To help celebrate the launch of When the Dead Speak, I’m delighted to welcome fellow Eastbourne author, Sheila Bugler, to Robservations. While we met several years ago at a book festival, and a few times since, I wanted to find out more.
So Sheila, please tell me a little about yourself and your writing.
I’m an Irish crime writer, living in Eastbourne. So far, I’ve published five novels – three books in my Ellen Kelly crime series, and two in my Eastbourne Murder Mysteries series. I am a huge fan of crime fiction and read as many crime novels as I can get my hands on. I write reviews for Crimesquad.com which means I get to read a lot of books before their publication date – my dream job!
When did you first realise you wanted to be an author?
Like most authors, I always wanted to write. In my case, I didn’t have the confidence when I was younger. It was only after my second child was born that I realised if I didn’t start writing, it might never happen. So I started writing and never looked back.
Early on in my writing career, I was lucky to win a year’s mentoring with crime fiction author Martyn Waites. It was a great experience and gave me the confidence I needed to believe I really could do this.
Describe the first piece you wrote and what it meant to you?
The first complete novel I wrote was a twisty psychological thriller called Ready to Fall. It never got published but was good enough to get me an agent. I still love that book, although I doubt it will ever be published because it still needs a lot of work and, at the moment, I don’t have the time to do that.
What do you most enjoy about being an author?
Being able to write books that get published and that people enjoy reading. I also love doing live author events and meeting readers. It’s a real buzz and something I’ve missed a lot during lockdown.
What do you least enjoy about being an author?
It’s such hard work! The biggest problem for me is finding the time to do it properly. I have a ‘day job’ and childcare responsibilities so I have to squeeze in my writing time when I can. It’s a constant challenge. I long for the day I’ll be earning enough money from writing to be able to focus on it full time.
What type of characters do you love and hate to write? Why?
For me, characters always come before plot. I love writing about all sorts of characters and really don’t think I have a favourite or least favourite ‘type’.
How has studying Psychology helped with your writing and the creation/understanding of characters?
The part of me that was drawn to studying Psychology is the same part of me that’s drawn to writing about people. I am fascinated by people – their motivations and interests, their likes and dislikes, the experiences that have shaped them, the dark secrets that lurk beneath the public personas…. I love all of it.
You travelled extensively before settling. How did the travelling and experiences you had influence you as an author and your writing?
It taught me that no matter where you go, people are still people. We all have needs and desires, we all love and hate and grieve. We eat, we sleep, we work and we build relationships with those around us. We are united by our similarities, not divided by our differences.
I believe you’re a creative writing tutor for the Writers Bureau. How did you become involved in this and what does it give you?
I was asked to become a writing tutor a few years ago. I love teaching and helping aspiring writers. The single biggest thing it gives me is the constant reminder of how important it is to learn the ‘nuts and bolts’ of writing.
Too many times, I see writers who want to be a writer but aren’t willing to put the time in to learn how to do it properly. Writing is hard work. It takes time and commitment to becoming a good writer.
What’s been the biggest influence on your writing so far?
All the other incredible writers I’ve ever read. I’m a huge fan of crime fiction and an avid reader. Reading other crime writers reminds me how tough the competition is!
How would you describe your books to someone who has never read one before?
Crime fiction with strong female protagonists and plots with lots of twists and turns.
What’s the best compliment you’ve received about your books?
My last book, I Could Be You, was compared to a Harlan Coben novel. This was a huge compliment, as he’s the reason I started to write crime fiction.
Do you have any favourite authors? What is it about them or their work that appeals to you?
Too many! Megan Abbott and Gillian Flynn are two of my favourite crime writers. I love their writing because their novels explore the darker sides of their female characters.
If you could invite four guests (fictional or real, alive or dead) for dinner, who would you choose and why?
Johnny Cash – because he was a legend.
Leonard Cohen – for the same reason.
Maya Angelou – for her humanity, wit and intelligence.
My friend Alex – because she’s cool, clever and funny and the other three guests would adore her!
Please tell me about your latest project/plans for the future.
Last summer, I signed a four-book deal with a new publisher. I’m contracted to write a book every six months so I’m very busy!
The second book in my Eastbourne Murder Mystery series is out on 9 July. After that, I’m writing a stand-alone psychological thriller which will be published at the end of this year.
Thank you, Sheila, and good luck with When the Dead Speak. I’ll be reading I Could be You, the first Eastbourne Murder Mystery, in the next few weeks.
When the Dead Speak (Eastbourne Murder Mystery #2)
Secrets can be fatal. But so can the truth.
When the murdered body of Lauren Shaw is discovered laid out on the altar of St Mary the Virgin church in Eastbourne it sends a chill to the core of those who have lived in the area for a long time. They remember another woman, also young and pretty, whose slain corpse was placed in the same spot 60 years ago.
Dee Doran is as intrigued as the rest but focused on her investigation of the whereabouts of a missing person from the Polish community. The police weren’t interested but Dee’s journalistic instincts tell her something is amiss.
But as she starts asking questions Dee finds the answers all point to the same conclusion – someone is keeping secrets and they will do whatever it takes to keep them safe.
You can find out more about Sheila Bugler at
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/Sheila-Bugler-author-page-1405242063026200/