I had the pleasure of having a Q&A session with Rebecca Howie, author of the Young Adult Mystery, The Game Begins. Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions.
Before the interview, here is a synopsis of the book,
It’s been four years since the car crash took away her father and Sam Beckett’s nightmares are back with a vengeance.
When her friend suggests she take a PI course to distract herself, Sam agrees, but she soon realises it won’t be as simple as she expected when her first case leads to a woman being killed, her husband accused of her murder, and a series of threatening text messages sent to her phone which lead Sam to believe that her father’s crash might not be the accident everyone thought it was.
What are some challenges you face in Indie Publishing and how have you overcome them?
Everything about indie publishing is a challenge, because people are wary when they hear those two words. I’ve actually heard someone say that independent publishing doesn’t require any skills because anyone can do it, and stuff like that knocks my confidence and makes me question why I chose to be an indie author.
But the online writing community is so supportive, and since publishing The Game Begins, I’ve talked to so many Indies and heard so many inspiring stories that it’s made me return to my laptop and my writing, and I just remind myself that nobody would be self-publishing if was as bad as those people would have you believe.
In the same vein, what are some challenges you face writing in the mystery genre?
Planning the crime and how the police would investigate it is a lot harder than I thought it would be. And so is balancing the main plot with the subplots, because my focus with The Game Begins was on Sam and how she dealt with everything that happened to her, and I want to keep that consistent in this second book without it overpowering everything else.
What character can you relate to the most in The Game Begins?
That would be Sam, because we have a lot in common. I’d just left school and lost my job when I started writing TGB, and writing about someone going through the same things but having a few extra hurdles thrown in her way was my attempt at dealing with everything I was going through.
Reading the first draft let me see just how bad a place I was in, and although it’s been through a lot of editing and nitpicking since then, there are still a lot of similarities.
Do you listen to music when you write? If so, do you have a playlist?
I don’t when I write because it distracts me and makes me change the tone of the story without meaning to, but when I’m trying to work through writer’s block or planning how my next scene is going to go, I usually put on Spotify and listen to stuff on there. But when I was redrafting TGB, I listened to a lot of Dustin O’Halloran and made a playlist that runs alongside each chapter.
What are you currently writing?
The sequel to The Game Begins, which is called A Woman Scorned.
What have you learned since you have started this journey?
Writing is hard, and a lot of people don’t actually think it’s a career.
If you could dreamcast celebrities to be your characters, who would you pick?
My friend told me she thought of Seamus Dever from Castle when she read my description of Marshall, and after she said that, I went to make a Pinterest board to finish off the dream cast.
There was a girl someone had added to a character board who became Sam, another who became Alex; Lyndsy Fonesca became Natasha, and Dean O’Gorman became Sam’s dad Daniel.
What are your top five favorite books?
A Case of Identify by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K Rowling, Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Silence is Goldfish by Annabel Pitcher
If you could bring one of your characters to life who would it be and why?
That would either be Marshall or Natasha,because after Sam, I have a lot of fun writing both of them, but Marshall deserves a massive apology for the backstory I made up for him, and Natasha would be hysterical.
Lastly, Dick Tracy, Sherlock Holmes or Nancy Drew? – Explain your choice. [Pick one!]
Sherlock Holmes- that’s an easy one. My obsession started when we watched the BBC adaption in English at school and then I went and bought the DVDs and I’ve been emotionally traumatised ever since.
But the reason I chose him instead of Nancy Drew or Dick Tracy was because writing fanfiction was what got me back into writing after a very long hiatus, and the first piece I published online (and which got over 100 thousand reads) was a Sherlock one, so I think it’s safe to say I wouldn’t have published The Game Begins if I hadn’t watched Sherlock and wrote all those stories.
Fantastic answers! Thanks so much, Rebecca, where can readers find more about you and your books?
About Rebecca Howie: Rebecca Howie is a procrastinating writer from Scotland, who prefers spending her time in fictional worlds rather than the real one.
Her first book, The Game Begins, was released in February 2016, and reached 2nd in the Teen and Young Adult Detective category on Amazon.