12 Sep 2016

Mrs chicken in the haunted cottage with Mrs Morton

Hello my little chickadees and how are we all today?

That headline sounds a bit like a Cluedo clue. 

On my blog this time we have B A Morton (our Babs) who not only lives in a haunted cottage but has a chicken called .... wait for it ... Mrs Chicken who wanders the garden at will.

How do I know it's haunted?  because I can see one of the past inhabitants at the top left window. (Yes i know there are people in the right hand window but can you see anyone in the left hand one? Some of you may.) It fascinates me to be honest and Babs and i have had many discussions about it over time.

Anyways enough about that. This is about Mrs Chicken. Er.... as you were ...  I mean Bab's writing and her ongoing affair with Michael Buble and chocolate.  Can I just put it out there that I also have a thing going on with Mr Buble and chocolate?

Right then lovely Babs tell me all about yourself....

Bio/ Where do you live?

Born in Newcastle, B.A.Morton (Babs)writes across a number of genres including crime, romance, horror and historical fiction. After a twenty year civil service career, she and her family escaped the rat race and relocated to Upper Coquetdale in the Northumberland National Park. She now lives in a haunted cottage built on the remains of a medieval chapel (The inspiration for her Wildewood Chronicles series).
A member of the Crime Writer’s Association and the International Thriller Writers, she is a self confessed crime fiction addict.

The Haunted Cottage

Pets – furry or human

Definitely fur and feather. We’ve always had dogs in our family and currently have a Border Terrier (our fourth child) and also look after our son’s Jack Russell on a regular basis. Both are rat assassins but have a healthy respect for Mrs C our pet chicken. We also have a number of very large goldfish which my daughter brought home from university when they were very small goldfish.

Mrs Chicken

What you do to chill out

We have a large garden which keeps us busy. I also dabble with crafty stuff (Dolls houses/furniture renovation etc.) I enjoy researching for my historical novels and of course I love to read. I enjoy crime fiction and lately I’ve been reading a selection of anthologies and short stories. It’s good to step outside your usual genre once in a while. Oh and I have been known to listen to a little bit of that chap Buble’.

Tee: Geroff woman!! He's mine I tell ya! All mine!

Day job

I used to work in the village surgery, until NHS cuts put the kybosh on that. Now I write full time. Which means I think about writing full time and write when I feel like it.

Tell me about your books. When you first started writing. How many completed. Work in progress?

I suppose like most writers I began writing at an early age, scribbling in notebooks at every opportunity, but my route to publishing came via Harper Collins Authonomy site where I met good friend and fellow crime writer John Holt who nagged me to enter The Yeovil Prize, a literary competition, and subsequently introduced me to my first publisher. I was introduced to my second publisher via another Authonomy friend Alfie Robins who writes cracking Northern crime fiction. My first novel, Mrs Jones, a crime novel set in New York, was published in 2011 and proved popular with readers. This was followed up with the next in the series Molly Brown. Since then I’ve also published one novel and three novellas in my medieval Wildewood Chronicles series (set in Northumberland and the Holy Land) Two North East based psychological thrillers Bedlam and Twisted were published last year by Caffeine Nights Publishing.
I always have a number of WiPs on the go, and tend to switch between them as the mood takes me. Currently these include follow ups to Wildewood, Bedlam and a brand new Newcastle based crime series. I also have a short story destined for a charity crime anthology being pulled together by Bloodhound Books which should be out in time for Christmas.

If you could have any animal from time immemorial as a pet for long freezing days and nights, what would you choose and why?

As I mentioned earlier, we’ve always had dogs and most have lived to be a good old age -18yrs plus. I couldn’t choose between them to be honest, so I’d have them all and they’d take over the sofa and I’d end up on the floor!

Do you prefer heat OR cold?

I guess it would have to be cold as I can’t be doing with hot weather, not that we get much of that in the UK. I like snowy days curled up in front of the log-burner with a dog by my side.

Fantasy holiday… Where would you choose to go if someone else was picking up the tab?

Australia, my daughter’s second home. She’s told us so much about the places she’s been to, we hope to visit at some point. I’d also like to catch up with much loved, Australian writer friend, Jacoba Dorothy, while I was there. Having said all that, I haven’t been on a plane since 1978 so it would definitely be an adventure. I might have to write a book about it…. Gullible’s Travels – one small writer and a big metal flying thingy.

Are you with a traditional publisher or self published?

A bit of both. When my first publisher closed, I re-published my earlier books through my own Twisted Ink Publishing imprint. The last two crime novels are with UK crime publisher Caffeine Nights and my short story, has been accepted by Bloodhound Books. I think it’s beneficial to scatter words widely.

Favourite meal (hot and cold)?

Hot would have to be a proper Sunday roast with Yorkshire puds, or homemade soup with dumplings…yum yum. Cold, come on…. brownies and icecream – obviously!

Tee: I can taste the roast and soup/dumplings from here.

Favourite drink (hot and cold)?

Hot – Hot chocolate with marshmallows of course and maybe some shortbread to dunk in. Cold - I’m not much of a drinker so it would be a soft drink, maybe something like homemade lemonade in a large glass jug with lots of ice, in the garden with strawberries.

How hard do you find book promotion?

Increasingly difficult and frustrating. There are so many books out there and without investing cash in promotion it’s very difficult to make any headway. I don’t find it easy to ‘sell’ and believe the endless self promotion often seen on social media, can have a detrimental effect on sales/readers. It’s a balance between letting folk know you’re there without boring them rigid.

Any tips or hints you’ve found that were successful for you in promotion?

I think it’s good to engage with readers whenever possible. Most popular writers have ‘teams’ loyal to their ‘brand’ who can help raise a books profile via word of mouth. Reading work at events, writers group etc helps to get the word out and sharing events with other creatives such as musicians and poets helps to extend your circle. If there’s nothing in your local area, then you could get together with other local writers and create your own event. Joining appropriate groups on FB and taking part in discussions is another good way to spread the word but don’t just pimp your books! Bottom line though – reviews are crucial.

Tee: OMG I've become a pimp !!!  :-) 

Favourite genres to read and write?

Crime fiction, twisty turny psychological crime, is my first choice to read and write. I love a tortured soul trying to do the right thing against decreasing odds. However I also enjoy historical fiction particularly the medieval period and love the research involved. I have a library of books on the crusades and the Templar knights.

You’ve set up your own publishing house using FB writer friends to help run it. What would you name it? Who would you choose to run the different departments? As the owner, how would you ensure the FB staff achieved success.

Well I already have my own publishing house Twisted Ink Publishing, but if I was to draft in some FB writer pals to help out, I’d have your good self on promotion and marketing, Tee. I’m sure you could twist a few arms up backs to get us the best promotional deals for the least dosh and make sure our books are in prime position in  every bookshop window – or else!(not that you’re scary… eeek! But there is rumour of a torture chamber and an online order for thumbscrews) 

Tee: Damnation I thought that was a reasonably well kept secret. Hm!

I’d have Reggie Jones on the entertainments committee, because he would keep our spirits up, and we’d probably need some high jinx by the end of the first day. Plus, he could help drum up some more business...boom boom. I’d have those two reprobates John Holt and Alfie Robins on the door, keeping the riff raff and e-book pirates out. As crime writers they know all the biz on dealing with undesirables – and getting rid of the bodies. 

Tee: Psst... I've got a body buried in my back garden - It's under the mock orange bush shhh

Audio versions of all our books would be produced communally (see Live Aid and Acorn Antiques) I will supply the coconut shells and reel to reel tape machine. Staff members would be rewarded for success with their own weight in chocolate and disciplined for any scallywag behaviour by having to watch said chocolate being scoffed by …erm….me! 

Tee: Babs your a woman after my own heart. (Thinks... Maybe I could use her in my torture chamber with that sadistic attitude)

Link to Amazon Author page    
Books written by B A Morton

I can certainly recommend the above books by Babs.

So for now

Laters Potaters


R.R.Jones said...

"scallywag behaviour"... I hinestly think that's the first time I've heard the word, "Scallywag" used in a conversation, outside of a pirate film of course :D :D :D
Lovely interview, ladies.xx

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for inviting me to share your torture chamber....erm...blog, Tee.
I had a blast :)


John Holt said...

Reprobate indeed - just as well for you that I don't understand the word. hat's the salary anyway.
Great interview - well done ladies

Alfie Robins said...

A good interview Babs, and good luck with the future work. Thanks for the mention.

Kristen said...

Lovely to hear from you Babs. Love your books and even managed to get the landlady from my local into reading Bedlam and Twisted. She thinks they are great.
Look forward to the next one.