I’m delighted to introduce my guest author today, Keri Beevis who writes incredible mystery novels and has just released a standalone title called The Darkness Beneath, available HERE.
Over to Keri…
The Fun Stuff:
What part of the world do you come from?
I am a Norfolk girl through and through and I live in Norwich, just a couple of miles from the house where Anna Sewell wrote Black Beauty.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was four or five I had aspirations of being a waitress. My dad had grander ideas though and pushed me towards what he considered to be a more glamorous career, as an air stewardess (or ‘waitress in the sky’ as he ingeniously called it), but that plan was never going to get off the ground given my fear of flying.
I was probably about ten when I knew I wanted to be a writer, though it wasn’t until I read Stephen King’s Misery while on holiday as a teenager that I thought I would like to give novel writing a go.
List three words to describe yourself.
Optimistic, competitive and laidback
Who would play you in a film about your life?
It would have to be Robert Downey Jr. Great actor, incredibly likeable, and if he can pull off playing an Australian method actor portraying an African-American sergeant in Tropic Thunder I’m sure he will have no problem getting into character as a klutzy, cat hair covered thriller writing spinster from Norfolk.
What’s your favourite snack food when writing?
Given my obsession with food I am pretty disciplined when writing. I tend to get caught up in the story and forget to eat or drink. Of course this does mean when I finally stop it is usually ridiculously late and I fall back on the good old frozen pizza and glass of wine combination.
If you had a super power, what would it be?
I gave this question far too much thought and am still torn between two superpowers. I love the idea of being able to teleport. No more getting stuck in rush hour traffic or having to pay for flights or train fares. Being able to move objects with my mind would also be a good one. I’m far too lazy to fight crime though and would probably just play pranks on people or fetch things I can’t be bothered to get up for.
The Sensible Side:
Tell us a little about yourself. (How did you get started writing? What do you do when you’re not writing?)
I was pretty shy at school and daydreamed my way through all of my lessons. Outside of school I lived in a world of movies and books. As I never really wanted to do anything other than write I found myself at fifteen years old with no career plan. Over the years I have been many things, from a video rental store assistant to the world’s worst hairdresser (seriously, you would be better off letting Edward Scissorhands loose on your locks), an entertainment agent, a caricaturist and a contractor for a travel firm. The one constant through all of these jobs was a love to write.
I wrote my first novel at age twenty and bombarded every publisher and agent I could find. This resulted in several flat out rejections, but some gave encouragement telling me I had potential and to persevere.
Four more novels followed and a few more rejection letters. Along the way there was a brush with an unscrupulous publisher, a break with a top agent and an almost deal with one of the big guns. This ended with another blowing rejection and I quit my dreams for a while, convinced they were over. As I grew older and blonder (it covers the grey nicely), I swapped books for cats and red wine, though the urge to write never left.
Then five years ago I entered the Rethink Press New Novels Competition. I almost didn’t enter, as I lost two thirds of the Dead Letter Day manuscript from my computer and only had a paper copy. Taking a chance I submitted the first 10,000 words and rallied family and friends to help type the rest of the book up. The efforts paid off my novel won a publishing contract and I took away two important life lessons from the experience. Never give up on your dreams and always use back up discs.
When I’m not writing I enjoy pub quizzes, meals both out and in with family and friends, anything supernatural (I once did an overnight ghost tour at Dudley Castle, which I loved), and chilling with my two little feline ladies, Ellie and Lola.
Where did the inspiration for The Darkness Beneath come from?
My previous two books, Dead Letter Day and Dead Write, had been part of a series and I knew I wanted to try something slightly different and do a standalone story. Both DLD and DW had been fast paced with the twists and turns of the plot taking precedence over characterisation. With The Darkness Beneath I tried to keep the premise simple, thinking back to the books and movies that had scared me when I was younger. My new book is my take on the classic creepy house theme. It also has more characterisation and I would class it as more as a romantic mystery thriller than a crime thriller, though I guess it still falls in both categories. Although the story still has plenty of twists and turns, my main goal was to make my readers fall in love with my characters then start fearing for them as I slowly cranked up the tension.
What do you like the most about writing mystery and crime?
Scary has always appealed to me, though I am definitely more of a fan of psychological thrills and chills over blood and gore. I love Hitchcock and how he could scare audiences with the most innocuous of things. There was never going to be another genre I wanted to write in. I find something intensely satisfying in attempting to create plots that have readers scratching their heads as they try to figure out the twists and the turns, while hopefully keeping them on the edge of their seats along the way.
You’ve also written two books in the Rebecca Angell series (Dead Letter Day, and Dead Write). Is The Darkness Beneath the start of another series?
The characters in The Darkness Beneath have been my favourite so far. The book is set on a small island and it is supposed to be a standalone story, but I have to admit there is a temptation to return to Purity if I can come up with a suitable plot.
Can you give us a brief excerpt of The Darkness Beneath?
It had been a good night and for the first time Nell felt confident in her decision to return to Purity. Although Caleb had never been far from her thoughts, it hadn’t stopped her enjoying herself.
Closing her bedroom door behind her, she pulled her t-shirt over her head throwing it on the bed and stepped through into the bathroom, turning on the shower. As the old pipes of the house groaned and the water heated, she kicked off her jeans and looked around for the grip she needed to pile her hair up. Spying it on her dresser in front of the window, she made her way back into the bedroom. As she clipped her hair up, she glanced out into the road. A car was parked at the end of her drive. Was Luke still there?
What if it is Caleb?
She quickly stepped back from the window, conscious she was in her bra and panties, in full view of whoever it was. Clicking off the light she returned to the window.
Sam Kent sat in the driver’s seat of the car, staring up at the house.
Nell sucked in a deep breath. What the hell was he doing out there? She recalled their earlier exchange: ‘I wish I could go back and take her place.’
‘So do I, Nell. So do I.’
Momentarily she debated what to do. Should she go outside and confront him, ask him what the hell he wanted? Maybe call the police? He wasn’t breaking the law though, he was just parked in
the street outside her house. As she wrestled with what next, Sam started his engine and pulled away. Nell shuddered with relief and reached for her bathrobe, deciding before she stepped into the shower that she would first go downstairs and check, for a third time, that all of the doors were locked.
Through the window she watched his tail lights disappear into the night.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I am still debating on my next project. I have three or four ideas in mind, most of which are mystery thrillers, while one is a supernatural mystery, so watch this space.
How can we contact you or find out more about your books?
Blurb for The Darkness Beneath:
“A gripping, edge of your seat author who always delivers.” – Heidi Swain
Lizzie Kent wasn’t supposed to babysit the night she was murdered. She was covering for her best friend, Nell O’Connor, so Nell could sneak out and meet her boyfriend. Nell has had to live with the guilt ever since.
Eighteen years later and Nell returns to Purity Island, desperate to escape a bad relationship. She has inherited her aunt’s rundown guesthouse and hopes the island will offer her sanctuary and a fresh start. Her return isn’t welcomed by everyone, though, in particular Sam Kent, who blames Nell for his sister’s death. A few unsettling incidents soon make it apparent that someone is trying to spook her.
Is Sam responsible or has Nell’s abusive ex-boyfriend managed to track her down? Or is it someone with a more sinister agenda?
Someone with a dark secret they will go to any length to keep hidden?
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