Follow Me Paperback Released Early – Exclusively at Tesco

| Writing

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I’m so excited to say the Follow Me paperback has been released early exclusively in Tesco stores up and down the country now. Just in time for Christmas! Grab it for the social media and/or crime thriller lover in your life, and yourself. Go on, you deserve it: every little helps….

‘A very contemporary nightmare, delivered with panache’ ~ The Independent

‘A chilling debut’ ~ Hello! Magazine

‘An invigorating cat-and-mouse game, with a dark and filthy wit that deliciously spikes the regular drenchings of gore’ ~ Crime Scene Magazine

‘Follow Me is compelling, a proper page-turner’ ~ Emerald Street

‘Outstanding!’ ~ Shots Magazine

‘Gripping, darkly funny and feminist, I loved Follow Me’ ~ Caroline Criado-Perez

‘Angela Clarke brings dazzling wit and a sharp sense of contemporary life to a fast-paced serial killer novel with serious style’ ~ Jane Casey (Maeve Kerrigan Series)

‘Pacey, gripping, and so up-to-the-minute you better read it quick!’~ Claire McGowan (Paula Maguire Series)

‘We’ve been waiting for a novel that shows just how creepy and scary social media actually is and this is it. Angela Clarke knows exactly which buttons to press. #creepedmeout’ ~ Tania Carver (Brennan & Esposito Series)

‘A fascinating murder mystery and a dark, ironic commentary on modern social media’ ~ Paul Finch (Stalkers)

‘Fast-paced, tense and playfully witty’ Graeme Cameron (Normal)

‘Clarke explores the phenomenon of (social media) celebrity while tapping into your fears’ ~ Rebecca Bradley (Shallow Waters)

‘Smart, fast paced, fresh and frightening. Follow Me is a gripping debut.’ Rowan Coleman (The Memory Book)

‘Follow Me is literally gripping – the tension levels were forcing me to clutch the book so hard that my hands hurt!’ ~ Daisy Buchanan

 

 

 

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How do you develop your first idea into an entire novel?

| How Do Writers... A Series of Practical Writing Tools

CAD9TdPWEAAUxfmI believe a strong plot can be condensed into one or two sentences. A summary. A lift pitch: what you would say to an editor if you had sixty seconds to sell them your novel. When I have an idea I test it, develop it, until that idea has grown into my one or two summary sentences of plot. It focuses my mind on what’s at the route of a book: a strong story. A good narrative arc.

From there I …. You can read the rest of this guest post on Book Addict Shaun’s Blog

Thank you so much to Shaun for hosting me as part of the Follow Me Blog Tour

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Follow Me Blog Tour 3rd – 22nd Dec

| Uncategorized, Writing

Follow Me blog tourI’m really excited to announce that the Follow Me Blog Tour will be running from 3rd – 22nd December! Check out these fabulous bloggers for reviews, interviews, special content, excerpts & competitions:

Thursday 3rd December:  http://www.bookaddictshaun.co.uk

Friday 4th December: http://brookcottagebooks.blogspot.co.uk/

Saturday 5th December: http://fabulousbookfiend.blogspot.co.uk/

Sunday 6th December: https://bookaholicconfessions.wordpress.com/

Monday 7th December: http://rachelsrandomreads.blogspot.co.uk/

Tuesday 8th December: http://www.writing.ie/

Wednesday 9th December: http://handwrittengirl.com/

Thursday 10th December: http://www.reviewedthebook.co.uk/

Friday 11th December: http://lauraslittlebookblog.blogspot.co.uk/

Saturday 12th December: http://boonsbookcase.blogspot.co.uk/

Sunday 13th December: http://celestelovesbooks.blogspot.ie/

Monday 14th December: https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/

Tuesday 15th December: http://off-the-shelfbooks.blogspot.co.uk/

Wednesday 16th December: http://onmybookshelf.blog.pl/

Thursday 17th December: http://myreading-corner.blogspot.co.uk/

Friday 18th December: http://lozzasbookcorner.blogspot.co.uk/

Saturday 19th December: https://portobellobookblog.com/

Sunday 20th December: https://fromfirstpagetolast.wordpress.com/

Monday 21st December: https://ireadnovels.wordpress.com/

Tuesday 22nd December: http://chicklitpad.blogspot.co.uk/

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How To Do PR For A Book

| How Do Writers... A Series of Practical Writing Tools

CUvfHtmWoAIqgaIThis week Avon Publishing have been sending out some very scary packages! Lucky book bloggers and reviewers were sent a parcel containing an old school analogue phone, and instructions to turn it on and check their messages. On the phone was the alarming message:

Follow, Like, Share, Die. Is it safer to stay offline?

But don’t worry the #Murderer isn’t about to start bumping off book lovers. This was a clever PR teaser campaign for Follow Me my crime thriller that is out in ebook next week on the 3rd December (currently 99p) and in paperback on the 31st December. What do you think: creepy or clever?

Now does anyone know where I can get an analogue phone from….

LIKE. SHARE. FOLLOW . . . DIE

The ‘Hashtag Murderer’ posts chilling cryptic clues online, pointing to their next target. Taunting the police. Enthralling the press. Capturing the public’s imagination.

But this is no virtual threat.

As the number of his followers rises, so does the body count.

Eight years ago two young girls did something unforgivable. Now ambitious police officer Nasreen and investigative journalist Freddie are thrown together again in a desperate struggle to catch this cunning, fame-crazed killer. But can they stay one step ahead of him? And can they escape their own past?

Time’s running out. Everyone is following the #Murderer. But what if he is following you?

ONLINE, NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM …

With thanks to Anne Cater for the photo of the Nokia phone and message.

 

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Wharf Column: Do You Trust Time?

| Journalism

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Did your computer and phone clock change themselves at the end of British Summertime? Coud someone hack the right computer and change all our clocks at once? Would we notice? Read this week’s Wharf column here.

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The Princess Monologues, at The Bread & Roses Theatre

| Reviews You Can Read In One Minute

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Once upon a time, a plucky theatre lover travelled to the magical kingdom of Clapham in search of a top night out…

4345308_origAs soon as I heard about The Princess Monologues my mind immediately turned to the many articles, memes, and quotes deploring Disney princesses as bad role models for little girls, as good role models for little girls, arguments against buying pink toys for young girls, the story of the little boy who goes to nursery dressed as a princess, how princess is a compliment, how it’s a slur, colour, gender, identity. When did princess become such a loaded word?

Director Tessa Hart has seized on the multiple nuances ‘princess’ holds and commissioned a brilliant, blisteringly funny, sometime sad, twisty, twisted, and very prescient collection of monologues. A fantastically engaging sprint of an hour long show you’ll laugh, possibly cry, and certainly think on once the glitter has settled and you’ve left the theatre.

Eleanor Dillon-Reams is a revelatory tour de force, moving seamlessly on stage and in front3902158 of the audience, between the six characters of the six monologues written by the diverse and talented Tilly Lunken, Tina Jay, Claire Booker, Simon Jay, Amy Bethan Evans, Tessa Hart, and Eliza Power. Dillon-Reams’ accent, tone, posture and entire body shifted so fully to inhabit each character it was as if they were there: six different people. A staggering performance, she’s certainly a talent to watch.

Simon Jay’s Home Made Princess squeezed my heart tight with it’s incredible switch. Dillon-Reams expertly making the most of the emotive subject, and causing this audience member to have to blink away tears. Claire Booker’s Princess Frankenstein is a darkly, comic gem: one of the funniest things I’ve seen this year. And Eliza Power’s #Shame, sharp as a knife, effortlessly cuts through multiple meanings and associations of the word princess, of words and names themselves, pulling together Disney, Kim Kardashian, and a depressingly familiar situation too many women find themselves in, in a final punch I didn’t see coming.

The Princess Monologues are strong, tight, multifarious and gleeful inspections of what ‘princess’ means in 2015. This show deserves to go far. I wouldn’t be surprised if it transfers. Catch it if you can. You’ll live happily ever after.

The Princess Monolgues is on at The Bread & Roses Theatre in Clapham until Sunday 22nd November at 7.30pm. And at the The Space on the Isle of Dogs on Sunday 6th December at 6pm.

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How Do Writers… Tell A Story?

| How Do Writers... A Series of Practical Writing Guides

 

story

Story > noun.

  1. An account of imaginary or real people and events told for entertainment.
  • A plot or storyline: the novel has a good story.
  • A report of an item of news in a newspaper, magazine, or news broadcast: stories in the local paper.
  • A piece of gossip; a rumour: there have been lots of stories going around, as you can imagine.
  • A false statement or explanation; a lie: Ellie never told stories – she had always believed in the truth.
  1. An account of past events in someone’s life or in the evolution of something: the story of modern farming.

 

The above definition of story is taken from the Oxford English Dictionary. Story is at the heart of all good writing.

A newspaper article conveys the story of what’s happened. Journalists are trained to use the Five W’s when writing their copy:

  • Who did that?
  • What happened?
  • Where did it take place?
  • When did it take place?
  • Why did that happen?

These questions are used by both the press and police to gather basic information. Journalists then relay the answers on to readers, or radio and television audiences. Asking questions of your work is a great place to start for an author as well.

  • Who is your protagonist?
  • What happens to them?
  • Where is it set?
  • When did it happen?
  • Why did it happen?

Story is about what happens, and yet all too often new writers make the mistake of having nothing happen in their books.

story3Many of us who want to write, are drawn by a love of reading. An adoration of beautifully constructed sentences which ring like tiny glittering bells as we read. At school we’re taught to dissect texts: breaking them down into: characters, themes, ideas. We use single sentences or paragraphs to support our arguments. The practice of turning quotes into memes to share across social media, shows the power we still give single sentences. To words that speak to us. To words that encapsulate and express the way we feel. We associate with them. We fetishize them. Which is great, but it has nothing to do with story.

story 4Think back through your life to all those people who’ve told you stories. The people that come first to my mind are not those reading from a book, but the expressive engaging faces of those enthused by what they’re saying. Often, but not always, these people are in a pub or a bar, retelling something that happened to them, or to someone else. My dad making me and my brother laugh as he talks of the time I fell in the sea. A work colleague whose life seemed full of adventures. Raconteurs spinning a good old yarn, celebrity gossip, and tall tales. The tellers have me, and everyone else’s attention. We want to know what happened.

story 5Recently I attended a Hen Do, where not everyone had met before. On the first morning we told stories about ourselves and our lives. The theme happened to be unfortunate body functions and various toilet ‘incidents’, but the subject was unimportant. We took it in turns to relay our anecdotes, some heart-wrenching, some making us cry with laughter. The ice was broken. We’d bonded.
Telling stories is part of our culture. Whether it’s relaying real life events, or imaginary ones, we do it to amuse. We hook our audience in with a set up, we keep them hanging on to find out more, and we give them a conclusion that elicits an emotional response. We entertain.

Something must happen in your book. Your protagonist, your character, must face some kind of test, whether literal, or figurative. They may rise to the challenge, or they may fail. And at the end of the story they should be changed by the events that took place.story1

Go back to the authors you love, and see that it’s not just witty one liners and pretty prose that makes them a writer, see the story they told. Don’t think of yourself as an artist, and obsess over your sparkling sentences, think of yourself as the woman in the bar who has the whole room waiting on her next word. You’re not a writer, you’re a storyteller.

(But don’t tell anyone: storyteller may be a more accurate description of what we do, but it does make you sound like a wanker.)

Catch up on How Do Writers…Come Up With Ideas? here. And check back for the next How Do Writers.. instalment.

My crime thriller Follow Me is published by Avon December 2015.

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Cover Reveal: New Crime Thriller Follow Me

| Uncategorized, Writing

Follow Me CoverI’m delighted to share with you guys the exclusive cover reveal for my new crime thriller Follow Me. The first of the Social Media Murder Series Follow Me is out this December, and available for preorder now. AND the Kindle version is currently priced at a bargain 99 pence.

Below is a brief taste of what to expect – I hope you like it!

#FollowMe                                   #AreYouNext?

 

 

 

LIKE. SHARE. FOLLOW . . . DIE

The ‘Hashtag Murderer’ posts chilling cryptic clues online, pointing to their next target. Taunting the police. Enthralling the press. Capturing the public’s imagination.

But this is no virtual threat.

As the number of his followers rises, so does the body count.

Eight years ago two young girls did something unforgivable. Now ambitious police officer Nasreen and investigative journalist Freddie are thrown together again in a desperate struggle to catch this cunning, fame-crazed killer. But can they stay one step ahead of him? And can they escape their own past?

Time’s running out. Everyone is following the #Murderer. But what if he is following you?

ONLINE, NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM …

 

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How Do Writers… Come Up With Ideas?

| How Do Writers... A Series of Practical Writing Guides

ideas

I sculpted opening sentences as I sorted spikey Velcro rollers at my job at the hair salon. I pictured my own name in print, as I sold books in WH Smiths. I noted customers’ dialogue as I worked the shop floor at Harrods. The words, jokes, settings, and characters built up in me until my ideas overflowed. I had to write a book.

Where do writers get their ideas from? Everywhere. Here are my top three places to hunt the muse:

1. Real Life

Write what you know, so the saying goes. And what do you know better than your own life? To me this doesn’t mean write a memoir (though you can certainly do that). More it means, what is your unique selling point? Apologies for the marketing jargon, but this is an important concept: what is it that you know that is distinctive or, as of yet, unwritten about elsewhere?

– What life event? John Green drew on his experience of being a student chaplain at a children’s’ hospital, to write about two teen cancer patients in The Fault in Our Stars.

– What location? The rugged Cornwall wreckers’ coast inspired Daphne Du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn.

– What job? Kingsley Amis wrote Lucky Jim about the eponymous university lecturer, whilst working as an English academic himself.

– What person do you know? Mario Puzo said his inspiration for his main character in The Godfather, was his ‘wonderful handsome’, but ‘fairly ruthless’ Italian immigrant mother, who single-handedly raised her family of twelve in the New York slums. Badass.

2. Newspapers

Whether you’re reading about complex crimes, long lost loves being reunited, or domestic incidents playing out against global events, there’s a wealth of stimulus in newspapers. I keep copies of articles that I find intriguing. Newsworthy events are also a great way of pinpointing what’s of the zeitgeist. Publishers are keen on identifying this, because a book that captures a public spirit or moment often enjoys increased sales!

3. Images

A quirky image, whether a photo, a painting, a film, a TV show, or a postcard is a great jumping off point for ideas. Tell yourself a story about what you see: what’s happening? Who is this character? What will happen next? Write a line about it. Write a paragraph. Write a page. It’s a great way to get your mind to wander (in a good way!)

To paraphrase Wet Wet Wet, (there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write): I feel it in my fingers. I feel it in my toes. Ideas’re everywhere you go…

When I finally sat down in my late twenties to write my book, I had several false starts. Some manuscripts stretched into the tens of thousands of words, but no matter how promising they seemed at the beginning, they all petered out and ended up in the trash. What I had was an idea of a book: a vague notion of character, an opening scene, an impression of what I wanted it to be about. But something was missing: story.

Now I work as a professional reader for The Literary Consultancy, I appreciate how common it is for writers’ first books to lack story. A good old fashioned yarn, with a beginning, a struggle, and a triumphant, or otherwise, end.

Ideas are good, but they are only the first step. Ideas are bricks. Play with them. Then use them to build something bigger. Use them to build your story. Use them to build your book.

 

Where do you get your ideas from? Share your own tips in the comments below.

Catch up on How Do Writers…Write A Book? here. And check back for the next instalment: How Do Writers… Tell A Story?  

My crime thriller Follow Me is published by Avon December 2015.

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Wharf Column: Never Miss Out On The Office Gossip Again

| Journalism

"Instead of taking notes, can I just purchase a transcript of today's lesson?"

“Instead of taking notes, can I just purchase a transcript of today’s lesson?”

I was due to attend the Bafta and BFI Screenwriters’ Lecture Series by renowned writer of Brookside, Cracker, and The Lakes, Jimmy McGovern.

I was going to write about class and Canary Wharf, as Jimmy McGovern’s shows often centre on working class characters.

But I never made it. Instead I got stuck in a vintage dress when the zipper broke, and I dislocated my shoulder trying to escape.

I tell you, Houdini would have struggled with getting out of 1980s polyester.

Taken to bed with a hefty dose of painkillers I awoke, realigned and rested, to the emailed transcript of the previous night’s on stage conversation between Miranda Sawyer and Jimmy McGovern.

And it was marvellous. It was all there: every “Pardon?” every “[Laughter]”. And I thought wouldn’t it be marvellous if you could get a transcript of every evening out you missed?

To read the rest of the column please click here.

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