Tell us a bit about your latest book.
I’m the author of killerbyte and terrorbyte, the first two books in a series about FBI Special Agent Ellie Conway. Both books were released in 2009, I think it’s best if I tell you a bit about them both. After struggling with the best way to do that I’ve settled on using excerpts from Bookwenches reviews.
Killerbyte was launched on April 10th 2009 and is now a finalist in the 2010 EPIC awards mystery and/or suspense category.
“FBI Agent Gabrielle Conway is no stranger to death threats. She seems to get them daily and from a poetry chat room of all places. Although she thinks it strange how people will get so worked up online that they would resort to such actions, she never really took any of the threats seriously. That is, until someone from her chat room showed up on her doorstep with murder on his mind. The police manage to chase him away, and Ellie believes that the incident is over until a dismembered body shows up in her trunk accompanied by a cryptic and poorly-written poem.
A series of emails and yet another gift of an incomplete corpse convince both Ellie and the FBI that she is being stalked by a madman. Now she is under the protection of both her own agency and her boyfriend Mac as they work to discover exactly who the killer is and to apprehend him. As the killer plays a twisted game of cat-and-mouse with Ellie and Mac, the body count grows. People Ellie knows from her chat room as well as agents she works with are beginning to show up dead, and the FBI is completely unable to track the murderer down. To make matters worse, evidence is beginning to point at someone she cares very much about. Mac and Ellie both know that if they don’t nab this killer soon, the deaths will begin to include family…as well as themselves.” – Bookwenches (an excerpt from the killerbyte review June 2009)
killerbyte: When a poetic psychopath starts hunting and killing patrons in Special Agent Ellie Conway’s chat room, Ellie finds herself embroiled in an invisible killer’s twisted plan and battling to keep her sanity.
On November 10th 2009, my publisher, Rebel e Publishers, launched Terrorbyte – the second Conway book.
“After over a year of hard work, FBI Special Agent Ellie Conway and her husband, Special Agent Mac Connelly, have finally opened the Butterfly Foundation, which is dedicated to supporting the children of mentally ill and bipolar parents. The high they are riding comes to a crashing end, however, when Ellie is called to a murder scene the very night of the dedication. Ellie’s no stranger to death and the evil of others, but the scene that greets her takes her breath away. Not only is the murder victim staged, but the killer has written lines from one of Ellie’s own poems on the walls and has left her a personal message on an innocuous blue post-it note. The poetry and the notes are eerily reminiscent of a case Ellie solved a year ago.
It is summer in Virginia, and hurricane season is right on top of them. As the weather turns nasty and water pours from the skies, the murders continue. Ellie, promoted to Supervising Special Agent for this case, realizes with horror that the victims are linked by one factor: they are all involved with the Butterfly Foundation. Somehow the killer is using her beloved project to locate and target his victims, making a mockery of the sense of safety and support that the foundation was created to foster. Complicating issues is the fact that Ellie is suffering side effects from an old head injury. She is assaulted by dizziness and migraines, and strange fragments of songs and television series that dance through her mind, leading her to conclusions on the case that are almost bizarrely accurate.
As Ellie, Mac, and their team work to identify and stop the killer, it becomes evident that he is watching them and is leading them on a complex trail designed to distract and obfuscate. But what is he trying to distract them from? Their investigation will uncover a truth that is not only bigger than Ellie could have ever imagined, but it is also her worst nightmare.” – Bookwenches (an excerpt from the terrorbyte review Jan 2009)
Terrorbyte: Ellie Conway is back: wisecracking, kicking ass and using her psycho-prophetic talents to grapple with a murderer with ulterior motives, secreted behind a series of grotesque crimes.
What are your marketing strategies?
That’s actually quite a difficult question. Being eBooks (print is coming but I don’t have a date yet!), marketing is entirely internet based. I do interviews, guest blogs, seek out my target audience wherever they may be lurking and hope I can engage them enough to buy my books.
I’ve received some fabulous advice from other writers at Backspace (http://bksp.org/ ) as a result I have made available PDF versions of the first chapters of both books via my website. So you can try before you buy. I also offer free short stories involving my main characters, I wrote one for Christmas and one for New Years and no doubt will have a Valentines story ready for Feb 14th.
Some days it feels like I am everywhere on the internet. Even my main character has a MySpace page, http://www.myspace.com/EllieConway and she is an occasional twitterer.
What other writing interests do you have?
I do occasionally write short stories. I have had a number of them published over the last few years. I used to write poetry but haven’t done that in a while.
All up, I have written ten novels, five of them are Ellie Conway books. I even have a New Zealand set spy novel sitting here waiting for me to get back to it. I’m hoping that the inclination to revise and polish that will overtake me sometime this year.
And outside interests include tie-dying, reading, music, and long walks on the beach. All right not the last one, we live near a park – so it’s more playing on the swings than long walks.
What advice do you have for new writers?
You can’t learn to write without writing. You will make mistakes. There will be moments of intense self-doubt and you will want to quit. Push on! Start again if you have to. There is no shame in tossing a manuscript in the bottom draw and starting again – it’s called learning. Put in the time, believe in yourself, listen to those you trust to tell you the truth and be honest with yourself about your shortcomings and strengths. It doesn’t matter how many books you read about writing if you’re not going to actually sit down and write you will get nowhere.
Very few people get it right the first time.
Grow a thick skin. Seriously, it helps, and you’ll find out why soon enough.
It can’t hurt to get some writing credits under your belt either, before you start shopping your novel. If you’re writing fiction – try writing some short stories and get those placed in magazines or ezines. (Always cool to be able to put a publishing history in your query letter to an agent or publisher.)
Don’t isolate yourself! Constructive feedback is essential, so seek out writing groups, online, in life… whatever works for you.
Writing is something you shouldn’t do if you don’t love it. The publishing world is hard. The business can be heartbreaking and demoralizing then turn on a dime and throw out rainbows and fluffy bunnies.
I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
What is your all time favourite book and why?
Just one? I don’t know that I can pick one. How about this, as a young teenager my favorite book was The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. I had the biggest crush on Ponyboy. I must’ve read that book at least six times.
Currently my favorite book is – well, that’s pretty hard to answer actually, pick a book written by Jeffrey Deaver, anyone will do. I think so far I have loved them all – he makes me think.
I am also a big fan of Janet Evanovich’s Plum series. I’ve read them all several times each and they still make me laugh.
Where can people find out more about you and your work?
You can pop by my website, which is http://catconnor.wordpress.com/
There is a lot to browse through over there, including downloadable short stories and sample chapters of killerbyte and terrorbyte. Oh and if anyone fancies a wee look at some fun book trailers, I have those there too. (I will supply the blood recipe if requested)
My publisher’s website, where you will find a bio and information on both novels. http://www.rebelepublishers.com/
There is a Facebook fan page. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cat-Connor/76140493745
I blog several times a week about all manner of things, not just writing. http://catconnor.blogspot.com/
Anyone twitter? Addictive isn’t it? You can reach me by twittering @catconnor.
It’s getting so if you turn around twice and poke out your finger – you’ll hit me on the ‘net!
Anything else you'd like to add?
Thank you for having me over, I’m really glad I managed to visit without snorting coffee or otherwise embarrassing myself.
I enjoyed your questions, Jo. Here’s hoping y’all have a wonderful 2010.
What are we calling this year, twenty ten or two thousand ten? Well whatever you decide to call it, I hope it’s all you wished for.