Author of the Soulseekers series, Alice J. Black talks to Kendall Reviews.

Alice lives and works in the North East of England with her partner and slightly ferocious cats! Alice has always enjoyed writing from being a child when she used to carry notebooks and write stories no matter where she went. Nothing much has changed and she writes all manner of fiction with a tendency to lean towards the dark side. Most of her work is rooted in darkness, her inspiration coming from a macabre selection of reads as well as the dreams that frequent her sleep.

Her debut novel, The Doors, was released in 2014 and her next novel release, A Shadowed Beginning, the first part in a series of seven, was released in Autumn 2017. She is currently working on the Soul Seekers series. The prequel, The Leak of Madness, was released in Feb 2018 and they will continue to appear every two months. Her first horror novel, The Devil’s Playground, has been unleashed on unsuspecting readers June 2018! Several of her short stories have been included in anthologies with various presses and she is always working on more. When she’s not writing, she always has a book in her hand and will read from whatever genre suits her that day.

KR: Coffee?

KR: Could you tell me a little about yourself please?

I’m an author based in the North East of England. I work full time and write when I can, fitting it around my shifts and life! I write a lot of young adult but also horror. I’ve grown up reading a lot of dark material and have always been drawn to the darker side of life – most of my current work is rooted in the supernatural and most of my current reads are focused on the same.

KR: What do you like to do when not writing?

When I have some spare time (which seems to be very little) I like to read. I’m trying my best to keep up with my self-set challenge to read a book a week this year but I’m falling behind at the minute. I’m looking forward to the darker nights coming back so I can cosy up with a good read. I also like to run. I’m training for the Great North Run at the minute (four weeks to go) and I run with a women’s running group. It’s weird, going back a couple of years and I couldn’t run a mile and now I’m out a few times a week and looking forward to my long runs!

KR: What is your favourite childhood book?

The Hobbit. Without a doubt. I grew up reading this habitually time and time again. I just loved the adventure that Bilbo went on and the people he met and what he saw. It made me realise how much I wanted to be able to write such a grand adventure.

KR: What is your favourite album, and does music play any role in your writing?

At the minute my favourite album is probably Killswitch Engage – Disarm the Descent but I have a lot on my USB stick in the car that I listen to like Stone Sour, Devildriver and Five Finger Death Punch.

I listen to music a lot while I’m writing but I don’t think I could listen to anything too heavy as it would be distracting so I tend to listen to soundtracks when I’m writing, namely the Lord of the Rings. I just find it transports me to Middle Earth which seems to be a really tranquil place for me to concentrate and write!

KR: Do you have a favourite horror movie/director? 

As much as I love writing horror and reading it, I often struggle with watching it. I’m that much of a scardey cat! Haha. However I do love John Carpenter’s films but I really like the weird and wonderful stuff that Guillermo del Toro makes – it’s not horror as such but certainly very dark and I love it. I also love watching most of Tim Burton’s creations, particularly the animated stuff.

KR: What are you reading now?

Right now I’m reading a YA novel called Hidden Monster by Amanda Strong. I’m almost through it and it’s certainly been a read I wasn’t expecting. Next I plan to pick up the first book in the Hell Gate saga by Josh Matthews.

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KR: Who were the authors that inspired you to write?

When I was younger particularly Tolkien with The Hobbit was a huge inspiration, JM Barrie, Lewis Carroll and Robin Jarvis. As I got a little older and my tastes moved to the darker side of genres it was authors like Stephen King and Richard Laymon. I also read a lot of young adult when I can and an author that I absolutely adore is Katrina Halle – she writes a lot of supernatural novels as well as romance.

KR: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?

For me it depends on what I’m working on. Sometimes I’ll have a half-baked idea that needs to sit in my mind for a while before it’ll become anything tangible. Sometimes it’ll just come to me and I’ll be able to start writing immediately. With longer works, I do try to plan a bit. I tend to start a new notebook (who doesn’t need a million notebooks?!) and keep track of my ideas, characters, synopsis etc. I might even do a little written by hand to begin with. However, though I plan to an extent I’m not rigid in how I organise things which means going forward things are flexible – they need to be when characters sometimes take on a life of their own!

KR: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

It’ll depend what needs looked at. Sometimes I like to just write the bones of a story and then go back and flesh out the detail with research. It the subject is central to the plot I’ll usually look it up on line, spend a bit of time reading. I’ve also been known to buy books on the subject just as a way to gain more knowledge.

KR: Describe your usual writing day?

My usual writing day has changed somewhat recently due to the amount of edits and day to day workload I have but usually, I would get up early morning, make myself a cuppa and turn on the laptop. Check emails, notifications etc. and then just dive straight into writing. I try to leave off the day before in a place that’ll make it easier to start at too so I’m not floundering as I hate that feeling!

KR: Do you have a favourite story/short that you’ve written (published or not)?

I think one of the favourite novels I‘ve written is The Devil’s Playground. I originally wrote it as a nano novel back in 2013 and I sat on it for a while before editing. I sent it to Burning Willow Press and they accepted and it has recently just been published. It’s my first standalone horror novel and I just loved it because I was able to get into the twisted world of the nightmare and get really dark with my writing.

KR: Do you read your book reviews?

Sometimes. I think when a book first comes out I obsess a little over my reviews, collecting them almost, but after reading a couple of bad ones it’s enough to put an author off. I know that not everybody is going to enjoy my work and that’s okay, that’s their opinion. I just don’t want to beat myself up because of it so I try to avoid it if I can.

KR: Any advice for a fledgling author?

Keep writing and keep submitting. Rejection letters are hard and the writing is harder. Try and get into a routine that suits you, write every day if you can, and don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do it. Keep writing!

KR: What scares you?

Ants. Weird right? When I lived in my student house I had an awful experience with a box of cereal and a whole load of ants. I’ve never been able to eat that brand again and I’ve always hated ants since. Particularly those horrible flying ones. I actually co-wrote a novella that was inspired by this incident.

KR: E-Book, Paperback or Hardback?

I love having a physical copy of a book in my hand, hardback if I can, but I also love the versatility my e-reader gives me. If I’m going to keep a book forever, or it’s special to me, I’ll definitely have to have a physical copy.

KR: Can you tell me about your latest release please?

My latest release is called The Beginning. It’s the third book in the Soul Seekers series. There are eleven novellas in the series in total (one being a prequel) based around a woman called Peyton who hears the voices of the dead. She uses alcohol as a way to drown them out until she realises that maybe she can put her ability to good use. The novellas are short snappy reads with a bit of something for everyone.

KR: What are you working on now?

Right now I have two ideas on the go – both aimed at being horror novels. So far both are dark and gritty with pretty flawed characters. I’m also always working on edits for my novellas or the novels I’ve got coming out in the Demon Hunter series.

KR: You find yourself on a desert island, which three people would you wish to be deserted with you and why?

You can choose…

a) One fictional character from your writing.

A fictional character from my writing would have to be Peyton Blaine from the Soul Seekers series. She’s strong and sassy and has overcome so many trials already I’d love to have her on my side.

b) One fictional character from any other book.

Dex from the Experiment in Terror Series written by Karina Halle. I think he’d make a good match for Peyton and he’s extremely resourceful.

c) One real life person that is not a family member or friend.

J. K. Rowling. I love Harry Potter and just imagine all the stories we could cook up around the campfire at night.

KR: Thank you very much Alice.

You can find out more about Alice by visiting her official website

Please follow Alice on Twitter @AliceJBlack

Alice’s author page can be found here

Find Alice on Facebook here

Alice is also on Instagram

Alice also has a newsletter which you can sign up to here

Ruby Dawson is about to discover a whole new world—one of demons and devils.

Following the death of her father four years ago, Ruby is sure her life can’t get any harder. Living in a care home for girls, struggling with the last two years of school and working part time at an employment agency seem almost too much at times.

And then she sees the man with the crescent scar. He’s a memory from her past and one that she knows will have answers. He’s the last link to her dad.

Ruby goes looking for answers but only ends up with more questions as everything she thought she knew was real is turned upside down and her own life becomes all too connected with a world she didn’t know existed.

You can buy Demon Hunter: A Shadowed Beginning from Amazon UK & Amazon US

“A dark, twisting nightmarish horror that takes place in the mind of a man who can’t wake up.”

As Jake prepares for his wedding to the woman of his dreams, he never suspects his last night as a single man would lead to being locked up in Hell… On his way home from his stag night, Jake is involved in a hit and run that leaves him not only fighting for his life but for his sanity. As his fiancée stands vigil by his hospital bed, Jake slips deeper into his unconscious. While stuck in the coma, Jake is more aware of the unreality he has faced since being a child. He is stuck in a nightmare. One that has plagued him his whole life… Welcome to The Devil’s Playground

You can buy The Devil’s Playground from Amazon UK & Amazon US

The spirit world has been in touch with Peyton, and it’s more than she can tolerate. Sometimes their messages are loud enough even to pierce beyond the veil of her alcohol-induced stupors….

When she is invited to attend her best friend’s brother’s wedding at The Manor House, Peyton is compelled to stare down memories of her life before it was decimated by fire and tragedy. Continuously topping herself up with alcohol to keep the voices at bay, it becomes clearer and clearer that there are forces at work in the old building…shadows darker than Peyton could have ever imagined.

The Leak of Madness is the beginning of a thrilling, fast-paced series of horror novellas overflowing with intrigue, romance, redemption, and most importantly…ghosts.

Will Peyton find the normal life she could have if only she stops drinking or will the forces of evil drive her mad?

You can buy The Leak Of Madness from Amazon UK & Amazon US 

Peyton is considering using her gift to help others. She realizes she’s already helped so many people, both alive and dead, that perhaps it can continue. But can she do it alone?

While Peyton tries to persuade Olivia to join her in a new business venture, she battles the particularly brusque owners of a haunted hotel in her first paying ghost-hunting job. 

Peyton seeks the help of Sylvia, the psychic, to hone her skills, all the while trying to coax the spirit out of The Grand Hotel before it’s too late…

You can buy The Beginning from Amazon UK & Amazon US

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