Book Savvy Spotlight on Neal James

Bringing you exclusive interviews with authors featured in the Book Savvy Newsletter.

Our Guest is Neal James, the author of three books: 'A Ticket to Tewkesbury', 'Short Stories - Volume One' and 'Two Little Dicky Birds'. Neal is the author of three books: 'A Ticket to Tewkesbury', 'Short Stories - Volume One' and 'Two Little Dicky Birds', he is a member of the Crime Writers Association.

Enjoy the interview.

Q1. Can you tell us a little about yourself and your book Two Little Dicky Birds?
I am an accountant of 30 plus years, and came to writing quite late.

Two Little Dicky Birds is a tale of bloodlust and deception. It encompasses the sheer evil of a man so tied up in his own psychoses that he is compelled to follow an almost predetermined path. The reader is pulled from pillar to post as multiple plotlines converge inexorably in a chase for a serial killer across the Atlantic at a frenetic rate, and the breathless pace will have you turning the pages, running to keep up. There are twists and turns at every stage, and right till the end you are not sure whether he will, once again, get away with his crimes.

In writing the novel, assistance came from a variety of sources, including the New York Police Department, Detective Martin Speechley, my editor Rob Eldridge, and a number of close friends whose identities I used at critical points in the plot.

Q2. Where does your inspiration come from?
A variety of sources, including TV, Films, other writers, family and friends, and newspapers. I read widely and can turn a story from a single word in most cases. This was particularly useful with the Short Stories.

Q3. How do you develop your plotlines and scenarios?
Basically it's all down to an overactive imagination. I'm an accountant, and use spreadsheets to control plotlines and scenarios. That way I can see in an instant where the story is going, and any continuity errors are apparent immediately.

Q4. When you write what emotion do you seek to evoke in your readers?
Fear, humour, shock, sadness, guilt - I want to get the reader to share in the story, and make them believe that what I'm saying could actually happen.

Q5. How have you reacted to the brilliant reviews such as being described as 'the number one page turner'?
With both feet firmly on the ground - it's the only way. I'm under no illusions as to the difficulties of breaking into the world of large scale fiction.

Q6. How do you promote your work?
By e-mail (libraries and bookshops), personal contact (friends and Waterstones), social networking (Facebook, Friends Reunited), and the media (local radio and newspapers).

Q7. If you had to pick just one book marketing tool that you've used to promote your book, which would you say has been the most effective?
E-mail - libraries in particular, if you hit the correct target, are very responsive and a number of personal contacts have developed as a result.

Q8. Do you recommend authors getting publicists to help them promote their books? Do you have one?
In order to 'hit the big time' a publicist is an essential, and yet therein lies the problem. I do not have one for the simple reason that good publicists are loathe to take on unknown quantities, and that is precisely what a new author represents.

Q9. Do you do more promoting online or offline and which do you prefer?
Online is where I spend much of my promotional time, mainly because it is more cost beneficial. I do attend reading groups up and down the country and these are particularly enjoyable.

Q10. How has the publishing experience been for you?
Pneuma Springs are the single publishers who have given me a foot in the door. They took a risk and it is paying off. Generally the large publishers will not look at an author without an agent. Agents do not seem to want the trouble of developing a new talent. It's a closed shop, and extremely hard to break into.

Thank you for your time. We wish you every success in your writing career.

Find out more about Neal's Published books: 'A Ticket to Tewkesbury', 'Short Stories - Volume One' and 'Two Little Dicky Birds'.

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