Monday, July 20, 2015

Mari Hannah - An Author Interview in the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author, Screenwriter Mari Hannah. She is the award-winning author of the DCI Kate Daniels crime series. Her books have been optioned for television by Stephen Fry’s production company, Sprout Pictures.

Author Genre: Crime, Thriller, Mystery

Website: Mari Hannah: Author
Twitter: @mariwriter
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads

Amazon Author Profile

Author Description:
Mari Hannah was born in London and moved north as a child. Sponsored by the Home Office, she graduated from Teesside University before becoming a Probation Officer, a career cut short when she was injured while on duty. Thereafter, she spent several years working as a film/television scriptwriter.

During that time she created and developed a number of projects, most notably a feature length film and the pilot episode of a crime series for television based on the characters in her book, the latter as part of a BBC drama development scheme. She lives in Northumberland with her partner, an ex-murder detective. In 2010, she won the Northern Writers' Award. She is also the winner of the Polari First Book Prize 2013. Mari was shortlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library 2014.

Mari is the author of the Kate Daniels series.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

Congratulations on your book: Killing for Keeps. What do you have on the drawing board next? Rumor has it that you have another book on the horizon called The Silent Room. Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

Yes, I’m very excited about The Silent Room. It’s my first standalone thriller featuring Special Branch detective Matt Ryan and it’ll be published on 19th November in the UK and is out on submission in Europe and the US. Ryan is suspended from duty on suspicion of aiding and abetting the audacious escape of his former (disgraced) boss from the back of a prison van. Locked out of the investigation, he is forced to work beneath the radar of professional standards in order to find him.

You have a good following on twitter. How important have your social media relationships been? How did you build your following in your niche? Do you see a carry over to your writing success?

When my agent suggested that I join Twitter, I had reservations to be perfectly honest, but publishers expect authors to build a social media profile and Twitter has certainly done that. It’s always difficult to judge whether or not activity on such platforms impacts on sales, but the fact that crime fiction readers can contact me in this way is wonderful. Twitter is a worldwide conversation, a great source of information and breaking news. It’s put me in touch other writers and taught me a lot about the publishing industry as a whole.

You do book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances. When and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?

If you’re a crime writer, there’s really only one place to be in July and that’s at the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival, UK. It takes place at the Old Swan where Agatha Christie famously was found when she went missing in December 1926. The festival is run over four glorious days with authors and crime fiction fans rubbing shoulders and having fun. I’ll be there from 16th – 19th July to join the party. My events page can be found at and people can chat with me here on Twitter: @mariwriter

You have great covers. They carry a theme and your brand with them. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

I’m very pleased to hear that you like them. I have Harper Collins/Witness Impulse art department to thank for that. I have little input initially. They are briefed by my editor in the first instance and then sent over for my approval and that of my agent. We then collaborate on what we like/don’t like until we get it right. Any reader comments I receive are fed back to my publisher.

Besides the Crime Writers’ Association, what other writer support groups do you belong too? Do they help with the writing, marketing and the publishing process?

My editorial teams take care of all aspects to do with writing. Ditto, sales and marketing. Apart from the CWA, I’m a member of the International Thriller Writers and the Society of Authors. The SOA in particular is a great source of advice and information for authors. They cover a huge variety of subjects too great to mention here. They also champion the cause for decent standards of pay too, which is great. Very often professional writers are asked to ‘perform’ for the kudos only. You wouldn’t ask a plumber to do that, would you?

What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?

My publishers often give books away around the time of publication to bloggers and reviewers. It generates a buzz around a new title. I have also run competitions from time to time. It’s a fun thing to do. Readers love to get involved in that kind of thing. And from my point of view, it’s a way of giving back to those readers who support me.

Do you maintain a reader list? What are the methods you use to find your readers and create the list and the relationship? Do you use social media, forums, newsletters and/or support groups to build your list?

I don’t keep a reader list. I have several titles going at any one moment (I’m usually writing a novel, editing the previous one and planning the next) and find little time to get involved in forums outside of social media. I update my site when there’s news that I feel would be of interest. Readers tend to find me via word of mouth/personal recommendation and I build on that relationship by keeping in touch via Twitter and answering mail when I receive it.

Living in England creates a unique selling and marketing situation. Where is your biggest audience? Does marketing online help in this situation?

My books sell widely. Marketing, in whatever form it takes, is vital to any author. Being with top five publishers on both sides of the Atlantic doesn’t mean you simply hand over to them and expect them to grow your audience. There’s much work to do in such a competitive marketplace. It’s writing the books that I enjoy. It’s someone else’s job to find a market for them, but I do what I can when time allows.

You have published one of your books in German. How was that received? How is your audience abroad? Does marketing online help in this situation?

Strangely enough, I was published in German before I found a publisher in the UK and US. I have two titles out there. Germany is a big market to conquer and I have many fans there, some who read the books in English, not in their first language. My audience abroad is growing year on year, especially in Australia, Canada and the US where the success of ebooks has led to physical books across the whole of the Kate Daniels series.

What is your method of getting reviews for your novels? Do you seek professional reviews, use social media or do you rely on your reading audience to supply them?

I have no method for getting ‘professional’ reviews, over and above the efforts of my publicists who work extremely hard around the time of publication, sending copies to crime bloggers and media contacts. Readers either review or they don’t. I’m always grateful to those who take the time to give feedback on my books. I’ve had one or two that have literally reduced me to tears – in a good way – and it’s wonderful when people can’t wait to get their hands on the next book.

Author's Book List
Killing for Keeps - A Kate Daniels Mystery
They know he's coming.

Two brothers from the same criminal family die within hours of each other, five miles apart—one on the edge of a Newcastle industrial estate, the other in the busy emergency room of a local hospital. Both victims have suffered horrific injuries.

Who wanted them dead? And will they kill again? Investigating these brutal and bloody killings leads detective Kate Daniels to break some rules, putting her career as well as her life on the line.

As the body count rises in the worst torture case Northumbria police have ever seen, the focus of the investigation widens to Glasgow and beyond, ending in a shocking confrontation with a dangerous offender hell-bent on revenge.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

Fatal Games - A Kate Daniels Mystery
In Mari Hannah's brilliant, dark mystery—set on the beautiful and wild Northumberland coast—skeletal remains have been discovered beneath the menacing shadows of Bamburgh Castle's fortified walls, and DCI Kate Daniels must solve her most intriguing case yet

Far from their Newcastle base, DCI Kate Daniels and her team find themselves on the rugged Northumberland coast, working their latest baffling investigation. As a blistering weather front closes in, Kate calls on a forensic anthropologist to help identify the remains of a corpse that has been found by the ancient castle on the barren beach. But the more she delves into the case, the more questions surface.

Meanwhile, newly widowed prison psychologist Emily McCann is lured into the twisted world of convicted sex offender Walter Fearon. As his sinister mind games become increasingly disturbing, is it possible that Kate's case has something to do with his murderous past? With Fearon's release fast approaching, Emily fears what he might have in store for her.

As the body count rises, Kate must scramble to outwit a clever, diabolical killer whose fatal games have only just begun.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

Deadly Deceit - Kate Daniels Mysteries
Four a.m. on a wet stretch of the highway: a driver skids out of control. Quickly arriving on the scene, detective Kate Daniels and her partner, Hank Gormley, witness a horrifying display of carnage and mayhem that proves to be one of the worst traffic accidents in Northumberland’s history. But as the casualties mount, they soon realize that not all of the deaths occurred as a result of the accident …

At the same time, on the other side of town, a house goes up in flames and its two inhabitants become charred corpses. Except for the timing, there is no evidence to connect this incident with the traffic accident. But it soon becomes apparent that all is not what it seems, and that Kate and her colleagues are always one step behind a ruthless killer who will stop at nothing to get what he wants.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

Settled Blood - A Kate Daniels Mystery
When a young girl is found dead at the base of Hadrian's Wall in Northern England, it's not long before detective Kate Daniels realizes her death was no ordinary homicide. She was thrown from a great height and was probably alive when she hit the ground.

Then a local businessman reports his daughter missing. Her description fits the dead girl exactly. Has Daniels found the identity of her victim—or is a killer playing a sickening game?

As the investigative team delves deeper into the case, half-truths are told, secrets exposed. And while Daniels makes her way through a mountain of obstacles, time is running out for one terrified girl.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

The Murder Wall - Kate Daniels Mysteries
The Murder Wall: It's where you look death in the face.

Months after discovering a double homicide in a sleepy village, detective Kate Daniels is still haunted by her failure to solve the crime. When a new murder gives Daniels her first case as officer in charge, she jumps at another chance to get it right.

But even more shocking than the brutal killing is the fact that Daniels recognizes the corpse. Eager to prove herself, she decides to keep her connection to the dead man a secret from her team, putting her career in jeopardy as her personal and professional lives threaten to collide.

As the killer continues to claim his victims, Daniels unearths baffling clues in her search for connections among the murders . . . and while she draws closer to finding the culprit, he is watching her.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the following blogs:
HBS Author's Spotlight
eBook Author’s Corner
Top Shelf Author Advice
Mystery Reader’s Circle

Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.

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