Book Review Sunday & An Interview With Stephen Edgar!

I have a really exciting book review Sunday today!

Not only do I have a overall review of Stephen Edgars books, after chatting on Twitter, (find Stephen’s Twitter here). This is also the first post on my “People who inspire me series” which is basically the lovely people who inspire me or I admire, who have agreed to let me ask them a few questions for my blog.

So obviously Stephen inspires me because his books are bloody brilliant. When I first spotted these on the kindle store, I wasn’t sure if they’d be my cup of tea. I’m not normally an action book fan, but I decided to give them ago. Then I just became a full blown addict and carried on downloading! I’d struggle to put these under a genre to be honest, there’s a bit of action, a bit of mystery, a bit of thriller, but also some humour. My favourite part Stephen’s books is the way that events and characters cross over from other books,  it’s pretty cool to read and think oh yeah I recognise that character, or I remember that happening. I also really like how imperfect the characters are,  they have all these faults but still manage to be likeable. My  absolute favourite book of the series is Downfall, I wasn’t expecting the twist at the end at all, and the story was gripping. Click here to go to Stephens Website or here to view his books on amazon.

. What originally inspired you to start writing? Has it always been your ambition?

Like a lot of people I always had that feeling that I had “a book in me”. I can remember trying to write when I was about 13. I hand wrote 4 sides of A4, but it was rubbish, and I had no idea where the story would go. It subsequently ended up in the bin. Then, in Spain in 2010, the writing bug returned in a big way. To give some context, I was on holiday in Spain with my pregnant wife and in-laws. we were renting a villa from some friends, and on the second night, we returned to find we’d been burgled. All of the villas in the area had bars on the windows, but when we arrived home on this particular night, we found the bars torn from one of the bedroom windows. We knew straight away that something was wrong, and stood for ages debating whether to go in r wait to see if anyone emerged. The dilemma was: do you go in and confront whoever might be inside (and hope they run), or wait to see if someone appears at the window and tries to escape. What if you went in, and the burglar confronted you with a weapon? I remember feeling so petrified, yet so excited at the same time. We eventually went in and found the place empty. They’d stolen money, cameras and phones, but thankfully left our passports. We spent the rest of the night trying to speak to the local police (although none of us spoke Spanish). We wanted to fly home the next day, but decided to stick it out and make the most of our 2 week holiday. As the days passed, I kept thinking how our experience would make a great opening to a crime book. I was a huge fan of crime thrillers as a genre, and I couldn’t ignore the idea. I pictured myself at home, waking in the middle of the night and hearing a burglar in my house. How would I react? Would I confront him and hoped he ran? But what if he didn’t run, and pulled out a knife? If I cowered upstairs, would the burglar eventually leave? What if he didn’t and started to head upstairs. Three months later, I couldn’t shake the idea from my mind and decided to try and write the scene. I wrote four thousand words, which eventually became he opening to my first book. ‘Integration’ was published almost a year to the day after the burglary, which shows good things can come from bad. I enjoyed writing the boom so much that I decided I had to keep doing it.

2. In your books you reference a lot of events and characters from previous books, does that ever get confusing?
All the time! I’ve always had the desire to have a stream of characters who link the books together, so there is a small list of individuals who feature in some / most of the books. I want readers to be able to read a series of my books, or to read them chronologically and still feel part of the make-believe universe. I figure that those who invest their time in reading ALL my books should benefit from knowing how they link together.
3. Who’s your favourite character and why? (mine is Johnson Carmichael!)
Tough question! I don’t think I have a favourite. Usually, as I start to enjoy a particular character, I decide to kill them off. I am really enjoying the current series I’m writing, and have 5 books plotted already, so I’m hoping it will be the breakthrough I long for.
 
4. You cover a lot of topics in your books from terrorism to mental health. Where do you get your inspiration from?
I wish I knew! Usually ideas for books arrive at the strangest of times. I read a lot, and watch A LOT of crime / thriller series on tv, and I usually ask myself ‘What if such and such happened?’ and that’s what usually leads to book ideas. I’ve always had a vivid imagination, and I think that’s what keeps me going. When I have an idea, I usually play with it in my mind for several weeks before I start plotting a book. I Google a lot for research.
5. Any tips for aspiring writers?
Let your imagination roam! I try to write 3000 words a day, which allows me to complete a first draft of a book within two months (I don’t tend to write at the weekends). The biggest challenge writers face is finding the time to write. Most modern writers have fulltime jobs too (I do!). I wake up early and write before work, because I feel most creative first thing. There is no right or wrong way to write; everyone is different. If you can write a first draft of anything over 80K words, you can take as much time as you need to edit it. Nothing frustrates me more than someone who claims to be a writer, but doesn’t actually write.
6. What can we expect from you in the future?
I am writing a new series featuring a character called Katie Matthews. I have completed the first book in the series, and am all but done on the second part. I have three further books plotted in this series. Katie is a character who battles with diets and her ex-husband, while being thrust into challenging situations beyond her control. I’m hopeful the series will be released in 2017. Each story is unique, but follows Katie as the main protagonist. The stories are packed with red herrings and twists you won’t see coming!
Again, big thanks to Stephen for letting me interview you! I hope you guys enjoyed this, and be sure to check out his books!

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