Monday, 15 May 2017

Steve Robinson - Author - Q & A Session & International #Giveaway - Author of Dying Games

Today I'm welcoming Steve Robinson to my blog, author of  Dying Games - A Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery.

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I have been interested in Genealogy since 1981 and have completed several family trees. This Q & A session was a dream one for me. Firstly it's a Genealogical Mystery as I've already said; Secondly it's about a serial killer, one of my favourite book genres, and thirdly, well he has a fabulously interesting website! I knew this interrogation (I mean questioning) would be a fun one to do. So here goes!

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

 I often feel energised to start writing, not all the time, but mostly, especially when the dialogue for the upcoming scene starts talking to me. When that happens I can’t wait to get to my desk to start writing it all down. If I’m ever struggling to start a new scene, I’ll often begin with the dialogue, which for me is often easier to get stuck into. By the time I stop writing for the day I’m usually ready to.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Don’t give up so easily, kid! I started writing my first book when I was in my early twenties. It took several years to finish, on and off in my spare time while working shifts. I didn’t give up on the writing part, even if it did take a long time to get there. I had to finish writing the book once I’d started it because I always feel I owe it to the characters to complete their story and not leave their lives hanging. I know they’re only fictional characters, but they begin to feel real to me. I gave up trying to get the book published though, and I gave up trying to write another book again for a long time. It wasn’t until I was made redundant from my career in telecoms that I decided to have another go. This time around, although it took a number of years to make any real progress, I kept trying until I got there.

What did you edit out of this book?

Nothing. If you’d asked me that after I wrote the first book in my Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery series, IN THE BLOOD, I’d have given you a very different (and very long) answer. If you take a look at my website, I’ve got a ‘cut scenes’ section entirely devoted to IN THE BLOOD, where you can read some of the scenes that were taken out. I really like some of them, and it was hard to cut them, but the book stood at 168,000 words when I finished it, and as a new author writing for the mystery & thriller genre that was way too long. It was drastically cut on the advice of some of the agents I sent the book to, and one I eventually signed with, to about 106,000 words. Now I aim for 100,000 words every time, and I plot more tightly before I start writing, so I don’t waste words or face the heartache of deciding which ones to cut. If anything, particularly during the structural editing phase, I now find myself adding rather than cutting. Write tight. That’s the key, especially with thrillers.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

I aim to write a book a year, from concept, through plotting, writing and my first edit. Then while I’m plotting the next one, I work with my publisher’s editorial team for a couple more months - structural editing, where we look at the story, then to copyediting and proofreading. Because my stories often take the reader into the past there’s usually a lot of research to do along the way. It’s a challenge because with each new book I don’t write about the same places or time-periods I’ve written about before. This means I have to start afresh each time. It keeps it interesting, though, for both author and reader alike, as you never know what’s coming next. One book might take you back to England in the early nineteenth century for example (IN THE BLOOD), while another takes you to WW2 Germany (KINDRED). My lead character Jefferson Tayte locks it all together of course. He’s about the only constant in my stories while we follow his life as he digs up the past through his research, and typically finds himself in harm’s way as he does so.

What is your favourite childhood book?

There has only ever been one contender. It’s THE LION THE WITCH & THE WARDROBE by CS Lewis. I love the whole Narnia series. I feel it really unlocked my imagination.

Do you read book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

I check the reviews for my books quite often. I like to know how I’m doing, not just in terms of books sold, but what readers think of them. I’m fortunate that my books have a lot of reviews around the world and a strong overall rating, so I tend to focus on the majority opinion and hold true to the adage that you can’t please all the people all the time. As long as my work pleases the majority, I’m happy and can’t expect more. It does no good to get upset about a bad review. Every book has them. Think of your favourite book of all time, and then go to any website that shows book reviews. If there are enough reviews, there will be poor reviews amongst them. How could someone else dislike a book you loved so much? We’re all different, of course, and that has to be respected.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Sometimes. There’s a kind of secret in the third book of the series, THE LAST QUEEN OF ENGLAND. Until now only my wife and I know what it is, but I’m happy to share it now. Anagrams feature in the book, so when I was deciding on names for the members of the Royal Society of London, I thought it would be fun, if just for myself, to make the names up as anagrams of the real members of the Royal society that the characters in the book loosely represented.

Do you Google yourself?

Very rarely, and then it’s not so much about me as one of my books, such as when I have a new book out and I’m looking at reviews.

Check out what his books are about in the video above. If you love crime novels; thrillers and intrigue then these are the books for you.

Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery Series - Buy Links - Dying Games // In the Blood // To The Grave // The Last Queen of England // The Lost Empress // Kindred


"I was born by the sea in Kent, UK, and now live just outside London. My passion for writing began when I was sixteen and had my first magazine article published, and I’ve been writing ever since. When my career in telecoms ended in redundancy, I began to write full time. In the Blood, my debut novel, was the result."

Steve is so much more than those couple of sentences above. Check out his website here for more information. I promise you it's interesting reading.

You can also catch up with Steve on Facebook  // Blog  // Twitter 

Being the guy he is, Steve has offered to giveaway a signed copy of his book "To the Grave". It’s the second book in the series, and is a good way to emphasise that all his books have all been written as standalone stories, so you don't need to worry if you've missed one. He is happy to post it worldwide too.

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