Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Tim Vicary - An Author Interview at the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Tim Vicary. He writes Crime and Historical Novels, Children's Books, the Educational Oxford Bookworms Library and The Trials of Sarah Newby series.

Author Genre: Crime and Historical Novels

Website: Tim Vicary
Author's Blog: Tim Vicary - Author
Twitter: @TimVicary
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Amazon Author Profile

Author Description:
Hi. My name's Tim Vicary and I'm an author and a university teacher at the Norwegian Study Centre at the University of York, England. I've written three crime/legal thrillers in 'The Trials of Sarah Newby' series, and I'm currently writing a fourth. I've also written four historical novels, two children's books, and about twenty graded readers for foreign learners of English in the Oxford Bookworms series, published by Oxford University Press, two of which, Titanic and The Everest Story, won awards from the Extensive Reading Foundation in 2010 and 2011 respectively.

My legal thriller, A Fatal Verdict, was awarded a B.R.A.G Medallion for an outstanding independently published book in 2012, and in 2013 Bold Counsel won the Awesome Indies Seal of Approval.

I live in the English countryside, near York. When I'm not writing I like horse-riding, cycling, and swimming.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

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

I am three quarters of the way through the fourth novel in the legal thriller series The Trials of Sarah Newby. If all goes well it should be published sometime between Easter and midsummer. Readers of the previous novels may be intrigued to know that the sexual tension between the barrister Sarah Newby and detective Terry Bateson enters a new phase. But the course of true love seldom runs smooth!

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 did you build your following in your niche? How much has it changed your book launch process?

Two or three years ago I built up a reasonable following on Twitter, and at that time I think it helped to sell books. But after a while I got fed up with pestering people to buy, and gave up using Twitter entirely for over a year. Recently I have returned to it but now I find its main value is in making contact with interesting sites , like this one, which I wouldn't know about otherwise.

Do you do any 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?

I am afraid I hate travelling and love being a recluse. I don't do any of those things, sorry. But I'm delighted to receive emails from readers and promise to reply to them all.

You have great covers. 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'm glad you like the covers. They are all created by my good friend Cathy helms at Avalon Graphics. It's a two way process - I give her such ideas as I have and she uses her artistic skills to interpret them.

Several of your novels have been converted into audio books. What has been the impact on your regular sales? Has the audio books gained a new audience for you?

The audiobooks sell moderately well but it's hard to tell what effect they've had on sales of ebooks and paperbacks. It was fun to make them but extremely time-consuming, as I've described somewhere on my blog. Maybe next time it will be quicker. It's a little harder to get your book noticed on Audible, I think, than on Amazon.

I like the idea of bundling a series of novels. You have put together a couple sets of your novels called The Trials of Sarah Newby series and Women of Courage. What was the impact on your other sales? What was your main objective in bundling your novels?

Women of Courage is the only box set I've made so far. The idea of course was to offer readers a bargain - three books for the price of one and a half. Sadly my historical novels don't sell as well as the legal thrillers, which is a pity, because they're just as good if not better, in my humble unbiased opinion. Take a look, readers! Nobody's Slave, for instance, actually won a literary prize, and has been adopted as a set text in a high school.

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've tried quite a few paid promotion sites, but most cost-effective by far is Bookbub. (I like Fussy Librarian too, but it's much smaller) Twice I've given away huge numbers fo free copies of A Game of Proof, the first book in The Trials of Sarah Newby series, and each time I've seen big increases in sales of the series, sustained over many weeks. But this year it's become more profitable, because all my books are in Kindle Select and Kindle Unlimited, which means I get paid a small amount for every page read in those free copies. Because my books are quite long that has meant I earn twice as much this way as from actual paid sales. Well done kdp!

Do you maintain a reader list? What are the methods you use to find your readers and create the list and the relationship? Do you use social media, forums, newsletters and/or support groups to build your list?

I do, but I've only just realised how important this is. My main focus over the coming year, apart from writing, is going to be to build this up, in every way possible. Readers who want to join the list to learn more about upcoming books, please sign up on my website All welcome!

You have an interesting blog. You do a great job keeping readers informed, marketing your books and providing useful information to other writers. What is your primary goal?

To write as many good books as I can, and tell the world about them! But it's also important to me that they are well written, quality books that I'm proud of. Sadly, that takes time - for me, anyway.

Living in England creates a unique selling and marketing situation. Where is your biggest audience? Does marketing online help in this situation? You have published your books in other languages. Do you plan on converting more of your books to other languages?

It varies. I check my sales constantly - one of the joys of the new publishing world- and sometimes it seems I sell more in the US, other times in the UK. My books are also being translated into Chinese and I have daily questions from translators there, usually about cultural differences, which is fascinating. Several US readers find the different British legal traditions curious, and I also had an interesting email from Canada last week, from a reader who was puzzled by my use of British slang. If he sends me a list of British-Canadian 'translations' maybe I'll add it my books as a glossary!

Author's Book List

Nobody's Slave
Two boys meet on a voyage that transforms their lives.

Madu, a young African, is captured by the English slave-trader, Sir John Hawkins. Tom Oakley is a young sailor in charge of the slaves. At first the two boys boys hate each other. But as the story develops their roles are reversed, and they become closer friends than either would have once believed possible.

This is a fast-moving drama based around real historical events. History as you never learned it in school!

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

The Monmouth Summer
1685. King Charles II dies unexpectedly, and is succeeded by his brother James II, England's first Catholic monarch since Bloody Mary. English Protestants feel threatened, and King Charles’s illegitimate son, the handsome young duke of Monmouth, rises against his uncle in armed rebellion.

The rebellion turns young Ann Carter’s world upside down. Eighteen years old, she is betrothed to Tom Goodchild, a Protestant shoemaker; but secretly loves Robert Pole, an officer in King James’s army, who offers to take her to London as his mistress. Ann knows it is her duty to marry Tom, but does not love him; so when he marches away with the rebels, she imagines him being killed – which would set her free. But she knows such thoughts are wicked; her father is a rebel soldier too, like all the men of her village. So who should she pray for, when musket balls start to fly? What matters most – love or loyalty?

If God could see into my heart, she wonders, what would He tell me to do?

Her father, Adam, is a brave man tormented by fear. He has two fears: first, that he may be a coward, and run from the enemy; and second, that he is not one of God’s Elect, and will go to Hell when he dies. But like all the men of Colyton, ‘England’s most rebellious town’, he marches to war, risking his life for what he believes.

When England’s most notorious judge, Judge Jeffreys, is sent to punish the rebels, Ann and her father are faced with the hardest choices of all.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

Cat and Mouse
Set in London and Ulster in 1914, Cat and Mouse is the gripping story of two sisters fighting for their ideals in the turbulent months before the outbreak of war.

When Sarah Becket, a militant suffragette fighting to free Mrs Pankhurst from prison, discovers that her own husband, a respected Liberal MP, is involved in a scandalous prostitution racket, she is devastated. Still weak from imprisonment herself, she takes a knife from her kitchen and goes out into London's West End, determined to protest for women's rights in the most dramatic way she can.

Across the Irish Sea, her sister Deborah is lonely and unloved. When her soldier husband returns from abroad to join the Ulster Volunteers, she faces an agonizing choice - to end her passionate affair with James Rankin, a charismatic trade union leader, or face the loss of her beloved son. When she reads about her sister's act of defiance, she resolves to go to her aid.

United by their cause, Sarah and Deborah combine to fight both male corruption and a sinister German plot to foment civil war in Ireland.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

The Blood Upon the Rose
Ireland in 1919 is seething with violence, tension and divided loyalties - and so is the heart of the beautiful, wilful heiress Catherine O'Connell-Gort. For Catherine, by heritage, is a glittering symbol of British rule and oppression - yet by inclination she is a traitor to her class. A fervent supporter of Sinn Fein, she is also the secret lover of Sean Brennan, an IRA volunteer who is being hunted by the police for terrorism and murder.

When the British government decides to meet terror with terror, Catherine finds herself in a position of even greater conflict. Her father, a colonel in British Military Intelligence, recruits Major Andrew Butler, battle-scarred war hero and Irish landlord, to assassinate IRA leader Michael Collins. He also decides that the dashing major would make the perfect husband for his headstrong daughter ...

In a violent climax of passion, guilt and betrayal, while her country hurtles towards civil war, Catherine faces an agonising choice as she makes her final, fateful decision.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

Bold Counsel - No-one hides forever - The Trials of Sarah Newby series Book 3
Some secrets are buried too deep for tears. Love, death and an ancient murder combine in this outstanding legal thriller. When Sarah Newby embarks on her first case in London’s Court of Criminal Appeal, she has little idea of the quest of horror she is about to uncover. With her marriage collapsing under the strain of her career, she finds a new lover. But dare she trust any man ever again? Yet when even the police oppose her fight for justice, what can one woman do all alone?

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

A Fatal Verdict - The Trials of Sarah Newby
What would you do if someone murdered your child, but the justice system let you down?

Kathryn Walters is faced with this dreadful decision when her daughter, Shelley, is found dead in a bath in her boyfriend's flat. Despite the best efforts of the Crown Prosecution barrister, Sarah Newby, it seems likely that the boyfriend, David Kidd, will be acquitted. How can her family tolerate this? And how should the investigating detective, Terry Bateson, act when it seems that the murdered girl's mother is seeking revenge on the man he is certain killed Shelley in the first place?

As the story unravels Sarah Newby is confronted with one of her toughest defence cases yet, with a client who is not only reluctant to give evidence on her own behalf, but also refuses to explain why she chose Sarah to defend her in the first place …

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

A Game of Proof
A mother's worst nightmare - can her son be guilty of murder?

Sarah Newby, who left school at 15, and was living as a teenage single parent on an inner-city estate, has worked her way up to begin a career as a criminal barrister. But what should she do when her own son, Simon, is arrested and charged with a series of brutal rapes and murders?

Has Sarah, in her single-minded determination to create a career for herself, neglected her son so much that she no longer knows him? He has often lied to her in the past, so how can she trust him when he says he is innocent this time? And what should she do when she herself uncovers evidence that seems to suggest his guilt?

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

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

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