Thursday, 31 March 2016

Sleep Sister by Laura Elliot 

Release Date: 31st March 2016
Publisher: Bookouture
Genres: Psychological thriller

I am thrilled to welcome June Considine / Laura Elliot to the blog today with a fab author interview! Let's find out about her new book first though!

Two childhoods destroyed.  One story they will never tell.  Until now.
Beth ran away from her family when she was a teenager. She left behind a terrible evil that took her innocence. She also left behind her sister, Sara.
When Beth returns home, she is shocked to discover her terrible secret is not just hers alone…she shares it with Sara. Under the shadow of a remote headland, the sisters make an oath they promise never to break.
Eva’s birth is a mystery that remains unsolved. Years later with her marriage in ruins, and her future uncertain, she realizes that to move forward with her life, she must first understand her past.
But while Eva is drawing closer to the truth about her roots, Beth and Sara’s lives are falling apart, crushed under the weight of the secret they carry. They must confront the past and face the darkness once more. But this time, their story will be heard.


Do you write under your real name or is this a pen name you use?

I write under the pen name, Laura Elliot. Under my own name, June Considine, I write books for children.  Some years ago a marketing decision was made by a publishing house, who were interested in publishing my adult novels, that this  name was too synonymous with children’s  literature and Laura Elliot was born. 

Where are you from?

I’m Irish and live in a coastal village called Malahide on the north side of Dublin.
List 3 interesting facts about yourself.
(1) I’ve a dark imagination which is at variance with my life style but it makes people wonder what exactly I get up to in my spare time.
(2)I’m not psychic - yet I sometimes wonder if there is a mysterious force in my life that forces me to pause at times and wonder. Two examples come to mind. I stayed in a house in Arizona for a month when the owner was abroad. I’d no idea of the house’s history but I became obsessed with the belief that I’d accidently set it on fire. I pulled out plugs every time I went out and had a threatened heart attack whenever I heard a fire brigade. When we met afterwards the owner told me that her house had been maliciously  burned to the ground some years previously and rebuilt on the same site. Psychic or coincidence – who knows? 
Another strange experience occurred when I was driving one day along a country road without my seat belt. I suddenly remembered a friend of mine who had died in a car crash. She hadn’t been wearing her seat belt but she came into my mind with such force that I pulled into the side of the road to fasten my belt. Less than a minute later I rounded a bend, driving slowly, but, for reasons I’ve never understood, my car went out of control. It hit an embankment, turned upside down and righted itself, spun out into the centre of the road and narrowly missed a car coming around the same bend. I suffered a slight neck strain and no one else was hurt. I don’t believe in an afterlife and yet…and yet… 

What was the first thing you ever had published?

A poem in the local parish magazine when I was eleven.

Do you have a writing routine?

I’ve a very disciplined writing routine. I rise early and am usually at my desk by seven-thirty.  I finish around four in the afternoon but it usually takes about thirty minutes before I re-enter the real world. I write a first draft, making changes as I go along, then rework that draft as many times as is necessary. I can usually recite the opening pages off my heart by the time my manuscript goes to print. 

Do you have any writing rituals? 

Baking break when I’m beginning a new novel. I never can decide if that is either a highly symbolic ritual or a bad case of procrastination, but the urge usually ends about three weeks later when I’ve settled into my new book. I burn scented candles in my writing room and leave scribbled notes about my characters littered around my desk. Oh, and coffee…more coffee… 

Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?

True-life events can sometimes act as a catalyst and help me to begin my stories. But that event will be distilled during the writing process and will be unrecognisable by the time my book is finished. Sleep Sister was inspired by a tragedy in the 80’s when a fifteen-year-old girl was found dead beside a grotto, with the body of her new-born son beside her. I was profoundly shocked and saddened by their deaths, and, decades later, the fate of this young mother remains a vivid memory. But my book is fictitious, as are the characters and the location. 

Who was the first person you shared your book with? 

My husband. He takes over the running of our home when my deadline looms and is always the first person to read my work. 

Do you have a current work in progress?

Yes. I’m writing a novel about the media and how the pursuit of a story can destroy lives. And how the person whose life is destroyed exacts revenge. 

Do you have any advice for budding authors?

If you have a strong idea for a novel don’t talk to others about it - write it down. Don’t worry if your writing seems clich├ęd or your characters one-dimensional. Just capture that initial rush of creativity. There’ll be plenty of time later for redrafts. 
Plan your novel. Will you have one narrator? If so, be aware that he/she can’t see around corners or through walls so that may limit the scope of your story. If using two or more points of view make sure that each narrator has a distinctive voice that stays in keeping with their personalities.
Be disciplined. Even if it’s only three hours on a Saturday morning stick to it. Once you’re focused, it’s amazing what can be achieved in a short space of time.
Begin with a hook that fills your reader with an immediate sense of anticipation. Be prepared to ruthlessly edit…edit…edit, especially the passages you admire but are actually clogging up your narrative. 
Allow your characters free rein but always remain in control. No matter how dark their lives, or how far removed their situations are from your own experiences, you can still draw deep within yourself  to relate to them.
Dialogue is a powerful medium for moving your story along but the exchanges between characters should be pithy and meaningful.
Can you sum up your novel in a sentence? Try it.  Most publishers like a concept, a plotline that is easily grasped – and it also clarifies the core of your story in your own mind.
It’s essential to have a passion for writing. Why else would you consider chaining yourself to a computer for a year or more?
Most importantly, enjoy what you’re doing and try not to be too disappointed by rejections. They are part and parcel of a writer’s apprenticeship – and if you believe in your ability as a writer, it you see it as a skill that can constantly be improved, then there is a publisher out there waiting to fall in love with your book.  

About the Author

Laura Elliot is the author of five best-selling novels, Fragile Lies, The Prodigal Sister, Stolen Child, The Betrayal and her most recent novel, Sleep Sister. Her books have been widely translated and she has ghost written a number of high profile non-fiction books.
Aka June Considine, she is the author of twelve books for pre-teens and young adults. Her short stories have been broadcast on  RTE’s Fiction 15 series and have appeared in a number of teenage anthologies. She has also worked as a journalist and magazine editor.
She has a grown-up family of three and lives with her husband Sean in Malahide, Co Dublin.

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