How do you go about create a realistic historical background for your novel? How much research should you do … and when do you stop? Do you have your characters reflect the tastes, mores and attitudes of past eras even if they are not acceptable today?
These are the kinds of questions we discuss on the new episode of We’d Like a Word with authors Alec Marsh (Rule Britannia) and Eoin McNamee (The Blue Tango and many more).
We’d Like A Word is available on iTunes, Spotify, Anchor, Google Pods and almost any place that good podcasts are hosted (or just click here).
This is the last episode of 2019. Paul and Stevyn wish you all a very merry Christmas and a hopeful and peaceful New Year. There are some great guests to come in 2020 …
On this all new episode of We’d Like A Word, we talk borders and boundaries with two authors whose work deals with separation.
Asia Mackay is the author of the highly acclaimed and witty spy thriller Killing it and its recently published sequel, The Nursery. It tells the story of Lex Tyler – covert operative, assassin … and mother. As the cover blurb says, ‘Bad guys can wait. Bedtime can’t.’ Asia tells us all about the genesis of the character and how she maintains the boundaries between being a mum and being an author while her heroine struggles not to blur her work and home life too. We also talk about real life female spies, the ‘Sexy Lamp Test’ and other measures authors can use to make sure that their work has the right balance of male and female characters.
We then turn to Brian McGilloway, New York Times bestselling author of the DS Lucy Black thrillers and Inspector Devlin mysteries. Many of his books are set on or near the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic and he is fascinated by the lives of the people who live there. He is also a working teacher and has to find ways to keep his writing – which can be quite violent and visceral – separate from the rest of his life. As someone who is in a position to inspire young minds and the next generation of writers, how does he balance the two sides?
It’s a fascinating episode with two great writers and we hope you enjoy it.
In this new (and bonus length) episode of We’d Like A Word, Paul and Stevyn talk to authors Jake O’Kelly (in the studio) and Andrew Chapman (via phone) about self-publishing, the value of beta readers and the importance of good covers. We also talk about gay fiction and about writing sex scenes … because so few people seem to do it well and a great many authors (including your hosts) haven’t yet been brave enough to try. Why is writing a sex scene so hard? (Oo-er) And is it more difficult to write sex scenes that are outside of your comfort zone e.g. a gay author writing a hetero scene? It’s a fascinating discussion. Oh, and apologies for the slight background noise – there was a very excitable radio show going on in the studio next door to us.
Available as a podcast from Thursday 21st November on iTunes, Spotify, Anchor FM, Google podcasts and wherever good podcasts are hosted.
As always, do get in touch if you fancy answering this show’s brain-teaser or to suggest topics for us to cover. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org plus you can find us on Twitter and Facebook as @wedlikeaword.
Paul, Jake O’Kelly and Stevyn
Jake O’Kelly is the author of The Smell of Good Decisions, a near-dystopian near-future thriller set in his home town of San Francisco in which four people become the unwilling victims of a military experiment to weaponise the human olfactory system. He was formerly the head of publicity for Amazon Publishing and Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). He now works for online developers Mozilla (creators of Firefox and other well-known software). Website
Andrew Chapman, with the full support of his family, gave up his job to ‘have a go’ at being a writer. He has self-published two very well received books Tripping the Night Fantastic – a booze-sodden and occasionally surreal whodunit – and The Accidental Scoundrel in which the hero discovers that, in order to marry his girlfriend, he has to join her eccentric father’s gang of gentlemen thieves. Andrew’s next book has recently attracted the attentions of traditional publishers and he hopes that he may not have to live in a caravan for much longer. Website
Useful links mentioned in this episode:
99Designs – to get book covers, logos etc. designed
The new episode of We’d Like A Word is here and in this episode Paul and Stevyn are talking to US author Alan Drew about his books and about the topic of censorship.
Alan Drew is the author of the critically acclaimed debut novel Gardens of Water and the taut thriller Shadow Man. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and associate professor of English at Villanova University, where he directs the creative writing program. He lives near Philadelphia with his wife and family.
Alan’s first book Gardens of Water follows the story of two families during a massive earthquake in Turkey in 1999. And, as Alan explains, the story brought him into conflict with the Turkish authorities.
It prompted us to look at books that people have tried to censor or ban altogether … and we found more than a few surprises. Just cast your eyes over this list on Wikipedia.
The American Library Association also publishes an interesting list of the Top Ten, year by year, of the most challenged books.
Banned Books Week takes place every September and the website has some interesting resources.
On our latest episode of We’d Like a Word, we are delighted to welcome Alison Finch, BBC Radio’s ‘Books Bitch’ (as she calls herself). Alison is the person who decides what books get promoted on shows like Front Row, Saturday Live, Open Book, Woman’s Hour, Loose Ends and many more for Radio 4, Radio 3 and the World Service.
We celebrate inspirational librarians and small press publishers, and discuss why there should be fewer books and how authors get chosen to appear on the radio.
Available on iTunes, Spotify, Anchor FM and anywhere else you find good podcasts.
It’s been a pretty cool first six months for the We’d Like A Word podcast. We’ve met some stellar writers like Anthony Horowitz, Will Dean, Belinda Bauer, Adrian McKinty, Helen Cullen, Matt Wesolowski, Aiden Conway, Denise Mina and Gerard Brennan. We’ve discussed fly sex with Dr Erica McAlister, got squiffy in Richard Walmsley’s kitchen while taking about books set in Italy, and we’ve discussed bum reading – or rumpology – with Odditorium curator Dr David Bramwell. We’ve been philosophical with Jamie Cawley and had a good laugh with the legend that is Graham Norton. But it hasn’t all been writers; we’ve also talked to publicist extraordinaire Angela McMahon and, in future episodes we’ll be talking to editors, agents, book commissioners and the lady who decides what gets to air on Radio 4. We’re planning future shows to discuss poetry, songwriting and book design.