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Finding a way through the maze; e-marketing for beginners.

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Most writers are more familiar with pencil and paper than they are with the internet, but amazingly enough, us bookish types are slowly getting the hang of this new technology revolution.
I’ve recently released my eighth novel and am forcing myself to concentrate on my digital marketing for a few days. This aspect of the job doesn’t come naturally to me. However, the more I find out about pay-per-click advertising campaigns and pinterest walls the more I begin to like it.
Adding new contacts through WordPress, Facebook or LinkedIn is a sociable process, especially for someone like me who once lived in Central London and enjoyed the non-stop socialising the city had to offer but now lives out in semi-rural Essex and has two children under ten. Folk who go into work each day might not appreciate the thrill of receiving a message from a fellow writer/publisher in the United States. It’s very exciting. And relatively easy to get involved in. Most of these sites are free to use and navigate novices through the joining process in a very straightforward way.
What I particularly enjoy are the social media platforms which encourage creativity and design. This suits writers and authors perfectly. For example, I have pinterest walls for photographs of places which have inspired my books. I’ve also created a step by step guide to the design of my covers. It’s informative and interesting and only obliquely related to book sales.
Don’t be afraid of trying it out. Writing the books is the difficult bit. The marketing and social media aspect is actually a lot of fun and if you give it enough time it really works.

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Writing a ghost story

An old dark haunted church tower.

Having written seven novels in two different crime series, I was ready to try something new. I have always enjoyed atmospheric ghost stories, especially those with a historical element to them, so I decided to attempt something similar in my new book.
At first, I decided to make it a standalone, set in my native north Essex and in a boarding school similar to the one in which my husband works and where I used to teach. But as I began the planning phase, I realised that the story would fit very well with my husband and wife sleuths Imogen and Hugh Croft. So I devised the idea of creating a ‘story within a story’, so that Imogen could be told about events from the past and then investigate them in the present day. To this end, the book is separated into two distinct parts.
This format was also used in one of my favourite books from childhood, ‘The Autumn Ghosts’, which I have tried to track down but seems to have long since gone out of print. There must be a copy in someone’s loft somewhere but I’ve not yet come across it. So, ‘The Ghost of Marchmont Hall’ is also a homage to this long lost story of my childhood and as such, also contains a romance spanning several decades.
In preparation for writing my ghost story I downloaded some classics of the genre, including the short stories of MR James and The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. These books were useful in helping me to create my ghost and in building an atmosphere of creepiness and dread. I hope the end result is suitably effective because I really enjoyed writing it.
I also read an article by Susan Hill, author of the fantastically successful, Woman in Black, which gave some great tips on creating the literary ghost.
I was keen that the story of Marchmont Hall fitted with the spirit of the Imogen and Hugh series. I wanted a pyschological element to the story and the context of an event from history. But I found that these themes corresponded perfectly with the tale of the haunting of Laurie Saunders at the boarding school where she spends a summer in 1992. I’m hopeful the book slots in well with the rest of the series.

As an experiment in writing, I found the process enjoyable and a challenge. I will definitely want to try out some new genres again.

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