The SHANNON MUIR’S INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS column on Mondays and Wednesdays is a place at Shannon Muir’s author website showcasing books from a variety of fiction genres, with an emphasis on interviews and guest posts from other authors. One thing Shannon firmly believes in for readers not only to learn about new books available, but about those who craft the tales behind them. As its name implies, SHANNON MUIR’S INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS weekly column features writers from all genres of fiction who want their potential audience to get to know them, and their works, better.
Today, we look at PHANTOM AUDITION.
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* Psychological Thriller *
Author: Simon Dillon
Publisher: Dragon Soul Press
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Small-time actress Mia Yardley, recently widowed wife of renowned
actor Steven Yardley, discovers her late husband’s secret acting diary.
The diary details appointments made with a psychic medium, who advised
Steven on which roles to take. It also raises questions about his
mysterious and inexplicable suicide. Seeking answers, Mia speaks to the
medium, but in doing so is drawn into an ever- deepening mystery about
what happened to her husband during the final days of his life.
Eventually, she is forced to ask the terrible question: was Steven
Yardley murdered by a vengeful evil from beyond the grave?
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convinced will land me that long overdue Oscar. I am a little apprehensive
about what she is asking, but also quite exhilarated at the prospect. Etta has
never been wrong before, and even though certain aspects of what she is
asking worries me, I think I will take the leap. Perhaps it will all prove
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Interview with the Author
What initially got you interested in writing?
I honestly don’t know when I caught the writing bug. I do know that I’ve been writing stories on paper in my head for as far back as I can remember. However, I began writing novels in earnest in 2004 (after a few years dabbling in screenwriting). I think I’d been inspired by the success of others I knew who had received contracts from major publishing companies.
How did you decide to make the move into being a published author?
I was encouraged to self-publish my first commercially released novel, the children’s adventure story Uncle Flynn, by relatives who said I shouldn’t wait for the approval of agents and publishers (by then I’d had some near misses with both). More recently, in 2018 I came to the attention of Dragon Soul Press, who agreed to traditionally publish three of my gothic mysteries – Spectre of Springwell Forest, The Irresistible Summons, and most recently Phantom Audition.
What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?
I want the reader to be entertained, satisfied, and full, as though they’ve enjoyed a six-course meal of narrative that has gripped, thrilled, scared, surprised, and hopefully moved them.
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
I find writing comforting, challenging, and cathartic. Also, as I mentioned previously, there is no better feeling in the world than knowing you’ve delivered a satisfying and transcendent narrative to a reader.
What do you find most challenging about writing?
Finding time to write is a major challenge for some, but once that discipline is mastered, it becomes easier. However, for me the greatest challenge is my own self-doubt. Somewhere during the writing process, George McFly Syndrome hits (“What if people think I’m no good? I just can’t take that kind of rejection!”). Learning to battle past that is key. I had a major George McFly moment on Phantom Audition regarding the ending, which originally had been the thing that made me want to write the novel. I outlined six alternatives, before finally settling on what I had envisaged all along. Judging by the way readers are responding, I’m glad I had the nerve to go with my original instinct.
What advice would you give to people want to enter the field?
Find a great ending and work backwards from that point. Don’t waste your time on anything less than an ending that you personally are absolutely blown away by.
Be aware of genre conventions and master them. Don’t break an honoured convention unless for this reason: to replace it with something better. Working within a formula is fine, but don’t be predictable. Agatha Christie worked within a formula, with consistently unpredictable results. Give the reader what they want, but not the way they expect it.
Also, just because you have a good idea, doesn’t mean there isn’t an even better, great idea waiting in the wings. Tunnel to find those few gems. Ninety percent of your ideas will range from mediocre to rubbish, so it’s worth sketching out multiple versions of scenes, characters, outlines, and so on. In the end, you’ll hit gold, but you have to keep at it.
Develop a very thick skin and be prepared to keep learning over a very long period of time. The first three novels I wrote will (rightly) never see the light of day. After that, books I thought were brilliant when I first wrote them, I now see as considerably less impressive.
Try not to grind an axe by being overly concerned with your “message”. You are an author, not a preacher, politician, or activist. Instead, simply concentrate on telling a good story with no other agenda. Whatever is important to you will then be inherent in the text. What’s more, your beliefs will come over far less finger-waggingly and far more convincingly.
Finally, writing is 1 percent talent, 99 percent hard work. If you are serious, you have to be prepared to sacrifice a lot of time and be ruthlessly disciplined. But success is possible, if you keep at it.
What ways can readers connect with you?
My blog (www.simondillonbooks.wordpress.com) contains information about all my novels, book related articles, and film reviews. There’s a Simon Dillon Books Facebook page (www.facebook.com/simondillonbooks) and I’m also on Instagram. In addition, I co-host a film podcast with my former television colleague Samantha Stephen, called The Tangent Tree. If readers want to email me directly, they can email email@example.com and I’ll normally reply within a few days.
The Prophecy. He kept a low profile during his formative years, living
the first twenty or so of them in Oxford, before attending University in
Southampton, and shortly afterwards hiding undercover in a television
job. In the intervening years, he honed his writing skills and has now
been unleashed on the world, deploying various short stories and novels
to deliberately and ruthlessly entertain his readers. He presently lives
in the South-West of England with his wife and two children, busily
brainwashing the latter with the books he loved growing up.
website & Social links