Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Blog post for JD: ‘The art of interviews – to cut a short story long’

The lovely and talented Morgen Bailey everyone!!!

JD loves to set me a challenge and this could have been the shortest guest blog post in history because I figured there isn’t really an art to interviewing someone but then I thought again…

Although I’m famous (amongst my friends anyway) for cutting a short story long (one of the attributes I inherited from my father), I’ll try to restrain myself here… (do I hear a “hoorah” from the back?).

I started my podcast (Bailey’s Writing Tips) not long after buying my first Mac laptop (another “hoorah”… who is that?) last summer and once I spotted the ‘Podcast’ logo I was hooked. I’d already been listening to, and loving, other writing-related podcasts for several months and so I started mine with mixed hints and tips – rehashed… er, carefully crafted from the fortnightly handouts I provide to my writing group. I did this, as an episode a week, for almost a month and then thought it might be nice to do some interviews as I’d enjoyed the ones I’d been hearing, so my first guinea pig… um, interviewee was the poetry circle host of one of the writing groups I belong to. I went round to her house mid-September and there she was, Sunday best outfit and full face of make-up… oops. I’d neglected to mention that it was audio only so I felt guilty, but Julia being Julia, she didn’t mind one jot and gleefully sat in front of the (lovely-looking 1950’s style) microphone. I’d emailed her the questions I wanted to put to her, to which she’d typed in her answers and then read it like a script, including some of her poetry towards the end. As you would expect, we did go off topic but it generally went to plan and after some minor editing, was then released as a 17-minute special episode (no.1) a few days later.

Another writing friend / former tutor (romance novelist Sue Moorcroft) was then October’s guest although we went off at more tangents than a schoolchild’s geometry set so that ended up being two nearly half-hour episodes revolving around her genre, short stories, non-fiction writing (including a Formula One column) and her competition judging for the monthly Writers’ Forum magazine.

In November I then travelled to Derbyshire to meet my third guest, another former tutor (of women’s magazine writing) Joanna Barnden. From then on, having discovered Skype, the genres became more varied, the frequency upped from monthly to fortnightly and locations became a little more exotic from Cardiff (Wales) to Yorkshire and Surrey to the USA and finally meeting up with former tutor (I have a lot of those don’t I?) crime writer Sally Spedding (whose writing group I took over in 2008) at Winchester Writers’ Conference this July.

The downside of all this was the editing time. I wanted to produce polished episodes and therefore every “um”, “ah” and “er” was chopped which often meant listening to the recording several times which in the case of Jane Davis (because we had such a good time) was nearly two hours. It took the whole day to record, edit and publish, although it produced three episodes, which was great.

The time spent on these interviews was starting to take its toll on my other commitments so I was beginning to think about easing off this side of the podcasts. Then I started my blog and not long after that I was invited to partake in a blog interview; cue light-bulb moment. So, using the questions I used in my in-person and Skype interviews fellow Litopian (http://litopia.com/radio) Colin Barnes became my first subject. I emailed him the Word document of questions – which has grown considerably since then – which he completed and emailed back with a photo and web links – and the rest, as they say (or they would if it wasn’t a cliché) is history.

These days I post an author blog interview every morning with other projects (including author spotlights, guest blogs, flash fiction – of which JD has been a regular contributor) every evening. Yes, it’s time consuming (especially the interviews as I add my comments to their replies in for a ‘fireside chat’ feel) but to me, if a job is worth doing it’s worth doing well (another of my dad’s attributes) and these days I post 14-31 times the amount of interviews I did when I was podcasting then so that’s got to be a win-win… or it would be except it’s also a cliché. J

So, is there an art to it? I don’t really think there is; just ask the right questions, get the right interviewees, smile in all the right places and have fun.

If you’d like to listen to any (or all, they’re all there) of my audio interviews the details are listed on http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/bwt-podcast and the blog interviews on http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/blog-interviews.

Thanks JD.

Morgen Bailey

Monday, April 16, 2012

Richard Godwin's 'Mr. Glamour'!

Today I pass the mic to my good friend, Richard Godwin. He has a new book out, see? And you should read it. And you should also read 'Apostle Rising'. Or send him money in a bag. He's that good.  In his words:

MR. GLAMOUR, Richard Godwin.

Designer goods, beautiful women, wealthy men, a lifestyle preyed on by a serial killer.
A killer who is watching everyone, including the police.
Latest headlines?
No, an outline of my second novel, Mr. Glamour.
My debut novel, Apostle Rising, was published in paperback by Black Jackal Books last year. It was about a serial killer crucifying politicians, and sold extremely well, received excellent reviews, and sold foreign rights to the largest publisher in Hungary.
Now Black Jackal Books have published Mr. Glamour, and I’d like to tell you a bit about it. The settings are exotic, and the pages drip with wealth. The story’s told in my usual style, and my readers will know what that means. I have been told I write with a blend of lyricism and graphic description. I like to explore what motivates people, and I certainly do so with the leading characters in Mr. Glamour.
The two central cops, DCI Jackson Flare and Inspector Steele, are unusual and strong in their own ways, as reviewers are already picking up. At the beginning of the novel, Steele hates working with Flare for personal reasons. She doesn’t by the end, and the investigation takes them both on a journey which changes them and their opinions of one another.
Let me give you the setting if you are tempted to read Mr. Glamour.

Something dark is preying on the glitz of the glamour set. There is a lot about designer goods and lifestyles in Mr. Glamour. The killer knows all about design, he knows what brands mean to his victims. He is branding their skins. And he has the police stumped.
As Flare and Steele investigate the killings, they enter an exclusive world with its own rules and quickly realise the man they are looking for is playing a game with them, a game they cannot interpret. The killer is targeting an exclusive group of people he seems to know a lot about.
The police investigation isn’t helped by the fact that Flare and Steele have troubled lives. Harlan White, a pimp who got on the wrong side of Flare, is planning to have him killed. And Steele has secrets. She leads a double life. She is an interesting woman who pushes her sexual boundaries in private. She travels a journey into her own past and rescues herself. And in a strange way she is helped by the killer she is looking for. And Flare has some revelations in store.
As they try to catch a predator who has climbed inside their heads, they find themselves up against a wall of secrecy. The investigation drives Flare and Steele to acts of darkness. And the killer is watching everyone.
Then there is the sub plot.
Contrasting this lifestyle is the suburban existence of Gertrude Miller, who acts out strange rituals, trapped in a sterile marriage to husband, Ben. She cleans compulsively and seems to be hiding something from him, obsessed that she is being followed. As she slips into a psychosis, characters from the glamorous set stray into Gertrude’s world, so the two plots dovetail neatly with one another.
And when Flare and Steele make an arrest they discover there is far more to this glamorous world than they realised. There is a series of shocks at the end of the novel as a set of fireworks go off. Watch out for the highly dramatic ending.
It is already picking up some great reviews.

Advance praise for Mr. Glamour:

“Richard Godwin knows how his characters dress, what they drink and what they drive. He knows how they live--- and how they die. Here's hoping no one recognized themselves in Godwin's cold canvas. Combines the fun of a good story with the joy of witty, vivid writing.”
Heywood Gould, author of The Serial Killer's Daughter.

“Smart, scary, suspenseful enough for me to keep the light on until 3AM on a Sunday night, Richard Godwin once more proves to fans of crime fiction the world over with Mr. Glamour, that he is not only one of the best contemporary writers of the procedural cop thriller around today, he is a master storyteller.”  
Vincent Zandri, author of Scream Catcher.

“Richard Godwin’s top-of-the-line psychological police procedural driven by its heady pace, steely dialogue, and unsparing vision transfixes the reader from page one.”
Ed Lynskey, author of Skin In The Game.

 “Mr. Glamour is a striking effort from one of the most daring crime writers in the business. It is the noirest of noir...and hellishly addictive.”
Mike Stafford, BookGeeks Magazine.

“This first rate detective thriller will have you gripped from the start. Richard Godwin is an author not to be missed.”
Sheila Quigley Author of Thorn In My Side.

“Mr Glamour is, in every sense of the word, the real McCoy: genuine hard boiled detective fiction.  Lean, gritty, and tough, it’s a journey into the heart of darkness ... you won’t soon forget. Connoisseurs of Nouveau Noir will have to add Richard Godwin to the list of writers to watch!”
C E Lawrence, author of Silent Kills.
“Involving and compellingly sinister, Richard Godwin’s Mr. Glamour portrays cops and criminals, the mad and the driven in a novel of psychological noir. Read it while snuggling with your stuffed teddy bear for comfort.”
                            -- Gary Phillips, author of Treacherous: Grifters, Ruffians and Killers

“This is one outstanding novel written by one amazing author.”
Fran Lewis Review.

I think Mr. Glamour will appeal to mystery and crime aficionados, to readers interested in psychological profiling and designer lifestyles, to thriller and noir fans, and to anyone who enjoys a fast paced narrative with strong characters.

Mr. Glamour can be bought now at Amazon.comAmazon.co.ukat all good retailers online, and in stores in April. If you Google it you should see a range of options come up.
And you can find out more about me at my website and my stories here.

Richard Godwin is a respected and prolific writer...I'm pretty sure he writes in blood.  See the review I did of Apostle Rising here.

Check out Godwin's work. You won't be disappointed.  You might never sleep again.  But you won't be disappointed.