Today I am absolutely thrilled to not only be kicking off the Blog Tour for this brilliant debut thriller but also to welcome CAROLINE BALE to JOFFE BOOKS. We are always very excited to be able to introduce a new author and we hope to be seeing a lot more from Caroline in the future. Now I am sure you all want to get to know Caroline, I am therefore kicking off with an author interview which I hope will answer some of your questions. If you have any more why not pop along to the Facebook Launch Party and chat with her? Just click on the picture.
Author Interview with Caroline Bale
Hello Caroline, thank you for joining me today. Welcome to Joffe Books and the wonderful world of Crime Fiction. I am sure everyone is keen to know more about you and your writing so hopefully we will be able to answer some of their questions.
I Will Make You Pay is your debut thriller. What made you want to write?
Like so many people I have always been drawn to the idea of writing a book. I grew up on Agatha Christie and Enid Blyton and lost myself for endless hours in those stories. I love the idea that someone might get happily absorbed in a plot I’ve written or might find an escape imagining the characters in a world created by me. That gives me great satisfaction. There is also something so interesting in developing the characters in a novel. I get to inhabit the mind of each of my characters, even the psychopaths and I find that quite thrilling.
Although this is your first published book have you written anything before?
About ten years ago I wrote 30,000 words of a historical fiction novel set in Victorian London. I am a research junkie and I must have spent a thousand contented hours googling Victorian social history for that book. Ultimately I gave up but I learned a lot about writing and about the dangers of spending too much time researching! I really have to watch my tendency to disappear into google. About three years ago I took up writing again. I joined a writing class with a great teacher. Out of this a group of us formed a writer’s collective. Last year we self published a number of short stories with a crime theme – we called the book “Sins”.
How long did it take you to write this book?
Honestly, I was writing and re-writing the first few chapters, about 10,000, for about two years. I spent a lot of time indulging in my research addiction and not enough time in writing. Someone in the writing group suggested we all enter the Irish Writer’s Centre Novel Fair competition and in a spirit of camaraderie I sent off the 10,000 words I had written and re-written over the previous two years. Incredibly two of us were selected as finalists but in order to qualify for the prize of meeting tons of agents and publishers, we had to supply a novel of 50,000 words within nine days. My friend Martin had already completed his novel but I had 40,000 words to write. I took a week off work, wrote day and night without editing and got to the magic 50,000. The experience nearly killed me but I learned so much which can be summed up by – “For God’s sake stop editing the same thirty pages and just write the rest of the novel.”. After the Novel Fair I spent a few months editing and sent it off to a number of publishers. I got lots of rejections and two offers. I went with the wonderful Jasper Joffe and am delighted I did.
I know this is set in York, what made you choose that setting?
My partner was going back and forth on business from Dublin, where we live, to York and I would travel with him when family and work allowed. I fell in love with the city, the sense of history at every turn, the sheer beauty and magnificence of it. I thought it the perfect place to set a crime novel. The surrounding countryside is beautiful but also wild and brooding. I was taken with the character of the people. Yorkshire people can be refreshingly direct and opinionated. The place is full of strong willed and sometimes stubborn characters – manna from heaven for a crime writer.
Where did you get the idea and information for I Will Make You Pay?
I am a psychotherapist by day and in my work I have the privilege of exploring with my clients the sometimes extraordinary events in their histories or present lives. Nothing in the plot is directly taken from my clients’ stories, I would never do that. However, often what I hear in my work prompts me to imagine what would happen if that situation was taken to a further extreme? As human beings we probably all have events in our lives which provoke feelings of wanting revenge, if only briefly. In “I will make you pay” I got into the head of a person who decides to act out that urge to make someone pay.
What do you plan to write next? Will we meet Ellen McClure in future books?
I am working on Book 2 in the Ellen McClure series and I have plans for more books in the series in the future.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I sit for hours in my job as a psychotherapist and I sit for hours when writing so I like to counter that by being physically active for a few hours a day. I can’t stand the gym and I have never been sporty. But I do like to get out with my partner and my dogs, go up onto Killiney Hill or for a walk on the beach. We are so lucky where we live in Dublin that we have both on the doorstep. We always end up having a coffee (and a cake) and a chat with other dog owners. Apart from that I most enjoy spending time with my adult kids and a few friends. It’s important to me to keep my life balanced. I have to remind myself that when I’m on my death bed I won’t be thinking “I should have spent more time writing”. Oh, and I also enjoy a few beers with our wonderful friends in Finnegans, my local pub in Dalkey.
What advice do you have for any of our readers who are thinking about writing a novel?
I was at a great talk in the Dalkey Book Festival and David Putnam the film producer was talking about creativity. In his opinion, creativity for most of us is more about resilience than talent or knowledge. That resonated hugely with my experience. There is a wealth of knowledge available on the internet about how to write a novel and I learned so much from that. I learned a lot too from my writing class. But ultimately you have to start putting it all together and you may find that it doesn’t work out as you want it to. That’s when resilience comes in. So I would say, keep going and decide to learn something from every failure.
Also, writing can be a lonely pursuit. What helped me with that was joining a writing class and out of that a number of us formed a writer’s group which meets every few weeks. We called ourselves the three percenters because only three per cent of people who start writing a novel ever finish it. We were determined as a group to help each member reach their goal and most of us have gotten there, the others are well on their way. A group can foster resilience in the face of failure, can keep you writing when you feel like giving up. There’s a sense of common understanding, we all share the agonies and we also share the joys. Most of all, we have fun.
I WILL MAKE YOU PAY by Caroline Bale
Available from AMAZON
DISCOVER THE MOST ADDICTIVE NEW CRIME FICTION WRITER THIS YEAR
Meet Detective Ellen McClure as she takes on a vicious killer who loves playing games.
He is watching Connie Taylor in the café. He has befriended the waitress over the previous months and gained her confidence. Her coarseness disgusts him and he muses to himself about pouring acid on her face. He is going to torture Connie that evening to get the final information he needs and then he will kill her.
Connie Taylor’s head is found on the doorstep of a house in upmarket Heworth Green in York.
DI Ellen McClure finds herself embroiled in a complicated murder investigation that pits her against colleagues and family. Her boss thinks that ex-prostitute Connie was killed by one of her former clients, but Ellen thinks there is more to it.
Vicky is on the run with her five-year-old daughter, Kallie. Her life is in danger.
ELLEN MUST FIND HER BEFORE HE DOES.
Desperate to save Vicky, Ellen drags her own young daughter Zoe into the path of a deadly psychopath who will stop at nothing on his murderous rampage.
A RACE AGAINST TIME TO STOP A PSYCHOPATH ON A MISSION
An absolutely gripping mystery with a massive twist. Perfect for fans of Kimberley Chambers, Damien Boyd, Rachel Abbott, Patricia Gibney or Mark Billingham.
DI Ellen McClure is a 38-year-old detective with an outstanding record who will stop at nothing to protect the innocent. She has recently left her cheating husband, Anthony, and is making a new start for her and her 13 year old daughter Zoe in York, the city she grew up in. She is arriving at her new posting on the North Yorkshire Serious Crimes Team under a cloud having given evidence against a superior in her previous posting. Her tenacious approach and confrontational style often work against her, pitting her against colleagues and family. In contrast, her DC, Sarika Kaur is an empathic, thoughtful officer, who tries, often without success, to be the voice of reason.
York has been occupied by everyone from the Romans to the Vikings which shows in the city’s cobblestone streets, half timbered houses and 18th-century flat-fronted townhouses. Diagon Alley where Harry Potter buys his wand was inspired by the Shambles, a medieval butcher’s street visited by the film’s set designers and which is now thronged with tourists. Six hundred years ago, bloody hunks of meat hung on shopfronts, dripping into the gutter that still runs along the middle of the lane. Then, of course, there is the magnificent York Minster, Europe’s largest gothic cathedral which looms over a warren of streets running down to the River Ouse with its many colourful barges and tour boats. The river cuts the city in two and flows eastwards into majestic countryside and onwards towards the North Sea.
Caroline Bale is a practicing psychotherapist who draws on her work to create believable plots and complex characters. She believes the draw in books like hers is that they allow us to address our worst fears from the safety of our own bedrooms. The heart-pounding terror of walking down a deserted street alone at night or the inability to go to sleep until a beloved teenager has finally arrived home. She is interested in what motivates a person to torture or kill another human being, what psychotherapists call the shadow side of human nature. Her books are full of complex, often charming characters with personality disorders and disturbed histories. The psychopaths amongst us with the killer smiles.