I am very excited that Tara Lyons has dropped by my blog to take part in my Q&A interview today. Tara’s debut novel In The Shadows is available on pre-order now and for those of you who prefer a paperback you can order a copy today and should receive it in time for publication day which is the 17th March so without further ado……..I would like to welcome Tara Lyons
Hello and thank you for having me I am delighted to be here
Can you tell us a little about yourself and background?
I am a single mum, avid readers and indie author… It still feels surreal to call myself an author. For eight years I worked in the journalism division of John Lewis. I was the Assistant Editor of their in-house magazine, which meant I wrote the articles, designed the magazine and interviewed employees. In 2012 (12/12/12 to be exact), my son was born. I accepted redundancy from John Lewis in 2013 and spent the next two years raising my ball of energy, Leo. This year he started part-time nursery and it’s freed up even more time for me to write.
When did you know that you wanted to become a writer? and how did you go about it?
I’ve always loved writing, it’s been a dream of mine. So much so, my poor mum was given my “stories” as a few birthday presents when I was young (sorry, mum). When it was time to choose my university major, I opted for English Literature - I wasn’t sure what career path I wanted to pursue at 18, but I knew I loved reading and writing. So I thought I’d spend three years doing something I enjoyed! My friends have always known how much I’d like to write a book, and for my 30th birthday last year, they all clubbed together and bought me a laptop. I had a story rattling around in my mind for quite a while and the words just flew – and In the Shadows was born. I then met the brilliantly talented author, Mel Comley, online and over the months she has become a dear friend and amazing mentor.
Can you tell us what genre your book is and the audience you write for?
In the Shadows is in the crime/psychological thriller genre. It’s not a strict police procedural book, but it combines the criminal act of a serial killer with a psychological element of uncovering that murderer. It’s aimed at readers who like suspense, delving into the mind of the characters and a thrilling whodunit.
What is your writing process? and how long does it take?
It varies – as In the Shadows in my debut novel but I’ve also co-write. But ultimately, my writing process started in August last year and my first draft was completed by November. I spent the next two months editing and rewriting, before sending it to my editor at the end of January. Because I had the story in my mind for so long I didn’t need to write copious amounts of notes and plan chapter by chapter. I just started writing and got everything out in my first draft; which explains why it needed so much editing ☺ Co-writing is completely different, we have a formulated synopsis and character list before the writing process begins. Characters will always veer off course – right in the middle of a chapter sometimes – so you have to trust the other author you’re working with, luckily I do.
Are your characters based on anyone you know or are they just fictional?
In the Shadows has a bit of mixture but mainly, they are fictional. All the characters are named after people who helped, supported and encouraged me to write my debut novel, it was my way of thanking them. But the fictional characters do not take on any physical appearances or personal traits of those people.
Have you wrote about a personal experience in your novels?
Yes, I have. My novella with Mel Comley, Web of Deceit, was loosely based on how we met - though the ending was certainly very different. In the Shadows was also born from a personal experience… after my grandfather passed away last year, the story just grew from there and took on a life of its own into a world of crime and despair.
What research do you do?
I think authors are very lucky today with the internet at their fingertips, and I certainly make use of this - especially for images to get a sense of my setting, or train timetables, or official terminology. I’m also lucky to know people who work in the emergency services, and that’s very important when writing about procedures. I also believe that authors need to read other fictional works – it’s important to be a reader as well as a writer. By reading a variety of genres and authors you know what you like or don’t like from a book, or what you think is missing on the market or a story that hasn’t be told yet.
Who would you like to co-write with and why?
I’m in an awesome position because I can say I’ve already co-written with an author I admire and respect, Mel Comley. I had read all of Mel’s justice novels and Sally Parker books before I was even halfway through writing In the Shadows, so I’m feel honoured to say we’ve co-written one novella together and our joint work in progress in the first in our new crime series. So keep your eyes peeled for our teasers – actually, we’ve already started with those on Facebook.
What’s your favourite book?
Eek! This is really hard for me because I’m multi-genre reader. I enjoy crime, psychological thrillers, historical and even a bit of romance and young adult novels. Let me draw on my uni days though because those three years introduced me to a multitude of authors. One book that I loved, and based my final year dissertation on, was Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. It’s a fascinating true crime book that not only looks at the murderers’ psychologies, but also the lives of the victims, the families and the neighbourhood. Actually, I think it’s time I re-read that book… *off I go for a gander on Amazon*
What’s your favourite food?
Wow… I love food as much as I love books. Can I choose a ‘type’ of food? In that case I’d choose Italian food – think of the pizzas, the pasta dishes, the lasagne, the cheeses and then… oh… think of all the desserts.
What’s your favourite film?
These questions are evil. How can anyone choose just one film? I loved the Twilight Saga, will watch the Die Hard films every Christmas, amazed by the court dramas and harrowing stories of A Few Good Men and A Time to Kill and Beaches makes me cry every single time. But if I’m honest, one film that I love and don’t care who knows… I’ll watch it whenever it’s on TV (despite the fact I have it on DVD) and I randomly quote lines from it on a regularly basis… Pretty Woman! (But I’m positive as soon as you post this I’ll think of a different film).
What’s your favourite song?
Okay, this is hard for me because I have an infusion of my own likes and the music my parents raised me listening too. Therefore, if you look at my CDs I have a collection ranging from Elvis, UB40, Lionel Richie, Whitney, Adele, Ed Sheeran and Jess Glynne – as well as a few token Irish choices. I’m sure if you ask my friends they would say Galway Girl as it always gets me up attempting to jive – so I’ll go with that.
How can readers find out more information about yourself and your books?
I enjoy interacting with readers, so please get in touch – oh and don’t miss my Facebook launch party for In the Shadows on 17th March!
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Thank you so much for joining me today and I wish you all the luck in the world with In The Shadows which I have to say is a 5 star read from me.
Thank you I feel exciting and nervous at the same time. In the Shadows has been in my head for such a long time and now it's nearly time for it to be out there for anyone to read.