AUTHOR INTERVIEW Q&A with Alie The Dragon Slayer Book Reviews
1) Welcome to Ali-The Dragon Slayer Please, introduce yourself and tell us a bit about you.
Hello there, my name is Siobhan, I write Psychological Rom Thrillers and Paranormal Rom Thrillers under the name of S C Cunningham, mainly because the name Siobhan is so difficult to say – its pronounced ‘Shevonne’.
I know, I know, it is not spelt that way, but my parents are Irish and when the letters ‘B’ and ‘H’ are placed together in Gaelic they’re pronounced ‘V’. There you go, you’ve learnt something.
I also work as a Crime Investigator for the Police, am proud mum to my wonderful artist daughter Scarlett Raven, and am owned by three dogs. When not writing or interviewing criminals I’m picking up poo! Yep, I know how to live… J
I support three causes; Veterans, Mental Health and Animal Protection.
2) What or who was your first inspiration to pick up a pen and write? Where do you find your current inspiration?
Am lazy, I mainly write about what I know, it’s easier.
Inspiration for each of my series, The David Trilogy and The Fallen Angel Series, came from life experiences. I’m an old bird now, have squeezed a lot into my years, and have worked in a few interesting industries i.e. modelling, music, film, football, horse racing, sport celebrity management, crime.
Inspiration for The David Trilogy came in my early twenties when I crossed paths with a violent serial attacker who was haunting the streets of London. His modus operandi was to target single girls living alone in basement flats in Notting Hill and Olympia. He evaded capture for many years.
Thankfully I got away unscathed, but others didn’t. I helped police put together a photo-fit and learned about what he’d been doing. Looking into his face the nagging thought that stayed with me was why? What made someone like him tick? What made a young boy turn into an evil vicious adult? He looked so normal, calm, clean, smart, ok looking, a his-mother-woulda-loved-him type of guy. So why?
The seed for my fictional story ‘The Penance List’ was sown. I loved the cast of characters so much I drew the saga out into a trilogy, and then again the lead protagonist, David, turns up to cause chaos in my Fallen Angel Series.
Inspiration for The Fallen Angel Series came when I was around 4 years old. I was taken by a guy and got away, the following week another little girl was taken, she didn’t. My Irish Catholic upbringing had me praying each night. In my prayers I asked God for a deal…
“If I’m a good girl, when I die can I sit on a cloud for a while, invisible,
and get all the baddies that slip through your fingers?”
The seed for ‘The Deal’ was sown. I guess justice was instilled in me from an early age.
In The Fallen Angel Series my lead protagonist has made the same deal. Decades later God and her deal long forgotten, she dies mysteriously to awaken in an afterworld of MI5 type Units, with vigilante, kickass, crime-fighting Angels dishing out karma from the skies, wondering if her deal was a mistake.
My inspiration thus far has been my life.
3) What made you choose your particular writing genre. Have you written or thought about writing in any other?
I’m probably not the right person to ask this question because I’m a publishers nightmare, I cover multi genres in my works, they never know which bookshop shelf to place me on. I cover thriller, suspense, sex, laughs and intrigue. Which is what I like to read myself, to get entertained on a few levels.
4) How do you like to conduct your writing? Is there a set routine you follow?
Firstly it takes days to settle down to write, to empty my brain of day to day detritus, I have to become a recluse and get into a zone. I set up my writing space with nice smells (candles, incense), soothing sounds (classical, chilled music) and tasty nibbley easy-to-eat-at-a-computer food. The dogs drag me out for walks, so I get a bit of exercise and don’t feel lonely with their little heart-beats in the room.
5) How do you choose your covers? Where do you start and how do you come to the final decision? Do you have a final say?
I buy my covers from cover artists; they are custom made to the stories. The cover part is fun. Once you’ve found an artist whose style you like, they are given an outline brief of the story and what you would like to highlight, maybe a poignant moment in the book.
It is uber exciting to see what they come back with. After a few tweaks, voila!… your ‘baby’ is brought to life in an image, love it.
6) Are your characters, good or bad, based on anyone you know?
As I said before I’m lazy, I write about what I know, it’s easier. All my characters are a mishmash of people I know or have observed. Sometimes it gets me in trouble.
I remember writing a sex scene and showing it to my boyfriend at the time, he read it and was furious with me.
“Who the hell have you done that with?” he shouted, throwing the pages at me.
“Well you, actually,” I answered, a little mortified. “Last night!”
It was then that I realised men and women SO see things differently.
Sometimes I get a little too close to home. I remember a character in one of my books has a secret double life, she eventually confesses to her girlfriends that she was a high class hooker. Just after the book was published, one of my girlfriends took me aside and confessed the exact same thing.
“Eeek!” I said. ”I’ve just finished a book with this identical scene, please don’t think I was writing about you… puhlease!”
We giggled, she was fine with it – timing is everything. Phew!
7) Is there one piece of writing you are most proud of and why?
I’m most proud of readers engaging in my characters. In The David Trilogy readers understand the boy David, but fear the man he has become. Reviews such as these give courage to keep on going, am SO grateful.
‘This is an incredibly powerful piece of writing. Few could make a man they’d already shown as a monster into an object of pity. This is masterful, dark and suspenseful writing, with you expertly exploit tensions between the erotic and the macabre, and your characterisation of David is phenomenal.’
‘A hard-hitting, forceful narrative that is about as powerful as anything I’ve seen, writing doesn’t get much better than this. This book is hard to ignore and damn near impossible to stop reading.’
The same for The Fallen Angel Series, this is an unusual premise I was a little nervous of its reception. Am proud readers want to believe in protagonists like Jack and Amy.
“Amy Fox is a great protagonist. She is far from perfect, but I love the fact she’s unapologetic… there’s a reason for her ‘flaw’ and she needs to be ‘fixed’. Whatever. Amy is still learning the craft of keeping mortals safe, but she won’t apologize for being a bit heavy-handed.”
“Amy and Jack are pretty impressive characters, and the story itself flowed quickly.”
“I found the whole concept of the story immensely interesting. I would love to think that there was some supernatural police force out there dishing out karma to bullies and bad guys and watching over the most vulnerable in our society.”
And for a bit of fun…..
8) What is your favourite book from childhood? What is your favourite book at the moment?
From childhood I loved the Enid Blyton Secret Seven and Famous Five Series, and anything by Agatha Christie.
Currently I adore the Lee Child, Jack Reacher series. Jack Reacher is my guilty pleasure, but if I ever meet Mister Child I will give him a good telling off. Tom Cruise is lovely I’m sure, but he is no Jack Reacher…. (sigh).
9) If you could have any 4 authors (alive or dead) at a dinner party who would it be and why?
Agatha Christie, to question her on the mysteries in her own life.
Lee Child, to bollock him about Tom Cruise.
Martina Cole, to hear more of her gangster moll days.
Ian Fleming, so that he can make me a good martini.
And just for fun, The Quick fire round……
Favourite colour- Blue… always blue.
Favourite food- Crispy Peking Duck (not fair, too many!)
Favourite film- Silence of the Lambs (not fair, too many!)
Favourite song – ‘You To Me Are Everything’ by The Real Thing
Real ale or wine? – wine
Beans or peas? – peas
Sauce-Red or brown?- red
Kindle or paperback?- paperback
Chocolate-Milk or Dark?- milk
Tea or coffee? – tea
Coke or pepsi?- Coke
Marmite-Love it or hate it? love it
Many thanks for taking part and answering these questions.If you want to find out more or link up on social media go to; www.sccunningham.com
Thank you … Ali xx
S C Cunningham