Friday, May 25, 2018

Interview with mystery author Sam Stone

Author Sam Stone helps me wrap up this week by chatting about her new supernatural crime thriller, Posing for Picasso.

Blurb about Posing for Picasso:
It was Annabel, and something was wrong with the features … He thought he saw a triangle, not an irregular jigsaw shape after all. And it was missing from her face. As if a sharp pastry cutter mould had been stamped through her skull.

Someone is killing young girls in New York. Horrific murders where the bodies are being mutilated and parts harvested for unknown reasons. Detective Jake Chandler has a mystery on his hands, and even though there seems to be a connection to the Russian artist Avgustin Juniper, Juniper himself seems innocent and as confused as everyone else as to what is happening.

So why is Juniper painting all the murdered women, and what is stalking the artist? Something wants to return … something which was also known to Pablo Picasso … and only Chandler can stop it.

“A powerful mix of the supernatural and police investigation.” Peter James

“A novel that is dark, disturbing, and utterly tremendous entertainment.” Ken Bruen

“Confidently blends the supernatural and the Gothic with the crime novel. Satisfyingly gruesome; genuinely spooky.” Mike Ripley

Stone’s trademark imagination runs riot as the traditional spooky chiller meets hardcase crime head-on. Intriguing, smart and very entertaining.” Paul Finch

Welcome, Sam. Please tell us about your current release.
Posing for Picasso is something of a departure for me from my usual work. I’ve been fascinated with thrillers since a young age however. I decided that I wanted to write a cross-genre story and the title came to me first. I first posed myself a question of ‘what if’? As a fan of Picasso’s work I began to explore the thought of ‘What if Picasso’s models actually looked like the figures depicted in his most famous works?’ After that the idea shaped itself into this story. It is set in modern day New York, with exerts from Picasso’s (fictional) diaries. The story is about inspiration and where that comes from.

Excerpt from Posing for Picasso:
Juniper reached the top of the stairs and began to walk down the landing towards his apartment.
The front door was slightly ajar.
How careless! Juniper thought. Idiot! He cursed himself for being too distracted. I’m probably in love. I’m entitled to make some mistakes. Besides, no one ever came up this far. Juniper only had models calling, no one else. Until recently he hadn’t had much money, but was careful not to get into debt. He had no enemies. And, although New York was known for crime, he hoped there was nothing of interest in this old building that might attract the wrong sort to come snooping—especially this far up. Despite his earlier irritation about the front door being left ajar, he had always felt safe here.
Juniper walked inside his apartment. The door opened up onto his working space. The lights were off, but moonlight poured through the starlight window. It illuminated the picture on his easel. The painting he was working on of Annabel, glowed with the same ethereal quality that she had when he looked at her. It really was perfect—almost finished. Just a few more strokes of the brush and it would be there.
He closed the door behind him, then placed the bag of wine and food onto the bureau along with his keys and wallet.
Juniper approached the easel. He almost stepped on the paint brush that he had dropped earlier. He smiled at the memory and then bent to retrieve it. He dipped the brush in spirits, rinsed through the hardening paint, cleaning it. Then he selected another brush from the jar next to the spirits and picked up a tube of dark blue oil paint. He squeezed a little onto his palette, ran the brush into it, then added a little white to lighten the color until he was happy that the shade matched the one he had used on the canvas.
The brush twitched in his fingers. The air beside him moved. Pressure built between his eyes as he tried to resist. He knew Annabel would be waiting in the bedroom for him, yet he had to do this. Just one, two, three, strokes. There! It was done. Now he could forget this until tomorrow.
A stifled sound, almost a cry, came from the bedroom. Juniper froze, startled, but also because he was unsure what he had heard. Maybe Annabel had turned off the radio beside the bed. Maybe it was the groan of the shower as the stop button was pressed. This old building often emitted sounds that Juniper had learned to live with but that sound, he couldn’t quite place.
Juniper put the paint brush down on the table beside his easel. Then he walked down the narrow corridor, past the empty, dark bathroom and opened the door to the bedroom.
The bed was empty. Annabel was on the balcony outside, or at least that was what he thought. There was a shape there, strangely dulled, not illuminated at all in the street lights.
“I’m back!” he called.
The shape moved. Juniper knew that eyes watched him. The hair on his arms and the back of his neck stood up.
“I hope you missed me …” Avgustin said. His voice was soft, teasing.
A prickle of anxiety crept along his spine as Annabel didn’t answer. A peculiar lethargy consumed his limbs. He stopped in the middle of the room as overwhelming tiredness swept over him. His eyes dulled, as though he was wearing sunglasses in the dark, but he could still make out a second shape. And this one he knew without doubt really was Annabel. Juniper blinked. He forced his arm to move, rubbed a softly clenched fist into one of his eyes. There was a blur, a flurry of movement and then a dull thud: a sound that would replay over and over in his head.
The tiredness began to leave him. It was as though some miasma had enclosed his body, but now the fog was clearing. Juniper crossed the threshold onto the balcony. The whole space was lit up now, not only by the streetlight below, but also by the side light on his wall outside.
There was no one there.
He experienced a sense of confusion and then the sounds of hysteria floated up to him as though he were waking from a drug induced sleep.
He staggered to the railing, every step forced the paralysis farther away, and his eyes cast downwards, into the street below.
It was hard to make sense of what he saw at first. A weird shape in a robe. A twisted body—arms and legs at painful angles. And a face turned upwards that was somehow incomplete.
Four stories up, Juniper could not make out all of the detail and so he later told himself that his hysterical mind had created this bizarre image. It was as though something was gone—like a jigsaw puzzle awaiting its final piece. A part that had been lost. No! Stolen.
But it wasn’t a puzzle that lay below him. It was Annabel, and something was wrong with the features that had inspired him. He thought he saw a triangle, not an irregular jigsaw shape after all. And it was missing from her face. As if a sharp pastry cutter mold had been stamped through her features.
“Annabel!” he screamed.
Below a man looked up and shouted. Juniper didn’t understand his words. They did not make any sense at all because what the man was saying was wrong. Impossible.
“It was him!” shouted the man. “He threw her over.”
Darkness swamped his vision again. Tears seeped like black rain. Juniper was blind. His heart a cold mass that hurt beyond endurance but still somehow continued to pump blood through his icy veins. He slumped to the ground and he stayed there until the uniformed police arrived to take him away.

What exciting story are you working on next?
My next work is the sixth book in my Kat Lightfoot Mysteries Series – And Then There Was Kat. These are horror/steampunk adventures set in the 19th Century. They are often fun, scary and fantastical! Each one in the series plays homage to a famous film or book you’ve mostly likely heard of, but they are all original and unique plots and adventures. (Zombies At Tiffany’s, Kat on a Hot Tin Airship, What’s Dead PussyKat, Kat of Green Tentacles, and Kat and the Pendulum) I have a great deal of fun writing them.

I’ve also just finished my first none supernatural novel – a straight forward thriller that I hope to share more with you about in the near future.

Next up after the Lightfoot Novella – I have to write two western horror stories, one Lovecraftian story set in the roman era and a horror story that’s based in the North West of England because I was born there. These are for various anthologies.

Then I think I’ll be back on writing a new thriller that I’ve been thinking about for a while.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I have been writing since the age of 11 after I read my first adult thriller The Collector by John Fowles. I always thought I could be a writer. I spent all of my free time either reading or writing. Even though I had some short fiction and poetry published I couldn’t really lay claim to that title of ‘writer’ until my first book was published in 2007. After that there was the fear of ‘Can I really do this again? Or is it a fluke? I’ve just finished my 18th novel and I’ve over 40 short stories published, as well as my first screenplay that went to DVD last November. Perhaps I can now say, ‘yes, I’m a writer!’

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I’ve been very fortunate for the last few years to be able to write full time. This is absolutely a job for me but it is also a passion. And, I’d even go as far as saying it is an obsession at times too.

I wake at 6.30 am every morning and after getting my first cup of tea I’m straight to work. If I’m working on a novel I’m aiming to write no less than 5000 words a day these days but my record so far is 9015! The first two hours is usually spent editing what I wrote the day before, this is a process of warming up my brain, reminding myself of the thought processes I had and then I’m ready to gallop forward.

My husband, David, stops me for meals – I probably wouldn’t eat otherwise (I am so fully submerged in the world I’m creating that sometimes it’s difficult to leave it!). So I get enforced breaks thanks to him. Depending where I am in the novel, I break for the day anytime between 4-6 pm. Then I go and prep dinner. Cooking and a glass of wine brings me back down to Earth!

When I’m not writing I’m mentally plotting the next part of the book, or indeed the start of a new one. I feel like I’m always working – but that is when I’m happiest.

Other writing days in between writing novels or short stories might involve writing up ideas into synopsis’s for my agent. I’m doing a lot more of this these days!

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
The way I write is perhaps a little unique in that I have to have a race with myself. From the very first line I’m seeing the goal post. I truly believe the best thing to do is just write and get to the finish line. You can always tweak and improve once you have a full draft. And, there are no half-finished books in bookstores! So not finished, not published!

Also, I deliberately end every day in the middle of some important moment. That way it’s easier to pick up where you left off the day before!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
My other passion was drama and music. I wanted to be a singer as well as a writer. I became a high school English/Drama teacher first, but because I studied music for many years I was also a private vocal coach. I’m a lyric soprano and I still sing for pleasure.

Ultimately though my vocation has always been writing.

As a child I was always making up stories and conversations in my head that I wanted to write down. I lived in a world of fiction. Books – the best entertainment in the world – captivated me. I always had a good imagination too, but it took me a while to have the confidence to start sending work out, so in that way I was a late bloomer.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
If you want to know more about my work then please check out my website.

I have a range of titles – A science fiction post-apocalyptic trilogy (third part due out soon) which is kind of Independence Day meets Lord of the Rings via Men are from Mars Women are from Venus. I also have an award-winning vampire series (The Vampire Gene Series) which was how I started, this I describe as Queen of the Damned meets Quantum Leap with a dash of Hellraiser (Currently 6 titles), and of course my Kat Lightfoot Mysteries.

I’m certainly going more towards writing thrillers now though, so if this is more your thing, then hopefully I’ll have something to reveal soon!

Hope you enjoy Posing for Picasso!


Thanks for joining me today.

1 comment:

Elizabeth Jahns said...

Hello Lisa!

My name is Elizabeth Jahns from Beacon Publishing Group, and I want to make you aware of one of our new non-fiction releases, an autobiography by famed comedian Kip Addotta, titled “Kip Addotta: Confessions of a Comedian” (released April 13, 2018).

Kip Addotta is an American comedian/actor notable for often being featured on The Tonight Show, The Larry Sanders Show, and the syndicated show Make Me Laugh, among many others. He was also featured on The Dr. Demento Show radio show for his songs, “Wet Dream,” “Big Cock Roach,” and “Life in the Slaw Lane,” a series of fish and vegetable malapropisms that, together, form a storyline. In 1989 he released “I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus.” In 1995 Kip Addotta released a DVD, “Live From Maximum Security!”

His autobiography begins with his first interactions with “The Mob” in his early childhood, his nightmarish life with his father until he was on his own at 15 years of age, through his marriages, and how he became one of the best and most famous stand-up comedians of his time. Kip Addotta tells all. He names names and details the how-to and fine-tuning of comedy.


I would like to submit “Kip Addotta: Confessions Of A Comedian” (189 pages) for interview/review consideration. We have no specific timeline in mind. If interested, I can forward a PDF digital copy of the manuscript to you. I appreciate your time and consideration.

Elizabeth Jahns
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O: 800.817.8480