TweetPeter Carroll is a Scotsman with a penchant for black humour and gritty realism. He lives in Dunblane with his wife and daughter and as well as writing he plays bass guitar. Peter has three novels under his belt so far. His literary heroes include Stephen King, Irvine Welsh and Christopher Brookmyre.
Time to chat with Peter!
What is your latest book?
I’m just about to launch the third in a series of police procedurals featuring Scottish cop, Adam Stark, called Stark Realities. It opens with the apparent suicide of a young woman but, as Stark begins to investigate, all is not as it seems. The bridge featured on the cover plays a pivotal part in the story and the photo was taken by a talented friend, Alan Gray.
What else have you written?
As I said, Stark Realities is the third Adam Stark novel. The first is set in London and called Stark Contrasts, while the follow-up sees him return to Scotland and is called Stark Choices. I’ve also written a couple of Glasgow gangster novels – In Many Ways and Drivers – and an apocalyptic horror story called Pandora’s Pitbull.
I love the flow of ideas; those moments when you think, “Aha! If that happens, then this could happen, and, and, and…”
I really don’t like the physical process of typing! I am not a single finger operator but nor am I a touch typist, so I find it frustratingly slow translating thoughts into sentences.
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 edit all the time as I go. I know there are plenty of “gurus” out there who insist you should write it all first, then go back and edit, but I am not comfortable doing that. I like editing actually! I think I’m pretty good at it. This approach helps me recheck the flow of the story, adapt structure, plot and so on as I go, rather than getting to the end only to find a tedious pile of typos, grammatical errors and plot holes!
Please, tell us about your experiences with social media. What are your favorite and least-favorite parts of it?
There are lots of good things about Social Media – advice and other learning opportunities abound, nice people offer help (and I enjoy reciprocating), it can be amusing and let’s face it, it’s free advertising and marketing.
The only thing I find frustrating is the automation people are increasingly using on Twitter. Just today, someone I added to a list, automatically retweeted my last tweet using some program or other, but it was part of an exchange of banter between me and a Twitter pal that made no sense in isolation and would baffle anyone reading it on its own. A potentially helpful gesture rendered pointless by a computer. The Direct Messaging is another bugbear of mine. Yesterday, a guy sent me a link to his book asking if I’d downloaded my review copy yet. Puzzled, as I didn’t recall offering to review his book, I opened his account only to see he’d sent the identical spam email to dozens of his followers. Not cool, so I told him so and unfollowed. Using lists to follow people’s tweets used to help clear the wheat from the chafe. However, now people schedule dozens of tweets a day and the list becomes a long procession of repeated tweets, clogging up the timeline and preventing me seeing all those I’ve picked out as being interesting or whatever.
Did you ever get your review copy of “A”? Getting great reviews. Contact me if you need 1 or get it at Did you ever get your review copy of “A”? Getting great reviews. Contact me if you need 1 or get it at http://amzn.to/RmXnpU #Boston #CIA
What have you done to market your novel and what did you find the most effective? The least effective?
Like most indie writers I don’t have a budget for marketing; I just pick up whatever freebies I can as I go. I’ve added my books to several free promo sites, offered review copies (with only minor success so far), joined Goodreads, set up a website with a blog, and created Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest profiles.
My Mum is funny; she took it upon herself to contact the local paper, without me knowing, and they have since interviewed me twice. Once, I made the front page! Not a high circulation but nice nonetheless.
My wife got the local librarian enthused enough to go and buy a copy of In Many Ways (the only one on paperback at the moment) for our town library. That was a big moment for me. Finding out someone actually borrowed it was awesome!
I think it’s very hard to judge how any of these things directly affect sales, but I definitely saw a rise in sales after the newspaper features. I probably don’t use LinkedIn or Google+ enough for them to be having much influence.
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?
The problem with all art is that it’s subjective. Two people can have polar opposite views of the very same object, painting, film, book or piece of music. You have to accept this and therefore know that sometime, somewhere, someone will read your book and not like it. You are not alone. Pick a classic book or something by your favourite author and look at the one star reviews they get. If it happens to them, it will happen to you. Assuming there’s not an avalanche of poor reviews, you probably wrote something decent.
Have you been involved with the Kindle Direct Program? If yes, do you believe it’s worthwhile?
I have, and with mixed results. I think it’s an approach that appears to work best with a series; where you can offer the first book for free, as a way in, and hope it leads to increased sales of the subsequent novels. My plan is to do that with Stark and see how I get on.
Where do you live now?
I live in Dunblane – a small, provincial town in central Scotland, UK.
If you had to move to another city/state/country, where might that be?
The only place I’ve visited in the world that I thought would be a realistic alternative to Scotland was Australia. Scotland is great in lots of ways: people, scenery, wildlife, safety, liberal attitudes, and untroubled by natural disasters — but it rains a lot (and I mean a LOT!) and I would like to see blue skies and sunshine more often.
If you could add a room onto your current home, what would you put in it?
Without doubt, I’d add a recording studio. I love music – I play bass, guitar and a little keyboard and love composing. Having a proper facility to make music would be awesome.
What’s the coolest surprise you’ve ever had?
For my 30th birthday, my wife organized a surprise trip to the Canadian Rockies to go birding and wildlife watching. It was a brilliant trip and how she, my workmates and other family members kept it secret was impressive (and a little worrying!).
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