A Q&A with C. S. Alleyne

A Q&A with C. S. Alleyne

Meet C.S. Alleyne



Readers, today I am excited to introduce the author of Belle Vue to you all. Her name is C. S. Alleyne, and her book blew me away. I gave it 5 stars and you can read the review right here on my blog. It will be published August 25th, 2020 by Crystal Lake Publishing, but it already has a glowing 4.64 stars over on Goodreads!

Without further ado… I introduce to you C. S. Alleyne.

Where did your inspiration for Belle Vue come from? 

I used to walk past a derelict asylum on my way to the gym. It fascinated me especially when it was then converted into luxury apartments. I started reading about the history of asylums and found out this fate mirrored what happened to so many of these buildings both here and in the US. 

Sometime later, I found a book in the library about murders in Hertfordshire (the county in which I live). In it there was a case about a girl in that asylum who was murdered. That story and my connection to the location captured my attention in a way nothing had done before. I’ve always jotted down ideas for stories, but never got round to completing anything. But this inspiration fired me up and from having years of half-finished stories and yellowing notes, I wrote every spare minute I could get and didn’t stop until Belle Vue was complete. I also love murder mysteries and anything supernatural so as I was plotting this naturally fell into place. As for the satanic cults, when I saw an article about the Hellfire Caves in West Wycombe that caught my attention too so as well as paying them a visit I also did more reading about these groups and added them to the plot.

How long did it take you to write this book? 

Quite a long time – several years in fact. I love doing research and while I knew a lot about Victorian history I didn’t know much about asylums or satanic cults! I also think it’s important – and Amazon reviews provide considerable evidence for this where authors are pulled up for the slightest transgression – to check your facts whatever time period or subject you are writing about even if it is fiction. So I did a lot of research and wrote and wrote and wrote. As a complete novice to the novel writing world and someone who loves thick tomes, I was surprised to find just how much I could write.

When Belle Vue was finally complete it was twice the length it is now. So as well as leaving it for a few years when life got in the way, with each rejection from agents I used their advice and pruned it down to a manageable length (for a newbie). When my wonderful agent, Italia Gandolfo accepted me she required further pruning but this was very detailed and specific and so I was then able to get a publisher who then pruned it a bit more!

Does writing energize or exhaust you? 

Both! It’s wonderful when I’m really immersed in my writing and the ideas and words are flowing. When that happens I can literally work all day and well into the night with only the briefest of breaks.  Whilst immensely satisfying that can be exhausting too. But it means I’m fired up to start again early the next morning. If the words aren’t flowing freely it’s probably because I’m not sure of the plot direction or the character motivation so – for me – it’s important to get those sorted in my mind before trying to write more. That doesn’t mean I stop as I still jot a lot of rough notes but they are snippets of dialogue, or descriptions about locations, clothes, activities and even possible plot points which may – or may not – appear in what I’m currently writing or for possible future use.

What do you enjoy most about the writing process? 

To create characters. For me that is the fascinating and enjoyable as you can choose every aspect of their lives and appearance and with but a few words change their fate. Such power lol but then what I didn’t expect was that – for me – the characters became so strong that it was as though they were directing their actions and speech on the page, not my imagination! I think of them as real fully formed people now, not just words on a page. 

Do you have a favorite author, if so who is it? 

I don’t have one favorite. Over the years I find an author and if I enjoy what they write I will try to read all their books and dip back when they release a new novel. I read a lot and in a variety of genres. It can also depend on the path their writing direction takes. Sometimes they veer off into areas I’m not that keen on such as alternative universes or change the lead character to a series about someone else which can go either way – but the latter I will definitely give a test read.  

What’s exciting you about your next project? 

Belle Vue is planned to be the first of a trilogy. I am in the middle of writing the sequel – Secret Nemesis is the working title – and in it, the main characters from both the Victorian and present day move to the United States and face a cross-fire of evil and danger. So more research on murder and general skullduggery, asylums in the US and satanic societies that side of the pond. It’s continuing my characters’ journeys in a new location and facing new challenges and what they want me to write!

Anything else you would like to tell us about yourself? For example, what are your hobbies? Or what do you enjoy doing? 

I love going to gym classes as it is great not just for fitness but also the social side too. 

I also love cooking and eating out so it’s just as well the gym is such a favourite hobby! 

Thank you so much for your time and for talking with me! I truly enjoyed your book and can’t wait for others to read it.

You can find an excerpt of Belle Vue  (Prologue and first 2 chapters) here: http://csalleyne.com/excerpt-belle-vue/

Find C.S. Alleyne here:

Website – http://www.csalleyne.com

Blog – http://csalleyne.com/blog/

Goodreads –   https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19806081.C_S_Alleyne


Twitter – https://twitter.com/csalleyne

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/csalleyne/

Amazon Author Page US: https://www.amazon.com/C.S.-Alleyne/e/B082P1H49C%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

Amazon Author Page UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1646693116/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i1

Universal purchase link – BELLE VUE


Universal purchase link – POWEЯ


A Q&A with Bo Chappell

A Q&A with Bo Chappell

Meet Bo Chappell


Like most of the authors I introduce on my blog, I met Bo on social media. He asked me to review some of his work, and also let me be a participant in his interactive advanced book project for Our Biggest Fears. He is the author of Year 47 along with Missing Days: Omissions From Year 47 and has also co-written books with other authors.

If you have been following my blog for a while, you will find my review for Our Biggest Fears and hopefully it will pique your curiosity. But let’s get right to the interview.

The Q&A

How did you come up with the idea for Our Biggest Fears? 

It started as a joke idea really when I got hooked on watching YouTube videos of tiny home tours. I thought “Be funny to see the killer struggle with a home invasion in some of these.” Then the wheels started turning. Of course, I needed more because I didn’t want just a slasher story with a string of dumb victims. So the idea of exploring personal relationships with the people we live with and living out those fears eventually came into play.

What made you first want to become a writer? 

I grew up in the 80s, so I was surrounded by the best movies, cartoons, toys, video games, books, and comics. It was heaven. Add in the fact I grew up in a small town and was a middle child of two sisters, I was a bit of a loner geek and wound up playing by myself a lot. So, I ended up going on crazy adventures through the woods around my home.

Then in school we got creative writing assignments, even got to make handmade books, and I think that’s what did it. Any sort of chance to creatively express myself in school was a relief to me, and both my classmates and teachers responded to my projects throughout school with positivity.

Do you have any current writing projects?

At the moment, I’m working on a script with a friend for an upcoming competition, and I recently found out I got accepted for the third season of The Grey Rooms Podcast. It’ll be good to be working with those guys again.

After that, I’m not sure. Just kinda taking it easy at the moment because this last one took a surprising amount out of me. Be nice to recharge.

When you were a kid what did you want to be?

Honestly? Superhero. Batman makes it believable, however unachievable it may seem.

But when reality set it, I was serious about wanting to be an architect in high school until I did the math, literally. Love design but disliked geometry. But writing and art have always been my biggest passions, so working in the entertainment field in any way, shape, or form has always been the main goal.

What  activities do you enjoy, other than writing? 

Love drawing as much, if not more than writing. I’m a very visual person and they go hand in hand for me. I do so much art before I even write, just to get a firm hold on things. If I can’t visualize it, I know something is wrong and I’m not feeling the story.  Plus drawing is such a fun escape and allows my brain to relax.

Do you have any hidden talents most people might not know about?

Hard to say. I don’t consider myself a real mystery. Haha. Maybe people didn’t know I did the art. If so, I’ve done all the art for my own books thus far, including my children’s book. I also like to sculpt a bit. Um, and I can name all 50 US states in alphabetical order. That count?

I’m boring. Haha.

Let me say thank you for having me on your blog. This has been a real treat and I can’t wait to see where you go in yet another year.

Thank you for answering my questions!

You can find Bo Chappell on his website at: https://bochappell.wordpress.com/

A Q&A with Joshua Marsella

A Q&A with Joshua Marsella

Meet Joshua Marsella

Today, I would like to introduce you all to the author of Scratches, Joshua Marsella. His book was released in May of this year, and does not disappoint. I met him through Instagram, and hope some of you will give his work a chance, if you haven’t already done so. I am looking forward to more of his writing in the future!

The Q&A

What inspired you to start writing?

I have always enjoyed writing since I was very young but I didn’t give it a serious shot until this year after I read Stephen King On Writing. The simplistic way he lays out the process of writing and why people who love to read should give it a shot really hit home with me and I knew there was no better time then now. I also started reading more back last fall. Something just clicked in me and I was suddenly reading 4-5 books in a month. The more I read, the more interested I became in wanting to attempt to start writing my own stories. I started writing SCRATCHES in February 2020 and had it self-published by May 2020. It was an amazing feeling to hold a book I wrote in my hands.

What are you reading now?

I am currently reading The Patience of a Dead Man by Michael Clark and also beta reading Tome by Ross Jeffery. Both are excellent! My TBR pile is so enormous at the moment due to my inability to not buy every book that sounds good to me. I guess it’s not a terrible problem to have, but it sure is costly. I also picked up a Kindle recently so I can chip away at some of my Kindle books I’ve acquired over the years.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I originally wanted to be a marine biologist. I loved the ocean growing up and how mysterious it is. I ended up majoring in mental health and human services in college and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree from The University of Maine in 2016. I never pictured myself being a stay-at-home dad which is my current occupation. It is both rewarding and extremely challenging. 

What is the most difficult part about writing for you?

Finding the time to actually sit and write. My two boys are 1 and 3 and they take up all my free time. I basically only get time to write in the evenings between 7pm and whatever time I go to bed. I notice that when I get a good flow going I’ll push myself to stay up late to get more writing done. Another challenge is not getting distracted. I have ADD and tend to be distracted by every little thing. Editing is also very challenging. It can be tedious and very time consuming. 

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with us?

I just finished up a short story called The Ghost Ship of Chesapeake Bay that I actually submitted a few weeks ago to hopefully be included in the upcoming Horror Writers of Maine Anthology Northern Frights. I really loved how the story came out and if it is not accepted, I’ll try submitting elsewhere or include it in a future anthology of my own. I am currently working on the prequel to SCRATCHES which will follow the antagonist and how hopefully explain how he got to be the way he is. I’m liking how it’s coming out so far and I hope to be finished up with it by the end of the summer or mid fall. 

 OK last question, but very important: do you prefer coffee or tea?

I am a bona fide coffee addict. Cream. No sugar. Dark or light roast. I’ll drink it at all hours of the day. Give me all the coffee! I love it for the taste, not for the energy.

Thank you so much for talking with me today!

Make sure to check out my review of Scratches on this blog.

You can find Joshua Marsella on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/joshua_marsella/

A Q&A with Aiden Merchant

A Q&A with Aiden Merchant

Meet Aiden Merchant

Today, I’m beyond excited to share a Q&A with horror and suspense author Aiden Merchant. He has quickly become a well-loved author by the horror community on #bookstagram and several other social media platforms. He is the writer of several short stories, novelettes and collections; such as Horrific Holidays, Pray and Out At Sea.

He is currently working on reissuing all of his prior work in mid/late 2020 through Snow-Capped Press. I thought this would be a great time to get to know him better and ask him some questions. 

Make sure you read until the end to find out about the giveaway I will be hosting for Aiden on my Instagram page!

The Q&A

This might seem like an obvious question, but what made you want to become a writer? 

I don’t think I could say it was one thing. I was raised by an English teacher who loved books, so I know that was a major influence.As a kid, I wrote my “own” fiction for a while, though it was suspiciously similar to the movies I loved. From there, I moved onto poetry as I started puberty. After that, I made the jump to lyrics, because I sucked at playing music myself. I was always the vocalist when knocking around music with friends, and a screamer at that. So, to get my writing fix, I did lyrics. I wrote hundreds of songs as a teenager. About the time I was graduating in 2008, I got my start in critical writing by writing for a variety of internationally published music magazines. I mostly did reviews, but I would also write up interviews and articles. I did this magazine gig up until recently; I think it was 2019 I officially called it quits. This was a year after I had already made fiction my focus. As a result, I really didn’t have time to review music anymore. I had been writing stories since 2012, and had amassed more than 600 pages worth of shorts, several novels (none of which have been released yet), and a big screenplay series (finally set to release soon). 

By 2019, I decided I needed to make my official debut as Aiden Merchant. You see, I had finally returned to avid reading at this point, and all those wonderful books had fueled the fire inside me to get my own work out there for people to work. I saw how independent publishing allowed unknown authors to release great stories without all the middle men, and I fell in love with it. Authors like Gemma Amor, Matthew V. Brockmeyer, Chad Lutzke, Kealan Patrick Burke, Steve Stred, and Tim Meyer (to name a few) showed me that going it “alone” (and by that, I mean without big name publishers – you still have your beta readers and more to help with the process) could still mean success. Sure, it may not be big enough to make a paying career out of it yet, but it’s a step in the right direction. I have gained some loyal readers in the last year, and that is incredibly exciting.

So, to be quick about it, my parents started my interest early on by reading to me nightly and encouraging books. I was then returned to writing fiction by the independent writing community.

Where do you get your story inspirations from? 

An idea can come from anything and anyone. Certain photographs have sparked stories more than once. A conversation with a random person has done it, as well. I can tell you that many ideas I am still turning into stories today (years later after originally jotting them down) came from me being bored at work. I would just think about stuff. My life or other people’s lives. I’ve always let my mind wander whenever it was free. I’m one of those people that thinks up the conclusion to various scenarios I may one day run into myself. How would I handle a break-in? What would I do if so-and-so died? Yes, these thoughts may seem morbid to some, but I can’t help that mental masterbation. My mind just wants to be prepared for every eventuality. And having a brain like that – one that refuses to shut up – has proven incredibly useful in writing fiction.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? 

As far as when I’m alone, I mostly read. I also like going out into the woods and mountains to walk about and think up stories.

But I’m rarely alone. I have a wife and daughter, both of which occupy most of my time. I’m not complaining, though! I love my little girl, and playing with her is just about the best thing in the world (however exhausting). 

What is your favorite book (not written by you)? 

You can’t ask an avid reader such a question! I can’t pick one book, just like I can’t pick one favorite movie (though, it would likely be Jurassic Park). However, I can name a few favorites from the last year or so. I love Cruel Works of Nature (by Gemma Amor), Under Rotting Sky (by Matthew V. Brockmeyer), Tomb of Gods (by Brian Moreland), A Penny for Your Thoughts (by Matt Hayward and Robert Ford), and The Prisoners of Stewartville (by Shannon Felton). 

One of my favorite writers is Stephen King, but that rarely surprises people. I just love his writing style, and have emulated it many times in stories. Some of my favorite work from him includes The Stand, The Shining, and Under the Dome. I frackin’ love Under the Dome.

Are you working on anything new? 

Always! I mean, right now I am focused on getting these damned reissues completed (which are looking awesome, so far), but I also throw random writing sessions into the mix. I have my fourth story collection in progress, for one. That has maybe a couple hundred pages, so far. I hope to put it out at the start of 2021. 

I also have my screenplay series about Gina Charter to release later this year. That one was written between 2017 and 2018, but has been on the shelf waiting because I thought it would be turned into a novel. But every time I went to do that, I realized just how enormous a book it would be. You see, if a story is more than 600 pages as a screenplay, then it’s likely around 1,000 pages as an actual novel. And I just couldn’t see anyone giving me that chance, even if they are fans of Gina Charter (for those who do not yet know me, she has appeared in multiple stories already). So, I’ve decided to go through and make final edits to the screenplay, thus giving life to Gina’s difficult backstory. To build some attention for it, the first episode (there are ten in all) has been included in several upcoming physical releases, like the new edition of Pray coming this summer. 

There is also a crime novel set in Lydia’s Shadow that I wrote in 2018 that I’ve been meaning to rewrite. It’s the story of how Malcolm Ledger (the local author) becomes friends with Jonathan Hutchings (the detective), as seen in the large (not yet released) novel, Lydia’s Shadow. Basically, a college girl turns up murdered outside of someone’s house, and Hutchings brings Ledger into the case to consult on similarities between the murder and a book from his early career. It’s being rewritten for a couple reasons. For one, the premise sounds a lot like Castle. To help distance that comparison people may make, I am turning it into something more horror-influenced in its new drafting. I want to say how, but I also don’t want to give anything away about the mysteries at play. The other reason I’m rewriting this one is because the original story was done without planning. As such, some things didn’t add up very well, and I wanted to fix those inconsistencies. The drama was there, but the studs were loose.

A moment ago, I mentioned the large novel, Lydia’s Shadow. That one has already been written (or partly written) four or five times since 2012. I keep changing up the story enough that I am forced to start again from scratch. In the beginning, it was about an alien race that had taken over the world by taking on the appearances of important figures in different countries. As the drafts came and went, I eventually removed aliens completely. I have recently started giving my readers hints as to the story through such shorts and novelettes as Squirming Disease. Basically, it’s an apocalyptic epic. But instead of everyone and everything suffering, it will mostly just be the human race on its way out; nature will flourish like never before. So, yeah, that enormous novel is also in the works right now.

I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m forgetting to note some of my other current projects, but I think this  will do for now.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. I can’t wait to see more of your future works. 

I am currently working with Aiden Merchant as lead editor on all of his reissues and new stories.

You can find Aiden Merchant online at https://aidenmerchant.com/. 

Also on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/aidenmerchant.official/

The Giveaway!

I am hosting a giveaway of four of Aiden Merchant’s previously released books. They are all signed copies, and you will have a chance to win them on my Instagram account.