US-UK, What a Difference!

US-UK the contrast   I have noticed through the years of publishing my e-books worldwide, that there is a great difference in the settings- or should I say countries- to which US and UK readers want to escape. As I have had quite a globe-trotting life, I set my novels in the countries where I have lived- and they are quite a few. The places in which I have lived and loved the most are France and Ireland. (Also my home country- Sweden, of course, which was featured in Swedish for Beginners).

I have often been told that my sense of place is one of the best features of my books, and that the readers feel they are ‘there’ as they read. I think this is because I think very visually and feel myself I’m right in the middle of the setting I describe as I write. I ‘see’ the beautiful vistas of France and Ireland, I feel the heat, and smell the herbs and garlic of a French coq au vin, or an Irish stew with fresh soda bread. I swim in the warm waters of the Mediterranean, or walk up the grassy hills of Ireland with the wind in my hair. My greatest wish was to take my readers along with me on these trips, and if I have achieved that, I’m very happy.

My e-books sell mainly in America and Britain. But these readers have very different tastes. American readers love to ‘travel’ to Ireland, especially the wild west coast, as described in my Kerry Romance Series, the first of which,Hot Property, is free right now. UK readers, on the other hand, love going to France in their imagination, which is why my brand new Riviera romance, Selling Dreams, along with my comedy/satire, Villa Caramel, have seen amazing sales in the UK all winter.

I have my own theory about this. I think Americans love Ireland, and thus like reading about it. Many American have roots in Ireland and there is a great infinity between the two countries. People in Britain, on the other hand, have a great love of France and all things French. It’s more exotic and the weather is better, not to mention the food and wine. I can’t argue with that.

This chilly winter, I have myself, escaped to the French Riviera, and continue to do so while I write the second book in what is to become The Riviera Series.

After that, I might return to Ireland… Who knows? In any case, I’m not complaining. Vive la difference!

Brendan Behan and I

Borstal

The publication of Full Irish  my co-written Irish-American detective story has raised a few questions in my my mind, the main one being: how Irish am I really? Of course, my name suggests an Irish colleen with roots in County Cork, but that’s borrowed plumage from my marriage to an Irishman from said county. In fact, my Co-writer, Pete Morin is more Irish than I am, as his mother’s family name is Donnelly, originally from County Sligo. I have to confess to having been born in Sweden and there is no shame in that. Except when you market a book set partly in Ireland. But, although my first twenty years were spent in the country of my birth, the rest of my adult life were, apart from some years in foreign countries, spent in Ireland.

I feel more at home here than in Sweden and, indeed, I am told I speak English with an Irish accent. Not only that, my connection with this country goes back to my early childhood, when my father came here on holiday as a young man and fell in love with this beautiful country and its people. It’s partly his ‘fault’ that I met and married my Irish husband of many years. My dad used to invite Irish friends to stay in our summer house in the islands and I have been familiar with Irish voices from the tender age of five or so.

As my late father travelled around Ireland and mainly County Kerry, he befriended many an Irishman in the many pubs he visited (purely for local colour). One of these gentlemen was Brendan Behan. They met in a pub in Dunquin on the Dingle peninsula and started to talk, swap stories and (probably) risqué jokes as well. I do believe there was also some singing. (Brendan was a wonderful singer). As they parted, my father gave Brendan his card (as yo do) and said something along the lines of: “if you’re ever in Stockholm, give me a call”, not thinking for a moment this would actually happen. But it did.

A few weeks after his return home, there was a phone call from the local police station in Stockholm to the house in the islands. Did my father know an Irishman named Brendan Behan? And if so, could he come and pick him up? Now, I know that at this time. Brendan was not drinking, so he was probably just being Irish and argumentative. He was also in the company of his wife Beatrice, a pretty, soft-spoken woman. They were both immediately invited to stay with us.

This was in 1958 and, although I was just a little girl at the time, I have vivid memories of those weeks when Brendan Behan came to stay. I suppose it was because he was such a big, warm, noisy man with a great sense of humour and a loud, contagious laugh. I remember how he got up at 4 am every morning to work on the final proofs his book, The Borstal Boy, the first edition of which is still sitting in the bookcase in the summer house. He got the cover image during his stay, and proudly showed it to us. When he had finished the morning’s work, he cooked us all a Full Irish breakfast and that was my first introduction to this typically Irish feast. I have enjoyed many of those since then, but the ones cooked by Brendan Behan were the best.

There are many tales of Brendan Behan, and most of them are of him being drunk and disorderly. That is not my image of Brendan. I simply remember him as a larger-than-life man, who was so kind to us children. A man who stood on the pier on a dark, moonlit night in August and sang an Irish ballad, his beautiful voice ringing across the black waters of the bay. A man who went to a Jussi Björling charity  concert in the church on the island (Jussi had a summer house close to ours) and listened, tears rolling down his cheeks. I also remember him singing the ‘Ridi Pagliaccio‘ aria on his knees in front of my grandmother, making her both laugh and cry. Despite the fact that I, like my younger siblings, didn’t speak much English, Brendan managed to communicate with us using a smattering of Swedish he had picked up, and the few English words and phrases we knew.

My dad later told us the story of their subsequent visit to a fancy restaurant in Stockholm. The Maitre d’ took one look at Brendan and hesitated about whether he should be let in to such a select establishment, saying “that man likes to drink”. When my dad translated this to Brendan, he replied: “tell him that’s the understatement of the century”.

Brendan and my dad are both gone. I like to imagine them together in Heaven, sitting on a cloud, having a pint and singing Irish songs.

FULL IRISH- A Political Suspense Like No Other

Full Irish Cover MEDIUM WEB

 

I was going to be lazy- as it’s Saturday night- and just reblog Pete’s’ post  But then I thought I should really give my own take on our collaboration of this quirky, fun political suspense, full of twists and turns and dark humour.  I owe it to Pete, as he put such hard work and effort into it. We both did. I’m very driven as a writer but, to my surprise, so is he, which I didn’t expect at the start. The fact that we’re both impatient and a little pedantic caused a tiny bit of friction at the beginning of our collaboration, as the frustration of trying to match our styles and ideas grew. It was little bit like the push-me-pull-you animal in Doctor Dolittle, pulling in different directions. But with time, we adapted and found a good way to write together. I think, as the project took shape, we parked our egos at the door, so to speak, and started to care about the story and how to make it the best we could. Any collaboration has its teething problems, of course, but it didn’t take us long to find a smooth path and then we were rolling and enjoying the journey.

I have known Pete a number of years, ever since the good-ol’ Authonomy days and we have been great Internet friends since then. I have enjoyed his honesty and wry humour on many occasions. But one especially comes to mind. I few years ago, I was invited to take part in a chat show on national radio here in Ireland. Eamon Delaney and I were going to talk about our different experiences of life in the Irish diplomatic service. This was toward the end of the Celtic Tiger era and RTE still had money to spend on tiny ‘celebs’ such as me. I was put up at a swanky hotel in Dublin at their expense the night before the show. Finding myself all alone in this hotel room, I thought I’d message a friend to show off. Nobody was available, expect Pete who, to my e-mail of ‘woohoo, guess where I am, etc’ just replied: ‘stay away from the minibar’. Which made me laugh and also put me firmly in my place.

We started exchanging ideas at the beginning of May, outlining plot and characters, and got stuck into the real work about a week later. Since then, we have worked at a steady pace all through the summer months and into autumn, and here we are-with  a finished, polished, edited novel ready to go in just under six months.

What is it about? The story in a nutshell:

A Dublin reporter is on a mission to find the murderer of an honest politician and close friend. A Boston lawyer is hired to dig up dirt on a conniving Irish competitor.

When the two collide at a famous County Kerry castle and discover their mutual interests, the ensuing game plan is more Pink Panther than Hercule Poirot.

Full Irish marks the return of Paul Forté and his wife, Shannon, and the introduction of Finola McGee. In a sometimes madcap, sometimes dark adventure, Shannon lands a blow against lecherous politicians, McGee shows off her pole dancing prowess, an Anglo-Irish butler turns double-agent, and the zygomatic bone takes disproportionate abuse. But can the trio unravel the web of conspiracy stretching from the back corridors of Leinster House to the polished inner sanctum of the Massachusetts Senate?

Against the backdrop of the windswept west coast of Ireland and the watering holes of Dublin and Boston, Full Irish exposes a rivalry that goes to the very heart of politics.

 

We loved writing it. We hope readers will love it even more.

FULL IRISH will be published at the end of November.

 

http://petemorin.wordpress.com/2014/11/01/a-full-irish-holiday/

 

Why Readers Need to Do More than Read

cover poster april2014

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As I work hard to finish Selling Dreams, my fourteenth novel, which will be published in December, my thoughts go to my readers, especially those who have been so supportive and encouraging. It’s mainly because of them that I have upped my writing speed and work harder than ever to produce a book every five to six months. It’s their enthusiasm in many e-mails and Facebook messages that spurred me to produce yet another title, this time with a different setting. It’s not because of them that I write. But they are the reason I try harder.

I write because I love writing, the thought process and the magic of creating new characters, setting the story in places I have been and loved. This new one, which I plan to follow up with two more books, turning it into a new series, is set in the south of France, where I have spent so many holidays and shorter breaks. It’s magic at any time of the year and I want  to take my readers there on an imaginary journey. As I write, I’m there myself and the story is beginning to shape up in surprising ways. Strange that you start off with one story in your head, but always end up with quite a different one as the characters take on their own lives and do things you hadn’t planned at all. That’s the magic of writing.

When you’ve finished the book and get out of the writing trance, you begin to look at the next step: publishing and marketing. Of course I write mainly for the love of it but what is a story without readers? Hard working writers do actually want some kind of rewards for their hard work. And hard work it is. I spend an average of four hours a day just writing. Marketing and publicity take another hour or so on top of that. Revising, rewriting, editing, formatting, cover design comes next once you’ve finished a book. AND… the (insert bad word) blurb! That’s nearly harder than writing the whole book. You try to put the gist of a 300+ page book into a few sentences that will sell it to new readers. An impossible task  that makes you want to scream. Then you’re off again on a new book, which has to be ready five months later because readers want the next one very soon.

But enough about the hardworking writer. I’m now turning to readers. Yes, my readers have been amazingly supportive and kind. Yes, they have posted wonderful reviews and often talk to me on Facebook and Twitter and Google+ and all those other venues on the Internet. I love that. It’s one of the best things about self-publishing, apart from being my own boss and making all the decisions myself. But here is my message:

TO MY READERS

If you want your favourite author to keep writing, you have to help them sell their books.

How can you help them? By spreading the word. By creating that powerful ‘word of mouth’ that authors need for books to sell. It is that magic ‘thing’ that keeps books selling and keep writers writing. No writer writes ONLY for themselves, even if the love of writing helps create great books. I hope I never lose that love, but writing will turn into a very lonely occupation with no readers.

How can you, the reader keep me writing? By telling your friends, neighbours, cousins, aunts and uncles about my books. By chatting about them on Facebook, your local café, in the supermarket, the hairdresser’s, the dentists, well perhaps not there, but you get my drift. Without your help, the writer might not feel motivated to try so hard anymore. And if that happens, you’ll have fewer and fewer books to read.

I’m a reader too. I try to shout about my favourite authors, because I want them to keep writing.

Thank you for reading this. Now get out there and shout while I finish this book. If you want another one, you know what to do…

Summer is the Season for Shorts

shorts

 

 Who reads short stories? I do. I love well written short stories. I don’t attempt them because they are notoriously difficult to write. Only a really gifted author can write a good short story. And, to quote some famous authors:

A short story is like a kiss in the dark from a stranger. ~Stephen King

Women want love to be a novel, men a short story. ~Daphne du Maurier

A short story must have a single mood and every sentence must build towards it. ~Edgar Allan Poe

The short story is still like the novel’s wayward younger brother, we know that it’s not respectable – but I think that can also add to the glory of it. ~Neil Gaiman

When you read a short story, you come out a little more aware and a little more in love with the world around you. ~George Saunders

My friend, fellow writer Pete Morin, with whom I have the pleasure and privilege to work on a detective story, writes brilliantly crafted short stories. He is giving one of them away on his blog. This one, with the title Just Desserts is about an author who hunted down a reviewer and harassed her. Brilliant idea for a short story, which will amuse many writers. I have just read it and thoroughly enjoyed it. And when I had finished it, I wondered why on earth more people don’t read such stories; amusing, interesting and in short (pardon the pun) , true gems.

So do go and be ‘kissed in the dark’ by a stranger, enjoy this’ younger brother of a novel’ and come out of it ‘a little more aware and a little more in love with the world around you’.

It’ won’t cost you anything but a few minutes of your time. And it will make a summer’s day all the better for having read it.

 

That empty feeling-when you have published your book…

 

 

I have just published my thirteenth novel, Hot Pursuit , the third and last book in my popular Kerry series. (or ‘Hot’ series, if you prefer). It took me about five months to write, including editing, proofreading, proofreading and more—proofreading. You might think I feel relieved the work is done, that the book is out there in cyberspace to be enjoyed by, hopefully, a lot of readers.

Yes, I’m happy. And also very relieved and proud of my achievement. Writing a novel takes a lot of hard work, soul searching and brain bashing. So having finished a novel that is as good as I can make it is very satisfying.

But then… I miss it. I miss all the characters that became my friends during this time. I miss the fun, the heartache, the wrestling with all their problems. Letting go of that world I created and so enjoyed spending time in was a huge wrench. For five months or so, I lived in Rita’s skin for part of the day, created her problems and tried to solve them. She was me, in a way, and I was her. With her, I fell in love with the hero and tried to make their story as romantic but also as believable as I could. I did my best to describe the setting and truly felt I was there as I wrote. I wore the clothes, drank the wine, danced and made love along with Rita. I was sad for her and laughed at her jokes, and got very, very annoyed with anyone who wasn’t nice to her. I loved her little flat in the outskirts of Dublin, furnished just the way I’d like it myself. I enjoyed the long walks she took on the pier and ‘saw’ the beautiful scenery. The peripheral characters were also fun to write and they were as vivid to me as the people I meet in real life. It all became such a fascinating world and I loved spending time in it.

My baby that has just left the nest

My baby that has just left the nest

I often wonder why writers actually write. What makes them put those first words together for their very first book? I know what made me do it. It all happened during a time when I had a lot of sadness. I started writing a story that was full of light and laughter, where nobody was sad or died or suffered from an illness. My escape, in turn, became that of others who, perhaps, read that story in order to get a break from their own hardships. It helped me. I hope it helped someone else too.

As I went on writing, I drew on my experiences and my stories became more serious, hopefully deeper and more realistic. I feel I have grown so much as a writer since that bright, fun debut novel I wrote nearly fifteen years ago. But every time I’m finished, there is that huge feeling of separation—of having had to leave people I love.

Writing a book is like having a baby. Like carrying this person for nine months and actually feeling you know this small creature. While you’re keeping it inside you, it’s yours alone to nurture and love. But when it’s born, you throw it out there, into the big bad world for all to see. Your baby is the most beautiful thing in the world to you. But not to other people. When the ‘baby’ comes out, you have to stand back and wait for the reactions of others, of readers and reviewers who might not like this new creation of yours. Worst of all—they might even ignore it.

I miss my ‘baby’ and the time when it was only mine. But toward the end it was hard and painful, when I had to do all that proofreading and editing and formatting and reading over and over again.

But then… as with having a baby, you forget the pain and say: ah, why not? I’ll have another one…

As my stories are very character driven, it doesn’t take long before another heroine pops into my head and starts having problems I have to solve for her. Right now, there’s Flora, who has just arrived in Antibes in the south of France to take up employment in a real estate agency with a very dodgy staff. She bumps into this dishy Frenchman and then, well, the rest is still in my head.

But parallel to that, in a kind of twilight zone existence, there is also the heroine of ‘Full Irish’, the crime novel I’m co-writing with fellow crime author Pete Morin. Finola McGee, political reporter for the Irish Herald who, with Boston lawyer Paul Forté of Diary of a Small Fish fame, cracks the case of political corruption across the Atlantic,  is a feisty heroine I’m also beginning to bond with.

Two ‘babies’ this time. I’m sure I’ll miss them both when the stories have reached their conclusion. But the remedy is, as always, starting the next one.

Sex and the heroine

red shoes 2

I have had a long discussion with fellow writers about the heroine in my current work in progress: Hot Pursuit, #3 in my Hot series, after  #1 Hot Property and #2 Hot Gossip .

This was my question:

Lately, my heroines have become more sassy and independent, not denying their need for sex, even if it’s not about everlasting love and marriage.

The traditional heroine in romantic fiction is gentle and sweet and often comes across as a victim until the hero rescues her. She doesn’t initiate sex and is always a little coy when a man makes a move and the resulting lovemaking is often something she is pulled into against her moral principles. Some of my earlier heroines have been a little like this.

But when I started writing the Hot series, I thought I’d portray a more modern woman, who enjoys sex and is not afraid to show it. She can also have a fling with someone she fancies with no strings, until she finally finds ‘the one’.

In my current WIP, the heroine has a purely physical relationship with a man who’s drop-dead gorgeous, younger than her but not her match intellectually. Of course, later on she will meet someone with whom she finds that true love but her path is littered with temptations and complications. The heroine has a a sexual relationship with a man who doesn’t want more than that. So by mutual agreement, they see each other, have fun and their dates always end up in bed.

But  at the same time, she has a deep friendship with another man, who doesn’t ask for sex but leans on her for comfort and companionship. This man is troubled and damaged. She shares things with him she could never share with her lover. That relationship is platonic but very deep and loving in another way.

So, the question is: will this new kind of heroine, much closer to what many young women are like today, be sympathetic to the reader? Will it be acceptable that the heroine has needs and isn’t afraid to show it and that she jumps into bed just for fun from time to time? She’s a Sex and the City kind of girl. More Marilyn Monroe than Audrey Hepburn. More stilettos than sensible shoes…

This allows me to write some hot sex scenes… ;)

My question is: will this woman be sympathetic and more realistic? Or will readers hate her and label her as a slut?

Of course,  there are books in the romance genre from sweet romance (with no sex)  to erotic romance where they may be having sex even before the first date and everywhere in between. There will be readers who will see her as more realistic and sympathetic, others who won’t.  Tastes differ. Opinions vary. It’s still an interesting question to me.

I’ve had conflicting reactions to this query.  I’d love to hear more on this subject.

A story to capture your heart

Vinegarone Front Cover 3

Sometimes you come across a book that stays with you for a long time after you’ve turned the last page. A book that surprises you and takes you on a journey that is exciting, romantic and spiritual. Vinegarone by US author Douglas  Carlyle is such a book.

The description:

Vinegarone is nothing more than rugged land with few inhabitants and little to hope for. Or is it? 

Jeep Allhands says that time bends in Vinegarone, and that life as we know it emanates from a large tree – the Lone Madrone. A descendant of the original Native Americans who called this part of Texas home, Jeep maintains a sanctuary for a handful of homeless men who bask in the humility of this foreboding land as they mend their souls. 

Life with his clan and Kimmisue, the daughter of the only woman he ever loved, gets turned on its end when Jeep befriends a confused, homeless woman, Candi LaRue. Jeep does what he does best. He heals Candi’s physical and emotional wounds. Afterwards, he integrates her into the odd mix of personalities at home. Just as all seems to be going right, Candi recalls what brought her to Texas in the first place. She was hunting a criminal, and she can’t give up the chase. 

There’s one catch, nobody ever leaves Vinegarone…

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I had read and enjoyed Douglas Carlyle’s first published book, In Search of the Fuller Brush Man, a compelling family drama, and expected the next one to be very much the same. But as I started to read the first pages, I realised that this new story was completely different both in the theme and setting. The narrative voice was much more raw and the characters damaged and vulnerable. This was no cosy family story but a spiritual journey that would move me to write this review:

Writer and teacher John Gardner once talked about what he called ‘the fictive dream’, which means that good fiction does its job by creating a dream state for the reader, and as long as the writer manages to maintain that dream state, the reader won’t ‘wake up’ from it and will continue to ‘live’ in the fictional world the writer has created. In my mind, Douglas Carlyle succeeded in doing just that with this book.

I haven’t given five stars to this book because it’s perfect or the writing flawless but because I was so ‘lost’ in the story, I ignored the imperfections in parts of the plot and some of the (very few) flaws in the writing. The characters became, for the duration of my reading, my friends and my family and I cared enormously for Jeep, Candi and Kimmisue.

I should also mention that there are very few male writers who can write convincingly from a woman’s point of view. Douglas Carlyle did a good job here, as the women’s voices rang true to me.

The setting was very vivid and I really felt the hot sun, the dry air and the dust and saw the wide open spaces and the beautiful scenery. (This would make a wonderful movie). The paranormal theme was not noticeable at first and the reader was introduced to the spirit world of the Native Americans little by little, which worked a lot better than if it had been thrown in my face at once. I have never been that taken with the supernatural in books, even if I believe that there are things beyond this world that we don’t understand. I don’t usually pick up a book with this theme. But this time I’m glad I did.

Meet a very interesting author  

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Hi Doug, thank you for agreeing to appear on my blog and answer a few questions. I know you  now live on your ranch in Texas and divide your time between the ranch and your work as a paramedic. You seem to have had a very exciting life so far with travels to some exotic places.

What made you embark on a  writing career?

I was fortunate to have had an exciting career in the electronics business. I worked for Philips for my final four years. During that time I traveled extensively between the U.S., Europe, and Asia. I met incredible people everywhere and experienced many marvelous cultures and countries. When I retired from that industry, I sorely missed it. I began writing about some of my travels, slowly adding some characters, a bit of a storyline, and before long, I had a novel in progress. I shared some of my writing with friends and they pushed me for more. I joined the Writers’ League of Texas and Houston Writer’s Guild, began attending seminars and conferences, met with agents and publishers, and soon I had one novel complete and the next one underway. The rest is history.

What inspired you to write Vinegarone?

I led a dual career most of my adult life. I was an engineer and business executive by day, and a paramedic by night. Quite honestly, I would change out of a suit and tie at 5pm, and into a uniform with a badge, then back to a suit and tie the next morning. All that was missing was the telephone booth.
I call my life on the streets my “medical ministry.” Nothing comes close to the euphoria I feel when I help a person in need of my services. I can truthfully say there are people alive today because of what I was able to do for them. Others are much better off. Sadly for others, I was able to do too little, too late. But without a doubt, caring for another person is something I am compelled to do.
One night about seven years ago, I was called to treat a very ill and mentally deranged woman. When I took her to the hospital from which she had just been discharged, I was met at the door and asked to take her away – something quite illegal, an immoral. I took her into the hospital instead. Over the next few hours, I continued to work with the hospital staff to find a suitable resolution to this poor woman’s situation. We were successful. In a sense, she became Candi LaRue in my novel.

The paranormal/spirtual element is very strong in this book. Does this correspond to your own beliefs?

Absolutely. I am a trained scientist by degree, but I also believe in the unbelievable. Though I am Christian by faith, I am not evangelical. I honor and respect the beliefs of others be they Hindi, Buddhist, Islamic, Jewish, and shamanistic. There are many aspects shared by all faiths. To that end, I feel all humans are “one” in some manner. Vinegarone touches on this subject. Vinegarone is where the middle of nowhere touches the center of the universe.

The sex scenes in your later work are quite raw and descriptive. Has this caused any raised eyebrows among your local readers?

I had to have the written permission of my parents to read Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger in 1968 due to its language. I was thirteen at the time. That same year I had to have their permission to go to the theater with my English class to see the movie Romeo and Juliet because of a nude scene. Then came Woodstock, Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, Deepthroat, and social mores were upended.
Today, I find social mores to be largely made of elastic. They take on one form in public, and another in private. Some of my scenes have in fact created some buzz in my socially conservative community. Yet, I receive private accolades from many of these same people, and they ask me when my next novel will be available.
I draw the line before I get to graphic sex. I get heavy into innuendo and I lead my readers to understand what is taking place without telling them every detail. I also have a wife and three daughters who read my novels. I am not perverse. There is nothing wrong in my mind if a couple has sex. Some of my sex scenes have been called gratuitous. Well, here’s a news flash. There is a lot of gratuitous sex in our world today. The vast majority of my readers live a bit vicariously through my writing. Cheers to them.
The characters in your novels come from different walks of life. How did you handle the way they speak?
Getting back to Catcher in the Rye, that is one of the greatest examples of the use of colloquial language. Each of my novels has a different tongue. In Search of the Fuller Brush Man has a more “educated” and “professional” sound with some tough words thrown in. Vinegarone takes place on the streets of a large urban setting, and in the frontier regions of Texas. The dialog depicts what I hear day in and day out in these settings. The language can be unpleasant. Sometimes reality is just that. Boundaries has a few distinct characteristics of its own. First, the European and Asian characters never use contractions simply because I have never in all of my travels heard people from these regions speak in contractions. Secondly, I have one chapter that uses German extensively. Why? Because it is the language in which I would expect two Germans to speak. The reader can figure out what is going on through context.

With your busy schedule, how do you find the time to write?

Writing is the easy part. Inspiration is the tough nut to crack. Once I experience that occasional, random catalyst, words flow. I am a fast typist. My goal is one novel per year until I decide to no longer write. It takes me about six months to write a novel then another six to turn it into something I want to share with the world.

Does your work as a paramedic give you a lot of inspiration? Do the people you meet end up in your stories?

My work as a paramedic evokes all of my emotions. That is the creative energy I need to become inspired. Some of the worst experiences of my life became words in my novels. So have some of the best experiences. The characters in my novels are based upon people I have met in all of my life’s journeys – some more loosely than others. Some of the characteristics of the protagonist are based upon characteristics I think are, or I wish were, intrinsic to me. Given that the central character in my next novel is female, that is posing to be a worthy challenge.

I know that you recently published your third novel,Boundaries (a psychological thriller), which had me on the edge of my seat. What are you working on now?

I am venturing into a crime series. The main character is a sassy, sexy, smart woman named Cat Kavanagh. I’m having far too much fun writing it. The first book in the series is called Book Review. It is about a serial killer who may be the author of his own murder mystery novels. The second book of the series is on the drawing board, but I expect to give it the title, Eigengrau. It will deal more with nightmares and a secret contained within a home.

That sounds amazing!  I can’t wait to read it. Please hurry up and publish it!

Doug’s website, where you can find out more about the man, his life and his work. http://www.dbcarlyle.com/

Doug’s Amazon author page can be found here.

Literary cupcakes

cupcakes

I was talking to my husband about my books over dinner tonight, after my recent publication of Hot Gossip. I said; “they’re romantic comedies–or  aka ‘chick-lit'”. He thought for a moment, then said: “they’re like literary cupcakes. Pretty, delicious, beautifully baked with a very moreish taste.”

Then he pulled back and apologised, thinking I’d be offended and that it denigrated my work in some way. He does love my books, he said; “the romance, the humor, the one liners , the beautiful settings, the quirky characters, you do it so well.” (great back pedaling).

I know he does and he is not alone, judging by sales. But I wasn’t offended. I thought the description was so spot-on: chick-lit=literary cupcakes, brilliant! That’s how I enjoy chick-lit books by other authors. I love the taste, the buzz of the sweetness, the many flavors and the pretty icing, especially if it has a cherry on the top. Books written with gusto and humour, that often make you  laugh out loud and bring a little romance into your life… Addictive, seductive and fun. What’s wrong with that? Nothing at all.

I’m proud of my cupcakes and I will keep ‘baking’ more for a long time.

And… they’re calorie free..

Hot Gossip Book Cover SMALL

Hot Property_Cover_SMALL 

A new (ad)venture- or just a comeback.

books

I have just set up an author page on Facebook. I have resisted this move for a long time but now I feel I’m ready. The reason for this is that I recently went back to writing romantic fiction after a long time. I took a little break while I wrote two historical novels, A Woman’s Place and Sonja’s Place and my two virtual detective/romantic suspense novels, Virtual Strangers and Virtual Suspects.

The historical novels are based on the lives of my great-aunt and her daughter, whose life stories were so moving, I just had to write about them. The detective stories were such fun and such a great adventure, co-writing with the amazing Ola Saltin, a well-known Swedish script writer. Those experiences helped me grow as a writer and I believe my writing is now so much better and deeper because I had to really work hard to write in other genres.

I discussed my writing recently with a friend. She told me I my writing should be more ‘commercial’, more ‘popular’ in order to sell. She said the ‘zeitgiest’ out there is what I have to plug into.

But no, I can’t. Because that’s not why I write. I feel I have to be true to myself and not glance sideways or upwards and then write to suit the market, whatever that is. I have to stay true to those who read my books and like them. If that is a very small circle, so be it. I write from my heart and my experiences. My observations of people and my surroundings. Little things fire off ideas. Landscapes, light, nature, sounds, smells, fun dialogue, great one-liners and quirky characters. All of that make up the fabric of my stories.

I’m happy if anyone likes to read what I write.

(and if you ‘like’ my author page, you will find out what all of this is about)

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