Please welcome to the spotlight in the first in a new series showcasing some crime writers Steven Puleston. Steven is a member of the novel critique group I am part of and also co-edited the Bridge House Crime after Crime book. He has just released his first two novels to Kindle — so big warm welcome …
Have you always wanted to be a published writer? Tell us something about your path to having your first book/story published.
I have been writing for a number of years. Initially I didn’t concentrate on crime fiction having written three un-published novels previously. As I have a background in the law I decided to take advantage of my training and experience to write crime fiction.
Do you have an agent? If not did you try to get one? Any advice about that?
I don’t have an agent as I took the decision a year or so go to self publish using the various E digital publishing platforms. In 2010 I was signed by an agent who was very enthusiastic about my work. I spent six months rewriting my first novel Brass In Pocket with his editor but he subsequently decided that he didn’t want to pursue trying to sell the novel. In today’s market, with publishers not taking submissions other than through literary agents, they have become very powerful in the industry. If you’re thinking of submitting to an agent always follow their submission requirements to the letter and have your submission properly proofread beforehand.
Do or did you ever belong to a writing group? Crit group? Did you ever have someone professionally critique your work before first submitting? Or do you have friends or anyone else who sees it before you send it off?
Belonging to a writing group can be very helpful for a writer as we can all draw inspiration and help from others with the same interests. A crit group is even more helpful, especially one with members that offer constructive and helpful criticism. I always have my work professionally edited and proofread as well as it being subjected to critiquing from colleagues and friends.
Can you tell us something about working with an editor? How important is that to you now – is there a lot of discussion and does the editor make a real difference to your work?
A good editor can make an enormous difference to every piece of work. An editor forces the author to think about every word, every sentence and every paragraph. It makes the author realise that no matter how precious we may be about our work the important thing is writing well.
How much marketing have you had to do? How comfortable are you with self-promotion?
Having a background in business makes me more aware of how important marketing has become particularly for self published authors. Although I’m comfortable with marketing it is one of the things that takes me away from my writing
Tell us about the latest published books …
Brass in Pocket
It is the middle of the night …The road is deserted …A killer is waiting …
Two traffic officers are killed on an isolated mountain pass in North Wales. Inspector Drake is called to the scene and quickly discovers a message left by the killer – traffic cones in the shape of a No 4.
The killer starts sending the Wales Police Service lyrics from famous rock songs. Are they messages or is there some hidden meaning in them?
Does it all mean more killings are likely? When a politician is killed Drake has his answer. And then the killer sends more song lyrics. Now Drake has to face the possibility of more deaths but with numbers dominating the case Drake has to face his own rituals and obsessions.
Finally when the killer threatens Drake and his family he faces his greatest challenge in finding the killer before he strikes again.
More here: LINK
The body of a young Pole working in Cardiff is pulled from the River Taff. His tongue has been amputated in some sort of ritual.
More murders in the Polish community take Inspector John Marco and his team into the East European immigrant community and the murky world of people trafficking.
But what is it that links all the deaths together?
When the evidence points to one of the city’s criminal and the involvement of a gangster from Poland Marco faces the challenge of gathering evidence from a close knit and secretive community.
And why do the Polish Secret Service seem to be interested?
When Marco finds himself entangled emotionally its impossible for him to think clearly. In search of an answer Marco travels to Poland only to find himself implicated in a murder and hoping he can avoid another.
Racing back to Cardiff he hopes he has enough to unravel the case and arrest the perpetrators.
How did the idea for the book come about?
Brass in Pocket — Driving over the Crimea pass near Blaenau Ffestiniog where the first two murders take place.
Any advice for writers who are trying to get their work published?
The publishing world is changing so dramatically now with self published authors becoming commonplace but the important thing is to write well. Go on a course, join a writing group have your work critiqued, accept criticism and keep writing.
If you could go out for a meal with any author (from any time) who would it be and why?
Raymond Chandler, because he’s probably one of the great crime novelists of all time. Although he only wrote a handful of books they all stand the test of time. I probably reread The Big Sleep every year wondering just how he managed it.
The first three chapters of the two currently published books are available on my website www.stephenpuleston.co.uk
Thank you Stephen for your great interview. If anyone else has written a crime novel and would like to be part of this series then please do get in touch …