Big Blog Hop – The Next Big Thing!

This week I have to thank Renata F Barcelos for tagging me on the Big Blog Hop. She writes edgy, mystery fiction and her upcoming novel, My Sore Hush-a-Bye, promises more dark and damaged characters. You can find out more on her website

So, from Brazil, where Renata is based, to Cardiff, Wales and me – let the Hop begin. (A very international blog hop this week.)


BIG BLOG HOP Q and A commences about my novel Telling Stories


What was the working title of your book?

For a long time (and I mean long – about eight years) the working title for Telling Stories was ‘Afterlife’ because it’s set partly among a group of friends at University and made reference to the idea that these ‘supposedly’ wonderful days will end and there’s a life ‘after’ them – often one very different to the one imagined! But it had a ‘supernatural’ implication that was confusing. Lizzy, the narrator, is a journalist who tells stories for a living and, as time went on, it became more about the way people shape the stories of their lives and relationships to hide or alter the truth – so the title became Telling Stories.


Where did the idea of the book come from?

There were two main inspirations.

I worked as a journalist at The Western Mail in Cardiff, covering lots of crime stories and I often wondered what it would be like if I started covering a story and found it led me to people who I knew and felt were hiding something – what would I do?

Also, it came about from a story a friend told me about a wedding she had attended. It appeared quite a few people, but not the groom, knew the bride and the best man had been having an affair for years! It made me think of the secrets that couples can keep, often in plain sight. The two ideas combined to make Telling Stories.


What genre does the book fall under?

It’s a literary crime/psychological thriller. I wanted to write something that would be at odds with the ‘chick-lit’ format. Lizzy isn’t really a ‘plucky/sassy’ heroine – she has a dark and self-interested side that often makes her quite selfish and sometimes unlikable but I think her motivations are ones everyone can recognise and might not like to admit they sympathise with!  (Or they might hate her, either’s good!)


Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?

That’s hard because I started the book a long time ago! I always envisaged Welsh actor Matthew Rhys playing ‘Mike’ and someone like Kate Winslet playing Lizzy! They might be a bit old now as the characters are in their late 20s. I’d have to try and find another actress who could bring out Lizzy’s cold streak but still make her sympathetic. It would come down to who can do a decent Welsh accent! Maybe Carey Mulligan could play Cora. I think they’d need to be actors with a British ‘indie’ feel unless Charlize Theron would like to play Lizzie! Oh and can I have Joss Whedon to direct? He’d get the 90s vibe just right and he’d put in some banter to subtly offset the nasty goings-on!


What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?

Stories lie. Truth hurts. Secrets can be deadly.

Okay, that’s a tagline, not a synopsis, but I’m rubbish at synopses. They just ruin everything. I don’t even like to watch movie trailers because of the ‘spoilers.’ I’m going to keep you guessing.


Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’m very lucky to be with the excellent Ampersand Agency and my UK publisher is indie outfit Cutting Edge Press.


How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

About ten years, to be honest! Version after version was scribbled out and then whittled away on weekends and holidays. But once I decided to really finish it and try and get it ready to send into the scary, big wide world – about a year!


What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

People have kindly said it reminded them of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, Fay Weldon’s The Life and Loves of a She Devil and even Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr Ripley – being told my writing is anything like any one of these is a massive compliment! But you’ll have to make up your own mind. I’m too biased. Reader gets the last word!


What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

 Well, it’s set in Wales but not as we know it! No sheep, no leeks, no miners, so choral singing, no rugby (but the narrator is called Jones. Well, there are quite a lot of us…). I think there’s been a gap between dealing with historical themes and Welsh culture and presenting the real 21st century Wales. The book touches on ideas of its cultural identity but it could be any post industrial city, really. My second book Holiday Money expands the setting to coastal south Wales.

It’s part of my bid to make Cardiff and South Wales the new edgy crime capital of Europe –  forget Ian Rankin’s Edinburgh or the Steig Larsson’s Stockholm and Scandanavia – Wales and ‘The ’diff’ is where it’s at! Honest!


That’s me done…


I now get to tag two others authors for next week’s hop. May I present The Two Tims, from opposite sides of the Atlantic.


Tim Davis (@TimDavis_Author) from San Francisco, CA, who has written about adventure, thrills and spills on the high seas in his YA book Sea Cutter– Book 1 in The Chronicles of Nathaniel Childe. It’s due out in paperback this week and has already won 1st Prize in the International Digital Awards for short YA fiction.


Tim Vicary (@TimVicary) from York, England who is so versatile he writes reams of historical and legal thrillers. His latest, A Game of Proof exposes that justice and the law aren’t necessarily the same thing!


Take it away Tims!

(I can tag up to five authors on the hop but it seems many of my mates are busy bunnies in the run up to Halloween. If you’d like to be tagged on the hop send then me a tweet @bevjoneswriting and I’ll tag you!)



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3 responses to “Big Blog Hop – The Next Big Thing!

  1. I think your tagline’s great!

  2. Isn’t it fun when you get to pick the actors that’ll be in your novel?

    Have to admit that you’re right about few novels being based in Wales.
    Nice 🙂

    And great to see another post based on these questions.
    I did the same in:

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