Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Darren Sant - An Author Interview in the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Bestselling Author Darren Sant. He writes Mystery & Thrillers, Humor, and Horror novels. He has written the Cirque Du Freak and The Demonata series. Today we feature his book: Shattered Hearts and Broken Glass.

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Humor, Horror

Website: Darren Sant - Writer
Author's Blog: Daz's Reviews
Twitter: @Longcroft_Tales
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest

Author Description:
Darren Sant was born in 1970 and raised in Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire which is in the United Kingdom. He moved to Hull in East Yorkshire in 2001.

A life long avid reader he always wanted to be a writer. However, teenage years, girls, work, pubs and football provided adequate distraction until his late twenties. After attending a few creative writing classes he started writing poetry. After moving to Hull he joined a writing group called the Renegade Writers who gained infamy by doing performance poetry with a Rock N Roll ethos. Following the split of the Renegade Writers he settled down a little and didn't write for a while.

He became interested in writing again when his friend, Nick Boldock, introduced him to the Radgepacket series by Byker Books. These anthologies had a gritty urban feel to them and prided themselves on being "Industrial Strength" fiction. He wrote a story for the 4th volume in the series. The story "The Ungrateful Dead" was followed by another he wrote which was subsequently published in the 5th Radgepacket volume "Back Street Redemption".

Darren was next published by Pill Hill Press in an anthology with a story called Firestorm. The anthology was called ePocalypse: Emails at the end. A story co-written with Nick Boldock.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

First things first. What do you have on the drawing board next? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

My novella The Bank Manager and the Bum was something of a gamble. However, it seems to have paid off, with 31 positive UK reviews since release in June.

With National Novel Writing Month in November I have decided to write a follow up to it. The homeless man, Frank, makes a return but what strange new developments will there be for Frank and a troubled priest with a dark past?

You have a good following on twitter. Since you started before the social media buzz, what impact has social media relationships had on your current success? How much has it changed your book launch process?

I’d equate social media to being at a party where you are slightly uneasy with the host, but you feel obliged to attend or people will wonder why. Social media in general is a great way of connecting with people and I’ve met some fantastic people through it, but there are also so many negatives to be endured alongside the positives. I try not to overdo it when I have a book launch. A few tweets here and there are about all I do.

I prefer to send my book to trusted and balanced reviewers like Keith Nixon who writes for Big Al’s Books and Pals and Liz Wilkins who has her own book blog. These people love reading are always straight, honest, balanced and most importantly unbiased in their opinions.

Do you do book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?

My books are usually novellas and electronic release only so I don’t do signings. However, when I have something long enough I’ll be going out into the world with it!

You have great covers. They carry a theme and your brand for each series. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

I have to make a distinction here between my Longcroft books, which are published by Byker Books, and my self-published work. Byker are very much in tune with my work and I leave the concept for the covers in their more than capable hands. As for my self-published releases a super talented chap called Steven Miscandlon designs the covers. I give him a couple of vague ideas about what I want and leave it to him. His work is top notch and he is speedy. I would recommend him to anyone. I don’t get my readers involved in the process, but I’m not against that idea.

You have written several short stories. Can you tell us if they had an impact on the sales of your novels? Are shorty’s one of your styles of writing or are they created to give readers a sample of your work?

I’ll be honest in saying that my collection of short stories, Dark Voices, does not sell as well as the Longcroft Tales. Dark Voices was more an attempt to put together a body of work that I have worked on in the last few years. It’s well known that story collections do not sell as well as longer fiction, unless you are Stephen King, of course.

Between your book writing, blogging, marketing and all the other things that can get in your way, how do you manage your time? Do you have a set schedule or do your sort of play it by ear?

Quite simply when I am working a novella I write almost every day, even if it’s only two hundred words. The whole process of writing daily keeps the story fresh in my head and focusses me only the goal of completing the project.

What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?

Most writers hate the idea of giving away their work for free but one has to think of the big picture. There are millions of kindle users out there. Promotions work if tackled in the right way. A well-targeted freebie campaign can lead to very healthy sales after the campaign and positive reviews, which aid sales in the long term. No specific obstacles and the main goal for me is to obtain more positive reviews and get my work read by as large an audience as possible.

How do you manage your plots, characters and timelines to keep your stories going? Do you use any software to keep track of your books?

I don’t use software and since it is presently mainly novellas I write I don’t have too many issues here. I’m not against people using technology to help, whatever works for them.

Living in England creates a unique selling and marketing situation. Where is your biggest audience? Does marketing online help in this situation?

The kind of story I tell lends itself to a British audience, although, The Bank Manager and the Bum is getting some good reviews from US readers at the moment. Marketing online does help to get a larger, global, audience.

Tell our readers about the Burning Bridges project? (100% of proceeds are donated to Literacy for Incarcerated Teens.) How did it come about? Who coordinated the project and put all those authors together for such a worthy cause?

There’s an interesting story behind Burning Bridges. A large number of authors, including me, were taken in by a less than reputable publisher, whose name I won’t mention except to say they are currently being sued to the tune of $750,000 dollars. A group of us got together and decided to create a positive from a negative and raise some money for charity whilst burning our metaphorical bridges in print. The driving forces behind creating this anthology were Heath Lowrance and Luis Vera.

What is your method of getting reviews for your novels? Do you seek professional reviews, use social media or do you rely on your reading audience to supply them?

I send my book out to a handful of trusted reviewers, these are generally highly rated book bloggers, as mentioned earlier in this interview. I believe in my work so I like to let my reading audience to supply the majority of reviews.

Author's Book List
Shattered Hearts and Broken Glass - Best of British
All Lee wants to do is spend some quality time with his girlfriend and friends before his next army posting, but things never quite go according to plan on the Longcroft Estate. When a new gang, The Headhunters, start causing trouble, Lee and his friends get sucked into an ever-worsening cycle of intimidation, retaliation and violence.

Darren Sant’s explosive new novella, Shattered Hearts and Broken Glass, is his first set in the dangerous Longcroft Estate. His best selling 'Tales From The Longcroft' (volumes 1 & 2 available) have stirred hearts and minds across the country for their insightful and, at times, humorous look at real issues without a judgemental eye. Sant has created a place where the sense of community is strong but the streets are tough. A place where chancers and dead beats vie for the next opportunity to claw their way to a better life. It could be just down the road from you.

Do you dare walk the shadowy alleyways of The Longcroft Estate?

Order the Book From: Amazon
Moonchild's Sins - P.I. Potter #1
Kicked onto the scrapheap by the local tyre factory in Stoke, Potter decides to use his redundancy pay to set up as a private investigator. Opportunity comes knocking in the form of flame-haired femme fatale Moonchild Burgess, a victim of blackmail, and she is soon followed into Potter's office by a concerned father wondering just what his suddenly affluent teenage daughter is getting up to … With the rent overdue and his pockets empty, the pressure is on – but do the cases on the books offer a lifeline, or have years of reading Chandler novels left Potter deluded? Find out, as P.I. Potter's skills and ingenuity are tested to the limit in 'Moonchild's Sins', the first in the P.I. Potter series of novellas from Darren Sant.

Order the Book From: Amazon
Dark Voices - A Short Story Collection
Vengeance stalks the streets on a rainy night, with just one wicked aim in mind. A cynical, hard-drinking rock journalist gets his just desserts backstage at a gig. A man awakes to find he is bound to a chair, with no idea who did it or why. The underlying theme of Dark Voices is revenge – a wild justice that seeks no counsel and consults no jury. Pain, payback and retribution are delivered in equal measure as the downtrodden, the dismissed, and the dispossessed seek vengeance for the wrongs they have endured. Dark Voices will unnerve, unsettle and disturb you; there is light among the darkness, however, as with his trademark sense of the absurd and the whimsical, Darren Sant takes a humorous sideways glance at life in the deliciously eclectic tales that perfectly round off this collection of fifteen stories. One thing you can be sure of: those Dark Voices will stay with you long after you've learned their secrets.

Order the Book From: Amazon
The Bank Manager and the Bum
When branch manager Giles Macintosh arrives to open up one morning and finds an injured bum and his battered dog lying in the doorway of the bank, he little suspects what lies in store for them all.

Giles does the decent thing and calls for help, then puts the incident out of his mind. However, having been witness to things he cannot explain, he feels drawn to the man and tries to track him down … only to find he has vanished.

But who is the enigmatic, homeless Frank? Why are two very nasty men trying to find him? Why has a prostitute been abducted? And what does the future hold for Giles’s seriously ill son, Jake?

Darren Sant skilfully weaves the various strands to create a compelling story that is as unflinching as it is heart-warming.

As the story unfolds, the tension increases and the true nature of Frank’s amazing secret begins to be revealed. The stakes are high as the criminal and the supernatural come together for a final, inevitable showdown.

Order the Book From: Amazon
Tales From The Longcroft 2 - Tales From The Longcroft Estate
From the shadowy streets of The Longcroft Estate comes another collection of stories. Darren Sant brings you four diverse tales from this fictional housing estate. Combining elements of crime fiction, dark humour and social comment whilst introducing you to various gangsters, drunks, vengeful pensioners and moody teenagers this collection could best be described as Brit Grit. If you like the TV series Shameless then you'll love this. Just be thankful you don't live there!

Order the Book From: Amazon
Radgepacket - Tales From The Inner Cities Volume Six
In our sixth book of short stories you'll find twenty two of Britain's best 'unsigned and unhinged' authors. They'll entertain you with tales of bus stops and loony cops, loan sharks and car parks, big fat blokes, dodgy smokes, lines of coke and some appalling jokes. So come and have a read if you think you're HARD enough!

Order the Book From: Amazon
Tales From The Longcroft - Tales From The Longcroft Estate
Darren Sant has created an excellent series of gritty urban tales set in and around the fictional Longcroft Estate. Featuring the kind of flawed, blurred and, occasionally, downright sinister characters that inhabit today's Britain his work is a masterpiece of crime fiction and social realism combined. All we can say is just enjoy reading this first volume of three stories, look forward to the next one and, most of all, be glad you don't live there!

Order the Book From: Amazon
Radgepacket - Tales From The Inner Cities Volume Five
Radgepacket – Volume Five’ has been described as the punchiest yet and you’ll find real industrial strength fiction in there as the best ‘unsigned and unhinged’ British talent regale you with stories of bad men and mad men...and a little touch of S & M! In this snapshot of todays Britain you’ll find nineteen ‘shorts’ that will entertain and appall you in equal measure as well as a novella set on a council estate in the Midlands that will keep you thinking long after you’ve finished it. Come on...GET RADGE!

Order the Book From: Amazon
Burning Bridges - A Renegade Fiction Anthology
* 100% of authors' proceeds will be donated to Literacy for Incarcerated Teens - a non-profit organization using the written word to help those in need of a fresh start.

These renegade authors are burning bridges. Each one of their 15 short stories is a match and a commitment to never to look back. Readers can expect tales of revenge, redemption and the road ahead - but never regret.

Includes the Derringer Award nominated story Dead Weight by Allan Leverone.


Dead Weight ~ Allan Leverone
The Beginning of the End ~ Paul D. Brazill
Unforgettable ~ Julia Madeleine
A Freeway on Earth ~ Heath Lowrance
Horse Clock ~ K.A. Laity
Disciple ~ Mark Cooper
Punishment/Lola ~ Darren Sant
Asylum ~ George S. Geisinger
No Turning Back ~ McDroll
The Importance of Blood ~ Edith M. Maxwell
The Last Injustice ~ Benjamin Sobieck
An Idea for Murder ~ Tace Baker
Safety First ~ Joshua J. Mark
Killing Deities ~ L. Vera
A Gift ~ B.R. Stateham

Order the Book From: Amazon
Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the following blogs:
HBS eBook Author’s Corner
HBS Mystery Reader’s Circle

Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.

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