Thursday, August 17, 2017

Kerry J. Donovan - An Author Interview in the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on #1 Bestselling Author Kerry J. Donovan. He is author of the DCI Jones Casebook series and the Ryan Kaine series.

Author: Kerry J. Donovan

Author Genre: Crime, Suspense, Thriller

Website: Kerry J Donovan
Author's Blog: Kerry J Donovan
Twitter: @KerryJDonovan
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Google+: Check Out Google+
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Amazon Author Profile

Author Description:
#1 International Best Seller with his action thriller, Ryan Kaine: On the Run, Kerry J Donovan was born in Dublin. A citizen of the world, he now lives in the heart of rural Brittany with his wonderful wife, Jan. They have three children and four grandchildren, all of whom live in England. An absentee granddad, Kerry is hugely grateful for the development of video calling.

The cottage is a pet free zone (apart from the field mice, moles, and a family of red squirrels).

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

Congratulations on your book: Ryan Kaine: On the Run. Rumor has it that you have another book on the horizon called Ryan Kaine: On the Rocks (see below). Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

Thanks James, I published Ryan Kaine: On the Run in May and have been astonished by its popularity. The story of an honest man battling the odds to prove his innocence seems to have struck a chord with the readers. As you say, the second book in the series, On the Rocks is currently available for pre-order on Amazon and is scheduled for release on 24th September at the very latest.

Without giving away any spoilers, On the Rocks takes place immediately after the end of the first book and follows Ryan Kaine as he travels to the Highlands of Scotland to join the search for schoolboy, Martin Princeton, who has gone missing during a school geography trip.

The story opens during Kaine’s 600-mile journey from England to Scotland. He stops at a service station to refuel his car and pick up some provisions when he interrupts two bullies, George and Purdy, hurling racial abuse at an Indian couple, Mr & Mrs Singh. Despite his pressing need to continue his journey, Ryan can’t stand by while innocents are in trouble. This scene takes place inside the shop:

Kaine waited for Mr Singh to hurry his wife outside before speaking again, this time to the woman behind her security screen. “Did you just call the police?”

She nodded. “Aye, but they won’t get here for half an hour.” She threw a hand to her mouth as though realising she’d said too much. “Sorry, I … mean they’re on their way.”

“Not a problem,” Kaine said. “Better call for an ambulance, as well.”

George cackled. “That’s right. You’re gonna need one.”

Purdy sighed. “He means the ambulance is for us, George. The fucker’s being a comedian.”

In the forecourt beyond the window, a group of irate customers who’d been unable to activate the self-service pumps, stood in a huddle. Mr Singh took centre stage, waving his arms and pointing to the shop. It looked as though he was trying to drum up support for a rescue attempt. Kaine sighed. He’d only stopped for diesel and to pick up a sandwich, and things looked likely to escalate into a full-scale battle. Time to end this mess before the wrong people started getting hurt.

“Tell you what, George,” Kaine said, deliberately turning his back to Purdy, but keeping one eye on him in the mirror. “Why don’t we save a bit of time? You tell me which one of you I should hospitalise, and I’ll let the other play nursemaid until the ambulance arrives. Sound fair?”

In the mirror, Purdy nodded.

George threw a slow and telegraphed left cross at Kaine’s jaw. Kaine ducked inside it, blocked the blow upwards with his right forearm, and snapped a stiff-fingered jab deep into the kid’s armpit.

George screamed and collapsed to his knees, holding his right arm stiff against his ribcage. The colour drained from his face. His eyes stared wide, and his mouth opened and closed in a desperate fight for air.

Kaine dodged around and behind George, his back to the till and made ready for the second attack, but a wide-eyed Purdy hadn’t moved. Kaine ruffled George’s hair as though comforting an unruly schoolboy.

“Relax, George,” he said. “Don’t try to fight it. I paralysed your axillary nerve, but it’s not permanent. You’re in shock right now, but you’ll be able to breathe normally in a minute or two. Maybe three.”

George slumped against the newspaper display, tears formed on his lashes but were yet to fall.

Kaine forced his breathing to calm. Stunning the kid hadn’t taken much effort, but the adrenaline had started to pump though his system and he needed to keep his reactions under control or he’d end up doing Purdy some real damage. Despite everything they’d done, he didn’t want to inflict serious injury if he could avoid it.

Purdy snarled. His hand shot into his jacket and came out carrying an ebony-handled switchblade. A flick of the wrist and a twist of the fingers exposed the stainless steel cutting edge in all its shiny danger.

The woman behind the counter screamed. George panted, breathing again as his nervous system began to recover from the pulverising blow. Kaine stiffened and watched the arc of the blade as a grinning Purdy waved it ahead of him and slid one foot in front of the other, advancing slowly.

To find out what happens next, you’ll have to read the book.

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?

Wow, that makes me sound so old. I joined Facebook and Twitter about five years ago as a complete novice and have grown my platforms organically since then. I have SM friends I’ll likely never meet in the flesh, but would love to do so.

I can quite safely say that Social Media has revolutionized my publishing process and I wouldn’t dream of launching a new book without tweeting, blogging, or Facebook posting about it. I also use good old-fashioned word of mouth advertising.

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?

Thank for saying that. My friend, editor, and author, Michaela Miles and I spend a great deal of time and effort in designing my covers.

Together, we come up with a concept for the series theme and buy stock photos from an online source (e.g. Bigstock and Depositphotos). I then commission a cover designer to finalise the design. The designer is good, but we often have to tweak the cover a few times before we’re happy.

Although “you can’t judge a book by its cover” a poorly designed, amateurish cover is often an indication of poorly written, amateurish content. I guess that answers you question regarding my ‘hands-on approach’. For most of my covers I will often consult my Street Team and ask them to choose their favourite from a shortlist of two or three.

The basic design principle I’m aiming for in all my covers is to make my name prominent. My name is, after all, my brand

You have written a short story collection called The Collection. Can you tell us if it 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?

The Collection, a collection of my short stores, cunning title, eh?

You are dead right, I created the book with the aim of using it as a sample of my work. To be honest, I don’t really promote the book and often use it as a giveaway. Some are funny, some are biographical, and some are pure whimsy.

BTW, I should at this point warn readers that there are one or two grizzly tales in The Collection that are unsuitable for a younger audience. You have been warned.

You have written a novella called Raymond Collins. It is one of your The DCI Jones Casebooks. Can you tell us if it has 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? Do you feel short reads are a product of our email and smart phone age?

Raymond Collins was my first self-published work of fiction. I used it as an introduction to Detective Chief Inspector David Jones and his team. I set is as a Permafree book for over a year, and it did generate a small but loyal following. I’ve since written three full-length Casebooks and have more in the pipeline.

You might be right about shorts being the product of the smart phone age, but I haven’t really thought about it seriously. I tend to write as the muse takes me. Some stories lend themselves to a shorter format, others don’t.

I like the idea of bundling a set of novels. You are a part of a novel collection called Death, Lies & Duct Tape. 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?

It is impossible to quantify the effect of the Box Set on the sales of my other books. All I can say at this stage is, it certainly didn’t harm sales. As for the logistics of the Box Set, I was approached by one of the members and invited to join. I knew a few of the other authors on the project and was flattered to have been asked.

The main objective was to use our joint pulling power to promote each other’s books. Would I do it again? Not sure, the jury’s out on that one.

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?

Since 2016, I have made it my policy not to give my work away free any more. I believe giving books away free devalues the product and, just because someone downloads a free book doesn’t mean they are going to read it. Without buy-in, there’s no real incentive for the ‘reader’ to actually open the book. That’s the main reason I no longer offer Raymond Collins as a Permafree product.

I will offer a limited number of Advance Reader Copies of new books, but only to selected readers and groups who promise to provide honest reviews of the book. I sometimes send free copies of The Collection as a reward (or punishment) for signing-up to receive my Newsletter.

What is your primary genre? What has been your best marketing approach to this group?

I write crime and action thrillers. My fundamental marketing approach is to produce the absolute best work possible. Mr readers expect to be thrilled and surprised by my books and that’s what I try to do with every volume.

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 maintain a reader list and cull it regularly to weed out the subscribers who don’t want to hear from me and fail to open my Newsletters. I find the best way to build a list is to put a little link in the Back of Book matter and ask readers who like the book sign up.

I spend very little money on building my list. I believe the marketing people call it ‘growing organically’.

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 never, ever pay for a review and rarely seek professional reviews. Professional reviewers demand hard copies and I work primarily in the electronic medium. I offer ARC copies of my latest books to individuals and to reviewing groups I found on Facebook. I also include a review request in the back of all my books.

Currently, I have a good average star rating and am delighted when readers take time out of their day to tell me what they think of my books.

Author's Book List
Ryan Kaine: On the Run
A passenger plane explodes. Eighty-three people die. One man is responsible.

When an apparently routine operation ends in tragedy, decorated ex-Royal Marine, Ryan Kaine, becomes the target of a nationwide manhunt. The police want him on terrorism charges, and a sinister organisation wants him dead.

Desperate to prove his innocence, Kaine is forced to rely on two women he hardly knows: one, a country vet who treats his wounds, the other an IT expert with a secret of her own.

Battling overwhelming guilt, life-threatening injuries, and his own moral code, Kaine hunts the people who turned him into a mass-murderer.

Can Kaine’s combat skills, instincts, and new-found allies lead him to the truth and redemption?

Order the Book From:

The DCI Jones Casebook: Cryer's View
For more than five years police operations in the southeast of England have been failing. Chief Superintendent Knightly, a senior member of the National Crime Agency, suspects that someone is selling police intelligence. When one of his junior officers dies before he can attend clandestine meeting with him, Knightly is certain—there’s a dirty cop inside his organisation.

Unable to trust anyone under his command, Knightly turns to an old friend for help—Detective Chief Inspector David Jones.

When Detective Sergeant Phil Cryer, answers his doorbell to find CS Knightly and DCI Jones on his doorstep, he knows things are about to get interesting—and dangerous.

Phil Cryer, on sick leave after suffering an injury in the line of duty, soon finds himself deep undercover inside the NCA hunting the dirty cop, codename Alpine. He faces his most difficult and dangerous assignment. Alone, injured, and armed only with his phenomenal memory, Phil must identify the rogue cop before he escapes … or kills again.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

On Lucky Shores - A Chet Walker Adventure
In an action-packed tale of secrets and lies in small town America, Chet Walker is a man forced to make decisions that will affect his future and the life of the woman he loves.

Witness to a car crash and in receipt of a cryptic message from a dying man, traveling musician, Chet Walker, reaches the picturesque lakeside town of Lucky Shores. He faces hostility and suspicion from the locals and learns that the information he carries could unlock an eight-year-old mystery—it could also get him killed.

Josephine Dolan, owner of the Lucky Shores diner, wants to bury her past. When Walker arrives with a message from her father, she doesn't want to hear it. She cuts him cold.

When his life is threatened, Chet Walker learns the truth behind the saying: “no good deed goes unpunished.”

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The DCI Jones Casebook: Sean Freeman
Veteran cop, DCI David Jones, is tough and uncompromising. His Serious Crime Unit has the best arrest record the Midlands Police Service has ever seen. Jones and his dedicated team work hard to keep it that way.

Locksmith turned jewel thief, Sean Freeman, is the best in the UK. He's never been caught—the police have never even come close. When Freeman's vicious gangland boss, DB Parrish, forces him to break into the Stafford Museum, the UK’s most secure premises outside of the Bank of England, he's in trouble. The Stafford Museum is in the middle of Jones' jurisdiction.

Someone's record is going to suffer.

In this opening instalment of the DCI Jones Casebook series, veteran detective, David Jones tackles a series of cases and faces a clever and engaging criminal he respects and would probably like—under different circumstances. But Jones has a job to do and Freeman is going down. .

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble
KOBO Store
iTunes Store

The Transition of Johnny Swift
"An injured man battles for his sanity on the borders between life and death."

Frank Brazier is a racing driver, and a good one. He has the perfect life--a contract to drive for a Formula 1 team, a supportive family, and a stunning new girlfriend.

On the surface, everything is great, but Frank is hiding a secret. He suffers visions, hallucinations. On race days, the Shadow-man visits. It waves at him, taunts him, distracts him. The Shadow-man eats away at his concentration. Then, disaster strikes. Frank is partially blinded in accident that also involves his sister, Paula.

Recuperating in his hospital bed, Frank starts hearing voices. Strange voices. Impossible voices. Frank fears he is losing his grip on reality.

When the doctors tell him Paula is brain dead and they want to pull the plug on her life-support machines, Frank knows they are wrong. He knows Paula is still alive, still responsive, searching for a way home. Paula's voice is one of the ones Frank hears in his nightmares!

Then, the Shadow-man speaks!

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The DCI Jones Casebook: Raymond Collins - A novella
The DCI Jones casebook: Raymond Collins

A novella to introduce veteran cop, Detective Chief Inspector David Jones:

Birmingham, England, a sunny day in the city park. Children play, adults stroll--and a man lies dead in a pool of blood. His terrified fiancé screams for help.

The assailant smiles, waves goodbye and strolls away to hide in the city.

DCI Jones, together with his protégé, Detective Sergeant Phil Cryer are called to investigate the most difficult of crimes--an apparently motiveless and random attack. Hampered by a lack of resources, Jones and Cryer have to act quickly to prevent a murder spree.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble
KOBO Store

The DCI Jones Casebook: Ellis Flynn
An empathetic detective and his Swedish-born colleague hunt for the abductors of a teenage schoolgirl—a police procedural set in England and France.

When fourteen-year-old Hollie Jardine fails to return home from school, her terrified parents call the police.

It doesn’t take veteran detective, DCI David Jones, head of the Midlands Police Serious Crime Unit, long to discover a link between Hollie and convicted sex-offender, Ellis Flynn.

With Hollie's chances of survival fading, Jones and his colleague Alex Olganski risk their careers when they ignore protocol to follow Flynn’s trail across the Channel into France.

What they discover in an idyllic backwater will stretch Jones' detection skills to the limit, and Alex's loyalty to heartbreak.

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:
HBS Author's Spotlight
eBook Author’s Corner
Top Shelf Author Advice
Mystery Reader’s Circle

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

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