Author Matt Chatelain - How to plot Conspiracy Thrillers

Today, I welcome Canadian Matt Chatelain, author of The Caves of Etretat. As a keen reader of thrillers, I asked him to tell us how he plots conspiracy thrillers.

Handing over to Matt...



How to plot a Conspiracy Thriller!

Years ago, I bought a business book called 'The Idea-Virus'. The basic concept is broadcast by its name: an idea that acts like a virus by infesting your mind until it cannot be rooted out. Rather insidious isn't it? A conspiracy is a twisted idea-virus, or, if the conspiracy turns out to be true, a straight-line idea-virus. 
Just like a regular virus, idea-viruses can be virulent or mild, sometimes even beneficial. When you think about it, all ideas are idea-viruses. They are all concepts which have found a home in your mind and will not be rooted out, no matter the extremes you go to. For example, could you rid yourself of the idea of clothing, or fire? 
No, of course not.
A conspiracy is a virulent idea-virus. It is airborne, carried by gossip winds. How it works is a series of real facts are collected together. They are assembled in a new way, using a theory as glue. You can see the trap of such a concept. The theory is what infests you but it is supported by facts. However, there is not necessarily any connection between the facts and the theory. It is this key part of the idea-virus which is missed by most people. It is why an idea-virus works.
Some people are more prone to conspiracies than others, which is why you sometimes encounter some nut shouting his conspiracy viruses at the top of his lungs on the side of some street, trying to infest everyone. That does not mean you can be immune to them. Quite the contrary, in fact. Those it does not unhinge, it molds. That's right. Any conspiracy you are exposed to will change you subtly. 
Your life approach will forever be tainted by a question, an idea-virus that will not let go.
If you're starting to feel uneasy, I don't blame you. It is upsetting to discover our consciousness can be affected by others so easily. It certainly bothered me. It is why I wrote 'The Caves of Etretat' and the three books after it. I wanted to expose and explore the idea-virus in depth, to write the ultimate conspiracy theory.

Welcoming romance author Rachel Brimble

Today, I have the pleasure of welcoming fabulous romance author and good friend, Rachel Brimble. Her romantic suspense and historical romance novels are exciting, realistic and intriguing. Adding Harlequin to her list of quality romance publishers, Rachel's is a name to watch!


Welcome back, Rachel. It's lovely to have you on board again. I'm glad you've agreed to be grilled. Here goes...


1. Now, what inspired you to write Reluctant Witness?

This book was actually inspired by a TV news story I watched a few years ago. The story was of a young woman who thought she’d witnessed a shooting on a boat while she collecting shells at the ocean shore. It turned out to be an absolute waste of police time and a complete misinterpretation on her part.

However, that was it for me – what if she had witnessed a shooting? What happens next?
This book is a few years old now but all my romantic suspense stories tend to be inspired by a twist to a real-life story.


2. What are you working on at the moment?

I am just finished up the first round edits on my first romantic suspense for three years. I am excited to say that the book will be published by the Harlequin Superromance line which is the longer length Harlequin books. I haven’t a release date yet but I’m assuming it will be available early 2013.

It is set in a fictional UK seaside town and about the murder of a young woman who was one part in a trio of friends – the surviving two reunite after a seven year estrangement to find her killer…and of course, each other.

Author Micheal Rivers at My Place

Today, I'm delighted to welcome paranormal thriller author Micheal Rivers to My Place. Micheal's latest novel, Verliege, is out now.


About the Author:
Micheal, an American author, was born in Ahoskie, North Carolina in 1953. He served his country during the Viet Nam war in the USMC. Later, his travels provided over thirty years of investigating and collecting stories of the paranormal. His genres include horror and thriller with an element of paranormal in all of his novels. The Smokey Mountain Ghost Trackers of Western North Carolina was founded by him and he is the lead investigator. Micheal currently resides in the mountains of North Carolina along with the love of his life and his Boxer he fondly calls Dee Dee.


My Place:
The town and castle of Verliege never existed. Discover how Micheal pulled it all together here


Fate plays a hand in all we do. The castle Verliege’s ghostly residents are no different. These spirits wait patiently for the one who has come to fulfill the prophecy. The ghost of Edmund is the keeper of the secret of the nine. If you are wise you will not seek the answer to the secret of the nine. With the frailties of the human psyche we all know that sooner or later you will give in to temptation. 




Blurb:

The world of Adrian Bolt shattered as his wife lay butchered on the floor of Castle Verliege. His conviction by a German court was as swift as the sword that killed her. He maintained his silence knowing his story would not be believed. Though his reputation was impeccable there was nobody willing to stand for him.
Another world lay in wait for anyone living within the walls of the castle; waiting, watching, for eternity to keep the Mueller name upon its registers. There is only one world here for those who choose to stay. To enter its doors is an invitation you will not soon forget!

Friday Fotos: Bamburgh & Lindisfarne

The recent sunny spell reminded me of a wonderful long weekend I spent with hubby on the Northumberland coast four years ago.

We stayed in a seaside resort called Seahouses (not sure if it's like Filey as in David W Robinson's cosy murder mystery, The Filey Connection but David might know...), a small-ish, touristy place with arcades, a campsite, and a few pubs with local ales. As we stayed in mid-May, the hordes of visitors were yet to arrive. Although we had to wait ages for our fish & chips takeaway...

Our lovely B&B overlooked the sea and we left the window open at night, listening to the waves. We could even spot Bamburgh Castle in the distance. Lovely!

One of the days we spent walking along the beach to Bamburgh, to visit town and castle. Despite the breeze (we walked like stooped pensioners to get there and straight-backed sergeants on the way back), the sun beat down and we got a fabulous tan.


Bamburgh is a cosy small town nestled beneath the castle.

Author Beth Trissel at My Place

Today, I'm delighted to welcome Beth Trissel, author of historical and light paranormal romance. Having enjoyed reading a number of her novels, I'm thrilled to host her at My Place.


So, without further ado, let's hear it from Beth:

Married to my high school sweetheart, I live on a farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia surrounded by my children, grandbabies, and assorted animals. An avid gardener, my love of herbs and heirloom plants figures into my work. The rich history of Virginia, the Native Americans and the people who journeyed here from far beyond her borders are at the heart of my inspiration. In addition to American settings, I also write historical and time travel romances set in the British Isles.


Alleghenies
My Place:
Not only have I lived in the Old Dominion for most of my life, but also several previous centuries in the sense that my family were among the earliest settlers of the Shenandoah Valley (1730’s/1740’s). My Scots-Irish forebears settled in Augusta County in the southern valley with names like Houston, Patterson, Finley, Moffett and McLeod. These clannish people frequently intermarried, so I can tie in with many of the early families depending on how I swing through the ancestral tree. In those days Augusta Country was vast, much of it in the colonial frontier. Settlers came for a chance at cheap land resulting in clashes with the Native Americans.

Babette James at My Place

Today, I welcome romance author, Babette James, a fellow Wild Rose, to My Place. She chats about a place I find intriguing: Lake Mohave.


Handing the reins over to Babette:


Thanks, Cathie, for letting me visit here with you today! I write contemporary and fantasy romance, and I’ve always loved writing and making up stories, beginning back when I used to act out epic fantasy tales with my dolls. (My Barbies had swords and knew how to use them.) I’m also a teacher, and I enjoy encouraging young readers and writers as they discover their growing abilities. My class cheers when it’s time for their spelling test! When not writing, teaching or reading, I dabble with bread baking and painting, and try to keep up on weeding the garden beds. I live in New Jersey with my wonderfully patient husband and our three extremely spoiled cats. 

Friday Foto: Graveyard Inspirations


Today, I'm feeling a wee bit on the dark side, so here's a befitting Friday Foto for you: a gravestone in the Old Pentland graveyard.



I discovered the fascinating Old Pentland graveyard, outside Edinburgh, Scotland, by chance when hubby spotted it on one of his random walks. Of course, I had to go and check it out. It's an intriguing place, especially as templars are said to have been buried here.

Crooked Cat Publishing - Special Event

Crooked Cat Publishing are having a special May event on Amazon. Until Sunday 13th May 2012, all their ebooks (apart from their latest release) are on sale!

That means... yes... Dark Deceit, my historical romantic adventure, is reduced, too. Find my 5* novel now on:


Praise for Dark Deceit:
"captivating characters and vivid descriptions...an engrossing read"
Booked Up Reviews

Author Margaret Millmore at My Place

Welcome to Margaret Millmore, author of a psychological thriller, Doppelganger Experiment! She lives in San Francisco - the setting of her novel and a city I'd love to visit one day.

Over to Margaret:


I was born and raised in Southern California and moved to San Francisco in 1991. I currently reside there with my husband.  I am the grandniece of Irish author Benedict Kiely and the second cousin of Irish author Sharon Owens. 

I have one published novel, Doppelganger Experiment and two flash fiction stories for Bay Area artist Kenny Mencher (The Welcome Home and Untitled-Luke N. Goode).

My Place:
Having lived in San Francisco for twenty years, it just seemed natural to use the City as my setting. It’s a wonderful and eclectic city that offers so much for even the overnight visitor (however I recommend at least 4 days to get the full feel of the City). I tried to depict the city as it is; I find so many writers ‘rush’ when using the city as their setting, leaving the reader without any actual ‘feel’ for it.

Sunset over the Golden Gate Bridge

Welcome, contemporary author KB Walker


Today, I welcome another fabulous Crooked Cat author to my blog, KB Walker.

KB, also known as Kimm, has already published a memoir, sharing her account of her son's fight with cancer, and now she's also become a published author of a contemporary fiction drama, Once Removed. It tells the story of a young teacher who befriends a troubled pupil, only to find herself in the firing line when the girl goes missing. Gripping, moving, sensitively written.

So, in order to learn more about Kimm, I've asked her some questions. Here goes...


  • Welcome to my blog, Kimm. First of all, tell us about Once Removed, your first fiction release. What inspired you to write about such an emotional topic?

Once Removed is a story about relationships within families, between friends and in schools. It takes a peek under the covers of self-harm.


When I was in high school, a very unhappy girl felt close enough to me to reveal the wounds she’d sliced into her own flesh. I didn’t know what to do. She needed help and understanding but in the 1970s, in my mid-teens, overwhelmed by my mother’s recent death, new to the school and area, I wasn’t able to offer either. In effect, I ran away from her. But the sense of bafflement and helplessness remained. 

When Princess Diana’s self-harm and eating disorder hit the media, I decided to find out more about this subject. Out of my research a story grew.

Constructive Criticism - by Jo Sparkes


Today, I welcome non-fiction author Jo Sparkes, whose new book should be a must-read for emerging writers as well as reviewers:


Feedback:   How to Give It   How to Get It
A Writer's Guide to Spinning Gold

As I've been recommending new writer friends at CCP to look for critique partners or groups, Jo has offered to elaborate on this particular subject as part of her blog tour. So, handing over to Jo...


"Constructive Criticism - How to do it right!"


Hello everyone. Cathie, thank you so much for having me here today.

The very first step in any criticism is to ask yourself should you? Will it do any good for the person? Is this a book the writer asked you to read, that he wants your opinion? Is this an employee, a child, a student in your classroom? Or is this someone you think has made a mistake – someone you don't particularly like – and you can't resist getting in a little dig? 

Make sure it is something you should be doing before doing it.

Taking the Avon Challenge

Nope, I'm not talking cosmetics here, even though you might find an Avon lipstick in my possession...

I'm talking about Avon Romance, and their Impulse ebook line. A good writer friend, Cait O'Sullivan, sent me the link to a blog post, Write for Avon Impulse, and I've decided to go for it.

Never one for easy choices, I've opted for "What walks the halls of Stormclyffe House?" to write a story about a manor that stood empty for 50 years.

I have now created a rough plot outline, setting the story in Victorian Cornwall. A place with a name like that simply must be perched on top of a cliff. Throw in a suicide following a murder 50 years previously, a young, almost penniless heiress, a lord investigating his dark family history, and the dramatic scenery of coastal Cornwall, and I think I have a decent story to go with.

It's only meant to be between 15k and 20k words, so I need to focus on the romance (yup, tell that to a history nut like me), with the plot weaving a web around them. The deadline is 28 days away. Tick, tock...

Should be fun, don't you think? Wish me luck!