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Friday, February 7, 2014


Today we sit down for a chat with mystery/suspense author B.A. Spicer who also writes humorous memoir as Bev Spicer. Learn more about her and her books at her website.

Welcome, Bev! When did you realize you wanted to write novels?  
When I’d been living in France for around six months and I needed something more stimulating to do than ‘living the dream.’  I wrote my first novel in 2008.  I thought it was brilliant.  It wasn’t.

How long did it take you to realize your dream of publication? 
When I found out about Amazon, not very long at all.  The whole process probably only took a couple of hours, once I’d got my book content and cover ready.

Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?
I’m an independent author.  I like to be in control at every stage of publication.

Where do you write?
Mostly in the car, while my teenage son is at his football practice.  Heating on, blanket on my legs and, occasionally, a hot water bottle.

Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?
I can edit with any kind of background noise going on, but when I’m writing the first draft I need relative quiet.  Natural sounds don’t bother me, but I could never concentrate if the television were on.  I don’t play music when I work.

How much of your plots and characters are drawn from real life? From your life in particular?
Impossible to say.  My characters have their own idiosyncrasies and personalities, but I write from inside their skin, so to speak, so they are reflections of the many personas, real and imaginary, a writer can draw on.  Occasionally a character will bring to mind a person I have known, but only fairly superficially.  I always ‘see’ my characters in great detail.  Plots are a mixture of experience and imagination.

Describe your process for naming your character?
I hate names and generally start off with XXX.  But, when I find one that fits (usually looking on the Internet,) I can relax.  I try not to use names of people I know.

Real settings or fictional towns?

What’s the quirkiest quirk one of your characters has?
Claude Cousteau is very creepy.  He tends to see people as victims, but he is a psychopath.

What’s your quirkiest quirk?
Do you really want to know?  I suppose it might be that I like to count and calculate.  It could be working out the price of a litre of milk or how much is left to pay on the mortgage.  It could be making a map in my head of a journey I have to make.  I have always considered myself to be slightly odd.  My brain never lets me rest!

If you could have written any book (one that someone else has already written,) which one would it be? Why?
Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood.  She is a wonderful writer.  Very visual.  Her characters are real and not particularly nice, which I love.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?
In terms of writing?  It would be finding an error in my work after publication.  I would have to re-publish. 

You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves?
A solar-powered laptop, a good Bordeaux and a fishing rod.

What was the worst job you’ve ever held?
Legal secretary.

What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
I read a lot, so that would be difficult to choose.  I love Khaled Hosseini as a writer, Sarah Waters, Margaret Atwood.  Independent writers I have enjoyed are Francis Potts, Susan Louineau and Tim Vicary.  I am reading four books at the moment, just depends how I feel as to which one I pick up.  It’s the same with my writing: I have four novels on the go, all at various stages.

An Accidental Killing
Living the dream. It's a cliché newly free Martha Burton is doing her best to make come true in Charente Maritime, where life is good and the sun shines more than in any other part of France.

But darkness lurks in every paradise.

Claude Cousteau is an ordinary-looking man of moderate temperament
and regular habits. Nevertheless, he has set himself a task and nothing
is going to get in his way.


Linda Andrews said...

Sounds like a great book! But I want to know how you write four stories at a time. And is that the most you've ever had in process?

Bev Spicer said...

Hi Linda, thanks for your comments. Now to answer your question without going on for ages!

When I get an idea for a book, I follow it, almost involuntarily, until I just have to start writing it down. The characters inhabit my head and the plot develops almost organically. Inspiration for a new story can happen at any time, so I end up with lots of novels at various stages. At the moment, I have one almost ready for publication ('Stranded in the Seychelles'), a couple well on the way to a completed first draft, another just started. And, yes, I have more at the planning stage, too! I know it sounds a bit mad, but it's the way my brain works. And it keeps life very interesting...

People say I'm prolific, but a completed book, from inspiration to publication (I do five drafts, minimum) takes between 6 - 8 months.

Hope that answers your question. Now, back to formatting!

Angela Adams said...

Enjoyed the interview. Best wishes with your new release!

Bev Spicer said...

Hi Angela, glad you enjoyed it. Fingers crossed for some new readers!