Author Spotlight Interview: Gwyn GB
Today’s interview is with bestselling author Gwyn GB. Gwyn writes emotion filled suspense novels and gripping crime mysteries. It was lovely to hear from Gwyn about her publishing journey, writing style and exciting upcoming projects.
HG: How would you describe yourself to somebody who isn’t familiar with your writing yet?
GGB: I am an Amazon top 20 bestselling author of crime mysteries as Gwyn GB, and women’s emotional suspense novels as Gwyn Garfield-Bennett.
HG: Tell us more about your transition to writing fiction full time.
GGB: I am one of those people who has always written, and have to write or I get very grumpy. When I was about ten years old I told my parents I wanted to be a writer, but realized that I might need to live life a bit before I could achieve that aim, so asked them what I could do. They said journalism, and so that’s exactly what I did. I spent 30 years as a journalist, mostly in broadcasting, but I was always writing fiction in my spare time. I secured a major UK literary agent in my 30s, but then my father died and I got waylaid. I carried on writing and eventually indie published my first novel in 2016. Islands, was three years in the making, several major rewrites, and a ton of learning, but it did well and became an Amazon UK top 20 bestseller. I then published three more books, two in a crime mystery series, and one standalone (the book the agent had wanted). I started writing a new series in 2019, and at the end of that year I decided to bite the bullet and go full time writing. I took on some PR writing clients to keep the bills ticking over and planned to fast release a new series. I started releasing that series in June 2021, publishing five books in the Harrison Lane crime mystery series by the end of last year.
HG: What an awesome journey! We understand that you advocate for writers finding community. Writers supporting one another emotionally and practically. Why is that important to you and what led you to that realization?
GGB: I have two great friends on the Island I live in (Jersey, Channel Islands), who are both writers. We met through a writing group I ran for a while and have been best friends ever since. Many writers are introverts and more than happy with their own company, but it’s also important for us to find our own tribe who understand what it’s like to be a writer. We all have highs and lows, and even if we have great family support, they often just don’t get it totally. Even writers who have been doing it for years have times of self-doubt and it’s really important to have someone that understands what you’re going through. There are some great Facebook groups for authors, but nothing beats meeting up and just chatting about books and writing in person. It always gives us inspiration and re-charges our creative drive.
HG: So true. Love that. What have been the challenges you’ve faced in your publishing career?
GGB: Life. Life gets in the way sometimes, but I don’t think we should be hard on ourselves when that happens. There were moments in my life when having young children, paying the bills, or other life challenges got in the way of writing, but I never lost that desire to write. The last two years have been tough mentally for many people, and we should all remember that our health is utmost so if that means delaying a writing project for a few weeks, months or even a year, then don’t beat yourself up over it. Just do what you can. The readers won’t disappear and writing won’t stop.
HG: What a beautiful answer. I really appreciate that. Is there anything you’d do differently? Advice to aspiring authors?
GGB: My big mistake after I’d launched my first novel in 2016 was not to ride on that success, and instead I switched genres. I would be a lot further along now if I hadn’t made that mistake, but we all learn, and I’ve learned a lot in the last six years. It depends on what your ultimate goals are, but if you want to make a living, then make sure you do your research and carve a niche for yourself. It should be clear to readers what they can expect from you. There are plenty of resources out there and supportive writers’ groups.
HG: That’s wonderful advice. Tell us a little bit about your actual writing process. When and where do you write?
GGB: I work seven days a week, days and evenings. When I’m on a deadline, I’ll write day and evening, but the rest of the time I tend to write in the day and do the admin and marketing stuff in the evening. I’ll sit with my laptop while watching TV and ‘spending time with my husband’. I work at home with my constant writing companion, my dog, who will remind me when it’s time for us both to get some fresh air. I use Scrivener as I like how easy it is to move chapters around, etc. I also use Prowriting Aid to help with the editing/proofreading, Vellum for formatting, and I’ve recently started using the Marinara Pomodoro browser extension to help with focus and productivity. It’s so easy to get distracted by emails and social media, but with this I focus for 25 minutes and have a break for five minutes. I have a stand-up desk too and try not to sit for long periods without moving.
HG: Fantastic and thank you for those program recommendations. What inspires your stories and why is that important to you?
GGB: People are what inspire me. We are very complicated beings. Many of my stories are sparked by real life events, either that I’ve experienced or read about. I think the difference between the young wannabe author and the older me is that I have a much better perspective on what life is all about and what’s important. I have always had a great urge to be a storyteller and plenty of ideas, but now I like to add greater depth to my books and make sure I utilize all our emotions.
HG: That’s lovely. What feeling do you hope readers are left with when they finish one of your novels?
GGB: I hope that I have entertained readers and taken them into a different world for a while. Some of the books might also have a ‘message’ in them to let people know that they’re not alone in struggling with something, such as miscarriage in my book, Islands. I want people to relate to my characters and hopefully feel like they’ve made a new friend in the process.
HG: Fantastic. The Dr Harrison Lane Mystery series is currently 5 books strong, with book 6 coming in May. For readers that haven’t grabbed those books yet, what can you tell us about them?
GGB: I wanted to make Dr Harrison Lane a slightly different investigator to many of the usual fictional detectives, and I’m really pleased that readers think he is. Harrison is driven by the desire to stop people from becoming victims because of their beliefs. Criminals will use religion, folklore, and superstitions to manipulate people, and that’s what Harrison fights. He’s a psychologist and head of the Ritualistic Behavioral Crime unit. It’s also his own past which keeps readers turning the pages. He believes his mother was murdered and wants to bring her killers to justice; plus he was brought up by one of the Shadow Wolves, the native American trackers, so he has some unusual skills. Each book has a separate story, but the back story develops through the series.
HG: For fun, if Mermaid Rock, your most recent release, was turned into a movie, who would you cast as the main characters?
GGB: I have always left the description of Harrison slightly vague, so that he could be everyone’s hero, no matter what your skin color. I know who I have in mind though when I’m writing him, and that’s Tom Hardy, although Jason Momoa (with a hair cut), Henry Golding, Michael B. Jordan, and Alan Ritchson, would all be very welcome on my casting couch (not all at once!). As a reader, I hate being disappointed when I’ve read a book and have a clear picture of the hero in my head but the casting for the movie is just not who I had imagined.
HG: That’s great. What can you tell us about any projects you have in the works?
GGB: I’m going to continue with the Harrison series in 2022, plus also publish a third in my DI Claire Falle series. I am also starting work on another crime thriller series, but I don’t have a publication date for that yet. I have a standalone book written but awaiting edits, and I want to write some more standalones. Lots to do.
HG: How exciting! We’ll keep a lookout. Switching gears, what do you enjoy doing when not writing?
GGB: I spend time with my family and friends as I’m a bit of a workaholic and so don’t have a great deal of spare time, but I enjoy walking my dog twice a day, which is a great way to exercise and unwind.
HG: If you could ask your author idol one question, what would it be?
GGB: There are several authors who are no longer with us who I’d like to talk to, especially some of the female writers who were trying to publish in a time when women just weren’t supposed to do such things. I’d like to talk to them and let them know just how influential their work has become.
HG: Oh, I love that. Absolutely. For fun, before we wrap up, let’s do a fast five! First one…coffee or tea?
GGB: Tea first thing, then two coffees, then back to tea.
HG: Bonfire or fireplace?
GGB: We have a multi-fuel fire at home. It’s really cozy.
HG: Are you a morning bird or night owl?
GGB: Definitely a night owl. I feel more creative then, but when you have kids who need to get to school, you become both.
HG: eBook or paperback?
GGB: I like both, but impatience often means I’ll get the eBook, and I do like the fact you can read in the dark no problem and if your eyes are tired, up the font size.
HG: Tropical beach or rustic mountains?
GGB: I’d go for warmth, but I’m not someone who can just sit on a beach. I like exploring, so I’d probably end up halfway up the mountain.
HG: For readers that want to find out more about your stories and keep up with you, where should they go to connect or learn more?
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