Ian Skewis : A Murder of Crows -Author Guest Post

I am absolutely thrilled to welcome debut crime novelist, Ian Skewis to my blog today with a FANTABULOUS guest author post that absolutely screams at me right now!  It is about pursuing your dreams as a writer….and that is exactly what I am doing!  Ian’s debut cirme novel, A Murder of Crows, was published on  March 27th 2017.  I immediately pre ordered it once I saw the stunning cover and it is waiting patiently to be read on my kindle now! YAY! So as per usual, let’s find out a bit about the author and his book before delving into the guest post!

 

About The Author

Ian Skewis was born in Scotland and was a professional actor for many years before moving on to writing. His short story, Inkling, was published in an anthology called The Speculative Book and his debut novel, A Murder Of Crows, has been published by Unbound.

 

“Skewis skillfully creates an atmosphere of foreboding from the opening and doesn’t let go until, breathless, you reach the last page.” Michael J Malone

 

Keep up to date on all #bookish news by following Ian Skewis Books on Facebook 

 

About The Book

The most violent thunderstorm in living memory occurs above a sleepy village on the West Coast of Scotland.

 

A young couple take shelter in the woods, never to be seen again…

 

DCI Jack Russell is brought in to investigate. Nearing retirement, he agrees to undertake one last case, which he believes can be solved as a matter of routine.

 

But what Jack discovers in the forest leads him to the conclusion that he is following in the footsteps of a psychopath who is just getting started. Jack is flung headlong into a race against time to prevent the evolution of a serial killer…

 

In Search Of Dreams…

 

Everybody’s got a book in them, haven’t they?
How many times do we hear that? Few people ever actually write their book though. Once they begin writing their story they realise just how difficult it is. It’s a lot of hard work! To illustrate just how hard, here is my own personal account of how I became a writer…
How many times do we hear that? Few people ever actually write their book though. Once they begin writing their story they realise just how difficult it is. It’s a lot of hard work! To illustrate just how hard, here is my own personal account of how I became a writer…
My story began in 1979.
I was 9 years old and coming back from a country walk with my parents when we discovered a dead man hanging from a tree. My father phoned the police and my mother kept me away from the scene – but I could still see the man hanging there from a distance. Ever since then the countryside has taken on a distinctly dark impression…
Soon afterwards, my imagination began to rewrite reality, filling in the details that I could not see whilst my mother was holding me at bay. Even now, in my mind’s eye, it’s as if I am looking up at the man, quite close, and he is wearing a tweedy overcoat and he has a cap on his head. My mother recently confirmed at least some of these details, but that’s not what’s important, what’s important is that the event sparked a narrative in my young mind, and not only mine – all the local kids began talking excitedly about ghosts that haunted the place where the poor man was found. It very quickly entered into local urban mythology. It fused itself into my skull and the beginnings of a novel were born…
In 1989 I started writing for a local free paper and had some articles and poems published. I also began writing a graphic novel and training at art school. I failed in my studies because I was more interested in writing my proposed novel than studying, and after 18 months I left, tail between my legs, unsure what to do next. By the early 90s I was training to be an actor and once I found my way into drama school the graphic novel was dusted down and transformed into an 80 page stage play. I successfully graduated in 1998 and became a professional actor and the stage play attracted interest in some quarters – but I grew disillusioned with acting. I felt that all too often I had little creative input and I grew increasingly frustrated and so I retired from it in 2004.
A friend said very perceptively at the time that I was ‘writing as an antidote to acting’ and she was right. The stage play was shelved – but not for long.
I then got a ‘real job’ and continued writing whenever I could – I was still determined that this story of mine would see the light of day. I wrote on buses, trains, planes, in tents and hotels, at home and abroad.
In 2009 I finished the first full draft of what would become my debut novel, A Murder Of Crows.
I then came ‘out of the closet’ as a writer proper in 2013 and joined various writing groups and was elected onto some committees. I wrote some short stories along the way and began to have some acknowledgement of my work. Then in 2015 I wrote a sci-fi short story which was published in an anthology called The Speculative Book. I was thrilled. Proper published at last! I got up and read it in front of an audience – my first public performance in 12 years. Their response was very kind and enthusiastic and it gave me the courage to continue. And courage is important. Another thing that prevents some writers following through can be a lack of confidence – that small but insistent voice in your head telling you that you’re simply not good enough, who wants to read your work anyway, who on earth do you think you are – at least that was my experience. My advice is that whilst an inner critic is a perfectly acceptable and useful thing to have, listening too much to such thoughts can threaten to destroy your dream, so take it with an objective pinch of salt.
At the same time my short story was accepted my novel was attracting interest – this time by a publisher called Unbound – a traditional publishing house with a crowdfunding platform. I was gobsmacked. They have a huge rejection pile (or slush pile as us writers call it) and they wanted my book! I had three months to raise over £3.5 grand! It was a very daunting prospect and a full time job in itself, but we did it. Family and friends came to help and I was amazed at the kindness of strangers too, some of whom lived on the other side of the Atlantic or beyond! Then one or two well well known names came forward and gave my (very long term) project some credence, which it might not have had otherwise. Happily, the book was funded two days in advance of its deadline. It was exhausting and it’s an exercise that’s not for everyone. But I was very glad to have done it. It also meant that I really had to get to grips with social media in order to spread the word, which for any writer nowadays is a very important tool to have – more on that later. The funding paid for the book cover design and the editing. The former was great fun and I had a lot of creative input too. The latter was hell, another uphill struggle, especially for a novice like me. But once completed the book was in far better shape.
Then A Murder Of Crows was published.
When I signed the contract it was always intended to be published in digital form only – and then, a shock – rumours were circulating that it was going to be produced as a paperback too! I’ve always preferred physical books and having my story published as a paperback was at the top of my bucket list – quite literally a dream come true!
And now A Murder Of Crows is out there. I’m still pinching myself. I haven’t had the chance to rest on my laurels, however. The marketing of a book is another full time job and I’ve done numerous interviews, blogs, book launches in Waterstones and several other stores. It’s had very positive reviews on Amazon and in the Herald and there’s plenty more exciting things in the pipeline. But all this has taken a huge amount of effort on my part and this is another thing that writers are increasingly expected to do – self promote. Even with the bigger publishers, writers need to be media savvy and help publicise their own work. Again, this isn’t for everyone. This is another very good reason for having a good social media base. But in the end I’m just happy that there are people out there who ‘get it.’ They are enjoying the story. That alone has made it worthwhile. I’m now working on a sequel and several other projects too. Who would’ve thought?
And I love it, in fact, I am obsessed with it. Writing gives me a much wider palette to work from than acting ever did. I can create entire worlds now and that is very liberating.
So, in the end, what am I trying to say?
If you want anything badly enough you can do it. It takes courage and stamina and it might never be easy but it’s there for you – all you have to do is chase it.
All the best in your endeavours,
Ian Skewis.

 

A HUGE thanks to Ian for stopping by my blog today and I absolutely LOVED the guest post!  If Ian’s novel has piqued your interest, just click the book below!  

 

 

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