Graham Smith talks Novella’s

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Graham Smith is a time served joiner who has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. Since Christmas 2000, he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland. (Where the cri.me’s partnered up!)

He is an internationally best-selling Kindle author and has four books featuring DI Harry Evans and the Cumbrian Major Crimes Team, and two novels, featuring Utah doorman, Jake Boulder.

2018 will be a busy year for Graham as he has the third Jake Boulder being published and a Harry Evans novel and novella.

An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer and interviewer for the well-respected website Crimesquad.com since 2009

Graham is the founder of Crime and Publishment, a weekend of crime-writing classes which includes the chance for attendees to pitch their novels to agents and publishers. Since the first weekend in 2013, eight attendees have gone on to sign publishing contracts.

Today, as part of Novella November he’s talking to us, about their uses as introductory catalysts and mid series teasers…

I’m something of a contrarian when it comes to short stories and novellas. Before I started writing, I tended not to read them as my preference was always for novel length works. However, as an aspiring author, I really learned a lot about the craft of writing, and brevity in particular, by writing short stories. To this end I wrote around forty short stories before refocussing my attentions on the unfinished novel which was sat on my computer.

When my debut novel, Snatched from Home was accepted for publication by Caffeine Nights, I contacted the publisher and mooted the idea of a short story collection with each of the five stories introducing a different member of the Major Crimes Team. My idea was that it would be free or certainly cut price and would therefore give readers a chance to meet the team and check out my writing style.

The publisher gave me the go ahead and I put finger to key – pen to paper is so last year. A couple of weeks after I’d submitted the collection, he emailed me back to say he liked them and could I also write a novella or short story collection to precede each novel in the series. Naturally, I said yes to this.

As I’d already written book two in the series, I Know Your Secret, I had to write a novella which fit between it and Snatched from Home. The problem I had was that there was only 48 hours between the end of one novel and the start of the next. Fortunately I came up with an idea for a story which would not just fit within that time frame, but would actually take place over a period of nine hours.

A month later, the first draft of Matching the Evidence was complete. With me caught up on the publishing schedule the next piece I wrote featuring the Major Crimes Team was No Comment, the novella which will be released in spring 2018 before the release of the next novel, When the Waters Recede.

For me, writing shorter form pieces such as novellas or short stories allows room for experimentation. By that I mean I can try different points of view so I can introduce support characters to the reader more fully, or that I can write a plot which doesn’t have the legs to be a full novel, but is still intriguing enough to be told in short form.

I could go on and on about short stories and novellas, but that would rather defeat the point, wouldn’t it? All I have left to say is, if you’ve not tried the delights of a shorter read, you’re missing out on some great bite-size fiction, so go on; try something that can be read during your commute or in a snatched ten minutes of peace. You’ll get a story that fills your need without leaving you sorry that you have to stop reading.

Graham can be found on

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 – and at www.grahamsmithauthor.com

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#Blogtour White Out – Ragnar Jonasson

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Two days before Christmas, a young woman is found dead beneath the cliffs of the deserted village of Kálfshamarvík. Did she jump, or did something more sinister take place beneath the lighthouse and the abandoned old house on the remote rocky outcrop? With winter closing in and the snow falling relentlessly, Ari Thór Arason discovers that the victim’s mother and young sister also lost their lives in this same spot, twenty-five years earlier. As the dark history and secrets of the village are unveiled, and the death toll begins to rise, the Siglufjordur detectives must race against the clock to find the killer, before another tragedy takes place.

Dark, chilling and complex, Whiteout is a haunting, atmospheric and stunningly plotted thriller from one of Iceland’s bestselling crime writers

This is by far my favourite of Ragnar’s Dark Iceland series to date. If you thought Siglufjordur was isolated and claustrophobic you haven’t read everything yet.  In the previously populated small village of Kálfshamarvík, that is now just a tiny hamlet of two houses, on the eve of Christmas Eve, Ari, with his heavily pregnant partner Kristin, and his old boss Tomas (now a Reykjavik murder team officer) are trying to discover the mystery of Asta’s demise, over the cliffs of her childhood home, where both her mother and 7yr old sister met their deaths.

With such a small cast of characters, this is an intense read.  You know it has to be someone, but Jonasson expertly manages to keep you guessing all  the way to the end.  I’m usually someone who can pin a guilty party out by halfway through a book, but with Whiteout I just couldn’t.  I had ideas, but never saw the ending.  The rarity of catching me out is fabulous, and just ensures this book is doubly amazing.

 

 

Siglufjordur © Sigurður Ægisson

If you’ve never been to Iceland but enjoy a fully immersive experience in a novel, then I recommend you google some images of Sigulfjordur and Kálfshamarvík before you start. There is no better way of getting a quick grasp of the dark, yet beautiful isolation of these places, and as we all know imagery will only enhance your reading.

Enjoy…

The Dead Whisper – Emma Clapperton

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D.S Preston and D.C Lang are sent to investigate the death of a young girl in an old manor house in Glasgow. But who would want to kill an innocent girl in her own home and why? When they believe their questions have been answered the case is closed.

Meanwhile, Sam Leonard could not be happier – he has a great acting career and a fantastic girlfriend. After being in a previously turbulent relationship, what could go wrong?

For Patrick McLaughlin life is going well. His marriage is stable and with a baby on the way, things can only get better.

But the house that Patrick moves into is not what it seems. With a family burial plot in the gardens, visions and messages from the deceased, and a recent death in the house, will Patrick and Jodie regret their purchase?

In order to lay the ghosts to rest questions will be asked but can the house ever let go of its past? 

If you like your thrillers with a supernatural twist then this is the book for you. I’d never read anything by Emma Clapperton before this, and whilst I know she has other books featuring DS Preston, DS Lang, and Patrick McLaughlin, I never felt the need to have read any of them first, as TDW works great as a standalone novel.

There are great characters, well written to the point I took an instant dislike to one of them, and I always recommend any book that makes me react emotionally to it in that way.

Skilfully plotted, with plenty to keep you involved, it’s easily a one sitting read, but I think it’s better read in chunks to allow you to absorb everything, and see if you can figure out whodunit, (but I bet you won’t)




Novella November – Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg

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Meet Fox and O’Hare, the latest madcap couple from the comic queen of mayhem, alongside one of America’s favourite TV show producers.

Beginning with their first ever ‘clash’ in The Shell Game, these two short stories are a great introduction to this quirky pair.

If you’re a fan of Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum, or you loving watching TV shows like Diagnosis Murder or Monk, then you will adore these shorts, and don’t worry when you get to the end, because there are four more full length books for you to dive into.

When rookie FBI agent Kate O’Hare meets career conman Nick Fox there’s bound to be a sting in the tale.

Fresh out of Quantico and looking forward to her first FBI assignment, Kate O’Hare is teamed up with high-end security expert, Nick Fox, to help protect a shipment of valuable Peruvian relics. Problem is, nothing is what it seems. Nick Fox is actually a con artist and he’s about to play the shell game with special agent O’Hare in a high-speed chase with armoured cars, a few smoke bombs and a little light flirting. It doesn’t take long for Nick to discover Kate O’Hare is smart, tenacious, and when she’s conned, she holds a grudge.

Life for Fox & O’Hare will never be the same again.

 


FBI special agent Kate O’Hare has made it her mission to nail international con artist Nicolas Fox. When she discovers his plot to plunder a venture capitalist’s twentieth-story Chicago penthouse of all its cash and treasures while the self-proclaimed ‘King of Hostile Takeovers’ is getting married, Kate is 85 per cent – okay maybe 92 per cent – sure that she’s finally going to bag Nick Fox.

Problem is, first Kate has to convince her boss, building security, and maybe even herself, that wedding planner Merrill Stubing is actually Nicolas Fox. Second, she has to figure out how to corner and capture him without disrupting the event of the year. And third, what’s going to happen once O’Hare finally gets her hands on Fox? It’s going take a pro to catch a con before the fireworks over Lake Michigan go off.

Novella November

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With many of  the writers I know currently heading out on their 2017 NaNoWriMo adventures this month, I thought I would take some time out to spotlight novellas and short stories.  Reading that can be ‘fit in’ by those who feel they are too busy to read, and to maybe bring new characters or authors to existing book worms. Whether as short sharp introductions to a new series, or as a teaser between books in longer series, to build anticipation while you eagerly await the next in the series.

So keep your eyes peeled people, you never know just what might grab your attention.