I’m delighted to invite my friends and fellow authors. Ann Evan and Robert D Tysall onto my blog today. Those of you who know me will know that before I moved to Spain last November, Ann and I did a lot of writing workshops and school visits together. Ann has had over thirty books published, many of them for children, and hundreds of articles for popular magazines, where she teams up with Robert D Tysall, who takes the photos. Well, Ann and Robert have now teamed up again but this time they’ve written a gripping supernatural thriller, The Bitter End, which was recently published by Bloodhound Books, and have both dropped in today to tell us all about it. Here’s Ann and Rob standing in front of a poster of the book cover.
I asked them a bit about their writing partnership
Thanks so much for dropping by to talk to us, you two. Can you tell us why you decided to collaborate on this book?
Ann: Rob always has great story ideas which he shares with me – and I’ve used some of them in my previous books. However, when he came up with this idea, four years ago, I told him I couldn’t write it, as it was too dark and too deep. If this story was to be written, he’d have to write it with me.
Rob: I had no choice. Ann said, “You’re doing it!” So, I did.
So how does a writing collaboration work?
Rob: I don’t know about other writers, but for us It’s a matter of sitting down and talking about the characters – what their aims are, and what problems are facing them. There’s lots of wild ideas thrown in – and a whole lot of laughter even though it is a dark story.
Ann: In our case, we discuss every scene before we write it, so we know where we’re going. Only one of us does the actual typing – me! That ensures that the style doesn’t alter. Plus, I’m a much better speller and faster typist! If we were both typing bits into the manuscript it would be a disaster. We work together moving the story forward. When I’m alone, I’ll go over what we’ve done, dotting the I’s and crossing the t’s and so on. Except for the character Lamia’s demonic speeches. Rob often writes those when he’s alone, then emails them through to me. I imagine he closes the curtains, drinks blood and plays Black Sabbath music to get in the mood! (I’m joking about the blood bit!) I’m relieved to hear that, Ann!
‘Fess up now, do you argue about the plot or characterisation?
Rob: No, we’ve never argued. If Ann feels something is really needed or important, it generally goes in. The same for myself. We both respect each other in that way and we seem to be on the same wavelength with our books.
Ann: Anything that jars or doesn’t sound exactly right, we work on, rephrasing, finding a different way of saying it, until we’re both happy. It has to be compromise all the way. However, there’s been a few times when his ideas have shocked me, and I’ve actually screamed, “No!! You can’t kill ….” “Oh yes you can,” says Rob. And when I’ve got over the shock and horror at his plans for a certain character or two, I realise that if it shocked/surprised me, it will shock/surprise the reader too.
The Bitter End has had lots of rave reviews already. Are there any plans for more books together?
Rob: Yes, we have plans for further collaborations. The Bitter End was four years in the making, so when another completed book appears is hard to say. The sooner the better.
Ann: We’re currently writing a sequel to The Bitter End, which will also be a stand-alone book. And we’re determined this won’t take four years!
I’m sure your fans are glad to hear that there’s another collaborated book in the making. Lots of luck with it.
Now let’s find out more about The Bitter End.
Paul finally has his life back on track. After losing his wife, Helena in a horrific car crash, he has found love with Sally and moves into her country cottage.
As a former high-ranking Naval Officer, Paul now works as Head of Security at MI5.
Paul has no memories from before he was ten years old. An accident left him in a coma for 9 months. But was it really an accident?
Soon Paul starts to have flashes of childhood memories, all involving his childhood friend, Owen.
Sally introduces him to her friend, Juliet, the owner of a craft shop. Paul is shocked when he meets Juliet’s partner, his old friend Owen.
Flashes of memories continue to haunt Paul, particularly the memory of his first wife Helena burning in the car crash.
As dark things start to happen, and local people begin dying in horrific accidents, Paul must face his past and will end up fighting for his life.
And just to whet your appetite, here’s an extract.
Five days after Paul’s arrival Bluebell finally made an appearance. Sally had started to worry about her cat not returning for its meals, while he was secretly hoping it had found a new home.
But then it appeared.
He was in bed, lying on his back, fast asleep. A weight on his chest had stirred him. His dream told him it was Sally, her fingers walking up his torso from stomach to chest. But as he slowly came awake and sensed she was fast asleep on her side with her back to him, his eyes shot open.
It stood on his chest. A pair of luminous cat eyes staring straight into his. Only the moonlight through the window outlining its feline shape stopped him from reacting, stopped him from flinging the damn thing to the floor.
It was just a cat. Not a demon, just a cat – Bluebell. But he was cautious. Cold sweat suddenly oozed from every pore in his body. A trickle ran past the corner of his eye and tickled his ear. He could see his startled face reflected in the cat’s eyes and something at the back of his mind stirred. Instantly he was swamped with feelings of remorse, guilt … horror.
The cat hissed, eyes narrowing, teeth bared as if it was facing some predator. Then it sprang down from his chest. Paul jerked from the force of its hind legs pushing against his ribcage as it leapt off him and shot out of the room.
He sat bolt upright, heart thudding. The feelings of revulsion and sadness were still in his head, in his heart. But whatever had instigated them was buried deeply in his subconscious. He struggled to bring the memory to the forefront of his mind, but it was embedded far too deeply to be recalled.
Gripping stuff, isn’t it? If you want to read more you can buy the book here:
What reviewers are saying about The Bitter End
Sue B. Netgalley 5 stars.
Wow! What a book! From the very beginning of the story, the reader is immersed in all the action. The storyline was well thought out and fast paced. You cannot do anything but keep turning the pages until you reach the stunning conclusion.
Zoe Zooloo Book Blog 5 stars.
I can confess I freaked myself out when I read this book! Credit to both authors for creating such a creepy suspenseful book and well, that front cover just did not help me!!!
About Ann and Robert
Ann has been writing since her children were toddlers – and they’re now all grown up with children of their own. She writes for a variety of genres: children’s, YA, reluctant readers, romance and crime; plus non-fiction magazine articles. She’s also a former feature writer for The Coventry Telegraph.
Rob was born in Rugby and has always been very much part of the music scene, and still is. He’s a singer, songwriter and percussionist. Plus, he’s a professional photographer (www.tysallsphotography.org.uk). It was through photography that he and Ann first got together to work on magazine articles – Ann writes, Rob takes the photos. Together they are Words & Images UK ( https://www.facebook.com/wordsandimagesuk/)
Checkout the website for The Bitter End: http://www.thebitterend.org.uk
Lovely to talk to you both, lots of luck with your book!
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