Friday, 26 February 2016

Blog Tour: The Silent Girls | Ann Troup

Hello folks, I am super excited today to be a part of the blog tour for 'The Silent Girls', the latest novel by the lovely and talented Ann Troup. As many of you already know, I love interviewing authors so Ann was kind enough to agree to answer some of my questions. So make yourself a brew, get comfy and have a read.
Hello Ann, thank you so much for agreeing to an interview, I am pleased to welcome you to my blog.
Thank you for having me, I’m very pleased to be here.
So tell me a little bit about yourself, where are you from and what do you write?
I currently live in Devon, but I was born in Gloucester. I’m on the move again this year, so who knows where I will end up? I write women’s fiction with psychological/crime elements, or at least that’s how my books are categorised. From my personal point of view I just write stories of the kind I like to read. I hope other people will enjoy them too.

What can you tell me about your latest book ‘The Silent Girls’?
The Silent Girls is a fairly dark tale that explores the effect of secrets and lies on a community. It is set fifty years after a series of grisly murders which have left a terrible legacy for the residents of the fictional Winfield. The women who were murdered are long dead, but their constant and silent presence has allowed rot and moral decay to flourish in the area. Every character is affected by the past and cannot escape it, even when they think they have discovered the truth.

Where do you find your inspiration for your wonderful books?
This is always such a hard question, it’s difficult to pin down a single answer. Each book usually starts with a character who takes shape in my head, I never write about real people as such, but it would be true to say that all my characters stem from people I’ve met and known - I cherry pick the traits that I find interesting and mould someone new from them. The plots stem from what if situations. For instance The Silent Girls begins with the death of an elderly reclusive woman who devoted her life to caring for her mother and brother. Why would a woman choose to do that? What motivates that level of self-sacrifice? Equally I like to look at situations and surmise the effects they might have on a wider group. How does a community overcome the legacy of a serial killer? Does it ever fully recover? So, in short my inspiration always comes from picturing a situation, populating it with characters and exploring what might happen if… There is always a tiny grain of truth in there somewhere whether it be a set of circumstances, elements of the characters or an actually happening that panned out differently in real life.

What can you tell me about your typical writing day and what your process is?
I’m definitely a planner, I spend a long time working out time lines and plot. When I’m writing I do allow the characters to bring their own twists into the story, but I do stick to the essence of the plan because there’s nothing worse than a total re write when you’re working to a deadline.  I’m horribly undisciplined about my writing day, but usually sit down in the morning, write, break for chores and go back to it throughout the day as new ideas strike me. If I’m on a roll I will write all night sometimes. If I’m stuck I may only get a few hundred words out in a day. It’s important to me that writing is always a pleasure, the day it becomes a chore is the day I won’t want to do it any more so I always try and make it an enjoyable process.

Do you have your own special Writer's Room?
I have an ‘office’ (which sounds very grand, but is my daughters old bedroom that has fast become the room of requirement, in that it’s where we put everything we don’t know what to do with but can’t throw away!) I mostly write in there, however as long as I’m comfortable and the muse is present I can write anywhere at home. I’m not someone who can write in public, say in a coffee shop or library - I’m too nosy and would spend way too much time people watching and not writing.

Can you tell me about your journey to publication? How did that all happen?
Some years ago I self-published a book, it was a decent story but wasn’t really ready for publication so I took it down and sat on it for a few years - I’m still sitting but it hasn’t hatched yet! Self-publishing taught me a lot about what people want from a book and how complicated the publishing process really is - you can’t just throw a book out into the world and expect it to fly. I carried on writing but did nothing with it until January last year. I had written The Lost Child and my resolution for 2015 was to pitch it and see what happened, I wanted to go down the route of traditional publishing. So, at the end of January I sent the book to an agent and a publisher, my plan was to send it out to two agents/ publishers at a time and await the rejections. If it hadn’t found a home in that year, I would think again, use any feedback as constructive criticism and start again. To my immense surprise and excitement Carina offered on the book within two weeks - on the day I received my contract I received a rejection from the agent. I’m very self-conscious about telling this story because I know that other writers have fought for years to get their chance. I have been immensely lucky and fortunate and am grateful every day for my opportunity.

What can you tell me about your publisher Carina UK an imprint of Harper Collins, and what are they like to work with?
Carina are lovely to work with, the editors are enthusiastic, encouraging but pull no punches when they think something needs work. They are a relatively small imprint, but work tremendously hard to build their authors and will take chances where other imprints might not. Digital first has a fast turnaround and deadlines can be tight, but it’s a thrilling challenge and very exciting to know that your book will be out in months not years but that every aspect of the process will receive thorough attention. I came on board with Carina just as Harper Collins took over so it’s been interesting to be part of the transition. I visited the HC offices in the News Building last year, which was a brilliant experience - so many books and mine is one of them!

What do your family and loved ones think of your success?
Haha, like most people they think that unless I achieve JK Rowling’s sales there hasn’t been much success! To be fair, they are very pleased and proud that I’m doing something that I love and enjoy earmarking my royalties for their own ends ;) My wider family are very surprised at how little authors earn per book - friends and family seem to be far more interested in how much money, whereas I am more concerned about how much enjoyment readers get from my books. The other notable comment form friends and family is that if I can do it, so can they - anyone can write a book, right?

Are there any particular career highlights or funny moments you would like to share?
Haha - I did outsell Lee Child’s latest book for a day back in September! My funniest, or most embarrassing moment, came last May. I had inadvertently, having not even realised I’d entered, won tickets to Crimefest in Bristol. So off I trotted… being the polite sort I thought I ought to thank the people who had sponsored the tickets, Goldsboro books, so I spent some time waffling rubbish at the man selling the books and expressing my gratitude for the opportunity, blah blah. He was very charming, affable and tolerant of the bonkers blond woman who was taking up his time. It was only when I got home that i clicked that I’d been waffling like an idiot to David Headley - dream agent extraordinaire! Duh! Possibly a badly missed opportunity there… My other funny moment was the lowlight of myself promo - talking about the book during a mammogram. Well, she asked what I did for a living - nothing like trying to flog a book whilst someone is manhandling your boobs! As you can see, my professional writerly persona needs considerable work!

So what’s next for Ann Troup? I would love to hear what is coming up for you.
Two more books! I’m currently working on my third for Carina, with a fourth due later this year. So in 2017 I will have four titles out. In the meantime I’m looking forward to meeting up with other authors and you lovely bloggers at various events this year.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions Ann, it’s been wonderful having you.
Thank you for having me - it’s been my pleasure.

Blurb: What if everything you knew was a lie…

This house has a past that won’t stay hidden, and it is time for the dead to speak.

Returning to Number 17, Coronation Square, Edie is shocked to find the place she remembers from childhood reeks of mould and decay. After her aunt Dolly’s death Edie must clear out the home on a street known for five vicious murders many years ago, but under the dirt and grime of years of neglect lurk dangerous truths.

For in this dark house there is misery, sin and dark secrets that can no longer stay hidden. The truth must come out.

Finding herself dragged back into the horrific murders of the past, Edie must find out what really happened all those years ago. But as Edie uncovers the history of the family she had all but forgotten, she begins to wonder if sometimes it isn’t best to leave them buried.

An unforgettable and addictive story, perfect for fans of Lesley Thomson, Diane Chamberlain and Tracy Buchanan.

About Ann Troup: 

Ann Troup tells tales and can always make something out of nothing (which means she writes books and can create unique things from stuff other people might not glance twice at). She was once awarded 11 out of 10 for a piece of poetry at school – she now holds that teacher entirely responsible for her inclination to write.

Her writing space is known as ‘the empty nest’, having formerly been her daughters bedroom. She shares this space with ten tons of junk and an elderly Westie, named Rooney, who is her constant companion whether she likes it or not. He likes to contribute to the creative process by going to sleep on top of her paperwork and running away with crucial post-it notes, which have inadvertently become stuck to his fur. She is thinking of renaming him Gremlin.

She lives by the sea in Devon with her husband and said dog. Two children have been known to remember the place that they call home, but mainly when they are in need of a decent roast dinner, it’s Christmas or when only Mum will do. She also has extremely decent stepchildren.

In a former incarnation she was psychiatric nurse, an experience which frequently informs her writing. She has also owned a cafe and an art/craft gallery. Now she only makes bacon sandwiches as a sideline, but does continue to dabble with clay, paint, paper, textiles, glue…you name it. Occasionally she may decide to give away some of these creations (you have been warned!).