Tag Archives: love

Don’t Quit the Day Job: Lucy Cameron

Lots of people don’t realise that although you may see work by a certain author on the bookshelves in your favourite shop, many writers still hold down a day job in addition to penning their next novel. In this series, we talk to writers about how their current – or previous – day jobs have inspired and informed their writing.

Today, my friend Lucy Cameron is sharing her thoughts with us. Her experiences may not be what you might expect…

Vic x

When I shouted ‘Pick me, Pick me’ to be included in this blog series I hadn’t really thought it through. I am a crime/horror writer, but my day job in no way connects to what I write, or ever has.

I am not a solicitor or barrister, I have only ever been in a police station to ask if they rent out uniforms to film makers (they don’t) and I have never been in a court house, if that’s even what they are called outside of films. As for ever committing a crime…? Okay, I once had a parking ticket. In short, I have never worked within, or outside of, the law.

What about medicine? Were I ever to see heavy blood flow I have little doubt I would faint, my uncle works in the local funeral parlour, but I’m not sure that counts.

Other avenues into the field of crime writing? I have never been a journalist, or an editor, or even written for a student magazine. I have never taught creative writing, nor have any qualifications in the above.

For a long time I believed you had to have done one of the aforementioned to even consider writing a crime novel. I was wrong.

What did I do to while away the hours before becoming a writer, and by this I mean pay the bills and mortgage, was work as a Convenience Store Manager for a food retailer. For anyone that’s ever worked in a public-facing job, if that doesn’t put you in situations where you want to kill people, or indeed meet people on a daily basis that could easily commit a crime, I don’t know what will.

I loved every minute. Okay I loved half of the minutes I worked in food retail, it was fast, it was busy, it was a minimum of sixty hours a week. The teams I worked with over the years were like family and we shared plenty of laughs and tears, and it’s this people experience I draw on when writing.

Writing I can do now that I have left my glittering career in food retail far behind me. Days were full of little interactions with customers, throwaway comments overheard. Once you have the characters in a story, once you have the idea, you can go and find out about the procedures and any and every job allows you to do this.

Now I am a writer, what do I do to while away the hours that I should be writing, and by this still I mean pay the bills and mortgage? I work as a Business Administrator for a local theatre, this time a job I do love every minute of, and that allows me the time to write. If you want to be a writer, you can be, whatever your background and this sounds like great news to me, and a future full of varied and interesting books.

Write because you love it, not for the money, and don’t worry if your job doesn’t seem to fit with ‘write what you know’, fiction is after all, exactly that.

You can catch up with Lucy on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

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Review: ‘Dark Skies’ by LJ Ross

One fateful, clear-skied night, three friends embark on a secret trip. Only two return home. Thirty years later, the body of a teenage boy rises from the depths of England’s biggest reservoir and threatens to expose a killer who has lain dormant…until now.

Detective Chief Inspector Ryan is back following an idyllic honeymoon with the love of his life but returns to danger from all sides. In the depths of Kielder Forest, a murderer has evaded justice for decades and will do anything to keep it that way. Meanwhile, back at CID, an old adversary has taken the reins and is determined to destroy Ryan whatever the cost.

As usual, LJ Ross excels in her descriptions of the landscape where the story is set. What I really like about the DCI Ryan series is that LJ Ross sets macabre discoveries and heinous crimes in beautiful locations, ‘Dark Skies‘ is no different in that respect.

Add to that a number of intriguing sub-plots and a recurring cast of compelling characters and it’s no wonder that this series is one of the most successful in recent times. 

With ‘Dark Skies‘, however, there’s a new element to the series with malevolent forces within the force bringing extra tension to the narrative. 

As with the previous novels in the series, there are some unresolved issues which will undoubtedly keep readers hungry for more. 

Vic x

Review: ‘This Family of Things’ by Alison Jameson

Bird Keegan, a lonely farmer, and his two sisters have lived an isolated existence in the same community their whole lives but when Midge O’Connor – a young woman abused by her drunken father – appears, his world is disrupted beyond his wildest imagination. By taking in Midge, Bird is mocked by his sisters and neighbours. Despite bringing one another consolation, the pair’s relationship is thrown into doubt by the influence of others.

Alison Jameson’s prose captures the reader’s attention with this story of love and redemption. The lives of the three siblings are explored with sensitivity. The isolation and misery are represented skillfully. Jameson’s writing features some very powerful imagery as well as excellent descriptions. I could really imagine the setting thanks to the author’s florid language. The multi-layered characters are examined in a thoughtful manner.

Fans of Kate Kerrigan will like ‘This Family of Things.

Vic x

Review: ‘Moth Smoke’ by Mohsin Hamid.

As many of you who read this blog regularly will know, I was left speechless after reading Mohsin Hamid’s novel ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ and this, his debut novel, didn’t disappoint.

This story features Daru, a banker in Lahore who loses his job and falls into a world of drugs and crime. Daru narrates the novel with a growing bitterness towards his former classmates and finds comfort in his best friend’s wife.

Hamid has the wonderful ability of describing places and people. His angry young man is becoming a staple of his novels, akin to JD Sallinger’s Holden Caulfield. This is a well-written, intelligent story. I like the fact that he frames this story of moral decay alongside the 1998 nuclear tests. Another asset is Hamid’s ability to describe Lahore – a place which is almost entirely neglected in literature.

Vic x

‘Moth Smoke’ is available in paperback here: http://amzn.to/yzBbI8

You can download ‘Moth Smoke’ to your Kindle here: http://amzn.to/xL77KB

Review: ‘Aleph’ by Paulo Coelho

The Aleph is an encounter with your weaknesses and your fears. It encompasses a search for love and forgiveness as well as the bravery to confront life’s challenges.

Faced with a serious crisis of confidence, having lost his faith, Paulo decides to seek a journey that will provide him with the enlightenment and the opportunity to reconnect with people. He travels throughout Europe, Asia and Africa, meeting people and beginning a trip which leads Paulo to his past and a way to reshape his past and future. Along the way, Paulo encounters a woman called Hilal who he has known in a previous life, the meeting proves immeasurably important for both.

‘Aleph’ is well-written and fans of Coelho will love this mystical tale of love, spirituality and forgiveness. It’s a good read for believers and lovers.

Vic x

Order your copy of ‘Aleph’ here: http://amzn.to/ojWzED

Review: ‘Whatever You Love’ by Louise Doughty

Laura’s nine-year old daughter Betty has been killed by a dangerous driver, her world is falling apart. Still reeling from her divorce, and her husband’s new life, Laura sinks further and further into darkness. As Laura considers how her life has come to this point, she recounts how she met and fell in love with David, her husband. She realises she needs to do something to avenge her daughter’s death.

This is a complex tale of love, grief, redemption and desire. It is often an uncomfortable read, with detailed accounts of Laura and David’s torrid affair. Doughty creates a story full of suspense and makes the reader wonder how far they would go for the people they love.

Vic x

Too tall for love? No way!

It has been reported today that Stephen Merchant, Ricky Gervais’s side-kick (the one that isn’t Karl Pilkington), has said that at six-foot-seven he thinks he’s too tall for love.

What nonsense! But I have to admit, at nearly six-foot myself, there was a time when I believed that I was too tall to find a boyfriend.

When I was eighteen, my five foot seven boyfriend dumped me and I realised that, in the future, I wouldn’t be dating someone shorter than me. I decided that, ideally, I’d like to have a boyfriend who was tall enough to still be taller than me should I decide to model one of my many pairs of high-heeled shoes. This seemed quite an ask.

Height was just another requirement on an ever-growing list. Along with intelligence, humour, manners, kindness, similar morals and beliefs, I thought a man with these qualities would be impossible to find.

But then I met The Boy Wonder and I realised that whatever you are looking for does exist but you have to be patient. Stephen says he’s looking for a woman “with the body of Kelly Brook and the mind of Stephen Fry”. If I wasn’t with TBW, I’d be very interested in the fact that Mr Merchant was single – but then again, I don’t have a body like Kelly Brook.

Vic x