Ghost Writer: Alison Bruce
Please welcome Alison Bruce author of Ghost Writer.
Alison Bruce author of Ghost Writer will be awarding an ebook copy of Deadly Season to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
by Alison Bruce
GENRE: Paranormal Suspense
REVIEW: Ghost Writer
- What or who inspired you to start writing?
Storytelling runs in the family. My mother used to make up bedtime stories for my sister, cousins and I. Later I made them up for my nieces and sons. Telling family histories around the table after dinner was as much a holiday tradition as Thanksgiving turkey and Christmas pudding.
I know exactly when I decided I wanted to be a writer. I was in grade five. I wrote a short piece about the end of the world inspired by my mother’s stories about the bombings in England and the underlying global fear of nuclear war. I showed it to my teacher. He called my mother. He said the story was very well written but rather disturbing. He wanted to know if I was suffering from depression or anxiety. That made my day. My writing had an effect on someone. I was hooked.
- How did you come up with ideas for your books?
What expertise did you bring to your writing?
Ideas are easy. Developing ideas into a cohesive story is tough. My ideas come from fragments of dreams, overheard conversations, and that most useful of questions for writers: “What if…”
Turning the ideas into stories someone would want to read took practice and study and a willingness to swallow my ego. Practice is pretty self-explanatory. If you want to be a writer, you have to write. My study regime included a couple of courses and a lot of reading. Swallowing my ego meant being willing to listen to constructive criticism, not get too defensive and above all not give up just because I still had a lot to learn.
- What would you want your readers to know about you that might not be in your bio?
The weirdest stuff I write is often the stuff I know the most about. I’m a research junkie. It sometimes stalls my writing process because I go off on research benders. And yes, a person can drink that much coffee because I do.
- As far as your writing goes, what are your future plans?
When I finished Ghost Writer, an author friend of mine told me she thought this was the best book I’d written. She also said that about my last book and I hope she’ll say that about my next. That’s the plan.
- If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?
That’s easy. I’d be Jen Kirby. I’ve given her lot of me and I wouldn’t mind a bit of reciprocation on her part. If I wasn’t a novelist, I’d like her career as a ghostwriter. Her romantic life is more exciting and, with practice, I might be able to get used to the ghosts too.
- Do you belong to a critique group? If so how does this help or hinder your writing?
I belong to a group called the Deadly Dames. We are all professional authors and all have won, and/or been finalists for juried awards. We started off getting together to critique each other’s work and share a potluck lunch every month. Now we also promote together, taking our act on the road. We even have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheDeadlyDames
I cannot understate how much help this group has been to me. We only engage in constructive criticism. We share a bond of friendship as well as a common vocation. Most of all, we respect each other enough to be honest. And the desserts are delicious.
- When did you first decide to submit your work? Please tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step?
The first time I decided to submit my work it was at my mother’s instigation. I was 21. I knew little or nothing about the publishing world and I failed to sell my story. Worse, I stopped trying for a few decades.
The next time I started submitting my work it was at the insistence of my sister who was fighting cancer and losing the battle. It was practically her dying wish that I get published so I couldn’t very well chicken out on her.
- Do you outline your books or just start writing?
First I work out the bones in my head. Then I start writing. After a while, when I know the story is writable, I do a full outline. There are a lot of story skeletons in my closet…maybe a hundred for every novel that gets written.
- Do you have any hobbies and does the knowledge you’ve gained from these carry over into your characters or the plot of your books?
Most of the knowledge I’ve gained that carries over to my novels comes from places I’ve been and jobs I’ve done. If you count coffee drinking as a hobby, that carries over to my books.
- Do you have an all time favorite book?
I have two books that I reread regularly, especially if I need physical or emotional solace. The one I’ve had the longest is The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer. I’ve been reading that book since I was a teen. The other is Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett, the reading of which almost invariably leads to the reading of the rest of the series within the Discworld series involving Sam Vimes.
I have a niece Sophie and a son Sam, by the way.
- Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your book?
I’ve started the next Ghost Writer book but before I get back to it I have the next Men in Uniform book to complete.
The next Ghost Writer book takes place shortly after the first one ends. I can’t really say too much about it that wouldn’t be a spoiler.
- Who is your favorite actor and actress?
One of my favourite actors is Colm Fiore. Part of the reason he’s a favourite is because I met him when he had just been accepted to the company at Stratford. It was his last day of work in the mail room at the insurance company where my mother was a senior claims examiner. She used to cover for him when he needed time off for auditions. The other reason is because I’ve never seen him in a play or movie where he didn’t excel.
Judy Dench is another favourite even though I never met her.
- Can you tell us a little about the black moment in your book?
Two of the darkest moments in the book came out of my nightmares. The first, being trapped in a sinking vessel, was part of the dream that inspired the book. In the dream, the captain that rescued me was Tommy Lee Jones. He kept getting older and older. I decided to change that part.
The even darker but shorter crisis was inspired by nightmarish personal experience. I took a couple of black moments in my life, combined them and pumped up the terror.
She has to deal with two kinds of spooks: spies and ghosts.
But which one is trying to kill her?
Jen Kirby has seen ghosts since she was a teen, but she can’t talk to them or help them cross over. And, after a violent death in the family, she doesn’t want to see them anymore.
In her role as ghostwriter, Jen joins a Canadian Arctic expedition to document and help solve a forty-year-old mystery involving an American submarine station lost during the Cold War. The trouble is, there are people—living and dead—who don’t want the story told, and they’ll do anything to stop her.
Now Jen is haunted by ghosts she can’t avoid or handle alone. That means confiding in the one man she doesn’t want to dismiss her as “crazy.” But can he help? Or is he part of the problem?
My name is Jen Kirby. I have several things going for me including great hair, nice eyes and an ability to turn experts’ research into readable prose.
I have a few weaknesses. I enjoy chocolate too much. I hate enclosed spaces. And I prefer to experience open bodies of water from a distance. One sailing trip with my cousins made me swear off boats for life. So, you’ll understand how much I wanted the job when I said I’d go to the Arctic Ocean to look for a sunken underwater base.
The offer came from Dr. Dora Leland, a forensic psychiatrist and my good friend. Dora is a professor at the University of Toronto, a consultant to various law enforcement agencies and author of seven books which I have ghostwritten with her. Her idea of a vacation is volunteering her skills to researchers who would never have thought they needed a forensic psychiatrist on their team, let alone afford one.
Her latest project was helping out a team who were bent on raising US Navy’s Arctic Station Alpha and finding out what happened to its crew. AFFA, which stood for “Answers For Families of Alpha” not the Hell’s Angels motto “Angels Forever, Forever Angels,” included now grown children of the crew. Other family members contributed funds or in kind services. But it was Dora and her agents that made the expedition possible.
As the only team member who wasn’t paired off, Dora anticipated needing a buddy to play cards with of an evening. She sold the deal by offering me co-author credit on the book we were going to write.
It was an offer I couldn’t refuse.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Alison Bruce writes history, mystery and suspense. Her books combine clever mysteries, well-researched backgrounds and a touch of romance. Her protagonists are marked by their strength of character, sense of humor and the ability to adapt (sooner or later) to new situations. Four of her novels have been finalists for genre awards.
Copywriter, editor and graphic designer since 1992, Alison has also been a comic book store manager, small press publisher and web designer. Currently she is the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada.
Links & Stuff
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Google +: google.com/+AlisonBruce
Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/alisonbruce
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE
Alison Bruce will be awarding an ebook copy of Deadly Season to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.