Thursday, 27 June 2013

Guest: Gillian Hamer of Triskele Books

Hello Gillian and welcome to my blog. I’m right in the middle of reading The Charter and I’m loving it, so could you tell us a bit about yourself and your writing?

* Firstly, I'm glad you're enjoying The Charter! I've been writing, seriously, for about fifteen years now. I've always loved reading even as a child and must have gradually moved into story writing. I dabbled in a variety of online writing sites for a few years and seemed to absorb skills like a sponge. Then I got to a stage where I thought I was pretty good at it, so enrolled on a distance learning creative writing course which was invaluable. Since then I've had two agents, numerous near-misses with publisher, completed an Open University Forensics course, and moved on to setting up Triskele Books. I've published a further two books through Triskele since The Charter - Closure and Complicit - and like my debut novel they are all set around the area of North Wales that I love and all have an extra cross-genre thread running through the crime thriller.

Triskele Books is a really interesting publishing model. Could you tell us a bit more about it and how it came into being?

* As I said, I've been lucky enough to have two agents and have come close numerous times to getting a publishing deal, but there always seemed something getting in the way that was outside of my control. Also, my agent was only ever interested in my straight crime detective novels, not my paranormal thrillers. And then the recession hit, and it seemed you had more chance of winning the lottery than getting a major publisher to take on a new author. I knew of two other writers who were in similar circumstances, facing the same random excuses from publishers that I'd faced, so we decided rather than leave the manuscripts gathering dust on our hard drives, we would do something about it and over a posh Christmas tea in a Park Lane hotel, Triskele Books was born. I have to be honest and say I'd always been really sniffy about self publishing, worried about the stigma and the lack of quality out there and I guess I wanted better for my own books. But I trusted my fellow writers, and we made a pact from the outset that quality and professionalism would be our trademark - and we've stuck to that and I'm thrilled with the results.

Your books are produced to a very high standard. Can you tell us a bit about what is involved in producing such a quality product?

*    We are really blessed that Jane Dixon-Smith (JD Smith Design) is one of our Triskele group and is also a wonderful creative graphic designer who supplies us not only with brilliant covers that make people stop and stare but also deals with all of our formatting and website issues. She is a miracle - and has also just released her first fiction novella under Triskele! On top of that we use the combined talent of the Triskele writers, who are all of publishable standard, who each read every manuscript, both for creative and editorial input, so in effect the book has gone through at least four sets of independent eyes before it's then passed onto a proofreader for a final edit. We want to maintain a top quality image, and although we can never guarantee the odd typo won't slip through the net, we want out books to look and feel the best they can before reaching the reader.

A quick internet trawl and I found The Charter listed on all the major bookshop websites. So how hard is it to get your books on the shelves and how do you handle the marketing and distribution side of things?

*    In terms of distribution, it's actually relatively easy - ebooks kind of sell themselves. Just load them up and away you go. Paperbacks aren't huge sellers for me personally, but I use Lightning Source and have been very pleased with their service. I can order and deliver to wherever needed, and they supply to most of the major suppliers direct once you've registered your ISBN. Marketing is a little more laborious, another case where having many sets of hands is a big help. I've not had a great deal of luck with local bookshops, basically because the independents are so thin on the ground and Waterstones have a non-indie policy at the moment (which I hope will change) so everything is really internet based. We do seem to be attracting more and more attention through the rise of quality independent collectives, so hopefully that will increase marketing opportunities in the future too.

So what next for Triskele Books?

*    We have just had our latest launch (June 1st at Foyles Bookshop in London) and have a second round of books due for release in November this year. We try to keep two launches a year, with a minimum of three books per launch. At the moment between all of the writers, we have enough new material to keep us going until the end of 2014, and then we may look to expand and take on new writers. It's an interesting time to be involved with indie publishing and I'm excited to see how Triskele grows and develops in the future.

For further information on any of my books or Triskele Books, please visit or

Thank you Gillian, for dropping by and answering my questions. And now… a giveaway!
Gillian has kindly offered an e-copy of her latest release, Complicit. To enter the giveaway all you have to do is leave a comment on this post. The contest will stay open until midnight GMT of Thursday 4th July. The winner will be chosen at random by Gillian on Friday 5th July and I’ll announce it here.


Thursday, 20 June 2013

RED ROCK Cover Reveal

I’m delighted to share the cover for Red Rock with you all today.

I’m absolutely thrilled with it. I love the broad sweep of the sea and the distant shadow of the town, and I love the rock and the way it is held so tenderly. It really captures the essence of my book and I couldn’t be happier.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Ants in the Woods

We sat in silence among the trees, hoping to spot an elusive red squirrel. There were traces of their presence all around – fresh gnawed pine cones – but the squirrels were hiding from us.
We did see a sika deer, a young stag who ventured close, rising up on his hind legs to browse the newly bursting spring foliage.
And further on we found the wood ants.

We came across a number of wood ants’ nests in the woods that day, but this one was particularly impressive.

The surface of this mound of pine needles, twigs, and other woodland debris, was covered with worker ants – the whole nest appearing to seethe. The smallest of creatures, working in unity.

Definitely the highlight of my day.