Saturday 12 September 2020

Blog Tour: Interview with Author of Siren Song Rebecca McKinney @BexMcKinney @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Siren Song by Rebecca McKinney. I have an interview with the author to share with you here on the blog and if you like the sound of that, you can click here to order your copy now. Don't forget to check out the other blogs on the tour by following the hashtag for more exclusive content and reviews.

Here's what it's all about...

A man who glimpses other people’s inner worlds, and a woman who can foresee death. Can they trace a missing girl before the worst happens?

Harrison Jones is a university lecturer with a secret: he moonlights as a psychic detective. Amy Bell is a paramedic who has the uncanny knack of knowing things are going to happen before they do. From their first accidental meeting on an Edinburgh bridge, both of their lives are destined to change.

Harrison invites Amy to help him investigate the disappearance of a beautiful young singer. The search will lead them into the murky world of human trafficking, from Edinburgh to the streets of Athens, and into the darkest corners of the human mind…

Are you ready for that interview?

First question-bit of a cliche-how did you get into writing?

When I was a kid, I wrote and illustrated a mythical story for a local library competition and won it! (I may have been the only entrant). I’ve been writing since then, off and on through my teens and twenties. At university, writing fiction was a bit of light relief from academic work. I wrote my first novel in my late twenties. It remains unpublished. Call it a practice piece!

Do you write full time & if so, have you always done this?

No. I still need my day job to pay the bills. However, I work with people and they give me plenty of inspiration. Working from home during lockdown has made me question whether I’d want to write full time. I miss people!

Do you have a particular writing style or genre that you prefer to write?

I get bored easily, so I enjoy changing genres in both my reading and my writing. My earliest stories were always fantasy, since that’s what I read most in my teens. Then I switched over to more gritty realist fiction, which is how I would describe my first two novels. Siren Song is an experiment for me: crime infused with a psychic, paranormal element. It’s been a lot of fun to break the rules.

How do you develop your characters as you write, are any of them based on real people?

I tend to start with a loosely-formed image of a character in my head. They can be inspired by real people, or by characters from other books, films, or whatever. All of my characters take some inspiration from people I’ve met, but they’re more like composites.

What was the inspiration behind your book?

After I published my last novel, The Angel in the Stone, I launched straight away into some really heavy realist stuff set in the United States, where I grew up. Then I hit a bit of a block and spent some time not writing, and watching a lot of dark grown-up superhero stuff on TV: Daredevil, etc. I was also doing a college counselling course, so learning a lot about psychology and empathy. That’s when Harrison Jones emerged.

What is your writing process-do you plan it out first? Write a bit at a time?

I don’t have much of a process. I just sit down and write. It’s necessarily a bit at a time, because I have to fit it in around work and family life. I sometimes try to force myself to plan ahead of time, but it never works very well. I often write my plan at the same time as I’m writing the book.

How much of you is reflected in your writing?

A lot, but not always in the places you might think… I believe that to write convincing characters, you have to be able to draw on your own emotional experiences.

What kind of research did you have to do before/during writing behind your book?

I read a bunch of crime and delved into quite a few websites that might have me on some kind of watch list now…

How much attention do you pay to the reviews that you get?

I’m still new enough at all of this to pay attention to reviews. I’d be a liar if I said I’m not upset by a bad review.

Are friends and family supportive of your writing?

Very. I’m lucky, because it’s a pretty antisocial activity. My mother is an artist and art teacher, so I grew up with the encouragement to express myself creatively. My husband and son are both musicians, and my daughter is a dancer, so we all try to support each others’ art.

How do you feel leading up to your publication day?

Like I'm about to strip naked and walk out in public.

Which other authors inspire you or are there any you particularly enjoy reading?

I’m pretty fickle and I like to share the love. I can leap between young adult fantasy to literary fiction and enjoy it equally. It depends on my mood. I always say that my all-time favourite novel is The Shipping News by Annie Proulx. There is something magical about the way she conveys such depth of emotion and experience in short, quirky, blunt sentences. She hooks you into the lives of these oddball characters, living on this storm-tossed fringe of Newfoundland, and wraps you up to such an extent that you want to go there. As a little token nod to her, Harrison Jones (the main character of Siren Song) was born in Newfoundland.

Likewise, I love Barbara Kingsolver for much the same reason. And Iain Banks. And William McIlvanney. I just finished Queenie, by Candice Carty-Williams, and I’ve started Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie series.

Finally...what are you working on right now?

Number two in the Harrison Jones and Amy Bell series. As ever, I have about three other novels bubbling away in the back of my head.

About The Author

Rebecca McKinney is a writer, therapist and community development practitioner, living and working in Midlothian, Scotland. She shares her home with her husband, two teenagers, three cats, and a growing collection of musical instruments. 

Previous novels:
The Angel in the Stone: shortlisted for the Highland Book Prize, 2017: Sandstone Press
Blast Radius: 2015: Sandstone Press

Thanks so much to Rebecca for stopping by the blog today!

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