Today I’m jumping up and down with excitement, as I have an extra special guest taking part in the book review café’s #BehindTheBooks feature, so a huge welcome to one of the most passionate book bloggers I know, the one and only Noelle Holten aka Crime book junkie
Not only is Noelle a book blogger, she works full time as a PR and Social Manager for Bookouture and some how or other she’s managed to write her debut novel Dead Inside which is being published by killer reads and Harper Collins in May 2019. I was lucky enough to be asked to beta read this book and I thought it was brilliant, readers you are in for a real treat.
I think I have gushed enough so without further ado here’s my interview with the lovely Noelle……
Hi Noelle I’m thrilled to have you visit the book review café, first things first, tea or coffee?
Thanks so much for having me! Coffee please ☕️
Congratulations on your debut novel Dead Inside being published on May 31st by Killer Reads. I have so many questions I want to ask you. Firstly what made you decide to write a book?
Aww- thank you so much!! I’ve always wanted to write a book, but either thought no one other than me would be interested, it would be awful so no one (publisher-wise) would want it or there was never enough time to write. In 2017, after a lot of encouragement, I attended Crime & Publishment – a writing course run by Graham Smith & Michael J Malone in Gretna Green. I had my prologue written and after mustering up the courage, I asked them both to read it. Their reaction gave me the kick up the backside to write the story and so I made the time!
Where did you get the idea for Dead Inside from?
The idea for Dead Inside came from my own personal experiences, my experience as a Probation Officer and my not-so-normal imagination. When I had finally decided I wanted to write back in 2014 – I had a totally different story in mind, but then Lucy invaded my head and after a few years of thinking about it, she decided she wanted to be heard!
What kind of research did you have to do for Dead Inside?
My previous professional life as a Senior Probation Officer for 18 years, working in a police station for 6 years and the experience I had with various agencies allowed me to pretty much write what I knew. I used a bit of poetic licence to help the story flow, but I drew on my experiences and spoke to a few people or googled/ read relevant books for things I was unsure of. I have quite a library of books on crime, theory and true crime – so reference material is always to hand.
How long did it take you to write Dead Inside?
I started the first draft on March 13th 2017 and finished May 19th 2017. Then I left the book until the end of November 2017 before I started to edit. That took me until Feb 2018. I then sent it to beta readers and once I had their amazing and insightful feedback, I made those changes and sent it to an editor – I was ready to submit my final MS by April 2018.
What were the lows of writing your debut novel?
Difficult to say and I am not sure I would say I had any particular ‘lows” but writing a novel is hard work and you really have to be dedicated/motivated. Making the time after a long day at work, could be draining but kept me focussed. I also had to re-live and sift through a lot of unpleasant memories. I had no confidence in my writing or myself some days.
Which brings me to the next question, what was the best thing about writing Dead Inside?
Oh! There are a few things – It was therapeutic and reminded me how far I have come. Getting a book deal! (I still can’t believe that!) Having amazing feedback from my beta readers. Fantastic endorsements from authors I admire. Getting a red card from Karen Sullivan /Orenda with the invitation to submit – and being able to say I wrote a book! Pitching my novel to an editor (scary but worth it). Seeing Angela Marsons and Martina Cole’s names on my cover. MY COVER (love it) – So many positives!!
Do you have any writing Quirks?
Hmmm. I’m not sure if this is a quirk or not but I don’t write in chronological order. If an idea pops in my head, I write it down – in fact, I had the ending of Dead Inside written before most of the book. Same with book 2! It’s just how my brain works – but it is a pain when it comes to editing!
Can you describe what Dead Inside is about in one sentence?
I don’t know if I can! HA HA – ok, here was my elevator pitch:
Four domestic abuse offenders are brutally murdered; three are supervised by the same probation officer and the fourth is her husband.
How long did it take to get your book accepted by a publisher?
This is incredibly weird and definitely not the norm, but I was encouraged by an author and also introduced by one of the editors from Bookouture to pitch to a publisher at Harrogate 2018. I finally plucked up the courage on the Saturday (I may have been dragged over) and gave him my details as well as my pitch. I received an email on the Monday asking for the full MS and an then I received an offer a week later. I then had another expression of interest within two days of that from another publisher I submitted to and finally another offer! Even those who turned down Dead Inside, said they were interested in my writing and would be happy for me to submit anything else I wrote directly. So, I had a really positive experience.
Best piece of advice you would give to someone hoping to get their book published?
Do your homework and write every day. I spend an hour a day, no matter what, writing – within 12-14 weeks I have my first draft done. Only ONE HOUR a day. You have to keep motivated.
How does it feel to read quotes from authors writing about your book? When it’s normally you writing about theirs.
OMFG I cried many a happy tear as it is just so surreal. I often wonder if they are just being nice but then I think WHO CARES 🤣 Best feeling EVER!
Have you any plans to celebrate on publication day?
I took the day off work and plan to be on social media. I might have a gin or two (it’s a Friday!) but no other special plans. For the paperback publication in August, I am hoping to have a launch in Glasgow – watch this space!
What are you working on now?
Book 2 edits! We’re still working on the title, but I LOVE the blurb. Hopefully there will be some news about that coming soon!
One last question do you plan to keep on blogging?
Abso-friggin-lutely! I love blogging, but I have taken a big step back from tours and generally I’m focusing on going through my TBR! I will still do the occasional tour, but edits are a priority and then onto Book 3 … in case I get another contract! If I don’t I’m not sure what I will do with Book 3 but I’ll worry about that when I need to!
Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and was a regular reviewer on the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast. Noelle worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of cases including those involving serious domestic abuse. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, author-stalking and sharing the booklove via her blog.
Dead Inside is her debut novel with Killer Reads/Harper Collins UK and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.
About the Book:
‘Kept me hooked … excellent pace and a very satisfying ending’ Angela Marsons
‘An excellent read’ Martina Cole
‘A brilliant debut – gritty, dark and chilling. Noelle Holten knows her stuff’ Mel Sherratt
A dark and gripping debut crime novel – the first in a stunning new series – from a huge new talent.
The killer is just getting started…
When three wife beaters are themselves found beaten to death, DC Maggie Jamieson knows she is facing her toughest case yet.
The police suspect that Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood – who is connected to all three victims – is hiding a dark secret. Then a fourth domestic abuser is brutally murdered.
And he is Lucy’s husband.
Now the police are running out of time, but can Maggie really believe her friend Lucy is a cold-blooded killer?