Today I welcome Rebecca Bradley as my Author in the Spotlight. Her second book to feature DI Hannah Robbins, Made to be Broken, was published in June and you can order a copy here. Thanks for joining me Rebecca. First of all, would you tell me a little about yourself?
Hi Joanne, thanks so much for having me on your blog today. I’m a retired police detective. I had sixteen years’ service in before I had to medically retire, but I have then been lucky enough to be able to write “full time” which means I have had the joy of fulfilling two childhood dreams.
What inspired you to start writing?
I have been one of those people who always wanted to write a novel. For several years I would start a first chapter time and again but would get no further than that. It would always be a crime opener, but life always got in the way and it would get lost in the notebook or the computer, never to be seen again. That was until a significant birthday approached and I decided that if I was going to do it then this was the time, so I put my bum in the seat and I wrote the entire novel.
Tell me about your journey to publication
It was a long-winded one and I don’t want to bore you too much, though I know how much aspiring writers and readers are interested in the paths writers take, so I will try to condense it.
I was lucky enough to have encouragement from an agent who read some early chapters before I’d finished my debut, Shallow Waters. This spurred me on. Once finished, I was signed by a different agent. Though I wasn’t signed by a publisher, feedback was mostly good. My agent and I went our separate ways and I decided to self-publish Shallow Waters because I believed in it so much. I believed in the characters and in the story and I’d had validation from two agents and from a couple of publishers, even though they hadn’t taken me on. So, I went on to have it professionally edited and proofread, had a cover designed for it and put it out into the world. It did so much better than I could ever have imagined. I was thrilled. Having readers read and enjoy your work is what being a writer is all about.
In a nutshell, what is your latest book about?
Made to be Broken is about product contamination. Poison. Deaths in random people with no connections. But there’s more to it than that. The book has a heart. It’s about relationships and connections. And the police are fighting to save lives against a killer with a point to prove.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
Argh. I hate titling books. It’s the hardest part of writing. That and the back blurb for the book. For the current book, Made to be Broken, I had to throw lots of suggestions down on the page, that had something to do with themes and actions within the story and see what worked, sometimes mixing words from the ones I had already created to see if I could come up with any more. It really is a messy process.
How did you celebrate publication day?
I held a Facebook party for my readers and it ran for over 4 hours. I gave away lots of prizes and had great fun doing it.
Do you have a work in progress just now?
I have two. I’m about to send a novella to my editor. It’s a prequel to the series I currently have out. So, it’s written, and now needs editing. I’ve also started writing the first draft of a standalone. I’m really excited by this one. Once I’ve written this, I then need to get on to writing the first draft of DI Hannah Robbins 3, as I know readers will be waiting for more of her.
What’s your favourite book you’ve read in the past few months? Or favourite three if you really can’t choose!
Ooh, that is really really tough. Does anyone give you a straight answer to this question? It’s going to have to be three, I’m afraid.
I’ve just started listening to non-fiction books on audiobooks and I loved The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes, the writer behind shows such as Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. It is so motivational as well as honest and funny. And it’s read by Shonda herself, so you get the real meaning in her voice when she’s reading it. I’d highly recommend it.
Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton. I think I’d read her shopping list. She is amazing.
A Tapping at my Door by David Jackson. The ending on that will take your breath away and you can’t tell anyone else about it or you’ll ruin the book. But, it’s stunning. I love David Jackson’s work. I’d pick up anything he writes without reading the back.
What are you reading just now?
I’m reading Karin Slaughter’s new one The Kept Woman. (September 2016) She is my all-time favourite author, as her character work is solid.
Tell me about your reading habits: book or kindle, bed or bath, morning or evening?
I mix up my reading between kindle, paper book and now audiobooks. I also read at any point during the day, but do read in bed in the evenings. I’m trying to cut down on my TV watching and replace it with reading with the hope it’ll rub off and help my own writing.
How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?
And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?
Oh, that’s an interesting one. I think I’d be Shonda Rhimes! (You didn’t say fiction!) Is that cheating? She is a work demon, she never stops, she loves writing so much, her character work is amazing and she’s having a ball doing what she loves.