About the Book
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Publisher: J.M. Brown
Release Date: February 2015
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Mary Elizabeth Grange, also known as Beth to her friends, is little more than a child when she is noticed.. Her lanky, developing body and her childlike ways do nothing to dissuade his hungry eyes and his needy imagination. She glides through life happily, doing what happy teenagers do, but to him she becomes everything. Every flip of her long curly ebony hair, every smile, every gesture speaks to him as he quietly moves in the shadows, for no one ever sees him. His small, inconsequential world narrows even further, real life recedes. Fantasy, like a blazing fire consumes him. Then their worlds collide in one brutal and obscene act as he brazenly flings reality aside and allows the delusions to totally devour him. Her world destroyed, Beth must fight for her very sanity. Then at the farthest end of her nightmare and many miles away, happiness and love are finally within her reach. Much to her bemusement, she starts to receive flowers from a secret admirer. Things start to take on a darker tone and she senses anything but affection from the gifts being left to her. But how can this be related in anyway to the vicious serial killer in her home state who is killing women that look so much like her? The answers will only be attained if she dares to fight the biggest battle of her life
Please join me in welcoming author J.M. Brown to Socrates’ Book Reviews. JM is the author a new psychological thriller, Pretty Maidens All In A Row. We are very happy she is visiting with us today.
Welcome, J.M.! Thank you for stopping by.
1) First, when did you know you wanted to write books and thrillers, in particular?
I was always an avid reader. The kind of books I read were by Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Kathy Reich, Tammy Hoag, James Patterson, authors of mystery and suspense. Then, when I started my medical career as a nurse in the psychiatric field, I took advanced courses to understand the workings of the human mind and all its intricacies. With this knowledge I developed a lot of storylines in my head and kept notes so that when the time came for me to retire I could begin to write novels based on my thirty years of counseling mental patients. I always had the desire to write. It started at an early age in school.
2) Who is your greatest influence in your writing life?
I would have to say that Stephen King was my all time greatest influence. His way of weaving together suspenseful stories and intricate plots in my opinion, is unsurpassed by any other author.
3) What else have you written?
I have written plays for local schools when my kids were younger. I have nothing else published but I do have another novel almost completed. It is another nail-biter about a young girl who has a near death experience and recovers to find that she has developed a gift or curse and can communicate with those who have passed on, shall we say. Of course, there is a killer and yes, she has visions of his victims but there is a tangled storyline involving everyone around her and a mysterious man.... .. I can write fluently about this from experience as well because I was clinically dead one time about fifteen years ago when a surgeon accidentally cut a main artery during a surgery I was having at the time. I almost bled out and my heart stopped for a while and what I witnessed at that time has given me some strange occurrences ever since. A lot of events in this novel will reflect some of my own personal experiences.
4) How did you make the leap from being a psychiatric nurse to an author?
When I retired from the psychiatric profession I had time to start doing what I enjoyed doing. I started up a greenhouse business, which is my other passion, and that kept me busy in the spring and summer months but In the fall and winter I had to keep busy doing something else. I guess thirty years of working instills a drive in you to keep being productive so I decided to take out all my notes that I accumulated over the years while working at mental facilities and started outlining some stories from them. I have a lot of stories to write. That field of work is fascinating once you understand how the mind is supposed to work and what’s going on when it doesn’t.
5) Who are your favorite authors and what are your favorite books?
I think I may have answered that one in question number one and I think the best book I’ve ever read was “The Stand” by Stephen King. There are other authors that I didn’t mention but I always liked something weird or twisted and especially a story that keeps me guessing. I love surprise endings and I try to do that in my own novels. “Pretty Maidens All In A Row” has readers thinking that they know who the killer is but....
6) Where do you do most of your writing? Can you describe the setting for us?
My writing is done on my laptop while relaxing with a drink or a snack in my den. The temperature is warm and cozy. The cat is curled up asleep on the pillow with me most times and only wants the occasional smoothing down. There’s something about a cat purring that relaxes me in a quiet setting. Puts my mind at ease. It’s not even my cat. My daughter has taken up with a guy who is allergic to them and the cat became less a priority for her. She still loves her cat but now it lives with me. I always had cats even as a child.
7) How long does it take you to write a book?
My first book took me a year to perfect. I am from Canada and a part of the novel deals with the law enforcement system in the United States which is very different from our own. I had to do a lot of research on that. Even when I had it written I got my husband, who is very educated academically, to read it and critique it and he pointed out some major things that I should change and also some parts I should get rid of. He has been a great help to me. I took some of his suggestions and built a better novel with them. After that I tried to get an agent and was very close to getting representation by Curtis Brown Literary Agency in New York. They had done a lot of deliberating on taking my novel and after a long while decided not to take it on. When I asked why this decision was made they sent me a critique and explained which parts of the novel that needed work and agreed to take another look at it when I fixed it up and rewrote it. Anyway this took another three months to try and polish the novel to their standards but by then it was a busy time for them with book fairs and conventions and they decided that they had enough on their plate. That was a big let-down. That’s when I decided to self-publish. If it was good enough for that big agency to work with me on it I thought it was good enough to put it on Amazon.
8) How did it feel when you first became published?
When I published the novel I was a bit scared that I might be even more disappointed because it’s very hard going it alone in a big arena like book publishing. This was the business handled, before this new wave of self-publishing, by professional people who had all the contacts and know-how to get books in the hands of publishers and readers. What did I know about making that happen? Absolutely nothing. So I dug in and started researching the ins and outs of getting exposure for my novel and wrote to other authors, joined reading groups, took part in forums and submitted my novel to Amazon reviewers and other reviewers blogs to try and get some feedback to see if the novel was going to go anywhere. It sure felt good when some great reviews starting coming in. Most people who read the novel I sent for reviews had nothing but good to say. The reviews are still coming in and now sales are starting to do better due to postings on many of those reviewer’s blogs, Goodreads and Amazon. It’s a very satisfying feeling to know you have people reading it and actually liking it.
9) Do you plan to write other genres?
The only other genre I would even consider is paranormal but there would only be a touch of it there because I have to write something that’s believable and not conjured up. As I mentioned before, my nearly finished novel revolves around the paranormal but it is mostly a suspense/thriller. I think a blend of the two makes for a good story.
10) Can you give us a sneak peek at your next release?
That too was answered in question three. I’d like to mention also that all of my titles will be part of a nursery rhyme. “Pretty Maidens All In A Row” and the title of my next novel: “They All Fall Down.” Mary, mary quite contrary how does your garden grow? And Ring around the rosie....Ashes, ashes they all fall down. That theme will be my calling card you might say.
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