Fiona Cummins (Best selling author of Rattle & The Collector) chats to Kendall Reviews

Fiona Cummins is an award-winning former Daily Mirror showbusiness journalist and a graduate of the Faber Academy Writing a Novel course.

Rattle, her bestselling debut novel, received critical acclaim when it was published last year. It is in development as a six-part TV series by the producers of Miss Sloane.

Her second novel The Collector was published in February and has been described by international bestseller David Baldacci as ‘a crime novel of the very first order.’

I was lucky enough to be able to ask Fiona a few questions by chance. Somewhat irritated I’d read on Twitter what I perceived to be spoilers for Fiona’s debut novel, Rattle. I posted a response to the tweet complaining. One of the first people to respond was Fiona herself, she explained that there were many more secrets and twists to be revealed and she hoped that what I read wouldn’t spoil my enjoyment of the book. I was firstly delighted that Fiona took the time to reply to my tweet and put my mind at rest (Rattle is actually one of the next books I’m due to review) and secondly, after a cheeky request, she was more than happy to answer a few of my questions. I understood her time was precious as this is happening in the week leading up to the release of her follow-up to the best selling Rattle…The Collector.

The Collector by Fiona Cummins is the gripping sequel to Rattle.

Release Date 22nd February 2018

Jakey escaped with his life and moved to a new town. His rescue was a miracle but his parents know that the Collector is still out there, watching, waiting…

Clara, the girl he left behind, is clinging to the hope that someone will come and save her.

Life has fallen apart for Clara’s mother as she starts to lose hope.

The Bone Collector has a new apprentice to take over his family’s legacy. But he can’t forget the boy who got away and the detective who had destroyed his dreams.

Detective Etta Fitzroy’s life collapsed when the Collector escaped. With Clara still missing, and a new wave of uncannily similar murders beginning, will she be able to find him again?

The Collector is back and this time he has nothing to lose . . .

The kettle’s on and the biscuit tin is open…

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

I’m a former Daily Mirror showbusiness reporter who spent most of my time interviewing celebrities and attending glitzy parties. But after a year of terrible family illness, I decided that life was too short not to try and follow my dreams. I took a huge risk, quit my job to go freelance and decided that instead of writing stories about other people, I would try and write stories of my own.

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

I love spending time with my family and friends, travelling, cooking, dancing, listening to music and walking my dog. My ideal day would involve a Sunday lunch in a country pub, good company, a roaring fire and live music in the evening.

KR: What is your favourite childhood book?

It’s so difficult to choose but I loved When Marnie Was There by Joan G. Robinson. I read it until the cover fell off, and it’s my first memory of a ghost story.

KR: What are you reading now?

I’m lucky enough to get sent lots of proofs and I’m currently reading Don’t Make A Sound by David Jackson, which is an unputdownable thriller about a family who are not what they seem. Next on my list are Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh and The Cliff House by Amanda Jennings.

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

Music plays a major role in my writing. Some days, I write in silence and some days with loud music. I have one or two tracks that I play incessantly while working on a particular book. For Rattle, it was Web in Front (Archers of Loaf) and Titanium (David Guetta feat. Sia). For The Collector, it was Get Me (Dinosaur Jr) and Ooh Child (Bear McCreary feat. Raya Yarbrough). For my current WIP, it’s Miss Atomic Bomb (The Killers) and The Gun Song (The Lumineers). One of my all-time favourite albums is Blue by Joni Mitchell. Oh, and I try to have live music at my book launches.

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

Stephen King, Angela Carter, Jeanette Winterson, John Fowles.

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

I have the vaguest idea of the shape of my story and I go from there. It’s a fairly organic process. I tend to layer up, if that makes sense. Start with the skeleton and then I put the flesh on the bones.

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

I do all kinds of research. In Rattle, a six-year-old boy suffers from Stone Man Syndrome, a debilitating condition in which one becomes imprisoned in a second skeleton of bone. I did an awful lot of research – including speaking to sufferers – because it was so important to get it right. I also spent a lot of time at the Natural History Museum and The Hunterian, both of which feature in the book.

For The Collector, I spoke to an oceanographer to better understand the movement of sand, I spent several weeks studying the life-cycle of real caterpillars and butterflies, and I placed a piece of paper with a message written in marker pen in a glass of seawater for a week to see if it would fade.

KR: Describe your usual writing day?

School run, breakfast, writing until lunch, a bit of admin, school pick-up, dinner, writing, reading, Jack Daniels.

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

I don’t write a lot of short stories but Sophie Hannah invited me to contribute to her short-story anthology Deadlier and I was pretty happy with that.

KR: Do you read your book reviews?

I don’t actively seek them out, but if someone sends a review to me I’ll read it.

KR: Any advice for a fledgling author?

Follow your own path and keep the faith.

KR: What scares you?

Loneliness. And running out of Jack Daniels.

KR: E-Book, Paperback or Hardback?

All of the above.

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

The Collector is a sequel to my debut novel, and it picks up three months from the end of Rattle. It’s set in the seaside town of Leigh-on-Sea, which I know well. We meet old and new characters, and for those who are looking for some answers, you might just get them.

KR: What are you working on now?

My third novel is set on an ordinary street where everybody hides a dark secret.

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.

Saul Anguish, a disaffected teenager from my new novel The Collector. He’s clever. Very clever. He’d make sure we survive.

b) One fictional character from any other book.

Who else but Robinson Crusoe? He has a lot experience.

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

Joni Mitchell. If she could play her guitar around the camp fire, that would be pretty cool.

KR: Thank you very much Fiona.

KR: Look out for what will probably be a back to back review of Rattle and The Collector soon!

The Collector by Fiona Cummins is the gripping sequel to Rattle.

Jakey escaped with his life and moved to a new town. His rescue was a miracle but his parents know that the Collector is still out there, watching, waiting…

Clara, the girl he left behind, is clinging to the hope that someone will come and save her.

Life has fallen apart for Clara’s mother as she starts to lose hope.

The Bone Collector has a new apprentice to take over his family’s legacy. But he can’t forget the boy who got away and the detective who had destroyed his dreams.

Detective Etta Fitzroy’s life collapsed when the Collector escaped. With Clara still missing, and a new wave of uncannily similar murders beginning, will she be able to find him again?

The Collector is back and this time he has nothing to lose . . .

The Collector is out NOW through PanMacmillan and can be found at Amazon UK & Amazon US

A serial killer to chill your bones

A psychopath more frightening than Hannibal Lecter.

He has planned well. He leads two lives. In one he’s just like anyone else. But in the other he is the caretaker of his family’s macabre museum.

Now the time has come to add to his collection. He is ready to feed his obsession, and he is on the hunt.

Jakey Frith and Clara Foyle have something in common. They have what he needs.

What begins is a terrifying cat-and-mouse game between the sinister collector, Jakey’s father and Etta Fitzroy, a troubled detective investigating a spate of abductions.

Set in London’s Blackheath, Rattle by Fiona Cummins explores the seam of darkness that runs through us all; the struggle between light and shadow, redemption and revenge.

It is a glimpse into the mind of a sinister psychopath. And it’s also a story about not giving up hope when it seems that all hope is already lost.

You can buy Fiona’s debut novel Rattle also through PanMacmillan from Amazon UK & Amazon US

Rattle & The Collector are also available via other retailers.

Fiona’s author page can be found here

Follow Fiona on Twitter @FionaAnnCummins

 

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