Hello my fellow bookworms and page turners, in this post I will be covering both Panel Five of the Literary festival, which was moderated by my good friend Stephanie Cox.
Due to the sheer amount of information and chatter that you would expect in a open event such as this, all questions, where sent 24 hours in advance and where typed into the comment section for the present authors to answer in real time. In this post I will be documenting some of the questions within all the individual author panel 5 Q&A’s.
Panel 5 – Trust No One : Mark Edwards | Chris Ewan | C L Taylor | Louise Voss
Q: Joy Kluver : How does writing on your own compare with writing in partnership? Pros and cons?
A: Good question, Joy. I do prefer writing with Mark because it’s so nice to have someone to bounce ideas off and thrash out plot stuff… he’s better at plotting than I am. And of course it gets written in half the time! But on the other hand perhaps there is a greater sense of achievement from finishing your own book.
Q: Nick Quantrill : Working as part of a duo with Mark Edwards, how do you decide which ideas to run with?
A: Hm. Another good question. We don’t have enough ideas that it’s tough to choose! Usually one or other of us comes up with the basic premise, and the other goes, ‘yeah that sounds good.’ Off the top of my head – and hopefully Mark will correct me if I’m wrong, but we both came up with the idea of two narrators in Killing Cupid; I’d wanted to write something (solo) set in the Cold Research Centre but Mark had the idea of making it a joint thriller rather than a solo cosy romance, which became Catch Your Death; I think he had the idea for the sequel All Fall Down; I’d wanted to write something about internet dating gone wrong for Forward Slash – and we both came up with the idea for the Lennon series, starting with From The Cradle….
Q: Steven Dunne : Do you and Mark have your own distinctive styles and if so how do you smooth over any differences?
A: Yes we very much do have our own distinctive styles, and when we first started writing in the 3rd person together, with Catch Your Death, we had to work quite hard to edit each other’s chapters to unify the voice. Weirdly, since then, we seem to have developed a discrete joint style that is just Voss Edwards – we don’t ever even think about editing each other’s voices anymore, they just seem to blend automatically. There are bits of our recent novels that when I re-read them, I honestly truly can’t remember which of us wrote certain scenes.
Q: Louise Palmer: Do you have a clear idea of your characters before you start writing or do they develop as you go?
A: Hello Louise P! I always have a bit of an idea about the character beforehand, but they very definitely develop as I/we go along. Usually it’s one specific tic or trait.
Q: Mason Cross: What’s the best advice you’ve been given by a writer?
A: OK, Mason, one bit of advice that really stuck with me was that you don’t have to start at the beginning, or write sequentially. I can’t remember who told me that, but it really helps with writer’s block – if I get stuck, I will jump ahead and write an entirely different scene. (Much easier these days too, with the advent of Scrivener.
Q: Mark Draycott: With regards to marketing and getting word out there before the release, is it true that this groundwork is extremely important to give a platform?
A: Hi Mark, yes I think you should start networking as soon as possible. Connect with other people in your genre: writers, reviewers, bloggers, readers… If you are friendly with these people, when your book comes out they will help spread the word. I think that’s really important.
Q: Helen Glitrow : Many of the big-name writers of psych thrillers are women. (Some of them are on BritCrime) Do you think male writers bring something different to the subgenre?
A: Helen, I was actually thinking about this earlier. I have tried to take advantage of being male, and I think that having a male perspective makes my books stand out from a lot of other psych thrillers. That’s what readers tell me anyway. However I am throwing that ‘advantage’ away by writing my next one from a female POV!
Q: Sanda Lonescu : know there can be crime fiction that isn’t a psychological thriller, but can there every be a psychological thriller without a crime?
A: Sanda… “there can be crime fiction that isn’t a psychological thriller, but can there every be a psychological thriller without a crime”. Hmm, tricky question. I don’t think so because it wouldn’t be a thriller without a crime. Although, having said that, most of the goings-on in the Magpies weren’t really crimes. It was more subtle, psychological warfare.
Q: Daniel Pembrey : if you were to write a book in a different genre now, which genre would you pick?
A: I would love to write a post-apocalyptic novel. Or something that makes people cry. A weepie. That would be a challenge
Q: Louise Palmer: Did you find it quite difficult to get reviewers and bloggers to look at your book? I imagine they must get loads of people asking?
A: Louise, yes it really hard to get reviews when Louise Voss and I first started. We had a list of bloggers and emailed everyone, but only got a few reviews. It gets easier!
Q: Sarah Ward : you’ve set your books in different locations. Do you always write about places you know or do you also research new settings?
A: Location is a strange thing. It’s always been really important to me as a writer – mostly because I can’t really begin work on a book until I figure out the right location for a particular story to take place. On the whole, I’ve tended to write about places I’ve visited a couple of times in the past, and then I visit three times during the writing of a book. It’s different with Safe House and Dark Tides, which were both set on the Isle of Man, where I lived for eleven years. It’s only in my new novel, due out next year, that I’ve written about some locations I’ve never been to – Hamburg, for one. Dubrovnik, for another. Researching from a guide book isn’t quite so fun. I know location played a strong role in In Bitter Chill, too, Sarah. The fun bit for me is when you start writing a book and begin to see new ways to make the location fit your story. It’s a bit like plot, I guess. When you start to find elements of your location that excite you as a writer, you get the sense the book is beginning to work. I’ve had experiences of stumbling round Venice, say, and discovering a derelict staircase running up to a palazzo and thinking … I HAVE to set a scene here. (I also discovered the palazzo I’d planned to have somebody break in to was actually a police station…). When it works well, it’s almost as if the place begins to want to work with you.
Q: Helen Giltrow: Someone’s just walked up to you at a party. ‘I like crime novels,’ they say. ‘What sort do you write?’ How would you answer?
A: Hi Helen! Someone is talking to me at a party! I would probably begin by spilling my drink on myself. Then I’d tell them that I started out writing lighthearted caper novels, and moved on to writing thrillers. But that thriller label is pretty slippery, isn’t it? I feel like my books contain a strong mystery element, too. Some, like Dark Tides, are more like psychological thrillers. So in all honesty, I’d probably ask them the kind of crime novels they like – and pretend I write those!
Q: Gordon Mcghie : I loved the use of Hop-tu-naa (which I hope I got right) in Dark Tides. Was it the plan to build a story around the festival or did the plot/plan come first?
A: Thanks for reading Dark Tides! Hop-tu-naa, the Manx Halloween, is such an interesting festival – so unique, and weird, and also spooky, and so that came first. I was actually walking on the island with Stuart MacBride and explained about Hop tu naa to him, and afterwards I happened to say, “you know, there’s probably a book in it”. He looked at me like I was made and said, “you think??!!”. That made me realise I was staring a great basis for a story (as well as Stuart) in the face, and the book grew from there.
Q: Mason Cross: Which do you enjoy more (or hate least) – writing or editing?
A: that is a tricky question! My favourite thing is writing the first 5 or 6 chapters of a first draft. After that, it’s a case of good days and bad days. I’m maybe weird in that I love editing. I like that feeling of gradually making the work a bit better, and cringing a bit less.
Q: Daniel Pembrey: Hi Chris, which crime writers have influenced you most?
A: Hey Daniel. The writer who first made me want to write crime novels was Raymond Chandler – I read The Long Goodbye and just fell in love with the genre. In terms of my own writing, I’d say my influences have included Chandler, Patricia Highmsith, Lawrence Block, Harlan Coben …. the list goes on.
Q: Miranda White : How do you keep the tension ramped up in your novels? It’s amazing! smile emoticon?
A: Hello! Lovely to see a familiar face here! How do I keep the tension ramped up? Hmm. I think psych thrillers need a central mystery that forms the core of the novel but lots of additional mysteries that add to the tension. I think a lot of the tension in my novels comes from the reader not knowing who they can trust and by putting my main character in physical and psychological jeopardy.
Q: Nick Quantrill: Did you find studying Psychology was a help when the time came to write crime novels?
A: Hello! I have always been fascinated by the way people think and why and am particularly fascinated by abnormal psychology. In my novels I have covered sociopathy, PTSD, mind control and brainwashing and anxiety disorder and, possibly, my degree helps me understand some of the papers and clinical trials I read when I research those areas before starting a book.
Q: Katherine Slee: There seems to be a fine line between crime and thriller at the moment. How dark do you think both genres can go whilst still remaining authentic?
A: Ooh, now there’s a good question. I don’t know that the difference between crime and thriller is to do with how dark they are but rather thrillers are about a main character in jeopardy in some way and the sense that the clock is ticking. How would you define the difference between the two?
Q: Natalie Roberts: How did you find motivation to write when you had another job? I work full-time and have a deadline of November to submit my book to my publisher. I can’t seem to get the motivation I need.
A: that made me laugh! I bet your motivation increases as you get closer to November! I tend to work out how many days I have to write my novels and then how many days I have and how many words I need to write a day. That seems to get me going! Last year, when I had a full time job and was also looking after my 3 year old, writing my novel too nearly finished me off!
Q: Jeanette Hewitt: Something I’m enjoying asking everyone today, what genres do you like to read and what are you reading at the moment?
A: I enjoy lots of genres and I tend to have binges of a certain genre at different times in my life. Late teens it was SCIFI, philosophical literary in my early 20s, romantic comedies in my late twenties, popular literary fiction and womens fiction in my 30s and, more recently, lots and lots of psychological thrillers!
that just about wraps up my highlights of Panel Five if you wish to read the full panel convocations you can view them here on facebook
Until next time, read more books