"Who in their right mind wouldn't want to read a book by Mark Barry!" (Mary Quallo, St Louis)

"Who in their right mind wouldn't want to read a book by Mark Barry!"  (Mary Quallo, St Louis)
Once Upon A Time In The City Of Criminals

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Toi Thomas Tells All About Her New Direction...Around The Cauldron!

In the last Wizard's Cauldron interview of 2015, old friend of the site, Toi Thomas talks to me about a new direction she's taking.  We've been talking for years on and off and I'm delighted to be given the opportunity to interview her once more.

Toi is better known as a popular fantasy author (the Eternal Curse Series), but this year, she has written her first chicklit novel under a pseudonym.  

I caught up with Toi in the not-so snowy wastes of Williamsburg, Virginia (thanks to El Nino!) and asked her to tell us all about it: Here's what she had to say.

Welcome back, Toi – tell new Wizardwatchers about yourself
Well now let’s see… I’m Toi Thomas and I’m a bit of a geek who loves comic books and vinyl records, but I’ve slowly developed a multiple personality who’s ready for her chance to shine. Oh, and I’m an indie author and blogger.

Whereabouts in the US are you from? And is it snowing yet?
Yes, here on the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S. the temperatures are starting to drop but not by much. We should be approaching winter, but I feel like autumn has just begun. I’m currently living in Virginia, which for most people outside the U.S. is the land of “Colonial Times”. I still can’t believe how many international tourists come to Williamsburg each year.

In what genre do you write? And who are your big influences?
Well, as Toi Thomas, I mainly stick to the speculative genres, my alter ego is a bit “softer”. I love sci-fi, fantasy, and paranormal; I even sneak in spiritual and religious elements into some of my work. I have a feeling though that some of the new works I’ve planned for the years to come will catch people a bit off guard.

As for influences, I’m influenced by everything around me to some degree. J.M. Barrie is the author who first interested me in writing stories as a kid when I penned my own tails of adventures as a lost boy. 

"Bad boy" JM Barrie - author of Peter Pan

More recently though, I’ve developed an eye for creativity that inspires me to be a better writer. I still think Erin Morgenstern’s Night Circus is fuelling much of my fantasy creativity.

Tell us about your latest work.
Toi’s, I mean my, latest fantasy work is still in the WIP (work in progress) phase. I’m also working on the third book in my Eternal Curse series, while giving the second one a touch up, just because I can. But to be perfectly honest, I haven’t been up to much. My alter ego has been though. She’s been occupying much of my mental capacity for the last six months in preparation for her first release.

It’s Like the Full Moon (Sayings 1) is a contemporary story with a slightly humorous and very realistic approach to friendship and this modern thing called “love”. It’s an adult story that’s very sweet but also a bit neurotic- you know, just like real life. And there’s even a love triangle.

"Rebecca has just turned thirty. She’s happy living a perfectly comfortable and predictable life. She’s even ready to marry her long-time boyfriend whenever he finally gets around to asking her. 

But all that changes when her best friend whisks her away to Italy for a much-needed vacation.
In the midst of site seeing and finally letting loose, Rebecca manages to catch the eye of a young English tourist; but doesn’t let it go to her head. By the time she’s back in the states and back in the arms of her long-time beau, Rebecca has already forgotten about Peter, Paten, Paul…whatever his name was, that is...
...until he shows up at her brother’s cabin in the woods.
A life of normalcy, routine, and stability gets turned upside down as Rebecca decides whether or not she’s truly ready to get married. And if so, who is the one she’s really meant to be with?"

Is this a romance book? Why romance?
Yes, this book is basically a romance. Some might call it Chick-Lit, but two of my husband’s friends said they liked it. One was disappointed that there were no steamy parts… Oh well, can’t please everyone. (ha ha...Ed)

I don’t naturally lean toward tales of romance unless a galactic battle, vision quest, or hero trial is somehow involved, but my softer side decided to show me just how wonderful romance could be. In all honesty, I wanted to write something purely romantic to prove to myself that I could do it and still be myself afterwards. 

For the most part that’s true, even if I am able to embrace my girlie side a little better now that I’ve written this book. I’m still not down with make-up and nail polish though; it’s just not my thing.

I understand this is going to be a series. Does that mean your fantasy work is taking a back seat?
Yes and no. I do have to alternate where my attentions lie a bit in order to do justice to the gene at hand. I have several speculative works that I’ll be diving into after the official release of this book, which means the sequel for this will have to wait a bit, but too long. I already have a few people hounding me to deliver them closure for the character’s who are just beginning their journey at the end of Sayings One.

You have written this under a pseudonym. What’s the logic behind that? And what are the pros and cons of pseudonyms?

Glorie Townson

I guess you could say Glorie Townson is a pseudonym; she is technically me. At the very least, she is my contemporary romance muse. The decision to give my alter ego, my muse, a name and persona for the sake of publication wasn’t easy. I sought advice from many friends and fellow authors with the results being inconclusive. Many thought it was a great idea and others feared it would cause confusion.

So far, I’ve found it to be the right decision and a lot of fun for three basic reasons. People who know that I’ve published speculative works in the past have been able to process this new side of me without concern for whether or not it will work. If Toi Thomas had all of a sudden started publishing romance, I fear many would have scrutinized and compared my works unfairly.

My speculative fans have a chance to continue enjoying the work of Toi Thomas without worrying about whether the genre content will be weakened.

Fans of contemporary and romantic fiction, who’ve never heard of Toi Thomas because they don’t read speculative fiction, aren’t concerned about whether or not genre mashing will sneak up on them. All they know is that this new author Glorie Townson has a new treat for them.

For now, the only con to this process is that I might be going a little crazy, but it’s a good crazy so I’m not worried. Plus my husband gets to have Toi and Glorie- that lucky joker.

How has the world of Indie changed since we first met? If it has changed, has it changed for better or for worse?

The book industry is like the music industry, Indie is the heart of it and it’s always changing. For me, the indie industry has gotten better, but some of that sentiment may be due to the fact that I’ve learned a lot and have matured as an author and blogger. However, just because things have gotten better doesn’t mean it’s gotten easier. With Indie slowly making its way into alternative-mainstream, being an indie author means more hard work and determination ahead.
Indie authors are no longer widely looked upon as writers who couldn’t make with the Big 5. People are starting to realise that there’s only so much space, time, and money available to big publishers for investing in new authors and realise that in order for ideas and creativity to survive, Indie must thrive.

There are so many new opportunities, some better than others, for indie authors and new and supportive communities developing daily. I think this is a great time to be an indie.

Do you spend much time on Pinterest? Is it a boon for authors or is it one of those (sometimes delightful) wastes of time?


I have a love-hate relationship with Pinterest and yes I spend a lot of time there. On one hand, it really is a wonderful creativity boost and can even aid in organizing and visualizing ideas and plot points. On the other hand, every now and then something super shiny and cool pops up on the screen, you lose your whole train of thought, and three hours later you realise that you forgot to eat dinner and need to go to work the next morning.

In any case, I still love it. I enjoy piecing together story boards for my books (check out this one for Eternal Curse: Giovanni’s Angel) and even like to get social with it. Right now, I’m allowing anyone who wants to contribute to my #itslikethefullmoon board access to help celebrate the crazy things people do for love. All they have to do is message me and ask. 

What’s been your favourite moment of 2015? Has it been a good year for you?
Oh man, 2015 had been a delight compared to my 2014. So much has happened and I’ve been very blessed. In 2015 I got to attend one local Con and one mini Con. I Joined some really cool social and author groups that have made all the difference. 

And I had a really cool 35th birthday (yeah I printed that on the web- I’m ashamed of my age).

Tell Wizardwatchers:
a)      Your all time superhero- Batman, of course. (me too! - ED)

b)      Your favourite TV show this year- Daredevil on Netflix.

c)       Your all time favourite book- The jury is still out on this, but I’m currently loving the Spellbringer Series by Tricia Drammeh.

d)      The best film of 2015 according to Toi- So many to choose from, but Mad Max Fury Road still pops into my daydreams.

And finally, what next for fans of Toi Thomas
I have many things planned and some it’s too early to giveaway, but for just know that a brand new fantasy/sci-fi adventure is coming that takes place on another world. 

Eternal Curse will receive one, possibly two, new and final instalments, and according to Glorie, the Saying Series is just beginning.

Toi,  it's been an absolute pleasure to talk to you once more and I wish you all the very best with your new romance venture.

Thanks bunches, Mark...


This book is currently available for Pre-order as an ebook through Amazon.com and as a paperback 

direct from the author. Be sure to pre-order your copy at its reduced introductory rate and save your receipt number to earn extra entries into Glorie's cool giveaway. 

Pre-order Kindle:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0174BTT9A 

Pre-order Paperback: 


add to Goodreads: 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26837549-it-s-like-the-full-moon -



Who were you in the love triangle? Share at the giveaway link below for a chance to win a $5 gift card.


Website & blog: http://etoithomas.com/ 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/toithomas 

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6012241.Toi_Thomas 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ToiThomasAuthor 

Twitter (@toithomas): https://twitter.com/ToiThomas 


Tumblr: http://toithomas.tumblr.com/ 

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Financial Thriller writer Rose Edmunds Joins Us...Around the Cauldron!

Rose Edmunds makes a first appearance around the Cauldron this sunday. 

Once a high flying corporate tax advisor, Rose left that behind to write well-received financial thrillers on the sun drenched south coast of England. 

Working squarely in the tradition of Grisham and Ridpath, Rose is part of a growing coterie of authors whose work is framed by the context of the Crash of 2008, examining its causes, consequences and its impact on the people who both detonated the explosion and those who were its collateral damage. 

I caught up with her on the Wizphone as she walked the dogs on a beach in Hove as the English Channel gently lapped the shore. Here's what she had to say.

Tell us a bit about yourself, Rose
I was born in Leeds but migrated south to Sussex University and have lived in Brighton ever since. 

In a previous incarnation I worked for several well-known financial firms in London, giving cutting-edge tax advice to entrepreneurial businesses, until I had a mad mid life moment and launched into the world of fiction. I live in Brighton with my husband David, and have an adult son and stepdaughter, plus a 2 year-old step grandson who does his best to keep me under control!

In what genre do you write? And who are your big influences?
My thrillers are set in the world of high finance, but in essence the stories are about people and what motivates them - greed, fear, insecurity, ambition - the usual suspects. You’ll probably recognize the personality types, whatever your walk of life.

The cast of top eighties cash and champagne saga, "Capital City"

The books have a strong ethical theme, as I’ve always been intrigued by the moral ambiguities of the business world. Making money and principled behaviour are often unhappy bedfellows, as people are increasingly realising. 

In the aftermath of the worst financial crisis in living memory, and when finite resources threaten the very raison d’ĂȘtre of capitalism, I feel there has never been a better time to focus on the conflict between individual and corporate morality.

Michael Ridpath’s financial thrillers were an important influence, also John Grisham’s  novels with their anti big business  themes.

Do you work in The City?  Is it as fun as people say it is?
I used to, although I was in what is coyly known as ‘professional services’, so giving supporting advice  rather than at the sharp end of trading. Elements of City life can be fun, and I enjoyed the camaraderie of working as part of a team, as well as the buzz of advising on a deal. 

Fun? Well, there are not as many boozy parties as popular culture would have you believe. For a start, the long hours are not really compatible with a wild social life!  And sadly, alcohol-fuelled lunches have largely been confined to history. There is also the sense, these days, that you’re on call 24/7 and it’s harder to separate out your work life and personal life.  To be honest, I’ve had a lot more fun since I quit!

Possibly the best TV ad ever

Do people in The City really retire at thirty? Or is it an urban myth?
Urban myth. There’s good money to be made, particularly if you get to the top, but at 30 you’re likely to still be clawing your way up the ladder. The mistake that most high earning people make is to have a flashy lifestyle, so they always need to earn more to fuel their aspirations.  I quit at 45, which I thought was pretty good going, but it took some financial discipline to achieve that goal. 

Tell us about your latest work.
Concealment is a dark psychological thriller, in which a high-flying finance executive fights to expose the truth about fraud and murder in a toxic, corrupt workplace. 

At its heart, it is the story of one woman's struggle against her own insecurities - a universal theme. Throughout, the heroine Amy’s actions are largely driven by the aftermath of her traumatic childhood – this aspect was based on my own experiences growing up with a mother who was a compulsive hoarder.  

As you can imagine, the book was both painful and cathartic to write.

However, I’m always at pains to point out that Amy is not me. She’s simultaneously way more flaky and much braver!

Can we have an extract?

The Pearson Malone offices (built by JJ) were ill-designed for the delivery of bad news, being constructed almost entirely of glass. Erected in the hubris preceding the worst financial collapse in living memory, this magnificent edifice was supposed to symbolise the transparency of our innovative approach to professional services. And though, in this age of diversity, there was no metaphorical glass ceiling, we had real ones here. All the ventilation ducting and other pipes were plainly visible from below, while glass floors surrounded the individual meeting rooms. To break the monotony of this sea of reflectivity, and give a reassuring solidity, islands of stone or carpet had been inserted at random in the design. The walls only added to the bizarre ambience—mirrored partitions alternated with glass screens and windows, juxtaposing interior reflections with framed glimpses of the London skyline.Rumour had it Jupp and Bailey got hammered together and Jupp promised him a creation to set Pearson Malone apart from all other major accounting firms in the City. He had indisputably delivered that, and the building had garnered awards and accolades along the way for the architects who’d taken on the challenging brief. None of these people cared that the offices were a pig to work in, with no blinds to pull down to allow solitude or privacy. Perception is reality, as we all know, particularly when viewed through a hall of mirrors. 
Is there a “financial crime” scene in Indie, Rose? 
Yes, I’m coming across a number of indie authors writing in a similar genre. 

I’ve just joined forces with the accomplished thriller writer Ray Green and we are now collaborating under the banner of Mainsail books. Joel Hames also writes in this genre, as does the mysterious CM Albright (apparently the pseudonym for a senior figure working in the City).

What do you think is the attraction?
I think most authors in this genre have a history in business or financial services. We write to make sense of a time in our lives when we did not have much time for self-analysis or reflection. In a competitive environment it is sometimes hard to make the ethical choice and certainly for me, it’s fun to throw my characters into horrendous situations and see what decisions they make. 

Sometimes the only difference between the good guy and the villain is the ability to resist temptation.

Nick Leeson, the trader who bought down the world's oldest bank

However, I must emphasise that financial thrillers do not have a particularly wide appeal. The genre had its heyday about 20 years ago with writers such as Michael Ridpath, but its popularity has waned since then. 

Despite the Great Crash of 2008 generating stories that are too implausible to write as fiction, the genre has not yet enjoyed any great resurgence. Perhaps memories of the crisis are still too raw…

Sharp suited careerist icon, Karen Brady

If Gok Wan dressed me in Gucci suits with a thirty seven pounds haircut, I would still look as if I’d just got out of bed. Do you have to get dressed up for work? And are your characters all sharp dressed people?
When I worked at Deloitte the official dress code was business casual. This could be awkward if you were called out to a meeting in a more formal environment, so it was actually easier to wear a smart suit most of the time.

Funnily enough, some of my characters have the same problem as you! Both Hugo in my first thriller Never Say Sorry and Ryan in Concealment struggle to look the part.

On the other hand, some of the characters use their clothes to make a specific impression. Claudia in Never Say Sorry wears outfits designed to shock and annoy her boss. In Concealment, Amy’s smart clothes are part of her corporate armour, to disguise how insecure she feels underneath. On the other hand Lisa, her sidekick, likes to show her individuality by pushing the boundaries. And evil boss Ed displays his affluence and sophistication with bespoke Savile Row suits and elegant cufflinks.

What do you think of the Anne Rice tactic of labelling every item of clothing her characters wear, even down to the underwear? Do you do the same in your novels?
Until I answered that last question, I hadn’t appreciated just how important clothes were in my writing, so thank you for making me think about that!

I wasn’t aware of the Anne Rice technique, although I did some quite detailed descriptions of the clothes in Amy’s wardrobe and how she decided what to wear. Sounds like it could be a useful tactic though.

As you are new on the Cauldron, tell Wizardwatchers:
a) Your all time favourite film
North by Northwest – a real Hitchcock classic with superb pacing and Cary Grant on top form.

b) Your all time favourite CD
Joni Mitchell – Blue. I’ve never heard such raw emotion in an album.

c) Your all time favourite book

The Spy who came in from the Cold – one of the first ‘grown up’ books I read for my own enjoyment. The intrigue, deceit and betrayal opened my eyes to another world.

Who is your hero/heroine and why? And what type of restaurant would you enjoy visiting with this person?
I’ve always hugely admired Grace Kelly. She was always so poised and elegant, both in her roles and in real life. 

I guess Grace would expect to go somewhere with white tablecloths where the food comes to the table under silver domes – the Ritz maybe, or perhaps Fortnum & Masons for afternoon tea.

And finally, what next for fans of Rose Edmunds?
I’m working on a sequel to Concealment. High-flier Amy has crashed and burned. She’s unemployed and in rehab when a blast from the past propels her into investigating a complex fraud. But as usual she’s in way over her head…

Rose, thank you for joining us around the Cauldron. It's been a pleasure and I wish you the best of luck in the coming year.

Cheers, Wiz. What great questions those were - some of them really made me think!

Amazon UK Readers - Buy HERE

Amazon,Com Readers - Buy HERE

Follow: https://twitter.com/RoseEdmunds

Website: http://www.roseedmunds.co.uk/

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Hard-core crime fiction writer, Heather Burnside is...around the Cauldron!

Heather Burnside is a UK based crime author who writes hard-core crime fiction based in the north of the country. 

Violent local bosses and their scheming, trashy molls, nihilistic urban tearaways, shadowy fixers, psychopathic hitmen, and a small army of hooded robbers, muggers and dealers populate the pages of her novels, and because of the immediacy and realism, the impression arises that the cast list of her novels can be found on a high street near you, wasting valuable mugjob time in the Billy Hills, or selling prescription jellies round the pool table in the Dog and Duck. 

I like that realism in writing and when the opportunity arose to interview Heather I took it with both hands. She  is just about to release her next book. I picked up the Wizphone and called her as she researched her newest endeavour. Here's what she had to say.

Follow Heather Burnside on Twitter for more information on @https://twitter.com/heatherbwriter

Tell us a bit about yourself, Heather

I’m a crime thriller author with my second novel, ‘A Gangster’s Grip’, due for release on 7th October. This is the second part in a trilogy. 

The first part, ‘Slur’, was released last year and the third part is due for release in summer 2016. 

‘A Gangster’s Grip’ fits into the crime sub-genre known as grit lit. The novel was inspired as a result of spending my teenage years in one of Manchester’s less salubrious areas, which later became the estate where a gang’s headquarters was situated. 

Estate in nearby Salford

In the 90s I was shocked to read constant news reports of shootings in the area where I used to live, and that stayed with me until it eventually became the basis for a novel. 

Thankfully, I escaped from the estate three decades ago and now live with my husband in a quieter area of Manchester. 

It’s actually a great city although my novels tend to feature the dark side of gang culture, drugs and violence. 

The lighter side of Manchester - Happy Mondays

We have two grown up children who are away at university. 
When I am not writing and promoting my novels I provide a range of copywriting and proofreading services for clients. 

In what genre do you write? And who are your big influences?

I write mainly crime thrillers but my short stories span a variety of genres. 

Nicci French
The second part of this question is a tricky one because my favourite crime thriller writers are Minette Walters, Nicci French, Val McDermid and Jeffrey Deaver

However, my books aren’t like any of theirs. I’ve actually been compared to writers like Martina Cole and Mandasue Heller although I’ve only read about three books by those authors. 

Billion selling gangs-and-Gucci crime author, Martina Cole

I think my writing style probably derives from a whole combination of influences because I also enjoy other genres apart from crime thrillers, particularly sagas and autobiographies. 

Does the incessant rain up there influence your work in the same way as say, Raymond Chandler was influenced by the endless sunshine of California?

Oh no! Not that Rainy Manchester tag again - the Beautiful South have a lot to answer for, and here’s an article that proves them wrong: 


Ha ha seriously, though, I like to be comfortable when I’m working so it’s useful to work in a cooler climate. Plus, my office is in the coolest part of my home where the sun doesn’t hit until late evening, and it’s shaded by trees. So, even if we do get the odd hot day (I’m sure we once did a few years ago), I’m rarely uncomfortably hot. 

Hahaha...point taken. So, tell us about your latest work.
‘A Gangster’s Grip’ is the second part in The Riverhill Trilogy

It features our feisty protagonist, Rita, who returns to Manchester after a few years away. She is horrified to discover that her sister, Jenny, is in a relationship with the local bad boy, Leroy, and is expecting his child. Rita takes an instant dislike to him, and soon finds out that he is a violent gang member and drug dealer. 

His various shady dealings place Jenny in danger, and Rita becomes determined to lure her away from him before it is too late.

Can we have an extract?

Certainly. The following scene takes place when Rita has persuaded her husband, Yansis, to accompany her to a rough pub where her sister’s boyfriend, Leroy, is known to hang out, because she wants to find out more about Leroy. She has just started chatting to some of the customers:

“It’s alright here, buzzin’ isn’t it? Is it your local?” asked Rita, playing the role of loquacious drunk.“Yeah, we come here all the time. We’ve not seen you in here before though.”Rita picked up on the air of suspicion but she was prepared. “No, we were supposed to come with my sister and her boyfriend, but she backed out at the last minute, so we thought, sod it, we might as well come anyway. It’ll make a change.” 
Alesha turned away, ready to resume her conversation with her friends. ‘Shit, I’ve lost her,’ thought Rita. She knew she had to think fast to keep the conversation going, so she leant over to the girl and whispered conspiratorially. “Actually, I think they’ve had a row; I’m not sure he’s good for her. I don’t wanna say too much in case you know him, ’cos he’s from round here, but people keep telling me he’s bad news and she should finish with him.”Rita knew she would have piqued the girls’ interest, and Alesha was quick to respond.
“What’s his name?”“Leroy Booth,” whispered Rita.There was a definite shift in the girls’ attitudes as soon as Rita spoke his name. She sensed it straightaway despite the double whisky she had drunk. She hoped they weren’t close to him; they might have been related for all she knew. But that was why she had been careful not to call him; instead she had implied that it was other people who were saying bad things, and had feigned ignorance. With that in mind, she carried on prodding.“Do you know him then? I don’t know much about him myself. We’ve just come back from Greece, so I wouldn’t mind finding out if all these rumours are true.”“Shshsh,” whispered Alesha, as she looked around her. Rita then understood that the reason for the change in the girls was down to fear. When Alesha was satisfied that no-one was listening to them, she continued quietly. “You wanna be careful, coming in here, asking things like that. It’s dangerous asking questions about Leroy Booth.”“Why?” Alesha nodded towards a young woman standing a few metres away from them, and said, “You see that girl over there, in the blue top?”Rita looked across the room and noticed a slim, pretty young woman in profile, with smooth, caramel coloured skin. “Yeah,” she replied.“She used to go out with Leroy, and she got too involved in what Leroy was up to. Do you wanna know what happened to her?”Rita looked at Alesha, unable to answer straightaway as a feeling of dread descended on her.“Laura!” Alesha called to the young woman.Laura turned around to look at them. She was a stunning young woman, with beautiful brown eyes and full lips, as well as the smooth caramel coloured skin. In fact, if it hadn’t been for that one imperfection she would have been flawless. Unfortunately, the ugly scar running down one side of her face ruined her flawlessness. “I didn’t know you were out tonight. How long you been in here?” asked Alesha.“About half an hour.”“Oh, I’ve only just seen you. Be over later for a chat.” 
The conversation was soon over. It was only a pretext to let Rita see Laura’s damaged face. Alesha lowered her voice again as she turned back to face Rita. “That’s what happens if you get too involved in Leroy’s business. You probably wish your sister could finish with him, but let me tell you; she can’t. The only way she’ll be finished with Leroy is when he’s finished with her. If you’ve got any sense, you’ll leave her in the mess she’s made for herself, and piss off out of it. I’d be off back to Greece if I was you.”
Is crime fiction one of those genres that inspires an endless appetite in the reading public?  Or will it end eventually.

I can’t see the popularity of crime fiction ending any time soon. I am a member of a couple of crime and thriller reader groups on Goodreads, and through the reader comments on the groups I get a feel for why readers find this type of fiction so appealing. 

Indie Crime Fictionist, Geoff West
 I think most people have a natural curiosity when it comes to anything gory. That’s why there are so many rubber-neckers when there is a road accident or other disaster. Then there’s the suspense element. I think it’s one of the best genres for cranking up tension and keeping readers guessing. Readers also like to be shocked, and crime fiction can definitely be shocking. 

Popular Indie crime thriller author, John Dolan
The other reason why it will continue to be popular is because there are so many sub-genres so there are always new crime authors and books to try.

Is there a big crime fiction scene in Indie?

If you group the crime and thriller genres together then I think it is a big scene in Indie. It’s perhaps not as big as the romance genre but it could just be that I have come across more romance writers on the Indie scene. 

Excellent True Crime Indie - Dina Di Mambro

Try #crime on Twitter for more
Indie Crime

Which do you prefer? TV, Cinema or Literary Crime Fiction

I much prefer reading to watching a film or TV crime series. It’s basically because my mind is so active that I have difficulty concentrating on films etc., and I drive my husband to distraction when I lose track of the story because I have been thinking about a million and one other things. With a book I find it easier to switch off for some reason, and I can always flick back a few pages to recap if my mind has wandered.  
"I think the other thing is because of the time factor. Film timings are too rigid for me. I feel as though I have to stick it out for two hours and that’s my whole evening gone whereas with a book I can dip in and out. "

I've never thought of films like that, Heather. It's true...

I’m also one of those people who has difficulty relaxing. I’m always running for a pen and paper to jot down ideas for novels or thinking about other things I need to do. If I watch TV I’ll be playing a game on my iPad at the same time or looking at social media so I tend to watch trash TV where I don’t have to concentrate. 

Pit Bull
I’ll watch a TV crime series if it’s in one hour slots but if it’s two hours I don’t tend to bother.  I do watch some true crime though and programmes about hazardous lifestyles. In fact, a programme about people who breed aggressive dogs gave me a few ideas for ‘A Gangster’s Grip’. Leroy is very fond of his savage pit bull terrier. 

Who is your favourite literary or cinematic detective? And why?

That would probably be Frank Burnside from The Bill, many years ago, hence the pen-name. I loved the way he was so unorthodox but nearly always got a result in the end. He was definitely gritty with a hard edge to him.

As you are new on the Cauldron, tell Wizardwatchers:

a) Your all time favourite film

Although I’m not a big film lover, I used to watch all the epics with my family when I was a kid so I like a few such as Spartacus, Zulu and The Great Escape. I also like Dirty Dancing and Flashdance. 

b) Your all time favourite CD

I don’t really have a current one. It’s changed many times over the years – Rose Royce Greatest Hits in my late teens/early twenties, then Bowie’s Changes One and Two, then Whitney by Whitney Houston, then Madonna’s Immaculate Collection and, more recently, Heaven by Rebecca Ferguson.

c) Your all time favourite book

‘Guests of the Emperor’ by Janice Young Brooks

closely followed by ‘Tess of the d’Urbervilles’ by Thomas Hardy.

And finally, what next for fans of Heather Burnside!

Next, I’ll be writing the third book in The Riverhill Trilogy, which moves on another five years when Rita is again forced to encounter the world of the Manchester gangs. 

Something unavoidable and traumatic happens and her only chance of finding a way through is to get involved in the gangster world once more, even though it’s the last thing she wants. 

My fourth book will be different to the trilogy. Although I’m flattered by the Martina Cole comparisons, I don’t want to be seen as just another Martina Cole impersonator so I want to try something different. 

I was working on a psychological thriller before I finished ‘Slur’, but I put it to one side as I decided to write a sequel to ‘Slur’, followed by a third book in the trilogy, while the setting was fresh in my mind. I may therefore return to the psychological thriller once I’ve finished the trilogy. 

Otherwise, I may write something with more of a mystery about it; one that leaves readers guessing as to the perpetrator’s identity. I haven’t quite decided yet. I’ve got a lot of outlines penned so it’s a matter of choosing the right one. 

The psychological thriller is quite disturbing and I would be taking a chance – I think it could be my Marmite moment so I’m not sure whether to go for it so soon in my writing career.

Thank you, Heather. Fascinating stuff. I hope you have a terrific 2016 and beyond that. It's been terrific to see you around the Cauldron.

Thank you, Wiz.

Website: www.heatherburnside.com 

‘A Gangster’s Grip’ Amazon link: http://viewbook.at/GangstersGrip (currently available for preorder)

‘Slur’ Amazon link: http://viewbook.at/Slur 

‘Crime, Conflict & Consequences’ (short story book) Amazon link:http://viewbook.at/Slur  


Young gangster wannabe expresses his political preferences
somewhere in the North of England

Possibly the finest British TV crime series - "Out", with
Tom Bell as released bank robber, Frank Ross. Unjustly forgotten now,
it had everything a TV crime show should have.