Well hello, August! The last days of #SummerReading are coming to a close, but there's still time to squeeze in a new book or two. Today, I'm so excited to have as my guest, the author of brilliant, grim whodunnits, #writer Ross Young! His clever mysteries offer a new possibility of what awaits in the afterlife and I for one, am so hooked! Quick, before the Reaper arrives, let's catch up with Ross:
Q1. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Dead Heads, the first book in your Gloomwood series. It's a totally original whodunnit in the afterlife filled with clever witticisms and, well, let's just say very unique characters (and victims), LOL. What was your inspiration for this series and the characters?
Hello! A long time ago I had an idea for a detective, who ended up being Augustan Blunt, and I was writing a noir-esque hard-boiled detective story about him. I read a lot of urban fantasy, and a lot of crime and psychological thrillers. I'm a fan of John Connolly's Charlie Parker books, Ian Rankin and classic noir, but also the likes of Tom Holt, Jasper Fforde, Terry Pratchett, Robert Rankin and more who lean more into the comedy fantasy sides of things. At the same time I read a lot of horror, Stephen King, Joe Hill, and then for the sheer genius of the intertwining plots, and comedy, Carl Hiassen. I think what I wanted to read just wasn't there, so I'm a bit 'all-over-the-place' The Grim Reaper is my favourite character, in all of his many iterations. I think one day I just got a little sick of writing one or the other and decided to throw them all into a pot and see what came out. I've travelled a lot and have a terrible memory, so locations were always a little bit tricky, I don't think I know many real world places well enough to be confident in writing about them... then one day I decided, sod it, I'll make the afterlife, the rules are mine to make!
Q2. Your talents also expand into the world of comic strips--I look forward to your Beezy & Grim posts on Twitter. Which came first--the drawing or writing? Any thoughts for an animated series?
The writing came first. I'd always doodled, and played around with comic strips in between writing but I'm a writer first and not a particularly talented artist - my limits extend to silly cartoon-like drawings that just about get the message across! Beezy & Grim are characters from the Gloomwood universe. I started writing their relationship as short conversation snippets, to help explore the world of Gloomwood and their backstories. They gained a small following on twitter so I decided to throw caution to the wind and start drawing them. People seem to like them so they'll keep going!
Q3. Ross, you're a tremendous supporter of the #WritingCommunity! Earlier this year you conducted a survey on sales data that I thought had some very interesting business indicators. The pandemic had a major impact on indie writer sales--any insights you'd like to share with where you think the trends will go next?
The survey produced interesting results and it was the second year I had run it. A large point of the indie author survey was to help people out there understand that selling books isn't easy but that they're not alone. In fact, selling books is very difficult. If anything there is a growing division between those indie authors who are investing the time and money in getting their work out to readers hands and those who are constantly checking their sales and beating themselves up because people aren't reading their books. From what I have learned there is only so much traction you can expect to gain through word of mouth and at some point you have to try and push your books to readers, and not other people who are in the same sphere as yourself, which is easier said than done. There are lots of experts out there and though there are methods that work, I recommend people be cautious in finding their own path, whether that's through paid advertising on big sites like Amazon and Facebook, or through other means. In terms of trends, I see a growing number of people who are able to make a living through indie publishing, but it's hard work, writing the book might even be the easy bit.
Q4. Enquiring minds want to know--can you share any upcoming projects with us?
I'm hoping to release the next Gloomwood later this year, 'Dead Festive'. it's in the works right now and, all being well, should be with people soon. Further books are in the early stages! I'm also working on a few bits and pieces for Beezy and Grim, hopefully including some animated work.
Ross, thank you so much for being with us today! If you'd like to follow up with Ross, his links and book info can be found here:
Have a delightfully, grim week! It's Wednesday, time for #DearDiary:
Speaking of Dead Things...
The latest video for one of my stories in Tangled Webs, Sculpture of the Dead, is making it's book trailer debut thanks to the awesome, creative talent of Bibiana Krall! In this quirky tale, you'll meet sculptor Greer and learn about her latest commission for a character you're not gonna quite believe--will she or won't she? Don't forget, Buy the shoes!
A serial killer's revenge and dark secrets this week from the writers of Twitter...
Author Russell, QUINN; The Final Installment of Gavin Nolan's Biography (Book 3), 5⭐
Gruesome murders and corruption are front and center in this final installment of the Gavin Nolan Biography series by Author Russell. Mutilated bodies are turning up unexpectedly in the cemetery, morbidly displayed on the gravestones, taunting the police investigators. Lieutenant Gavin Nolan and his colleagues are in a race against time to find the fiend before another victim is killed. Most disturbing, the murder victims have a common tie to the force; the boorish, police captain with a dubious reputation and gruff demeanor, Quinn Creighton.
As Gavin and his partners delve deeper into the case, it's soon apparent there are underlying coverups the brass want to remain hidden, some pitting cop against cop. As the investigations proceed, tempers and threats are on the rise. Will Gavin's prior, personal interactions with Quinn thwart progress on the case and destroy his current relationships, or make him the next target of the serial killer?
Dark secrets, hidden pasts and murderous revenge keep you on the edge in this page turning tale. Author Russell concludes this suspense filled series with a chilling end and gives readers of this trilogy a bittersweet peek of what the future holds for key characters. A word of forewarning to readers, there is graphic violence and sex in this storyline. For lovers of dark, suspense filled thrillers, this book (and series) is highly recommended!
Next up in the #reading queue:
Authors, books and all things writing--catch up with authors Amy Reade, Bibiana Krall, and moi!
Crowns and Kisses,
P.S. Wishing you an awesome #August filled with summer breezes! Rikkhe and Gemma approve! 💖👑