Interview with Alex Shaw

It ‘s very interesting to see how authors plan and execute their work. There is no prescribed rules for success. You do what works best for you. This clearly emerges from author interviews. Recently I featured  in one with Reshmy Pillai over at ” The Tales Pensieve.”  

In the meanwhile, I wanted to interview authors myself, especially those like me, who write thrillers. The first writer to accept my invitation to be interviewed on this blog was Alex Shaw.  Thanks so much, Alex, for sharing your views with me.

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My 5 Rules for Writing Thrillers

““The way to write a thriller is to ask a question at the beginning, and answer it at the end.” This quote is attributed to the well-known writer of thrillers Lee Child, in this article in Writers Digest. Continue reading “My 5 Rules for Writing Thrillers”

First Person or Third Person?

Are you more comfortable writing in the first person? Do you use the more conventional third person? I deliberately chose to use the first person narrative in my debut novel, “It Cant Be You”.  In this psychological thriller, the head of the family is found dead at the very start of the story. His wife, son and daughter do not know whether he was killed or he killed himself.

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Credible Writing

Suspense/Thriller Writers is a group on Facebook which I visit quite frequently. It has interesting posts and interesting people, most of them keen on making a name in this genre of writing. Pat Bertram provoked thought with a recent post, as she does from time to time so effectively.

She said we know the  Big Five C’s in writing, which are:-

  • Character
  • Conflict
  • Change
  • Contrast (contrast in settings, between characters, in dialogue)
  • Caring (what the character cares for, and making the reader care for the character)

We were asked to add to the list of “Cs” which make effective writing. My instinctive reaction was to add “C for Credibility”. This was top most on my mind for two reasons. The first is that I just finished a novel by a major best-selling author, who shall remain unnamed for the present. The book got off to a great start but left me disappointed at the end. I didn’t find it gripping enough. On reflection, I realized that what the protagonist was doing was totally incredible. He was superman personified and this was a huge let down for me. Have you felt the same any time?

The second reason and perhaps what strikes me even more is that as a writer myself, I am very conscious of making both my plots and my characters very credible. People should relate easily to them and feel the story is believable. If the plot or the characters are outlandish by far  they will be disappointed. You want them to think of the characters as people they have known, seen or heard about.

To me, therefore, credibility is a hallmark of a good writer. To be successful,  within the norms expected of the genre you write in, your plot and characters have to be credible.

Should Your Lips Remain SEALed?

There are some events that take place in your lifetime which have a tremendous impact on the world. These are unforgettable stories which are spoken of and written about for decades, going on to becoming legends. From my youth, I remember the John F. Kennedy assassination, as if it happened yesterday, though the President was shot dead in Dallas, Texas nearly 50 years ago. On May 2, 2011, the news that Osama Bin Laden, perhaps the most wanted man on earth was killed in a raid in Abbottabad in Pakistan took the world by storm. Continue reading “Should Your Lips Remain SEALed?”

Tribute to Authors- Frederick Forsyth

I first read “The Day of the Jackal” by Frederick Forsyth in the early ’70s and he soon became one of my favourite authors. I vividly remember the book ( and the subsequent movie) even to this day, decades later. Such was the appeal of the story. In  my view, it is one the best thrillers ever written. I was amazed to read that he wrote it in just 35 days! If you haven’t read it yet, grab a copy! You will not regret your decision.

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“Practical Tips On Writing A Book”

If you or someone you know has this dream of writing a book some day, here’s one place where you get the collective wisdom of many famous writers. I speak of an old post by Steve Silberman in his blog “NeuroTribes.” In this post 23 brilliant authors share their thoughts and experiences in writing a book. These authors have written about a wide variety of subjects. Their thoughts and views are often as varied as the subjects they write on. Continue reading ““Practical Tips On Writing A Book””

A Wealth of Knowledge for Writers

I am excited because I have just downloaded something which I keenly look forward to reading. No, it’s not a novel but a booklet about creating characters that bring greater interest in your novel. I am speaking of “Crafting Unforgettable Characters” a free e-book that you can get, courtesy K. M. Weiland. Her blog called Wordplay has great content and lots of it. No wonder her by line reads ” Helping Writers Become Authors.” Continue reading “A Wealth of Knowledge for Writers”

What Caught My Fancy

In this post, I would like to share a few things that caught my fancy in the week gone by:

  • For World War II buffs, and I am a great one let me admit, here’s something which sounds very interesting. A story of Jews in the Second World War, not as you would imagine in Europe but in Shanghai of all the places. A thriller by Daniel Kalla called “The Far Side Of The Sky” is reviewed here in the Huffington Post by Julie A. Carlson. I was impressed by Kalla’s ability to manage to be a writer despite his demanding schedule as the department head of two teaching hospitals in Vancouver. Second, I learnt how fascinating it can be to choose a little known topic, like the Jews of Shanghai and write a book on this!
  • James Patterson needs no introduction. He earned $84 million last year according to Forbes magazine to make him the world highest earning author.I was interested to read how he is busy spending big bucks to develop a readership for the future! This article in Bloomberg News by Patrick Cole makes some new points on how an author who already has a huge readership world-wide is doing his bit to develop the habit of reading: amongst new readers, especially kids.

“The art and craft of writing”

“There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight.”  Did you like what you just read? I did, and how! Continue reading ““The art and craft of writing””