Friday, January 24, 2014

M.A. Comley - An Author Interview in the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Bestselling Thriller author M.A. Comley. She is the author of The Justice series.



Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Romance, Science Fiction & Fantasy

Website: M.A. Comley
Twitter: @Melcom1
E-Mail: melanie.comley@wanadoo.fr
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest


Author Description:
Independent writers have known for some time that the publishing world is changing. No longer do writers have to await the whim of an agent and then a publisher before their cherished work sees the light of day.

This is a double edged sword, of course. It means that a lot of drivel is out there on Kindle and self-published. But it also means that complete gems have come to the attention of readers who would never have had the chance to read the author concerned. Some of these authors have attracted the attention of agents who, attracted by the author’s sales figures, have decided to jump in and offer a contract before someone else does.One of these authors is Mel Comley, a Brit living in rural France. Ms Comley gave up her job in retail a decade ago and, in the wake of a traumatic divorce, moved with her mother to a country they had never even previously visited.

After renovating a few houses, she decided on a different path. Ms Comley took a creative writing course, following her life’s dream, and began to write.

Months turned into years and she, at first, saw little success. Rejection followed rejection.

But if there is something to be said about Ms Comley, it is her solid work ethic and her determination never to give up. “It’s tough when you’re first starting out. You have no idea if you’re any good. I started off writing romances and I had a good response from Mills and Boon for one, but then I decided to change tack to thrillers.”

She uploaded her new crime novel, Impeding Justice, to the wannabe writer site, Authonomy and waged a fierce campaign, spending all day, every day, in front of her computer to get her novel to the top of the chart and under the gaze of a Harper Collins.

Authonomy is a networking site as much as a talent site and Mel worked hard to see that her story of a British female cop chasing down murder, kidnap and human trafficking was as recognised as it should have been.


SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

Congratulations on your book: Virtual Justice. What do you have on the drawing board next? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

Thank you, Virtual Justice has been a resounding success since its release. Currently I'm writing the 8th book in the Justice series, Hostile Justice. In this novel I asked my fans if they wanted to see Lorne remain as a PI or to return to the police force, I was very surprised that the majority said they would like her to return to the force. So, never one to let my fans down, Lorne's next adventure will see her return as her former partner's partner, no longer a DI she's returning as a DS instead. Hostile Justice should be out sometime in February, providing my editor can fit me in. The second book in the Intention series is due for release any day now, I'm in the process of sorting out the cover and arranging the formatting.

You have a good following on twitter. How important have your social media relationships been? How did you build your following in your niche? Did you use forums, newsletters and methods like that?

I'm lucky to have a very loyal following on twitter and facebook. I regard the people I have met as my extended family. I never ignore an email or private message I receive on either FB or twitter. After all these people are the people reading and enjoying my books, why would I want to ignore them?

You have great covers. They carry a theme and your brand with them. 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?

My cover artist is wonderful; I'd be lost without her. I give her an idea and she comes up with the goods right away. I think the only cover I had problems with was Sole Intention, shame on Karri, she took two attempts to get that cover right. It's always a good idea, if you can afford it, to change your covers regularly. You never see James Patterson not reinventing his brand, do you?

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 started to release the short stories as a means to support a charity close to my heart. All the proceeds of Merry Widow and It's A Dog's Life (both connected to the Justice series) go to P.U.P.S. the charity I got my rescue dog, Henry, from, he's 13 now. The lady who runs the charity has saved over 1500 dogs and was awarded an MBE (Member of the British Empire) for her work. I always promised her that one day I would contribute to the dogs she saves, this is my way of doing that.

I like the idea of Author bundles. You are a part of a novel collection called Working Girls … Do It For Thrills Bundle which have showcased on our sister blog, HBS Mystery Readers Circle.

What was the impact on your other sales? What was the main objective of bundling your works with other mystery authors? How did you put something like that together?


The main objective behind releasing the author bundle books was really making readers aware of the other stunning mystery/thriller authors out there. My fans have discovered authors they might never have noticed amongst the millions now available on Amazon and the other sites.

We have had several of the Indie Chicks in the Author’s Spotlight. What a group of outstanding people. I feel so strongly about the group, I added their book in the list of your credits below (You are a co-author). What is the main thing that you get out of this association? Why is the book so successful, besides having outstanding authors?

It was a privilege to be asked to be involved in the Indie Chicks project, I made some very dear friends and we raised a lot of money for charity, which was the main objective.

Between your book writing, blogging, marketing, family 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?

Writing always comes first. I write seven days a week between 2 and 3,000 words per day. I spend the rest of the day marketing, blogging etc. My working day is approximately 14 hours long. It's hard being an Indie author, but I love it.

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?

I used to give away a lot of books but now I tend to offer my books at a bargain price of $0.99/49p. The upside of this is that the reviews tend to be far better when readers have invested their hard-earned money in your work.

How do you start your book launch process for a new book? Give a brief outline of the steps you go through to get your book to market. What methods were the most successful?

I generally make an announcement on FB, although this is proving to be more difficult as FB keep hiding the posts, not helpful. I also send out a newsletter to my subscribers, the number of which is growing with the more books I release. I feel blessed and excited when another reader chooses to sign up to my newsletter, it's very rewarding.

You have a great blog. You do a great job keeping readers informed, marketing your books and providing useful information to other writers. What is your primary goal? And where in the world do you find the time to create great novels, take care of the social media and maintain your blog?

To be honest, I neglect my blog nowadays as I devote more time to actually writing and getting the books out there. I have very demanding fans!

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 really should be more proactive in seeking out reviews but it's hard juggling everything. I tend to let my readers make the call on that, if they like the book, they'll let me know.



Author's Book List
Justice Series Boxed Set - Books 1-3
Cruel Justice

The headless body of a wealthy widow is discovered decomposing in Chelling Forest. Then a second victim is found. Detective Inspector Lorne Simpkins and her partner, DS Pete Childs are assigned the case. Before they can discover the identity of the killer they must make a connection between the two victims.

After a third murder, Lorne receives a grisly surprise. Clearly, a vicious serial killer is on a rampage...and Lorne has become the killer's fixation.

Lorne can't allow her failing marriage or her new boss--a man with whom she shares a sensuous secret--keep her from focusing on her job. She must catch the macabre murderer, or risk becoming the next victim.

Impeding Justice

For eight long years, Detective Inspector Lorne Simpkins has tracked the vicious criminal known as The Unicorn. But the killer has frustrated MI6 at every turn and remained successful at Impeding Justice.

When Lorne is targeted in a trap that results in the death of her partner, the tragedy shakes her confidence to the core. Before she has time to recoup, her teenage daughter is kidnapped. More than Lorne's professional reputation rests on her bringing The Unicorn to justice.

Final Justice

A ruthless killer returns--and former DI Lorne Simpkins is forced to revisit her ugly past.

After suffering a breakdown and quitting the force, Lorne Simpkins finds herself embroiled in an MI6 covert operation to hunt down her old enemy, a sadistic and merciless criminal whose ambition is to become the world's richest man.

Lorne tracks the madman through France, attempting to thwart his plans and bring her long-time nemesis to Final Justice.


Order the Book From: Amazon
Virtual Justice - Justice Series Book 7
P.I. Lorne Warner is back in Virtual Justice, the seventh installment in the Justice series.

The body of a strangled woman draws Lorne into an intricate investigation that expands swiftly when a second innocent is murdered. A serial killer is on the loose, plucking victims from Internet dating sites. But when a third victim--this one male--is discovered, Lorne is forced to admit her worst fears... she is on the trail of a serial killer duo.

Lorne's personal life grows complicated as her sister, Jade, struggles to come to terms with their father's death. Lorne suggests drastic measures to cure Jade's grief.

The answers are out there, but will Lorne solve the crimes and find the killer before the next victim dies?


Order the Book From: Amazon
Torn Apart - A Hero series novel
Everyone understands about the no-go districts--areas of the city so overrun with gang violence even the police stay away. In this book, the first in a new series, DI Hero Nelson sets out to combat the issue.

When Saskia Hartley and her nine-year-old son are run down outside a restaurant, DI Nelson knows it is no ordinary hit-and-run incident. He's looking at a homicide case... and the evidence points to the brutal Krull Gang. When two prostitutes are murdered, but little interest is given to the women on the Krull's payroll, Nelson connects the dots.

DI Nelson has to decide whether he's dealing with a turf war or something far more sinister.


Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Ultimate Justice - Justice Series Book 6
A ship wreck--
Dozens of bodies washed ashore--
Clear evidence that evil has made port in London.

The horrific case piques the interest of P.I. Lorne Simpkins. It doesn't take long before Lorne learns that young, helpless women are being caged and sold to the wealthy and salacious. Old wounds are wrenched open when she suspects a cover-up by the very authorities that should be keeping lawful order. Can she trust the self-serving journalist bent on making the human-trafficking ring his next big story? When her daughter is involved in a life-threatening accident, it's difficult for Lorne to keep her head in the game.

But Lorne and her ex-MI6 husband, Tony, are determined to end the repulsive slave trade and bring the criminals to justice--even if it means Lorne ends up locked in a cage herself.


Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Sole Intention - Missing Persons Hotline
Former police officers Ellen Brazil and Brian Lynx have joined forces to start a successful missing persons investigation firm which has just been contracted to find the wife of bodybuilder Will Endersbe. Ellen discovers that a number of women with similar features and hair colour have also vanished in the Worcester area. Ellen and Brian suspect a serial kidnapper is to blame, and without a body, the police are happy to leave the case in their hands to solve.


Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Guaranteed Justice - Justice series Book 5
Retired DI Lorne Simpkins thought she knew what she wanted when she started an animal rescue centre with her husband Tony. Although saving and retraining exploited dogs is fulfilling, Lorne can't help but feel that something vital is missing from her life. Linda Carter is brutally raped and left for dead in an alley. By some miracle, she survives, but now she lives each day terrified by the perpetrator's final threatening words--that her sister, Fiona, will be his next victim.

The sisters decide to adopt a guard dog and contact the rescue centre. During a home check to see if the girls and their flat are suited for a German Shepherd, Lorne witnesses Linda's horrendous injuries. The young woman knows the identity of her rapist--wealthy, playboy Graham Gibson--however, the police haven't made an arrest. The shocking story turns into a life-altering moment for Lorne. She decides to become a Private Investigator, and urges the girls to let her take up their case. Little does she know that more victims will come forward to accuse Gibson of rape.

Lorne is determined to see this vicious criminal behind bars, but is anyone ever guaranteed justice?


Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Foul Justice - Justice Series Book 4
Detective Inspector Lorne Simpkins is back on the force. Before she can get comfortable with her new partner, newly-promoted DS Katy Foster, the two are assigned a tragic murder case that looks like a robbery gone wrong. However, when another wealthy footballer's family meets the same deadly fate within twenty-four hours, it is clear the crimes involve something far more sinister.

Keeping her focus on unravelling the complex case isn't easy for Lorne when she learns news that throws her personal life into a spin--her fiancé, M16 agent Tony Warner, is involved in a dangerous covert operation in Afghanistan. But innocent people are dying on her patch, and someone must catch the killers. Lorne can't allow this Foul Justice to prevail.


Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Final Justice - Justice series Book 3
A ruthless killer returns--and former DI Lorne Simpkins is forced to revisit her ugly past.

After suffering a breakdown and quitting the force, Lorne Simpkins finds herself embroiled in an MI6 covert operation to hunt down her old enemy, a sadistic and merciless criminal whose ambition is to become the world's richest man.

Lorne tracks the madman through France, attempting to thwart his plans and bring her long-time nemesis to Final Justice.


Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Impeding Justice - Justice series Book 2
#1 in Police Procedurals

For eight long years, Detective Inspector Lorne Simpkins has tracked the vicious criminal known as The Unicorn. But the killer has frustrated MI6 at every turn and remained successful at Impeding Justice.

When Lorne is targeted in a trap that results in the death of her partner, the tragedy shakes her confidence to the core. Before she has time to recoup, her teenage daughter is kidnapped. More than Lorne's professional reputation rests on her bringing The Unicorn to justice.


Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Cruel Justice - Justice series Book 1
The headless body of a wealthy widow is discovered decomposing in Chelling Forest. Then a second victim is found. Detective Inspector Lorne Simpkins and her partner, DS Pete Childs are assigned the case.

Before they can discover the identity of the killer they must make a connection between the two victims.

After a third murder, Lorne receives a grisly surprise. Clearly, a vicious serial killer is on a rampage...and Lorne has become the killer's fixation.

Lorne can't allow her failing marriage or her new boss--a man with whom she shares a sensuous secret--keep her from focusing on her job. She must catch the macabre murderer, or risk becoming the next victim.


Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Indie Chicks: 25 Women 25 Personal Stories
This exciting anthology contains stories from twenty-five women from different parts of the world. Their ages differ, as do their backgrounds and locations, but one thing they all have in common is a spirit of independence and a determination to not only succeed, but prevail.

Whether their struggles are to maintain balance between motherhood and career, escape from an abusive relationship, or to step out in faith and pursue a dream, all of these women have forged their own path. As women, one of our most powerful 'gifts' is the ability to encourage one another.

This book is an effort to encourage women across the world. These twenty-five women share stories that will make you laugh, inspire you, and maybe even make you cry. Their hope is that these stories will inspire YOUR independent spirit and allow you to live the life you were meant to live.

All proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to a charitable organization that fights breast cancer.


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

6 comments:

  1. Mel, you are an inspiration. I so admire you for following your dream and succeeding. You go girl!

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  2. I have read all of Mel's works...and they sit firmly on my top shelf. She is not only a talented writer, but a wonderful lady. I love her....wish we lived closer....but I'm still smilin'...

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    1. I'm a big fan of yours too, Lee. ♥

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  3. Mel, you are amazing! Lovely interview!

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    1. Thanks Donna, good luck on your Montlake deal; :-)

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