Huge congratulations on winning your Chill Award! You must be so happy that your work has been recognised in this way. Now, before we carry on, would you please introduce yourself to my readers, just in case they don’t know you already …
AA Abbott is my pen name, cunningly crafted to give my books the first slot on your shelves. My real name is Helen Blenkinsop.
So, your book has been awarded with a Chill with a Book Readers’ Award, what inspired you to write this story?
I’m really fond of Birmingham, the buzzy city where I used to live and where I have awesome friends. Having asked tweeters on Twitter’s #BrumHour to suggest a setting for a crime thriller, they told me about the secret tunnels under the Jewellery Quarter. The story of a missing girl, and dramatic finale in the tunnels, developed from there.
Doing temporary work in London also gave me ideas about Amy’s flat and job. I used to walk past Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia every day (but I couldn’t afford to live there, and I totally understand why Amy and Kat were always short of money when they did). I worked for an insurance company in the City, and observed actuaries like Ross – young, good-looking, rich and winning big at online poker.
What does the award mean to you?
I danced a jig around my desk and punched the air on receiving the email. It was wonderful news.
What other titles have you published? Tell us a little about them …
“The Bride’s Trail” was the first in the Trail series of crime thrillers. “The Vodka Trail” came next – the tale of Kat’s attempt to recover her family’s vodka business in the former Soviet Union, her kidnap by terrorists and her escape. I’ve also written two other crime thrillers, both with a corporate slant – imagine John Grisham’s books transported to London and Birmingham. “Up In Smoke” is about Big Tobacco and corporate espionage, while “After The Interview” is a story of blackmail, fraud and revenge.
Are you working on a new book? Tell me about that …
“The Grass Trail”, the third in the Trail series, will be published in July 2017. Building her own vodka business at last, Kat is stalked by a murderer from his prison cell.
When not writing, what can you be found doing?
Like every British crime thriller writer, it seems, I enjoy drinking coffee. I manage plenty of that when I work in the corporate world, too – I spend about half the year in interim accounting roles with large multinationals. That still leaves time for a little book research, which can be very enjoyable. I particularly loved visiting the Chase vodka distillery in deepest Herefordshire.
Which three authors have most influenced your journey to becoming an author?
Ruth Rendell, Thomas Hardy and John Grisham.
Why did you choose the genre you write in?
I adore reading racy stories with lots of twists! While I always set out to write a tale I’d like to read myself, I know my books have broad appeal too – I get feedback from a focus group of readers and a professional editor, and act on their suggestions.
Which other genre would you chose if you had to change?
I’ve written some cracking supernatural short stories involving vampires, werefoxes and witches, so the supernatural horror genre obviously has an appeal.
Quick fire questions …
Twitter or Facebook? Twitter
Tea or coffee? Coffee
Marmite – yes or no? Yes
Marvel or DC? Marvel
Early riser or sleep in? Sleep in
Pj’s or ‘normal’ clothes when writing? The full works!
Planner or pantster? Planner
Book or kindle? Book
Pineapple on pizza – yes or no? No
And finally … What is your favourite book of all time?
The Mayor of Casterbridge, by Thomas Hardy. Being paid by the word, he perhaps used more than necessary, but his characters were spot on. “Hero” Michael Henchard is sympathetic but flawed, and his impulsive decisions lead to tragedy.
Thank you for joining me today and many congratulations again on your Chill with A Book Award!
Want to know more about the book? Here’s the blurb …
Perfect City Press (21 July 2015)
Who will find Kat first – her friends or her killer? This great story, packed with twists and turns, begins in London’s smart Fitzrovia and ends in secret tunnels below central Birmingham. Ross has a swanky penthouse and a high-flying job in the City. When he meets Kat, a glamorous blonde croupier, he starts to plan a future. Now she’s disappeared, he’s devastated. Casino boss Shaun realises it’s not just Kat who’s vanished – £20,000 is missing too. He wants his money back and he’s after Kat’s blood. Young graduate Amy has discovered Kat’s stolen her ID for a sham marriage. She can’t stand Ross, but only he will help her find Kat and clear her name. High stakes, twists, action and suspense keep the pages turning in A.A. Abbott’s crime thriller, the first in the Trail Series.
I’ll be adding this to my TBR pile folks and I suggest you do too! Get it over at Amazon UK
About the author …
AA Abbott (also known as Helen) chose her pen name in a shameless attempt to slot into the first space on your bookshelf. She writes fast-paced suspense thrillers set in London and Birmingham. Do you love a thrilling read, with terrifying twists, crime and a nod to the crazy corporate world? Find out more and get a free e-book at http://aaabbott.co.uk
Her books are available on Amazon as e-books, paperbacks and dyslexia-friendly paperbacks.
Helen likes speaking to book groups, business networks and social circles, and reading her thrillers and short stories at live fiction events. If you’re a book blogger, litfest organiser, reviewer or simply adore books, she’d love to hear from you.
Helen is a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors, Bristol Fiction Writers’ Group, and Birmingham’s New Street Authors.