Today, I have the pleasure of introducing two more Indie authors to you. I have known Alison Morton for several years and am a big, big, BIG fan of her Roma Nova books. Kathleen Harryman is a somewhat newer acquaintance, having left me with no nails at all as I read one of her books some months ago. That’s a good thing, BTW, seeing as Kathleen writes thrillers…
I must say I am enjoying conducting these interviews with my talented co-authors. I hope you, my dear readers, will like them too – and maybe find something new to read!
What is the best thing about being an Indie author?
Kathleen: The best thing about being an indie author is the amount of control you have over your work. Writing isn’t just about the story. It’s everything. The front cover, setting your deadlines, marketing your work etc. No one but you is going to tell you the title of your book, or when it is going to be ready for publication. Losing some of that control can be frustrating. Your book is important to you, ours aren’t going to see it that way, it’s just a job for them.
Alison: Two things: firstly, the flexibility to write what you want, when you want and to publish how you want; secondly, the control over format, design, cover, pricing and marketing decisions
What is your biggest challenge and how do you handle it?
Alison: Time management: you must be able to prioritise writing and marketing tasks.
Not having a publicity and marketing machine behind you: you have to do it all!
Finance: although you receive 65-70% of the sale price, you need to budget for editing, a professional cover, advertising, print runs, speaking and signing events, etc.
Kathleen: The biggest challenge for me is the marketing side. I enjoy the glitz and glamor of writing and doing my advertising banners etc, however social media is still very much an enigma to me. It’s a tough world. Timings for promoting your work is important. You need to be aware of when someone is going to be online to read your advert. Social media is a hard world.
Are you a one-genre writer or do you enjoy writing in several genres?
Kathleen: I have written in different genres and will continue to expand into other genres. I enjoy reading multiple genres and I want my writing to develop as my readings has. To date I have written psychological thrillers, suspense, historical romance and poetry. I have plans to write a paranormal trilogy in the future.
Alison: Writing alternative history thrillers with heart takes me into thrillers, historical, crime, political conspiracy, action & adventure and romance all within one series. But I’ve also written a contemporary espionage thriller…
Ah, yes. looking forward to that.
Alison, Which is the most time-consuming for you from a writing perspective? The alt hist angle or plotting the suspense ingredient?
Alison: The suspense/thriller element seems to come quite easily, probably because of the strange way my mind swirls and flows, so I think it’s the althist element that can suck time. I worked out the big picture world-building when I was writing INCEPTIO, but I’m fanatical at getting the ‘period’ detail right within each book. Although it’s an alternative timeline, I like to make the everyday detail as close as possible to that in our timeline. This lulls the reader into thinking everything is as they expect, then I add an ‘other time’ surprise!
Tell us a bit about your books and what you are working on now.
Kathleen: I’m currently working on my next thriller The Gas Man, it’s currently in the editing stages. I tend to write in the first person, as I feel a stronger connection to my characters and the story. That said I always like challenges so that’s not to say that I won’t change my writing style at some point.
Alison: The Roma Nova thrillers, composed of two strands – one present day and the other forty to fifty years previously – feature two heroines, Carina and Aurelia Mitela. They’re fighting women, Praetorian officers, protecting their beloved country, a (fictional) remnant of the Roman Empire that has toughed it out to the modern day. And it’s (mostly) run by women. There is danger, rebellion, high adventure, self-doubt, acerbic wit, strong lovers, tragedy, honour and always a price to pay…
Currently, I’m working on a novella featuring Aurelia back in the 1970s. She’s pursuing two mysteries, one official and one decidedly unofficial, both of which threaten Roma Nova as well as her enigmatic lover, Miklós.
Which one of your books would you recommend to someone who wanted to check you out as a writer? Why?
Alison: INCEPTIO (buy links HERE), featuring Carina Mitela begins the first of her four adventures, but other readers have preferred AURELIA (buy links HERE) which starts the second strand set in the late 1960s to the early 1980s. Aurelia is a born-and-bred Roma Novan facing a home-grown deadly menace, while Carina is the newcomer/’lost heir’ whose nemesis comes with her from the New World. But both strands strongly reflect the innate Roman-ness of their society and both women’s path to love is anything but smooth and easy. I’ve leave it to the reader to choose between INCEPTIO and AURELIA as their way into Roma Nova.
Kathleen: That’s a tough one. If a reader is into their psychological thrillers then I would definitely say When Darkness Falls, that book is going to keep you guessing and leave you thinking beyond the end of the book. For someone that likes their romance with a community feel I’d recommend The Promise. I’d advise the reader makes sure that they have a box of tissues with them, when reading it. Oh, yes. Like several boxes, IMO
What is your latest release and what is it about?
Kathleen: My latest release is The Promise (buy it HERE) which I co-wrote with an actress friend of mine Lucy Marshall. The book is set within Whitby, England during world war II, and follows the lives of Rosie Elliot, Will Aarons, Tom Armitage and Jimmy Chappell. It was important for me as a writer that I capture the essence of the war from all angles, the frontline and back home in Whitby, England.
Was it difficult moving from writing psychological thrillers to a more straightforward romance?
Kathleen: The transition from writing psychological thrillers to a romance was refreshing. It allowed me to explore a softer side to my writing. It wasn’t necessarily the change in genre that vexed me but the era in which the romance was set. The Promise is set during WWII and I wanted to ensure that the reader felt the impact of the war. It had to be as if they were living it. I undertook I lot of research and spoke to my relatives that had lived through the war to get a true understanding. The Promise isn’t what I would call a traditional romance. It’s a little more gritty. I feel that some of this is because of the era it was set in, but some of it is also due to the way I write and my thriller history. I feel blessed that my co-author Lucy Marshall came to me with her idea and let me progress it further. The Promise has become much more than a simple Iove story. It is about the men and women that fought and worked during the war. But most importantly it is a tribute to my grandfather who died fighting in WWII.
Interesting, Kathleen. And I can testify to The Promise being gritty. And you, Alison, what is your latest release?
Alison: ROMA NOVA EXTRA is a collection of eight stories from AD 350 to 2029. Courage, old legends surfacing, comradeship, a family Saturnalia, a different 1066, 21st century Praetorians and stumbling lovers. They fill in gaps, take characters’ stories on and tell of the founding of Roma Nova at the dusk of the Ancient Roman Empire. (Find the various buy links HERE)
Kathleen Harryman is an award winning multi genre author based in York, England. Kathleen was first published in 2015, a suspenseful thriller The Other Side of the Looking Glass. Kathleen’s other books include psychological thriller When Darkness Falls, historical romance The Promise and a poetry books Where Friendship is Made and Family Begins.
Find out more about Kathleen on her website, on her Amazon Page or follow her on Twitter or FB (or both!)
Alison Morton’s award-winning Roma Nova thrillers emerged from her deep love of Roman history, six years’ military service and a life of reading crime, adventure and thriller fiction. On the way, she collected an MA History. Listening to her father on a hot day on a Roman mosaic pavement in northern Spain at age eleven, she started wondering what a modern Roman society would be like if run by strong women…
Now she continues to write thrillers, cultivates a Roman herb garden and drinks wine in France with her husband.
Find out more about Alison and her Roma Nova world on her website, on her Amazon Page or follow her on Twitter and FB
Finally, thank you, ladies, for taking the time to participate in my little interview tour!