Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Interview with thriller author Virginia Crow

Thriller author Virginia Crow is here today to chat about her new novel, Baptism of Fire.

During her virtual book tour, Virginia will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner's choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

The book is on sale for $.99 during the tour.

Virginia grew up in Orkney, using the breath-taking scenery to fuel her imagination and the writing fire within her. When she's not writing, Virginia is usually to be found teaching music. She believes wholeheartedly in the power of music, especially as a tool of inspiration. She also helps out with the John o' Groats Book Festival which is celebrating its 4th year next April.

Virginia lives in the far-flung corner of Scotland, soaking in inspiration from the rugged cliffs and miles of sandy beaches.

She loves cheese, music and films, but hates mushrooms.

Welcome, Virginia. Please share a little bit about your current release.
Baptism of Fire is set in Middle England and tells the story of Kevin, a young boy who is followed by a cursed past, being adopted by Alastair, a clergyman haunted by his own ghosts. Alastair is determined to prove to Kevin that the curse doesn’t exist but, as he tries to protect Kevin, a series of incidents overtake the people of his congregation.

The book explores the role of faith and trust in some of the most trying situations. It focuses on the importance of family and relationships in healing. And – like all my books – the significance of hope.

What inspired you to write this book?Baptism of Fire is my literary curveball! Every other book I’ve had published has been historical – either straight-up Historical Fiction, or Historical Fantasy.

This book came out of nowhere – or almost nowhere!

I’d had this idea years ago, of writing a short story with this plot. The premise was to have only two characters – the clergyman and the boy. I had (rather generously!) allowed myself 10,000 words to cover the whole story.

So, I wrote the opening. Then I realised there was no way I could possibly portray Alastair as the man I wanted him to be without including his interaction with other people. I got rid of the word count and decided to see what happened! I loved having the freedom to write the observational things of an ordinary life, and setting them off against the suddenly dark and downright evil events made for a brilliant juxtaposition in the story. At least, I think it’s brilliant – but I suppose I’m biased!

Excerpt from Baptism of Fire:
“Was he really Alastair’s son, or was he like me?”

“He was really his son,” Jilly replied. “But you’re his son, too, Kevin.”

“No,” Kevin replied stoically. “I haven’t had a dad since Liam, and I don’t want the same thing to happen to Alastair that happened to him.”

“What did happen?” Jilly asked, holding the child to her as they both looked at the grave.

“He burnt to death in his car.” Kevin gripped Jilly’s coat and his voice became little more than a whisper. “I’m cursed, Jilly. Everyone who looks after me dies in a fire, or someone they love does. I don’t know how to stop it.”

“Well,” she said firmly, trying not to let her fear at his words show. “I don’t believe in curses, only bad luck. It sounds to me that you’ve had your share of that. But then, so has the vicar. Shall we go back home and try out some of those conkers?”

Kevin smiled slightly and nodded. “Who is Dawn Louise Roberts?” he asked as they turned away.

What exciting story are you working on next?I have two books being published next year – The Stealth of Caledon which is the second in my Historical Fantasy series, and The Year we Lived which is set 8 years after the Norman conquest. Caledon is a six-book series, and I’ve just finished writing Book 4!

But in terms of new writing, I set myself a challenge of writing a book in every genre. At the moment I’m in the process of writing a horror novel and a romance novel. I never have only one book on the go at once. At any given time I might have up to five different novels on the go.

As well as that, my New Year Resolution for 2020 has been to enter a writing competition every week, so I’m busily scribing away with poems, flash fiction and short stories for those, too!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve always written stories. And, perhaps most significantly, I’ve always been encouraged to write stories. My mum is a writer, my brother and my sisters are also writers, and my dad is an avid reader, so I’ve always been surrounded by books.

Throughout my teenage years, I began writing a ten-book Fantasy series. It’s ongoing (currently weighing in at more than 400,000 words) and will one day be available for people to read. But I think the real moment I thought of myself as an author was when my sisters told my I should publish my historical novel Day’s Dying Glory. It wasn’t the first novel I’d written, but it was the first I published. That belief was all I needed.

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 think I write as much as a full-time writer but I have a day job as a private music teacher which I love. A typical weekday usually involves walking the dog, then I tend to get down to writing. I start my teaching at 2pm, so most of my writing is done in the morning. The exception to this, is when I find my writing too disconcerting, then I tend to write at the weekends, just because certain scenes and books are harder to switch off from!

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?I have a mirror hung over my desk and, when I’m writing, I try to copy my characters’ expressions so I know how to describe them. I also speak their lines out loud to get an idea of how they sound. I hope this makes them a little bit easier to read! So, when you’re reading Baptism of Fire and it gets to any part with any facial expression, you can imagine me sitting in front of the mirror and trying to write the funny face I’m pulling!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
From being about 4 I wanted to be a paleontologist. I knew all there was to know about dinosaurs – and this predated the Jurassic Park franchise! And that remained my aim, right through primary school. When I was about 14 I had a complete U-turn and decided I wanted to be a priest, so Baptism of Fire was, in part, born out of some of the ideas and experiences I came across then.

The one job I swore I would never, never do, was teaching. Both my parents were teachers and I’d seen just what a thankless job it had become, with hours way beyond schooltime. But fate has a strange way of catching up with us, and after my undergrad degree I ended up doing my teacher training!

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Absolutely: believe in the power of words! We’re living in crazy times, when the world is suffering pandemics and political chaos. Reading and writing is a great way of changing the world for the better. If you have a story to tell, tell it. If you want a safe place to go, read it. Don’t let anyone tell you books are worthless, they’re the keys to greatness.


Thank you for being a guest on my blog!

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Stomper McEwan said...

Thank you for hosting me on your super blog, Lisa! I hope your readers enjoy my Q&A!

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Rita Wray said...

Sounds like a great read.

Stomper McEwan said...

Thank you, Rita!

James Robert said...

Thank you so much for taking time to bring to our attention another great read.   I appreciate it and thank you also for the giveaway.