Interview with Frank Duffy where I chat about writing and Night of the Rider…

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Frank Duffy pic above.

FD: Hi Alyson. Many thanks for joining us today.

Image may contain: Aly Rhodes, smiling

Me and a werewolf created by the talented Darren Grassby

https://www.notjusthockney.info/grassby-darren/

AF My pleasure Frank.

FD: I’d like to start by asking you when you first started writing?

AR: As a kid I wrote stories like ‘The Griffon of Death’, aged 11; but I got writing seriously whilst I was tutoring children in the 1990’s and had a couple of children’s books published and after a break to raise my family, I started up again about 7 years ago.

FD: What drew you to genre fiction as a writer?

AF: Well- truthfully I write what I am interested in, to entertain the reader and I enjoy telling stories. I have read a lot of ghost/horror stories and watched many horror movies and I just love that genre – so it was a natural development.

FD: What are some of the themes and ideas which drive your stories?

AF: Memories of old films, like Lon Chaney in Phantom, (see pic below) Val Lewton’s Cat People, Hitchcock and the film noirs of the 1940’s – all inspire my stories. I did a History degree and enjoy visiting derelict buildings and reading about the Victorian era. I like to blend my interests into my stories:- so haunted churches, demonic ventriloquist’s dummies and dolls feature heavily.

 

Lon Chaney in The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

FD: Do you have a typical writing routine?

AF: The guilt that question gives me! At my old p.c in my study, staring at pics of old movie stars, in bursts of energy, lasting hours or days or then nothing at all till the writing itch starts again.

FD: Are you one of those writers who takes a notebook and pen everywhere you go? Or are you a post-it-note kind of writer?

AF: I’m a notepad/whiteboard/stickers/ scribble on back of hand type writer.

Image result for cartoon of writer scribbling

FD: Do you plot everything you write, and if so, what’s your method of approach? Do you write in longhand before, or do you use a card index system, or something completely different?

AF: I only now write my poetry longhand- old habit that. I keyboard the rest of my fiction- if it’s a novella or longer I do keep notes for each chapter and a time line on a whiteboard and the characters’ traits. If it’s a shorter piece I tend to do a rough draft then edit, edit, edit.

FD: Kurt Vonnegut (see below) was supposed to have written each page multiple times before moving onto the next, thus only ever doing one complete draft the first time around. Whether apocryphal or not, how do you approach writing when drafting a short story, novella or novel?

AF: Yeah I read that and I use Vonnegut’s top tips in my creative writing classes. I binge -storm- write my first draft, really just going for it, not worrying about punctuation. This is fun and high energy. It’s very rough but there are good bits in there worth keeping. I might start in the middle of the narrative, not at the beginning. The ending might not come to me straight away either. Then I rewrite – a lot.

FD: What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given about writing?

AF: You’re learning all the time, persevere and don’t be too hard on yourself.

FD: Many writers talk about the difficulty of writing dialogue. What are your thoughts on this?

AF: I avoided dialogue for quite a while, I think, because I was scared of it. I’ve been on workshops, read a lot, co written with writing mates and practised so finally dialogue is a bit less scary than it was! It’s tricky and you need to be clever and careful with it. It’s a game as well. What can/can’t your character say? What do they know? How do they tell their part of the story?

FD: How long does it take for a story idea to make it onto the page? What’s the gestation period before you sit down and hammer it out?

AF: Anything from 5 minutes (flash fiction) to 5 years (Y.A.novel).

FD: Can you tell me about the first stories you had published? How did it feel to receive your first acceptance? Did you celebrate it in any particular way?

AF: In the 1990’s when I began having my poetry accepted and then sold a children’s book to Harpercollins, I was beyond thrilled. Huge personal highlights. Now I’m older the buzz is still there. Getting my début collection of flash out with an indie publisher was mega exciting for me. I keep a record of every publication credit for myself. They are each stepping stones on the journey. I drink a glass of bubbly now and then to celebrate like when Demain accepted Night of the Rider for their Short Sharp Shocks! Series.

FD: What’s the best piece of constructive feedback you had on a rejected story?

AF: From the editors of Pseudopod, last year, and I printed it out because it was so encouraging and helpful.

FD: In your own personal opinion, what’s been your best piece of published fiction so far?

AF: Tough one- I am proud of a few pieces of flash, like Cannon Fodder about the WW1 soldier which got onto Calum Kerr’s Flashflood journal; my children’s book for Collins was a big deal; getting into Short Sharp Shocks was pretty special too.

http://flashfloodjournal.blogspot.com/2017/06/cannon-fodder-by-alyson-faye.html

FD: How easy or difficult is it writing for a specific market, such as a themed anthology?

AF: I don’t find it that hard. I wrote a 1920’s story, for DeadCades last year and I’ve had a story accepted recently by Twisted Wing for their Strange Girls antho. I’m quite flexible I think as a writer.

 

FD: What are you currently working on now?

AF: A new horror story, inspired by a 1920’s silent film.

FD: What are your general writing aims for the future?

AF: Keep on enjoying writing, trying different styles, like flash, poetry, short stories, getting published.

FD: Which three authors would you recommend to people new to the genre?

AF: Shirley Jackson, early Stephen King and Susan Hill.

FD: Many thanks for talking to me today, Alyson.

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Review of Lisa Jewell’s latest thriller due out in August…

If you think your extended family is bad just read this to cheer you up.

Thank you to net galley and the publishers for sending me an e-ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I am a huge Lisa Jewell fan right from her debut to her mid writing career switch to thrillers. So I was delighted to net this book off netgalley. This latest book is more a family drama with characters who act badly or weirdly or criminally than a straight out thriller though.

Even the blurb grabbed me:-

“In the kitchen lie three decomposing corpses. They’ve been dead for several days.
Who has been looking after the baby? “

I couldn’t resist – I had to know.

On the baby’s 25th birthday, she receives a letter bequeathing her a huge abandoned (or is it?) mansion in Chelsea worth millions. Baby aka Libby has lived a normal boring life, but this inheritance sets her off on a quest to find out the truth both for herself, and her dead /living family members. Along the way she pals up with a newspaper reporter (the truly likeable Miller) who had previously written about the tragedy of the dead bodies and the abandoned baby and is still consumed by the need to know what happened.

Like a few other reviewers I too struggled at first, not so much with getting into the story but to mind capture as it were, the different characters and the differing points of view but I kept on thinking about what was going on in that Cheyne Walk house while I was loading the dishwasher or walking the dog, and I was keen to get back to the story ASAP so it’s definitely gripping and compulsive reading. I read it fast over 3 days and truthfully, I think, if you stretched it out too long, you’d lose some fluency of plot. There are lot of layers, past, present and lacunae in the characters’ lives and memories, so you need to be on top of it all. This is a cleverly plotted, sophisticated read which takes some focussing.

There are definite warning signs early on that all is not well inside that Chelsea mansion in the 1990’s and the arrival of the title’s ‘family upstairs’ splits the existing familial cracks further apart until violence and corruption spew out.

I found the lead characters of Phin and Henry as teenage lads, totally fascinating, and how their dynamics create deadly drama.

The ending is unexpected and rattles the reader- Lisa Jewell has not provided a 100% comfortable ending and even lays the way open for a sequel.

So highly recommend as a summer read and one to buy on the way to or coming back from the airport.

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Night of the Rider in the kindle best seller charts/Kay Mellor at Square Chapel Halifax film festival/ Andrea Dunbar/Bill Nighy

Since I last posted on my blog I’ve had an exciting time tracking the ups and downs then the ups again of my ebook from Demain Publishing Night of the Rider (or as I think of it Knight Rider -remember the Hof and K.I.T. TV show?) in the amazon kindle horror shorts best seller charts.

It’s provided hours of happiness and much chat in the Chez Faye household – OK I may  have become a touch obsessive and boring but ….

I hit the heady heights of No 1 in Hot New Deals in Horror 6 May (see below)Screenshot from 2019-05-08 20-46-53 was #8th in hot new releases now #1.png

and back up the best seller charts to No 10 on 14th May.

Screenshot from 2019-05-14 23-36-39

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Square Chapel in Halifax have been running a mini UP North film festival and related speakers – and on Monday I went to listen to Kay Mellor talk about her writing/acting career which launched with the hit TV series Band of Gold.

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She was very honest, down to earth, interesting, funny and truthful about her struggle as a working class (from Leeds) northern female trying to break through the glass ceiling back in the 1980’s and 1990’s. She also discussed her friendship and mentoring of Bradford born writer the late Andrea Dunbar https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0241816/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1 who is well known for writing the film’s screenplay of Rita, Sue and Bob Too (1987).

In one of those odd real life coincidences Andrea Dunbar is the subject of an article in the current Big Issue.

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We went to watch a preview of the Brit Indie film, Sometimes, Always, Never starring Bill Nighy at Square Chapel,and it was shot around York and Pocklington Sometimes Always Never Poster .

Scrabble played a large part in the narrative- go see it when it’s out in June, it’s touching, warm, funny, sad, has the fabulous Jenny Agutter in it looking like a million dollars and brilliant support from Alice Lowe and Sam Riley. It made me cry.

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MY radio interview is up on BCB’s site to listen to:-

A huge thank you to presenter Tina Watkin for inviting me on her show again – Afternoon Stretch for the 3.30pm-4.00pm slot chatting with her and Alan, about my latest e book which is out tomorrow, Friday May 10th on kindle, Night of the Rider published by Demain.

Here is the link https://podcasts.canstream.co.uk/bcb/index.php?id=46091

I chat about the inspiration for my story, getting it published and how much writers earn and how much work it is to get our fiction out there. My son sat in on the interview with me and we toured the studio after.

The Dark Bites – a Collection of Flash Fiction

Here is the latest collection of dark fiction from Horror Tree co editor Stephanie Ellis, whose amazon author’s page can be found here https://www.amazon.co.uk/l/B06XSNSGXS?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1557146821&redirectedFromKindleDbs=true&ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2&rfkd=1&shoppingPortalEnabled=true&sr=1-2;
She has an impressive CV of publications and her fiction is always entertaining and delivers scares and thrills. The latest collection is only £1.99 so dip in and savour. You won’t regret it.

Stephanie Ellis

This project is something I’ve been working on, off and on, for a few months. I’ve taken part in many flash fiction competitions online over the years, particularly as part of the group known as the FlashDogs – you may see some of them still on twitter taking part in #vss365, the microfiction challenge – and I thought it was about time I compiled them in one place.

I think I started in the flash fiction community way back in 2014, discovering MicroBookends first and from there moved on to Flash Friday, The Angry Hourglass, Three Line Thursday, FlashMoBWrites and occasional dips into others that were around at the time. I found it a great way to hone and develop my writing skills as well as getting to know other writers online – some I have even met in real life. This book is dedicated to the FlashDogs (literally, some…

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Interview with me on Demain Publisher’s website with Dean Drinkel talking about Night of the Rider and other writing matters …

Here’s the opener:-

Author Interview – Alyson Faye. Night Of The Rider – Book 18 in the Short Sharp Shocks! series…

5/2/2019

Book 18 in the Short Sharp Shocks! Series is Alyson Faye’s Night Of The Rider. Prior to the book being published, Dean and Alyson sat down and chatted.
DEMAIN PUBLISHING: Welcome Alyson to the Demain family. Night Of The Rider – what’s it all about?
ALYSON FAYE: Thank you. I began writing it on a residential in a Castle in Yorkshire in a huge Victorian library- so that helped my mood. I do enjoy writing Victorian Gothic stories, but this time I had the idea of combining it with a magical element, the cursed, once human Rider. I wanted to contrast the real world of Victorian London’s seedy underbelly, with life in the family’s country mansion where the myth of the Rider casts a long shadow.

Night of the Rider is in the Amazon kindle short stories best seller’s lists!!!

Today I woke up to find Dean Drinkel the force behind Demain Publishing https://demainpublishingblog.weebly.com/

had posted on facebook that :-

“Well we must be doing something right!

Over at the Amazon UK horror short stories charts…

Number 9 – Night Of The Rider by Alyson Faye
Number 17 – Isidora’s Pawn by Erik Hofstatter (foreword by Simon Bestwick)
Number 22 – Dulce Et Decorum Est by Dan Howarth
Number 24 – The Darkest Battlefield by Richard Farren Barber, Paul Edwards, Terry Grimwood, Anthony Watson (an introduction by Adrian Chamberlain and poetry by John Gilbert).

Thanks to all our readers…”

I want to add my own thanks to all of you who have pre ordered a download, will do in the future or who simply have supported my writing by following this blog and reading my fiction over the last few years.

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I asked Dean for a screenshot (cos I have an aged Nokia mobile) and he obliged-

Dean M Drinkel's profile photo, Image may contain: 1 person, suit and close-up

with one of the kindle charts , 24 hours later showing Night of the Rider

Night of the Rider cover

at number 21, now and ahead of Ramsey Campbell‘s latest.

I am so overwhelmed with giddiness today I don’t know how to sit quietly. This is a massive first for me. Dean’s promotion of the Short Sharp Shocks series and all my networks must be kicking in.

NIght of the rider ratings in amazon screenshot.jpg

Thanks everyone.

 

August 13 I will be a guest on David Driver’s radio show The Writers’ Bookshelf…

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AUG 13

Author Alyson Faye

  • Tuesday, 13 August 2019 from 19:00-22:00
  • Drystone Radio

    82 Keighley Road, Cowling, BD22 0BA Keighley
  • Hosted by Drystone Radio, The Writers Bookshelf
    I will be talking about my latest publications, upcoming news for the autumn of new creative writing classes, a charity anthology and how to get published in it, open mics – the perils and pitfalls of reading aloud and how Marilyn Monroe inspires me.

Pre sales are now live on amazon for Night of the Rider…

Amazon were a bit slow loading them up-

Book 18 – Night Of The Rider by Alyson Faye
At 99p it won’t break the bank!
Night Of The Rider (Short Sharp Shocks! Book 18) by [Faye, Alyson]
I have plans to do a couple of radio slots and an open mic evening in Silsden near me, where I will be reading from Rider- a preview if you like –
on Monday June 10th 7.30pm
at
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