Friday, 25 October 2013

Debut Spotlight: Tori de Clare

Today in my debut spotlight featuring I'd like to introduce you to Tori de Clare who published her debut thriller book Either Side of Midnight earlier this year.

Tori de Clare is UK author of Either Side of Midnight, a mystery/suspense thriller. It is currently in the adult and NA sections of the market. Tori's career has been in music. She has privately taught piano and theory of music for the last twenty-five years and is passionate about the Romantic Period, especially the works of Chopin and Rachmaninoff. Mum of four and one of seven children, Tori finds little time for hobbies outside of family, reading, writing and teaching. Her very busy life gives her the perfect excuse to opt out of ironing and all forms of keep-fit. The only working out she does is how to avoid accompanying her husband to the gym. For ever. Daughter of two pianists, music was destined to be her career. Her father died when she was 18 and always aspired to being a writer. Either Side of Midnight is dedicated to him, and to her mum who taught her to play the piano.

Can you tell us a little bit about Either Side of Midnight?
Either Side of Midnight is a mystery/suspense thriller, unapologetically written for women and young women, or NA as they are now called. It’s the story of a 19-year-old music student, Naomi Stone, who is abducted on her wedding night by a masked man. She finds herself in a deserted cottage and doesn’t know where she is, what has happened to her husband, why she’s been snatched or whether or not she’ll ever get out alive. Even though it’s written in third person, my personal preference, I wanted it to be from the viewpoint of the victim. She has no idea what’s going on in the outside world, so the reader doesn’t know either. She doesn’t know about her family’s reaction, the police hunt, or the whereabouts of her husband. So the reader doesn’t know either. The story goes back twelve months to when she started at music college and met her husband for the first time. As the plot unfolds, time shifts between the events leading up to the wedding, and her time in captivity. 

Where did the inspiration come from to write about a kidnapping?
Honestly? The plot for Either Side of Midnight occurred to me one morning in about ten minutes flat. I didn’t know the intricacies of the plot in that moment, but I had an outline. It was a simple idea that would become quite complex as I developed it. I suppose in all of us, there is a deep fear of being taken, or simply being separated from those we love. We struggle to comprehend the powerlessness, the terror and the trauma. With no first-hand experience, I wondered if I could plausibly put myself in the shoes of such a victim. While we hate to hear news stories of kidnappings/abductions, we can’t tear ourselves away from them either. It’s fascinating to know how someone might deal with a situation of intense stress, and how they might handle fear. We wonder how a person copes with the unimaginable. As far as my personal safety goes, I don’t compromise. I lock my car doors when I’m driving at night, I don’t walk around in the dark, I have the house secured even during the day. At the root of all of our fears is the fear of death itself. What worse way to go than by being snatched suddenly away from everything comforting and familiar? I suppose, subconsciously, I must have wanted to face my dormant fears from the security home, whilst hiding behind the comfort of my laptop! And it was great fun. I loved every minute of writing that book.

How long did it take from the start to finish to write and then self publish the book?
It took me a year to write Either Side of Midnight. I wrote it purely for the joy of writing. I had no plans at all to self-publish. I’d written another book (ESoM is the second book I’ve written) and that book went to two big literary agencies in London for a full review. There was a total waiting time of 8 months. During this time of personal suspense and a long period of waiting and desperately hoping – to keep myself amused and out of mischief, I started to write Either Side of Midnight. My ‘life’ (or my future) was in the hands of another – or so it felt at that time. Maybe this mystery/suspense perfectly mirrored my feelings and the powerlessness of my situation back then. I finished ESoM in September 2012. I took almost another year to edit it. No one edits their book once. You hack and chop and polish and chop some more. Then you go back and repeat the same process. Basically, it’s a never-ending process, but at some point, you just have to tell yourself enough is enough. Finally, in July of 2013, having learned about Kindle Direct Publishing, I decided to turn it over to the general public for analysis. It was a very scary moment indeed – when you send your baby out there and just hope it’s mature enough to hack it in the real world. Like a parent, you always hope you’ve done enough and simultaneously feel you could have done more. 

Are you currently working on a new book? If so, can you tell us anything about it?
When ESoM had been online for a few weeks and was doing rather well, I thought seriously about editing and releasing my first book, which is a paranormal suspense. But I changed my mind. With no original intentions of making ESoM anything but a one-off thriller, I am now planning to write a sequel. I’m so busy promoting ESoM that getting writing time is difficult. But a plot is germinating inside my head as I go about my busy life, and sometime very soon, I’m going to start writing a follow-up. There feels to be unfinished business! Plus, I think that the readers would much prefer me to write another book in the same genre. People, when they like something, want more of the same. It’s human nature. You wouldn’t offer someone a milk chocolate then spring from the kitchen five minutes later with a slice of apple. I don’t know about everyone else, but when I’ve had one chocolate, I’m pretty keen to get my teeth into some more. So, I think it would be more prudent of me to write another grounded suspense book and not leap into a world of paranormal activity just yet!

Either Side of Midnight seems to fit into the crime/thriller genre, are you interested in writing in other genres? 
As I’ve explained, yes, I have already written in another genre. I’m not sure which one I enjoyed the most. I just enjoy the whole process of writing in general. Thrillers, by nature, are exciting. It was exciting for me to get lost in that story every day. I set out to write a page-turner. I challenged myself to construct a really good plot – a mystery that would keep readers guessing the whole way through. I hope I succeeded. But, in truth, I’m the last person to make that judgement. The ability to be objective about my own work left me a long time ago. I don’t read erotic books and I tend not to enjoy chick-lit and romances (though I dabble occasionally). I really enjoy books that either grab me by the throat in the first chapter (Lee Child never fails to do that for me), or that fascinate me by their utter literary genius. I could never hope to write a book that qualifies for the latter category, and so my tactic must be to grab people by the throat! It is such a thrill when people tell me that I succeeded in hooking them in. I love to think that I was instrumental in them losing a small chunk of their lives in my world. Let’s face it, we invest a lot of time in reading even one book. We expect to have a relationship with the characters; we anticipate a journey, a buzz, a satisfying conclusion where our hero/heroine has triumphed. We expect a lot, and it’s always my great pleasure to feel as though I’ve delivered. Bringing pleasure to people is what I’m about. So I think I might stick with suspense for a while longer!

WHAT IF THE BEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE TURNED INTO YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE?

When nineteen-year-old Naomi Stone is snatched from her husband at knifepoint on the night of their wedding and taken to a deserted cemetery, she knows her life is finished. Drugged and disorientated, she loses consciousness as she lies in an open grave with a gun to her head. But the following day, she mysteriously awakes to find herself unharmed and secured to a bed. She's in a beautiful bedroom in a secluded cottage in open countryside. Only one person knows she’s there – the man in the balaclava who’s holding her, feeding her, revealing nothing. Naomi senses the unfolding of a plan. She should be on honeymoon in the Caribbean. Instead, she’s trapped with an emotionless psycho with no hope of escape . . . And his voice is chillingly familiar. 

Who is he? What does he want? What's happened to her husband? Where is she? Will anyone find her before it's too late?

Do you like the sound of Either Side of Midnight?  Why not pick up a copy today as Tori is running a free promotion today and tomorrow and leave a review once read.

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