#selfieaday2016 day 307…

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Interview with Michael K. Foster, Author of “Satan’s Beckoning”

Thank
you so much for taking the time to talk with us today. I want to congratulate
you on the release of Satan’s Beckoning.

Thank you, Antony. It’s a pleasure to meet up with you.

Can you
tell the reader’s out there where Satan’s Beckoning picks up in the DCI Mason
and David Carlisle series. How much time has passed since the events of the
first book, The Wharf Butcher, and what has changed for both DCI Mason and
David Carlisle since that first book?

 

Book 2 in the series opens with
a late night fatal road traffic accident, in the middle of January 2013. Barely
six weeks into his new role with the Northumbria Police Serious Crime Squad, Jack
Mason is sent to investigate. With the dust barely settled on the Wharf Butcher
case, the Detective Chief Inspector is out to impress. On his arrival at the
crash scene, all is not what it appears to be and he is soon faced with a
vicious murder investigation.

When criminal profiler David
Carlisle is drafted in to assist, he is faced with the killer’s wrath. Within
the seemingly dark vaults of the police missing persons files lay untold
dangers. Young women are easy pickings for a serial killer who believes God has
sent him to rid the world of an overindulgent appetite for greed.


What was the process like returning to this
series? Did you find it easy to pick up from where The Wharf Butcher left off
or is it more of a challenge to revisit a series that you spent so much time
establishing?

The plot idea for Satan’s
Beckoning came as a result of watching a late night TV chat show. At the
time, the host was interviewing a well-known celebrity who was going through a major
divorce settlement. He was 75 and she was 26, and boy did they look an odd
couple. What intrigued me more than anything else about this case was the money
settlement his wife’s lawyers were seeking. They’d only been married two years,
and she was asking for millions. Not only that, she was desperate to enhance
her own career by exposing her aging husband’s nasty little secrets in an
autobiography she’d supposedly written.

Intrigued,
this is where the writer in me takes over. Blackmail, greed, jealousy, hate,
they are all in there. Suddenly ideas for book 2 were swimming around in my
head – so why not throw another serial killer into the mix? If nothing else it
seemed the perfect challenge for the
two central characters, David Carlisle and DCI Mason.


Without revealing any plot details, what would
you say is the biggest difference between The Wharf Butcher and the killer in
Satan’s Beckoning? What makes this case a challenge for David Carlisle and DCI
Mason?

 

Having
created the Wharf Butcher, creating another narcissistic monster was a big
challenge this time. I guess the big difference between the two serial killers
is the not knowing who the killer is in Satan’s Beckoning. In trying to shed
some light on the serial killer myths, I decided that this book would feature
heavily on the mind games. Serial killers by their very nature are manipulative
interspecies predators who have the striking ability to deceive. Many believe they
even own their victims, and treat them as personal possessions. These people
are sensation seekers, and unnerving callous individuals who are prone to
violate the rules of society.

The
question I often ask myself is why are so many readers, including myself,
fascinated by serial killers? With this in mind, there is little wonder that
David Carlisle would feature heavily in Satan’s Beckoning. The difficulty was
how to fit Jack Mason into the storyline. I’d always wanted to write a crime
thriller series, but always felt the need to write something different from the
standard British police procedurals. I hope I have succeeded!


When writing, what drove you more when writing
this series: the character development or the plot?

The beauty of writing a series is that
the central characters are already developed, which allows me more time to
concentrate on the plot. By the very nature of the title – Satan’s Beckoning –this
was always going to be a dark psychological thriller, a game of cat and mouse
between the criminal profiler and a serial killer. Writing suspense into a
novel can be a very tricky challenge, writing continual suspense even harder.
You have to work on it, and the plot development for this book took two years
to write.


How important would you say the setting was in
Satan’s Beckoning?

 

Place is
really important in a novel, and it doesn’t matter where you live just as long
as the writer can take you to that place in their story. A few years ago I met up
with Ian Rankin in the old Oxford Pub, in Young Street, Edinburgh. The master
of crime fiction who has sold millions of books, Ian’s advice to me was that a
strong sense of place is very important in every good crime novel. I’m glad I
took his advice.


What was the process like researching for this
book series? What was the most fascinating thing you learned when researching
crime investigations by the police?

 

In trying to understand the innermost workings of a serial
killers mind, I spent endless hours on research and talking to senior police
officers, SOCOs, prison officers and people who have had dealings with these
people. Serial killers are not everyday people, but there are still plenty of
bad guys out there who wouldn’t think twice about tearing you apart. I’m lucky
I suppose, having worked six years in the British Law Courts as a Magistrate, I
regularly came face to face with the real criminals – a priceless experience as
a crime writer.


Shifting gears to the marketing side of your
book release, what would you say has changed in terms of your book launch for
The Wharf Butcher and now Satan’s Beckoning?

Twelve months on from my first book launch, and I have built up a small
following of readers. It has certainly made the difference, and through social media
networking, I have seen that interest slowly grow.

What has
the experience been like meeting readers and doing signings with book stores?

Book signing is an exciting
opportunity to have face-to-face discussions with your readers. Not only that, you have the chance to inspire and connect with
your readers. This, I feel, gives me a great opportunity to better understand my
target audience in a much deeper way than any other market research
or online communication.

In truth, I sell far more paperback books than anything else, so these
events are very important to me. Besides, talking
with potential readers leaves an impact unmatched by all other forms of
marketing, making your audience more likely to read your book and support your
cause.

 

In
this age of social media, what would you say has been the best social media sites
to promote your book, and why do you think that is?

From my own experience, and the experience of many
authors, bloggers, and top reviewers alike, Goodreads can be a great launch platform
to promote your work. How much weight the review holds for an author, depends
greatly on the publication and how much the reader trusts the reviewer’s
judgment. That said Goodreads
isn’t a platform to sell books directly. If you do try to do that, you will
simply be pushed out. Like many other platforms, genuine engagement is required
to get the most from it.

That said, Goodreads does offer authors the opportunity
to promote their books through giveaways and advertising, both of which can
help you get reviews on your books and spread the word about.

 

What
does the future of the DCI Mason and David Carlisle look like? Are there any
other book projects on the horizon?

 

I’m currently working on book 3 in the series. Still no firm title yet, but I hope to
have it ready for release by autumn 2017. The plot has been a nightmare to get
right, and has taken two years to research. It can be hard going at times, but
I’m really pleased with the way things are shaping up. No spoilers here, but
this one’s a real spine-chiller and not for the faint-hearted. All will be revealed
in the due course of time, but if you think you’re safe – think again!

Thank
you again so much for talking with us today.

Thank you for inviting me, Anthony. It’s been a
pleasure talking to you today.

 

Do
you have any websites or news you’d like to share with our audience?


For those who wish, more about me and
writing can be found at: www.mike-foster.me

Congratulations
on the book launch. This was a fantastic read and you truly have captured the
spirit and genius of the British Crime Fiction genre. 

 

Good
luck with the continued launch of Satan’s Beckoning, and we look forward to
seeing your continued success and your next great book.

Interview with E.M. Markoff

1) Tell us a little bit about the conception of The Deadbringer and this fantastic world you have created.
The Deadbringer is
an amalgamation of reading, visual media, and culture. It’s a
Frankenstein’s Monster of the literary genres I love (epic fantasy and
classic fiction), the movies I grew up watching as a child (Hammer
Horror, Roger Corman’s Edgar Allan Poe films, anime, David Lynch films),
and of what I experienced growing up in a first-generation Latina
household. My mother, who was born in 1933, had some very tall tales to
tell filled with magic and surrealism. It made for some great stories.

2) What inspired you to delve into this dark fantasy realm over other genres?
My
mom was a huge fan of older horror films. As such, I grew up watching
Dracula (Christopher Lee) chase Van Helsing (Peter Cushing); Dr. Phibes
(Vincent Price) avenge his lost wife by committing pernicious acts, yet
still be the hero; Paul Atreides (Kyle MacLachlan) become a messiah who
would lead the people. Not being strict in what I read, I picked up
Stephen King, Carlos Fuentes’ Aura, and Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman. All of this, consciously and subconsciously, helped shape my love of ‘dark’ things. To me, the dark is beautiful. It had much to offer and so much more to show you.

3) Which character do you think you can identify with most, and why?
I
hate to sound cliche, but there is a little of me in each character.
But, if I had to pick only one, I would say E’sinea. The fact that I am
reluctant to say why I relate to him is probably the reason I do relate to him.
4)
Do you think readers should view this as a clear cut good versus evil
kind of story, or do you like to look at it as more of a story that
resides in shades of grey, morality-wise?
The Deadbringer is
very much a story told in shades of gray with respect to its
moral ambiguity and how the characters’ actions have consequences. Some
of the characters in the book have unique abilities that historically
are associated with evil (necromancy, shadow affinity, the literal
ability to rot flesh) but it does not mean that they are evil, and yet
they are persecuted as such. So, the book is very much written in shades
of gray in the sense that it demonstrates how the classic trope (or
natural human tendency) to categorize people into good or bad is
directly responsible for the misfortunes of the characters. As the
author, this this how I feel, but I believe that readers should feel
free to interpret the book how they wish. It’s part of the joy of
reading, after all.

5) What authors have inspired you as a writer?
Oh, that’s a long list! Stephen King and Neil Gaiman, as I mentioned before, Clive Barker, Oscar Wilde, Edgar Allan Poe, J.R.R. Tolkien, Alan Moore, Paulo Coelho…really, the list is never-ending!
6)
If you could meet any of your characters in person and have a
conversation with them, who would it be and what would you ask them?
E’sinea, and I would ask him if he wanted to play a game.
7)
When it comes to the marketing side of publishing your book, which
social media platform has been the most beneficial as far as reaching
an
audience is concerned and why?
Bookstagram,
which is a community of booklovers within Instagram, has been
fundamental to my career as a writer. I am grateful to this community
not only for their love and support, but also because I have made some
wonderful friends through this social media platform.

8) When developing your story, which is your favorite part: developing plot or character development?
I’ve
been told by my editor that I am obsessed with ‘playing house’ with my
characters, so I’d have to say character development.

9)
Since you have developed a lot of fictional towns and cities in this
epic story, where would you live in The Deadbringer and why?
Suelosa,
because its just far away enough from the governing powers that be and
no gods have come around to fuck things up! It’s still very much a free
city…for now.
10) What are your future plans for this series? Any other books on the horizon?

Future
plans include the second book in the Ellderet Series which is
tentatively scheduled for late next year. From there, only the Twin God
knows what the future holds. With any luck, Fortune, and not Travail,
will be on my side. As for other books, I’ve been working on a fantasy
novella that takes place in the world of the Ellderet Series and is a
sort of standalone prequel to The Deadbringer. My goal is to get
that out before the second book, but I don’t want to curse myself, so I
best leave it at that! What I will say is that I hope my readers will
enjoy the novella as much as I am ❤