lazy. I loved anything to do with the social life or sport, but the actual studying just seemed to get in the way of having a good time (whereas now I’m a bit of a workaholic). But the one subject that I always enjoyed was English.
I loved reading, and of course I still do. I used to read just about anything, but now I’m a bit more picky. I wrote my first book because I had an idea in my head, and it simply wouldn’t go away. I had no intention of trying to publish it, but I gave in to family pressure and it was more of an experiment than anything else. But my first novel was really successful, and now I can’t think of anything that I would rather do. I write every day, and hope that I am able to do so for many years to come.
- What was your life like before becoming an author?
In the years that I was running my business, life was fairly chaotic. I worked very long hours, and it was a stressful existence. When I gave it all up to go and live in Italy, we were kept busy working on the properties that we bought as ruins, but when they were finished, I was left without a real purpose. I love to cook, but I needed to find something that made me excited about the idea of the day ahead. Writing has given me that.
- When did you decide to become a writer?
I didn’t really decide. I just knew that I wanted to write a specific story – which was Only the Innocent – and I enjoyed writing it so much that I knew I would have to write another one. I could never, ever have imagined the success of that book in my wildest dreams, but once it had done so well I knew that I just had to carry on.
So I would say that I decided to become a writer – as a career – when I had finished my first book and had loved the whole experience so much.
- Which comes first? The character’s story or the idea for the novel?
I’m not sure that I can differentiate between those. My books are based on dilemmas – things that happen to people that they have to find a solution for – so the idea of the novel is the character’s story – they are one and the same, if that makes sense.
I work out what the dilemma is – for example, in Only the Innocent my original idea was ‘what set of circumstances would be so bad that a woman would have no choice but to murder a man’. I wanted my character to be a normal woman – not some kind of serial killer. So I had to work out what might have happened to my character that would make her do what she does – the idea behind the novel developing as my character’s story unfolded in my head.
- Why do you write? What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
I write because I love it. It is the joy of picturing something in my mind, and being able to convey those thoughts in words. I love developing characters, wondering what they will do next. I have such a clear idea of my characters in my head that when I am writing scenes from their point of view, the thoughts seem to come from them – not me.
In terms of advice, I don’t think I am really experienced enough to give any. The only thing I would say is – do it because you love it. Never stop learning; never stop trying to perfect every word or phrase. And if you want your books to do well, be prepared for some very hard work, because marketing is essential.
- So, what have you written?
My third novel – If You Leave Me – is in its second edit at the moment, and should be released in the UK in March.
I also write a Blog at http://rachelabbottwriter.wordpress.com/ .
- Where people can buy or see them?
The Back Road is available from:
- Amazon in the US: http://www.amazon.com/The-Back-Road-ebook/dp/B00BSZVVL8/;
- Amazon in the UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Back-Road-ebook/dp/B00BP8JQ9M .
It has only recently been released in the US, but in the UK The Back Road has over 800 reviews, and 450 of them are 5 star – which I am so delighted with.
In the UK it is also available for other e-readers via sites such as Waterstones, Kobo and Barnes and Noble.
- Give me an insight into your main character from your last novel /first novel/. What does he/she do that is so special?
Ellie Saunders had a difficult childhood. Her father disappeared when she was in her teens and she has never understood why. Her mother was a difficult woman too, but despite a rocky start in life, Ellie meets and marries Max – a wonderful caring man – and together they have twins.
Sadly, Ellie’s life is thrown into turmoil when everything points to the fact that Max is having an affair, and as a result of her suspicions she does something very stupid – and finds herself enmeshed in a web of lies to cover up her mistake. But the lies have repercussions that put lives at risk. She is faced with a terrible dilemma – should she risk her marriage, or should she stay silent?
- What sparked the idea for your book/s?
The idea for Only the Innocent was buzzing round in my head for many years. It all started when I heard that a woman had been accused of murder – a pretty rare thing and probably the first I had heard of in the UK. It made me wonder if there was any set of circumstances that would cause me to think that murder was the only option. I had to come up with a scenario in which there was no other sensible way out for the murderer – but I also wanted the killer to be somebody that the reader would empathize with. That’s why I added the strap-line – Can murder ever be justified? Should the guilty be punished, or the innocent protected?
The Back Road was quite different. I wanted to explore the possible consequences of a number of people telling relatively small lies to protect themselves. A girl is knocked over and left for dead on a local lane known as the Back Road, and nobody knows what happened to her. Because so many people are failing to tell the truth, the danger to this girl increases day by day.
I have just finished the second draft of my third novel, and in this case I wanted to explore what a woman might do if her children were in danger.
I like to give my protagonists dilemmas – problems to solve that don’t appear to have a ready solution.
- Are there any character traits in your book that are based on someone you know?
If I am honest, I would say that all characters are based on traits that I have witnessed in other people, but no character is entirely based on one person.
I have always been an observer of people and their behaviors, relationships, attitude to others. I don’t consciously analyses people, but when I’m writing and a character suddenly says or does something, I often think “I know where that came from”.
I think that as a thriller writer you have to be interested in people. My books tend to focus on the way people behave when faced with difficult decisions, so I need to be able to get inside the heads of my characters.
One slight exception to this is Tom Douglas – the policeman in all three of my books. He is all the good bits put together, I think – although in the latest book he is a bit grumpy from time to time, but I think we can allow that.
- Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
I’ve always read anything and everything, but I particularly like the early Harlan Coben books (the stand-alone, rather than Myron Bolitar series), and I love S. J. Bolton – a British author who writes terrific thrillers. But there are so many others – and not all are thriller writers.
- Where is your favorite place to read and write?
I write at my desk, where my large French windows look out, if I lean out a little, to allow me to see the sea.
I read anywhere – I love reading in bed, but I probably enjoy it most when I’m traveling, because it’s one of the rare times when I have to sit down and can’t possibly be expected to do anything else. There is no sense of guilt or ‘I should be dusting the sitting room’ in my head, because if I’m stuck on a plane or a train, what better way to pass the time. Sometimes when the flight arrives, I don’t want to get off because I want to get on with my reading!
- How do you market your book/s?
It’s a lot of hard work! I have quite a number of followers on Twitter, and so I make sure there is plenty of information there, and also I do have a small database of people who have been asked to be informed when there is a new book. And then I chat on forums, do guest posts – a whole host of different activities. However, I do prepare a marketing plan, and I follow it. It’s usually a lengthy document and very detailed. There are so many strands to marketing, and it does occupy pretty much all of my time for the first three months after release of a book.
- Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
As I mentioned in the previous question, a marketing plan is essential. There are different aspects to the plan – from creating and implementing a strategy for getting reviews to identifying ways in which your books are more ‘discoverable’ to readers.
Every writer needs to work out where to find readers. There is a lot of talk about a sales ‘platform’ – access to people who are potential purchasers, and this is something that as a writer you need to work on before your book is launched. But it’s not good enough to just have high volumes of followers – they need to be people who are potentially interested in your books, and not just books in general, so think about where you might find these people, and how you might engage them.
There is no simple answer. There isn’t a magic formula, and the goalposts keep moving as new forms of social media increase in popularity.
- What do you do to get book reviews?
I try to get some early readers who have been following me on Twitter or Facebook. Normally, these are people who have responded frequently to my posts, and who seem genuinely interested in my books. They are not people I know personally. I send them a copy, and they send me very valuable feedback. I ask them if they will review the book honestly when it is live on Amazon or wherever is appropriate.
In addition, I contact bloggers who might be interested in reviewing the book, and send copies to them pre-release too. It often takes months to get blogger reviews, though. And then I do have readers who have been waiting for the book, and they buy it immediately and often write reviews too.
I never, under any circumstances, do review swaps, and I wouldn’t for one moment consider buying reviews. It takes hard work to get them, but the joy is in knowing that they are honest.
- What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
I think you need to want to be a writer first – and the published bit has to come later. Write because it’s something that you want to do. I had no plans to be published when I wrote Only the Innocent – but when it was finished I knew I wanted to do more with it.
So write because you love it, and see what a small group of people (not friends and family!) think about the results. If you really want to be published, I would try to save enough money to afford a good editor – that’s not a person to proof read, that’s a person who will tell you which bits of the book work, which bits are boring, or any plot points that don’t make sense. A good editor can make your average book really sing.
- How can readers discover more about you and you work?
- Website: www.rachel-abbott.com
- Blog: http://rachelabbottwriter.wordpress.com
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/RachelAbbott1Writer
- Twitter: @_RachelAbbott
- Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/rachelabbott1/
- Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rachel-Abbott/e/B0068FBVCW/
- THE BACK ROAD: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Back-Road-Rachel-Abbott-ebook/dp/B00BP8JQ9M/
- ONLY THE INNOCENT: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Only-Innocent-Rachel-Abbott-ebook/dp/B00684EBC0/
- THE BACK ROAD: http://www.amazon.com/The-Back-Road-ebook/dp/B00BSZVVL8/
- THE BACK ROAD: http://www.amazon.com/Only-The-Innocent-Rachel-Abbott-ebook/dp/B0091TMAK4/
It was a great privilege for me to get to interview Rachel Abbott, who has inspired me in many different ways. Thank you Rachel!!! Good Luck with everything!