I C Camilleri is a medical doctor and author living in the UK. Her novels include The Blake Soul, The Blake Curse, The Blake Mistake and Week of Lies.

Time to chat with Isabella!

What is your latest book?

Week of Lies was published just over three months ago. It is a revenge thriller and romance set in London and it spans a fateful week of lies and deceit. The opening chapter takes us to New Year’s Day where Beth Banks wakes up to find her father dead in their multimillion pound house in London. It appears to be a suicide, but Beth has her doubts. She looks back on her previous week, her introduction into the cryptic world of Rob Menezes, the righteous law graduate desperately seeking a living, the man she has grown to love and trust despite his many facets. She sets out in search of the truth and she uncovers a dark secret that could radically change her life.

What else have you written?

My first novel, The Blake Curse, was published in 2012. A year later it was nominated for The People’s Book Prize UK, a national competition voted for by the public. After a three-month vote The Blake Curse became one of the three finalists in the Summer 2013 Collection. The next two books in the Blake series, The Blake Soul and The Blake Mistake, were published a year later. Each book could be read as a stand –alone and they could be classified as supernatural thrillers with a romantic background.


How much research was involved in writing your book? How did you go about it?

I use my medical background to mould the backbone of all my novels. The susceptible young mind lost to alcohol and drugs features in The Blake Curse. The sanctity of human life is highlighted in The Blake Soul. The detrimental effect of childhood psychological trauma features in The Blake Mistake. And the dangers of internet pornography are highlighted in Week of Lies. I try to raise awareness…whether I succeed to do this in all my novels remains debatable, I guess, but the intention is there.


What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? The least?

I absolutely love that first eureka moment when the idea for a plot starts to germinate. I shut myself in my own world and start to craft scenes and characters. That is where I’m at my best, my happiest moments….which will eventually shatter as soon as the novel is finished and I have to market the book. I absolutely abhor marketing and I’m pretty bad at it too. I guess I was born lacking sales techniques but I try to fumble along, learning from experiences and believing, perhaps naively, that the books will sell on their own if they are good enough.

Is it important for you to know the ending of a book before you write it?

No, not really. I usually have a skeleton outline and the story often adapts and changes as I go along. But that’s the way I do it, others might prefer otherwise.

Some writers edit excessively as they write; others wait until a novel is finished to do the bulk of the editing. How about you?

I think I do a mixture of both, adapting as I move along the storyline. But generally I try to give it a good edit in the end.

Do you dread writing a synopsis for your novel as much as most writers do? Do you think writing a synopsis is inherently evil? Why?

Yes, I dread writing the synopsis, those few precious sentences that are meant to capture the soul of the whole novel. I think that ideally it should be written by someone with a business marketing brain rather than the creative author who knows too much about the story to express it so succinctly.

Do you have any advice for first-time authors?

Writing a good book is the first crucial step…but that is not enough. A business strategy and marketing experience is equally as important. So yes, I would advise to research that side of publishing a book.

Please, tell us about your experiences with social media. What are your favorite and least-favorite parts of it?

Twitter is my main marketing tool. I like socializing and getting to know different people across the globe in between tweets about my novels as well as promoting other authors. I do Facebook too but I find it a bit dry and restricting. I have no websites of my own, I’m still trying to get down to it but time is a commodity these days.

What do you like best about the books you read? What do you like least?

I like a good storyline with powerful characters whatever the genre, be it thrillers, romance, historical novels etc. I am extremely versatile. I read anything and everything and I try to see the beauty and art behind every little book or article I read. There is always something to learn. However, I hate waffling and technical jargon and I tend to skim read over that. I’ve got a science oriented brain and I tend to prefer novels that get straight to the point without a lot of unnecessary words.

Where do you live now? If you had to move to another city/state/country, where might that be?

I was born on the Mediterranean island of Malta but I moved to the UK more than sixteen years ago. Do I regret the move? No, not really. I miss my little island in the sun but I love the rolling green hills of Britain too. I might go back to my roots when my end is near but I’m still thinking about it!!!

If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do?

You would probably find me immersed in a book had I had the luxury of being invisible and doing whatever takes my fancy. And I would probably read all day too. I wish I could say I would also go cycling or swimming or something equally active but I guess I can’t lie. I should be promoting exercise but alas, listening to music and reading are my only other interests.

What are three things you think we can all do to make the world a better place?

Tolerance, kindness and consideration….in other words to think hard about the consequences of your own actions and always do to others what you would like them to do to you.




Amazon U.K.

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An architect by training, Nicholas is the holder of a PhD in Digital Architecture from the University of Edinburgh. He’s an avid reader, a web developer, and now, an author.

Nicholas loves to write. He lives in Athens, Greece, in the middle of a forest, with his wife, dog and two very silly cats, one of whom is always sitting on his lap, so please excuse any typos in his blog posts: typing with one hand can be hard. Mercifully, all his books are professionally edited.

Time to chat with Nicholas!

You write sci-fi, epic fantasy, and children’s stories. How did you choose the genres you write in? Or did they choose you?

I love the way you put it –our genres choose us! You’d be surprised how many authors have told me that they start writing with one genre in mind, only to end up with something completely different.

In my case, Jules Verne was my first love and I grew up with sci-fi and fantasy (and children’s books, obviously), so I feel pretty comfortable with those genres. Also, I can allow my creativity and imagination to run wild. A planet with blue trees and green skies? Not a problem… 🙂

What is your latest book?

I know you asked about just the one, but I have two coming up. I just published my first children’s book, Runaway Smile. It will be traditionally published in Greek, but self-published in English.

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Runaway Smile was released yesterday, and to celebrate I have a link to allow friends and bloggers to read the whole book online. If they like what they see, I hope they will help generate some buzz.

Then, I hope to publish my fourth book of my epic fantasy series Pearseus shortly afterwards.

What are the special challenges in writing a series?

I have the memory of a goldfish, so naturally I assume that my readers do, too. I discovered it’s hard to remind readers who everyone is and what their backstory is every now and then, without the book becoming one long exposition.

Particularly at the beginning of a book, or when you reintroduce a character who’s been absent for a book or two, you have to jog the reader’s memory. I use simple descriptions when we first meet an absent character. For example, I might say the character’s name in one sentence and their relationship to another character in the next (for example, “ ‘Hey Bob,’ I said, glancing at Mary’s father”).

Since book 3, however, I have also included a list of characters at the beginning. I also submitted the list to Shelfari, thus enabling X-ray (a Kindle feature that allows one to be reminded of names and characters) in my books.

Cover Box Set (1-3) 500

Do you write under a pen name? If so, can you tell us why?

As I’m notoriously shy, I inserted my middle name initial as a pen name, thus creating author Nicholas C. Rossis. I theorize that only a criminal mastermind will be able to tell that it is I in fact, Nicholas Rossis, who pens the books.

If you were to advertise your book on a bumper sticker, what would it say?

Buy my books and I’ll give you cookies*.

* By that I mean the little files that lurch in browsers, but no one reads the fine print, right?

What else have you written?

I love short stories, and have published The Power of Six: 6+1 short science fiction stories. I have also translated the Tao Te Ching into Greek, and have published that as well. I give away the book in electronic format for free through to encourage people to read it, as I love it.

Several short stories of mine have been published, as well.


What do you think some of the greatest misconceptions about indie authors are?

That we have it easy. In fact, it gobbles up most of my time, especially since I’m determined to do it properly.

At the same time, the second misconception is that it is an expensive hobby. There are many people who are more than willing to help new authors, and it can be almost cost-free to self-publish.

How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?

Too often for my liking! As the joke goes, you do everything you can to raise them right, and as soon as they hit the page they do any damn thing they please!

The worst case of this was with one of my characters in my second Pearseus book. I had his whole future all planned out, then he went and got himself killed. It took me weeks to iron out the consequences.

Is it important for you to know the ending of a book before you write it? The title?

I have tried to plot everything in advance, I swear. But as soon as I sit down, the characters start going their own way and things get out of hand pretty fast. With my third Pearseus book, I thought I finally had the process figured out. In fact, I even wrote the ending first.

Needless to say, when I reached it again, after writing the rest of the book, I had to change everything…

As for the title, it’s usually the very last thing I come up with. If you know of a good title for my fourth book? It’s almost ready, and I’m still undecided. I think I’ll ask my blog followers…

After working for a very long time on a novel, many authors get to a point where they lose their objectivity and feel unable to judge their own work. Has this ever happened to you? If so, what have you done about it?

Absolutely. In fact, I doubt that any of us is capable of judging our own work. That is why I use beta readers and a professional editor/proofreader. Their insight is invaluable, and they never fail to pick things I had missed.

However, one of the risks is using too many beta readers. For my first book, I used as many betas as I could find. Literally, dozens of people.

Now that I have penned half a dozen books, I only use five people. My rule of thumb is that I change without a second thought anything they have all commented on; with a second thought anything four have commented on; grudgingly anything three mention and only if I agree whatever is mentioned by two people. I listen to anything mentioned by just one person, but feel I can safely ignore.

Please, tell us about your experiences with social media. What are your favorite and least-favorite parts of it?

By far, my favourite social medium is my blog. I’m very active in most social media – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn – but when I blog I feel at home.

My social media secret recipe is simple: be real, be fun, be helpful. If you do that, you don’t even need to discuss your books.

The other day I was hosting a Facebook event for one hour. I had invited my friends, and decided to use that hour to promote their books. So, I asked them one after another as to what their books were about, then we chatted about the future of publishing. The hour flew by, and I still hadn’t mentioned my books.

With five minutes to spare, I pasted the links to my books, saying a simple, “if you want to know more about me or my work, check this out.”

I sold eight books that day, without even trying. How many do you think I would have sold, had I pestered people with “buy my book” messages for an hour?

Do you have any advice to a new author if they asked you whether to pursue the traditional route to publishing or to start out as an independent writer?

Yes. Try both and see what works for you. But don’t waste years waiting for an agent or a publisher to come back to you. It’s just not worth it anymore. Besides, you have better chances at being picked by an agent or a publisher if you already have an established presence.

In fact, the other day I was reading this in an interview by the founder of Blurb (a self-publishing service):

“Traditional publishing is becoming a hits business like Hollywood. They want to bank on box office, so if you’re a mid-list author, God help you if your last book didn’t sell a bunch, because you’re not going to get a deal.

“If you’ve never published before and are handsome or beautiful and 21 and have a big social network, they might take a flyer on you because your book could be the next Hunger Games.

“And if you’re a bestselling author, they’ll take you, too, because you’re the Brad Pitt of the publishing industry and people will just buy your book because it’s by you. But for everyone in the middle, good luck.

“That’s a huge population of people coming to Blurb now because they’ve had it up to here. They know they’re not going to get any marketing. There are no more advances so they’re not even making any money on the front end and they figure they’re going to have to do all the marketing anyway.”

Having our work out there to be judged by strangers is often daunting for writers. Do you have any tips on handling a negative review?

Sure! Don’t! 🙂

Seriously, don’t bother. Some people will hate your books. Other will love them.

I have a one-star review for Pearseus: Schism. This person felt so strongly about it, that they published their review in every single Amazon shop there is, from India to Japan. They said the book was so bad, that they stopped reading when the giants showed up.

There aren’t any giants in any of my books.

I still don’t know what happened there…

What are the most important traits you look for in a friend?

I have a very simple criterion: I like someone who’s happy for me when I’m happy, and sad for me when I’m sad.

If you are a TV watcher, would you share the names of your favorite shows with us?

Two series are my favourite when it comes to writing: Gilmore Girls and West Wing.

As for what I currently watch, the list is rather eclectic and includes, among others:

Sherlock, Castle, NCIS, Game of Thrones, Bones, Suits Unforgettable, Big Bang Theory, Mike & Molly, 2 Broke Girls… and many more!

Do you have any guilty pleasures?

I have quite the sweet tooth, I’m afraid. I’m especially partial to milk chocolate, in any of its infinite variations and forms.

As I just returned from a dentist’s appointment, I can assure you it’s a guilty pleasure indeed!

What are three things you think we can all do to make the world a better place?

The easy answer would be, love. However, I’m reminded of Schopenhauer’s hedgehog dilemma.

This concerns a number of porcupines huddled together for warmth on a cold day in winter; but, as they began to prick one another with their quills, they are obliged to disperse. However, the cold drives them together again. At last, after many turns of huddling and dispersing, they discover that they would be best off by remaining at a little distance from one another.

In the same way the need of society drives the human porcupines together, only to be mutually repelled by the many prickly and disagreeable qualities of their nature. The moderate distance that they at last discover to be the only tolerable condition of intercourse, is the code of politeness and fine manners; and those who transgress it are roughly told—in the English phrase—to keep their distance.

Therefore, I will go with another thing; respect. So, my answer is: respect for each other, self-respect and respect for the planet and all living beings.

What simple pleasure makes you smile?

Having a cat on my lap. Whenever I sit down on my computer, one of our cats (we have two) will take it as his cue to jump on me. It always brings a smile to my face, even if it means I’m always cramped from having to stretch my arms in order to type.




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The Power of Six

Pearseus: Schism

Pearseus: Rise of the Prince

Pearseus: Mad Water

Pearseus: Bundle

Runaway Smile