I’d like to welcome my special guest Sharlene Almond, author of Initiated to Kill. Please enjoy her insightful interview.
1. Do you have any advice for other writers trying to get published?
Get persisting. You will get a lot of rejections unfortunately, but it does with what we do. If you love to write, you never know what might happen.
A good query letter is also key. You need to be able to hook the publisher pretty quickly. A query letter shouldn’t be long winded, but get straight to the point.
In the end, it’s easy to fit into the popular genre, it’s harder to actually write what you enjoy writing if it’s not so popular. However, like many books now, in which once a upon a time they weren’t popular, you never know when your one could be the next best thing.
2. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I hope Initiated to Kill can challenge what you thought you knew. To go deep into the psyche of a serial killer, and perhaps understand the inner workings.
To learn about the European countries and beyond. And of course, perhaps to learn more about body language of others, and yourself…
3. What are your thoughts on the fact that both trade and self-published authors have to promote their own work?
An author is always going to have the inside knowledge of educating people on their work. It can be frustrating at times to have to do a lot of the work, and very time-consuming; especially when trying to write and study at the same time.
With promotional blogs like yours though, it does make it easier to get the word out. And I’m sure for reviewers and interviewers, having that personal contact with the author is quite invaluable.
At times, I do wish my publisher would do a bit more, as they do have more contacts than I do. And can arrange things like blog tours etc. I personally think if publishers would work alongside authors a bit more, publicity would be all the better, and it is the best of both worlds.
4. What genre do you write for? Your favorite aspect? Your least favorite aspect?
My main genre is thrillers; however, sub-genres are historical, psychological and international. I love messing with readers’ heads a bit. Examining the psychology of the characters is fun because so much is unveiled – their flaws, their strengths. Comparing the historical killers to the 21st century killers. And writing about the places that the stories are located in.
I can’t say I have a least favourite aspect. Everything connects in with each other. Some reviewers have commented that how I write can be confusing at times, as the plot keeps on going back in time. However, I do pride myself on being different. My technique of writing allows the sub-plots to go in-depth and behind the background of the characters.
I like to look at my writing as layers. Layer upon layer, little by little more is revealed, so by the end of the novel, what has happened makes sense. That is what is fun, to learn about the characters, myself included. The more I write, the more I learn about every character.
There are so many facets to my books, which is the only way I really like. Although for some they may struggle, I would hope that at least it would be memorable.
5. What are your current/next projects?
I have written four books. Right now I am contacting publishers about my second novel, and about to edit my third novel.
My second novel is based on the first female serial killer, Elizabeth Bathory, while the 21st century aspect is based on young girls disappearing in Romania, and Annabella Cordova is now part of a vigilante organisation to bring down the most ruthless killers.
My second novel isn’t symbolic like the first; however, they all interconnect.
My third novel is based on the 70 Jewish zealots that committed suicide in 72 Ad; while the 21st century aspect is based on bodies found in the desert, organs removed, and Egyptian symbols carved on the flesh.
Finally, the fourth novel is based on the bubonic plague. How it started, and how it spread – or the theory of how and why it began. And then coming to the modern-day aspect, Annabella is sent to Greece to dig into the many deaths occurring in Greece and beyond. The victims displaying the same symptoms of the bubonic plague.
6. Do you prefer to work alone or with critique partners/beta-readers?
It’s always good to get a second opinion. So, when I have finished writing, it can be helpful to have someone read over it, and tell me what they did and didn’t like about it.
Of course, in the end, I do go by what I like. Not everyone is going to like my novel, they’re not quite like the mainstream thrillers that are out there. But that is what I hope will help them to stand out amongst the rest.
7. How do you find time to write?
I treat writing both as a hobby and an occupation. Whether it’s first thing in the morning, or later on in the day, writing a chapter or two on a regular basis slowly brings about a complete manuscript. And when you enjoy what you are doing, it is easy to fit it in.
8. Did you always want to become an author?
Ever since I can remember, I enjoyed writing. I would start something, but then not know exactly how to finish it. Finally one day, I put my mind to it – it would write a full length novel. Now I have four.
9. Is there any writing rituals you complete before creating your manuscripts/drafts?
Writing a brief character synopsis and plot synopsis, as well as doing a chapter outline in spreadsheet format, all help me to formulate what I want to write.
10. Do you write the beginning/opening first or do you tend to write out of order (with whatever scenes interest you the most)?
I always write in order. Going by my chapter outline, each chapter always builds from the last, so they interconnect with one another. If I didn’t write the previous chapter, then many chapters simply wouldn’t make sense. Especially for my novels, it is vital all chapters are in order, each chapter being a layer on the last.
11. Have you ever hated something you wrote?
No, although some things may need improving on. Everything I have written has a certain amount of ‘me’ in my writing.
12. Which is the easiest for you–novel, novella, or short story? Why?
Definitely a novel. Too much is going on in my head to put it into a short story. I like my writing because of everything that is included in it. If I didn’t have all those aspects, I don’t think I would enjoy it as much.
13. While you were writing, did you ever feel like you were one of your characters?
Yes, I quite like putting myself in Annabella’s shoes. I feel that if I almost step into my character’s shoes, they become more alive, more realistic. It’s quite fun writing about things that would be quite adventurous to be able to do. Writing about things that possibly may never happen, bringing those events to live.
14. How did you come up with the title?
It was quite simple really. Two men initiated into anorganisation to kill. Hence, Initiated to Kill.
15. What inspired you to write your latest book? What is the book about?
My latest book is about the Bubonic Plague. I think it was actually because of the news report on these different diseases that have been dormant for years, only to suddenly reappear.
The bubonic plague conspiracy is based on some thinking that the plague was actually man-made. So the premise on my book, is just that. The plague was man-made to bring about a major revolution; to change everything as the world knew it.
And like all my books, the present day events coincide with the past. So, again the plague once again springs to life; killing thousands in its path.
16. Any blogs, websites, social media you’d like to share?
Links to my social media:
Amazon Author page:
Thanks again, Sharlene, for stopping by. Good luck with your publishing journey.