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mercoledì 24 gennaio 2018

Virtual Book Tour & Giveaway: Ghost Writer by Alison Bruce



She has to deal with two kinds of spooks: spies and ghosts. But which one is trying to kill her?

Jen Kirby has seen ghosts since she was a teen, but she can’t talk to them or help them cross over. And, after a violent death in the family, she doesn’t want to see them anymore.

In her role as ghostwriter, Jen joins a Canadian Arctic expedition to document and help solve a forty-year-old mystery involving an American submarine station lost during the Cold War. The trouble is, there are people—living and dead—who don't want the story told, and they’ll do anything to stop her.

Now Jen is haunted by ghosts she can’t avoid or handle alone. That means confiding in the one man she doesn’t want to dismiss her as crazy. But can he help? Or is he part of the problem?

Purchase: Amazon US - Amazon IT

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Excerpt
My name is Jen Kirby. I have several things going for me including great hair, nice eyes and an ability to turn experts' research into readable prose.

I have a few weaknesses. I enjoy chocolate too much. I hate enclosed spaces. And I prefer to experience open bodies of water from a distance. One sailing trip with my cousins made me swear off boats for life. So, you'll understand how much I wanted the job when I said I'd go to the Arctic Ocean to look for a sunken underwater base.

The offer came from Dr. Dora Leland, a forensic psychiatrist and my good friend. Dora is a professor at the University of Toronto, a consultant to various law enforcement agencies and author of seven books which I have ghostwritten with her. Her idea of a vacation is volunteering her skills to researchers who would never have thought they needed a forensic psychiatrist on their team, let alone afford one.

Her latest project was helping out a team who were bent on raising US Navy's Arctic Station Alpha and finding out what happened to its crew. AFFA, which stood for Answers For Families of Alpha not the Hell’s Angels motto Angels Forever, Forever Angels, included now grown children of the crew. Other family members contributed funds or in kind services. But it was Dora and her agents that made the expedition possible. 

As the only team member who wasn't paired off, Dora anticipated needing a buddy to play cards with of an evening. She sold the deal by offering me co-author credit on the book we were going to write.

It was an offer I couldn’t refuse.

Interview with the Author
Tell us a little about how you got started as an author and how you came up with the idea for this book?
Ghost Writer started with a dream, as did my storytelling vocation. I used to have recurring nightmares as a child. I discovered that if I told myself a story, starting with the terror-inducing events and continuing until I had a happily ever after conclusion, I could get back to sleep without returning to the nightmare. Eventually I learned to take control of my dreams while I was sleeping.

Ghost Writer started with a nightmare of being trapped in a sinking vessel with cold water rising, threatening to drown me. How I survived long enough to be rescued seemed like a story worth writing. Unlike most of my dreams that I think might make the seed of a good story, this one actually bore fruit. 

Where do you get your ideas for characters? In particular, did you steal some characteristics from yourself or people you know for the main characters?
Most of the time, I start by roleplaying my central characters in my head. There is a little of me in all my protagonists, but there’s also a little of other people, real and fictional. It’s a bit like creating a test-tube baby with multiple parents. Like my children, you can sometimes see a bit of me in them, but they are their own persons.

Which author/authors or particular books have inspired you?
There are three authors that have had a profound influence on me. My mother introduced me to Georgette Heyer’s Regency romances when I was about twelve. It might have been because she thought Alex Hailey’s Airport series was too dark for a girl my age. Heyer’s books transported me to the time and place that she set her stories. It took me a few years and a couple of history courses to appreciate that those place were real.

Around the same time I started reading her mystery novels. I never liked Hercule Poirot, but I loved Agatha Christie’s whodunits. Christie should be required reading for anyone wanting to learn how a mystery is structured.

My father introduced me to Louis L’Amour. In his collections of short stories, he’d introduce each tale with a bit of history or some personal commentary. To paraphrase him, he said he’d rather be known for being a beloved storyteller than an award winning author. That one sentiment got me serious about writing to be published.

What were some of your favorite reads of the past year?
The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett, published posthumously. Worst Date Ever by Melodie Campbell. I also discovered Ann Charles’ Deadwood series this year and caught up with the Ring of Fire books by Eric Flint.

For the aspiring writers out there, can you tell us something about how you develop your plot?
I start off by telling myself the story in my head. That gives me a few scenes and the bare bones of the plot. Then I start writing. I have dozens of stories that got that far and no farther.

If I can get far enough in to feel that I could write the book, I pause for outlining and basic research. Some story-lines get tossed at that point because they either don’t make sense or they don’t go anywhere interesting.

For the ones that make it, I seesaw between writing and writing related tasks like research, character development, outlining and making copious notes so I can keep everything straight. 

Tell us about your future? Next book?
I’m working on the next Men in Uniform book for Lachesis Publishing but I’ve also started the next Ghost Writer for Imajin Books. So, there’s just two books, my day job and family to juggle...no worries.

Author
Alison Bruce writes history, mystery and suspense. Her books combine clever mysteries, well-researched backgrounds and a touch of romance. Her protagonists are marked by their strength of character, sense of humor and the ability to adapt (sooner or later) to new situations. Four of her novels have been finalists for genre awards.

Copywriter, editor and graphic designer since 1992, Alison has also been a comic book store manager, small press publisher and web designer. Currently she is the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada.


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