Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for September, 2012

It is my great pleasure to feature an interview on my blog of the talented and refreshing author Rachael H Dixon. Rachael is the author of Slippery Souls, the first instalment of the Sunray Bay Series, featuring vampires and werewolves by the seaside. How fantastic and intriguing! If you are having a sleepy Sunday this interview will certainly get you moving . Let’s see what Rachael has to tell us:

Biography

Rachael H Dixon lives in the cold and windy northeast of England. She craves sunlight and warmth, and as such her skin is so white it’s almost translucent.

She’s been writing ever since she could hold, albeit strangely, a pen. Her love for the macabre stems from reading James Herbert novels and watching Vincent Price films when she was small.

As well as writing, Rachael loves reading, walking the legs off her dog, drinking red wine and Gil Elvgren art work. And she often wonders whether she’s the only writer in the whole world who doesn’t like coffee.

Tell me a bit about your writing to date.

I’ve felt the need to write ever since I was small – but I didn’t take it seriously until about three and a half years ago when I started a home study writing course. The course covered all aspects of writing, beginning with non-fiction. I’ve always felt more drawn to fiction, but during the first modules of the course I did enjoy working on non-fiction travel pieces – and a few of my features were even published.

When the course shifted over to fiction, I rekindled my love for storytelling and making stuff up – and so I began to write short stories. I experimented with all kinds of genres to test my abilities and to push my boundaries – but essentially I kept coming back to horror. Dark psychological stories and tales of big-toothed creatures that want to rip your throat out seemed to be my thing. I won a few competitions with my short stories and some have been published in e-zines and anthologies.

In 2010 I was made redundant for the second time in just over a year. Sick of job-chasing, that’s when I decided to pursue writing as a career – but on a much bigger scale to anything I’d ever tried before. I decided I’d try my hand at writing a full length novel – and this is the path I’m still on now, as I focus on the rest of the Sunray Bay Series. My husband has been incredibly supportive throughout, and I doubt Slippery Souls would have come to fruition if it weren’t for him.

Slippery Souls was shortlisted for the Writing Magazine’s Self-publishing Award earlier this year – which was an extremely proud moment for me. It was the confidence boost I needed, telling me I must be doing something right.

What inspired you to write?

I’d say the film The Bucketlist kick-started my writing aspirations. As I said, I’d always enjoyed writing (stories, poems and diaries) from being very small – yet, for so many years during adulthood, life got in the way and my writing fell by the wayside.

When I saw the Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman film, it urged me to write my own list of things I want to do before I kick the proverbial bucket – and I realised that writing a novel was number one on my list! So from then I knew it was something I absolutely needed to do.

Did you design your own book cover/covers?

I have a degree in Graphic Design so I decided to put it to use by designing my own cover and marketing bits and pieces for Slippery Souls. I wanted to create something vibrant and quirky. There’s an overall sense of fun to the book, therefore I wanted the main illustration to be hand-rendered with a bit of a comic-style essence going on. I’ll be continuing in the same style for the rest of the Sunray Bay Series too.

What projects are you working on at the moment?

I’ve just completed the first draft of book two in the Sunray Bay Series – The Forgotten Ones. I’m also working on the book cover design for it. It’ll take me quite some time yet to go through all of the editing, reworking, proofreading and formatting processes – but, for the most part, I can sort of see the light at the end of the tunnel. And it’s a good feeling.

I’m also trying to plan ahead for the third book in the series – Tattooed Gods. In fact I’ve written the final chapter for that already – I like to know where it’s all headed. I’m a maniac for planning!

Slippery Souls is part of the Sunray Bay series, can you tell us a bit more about this series and what we have to look forward to?

Slippery Souls came about, essentially, because of a dream I had quite a few years ago about the two main characters Libby and Grim. That original idea grew and morphed in my head over the years until it reached the point that it’s at now.

Funnily enough, the story wasn’t initially located at the seaside – it began life in a city setting. But I soon got bored with it – something about it just didn’t feel right for me. And so I decided that I needed to set the story somewhere that I could get excited about, somewhere that appealed to me – and that’s when I thought, why not at the beach? This idea conjured images of stripy deckchairs, wonderfully coloured beach huts, donkeys, ice-creams – all the things that aren’t typically associated with vampires and werewolves. It seemed like a wonderful contrast – darkness lurking in an otherwise carefree environment. I knew I could have great fun with it!

Slippery Souls was originally planned to be a complete standalone – but when I reached the end, I felt like I couldn’t say goodbye to some of the characters. I liked them all so much, and admittedly I’m perhaps a teeny bit in love with Grim. So I knew then that it would be a series. At the moment I have three planned – Slippery Souls, The Forgotten Ones & Tattooed Gods. If there’s demand for even more, I’m sure I could be easily talked into exploring Sunray Bay even further.

How do you feel about self publishing now that you have experienced the process?

I think it’s losing some of the negative stigma that was attached to it once upon a time, and I think it’s a very exciting time to be self-publishing right now. There are so many opportunities available. That’s not to say that it’s easy though – far from it! Marketing and self-promotion can be even harder than writing the book in the first place. Self-publishing takes an enormous amount of persistence, perseverance, self-belief – and an element of luck!

I’m still happy about my choice to self-publish – but that’s not to say it’s for everyone. I’ll keep on keeping on at it though, and I just keep telling myself, one day

Do you experience any challenges when writing?

Absolutely. I’m the kind of writer who needs to have a concrete plan before I can sit down to write the novel. I can’t just start writing and then see where it takes me – I’d be too worried about waffling, going off on a tangent, or forgetting what my point was in the first place (or whether there even was a point) – I constantly fret about stuff like that. So I need to have a beginning and ending mapped out first and foremost – and then I have to sit down and strategically plan each and every chapter to make sure something is happening in the middle bits. This in itself I find very challenging – when beginning a new project I just want to jump right in and start writing, but first I need to iron out all the faffy details. I perhaps find this the most challenging aspect of writing, getting the story right- especially when the timeline jumps all over the place like it did in Slippery Souls. Man, that was head busting at times!

I was recently asked in an interview if I preferred The Beatles or The Monkees? How about you? Also do you like music and does that ever inspire your work?

If I’m completely honest, off the top of my head, I’m not really familiar with what The Monkees actually sang – is that bad? But then, I’m not a massive 60s fan – it was before my time, and growing up I was brought up with 50s music – my dad was a teddy boy. So I guess the 60s era managed to pass me by completely. If I had to choose though, I’d say The Beatles – because I at least know who they were.

I love all kinds of music – depending what mood I’m in. I’m bit of a rock chick at heart, I suppose – I love bands such as Metallica, Guns ‘n’ Roses and Aerosmith. But I also enjoy chill-out music when I’m writing – I can’t really do music with vocals when writing, I find it distracts me too much.

When I was writing Slippery Souls I was influenced by Mumford & Sons – they’re sort of folk-rock perhaps. I listened to their album Sigh No More an awful lot around the time I was working on Slippery Souls – not when I was actually writing though. Their lyrics are absolutely stunning – poetic and soulful. And now when I hear the song Roll Away Your Stone, it kind of reminds me of Libby and Grim.

Do you have a favourite quote?

It’s probably a bit cheesy, but I love the quote ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. I find it very fitting in the world of self-publishing.

What authors inspire you?

Horror writer James Herbert has been my biggest inspiration throughout my life – he was the reason I decided, when I was a little girl, that I wanted to be an author. His book Fluke won me over and I remember thinking, “Wow, this is amazing. This is what I want to do.”

I’m also inspired by all the indie writers out there who take the profession seriously and who go on to make a living from their writing – proving that it can be done. I’m not necessarily talking about the size and scale of Amanda Hocking’s or E L James’ fame and fortune either – I’m talking about the people who have a loyal fan base and monthly royalty cheques that cover the bills. It’s the most we can all hope for – anything else is a bonus.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

Yes! I’m currently running a competition where one winner will be selected at random to have one of the main vampire characters in The Forgotten Ones named after them.

So, if you fancy being a vampire – just send me an email to say so at rachaelhdixon@gmail.com

Oh and thanks for the opportunity to be on your blog Martin, it’s been great!

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Rachael-H-Dixon/125424854223752

Twitter: @RachaelHD

Slippery Souls Blog: www.rhdixon.blogspot.com

 

Amazon (Kindle version): http://www.amazon.co.uk/Slippery-Souls-Sunray-Series-ebook/dp/B007A451OE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1347530943&sr=8-2

Amazon (paperback version): http://www.amazon.co.uk/Slippery-Souls-Rachael-H-Dixon/dp/1908481218/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1347530943&sr=8-1

 

 

Read Full Post »

I express a big thank you to Laurie who has featured me and my book Beneath the Floodlights on her first class blog:

http://lauriethoughts-reviews.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/beneath-floodlights-by-martin-tracey.html

Read Full Post »