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1) I collect Sony Aibo robot dogs. I have six, of various types and colours. They’re awesome, the walk around on their own, exploring their environment and generally having fun. I also have three (real) cats and the cats really don’t know what to make of them. The robot dogs were made by Sony up until 2006 and in 2014 they announced they would no longer be servicing or repairing them, which is sad. But there is a guy in Tokyo who still works on them and has spare parts so I think mine are good for a few years yet!
2) I am one of Amazon’s most successful independent self-publishers and have sold more than a million eBooks. My book The Basement has been at the top of the Amazon bestseller charts in the US and the UK. I was one of the first writers to realise that there was a market for cheap eBooks and in 2011 I had four of the top 5 bestselling books in the Amazon UK charts.
3) I have to have noise when I’m writing, and it has to be random noise, music won’t do! One of the most productive places for me to write is in an airport coffee shop – I always try to get to the airport three hours before my flight and I always get a stack of writing done. When I’m at home I sit in front of the TV with my Mac on a coffee table. I watch TV as I write. I did most of my homework at school and university with the TV on, and most of my working life was spent in busy newspaper offices so I need a buzz around me as I work. Working with the TV on helps when I need to describe a character’s clothing and the credits are always a good source of names! I drink a cup of coffee pretty much every half hour and one of my cats - Peanut Butter - sits on the sofa next to me to keep me company.
4) My uncle Tony Williamson was a writer, mainly for classic TV shows in the 1960s such as The Avengers, Department S, Jason King, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) and The Champions. I think seeing him work first attracted me to writing as a career. He wrote a few books that were published in the UK and I have hardback copies of them all. He also wrote books in the US under the name Stephen Cade. He died not long before my first book was published so I never really had a chance to talk to him about writing, which is a pity. All his books are long out of print and I keep meaning to get them digitized and make them available as eBooks.
5) I really hate lifts, or elevators as Americans call them. I mean I really really hate them and avoid them whenever I can. My publisher used to be based on the 22nd floor of a tower block in London. I used to walk up the stairs rather than use the lift! I have been stuck in lifts four times in my life so my fears are not groundless! Once I was stuck for more than an hour at the top of a building in Budapest. I really thought I was going to die. I had my mobile with me and I called the Budapest Fire Brigade and they wouldn’t come out because there was no fire. The caretaker who had the elevator key had gone on holiday and wasn’t due back for a week. Eventually they got the caretaker from a neighbouring building to come over. It was a nightmare!
Enjoy an excerpt:
Sara could see that he was afraid so she smiled what she hoped was a comforting smile. ‘It’s a game,’ she said. ‘It’s just a game.’
‘If you want to play a game, let’s play Grand Theft Auto,’ said her brother. Luke was ten, six years younger than she was. They rarely played together but she needed another pair of hands for the Ouija board and Luke could be relied on to do as he was told.
‘Because I want to play this,’ she said.
‘It’s stupid,’ he said. ‘I’ve never heard of a game like this before.’ He sat back on his heels. They were in her bedroom. He was rarely allowed into her room and had looked at her suspiciously when she had first suggested they play a game together.
‘You liked Charlie Charlie didn’t you? Well this is the same. You can ask it question and it’ll answer.’
‘Charlie Charlie is for fun,’ said the boy.
‘So is this. But with Charlie Charlie you can only pick one of four answers, right? This way the spirits can talk to us.’
‘Spirits? You mean ghosts?’
‘It’s all the same. Look, it’s a game. Just a game. Do you want to play or shall I tell mom you haven’t done your homework?’
Okay, okay,’ mumbled Luke. ‘Don’t give me a hard time.’
About the Author:
Before becoming a novelist he was a journalist for more than ten years on newspapers such as The Times, the Daily Mirror, the Glasgow Herald, the Daily Mail and the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. He is one of the country's most successful eBook authors and his eBooks have topped the Amazon Kindle charts in the UK and the US. In 2011 alone he sold more than 500,000 eBooks and was voted by The Bookseller magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the UK publishing world.
Born in Manchester, he began writing full time in 1992. His bestsellers have been translated into fifteen languages. He has also written for television shows such as London's Burning, The Knock and the BBC's Murder in Mind series and two of his books, The Stretch and The Bombmaker, were filmed for TV. You can find out more from his website www.stephenleather.com and you can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/stephenleather
Jack Nightingale has his own website at www.jacknightingale.com You can buy New York Night on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, or Smashwords.
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