Written in the Scars cover image
Clic Sargent’s 10-day Get in Character eBay auction ends this weekend and is expected to raise thousands of pounds for children and young people with cancer
Over 70 popular authors are offering fans the opportunity to have their name appear in their forthcoming novels. In addition, super-fans also have the chance to bid on having lunch with Lee Child or afternoon tea with thriller writer Amanda Jennings. And aspiring writers can bid on the opportunity to have their work critiqued by other top authors.
The 10-day auction started on Thursday 26 February and ends on 8pm Sunday 8 March 2015. The highest bidders for each author buy the opportunity to have a character named after them in their next book, and immortality in print. People can also bid to have a character named after a loved one.
One of the fabulous crime writers taking part is Mel Sherratt and I’m delighted to welcome her to the CTG blog to answer a few questions about her writing and how she came to get involved with the Get in Character campaign. We’re also super excited that she’s given us an exclusive reveal of the fantastic cover of the book that the winner will have a character named after them in – WRITTEN IN THE SCARS (above).
So, to the interview …
CLIC Sargent is a great charity. How did you first get involved in the “Get in Character” campaign?
Last year, as part of a local charity event, I was asked to auction off a character name in my next book, ONLY THE BRAVE. One fabulous gentleman, Steve Burgess, bid £1000. I was so proud of this so when I was asked by CLIC Sargent to be involved with this auction too, I thought why not? It’s for a brilliant cause – I don’t expect to raise anywhere near the last bid but I would love to top the £100 mark.
Your latest book FOLLOW THE LEADER is just out, can you tell us a bit about it?
FOLLOW THE LEADER is about a serial killer who is one step ahead of the police while he seeks payback for his past. From the get-go, you have his point of view. There are a series of flashbacks before every murder that try to help you understand why that particular victim was chosen. But he’s playing a game too, leaving clues in the form of magnetic letters. It’s up to the police to work out either who he is or who the next victim is before it’s too late.
The novel’s underlying theme is bullying and how as impressionable teenagers, we either change or don’t change once we leave the school gates, and peer pressure, behind.
As part of the “Get in Character” auction you’ll be letting the highest bidder be named as a character in your next book. Can you tell us what that book will be about?
WRITTEN IN THE SCARS is about a family living on the notorious Mitchell Estate. It’s the fourth book in THE ESTATE SERIES. Each character has their own problems, pressures, hidden scars that define their past. Sometimes they are visible; sometimes they are burdens that they carry around with them.
So, you can’t see Donna’s scars left over from her broken marriage. You can’t see Lewis’s scars from his time in the army. You can see Megan’s scars but she won’t let you. And Mary can’t remember how she got hers.
If making a better future could erase the past, we’d all be for it, wouldn’t we? But as ever, there are consequences…
What was it that got you started writing crime fiction?
For me personally, police procedurals are about solving a crime, and getting justice, so I enjoy plotting the stories. But I want to show how crime affects individuals too. As well, the aftermath of a crime must be devastating for some and we all deal with things differently. By choosing dark and gritty characters, it allows me to dive into the unknown and twist everyday situations into ‘what if’ story lines.
I also enjoy writing about fear and emotion, and taking readers along on that journey with characters. Some characters they will like: some they will dislike, pretty much like in life itself.
I’m also a firm believer that there is good and bad in us all. It’s how we choose to use it, I suppose. As a writer, I like to take the ordinary and make it a bit extra-ordinary but still believable. I like writing domestic situations that have gone wrong too. Using different points of view can make stories far more emotional.
Which authors inspire you?
I am a massive fan of Ian Rankin, Peter James and Mark Billingham. I read their books for pleasure but also to study them – not only the police procedural elements, but how to hook, set scenes, work in red herrings and give out subtle clues.
As well, I enjoy books by Martina Cole, Elizabeth Haynes, Mandasue Heller and Lynda la Plante. I found amongst their pages women of courage – strong women who were often knocked down but would rally to get back up again. More recently writers such as Colette McBeth, Clare Mackintosh and C.L. Talyor have given me hours of pleasure.
What does the rest of the year have in store for you?
I have two books out with my publisher, Thomas & Mercer, during the first half of the year – FOLLOW THE LEADER and ONLY THE BRAVE. As well as that, I have one or two of my own books coming out – one of those will be WRITTEN IN THE SCARS.
Thanks so much to Mel Sherratt for dropping by and answering our questions.
The Clic Sargent’s 10-day Get in Character eBay auction ends at 8pm Sunday 8 March 2015.
To bid for the opportunity to have a character in Mel’s book named after you or a loved one, and help the campaign raise thousands of pounds for children and young people with cancer, hop on over to http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Get-Character-Named-Character-WRITTEN-SCARS-Mel-Sherratt-/201289396764?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&hash=item2eddc8721c