Q&A with “Familiar” audiobook narrator, Amanda Parrott

You may have caught some of my Author Interviews recently, but today I’m hosting an interview with the narrator of my paranormal thriller “Familiar“.

Please join me in welcoming Amanda Parrott for my blog’s first narrator Q&A!

About Amanda Parrott

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Amanda Parrott and I’m a narrator and producer of audiobooks.

I was born and grew up in Liverpool and I now live near Cheltenham in the Cotswolds with my husband, children and two crazy Labradors.

My two big passions are literature and theatre. In September I’m starting a Masters course in Creative and Critical writing, which I am really excited about.

What made you become a narrator and voice artist?

I’ve got a background in Performing Arts and took part in lots of productions when I was growing up. I also adore literature in all its forms and have a degree in French and European Literature.

My own performing took a back seat as my children were growing up, but they are all heavily involved in drama and being back in that world as a parent made me keen to dig out my own acting experience. If you add in my love of literature, narrating and voiceover was the perfect career choice for me.

What does it take to become a narrator like yourself?

Time – in terms of both the learning period and the time to physically produce a book.

When I was starting out, I would read advice from experienced narrators about how long a book should take – the industry average is 6 hours work for every finished hour of audio – but at the beginning I was putting in at least twice that long. I’ve learned a huge amount since then and am working with better equipment, but I am very self-critical and find myself re-recording chapters until I’m happy with them so there is still a little bit of me that can’t quite believe how long it takes!

I’d also advise anyone considering narrating to make use of all the fantastic guidance out there from experienced narrators and coaches on both the performance and technical sides. When I deliver a book it has to be completely ready for the listener, which includes the whole editing and mastering process. This aspect, especially, was a very steep learning curve for me and not something I would ever have been able to figure out for myself. I’m still learning all the time and constantly check back with more experienced narrators for advice.

Finally, listening to lots of great narration. In the same way that authors need to read to learn their craft, narrators need to listen.

What has your narrating history been to date?

I started with some small voiceover jobs through my son’s Talent Agent and then became interested in narration, so the next step was to invest in some equipment and set up my home studio.

I spent a long time recording samples and learning how to process them, as well as learning how to use my voice for different genres. Then I did some voluntary work narrating individual chapters for free audiobooks before I felt ready to audition for professional narration projects, and even then, it took a good few months before I was offered a project.

Since then, I’ve narrated and produced fiction by indie authors for Audible and I’m now lucky enough to be in a position where I have projects booked in advance rather than searching for my next book.

What would you like to do in the future in terms of narration?

Something I haven’t had the opportunity to do yet is to narrate a children’s book. I’d love to do that as I think there is a huge market for audiobooks for children and young adults, which would be great fun to narrate. I’d also like to work with one of the big publishers and learn about their production processes.

A dream come true would be to narrate my own book; I’ve always written and am currently working on a middle grade novel that I would love to publish and narrate.

Do you have another job full time? If so, what?

Until the end of last year I was a teacher. I taught French and Spanish for over 25 years in both primary and secondary schools and I also ran Performing Arts clubs. I loved every minute of my teaching career, but last year as my narration work was increasing, it felt like the right time to take the plunge and leave teaching to narrate full time.

My two younger children are still at home, so I do have ‘mummy duties’, but I’m loving being able to disappear into my studio in the morning and really focus on what I am doing for the whole day. Between narrating and writing, my life revolves around books; what could be better?

How do you prepare to narrate for a book? Do you have a process?

Great question! As soon as I accept a project I’m itching to see the whole manuscript. I read it from start to finish as any other reader would, to get to know the story. Then I re-read it with a focus on the characters, ending up with a list of main characters and a little bio for each to help me to decide on voices and a tone for each section.

Sometimes, as with my current book, there are pronunciation questions to consider so that goes into the preparation too. I have heard a few horror stories from narrators who have started recording without having read to the end of the book, only to find that the character they have recorded hours of light, high-pitched dialogue for, is described in the final chapter as having a ‘rasping, low voice from years of heavy smoking’!

Then it’s time to start recording, which is my favourite part. I send the completed first 15 minutes to the author to listen to, and there’s often a dialogue about how they imagine their characters to sound. I love hearing about authors’ ‘pictures’ of the characters they have created and I feel very honoured that they are willing to trust me with their labour of love!
I tend to record in the morning and edit in the afternoon to save me from the monotony of editing for the whole day, since that’s the least enjoyable step of the process for me.

Once the book is completed, it goes firstly to the author for approval, and then onto Audible for release.

Seeing the book up for sale and being enjoyed by listeners is the icing on the cake, but I really enjoy the whole process.

About narrating “Familiar

Familiar coming to Audible

Why did you want to narrate “Familiar“?

The first thing that drew me to Familiar was the cover art; I loved it and was immediately intrigued. Then the audition script was just as tempting, with tension, jeopardy and the promise of a really enthralling main character, packed into a couple of short excerpts. So it was a very easy decision to audition, and I was delighted when I heard I’d been successful.

Did you enjoy narrating it? If so, why?

I loved narrating Familiar and found myself really rooting for Arabella! She’s such a strong character and I enjoyed her right from the start. Some of her circumstances, only revealed towards the end of the book, explain a lot of her earlier decisions so I tried to voice her with an understanding of those circumstances.

Also, I really enjoyed the chance to narrate such a wide variety of characters, from a little boy to an elderly woman.

Were there any similarities between yourself and the lead character, Arabella?

Possibly. Maybe that’s why I liked her so much!

My house is always noisy and full of people, unlike Arabella’s, so I don’t think it’s the kind of place to attract any of her ‘friends’, and I certainly don’t have her ‘gift’.

I would like to think that I’d go out of my way to help someone in distress though, and I definitely share her need to get to the bottom of a good mystery!

If you had Arabella’s ability what would you do?

Aside from meeting lost loved ones, it would be amazing to be able to solve some unanswered questions from history; I might ask William Shakespeare about his writing process. Or maybe I would just get up to mischief and give certain people a good fright!

What did you like about “Familiar”?

I really like the balance that “Familiar” strikes between plot and character. The story is really quite intricate, but the main characters are so rounded that the reader still identifies effortlessly with them and is invested in their fate. As a real ‘character-driven’ reader, that’s important to me. And of course, we all love a good paranormal plot reveal.

Did you guess what was going to happen? Did you work out any of the story before it happened?

I’d love to say I figured it out from the start, but I didn’t, no. On my second read, I spotted the clues that were cleverly scattered, but there were so many possible strands I would never have tied them all together before the truth was revealed.

Would you like to narrate a sequel or prequel to Familiar?

A prequel would be great! I’d love to voice Arabella in her younger years if I could pass for a feisty twenty-something!

When narrating Familiar were you able to enjoy it like a reader or is it hard to when you’re focusing on the narration?

On my first reading, I definitely enjoyed it as a reader. I always know that a second reading, when the work really starts, is to follow, so I can just enjoy the story the first time around.

When I get into recording its more about focusing on how it will sound to a listener and I listen back to check for accuracy and consistency all the time, so that process is more about the end product than losing myself in the story.

How did you get into the mindset of each character?

Arabella came very easily. Perhaps it was because we are a similar age and she is so ‘well-drawn’ that I had a very clear picture of her as a person and also as a performer. In fact, the same is true of all the main characters so it wasn’t too difficult to find their voices, since their speech and actions were perfectly in-keeping with their characters.

Did you struggle to narrate for the living and the ‘friends’ (ghosts) in Familiar?

I loved voicing the ‘friends’. I felt I could give them a slightly stronger characterisation than the living characters, which was great fun. They did have quite a different feel so I tried to make a distinction between ‘down-to-earth’ and ‘ethereal’.

Who is your favourite character in Familiar?

Arabella’s a great character, but I have to confess, I really liked John. I loved his little quirks and I did enjoy the exchanges between the two of them.

What was your favourite scene to narrate? No spoilers please!

Definitely the scene set at Arabella’s show. The anticipation, the emotion of the ‘episodes’ and the electric atmosphere in the theatre made that section a gift to narrate.

What book are you reading currently?

I’m reading two books and have another two that I’m listening to.

I’m reading Joanne Harris’ ‘Five Quarters of the Orange’ and a beautiful book called ‘Before the Coffee Gets Cold’ by the Japanese author Toshikazu Kawaguchi, about a café where people can go to return to the past.

I’m listening to Michelle Obama’s autobiography and ‘Killing Commendatore’ by my favourite author, Haruki Murakami. I have to have lots on the go at once to cover dog walking, waiting around for kids and winding down for sleep.

Do you have a book you’re narrating at the moment?

I do. It’s a very hard-hitting and complex story spanning the life of a Jewish girl from Poland, from her horrific experiences during WW2 in the concentration camps, through her life as a fugitive moving through countless different countries all the way to her final days and some very shocking revelations.

It’s a long book – 16 hours – and I’m needing to use all my language and pronunciation skills, but I am really enjoying it and learning a great deal about 20th century History. That one will be available in June/July.

My latest completed book, ‘You’re All Mine’, a psychological thriller by Ruth Harrow, has just been released on Audible, which is always a really exciting time, so it’s been a busy week.

Thank you so much for your time Amanda, and what an interesting interview. I absolutely loved hearing you speak about Familiar so positively. And I’m so happy you enjoyed narrating it.

I do have to say, Arabella has really stuck with me, so there could be more form her in the future… but that’s all I will say on that for now.

If you would like to listen to Amanda narrate “Familiar”, check it out on Audible.


Also do check it Amanda’s latest work in “You’re All Mine”.

Did you enjoy that?

Thanks for reading!

There are more Q&A sessions to come, so do subscribe to my blog below and read them as they go live.

Author Q&A with Bernard Jan

I’m delighted to welcome the Croatia-based ‘cross-genre’ author Bernard Jan to our Author Q&A session today.

I can’t remember how me and Bernard Jan met, but we’ve been connected for many years now through our writing and he’s been a fantastic support to me and my novels. Equally I’ve always got an eye out for him and seeing what he’s up to.

Introducing, Mr Jan!

What is your type and genre of creative writing?

I am the man of all genres! Ha ha! I am not kidding.

First, I wrote two war novels, then I switched to animal and literary fiction, YA and coming-of-age, flirted with mystery, suspense, a bit of romance, poetry.

I think I could write in any genre if I set my mind to it. Let’s put it simple and say I am a multi-genre and cross-genre author.

Why do you write?

Right now I don’t write (except for book reviews and my blog posts) because I am trying to learn how to market my books, which is a rather daunting thing. Writing is a walk in the park compared to book marketing, if you ask me!

I started writing when I faced the possibility of a sudden death during the outbreak of war in Croatia. It was nothing planned. I just felt an urge to document things that were happening around us, how I felt about it. And to have my books as a reminder and a warning for something like that never to happen again.

All the books I wrote came from a deep emotional experience or involvement. I only write about things I am emotionally attached to or consider them important enough to share them with others. I don’t write for commercial reasons; maybe that’s why I have trouble figuring out how to market and sell my books! Creativity and business don’t go hand in hand in my case (yet).

You’re an author, but do you have another full time occupation? And if so, how do you find the time to write?

I have either worked or volunteered part-time or full-time when writing my books. It wasn’t easy. It also wasn’t easy translating them while working. That was even more challenging. Now I am taking more or all my time for my books, learning about self-publishing and investing my energy in marketing efforts and post book launch activities.

It’s another full-time (unpaid) job. It’s actually a job for more people rather than one person if you want to do it right. Focusing now on writing is also hard when your mind is with your books, but on other activities.

I admire authors who can work and write and self-publish their books at the same time. They should get public recognition for that.

What comes first; fictional world, character, plot, or something else?

Sometimes it is just a spark, an idea that can start with a book title!

You can say it is a world, the setting and the topic I feel deeply about. Then I have a character and the plot builds around it. Nothing happens if there is no emotion, though. There must be emotions through which I live with my book in my head before I even start taking notes or writing it and taking notes along the way. It’s all about emotions for me.

How do you plot your plot?

My mind is always active, even too active, so lots of overthinking and contemplating are going on in my head before I plot my plot.

Once I start writing it I try to stay on the course, but sometimes my plot has a mind of its own and makes its own plot. Then I have to readjust and follow. It’s kind of funny. But I always know the ending and how to get there. I allow just small deviations off the course!

Do you have a book trailer? If so, show us!

I am glad you asked this because I have trailers for two of my books and they are pretty cool!

Here you can see black and blue versions of the trailer for my novella and a short memoir A World Without Color:

Here is the book trailer for my novella Look for Me Under the Rainbow:

I hope your fans who read this interview will like and share at least one of them. Thanks, everyone!

What advice would you give someone who wants to start writing?

If you are serious about writing, go into it with all your heart. Give the best you have and be honest about what you write. Your readers will recognize it.

I can’t give advice on the planned writing focused only to make more money because this is not what I do. I write because I want to share what I love with others who will recognize and appreciate it.

Writing is first art and only then business to me. There are lots of online courses who will give you tips on how to monetize your books even before you start writing them. Just pick the right ones unless you want to be overwhelmed with too much and sometimes contradictory information.

Which authors inspire you?

There were quite a few authors who inspire me during my lifetime. The paradox is I don’t write in the genres of books I love to read most. King (Stephen) is, and has always been, the king. Dean Koontz, Richard Bach, Rimbaud inspired me too while I’ve been writing my latest books. So hard to mention them all because my literary taste and genre preferences changed a lot. 

There is a list of authors I like to read on my Goodreads profile, both traditionally published and indie authors. It’s not updated, though, and more authors should be there, but you will get an idea who are my favorite authors and genres.

Do you have any top book marketing tips to offer to other authors?

My top book marketing tip is arm yourself with patience, patience, patience. Stay away from anxiety and stress, be immune to ignoring, and hang out in a good company of perseverance and persistence.

Don’t follow every marketing course you see online, but choose only those who work best for you. Invest in coaches who will work with you and not throw tons of online video material for you to study for weeks and months by yourself. Remember, books are business. Big business. For some people, they are only business. For authors who put their heart into their books, they are much more than that.

Should the moment come when you felt like throwing everything away, take a few days off. You won’t feel the same when the storm of emotions calms down. You will recharge and find motivation to push forward and move on.

And if you ever lose faith in yourself and your abilities, never lose faith in your books! You wrote them for a purpose.

Thank you for joining us Mr Jan!

Did you enjoy that?

Thank you for reading, another author Q&A coming soon!

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Author Q&A with Simon Elson

I’m delighted to welcome the author Simon Elson to my blog today.

I first came across Simon when I was privileged to read the opening chapter of his brand new book to offer my opinion and advice on his story. It was a great little preview. Even in the opening chapter, I was hooked and had many questions for him (being nosy, not any issues with the story!).

So, let’s jump in with the Q&A.

What is your genre of creative writing?

Dystopia (fiction). My book is called ‘Hades Forest’.

Hades Forest by Simon Elson

Why do you write?

I enjoy exploring experiences and situations that I will never be exposed to in my life.

For example (in the case of my novel, ‘Hades Forest’): I will never find myself on an island in the South Pacific ocean, fighting for my life against four other murderous tribes. But it is fun to explore how that might feel, and how it influences a person’s decisions, psyche, emotions and so on.

Being in such an outlandish context results in a very specific set of emotions that cannot be replicated anywhere else.

You’re an author, but do you have another full time occupation? And if so,
how do you find the time to write?

I work full-time for a marketing company in the village where I live. Fortunately, the office is only a 5-minute walk down my road. Therefore, I have a lot of free time for writing.

If I wake up at 6am, I can write for 3 hours before I leave for work. Then, when I get home, I can write for another 6 hours before I go to bed. Obviously, I don’t always have the energy to work at such intensity – but if I ever want to write, I always have a lot of free time to do so.

What is your writing process? Do you even have a format for when you

I always plan out the book, in full, before writing the opening chapter. I also decide whether this book will fit into a wider series – and if it does, then I will plan the plot for the entire series.

Personally, I always make the first chapter significantly shorter in length than the rest. It is important to hook your reader in quickly with a dramatic piece of action; so, a lot more time goes into Chapter 1 than the rest of the chapters, even though it is considerably shorter.

What comes first; fictional world, character, plot, or something else?

Fictional world comes first (the rules of the society, the setting, so on). Next comes plot (what takes place within this society). The characters come last – but are by no means unimportant! I spend a lot of time on character.

How do you create your characters?

I take inspiration from the people I know in real-life. I don’t copy my real-life friends in every way; I just take quirky traits that interest me, and then apply them to a new character.

After that, I go into the backstory. It is important that my character is quirky and interesting, but it is also important that they are 3D and layered. I try not to create caricatures, so I take a lot of time trying to add depth to their character.

How do you plot your plot?

In a word document! Whenever any questions or inconsistencies come up in the plot I’m creating, I highlight them. Then, once the entire plot is finished, I return to all the highlights and see how I can fix them in a way consistent with the rest of the story.

I also make sure that there is ‘light’ and ‘shade’ in my books. I write predominantly action-based stories, but I know that endless chapters of this can be overwhelming, so I also throw in chapters that focus on character development.

Do you have a book trailer? If so, show us!

What’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing?

When you finish writing the first draft, you’re only 25% done. Mentally prepare yourself for that!

What advice would you give someone who wants to start writing?

You need to effectively create time, every day, to write. Only writing for 30 minutes every few days is going to make it really difficult to maintain motivation and get in to a flow.

Instead, be creative about how you can make at least 1 hour every day to write.

Which authors inspire you?

Daniel Handler. When I read ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’, I realised how much power the author has, and how the success of an entire story can depend on how the author chooses to tell it.

Can you name three of your favourite self-published/indie authors?

David Pearce, Mollie Grace and Daniel Clausen.

Do you have any top book marketing tips to offer to other authors?

Research the app called ‘Discord’. There are several writing communities on that platform, filled with thousands of writers and readers. It’s a great place to build new connections, receive great advice, and market your book.

Simon Elson’s first novel, Hades Forest, is available right now on Amazon check it out.

Did you enjoy that?

If you have any questions for Simon then please do drop them over to me and I can happily hold another session with Simon.

Thank you for reading, another author Q&A coming soon!

There are more author Q&A sessions to come, so do subscribe to my blog below to keep in the loop.

Author Q&A with David P. Perlmutter

I’m delighted to host my first ever author Q&A here on my T. J. Blake #Author blog. And what better debut guest than David P. Perlmutter!

Something really awesome about David is that his novel, “Wrong Place Wrong Time” is being adapted into a movie. It’s currently in pre-production. So you can be certain that David will have some amazing insights for you if you’re an aspiring author!

David P. Perlmutter Author Q&A with psychological thriller author T. J. Blake

Welcome David, thank you for joining me.

Let’s kick off with this. Describe ‘David P. Perlmutter’ in three words.

Impulsive – Petulant – Dreamer – according to my girlfriend 👀

What is your type and genre of writing? 

I write true stories (4), crime fiction (trilogy), marketing books (8) for the indie author, and one children’s book.

Why do you write? 

Well, when I first started to write, the last thing on my mind was writing a book, especially being dyslexic. But I did start a blog ten years ago when I lived in Portugal, which was mainly for therapy to be honest about my adventure to Marbella, when I was wrongly arrested for arson and manslaughter and ended up in jail.

I sent a couple of blog posts to my friend and then editor to look at and she replied, “David, this is far too good for just a blog, you should write a book.” So, within six months, I did. My friend and editor edited it, and that book, “Wrong Place Wrong Time” has been a #1 BESTSELLER around the Amazon world.

She did warn me that I may receive some negativity from readers because of the nature of the story, which I did, but with over a thousand five-star book reviews, these have certainly outweighed any negative reviews. Also, this true story is currently a book to movie project.

From there, I caught the writing bug. I guess it’s escapism, my escape from the real world.

You’re an author, but do you have another full-time occupation? And if so, how do you find the time to write? 

When I first started to write, I was in newspaper sales, real estate, and Google page one online marketing in Portugal. Then I came back to the UK and worked for another newspaper selling advertising.

The past couple of years I’ve stayed at home to concentrate on my writing, but when Covid began, I had to do my bit. The past year I’ve worked at my local Sainsbury’s, stacking shelves from 10pm to 8am a few nights a week. I have a thirty-minute power kip at lunch, between 2 and 3am. I’ve done four nights on the trot this week. It’s such a tough gig and I now have the upmost respect for supermarket employers and key workers. As a customer beforehand and still of course, I really didn’t appreciate what went on behind the scenes. I used to go and get my shopping without even thinking how the products appeared on the shelves every day. I’ll tell you it’s a slog, nine/ten hours a night of ripping up boxes, lifting cans or bottles and stacking shelves. It’s a workout, one doesn’t need to go to the gym believe me.

Regarding writing, I can’t do any when I do the graveyard shift as working one night, takes out two days for sleep. So, I write at weekends, during the day and at night when I’m not working.

I also do extra work as an actor and some modelling. I have appeared in a few Bollywood movies, several indie films, TV shows, music videos and fashion photoshoots.

At 56, I wish I started the acting lark 30 years ago, but I’m loving along with my writing.

What is your writing process? Do you even have a format for when you write?

Good question. I have no format at all. Sounds crazy, but with my latest books, my crime fiction series, Write to Kill, Write to Survive (both on Amazon) and Write to Live, (with my editor) I never had a format. Yes, I had ideas, but nothing written down, not even a clue about books two and three when I first began to write book one.  

What comes first; fictional world, character, plot, or something else? 

With my crime fiction series, which I’ve loved writing, I guess the fictional world came first, then the characters came to me as I wrote, and the more I did write, the more the plot played out in my head and then onto the screen.  You could say that I came up with the plot and characters as I wrote, which wouldn’t be too far from the truth. 

How do you create your characters? 

Again, with my crime fiction (You can tell I loved writing these books!), the characters came to me as I wrote. The main character is an author, his name is never mentioned in the books. He does have love interest with Lisa, a nurse, but his main rival, the danger man is called Mad Dog Maddox, an underworld mafia type character.

I also act out the scenes when I write and read the dialogue out loud too. I really have put blood and guts into writing these books so the reader can try and feel the scenario when reading. Judging by the many comments and reviews on my blog, I guess that has come across.

As an example, a scene in book one, Write to Kill, I acted out when the main character, the author in the book was gently pricking himself in the stomach several times to feel the pain from the tip of a knife before he did his murderous deed. At the time, my editor (my editor is also my partner), Julie Tucker, was editing the scene as I acted it out in front of her and said, “are you mad?”, which, my partner knows full well, I am. So, just for her, I replaced the knife with a banana.  

Can you write us a flash fiction story based on your latest story? Let’s say no more than 10 words. 

No, sorry!

What about four sentences: “An aspiring author, cursed with writer’s block and ridden with debt, is offered a huge amount of money to commit a heinous crime.

Caught up in the machinations of the underworld and at the mercy of a gangland boss, will this budding writer accept the money, commit the crime and leave his innocence behind him?

And will real life turn to fiction, as events inspire him to write what he dreams will be an international bestseller?”

What’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing? 

Anthony Horowitz with David Perlmutter - T. J. Blake Author blog

A few years ago, I met Anthony Horowitz at an event. He gave me a few minutes of his time. He in fact grew up in the next town to me.

Anyway, he told me a story of when he was writing his sixteenth book, without any success at all beforehand. His wife said, “If this one doesn’t take off, I feel you should think about changing professions.” That book took off and changed his life. He told me to never give up.

My third book “Write To Live” in my crime fiction, which is with my editor as I stated above, is my sixteenth novel too.

Even better, Anthony follows me now, and he’s my mum’s second favourite author.

What’s you next project? 

Apart from being involved in the book to movie of “Wrong Place Wrong Time”, which believe me is a very long process, especially with the current world situation involving Covid, my new project is pushing my crime fiction to become a TV series. Yes, it’s a dream, but the response on my blog, where I’ve featured the first three chapters of Write to Kill has been nothing short of overwhelming.

I also have a producer in LA, pitching it for me. This one blog post alone has received over 100,000 page views, (over 417K in total) and over 170 comments/book reviews from readers who have stated how much they have loved reading the books, also suggesting actors to play my characters if optioned for TV, which many want, with Jenna Coleman being the firm favourite of readers to play Lisa. Other names have been mentioned. So, that is what I’m pushing for. If one doesn’t try, then to me, what’s the point.  

What advice would you give someone who wants to start writing? 

You must enjoy writing of course. Don’t over think and write for yourself. Also, as I’ve said above, try and make things happen.  

How important is book marketing? 

People who know me know I love social media marketing. I just wish social media was around when I was a lot younger. But I can’t do anything about that apart from acting younger than 56, which believe me I do. Anyway, as I have mentioned, I have written several books about book marketing, a brand titled “MY WAY”. I do not confess I know everything of course, but if just one of my tips helps an author sell a book or get their name out into the world, then I’m happy with that.

My Way - book marketing from David Perlmutter - T. J. Blake author blog

I’m on several social media platforms with Twitter being my number one with over 55k followers, followed by, and this may surprise people, LinkedIn. I went from 150 to over 18,000 followers in a year and a half. I even had a post that went viral with over 70,000 views and 35,000 comments. I wrote a book about that too. Instagram is of course great as is Facebook.

I’m also on Vero another great platform. Book marketing is free on all platforms if you use it right, and the only cost and investment is your time. I have also featured over 200 books from authors from around the world on my blog.   

Which authors inspire you? 

To be honest, all authors inspire me as writing is a tough gig.

Please name up to three of your favourite self-published/indie authors. 

Anne John-Ligali, Soulla Christodoulou and David P Perlmutter - T. J. Blake author blog
Anne John-Ligali, Soulla Christodoulou and David P Perlmutter!

I could name three thousand.

There are so many, but I’m going to be biased as these three authors have been very, very supportive. I met Anne John-Ligali at the London Book Fair six years ago and we’ve been great friends ever since. We also meet up during the year and at Christmas for a few drinks, also with my next author mention, Soulla Christodoulou and I must say, they are such bad influences on me (Yeah, right David).

My third author is more of a writer and blogger, and he has been so supportive all the way from Philadelphia. Billy Kravitz has been a supporter for several years on Twitter and when I read his tweets about my work, I feel so special, so, Billy thanks.

Anne and Soulla, subject to Covid restrictions, I’ll see you over Christmas for some more shenanigans.

Well, I hope my invite for that Christmas drinking session arrives in the post soon! 😉

Thank you so much for giving me your time today David, speak again soon!

Did you enjoy that?

If you have any questions for David then please do drop them over to me and I can happily hold another session with David. Or head over to his blog or even one of his popular social media accounts he mentioned above.

Thank you for reading, another author Q&A coming soon!

There are more author Q&A sessions to come, so do subscribe to my blog below to keep in the loop.

Ask the author: T. J. Blake – Goodreads

I enjoyed answering some great questions on my Goodreads page, check them out below.

Goodreads author questions

What are you currently working on?

T. J. Blake: ‘”Familiar” – a psychological, paranormal thriller. Coming August 2020.

Here’s the blurb if you’re interested:

For as long as she can remember, Arabella has communicated with those who exist only in memory.

Being the centre of attention growing up was uncomfortable, and now, as a renowned psychic medium, it is becoming more of a struggle. Arabella’s ability and reputation always made it impossible to hold onto lasting relationships, but with those who no longer walk this earth, that’s not the case.

Arabella returns to where it all began fifteen-years before – on the very same stage. After an evening reconnecting loved ones and exposing untold stories, Arabella can’t help but wonder about the one unclaimed ‘friend’, and their cryptic message.

In an unexpected turn of events, Arabella finds herself the subject of morning headlines and at the centre of Detective Barnes’ investigation.

Can Arabella use her ability to prove her innocence and uncover the truth about the past?’

How do you get inspired to write?

T. J. Blake: ‘I create a plot, character and story worth telling and showing. Without the excitement to write, there is no writing.’

What’s the best thing about being a writer?

T. J. Blake: ‘You can be who you want to be. Even better, you can let your readers experience the world and characters you create.

I can’t ignore plot though – I really enjoy creating plots that my readers will not predict. Meticulous planning is my favourite element of writing.’

What’s your advice for aspiring writers?

T. J. Blake: ‘Keep writing, never give up, and don’t let anyone tell you you can’t.’

How do you deal with writer’s block?

T. J. Blake: ‘If your mind is elsewhere then do something else away from writing; you can’t force it. Take your mind off the writing; exercise, wander around the house, read a book, anything just to give yourself a break. Then, come back to it and try again.

You can’t always control your mind, and you MUST be in the right mood to write. Writer’s block hits us all, so don’t let it get you down. Stay positive.’

Can you tell us a two-sentence horror story?

T. J. Blake: ‘Sure.

“I really love the clown costume hanging up in the corner of your bedroom.”
“What… I don’t have a clown costume.”‘

Got a question for me?

You can ask me anything on my Goodreads author profile or by clicking HERE.

My Instagram Q&A – Highlights

I hosted my first Q&A on Instagram today – it was great to have received so many questions for it!

There was also a big piece of news on the progress of Familiar.

If you missed it, you can catch it all HERE.

Q&A with T. J. Blake – Highlights

The big update on Familiar:









If you have any other questions, drop it here and I’ll get back to you!

My First Instagram Author Q&A – ask me anything

Fancy asking me a question? Here’s your chance.

You can do so on my Instagram story. Ask away, I’ll answer your questions tomorrow.

See you there!