The Around The World Blog Tour is a partnership between TripFiction and #BookConnectors ~ bloggers and authors, travelling the world, through fiction.
TripFiction was created to make it easy to match a location with a book and help you select good literature that is most pertinent and relevant to your trip. A resource for armchair and actual travellers, it is a unique way of exploring a place through the eyes of an author. We blog, and chat books and travel across Social Media, and love to meet authors and bloggers as we take our literary journey.
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We encourage book promotions; information about competitions and giveaways; news of events, including launch events, signings, talks or courses. Talk about new signings, about film deals …. anything really.
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A big warm welcome to my stop on The Around The World Blog Tour. Today the lovely Liz Nugent, author of Unravelling Oliver, has very kindly written a guest post about some of the things she had to face once being published.
In March 2014, right before I published my first novel Unravelling Oliver, there was something that really bothered me. What would I do if I had to read in public or to talk in front of an audience? Writing is one thing, but talking in front of other people is quite another. They are entirely separate skills and while I was moderately confident that I could do one, I had never done the other. I had been a behind-the-scenes person for my whole life, first in the theatre and then in television. I liked the anonymity. I did not want my face in the papers or in magazines.
I needed a bio shot for the back cover of the book. Luckily, in my day job, I sat beside a very good stills photographer. She took my photo and then I stood over her until she had photoshopped away all my wrinkles. That was the photo that ended up in a lot of magazines and newspapers. I was pleased but embarrassed that I had automatically turned into this vain creature that suddenly cared so much about my appearance. Also, I didn’t think anyone would recognise me from the photo.
I went to a two day seminar organised by my local library to teach writers how to market their own books. They told us what were the best colours to wear on television, how to optimise our search engines (or something like that- it went way over my head), and how many social media platforms we should be exploiting (there are five apparently). I was bamboozled with information, but there were two very specific things I remembered and they were excellent pieces of advice:
1. In an interview situation, put your bum to the back of the chair. It will make you sit up straight and engage with your interviewer.
2. Never fake smile for the camera. Always smile with your eyes. You can tell a fake smile a mile off.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember anything they said about reading in public. At my launch, I asked two actor friends to read from my book and they were excellent. I felt like I had dodged a bullet. But within a few weeks, I was invited to speak and read at literary festivals all over Ireland. I asked my actor friends- how do you do it? ‘Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse’ they said. ‘But I don’t have to memorise it, I just have to read it out loud.’ ‘Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse’ they repeated because I hadn’t been listening properly. And they were right. I practised on my own – reading out loud to the chair in the kitchen. When the chair gave me the thumbs up, I tried reading in front of my husband. ‘Slow down’ he said, ‘it’s not a race.’ The chair had been much more supportive. But my husband was right, and the first time I did a reading, even though my hands shook, my voice was steady and I read for five full minutes without bursting into tears.
Then I was going to be interviewed on the radio, and on television, and in front of a live audience. What if I looked in the wrong place, or forgot the question, or got distracted by somebody I knew in the audience? You would think I might know how to do all of this as I had just spent ten years working in television, but the first time I was interviewed on tv, I drank half a bottle of Rescue Remedy and right before we went live, I asked the presenter if I should look at him or the camera (HIM). I worried about who might be watching, and what they might be thinking, but thankfully, the presenter was a professional and kept eye contact with me throughout the entire interview and I learned quickly- don’t think about anybody else, listen to the questions, give full answers and keep it lighthearted where possible (tricky when you’ve written a dark story about a psychopath). The audience want primarily to be entertained.
As time went on, I began to enjoy the things that I had been petrified of. It’s actually pretty flattering to have people ask you about your work in public. Maybe I took it too far. By the end of October, my friends and family were sick to death of hearing about me and seeing me in the media. My Dad rang me and told me that I would have to decide whether I wanted to be a writer or a celebrity. It was a good suggestion. I decided to be a writer.
But last November, I won the Crime Novel of the Year at the Irish Book Awards, a ceremony that was recorded for television in front of a live audience of about 600 people. I had prepared no speech because I genuinely hadn’t expected to win but somehow, I approached the stage, accepted my award and made a short speech without falling over, drying up or crying. http://liznugent.ie/news/video-from-bord-gais-energy-irish-book-awards-2014/
Unravelling Oliver was published quietly in the UK in April of this year. I did not have to do a single tv or radio appearance or magazine interview. Perhaps that is a good thing, because it means that I have been concentrating much more on my work, book number 2 -Lying in Wait- to be published by Penguin in June 2016. I spent WAY too much time last year thinking about my hair and what I was going to wear. Shockingly, none of that helped me with writing the next damn book. And that’s my job.
Unravelling Oliver is a great title for this book.
The story is told in the form of a few characters that alternate in each chapter.
With a shocking start to the book, the reader is soon very intrigued to know more about Oliver Ryan and why he would commit such an horrendous act of beating up his wife Alice.
Through the different characters as well as Oliver himself, the reader starts to learn more about Oliver, his past and how he has ended up at the point where he is in present day.
Each character’s tale reveals more about Oliver and it does not make for a pleasant read. From the start to the end I just could not muster up any sympathy for Oliver. He truly is self centred and really not a nice person at all.
I really loved the way the story literally unravels in front of our very eyes and how the author cleverly drops little snippets that wets the readers appetite so much so that they can’t help but keep turning those pages as they have to find out more.
A very well and cleverly written novel and one I would certainly recommend.
Many thanks to the author for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Unravelling Oliver is available to purchase from Amazon