Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
As a child, I would surround myself with books, easily reading one a day if given the time and space. I would make a little nest in my bedroom, cushions and blankets on the floor (my back pressed up against a warm radiator – an essential part of the process – and just read and read. Even though my book nest days are (sadly) long behind me, I still get that feeling of escaping to a warm cocoon when I read. And, I always, even as a very small person indeed, dreamed of writing for a living.
Now, I work as copywriter which goes some way to scratching that writing itch, but never completely fulfilled my need to write a book, a piece of fiction that you could fall into and lose yourself in for a little while. Earlier this year, I wrote my first short novel, White House: A Lara Wright Mystery, hopefully, something that would make 7 year old me incredibly proud.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My book is called, White House: A Lara Wright Mystery, and I like to think of it as a classic whodunnit with a millennial twist. Christie with a hot tub. It was inspired by a passion for mystery writing, both in books and on screen. Those neat little murders that lack the mess and the loose ends of real-life crime, but that, with careful enough analysis of the clues, can be neatly tied up by the last page. I’m fascinated by the genre, by its tropes, and by the blending of the cosy and the macabre. I was able to explore this passion in Lara’s first story.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I’m not sure I have any habits that are particularly noteworthy. I don’t write only in my underwear or only on a Tuesday or anything like that. I do require a constant stream of hot green tea – I call it my writing fuel. Hemingway had his hard liquor, I have my teapot. It may not be quite as romantic but it saves my liver a good deal of bother.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Agatha Christie has to top the list. Particularly Poirot, who easily ranks as my favourite fictional detective. But in general, I love her clarity of voice. I never feel like there is a wasted word in Christie’s novels and stories, she has a crispness and an efficiency which I aspire to.
After that, there are a huge amount of authors I admire greatly, and perhaps too many to list here. From Jane Austin to Emily Bronte and Kate Mosse to Nora Roberts, I love anyone who has the capacity to pull me into a world and allow me to lose myself. Those writers that compel you to keep reading when you are in the shower or walking down the street. The books that take you hostage and refuse to let go until you have read every word.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently writing Lara’s next adventure, which is set around the world of archiving and historical books. Don’t worry, it’s much sexier than it sounds! And it allows me to write something of a love letter to my home city, Manchester which makes me very happy.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
The answer is I honestly don’t know. And after diving down the rabbit hole of many, many blogs, forums, and discussion groups, I’m still not sure I know. Although the writer in me still likes to believe that a well-written book will sell and that there is no one magical promotional formula for success.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
I am not sure I am in a position to dole out sage advice. I’m still on my first book! But something that helps me when I am struggling to move forward is just to write. Just to sit down and write the next part of your story. It doesn’t matter if it is good, bad, or indifferent, the action of writing normally leads to at least a handful of good ideas.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
“Just bloody do it.” From my wonderful and always supportive husband who believes in me when I am wallowing in self-doubt about my ability to write so much as my own name. Writing is hard. It’s painful and soul-crushing and tricky. But if you want to do it, you have to get on and do it. Otherwise, why are you bothering? Why put yourself through it? Start with a single word and build from there.
What are you reading now?
Right now, I am reading a fantasy book from a very talented author, Naomi Novik. It’s called, Uprooted, and even though it’s a little outside of my usual genres, I love her characterisation and storytelling. It’s a compelling read that I would highly recommend.
What’s next for you as a writer?
To finish up my second book in the series and then who knows? I have so many ideas, it’s trying to weed out the half good ones that is the tricky bit!
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
Oh god. The thought of only four books forever makes my heart hurt – can I have a pen and paper to knock out a few while I’m there? In a pinch, it would have to be:
The Moonstone – Wilkie Collins
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
The ABC Murders – Agatha Christie
Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
Author Websites and Profiles
S. T. Mason Amazon Profile