It’s my pleasure to have as my guest today on “Chatting with the Pros” bestselling suspense thriller author John Nicholl. His works draw from his own true life experiences as a law enforcement officer and child welfare social worker in Wales. John has written seven thrillers and every one of them has seen the bestseller list. Please help me welcome him now. Maybe we can learn some of his secrets to becoming a bestselling author.
Kaye: Would you share the story of your own publishing journey?
John: I self-published initially. When that went better than expected, I partnered with a literary agent and signed a publishing deal. Further books followed from there.
Kaye: What do you think is the single most important element in a story?
John: The hook is crucial. I try to capture the reader’s attention from the very first page.
Kaye: What time of day do you prefer to do your writing? Why?
John: I write in the morning. It’s when I’m at my most creative.
Kaye: What is the biggest challenge in writing psychological thrillers for you?
John: My books sometimes engender memories that were, perhaps, best left in the past.
Kaye: What elements of storytelling do you feel are specific to the thriller genre? Are there particular elements that are specific to psychological thrillers?
John: Psychological thrillers explore the extremes of human behaviour.
Kaye: Anonymity is described as intense and terrifying; White is the Coldest Color as violent and brutal; Portraits of the Dead as disturbing and compelling; The Girl in Red as haunting and unsettling. Where do you get ideas for your stories?
John: I began my working life as a young police officer, and subsequently trained as a social worker. I worked in child protection for about twenty years after qualifying. My writing draws heavily on those experiences.
Kaye: Thrillers are action-packed and filled with conflict and tension. What techniques do you use to keep the story moving, the readers on the edges of their seats, and the pages turning?
John: I try to keep the stories as fast paced as possible, without too much padding. Quality is more important than length!
Kaye: How do you decide the titles for your books? Where does the title come in the process for you?
John: Inspiration comes from different places. The title of White is the Coldest Colour, for example, came to me when listening to A Whiter Shade of Pale on Radio 2.
Kaye: Is there anything unique or unusual about your writing process?
John: The words come into my head as if channelled from somewhere else entirely.
Kaye: Your latest release was The Girl in Red, which came out in March. Would you like to tell me a little about this book?
John: The Girl in Red is a dark tale of domestic violence, and the extreme lengths that one woman goes to, to escape her tormentor.
Kaye: Every one of your books has been an Amazon bestseller. What’s your secret?
John: I’ve had a lot of luck. And the book blogging community has been wonderfully supportive. I’ll always be grateful for that.
Kaye: Are there any particular thriller authors that you fashioned your writing style after as you approached writing in the thriller genre?
John: I mostly read historical biography and stories of real-life experiences that are out of the ordinary· Castaway by Lucy Irvine is a particular favourite. I’ve read it three times over the years.
Kaye: What are you working on now? What’s next for John Nicholl?
John: My next thriller, The Girl in White, will be published by Bloodhound Books this year. The release date has just been bumped up to September 4. It’s the story of a secret, quasi-religious cult hidden deep in the beautiful West Wales countryside. Hopefully, readers will like it. I’ll keep my fingers crossed!
I want to thank John for joining me here and sharing with us today. You can learn more about John and his bestselling thriller novels on his website, on his Amazon Author page. or on his Goodreads Author page. Join me on the third Monday in July, when we’ll be celebrating crime fiction and my “Chatting with the Pros” author guest will be Jenifer Ruff.
You can catch the monthly segment “Chatting with the Pros” on the third Monday of every month in 2019, or you can be sure not to any of the great content on Writing to be Read by signing up by email or following on WordPress.