I'm part of a 25 novel collection trying to hit a list on the week after Christmas. You can preorder the collection for $0.99. For the next month I'm spotlighting all the great authors in this collection with me. Today's author is Alannah Foley.
ART: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
AF: I was raised in the UK but in my twenties, I lived in my Australian birthplace for five years. I'm currently settled in Cornwall (south of England), where I've based some of my works of fiction.
I'm quite an eclectic writer with two fiction series so far – the Campervan Bushman Mysteries and the shorter Tales from Corny Cove. Both are light-hearted, easy reads, with a feel-good ending. My nonfiction books include Campervan Capers, Cycling Widows (satire about living with an obsessive cyclist) and The Jacaranda Trail (where I discovered long-long family, etc Down Under).
ART: Was there a certain time in your life you knew you wanted to write?
AF: My mum says I was always writing down something, although I'm not one of the many authors who ‘always knew' they wanted to be a writer. Over the years, I've scribbled down all sorts of ideas, written songs, poetry and short stories, written and illustrated newsletters, etc. A sort of diverse creator, I suppose. But when I was younger, I actually wanted to be a French teacher and absolutely loved languages. Even made up a few!
ART: What are you currently working on?
AF: I've not long released the 3rd book in the Campervan Bushman Mystery Series and am working on a follow-up story which I plan to release exclusively to those in my Readers Group. After that, I plan to continue with book 4, although I have a few other projects I'm looking at working on which are ‘black ops' right now.
ART: Of the books you’ve written, which one is your favorite and why?
AF: Although I love playing with the characters in my Campervan Bushman Mystery Series, I also enjoy writing short stories and other stuff which don't require so much planning in terms of tying up clues & red herrings. I've actually had a good chuckle writing the books in my satirical Cycling Widows series – all that appeals to my impish (read: ‘childish') sense of humour and it's less structured. But, at the end of the day, it really is hard to choose which thing you love the best – each book projects gives you something new to explore!
ART: What books have most influenced you as a writer?
Now, that's another hard one to answer. As I see it, so many things in life are interwoven that you can't always pinpoint what helps with what. Books I read twenty or so years ago, such as Robert Fritz's The Path of Least Resistance, for example, changed the way I thought about creating what I wanted in life.
When it comes to writing fiction, I think I've probably learnt as much from reading it as I have done from reading nonfiction books about writing it. Reading Scott Mariani's Ben Hope thrillers, for instance, helped me get clearer on transitioning from one chapter to the next with my action/adventure-style novel, Cyclopathic Tendencies.
In terms of my writing style, I don't have any hankering to emulate any particular author. I learn from others, but I think it's important to find your own voice, because that's what your readers connect with.
ART: What do you find to be the most challenging part of writing? And the most rewarding?
I don't consider myself to be a fast writer, so I find it challenging to have so many ideas but so little time. When I've written the cosy mysteries in the Campervan Bushman series, I've had a few challenges with tying up clues/evidence (I'm sure it comes with the territory!), but what's kept me going is the fact that I get time to have fun with the characters and dream up unusual things for Scott to do – he's my main character and is part campervan-surfer, part Crocodile Dundee, you might say. In each book, he and his crew are filming another episode of an outdoorsy TV show, so I get to explore and add stuff like bushcraft, food foraging, and so on into the mix.
ART: What book is on your nightstand?
I'm gradually working my way through Pipe Dreams by Kelly Slater (a champion surfer, like my main character, Scott). On my TBR pile are some nice big hardbacks about Aborigines and old adventurers in Australia, plus some Bill Bryson travel books and historical fiction paperbacks by EV Thompson. On my Android, there's a mishmash of fiction, books on writing and some other nonfiction. I also like action/adventure/thriller novels by the likes of Scott Mariani, Mario Reading, Michael Cordy, and James Rollins. As you can see, my tastes are quite eclectic.
Will I ever get to read all those books? Err… We live in hope!
ART: What can we look forward to seeing from you in the future?
Now that book 3 in the Campervan Bushman Mystery Series is out, I'll eventually look to publish a set of paperbacks. I have outlines for future books in the series, plus ideas for free extras for my Readers Group, including a few more free short stories.
I also have a few other ideas in the pipe which I'm researching, so if they get off the ground, I'll be announcing those at a later date.
ART: Is there anything you’d like to share with your readers?
Basically, a big thank you to my readers who have taken the time to leave reviews on Amazon and/or Goodreads. If you're a reader and think your reviews don't matter – think again! It really is appreciated by an author and helps readers to decide on their next book.
Killer Climate – book 1 in the Campervan Bushman Mystery Series – is currently available free at most outlets – find more info & pick up the links on my website.
Alannah Foley – aka ‘The Pyjama Writer' – is the author of light cosy mysteries, short fiction, and bunch of other maverick titles that won't fall in line.
She was raised in the UK and did a five-year stint in her Aussie birthplace in her twenties, where mozzies regularly used her for target practice. She managed to return to Old Blighty devoid of shark or snake bite, however, and currently lives in picturesque Cornwall with her cycling-obsessed partner.
To date, she has two fiction series – the Campervan Bushman Mysteries and Tales from Corny Cove – both of which are light, easy reads with a few twists, turns and tickles along the way. Her nonfiction titles span topics as diverse as capers in a campervan, the vagaries of living with an obsessive cyclist and her adventures Down Under.
To get sneak peeks at upcoming books, hear about early discounts on new releases, and any cool offers she might be running, why not join her Readers Group? You can currently get a free download when you sign up at http://bit.ly/PJW-NL-SC.
Website (The Pyjama Writer) – www.thePyjamaWriter.com
Facebook Author Page – www.facebook.com/PyjamaWriter
Twitter – www.twitter.com/alannah_foley