Tuesday Spotlight with W.S.Barton

Today I would like to give a warm welcome to acclaimed author Wayne Barton. His debut novel ‘Coal House‘ is a real page turner and filled with enough suspense to keep you awake most of the night. I have just finished Coal House and loved it. If you like your horror classic with a modern twists then this is for you. I must admit classic horror is not usually my bag but once I’d picked this up I couldn’t put it down and nearly had to sleep with the light on!

Here’s a brief synopsis:

When property developer Finn Harper impulsively decides to make an investment with his wife whilst away together in North Wales for their anniversary, it seems an opportunity almost too good to be true. But as the disturbing truth of the home’s abandonment unravels itself, Finn finds himself alone, and a martyr of the local community. He must confront some personal demons, forcing him to consider what, or even who, is real.

Thanks for joining me today Wayne.

NF: Can you tell me a bit about your writing processes. For instance do you draft an outline, do you have a set number of words you try and achieve each day or do you go with the flow and see where it goes?

WSB: I wish I was that organised! I have a ton of ideas for characters and stories, many of them written down, many not… From that, I’ll write down ideas of how a story might develop. I take great care in making sure it’s all organic, and that might come from – for example – either the theme of story I want to tell, or, the natural reactions and ways characters respond to certain things. So, ‘Coal House’ was very much a ‘scary’ suspense story, that was what helped me write it. My other fiction works are ‘drama’ and so I end up writing tons of comments, conversations and dialogue that fits the theme of the story. And then I’ll create the storyline, where the characters are, why they are there, that kind of thing. I do go into each day with the best of endeavours (something like 6,000 words a day is always an aim). Sometimes I can feel I’ve had a really productive day when I’ve written just two thousand words.

NF: Coal House is a great title for a book. I’ve just finished reading it and loved it. Where did the inspiration for the book come from?

WSB: Thank you! I wanted to write a horror book. I’m such a huge fan of John Carpenter’s Halloween and I wanted to try and see if I could recreate that sort of suspense and dread in written format. I guess you could say it’s a traditional ghost story but what I tried to do was to make it as plausible as could be; for instance, I wanted a person who doesn’t believe in ghosts to pick up the book and be creeped out by something that could easily pass as real. Each person’s interpretation is different but so far, it’s been great that some of the reviews say ‘Don’t read this if you’re alone/before you go to bed’!

Don’t read before you go to bed, I would agree with that!

NF: The book is set in Wales tell us something about how that came about?

WSB: I think one of the greatest devices anyone writing suspense can have is isolation; and there is so much of North Wales that gives itself to that kind of setting. My memories of Wales are of going there on holiday when I was a kid, and now when I’m older, visiting friends. There’s a friendly and inviting charm, so I thought it would be interesting to turn that around and make it uninviting.

NF: If you were to give a piece of advice to someone about writing what would it be?

WSB: I don’t know if I could necessarily advise about writing because creation is such an individual thing. What I would say is, use your network of friends, family, fellow readers, as much as you can. Use them for feedback during the creation process and for word of mouth after it. A support network can be worth its weight in gold.

I agree, using your networks is invaluable the whole way through.That’s a great piece of advice Wayne, thank you.

NF: When writing fiction, how do you find where to draw the line that says it’s fictional enough without becoming too far fetched?

WSB: Going back to my answer for the first question… it’s difficult to do with a horror, but there always has to be some suspension of disbelief. How many times do you watch a horror and get frustrated because someone leaves the haunted house and then goes straight back in? What I felt I had to do was create logical scenarios which would not only make such a situation believable, but, also to an extent almost the natural choice. Hopefully I succeeded!

In my other work I try to do that through conversation. If you develop your characters strong enough, hopefully you know them well enough to provide them with realistic dialogue, and not just dialogue which is contrived to fit your own narrative. People don’t just react to your convenience, they have their own things going on. It’s not easy to do and I don’t claim to be a master of it, but at least being aware of it is something that I hope helps create a more believable story.

Continue reading “Tuesday Spotlight with W.S.Barton”

Head Space

 Book 2

As it is the new year I have set myself a challenge, to complete my second novel by my birthday in May. The reality of such a fanciful idea has set in and I’m running scared. What was I thinking? By getting my book ready to publish in May I need to complete it by the end of March. Twice around the editing block and twice through the cover design affords me little room for slacking, which is a shame, because that is my super power, well that and pondering.

In my minds eye I have the figure of 70,000 words, I could get away with 65,000. So far I have 15,000. Even by my poor mathematical calculations that equates to a short fall of 50,000-55,000. A piece of cake – really?

On the plus side today I have felt that the cloud is lifting and the characters are showing their metal. My writing is again an obsession as the characters push their way out of my head and onto the page. Some days I think they have shut up shop and moved on, other times, as with today, they are most definitely alive and well and living in my head. They push me and prod me, whispering sweet nothings into my ear. They are my fiercest critics. They say things like ‘ would I really say that?’ or ‘ You obviously don’t know me at all, I would never do that’. Other times they can be much more magnanimous and offer up the occasional ‘nice’ or ‘I like where you’re going with this’.

My point, if I’m making one is the more time I spend with my characters the more I understand them. Build in time for slacking. I joked about it being my super power earlier but it’s important thinking time. For me it’s when I give my characters time to breath and grow.

When I was writing my début novel All Tomorrow’s Parties the characters began as one thing and ended up (surprisingly) as another. They developed from day to day, bobbing and weaving through the highs and lows I was busy creating for them. Whenever things seemed to coast one of them would say  ‘loosing interest in us already?’. Here’s an example of what I mean. Without giving away any spoilers,there is a part in All Tomorrow’s Parties where an antique chair comes into play. Now to an outsider looking in I was spending time browsing in an antique shop in a small Devon village. A nice way to spend a Saturday morning waiting for your kids to finish their activities. Well, yes that was exactly what I was doing. By allowing myself the head space to not think and just browse, my cheeky Laine Marshall planted the seed. Now whilst the chair featured in the book isn’t exactly the same, it provided the inspiration. I must have looked as if I’d been caught short! I darted out of that shop, ran to the car and hurriedly started scribbling. Note to self – carrying a notebook means exactly that! I digress. I had the time to think you see. Consciously or subconsciously I was thinking, my characters did the rest.

So when you next see me browsing through a bookshop, sitting in a coffee shop or walking the dog I may or may not be doing just that!

What if your memories hadn’t been made yet?

Forget Me Not

A Candy Hearts Romance

by Maureen L Bonatch

Please give a warm welcome to fellow author Maureen L Bonatch. Her new novella ‘Forget Me Not’ has recently been release (January 6th) by The Wild Rose Press and is part of the Candy Hearts Romance series. A fantasy romance with humour to boot!

Here’s an overview of Forget Me Not:

The car accident totalled Sabrina Post’s convertible and reinvented her memories. She can’t recall dumping Cole Dawson ten years ago. What her new clairvoyant visions tell Sabrina is he’s her husband. Any practical girl would question her sanity. But if Sabrina wants to make this imaginary future a reality, she’ll have to regain Cole’s trust and eliminate her rival, the coffee shop waitress who’s pegged Cole as husband #4. To prove she’s foreseen their destiny, Sabrina stirs Cole’s interest by revealing specifics about him she couldn’t have otherwise known. Unfortunately, the one detail he vividly remembers is the pain when she left him and their “rinky-dink” town in her rear-view mirror.

If Cole can’t believe she’s a changed woman, can Sabrina accept the only second chance she has at love exists in her memories?

Well I don’t know about you but I’m hooked!! Fantasy romance is not something I’ve know too much about but this looks like a great read.

Want more?

Here’s an excerpt:

The boxes of candy hearts Julie forgot spilled across the floor.

Cole hunkered down and gathered the papers. His mouth formed a hard line as he glanced at Sabrina’s leave paperwork with the end date prominently circled. He replaced it on the table under the keys.

“No really, I can do it. You stay, Cole. I’ll be right back.” Sabrina caught her reflection in the mirror on the wall. The quest for a coat resulted in her hair looking as if she’d stuck her finger into an electrical outlet. Her appearance matched her desperation. She ran her hands over her head, but the static filled strands resisted smoothing.

“I need to check on Dad anyway, and it’s on my way. I’ll take Josie.” Cole extended his elbow, and Josie latched on like a lifeline, her fingers digging into the leather of his jacket. She skittered across a few of the remaining candies, crushing Be Mine and Love Me on the floor. “Thanks again for dinner, Marge.”

“Cole wait.” Despair leaked into Sabrina’s plea.
He glanced toward the papers on the table and sighed. “I waited for years, Rena. It’s you who waited too long.”

As the door closed behind him, so did the future with Cole that she’d imagined. Her shoulders fell. She knelt to collect the candy hearts scattered on the floor. Forget Me Not and Hug Me taunted her with their cheerful words. Lacking a garbage bag, she shoved a handful of the candies into her jacket pocket. Several hearts were trodden into tiny pieces, like her own.

What a great excerpt, thank you so much for sharing Maureen & good luck with the book.

About the author:

Maureen writes stories in the beautiful state of Pennsylvania that boast laughter, light suspense and something magical in the hope of sharing her love of finding the extraordinary in the ordinary world. She writes Paranormal Romance and Fantasy.

Maureen L Bontach
Maureen L Bontach

To grab yourself a copy of Forget Me Not visit:

Forget Me Not by Maureen L Bonatch

Amazon The Wild Rose Press  Barnes and Noble Kobo iBooks

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Sell or Repel?

The power of words

We all know the power of words right? Words are what we work with, they make up our DNA as writers. We spend so long writing and editing but how long do we spend as long getting the right title for our books?

Sell or Repel– I set this as my headline as I wanted you to be intrigued.I also wanted it to convey a bit about the content. No it’s not about dating!

The title you choose will either help to sell your novel to the reader or it will repel them, no pressure!

Deciding on a title for your precious work can be hard. Everyone you ask will have their own version of the truth which may/may not be helpful.

I do not posses any great secret about how to find that blockbuster title. All I offer are pointers to help you travel along the road. Which turning you take is up to you.FullSizeRenderSo here are some tips that have helped me: Continue reading “Sell or Repel?”

The Art of Self Promotion in 2016

From this
To this

The end of the holiday season is upon us and as is the norm, reflection has set in at Fitton towers. One thing I know I’m very good at is promoting others. It was after all my day job for the best part of my career and I have to say (modestly) I was reasonably good at it. Self promotion however is a different type of fish. Whilst I can confidently and believably promote others I seem to struggle with promoting myself. Writing is something that feels natural, promoting myself to others does not. Those who are gifted with insights into the working minds of a writer or the British for that matter (yes we are all a bit too polite and terribly well mannered… well most of us) will probably have a lot to say on the matter, I do not. However I am conscious of the fact it is necessary if I want anyone to read my books. It set me to thinking -what are the key steps needed to move yourself into the arena of awareness as a self published author? Continue reading “The Art of Self Promotion in 2016”