Tag Archives: book giveaway

May Interview – Rebecca Gransden 

For May’s interview I caught up with Rebecca Gransden, author of the fantasmagorically delightful Anemogram. Rebecca has also kindly offered a paperback giveaway of Anemogram to one lucky reader of this interview. All you have to do is retweet this interview on your twitter account to be in with a chance to win. You can read my review of Anemogram here: https://lifehasafunnywayofsneakinguponyou.wordpress.com/2016/09/12/anemogram-review/

What was your background and how did you get into writing? 

I’m from the south coast of England and have what I guess would be classified as a traditional working class background. I received a few encouraging words at school and they confirmed my unsteady assertion that I could write a bit if I put my mind to it. I’ve concentrated mostly on short stories over the years, until I attempted to write my first longer piece in 2014. That resulted in my first, and only release so far, Anemogram. 
You sound a lot like me there! Except I’m yet to finish my novel never mind have it published! What are your ambitions for your writing? 
To always push myself forwards, to strive to improve in the areas I think I need to, and to challenge myself. If I don’t feel I’ve moved forward in some way or another I see no point in releasing anything, especially with regard to novels. My predominant impulse is to not shortchange myself or do a disservice to anyone who might pick up my writing. For this reason I will always take risks. To me, feeling comfortable is a sign that I need to move on, whatever the outcome.

Which writers inspire you? 

I have writers I admire, probably too many to mention here, but I’ll say Paul Auster, Chekov for his short stories, JG Ballard, and Lydia Millet is great stylistically. I’m mostly inspired by fellow indie authors whose work connects with me, such as Leo X. Robertson, Harry Whitewolf and Rupert Dreyfus. It’s important to me to have the immediacy of those currently creating as an energising force. And their stuff is great.

Anemogram has a very unusual premise and theme, where did the idea come from? 

I wish I knew! I had about two weeks to come up with some basic ideas in order to take part in National Novel Writing Month. I knew that I wanted a female protagonist, and to cover some specific themes, and then embarked on a pretty intense month. Anemogram is the result.
It sounds like you work well under pressure in that case! Are you working on anything new at the moment? 
I’m taking a break from writing as intensely this year, but I do plan to fit in a novella at some point. I have a short story collection that I’m in the process of finalising in order to release. Last year I completed the first draft of a science fiction themed novel, and I will return to that to edit, although I have no idea if and when I’ll release it.
You have quite a lot going on then! What do you use to do your writing? Pen+paper, computer, typewriter etc. 
All my writing is now carried out on a laptop, just for convenience. My first few short stories were handwritten and it was valuable to transfer them to the laptop making adjustments and improvements as I went. I am interested in attempting something handwritten again as there is a difference in the process that could be creatively beneficial.

It can’t be denied that handwriting makes your arm hurt a lot more than typing though 🙂 Would you ever consider writing in a different genre or is there a genre you wish you could write? 

I’ll try anything in any mixture or permutation. I want to incorporate different areas, to make things interesting and keep pushing myself. Always willing to fall flat on my face if it’s fun! I’ve found it difficult to categorise Anemogram. I worry about genre placement after writing, if at all. I have a whole bunch of horror stories that may be released at some point.

How often do you write? Do you set yourself a word target or just go with it when inspiration strikes? 

I like to set aside specific periods of time to immerse myself in what I’m writing. It doesn’t suit me to have multiple projects active at once, as all my energy needs to point one way. I have a generalised minimum daily word count when I’m in a writing phase, though life does get in the way of that sometimes of course, but if that happens I’m mindful to play catchup the next day in order to stay on a self-imposed schedule. When I’m not actively writing I’m either editing, reading, researching, beta-reading, promoting or doing something to ensure I stay engaged.

What sort of publishing route did you choose and why? 

I’m a supporter of self-publishing as my instincts are that as far as possible writers, and anyone who produces a creative commodity, should retain ownership of their work. This puts pressure on those who do self-publish to ensure that what we release is high quality, especially with regard to formatting and presentation. I love the spirit of independent publishing, on whatever scale, and most of the interesting reading I come across originates from that world.
Without a big publishing house behind you though, how do you market your books? What have been your marketing successes and failures? 
As I have only one release so far my experience of promotion is quite limited. For me, it is important that any promotion I do is an extension of how I make my way through the world, and gives an accurate impression of what I and my writing stands for. I’m aware of what I won’t do—such as pay for reviews—and prefer to look for fun ways for my writing to find those who may be interested in reading it.
If you could be the original author of any book what would it have been and why? 
A book that I returned to endlessly as a kid called Encyclopaedia of Legendary Creatures by Tom McGowan. This was full of definitions of supernatural and mythological beings from around the world and each creature was depicted in an accompanying illustration by Victor Ambrus. His drawings are very distinctive and chilling. I think it would’ve been a fascinating project to put together, and exciting for the author to collaborate with such an amazing illustrator.
I might have to check that out as I love myths, legends, etc. What are your views on good and bad reviews? How much do you think the success of books relies on reviews? 
Reviews are great to have as they do help give a general impression of what a book is about. There’s no denying that it is helpful for a potential reader to have reviews available in order to gain further information about a book before they decide if it is for them or not. My strategy has been one of seeking out readers and reviewers who may get something out of reading my book. I’ve tried to be quite focused and I’ve had a mostly positive experience, whether my book has been enjoyed or not. My concern is not so much to do with a positive or negative reaction, but if my book has been fairly represented or not. I think discerning readers who are familiar with review sites and with review culture look for indications of whether the book will appeal to them, and can filter out much of the noise. Reviews mean less as they are distrusted more but they are still important at this stage, and there’s no doubt positive reviews have an effect.
Thank you so much for taking part in the interview Rebecca and for agreeing kindly to do a giveaway as well! 
If you’d like to see more from Rebecca you can check out her website, Amazon account and social media pages here: 

Website: https://rebeccagransden.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rlgransden

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Rebecca-Gransden-1046981001979898/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14235808.Rebecca_Gransden
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rebecca-Gransden/e/B014I5D5OU/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1


Author Interview – Luke Gracias 

This month I caught up with Luke Gracias author of the incredible The Devil’s Prayer; an intense novel half thriller, half religious horror story. The subject matter so deep and controversial that Luke was actually advised to go down the route of self publishing. 

I first came across The Devil’s Prayer through Netgalley and I must admit I was a little unsure whether I’d like it. But I’m so glad I requested it in the end, it turned out to be a real page turner and incredibly interesting to boot. 

You can read my full review here: http://www.lifehasafunnyway.com/the-devils-prayer-by-luke-gracias-review/ 

Luke kindly agreed to take part in not only an interview with me but also to give my lovely followers the chance to win not one, not two but three fantastic prizes! There are 2 kindle copies and 1 signed paperback copy of The Devil’s Prayer up for grabs. All you need to do is retweet the pinned tweet containing the link to this interview on my twitter account @lifehasafunnywy to be in with a chance to win. 

What was your background and how did you get into writing? 

I am an environmental specialist with an avid interest in film making. In early 2014, I decided to write a low budget film script. The film finance fell through, so I decided to convert the script into a book “The Devil’s Prayer”. 

What are your ambitions for your writing? 

I need to write the sequel to The Devil’s Prayer. 

Which writers inspire you? 

Oscar Wilde. David Seltzer, Daniel Yergin, Dan Brown. 

I can definitely see the influence of Dan Brown in The Devil’s Prayer. It’s like a darker, more cryptic Da Vinci Code! 

How much research went into writing The Devil’s Prayer? I imagine quite a lot! 

I am an avid photographer and whilst writing the film script, I visited some of the amazing locations in The Devil’s Prayer. I learnt a lot of the amazing history first hand from the wonderful friends I made in Spain, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria during the film recce. I did a lot of research on the internet to get the timelines, prophecies and events to fit together to sub layer what is a preposterous story with unexplained historical coincidences. 

What are you working on at the moment? 

The sequel to The Devil’s Prayer… and my full time job.

I bet that’s difficult finding the time to write as well as working full time. I’ve personally been working on my novel for 3 years so it’s impressive you’ve managed to publish one and start working on the sequel! What do you use to do your writing? Pen+paper, computer, typewriter etc. 
My computer. 

Would you ever consider writing in a different genre or is there a genre you wish you could write? 

Yes, I have a romantic comedy script that was the first screenplay I wrote, which I think would make an amazing book. However, I think my focus for now has to remain on writing the sequel. 

How often do you write? Do you set yourself a word target or just go with it when inspiration strikes? 

I have yet to classify myself as a professional author. I have a job I am passionate about which takes up a lot of my time. My approach has been similar to one you would take when building a house. You have to put the foundation and the structure in from start to finish and be happy with that, and then weave in the detail. Once you have the plot and the structure in place, the rest is really up to your hard work and craftsmanship to get a quality book out. 

What sort of publishing route did you choose and why? 
The Devil’s Prayer was self-published. The company that managed the publishing for me ‘Australian Ebooks’ was amazing. The initial feedback I got when I pitched the manuscript was that the story would be too controversial for a traditional publisher to take on, especially the graphic content of the rape and the violence that followed. Further, some of the themes such as doing a deal with the Devil may not sit well with many readers. I was told it was better suited to the ebook market and hence I decided to do it myself. 

How do you market your books? What have been your marketing successes and failures? 

If writing a book is hard, marketing it is a whole lot harder. I am a first time writer and self-published, so I have two strikes against me before most people would consider picking it up. I tried Facebook Boost post but I think the results are dubious. The trailer video I shot for the book had 80K views on Vimeo, but accounted for minimal sales if any. 


I started a blog for the first time and I got a twitter account. The blog has had more interest from people interested in travel and my photography of the insane locations in The Devil’s Prayer. Thus far it has generated very little interest in the book itself. Twitter has been fantastic. I have tried Goodreads Giveaways and Goodreads advertising; they get a lot of people to your book page and I would definitely recommend the Giveaways. 


The biggest success for me which is yet to translate into sales is Netgalley. I have received over 150 reviews to date on the book from there. My hope is that sufficient reviewers and bloggers will recommend it and this will eventually get the book noticed. 


As a Netgalley reader myself I can certainly agree with the power it has in getting your books and your name out there. If you could be the original author of any book what would it have been and why? 

David Seltzer’s Omen. I have read one horror book and watched one horror film in my entire life and that’s ‘The Omen’.

Well I certainly think that The Devil’s Prayer could give The Omen a run for its money in some places! What are your views on good and bad reviews? 

 It’s a bit like watching your child perform on the big stage. There will be some reviewers who love the book for what it is, yet you know there will be some who just don’t like the play or the sets or the director or your child. 

 How much do you think the success of books relies on reviews? 

I think reviews are critical to the success of a book, both good and bad. As a debut author who has self-published, the quality and credibility of the reviews you get and word of mouth is all you have. 

 Getting good reviews always helps and getting reviews from sources like Netgalley, which are considered a benchmark for getting honest reviews, also helps a lot with the credibility of the reviews. People today are time-poor and we read to be entertained, educated and empowered. I would prefer it if someone steered clear of the book because it dealt with subject matter they would not enjoy and that’s what bad reviews can do very well. It’s the balance of life, you cannot have people loving the book without others hating it. 

Thanks so much for taking the time out of what sounds like a hugely busy schedule to do this interview with me, Luke. I’d also like to thank you on behalf of all my followers and your own future readers for your giveaway prizes! I’m sure the winners will love The Devil’s Prayer as much as I did. 

All of the photos here can be credited to Luke himself who took them while touring the different locations featured in The Devil’s Prayer. 

I wish I could have included more here but there’s only so much room. Instead, if you’d like to see more of the fantastic photographs Luke took, you can visit his website http://www.devilsprayer.com.au 

You can also keep in touch with Luke and his updates on social media: 

Twitter: @devils_prayer 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/devilsprayer/

Goodreads: Luke Gracias