Hi Athena thank you for joining us today to celebrate the release of your fabulous new novel.
Hi Claire Louisa! Thanks so much for the invitation. I am so excited to be here with you all.
Most importantly, what cocktail would you like to drink first up to celebrate your new novel?
Cocktails? What a great idea! Hmmm… How about a CONSENSUAL SEX ON THE BEACH – (Because Claire and Zach’s first sizzling sex scene was at the beach!)
- 40ml Tito’s Vodka
15ml Peach Schnapps
50ml Cranberry Juice
50ml Orange Juice
- Directions: Combine cold juice with Vodka and Schnapps, stir and enjoy. Little umbrella optional.
*Not my recipe*
I’ve ordered drinks for everyone! Enjoy 🙂
Can you tell us a bit about your new book The Scream Behind Her Smile?
Thank you for asking, I’d love to. The Scream Behind Her Smile is my sixth published full-length novel. It’s a 95K standalone, contemporary, romantic psychological thriller set in Perth, Western Australia.
Tagline: “A thrilling and emotionally gripping story of love, marriage, deception and… murder.”
This is quite different from your Beyond the Grave series, where did the idea for this story come from? And how long did it take you to write it?
The Scream Behind Her Smile is a very different style of writing and genre from my Beyond the Grave paranormal romance series. The idea for the story was inspired by a series of actual events and the story grew into what it is today. I wrote part one of the book a couple of years ago but set it aside to finish and release book 4 in the Beyond the Grave series, When Darkness Follows.
The antagonist, Derek, is an absolutely horrible person (in my opinion and in my words ‘he’s f**king nuts’), how did you go about writing his character and getting into his mindset and did you find it hard to do?
Lol! I agree. Derek is definitely not recommended husband material! I actually didn’t find it as hard writing Derek’s character as you might think because I enjoy writing villains and anti-hero’s in general. Not quite sure what that says about me!
I’ve encountered my fair share of chauvinistic behaviour throughout my life, so I tapped into the hurt, anger and frustration that arose from those experiences. I then added in a healthy dose of creative licence to make Derek’s true colours, when revealed, really ‘shine’! 🙂
Claire is a strong character dealing with a huge amount of grief, where did the inspiration or idea for her character come from?
Thank you. I loved writing Claire! Pieces of Claire’s story were also inspired from real events. In Australia, the largest growing demographic of homelessness are women over 50, a disturbing fact that breaks my heart. Although Derek’s character may be viewed as extreme, sadly it is not uncommon for women to find themselves in a similar situation to Claire after a marriage or relationship breakdown. Domestic violence is another issue close to my heart. On average, one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner. It’s only natural to see the themes and causes I’m passionate about come through in my writing. I hope my stories are thought provoking but also inspiring.
I love the fact it’s set in Perth, this is the second book this year set in the suburbs I know, what made you decide to set it here?
I love Perth! I get so many comments and emails from my overseas readers saying how much they learn about Australia through my books and that it makes them want to visit. I hope my passion for our beautiful country shows clearly through my words.
Do you think we’ll be seeing Claire and Zach again? And maybe Kira (my favourite secondary character)?
Yes! I have plans for Kira to have her own book. I love her too and can’t wait for her to take centre stage. I’ll make a start on her story towards the end of this year after I’ve released book 5 in the Beyond the Grave series. I’ll also give everyone an update on Claire and Zach!
You have two really nasty (in my opinion) and crazy (also in my opinion) characters in your story Derek and Jasmine, do you dislike either of them? and which one do you dislike the most? (I can’t decide which I dislike the most)
Jasmine! For me it was definitely Jasmine…
Have you always wanted to write? If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
I was never encouraged to consider writing (or any creative pursuit) as a career option when I was growing up. I have always been a very passionate reader, so when I finally wrote my first book later in life, everything ‘clicked’. If I could tell my younger self anything, I would need a much longer list, lol. Although I am happy with what I have achieved in a relatively short time, I would have loved to have started writing a few years earlier.
With your books you self publish, can you tell us how that works and why you choose to go this way?
My first novel, Desperate, was traditionally published, but I chose to self-publish my Beyond the Grave paranormal romance series. I love the creative freedom that comes through the process of self-publishing. I like to have total control over my projects so I guess you can say it suits my personality. But it’s certainly not a set and forget strategy. I’m constantly monitoring and learning the industry, honing and polishing my skillset as a writer/author entrepreneur. The business side is as important to learn and master as the writing side. Self-Publishing gives me the freedom to try new things without having to consult anyone. Any mistakes are my own, and something I turn into beneficial learning tools.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I read every single review! Reviews can be extremely valuable if they are constructive, both the negative and positive ones. Of course, the negative reviews hurt, but if there is anything to be gained from them, I try to keep an open mind.
Do you have a line or scene from The Scream Behind Her Smile you’d like to share with readers to give them a taste?
Because it’s a psychological thriller, it is hard to find a scene that doesn’t contain spoilers, so I chose this from the prologue:
As I lie here in my front hallway, in the place where it all began, I wonder what would have happened if I’d never opened the door that afternoon?
Would she have gone somewhere else? Would she have swept off in another direction, an alternative reality where our lives would never have crossed paths?
And now I’m lying here, blood pooling beneath my body, deep crimson smears on cold white tiles, remembering every sordid moment in vivid detail.
There’s a shadow standing over me.
“I want you to die here, slowly and alone.” Her voice is cold, emotionless. “And I want you to use the time to think about what you did. And when you take your last breath, I want you to realize it’s all your fault. All of it!”
I drift in and out of consciousness and wonder if I had my chance to do it over again, if I had the choice, would I choose not to open the door that day?
Even after everything, I know that I would.
I’d go through it all again, and then some, if it meant the chance to be with Zach just one more time…
– A thrilling and emotionally gripping novel of love, marriage, deception and murder.
What is next on the agenda for your writing?
I am currently working on Book 5 in the Beyond the Grave series, Sam and Tara’s story. Then towards the end of the year, I’ll be working on my next standalone psychological thriller.
Thanks for chatting Athena, I think another cocktail is in order
Thanks so much for having me!
* Ordering another round of cocktails for everyone! *
Athena has very kindly given you all the opportunity to win a copy of her book! I have a paperback (Australian address only) and two ebook copies (international and Australia) up for grabs (please indicate if you are an international reader). To be in the running please leave a comment on this post for Athena and it would be great if you could show her some love by liking her facebook page or adding The Scream Behind Her Smile to your goodreads Want to Read pile.
For another chance to win have a read of my review and leave a comment there also as I am giving away another copy.