On meeting Val McDermid …

the vanishing point val mcdermid

What a treat is was to meet Val McDermid this past Friday, at the launch of her new book THE VANISHING POINT.

The first time I read Val was only a few years back, when her book The Retribution was published, and I vowed to read every book she writes, since then.

Here are a few questions that Val was asked:

Q: What advice do you have for crime writers?

VAL:  Be patient.  Very, very patient.  The story idea for my previous stand-alone novel, Trick of the Dark, came to me 12 years ago, but I couldn’t figure out how I was going to structure it.  It had been sitting in my head all those years, and then quite simply, everything just connected, and I eventually wrote the book.

Q: What do you do when you have writer’s block?

VAL:  Oh, I do something silly like take the main character grocery shopping.  I make him or her think about something really mundane, like ‘Should I buy muesli or CocoPops?’, and this, for some reason, helps.  The trivia clears my head - I delete the words and carry on.

Q: What is your writing process?

VAL:  At the start of my writing career I was an outliner.  I knew exactly what was going to happen in every chapter.  But now, I find myself more of a ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ sort of writer where the structure isn’t rigid and I could do the beginning, and the ending, and then wing the content in the middle.

Q: If you weren’t a writer, what would you have liked to be?

VAL:  Ah, definitely a musician – somewhere between Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen.

Q: You write a book, a year – when do you write?

VAL:  January, February and March I don’t do anything but write (I’m probably not very nice to be around during this time) and then at the end of those three months my first draft is ready to submit to my editor.

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November’s Book Club Suggestions

November Book Club Suggestions

Here are our November book club suggestions -

A weepy from Jojo Moyes in The Girl You Left Behind, 1920s gangsterism in Live By Night by Dennis Lehane, the tragic story of Anne Neville in Philippa Gregory’s The Kingmaker’s Daughter, forensic investigations in The Bone Bed by Patricia Cornwell, a pyschological thriller from Michael Robotham in Say You’re Sorry, M.L. Stedman’s story about right and wrongs in The Light Between Oceans, and the exploration of the truths we live by in Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behaviour.

Visit our NOVEMBER 2012 BOOK CLUBS page to read the book synopses – http://ilovebooks.co.za/?page_id=153.

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Michael Robotham’s SAY YOU’RE SORRY

Say You're Sorry Michael Robotham

Two of my favourite book characters, clinical psychologist Joe O’Loughlin and ex-cop Vincent Ruiz, are back in Michael Robotham’s new thriller that I highly recommend, SAY YOU’RE SORRY.




When best friends Piper and Tash disappear one Sunday morning, the investigation captivates the nation but the teenage girls are never found.

Three years later, during the worst blizzard in a century, a husband and wife are brutally murdered in the farmhouse where Tash once lived.  A suspect is in custody, a troubled young man who can hear voices and claims that he saw a girl that night being chased by a snowman.

Convinced that Piper or Tash might still be alive, Joe O’Loughlin persuades police to reopen the investigation, but the closer he gets to the truth the more dangerous it becomes.


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Discoverability of Authors

01 November 2012

The days of bookshops buying hundreds of copies of a book are gone – this is only enjoyed by a few authors whose names are recognised, household brands. For other writers, and there are over 300 000 books published every year, the process of publishing has undergone a major change.

An author’s first job is to write something brilliant. And their second job is to connect with the masses and the media. In a nutshell, they need to make themself, and their writing, DISCOVERABLE.

How do they do this?  Every author needs to build themself a platform in the online world that will allow them to share their ideas, collect followers, engage in conversation and essentially grow an audience hungry for more. That hunger is the very thing that sells books, be they printed or electronic.

Where to even begin? There is a bewildering array of options in the social media toolbox, but these are essential:

  • Create a Facebook author fan page
  • Open a Twitter account
  • Create an author website
  • Their website needs to have a blog
  • They need to include a book banner in their email signature

Help? I Love Books can help – we will do the creation and the implementation, and hand over a customised social media package to get an author started on their road to discoverability.

ABOUT TRACEY McDONALD – I have always loved reading.  My earliest memories are those spending every Saturday morning in the town library, listening to ‘story-time’ and then being able to choose my three books to take home for the week.

Once grown up, and various career paths later, I started working at Penguin Books and after eleven years with the company, as sales and marketing director, I recently decided to leave and open my own business, I Love Books.

Not everyone has the time, or indeed the inclination, to browse in bookshops.  A select few regularly visit bookshops, but that isn’t to say that everyone else is not interested in books – in fact, the opposite is true.

My goal is to introduce the general public to authors, and authors to the general public.

# # #

If you would like more information about this, please contact Tracey McDonald at 083 659 7489 or email at tracey@ilovebooks.co.za.

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Book 10, Hidden, of the HOUSE OF NIGHT SERIES

Hidden by PC and Kristin Cast

An alert to all readers of young adult novels, and those with young adults in the house – book 10 of the House of Night series, HIDDEN, releases in the next few days.

House of Night is a thrillingly engaging book series that follows 16-year-old Zoey Redbird, who gets ‘marked’ by a vampyre tracker and begins to undergo the ‘change’ into an actual vampyre. She has to leave her family and move into the House of Night, a boarding school for other fledglings like her.

It’s within the school’s walls that the heart of the action takes place as Zoey meets new friends, finds love, comes to terms with how her life will be different now and begins to realise her awesome new powers.

Here’s the deal though: Yes, Zoey’s a vampyre now. But she’s still a teenager – with all the humour, angst and confusing feelings any other teenager has.

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Marguerite Poland’s Taken Captive by Birds

taken captive by birds

‘All my life I have been ‘taken captive by birds’.

Their doings are the thread that runs through childhood, the link to people and to place.

Their appearance and their presence can at once recall a name, a scent, a morning full of song and exploration; an evening sorrow, a childhood fear.

For, somehow, it is the birds that saw it all: those unobtrusive harbingers whose boundaries are defined by other laws than ours but whose ancient lore remains a cipher to remembrance for me.’

Marguerite Poland

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