“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” – Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Today we are chatting with Paul Anthony about his background, writing life, and latest titles. Get ready to be educated and entertained by one of the best writers of our time.
Featured Book Title: Septimus
Genre: Historical Fiction / Thriller
Hello, thank you for agreeing to this interview.
Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Answer: I’m a retired police officer living in the Lake District, England. It’s one of the most beautiful places in the UK to live. We are a mile from Hadrian’s Roman Wall, ten miles from the Scottish border, and about twenty miles from Lake Ullswater. My wife is a retired nurse and we have three children and six grandchildren. A former counter-terrorism detective, I specialize in crime thrillers, true crime, espionage and anthologies for various charities. I’ve been published by a vanity publisher and a commissioning traditional publisher, but I much prefer the self-publishing path. I describe myself as an independent publisher responsible for editing, book covers, marketing, and everything else that goes with the book business. I have absolutely no desire to look for a traditional publisher and often wonder why so-called ‘indie writers’ spend endless hours looking for a publisher. It’s quite possible to achieve tremendous goals without help from these big companies.
Discuss your newest book.
Answer: My latest novel is entitled ‘Septimus’ and it is a welcome departure from my usual foray into crime genres. Having written two detective series I decided to take a break, refresh the mind, and produce something entirely different. Septimus is about the Roman invasion of the Lake District, a man called Hallin who stands in the way of the invasion, and a subsequent incursion into Caledonia (Scotland) where the Romans never really manage to succeed. More importantly, it’s about the characters in the book and how they interact with each other in times of war and peace. Hallin is the leader of a tribe and trades his skill with the Romans in order to try and forge a peace between them. This is quite a complex thing to try and achieve given a constant background of jealousy, treachery, betrayal, and murder as individuals within their own peer groups try to overcome each other and increase their personal power base. Some years back I wrote the history of the family name and learned more about my great uncle. His name was Septimus too. He was one of the first recorded white men to cross the River Sioux complex into Indian country. He was a scout for the US Cavalry and lived in what is now called South Dakota. Readers of Septimus will soon see how my great uncle’s life story inspired ‘Septimus’ and what drove me to write the novel.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Answer: I suspect it all began with reading. As a youngster, I read books written by Enid Blyton. A famous UK writer, she wrote children’s adventure books featuring the ‘famous five’ and the ‘secret seven’. These stories took you into the adventurous mind of a child and, somewhere inside there, it sticks. When you come out the other end, you want to be a writer yourself because inside you think – I wonder if I could write stories too?
What are your current projects?
Answer: I’m currently writing the next Boyd crime thriller. Boyd is a Cumbrian detective who gets posted into the nation’s Special Crime Unit. Here, he works with elite officers on major crime, serial homicide, terrorism, espionage, and all things internationally evil. These books have proved very popular over the years and have an excellent following here in the UK. Each one is a ‘stand-alone’.
What books have most influenced your life?
Answer: It’s not so much the books as the authors. My favorite authors are Gerald Seymour, Jack Higgins, Clive Cussler, and Terence Strong. They are thriller writers. Comparatively, you’ll often see me deep inside a non-fiction book studying another language, a religion, a political or economic doctrine, a biography, or a sports manual.
What inspired you to write your first book?
Answer: I was studying for a degree and writing assignments at 4 am every Sunday morning. When I finished the degree, my wife suggested I continued and inspired me to write my first novel. She told me I had a book deep inside me waiting to get out. I followed her advice and eventually published The Fragile Peace. Since then, I’ve written over 20 novels in the various crime genres but I tend not to write at 4 am on a Sunday morning anymore.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Answer: All my novels carry a message of some kind and that is not at all unusual. Crime writers generally promote good over evil and readers find themselves taking sides with the various characters that an author has written about. They are not that different from romance novels because readers find themselves drawn inside a good book supporting a character (or not) and wanting to know what happens next’. I try to entertain readers whilst also enlightening and informing wherever possible. My novel, White Eagle, for example, offers an explanation as to how terrorism can be avoided. Sound crazy and unlikely? Not if you turned the clock back to the end of various wars and incursions and rewrote the so-called peace agreements. (In some cases there are no peace agreements, hence we have continuing conflict) Terrorism, if you want to focus on that for a moment, is generally rooted in religion and sovereignty. Delivering a thought-provoking message at the same time as delivering a good read is not a bad thing to do.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Answer: Constantly developing new plots that haven’t been used before whilst simultaneously writing at a pace that will keep the reader held and enthusiastic about the book they are reading.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
Answer: Finding the time. I’m retired and enjoying life yet I still don’t have enough hours in the day.
What is the easiest thing about writing?
Answer: I’ve always looked upon my writing career as a hobby. Finding quality time to do something you enjoy is quite easy. You just move the goalposts so that you can do what you do best.
What book are you reading now?
Answer: I’ve just finished ‘Blue’ by John Sutherland. It’s an autobiography written by a senior police officer here in the UK and it’s an excellent read.
What does your writing process look like?
Answer: I write when it suits me and when the plot is ready to go down on paper. Most of the time I form a plot in my head, sit and make notes, draft it out into chapters and then – when I’m ready – I sit down and put it all together properly. It can take anything from three to nine months for me to write a book that I’m more than happy with.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Answer: Enjoy time with our family mainly – but I enjoy the gym and weightlifting, learning to speak Spanish, playing a guitar, and ballroom dancing.
From where do you gain your inspiration?
Answer: Usually from thinking about what I am about to write next.
What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
Answer: The advantages of self-publishing are that you can be totally independent and enjoy a work-life balance of your own structure. The disadvantages of being published by a large company is that you are in effect employed by them to write to timescales set by them. Both courses of action can be immensely successful. It really depends how much you want to put into the route you take and how much freedom you want to enjoy yourself. I think the reality is that all writers are vain. It’s in their nature. Another reality is that there are very few authors who actually make a lifelong living from writing books. Of course, they exist, but there are thousands of writers who will never make it a full-time life-enduring career for a hatful of reasons. Being retired, you can perhaps see why I favor a course that delivers a good work-life balance.
How do you market your books?
Answer: Daily via social media, by word of mouth, guest speaking at various functions, author interviews like this one, and having a good batch of business cards that are handed to people you meet on life’s journey. Wherever I go, I usually present a card detailing my website to anyone who might be interested in reading.
Why did you choose this route?
Answer: Historically, experience reveals what works and what doesn’t. Basically, marketing is a numbers game. The bigger the audience you create, the bigger your readership can grow.
What are your views on social media for marketing?
Answer: I think the book groups on Facebook are excellent devices to present your work. Using Twitter and LinkedIn also provide an audience and lead to more connections.
Would you or do you use a PR agency?
Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
Answer: Try to market every day on various platforms and try to diversify the style of marketing so that you are not seen to be delivering the same constant message over and over again. A book cover displayed is great but when displayed continuously day after day to the same platforms, it becomes potentially boring and doesn’t catch the eye of the reader.
What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?
Answer: Coffee time in the morning and a half hour burst at night.
What do you do to get book reviews?
Answer: Nothing at all. I always hope for reviews but I don’t chase people for them. I think that is unfair. In any event, I’m very skeptical about reviews since there are far too many people willing to pay for reviews, give books away for reviews, swop for reviews, barter, and trade for reviews – almost to the point of ridicule. The world of ‘reviews’ lacks honesty on occasions.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Answer: Work hard, keep on writing, and never give your book away for free. Everything has a value however good or bad it is.
How can readers discover more about you and you work
Answer: Links to my website and blog site are below, as well as my Amazon page.
Thank you, Paul, for allowing us to get to know you and have a glimpse into your writing life. We appreciate your sharing some important points for writers of all genres and look forward to reading your novels.
This is where you can find me on book platforms and social media sites. I’ll be writing and sharing on social media. Hope to see you there, too! Carolyn Bowen
Social Media Hangouts!
These are a few of my social media hangouts! Drop by and say hello!
Any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge Sundae. Kurt Vonnegut (November 11, 1922 –April 11, 2007)
Today is a beautiful fall day and I’ve got some extra pep in my step! I enjoy watching the seasons change! The first days of the full color burst in autumn or new flowers sprouting in the spring remind me how fortunate we are to live in nature.
If you have a novel you’d like for me to review, drop me a note here! Check out some of my latest book reviews also on Goodreads!
Quote of the Day: Fallen leaves lying on the grass in the November sun bring more happiness than the daffodils. Cyril Connolly
The Fall season is a great time to reflect and give thanks for the blessings of the year. I am grateful for the wonderful surprises and the high points this year.
The writing life puts us in the path of meeting some of the best authors in the world. That being said, I am grateful for the opportunity to read and review novels by Wayne Kerr.
I was delighted to get the first read of his upcoming release “Framed” featuring former detective Reggie Swann. Mark your calendar for November 15th to purchase it from Amazon and/or your favorite bookstores. Can’t wait? Preorder your copy today from Amazon.
Kerr has articulated the inside scoop on the former homicide detective Reggie Swann now serving time for murder. Dubbed the “Black Swan” since her trial she now wore orange like the other prison inmates. The difference was that she was hated by both them and the prison guards who were once considered her fellow comrades of the law.
It had been almost ten years since she was incarcerated and after many failed attempts at being released, she had lost hope. Her disinterest in the new trial except to escape the hell hole, at least during the proceedings, was worth being out of harm’s way for a day. She knew better than to get her hopes up and what more there was nothing to go back to unless she could get her former job back.
Would she be exonerated this time and be able to walk back into her old life or would she carry the stigma of a murderer? If so, how could she clear her own name without being a detective again?
Dive in to find the answer to these questions and more as Reggie Swann’s life turns down dark paths that’ll make you question, who the villain is in this scenic Canadian province. A must read psychological thriller! Reviewed by Carolyn Bowen, Author
If you like to connect with others who enjoy books, join my new Facebook group –Circle of Friends. I look forward to seeing you there.
Please check out my novels here and at your favorite bookstores!
Quote for Today: “October is the month for painted leaves. Their rich glow now flashes around the world. As fruits and leaves acquire a bright tint just before they fall, so the year near its setting. October is its sunset sky.” Henry David Thoreau, Autumnal Tints
Henry David Thoreau lived on the northern shore of the pond for two years starting in the summer of 1845. His plot was in the woodland owned by his friend and mentor Ralph Waldo Emerson, near Concord, Massachusetts. Thoreau’s account of the experience was recorded in Walden; or, Life in the Woods, and made the pond famous. Wikipedia
I’m beginning October with thoughts of gratitude for all the good things that have happened for me and my books. I’ve probably missed some blogs or articles written about my writing life. Please, let me know, and I’ll add the features to my website. This is the listing –Media Page – Thank you!
You make my day when leaving reviews and/or comments for The Long Road Home. It really helps others to learn about my books.
Quote of the Day: Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go. T.S. Eliot
Today we celebrate the British essayist, publisher, playwright, literary and social critic, and “one of the twentieth century’s major poets” Thomas Stearns Eliot, OM (T.S. Eliot) birthday (26 September 1888 – 4 January 1965). Wikipedia
His works continue to resonate with people today. The quote above is one of my favorites. Learn more about his lifetime literary achievements here.
Giving Away To Good Homes
Today I’m pushing, making an effort, to see how far I can go. What are my plans? I’m giving away (5 signed copies of my historical romance, Cross-Ties to good homes.
To enter for a chance to win: Follow my blogand leave a comment. The 1st five to participate will be the lucky winners. Good Luck! I look forward to a meet/greet soon.
Reviewers Wanted: Get added to my reviewers’ list and be the first to know about new releases and other fun events. Please let me know if you’d like to be a Beta reader for my future books.
If you like to read and review books, please let me know and I’ll provide a Kindle version (Cross-Tiesand/or The Long Road Home) for your reading enjoyment.
I am so excited about the reviews for my novels. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment (nice) about The Long Road Home andCross-Ties a historical fiction adventure. You make my writing life more interesting.
If you like to connect with others who enjoy books, join my new Facebook group –Circle of Friends. I look forward to seeing you there.
Please check out my novels here and at your favorite bookstore! Thanks!
Quote of the Day: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover.” Mark Twain
The month of September is flying by as I go about my writing life. I can already imagine the smell of pumpkin spice flavoring in my coffee as we go into the autumn months. The season unofficially began on September 1st. Specifically, the Northern Hemisphere marks the autumnal equinox on Friday, September 22, 2017, at exactly 4:02 P.M. EDT. I’m believing it’s going to be a wonderful one.
I’m convinced that it’s helpful to read books by other authors in your favorite genre. I’ve been busy reading and reviewing books. You can check out my reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. If you’d like for me to read yours, contact me here. I have an opening for two more this month.
Thank you to the readers who have taken the time to leave a review for my books. Your support is greatly appreciated.
The Long Road Home, a mystery thriller with some romantic suspense is available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and your favorite bookstores.
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