My murderous friend

About a year ago, I was passed a newspaper with an article about a local author called Mel Sherratt. To be honest, I almost didn’t read it. I put it to one side with the intentions of reading it later and promptly forgot. But then I noticed it as I was doing the recycling and I’m so glad I did.  This particular author was doing things in a way I hadn’t encountered before – making a splash on Amazon KDP. I’d heard loads about KDP and, I admit, like many others before me, I had dismissed it as a cop-out for people who couldn’t get published. It certainly wasn’t an outlet I had considered for my own work. I went online and read a sample of Mel’s book; it was really good, it didn’t seem like the sort of thing that couldn’t get published. I was even more intrigued, so I contacted her on facebook to chat. Despite my stalkerish tendencies she replied, and we had a few messages go backwards and forwards before we finally met up in the real world.ms-9-colour-cropped

When we met in a local coffee shop, there was an instant rapport. We spent the morning sharing writing ideas and experiences as well as lots and lots of coffee. I don’t think either of us stopped for breath and certainly not for the toilet (that was one close call, I can tell you). At the time I didn’t actually own a kindle so I went home and ordered the only paperback that Mel had produced, which was Somewhere to Hide, one of the books of the Estate Series. It wasn’t my usual sort of read but I was interested and had enjoyed meeting Mel so much that I wanted to read one of her books. It duly arrived and for two days I walked around with the book practically glued to my hands. I was in shock; I hadn’t expected it to be so good! Mel had managed to depict an underclass of society in a way that I could understand instead of the vision that the popular press are so fond of showing us; here was a writer who understood what life could be like at the thin end of the wedge.  I could empathise with the predicaments that her characters found themselves in, quite often through no fault of their own.  After I’d read Somewhere to Hide, I simply had to go out and buy a kindle so that I could read all her others! Even better, we’re still great friends and I owe so much to Mel for showing me how much fun publishing on KDP can be.

The point to this very rambling blog post is to tell you that the fantastic Estate Series books are all on offer on Amazon right now (79p and 99p – a snip, as they say) to celebrate a year since the release of Somewhere to Hide (but not for you YAs, they have rude words and deeds in them… ha, as if that’s going to stop you!) but if you want to see what Mel’s writing is all about, then now is the time to go and grab yourself a copy.  While you’re at it, why don’t you check out her blog, Writer of Murder and Mayhem.  Here are all the linky links you need…

Somewhere to Hide

Fighting for Survival

Behind a Closed Door

Mel’s blog

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M is for Murder and Mayhem

I never used to read crime or thrillers, as a rule.  It just wasn’t a genre that appealed to me.  It just goes to show that, despite the fact that I consider myself to be fairly widely read and open-minded, I can still be quite dismissive when it comes to what I choose to read.

However, that changed last year when I became friends with fellow writer Mel Sherrattms-9-colour-croppedWe met for the first time over coffee (a sort of blind date, an odd and funny anecdote in itself as I spent ten minutes staring at a woman in the coffee shop and wondering whether to go and introduce myself, only to discover that it wasn’t her at all).  Mel is fast becoming something of a local celebrity in my city.  She writes gritty psychological thrillers and her debut self-published novel, Taunting the Dead, a police procedural, sold by the proverbial bucketload.  She introduced me not only to the fun of self-publishing, but also to a genre that I never thought I’d find myself reading.  Since then, I’ve read all her books and the books of other writers I’ve met through her and enjoyed them all.  I was so wrong about this genre.  I’d always assumed that all books in this genre were written without any sort of literary flair.  In fact, way back when, I’d probably read a few like that and, perhaps, that’s why I had left the genre behind.  But picking them up again, I’ve realised that there are some amazing writers working in this genre.  I recently began Pariah by David Jackson and it contains one of the most stunning opening paragraphs I’ve ever read.  I’ve even beta read a manuscript by a very good friend with one of the most gripping story lines and engaging protagonists that I’ve seen in a long time and I’m hoping that she’ll publish this very soon (you know who you are!).

untitledI’ve made a lot of writer friends from this genre and discovered a whole new world.  I’ve been exposed to new and exciting influences on my own writing, so much so that my NA WIP now contains a serial killer (yeah, don’t get too excited… we’ll see if that ever pans out!). But every new idea and direction can only help to diversify what I write and make it richer.  Which has to be a good thing.