Thanks to the power of the internet I have known Incy for a few years now and I am so proud that her publishing journey is kicking off in style. If I had to describe Incy in one word, then 'inimitable' works, but if I was allowed two words then 'totally bonkers' or perhaps, 'absolute hoot' would work for me too.
Don't just take my word for it though, see for yourself in this week's round of #TwentyQuestions...
ACT ONE – all about you…
It took a swan dive from a roof to convince Incy (aged 5) she wasn’t an avenging fairy and that no, she most certainly couldn’t fly. Bruised but undefeated she retreated deeper into her make-believe world populated with the brave and the poisonous.
When not fighting injustice and righting wrongs on ‘Planet Incy’, she works as a Marketing Director. (Unfortunately, her law degree languishes unused, the distinction between good and evil proving too worrisome in real life.)
Her five children are well versed in what scares her (most things) and delight in pushing her neurotic buttons—at their peril.
1) Have you always been a writer or is it something you fell into?
Fell from grace about 3 years ago, after hooking up with some childhood friends who reminded me I’d been voted: ‘Most likely to become a writer’.
2) Do you have a particular writing style or ritual?
Depends on which persona I wake up in (I’m overcrowded). There’s the Incy who chucks commas about like confetti, another Incy who deletes them. There’s Anglo-Saxon Incy of the blue tongue, there’s holy Incy full of grace, and many more who must remain locked up. But all of them demand that I lie in bed when I write—hence the buggered lower spine and repetitive stain injury in my left shoulder.
3) Is there a book or an author that has influenced you in your writing?
Just about every book I’ve ever read. As a kid, I used to re-write Grimm’s Fairy Tales and Hans Christian Anderson’s tales to read the way I prefer, with mouthy heroines, heroes that kicked ass, no witches—scared of witches.
4) Is there one piece of writing (or life?) advice that has stuck with you, or that you would like to share?
Life advice: fall down 7 times, stand up 8 (you don’t have to do it gracefully, but stand the F back up!)
5) Can you tell us three things about yourself that we probably don’t already know?
I drive with absolute terror in my heart.
I shop with absolute terror in my wallet
I cook with absolutely no finesse, much to the terror of everyone
6) What five luxury items or gadgets would you hate to be without?
My phone (in case I need to call the emergency services)
My nexus (because without access to reading matter, I would need to call emergency services)
My huge shoulder bag in which to carry said phone and nexus
My house keys because son #4 no longer fits through the cat flap
My fake coin thing that gains me access to a sodding supermarket trolley! (so irritating)
ACT TWO – all about your new release…
Anna Key Marshall is about to get what she’s always wanted: a baby. Granted, it’s through a sperm donor instead of her ex-husband, but you can’t have everything. She has no idea why someone wants her dead, but she’ll do whatever it takes to protect her unborn child—even if it means turning to her ex, the Black Ops specialist who broke her heart.
Five years ago, British Intelligence agent Nick Marshall slammed the door on the woman who betrayed him. But now Anna’s back in his life with a vengeance, pregnant and full of attitude. He’d like nothing better than to walk away, but with her life on the line, he has no choice but to do what he does best—protect her at all costs.
7) Congratulations on your recent release of Hard to Hold, what was your inspiration for writing Anna and Nick’s story?
Neurosis! I worry that I was given the wrong kids and someone will want them back. Women—mad women—scare me. I’m naturally paranoid, and I have an over-active imagination. Hard to Hold was a form of therapy. Still waiting for it to work.
8) Did the story flow from your finger tips or did some scenes take a bit of cajoling?
Draft 1 was a tsunami. Subsequent drafts? I had to kick, whip, bribe and seduce out of ‘not moving’ petulance.
9) I see Hard to Hold is your debut, how long did it take for the initial spark of the story to make it onto the page and then onto the publisher’s desk?
The initial writing went fast. Too fast. A month maybe. Then I sat on it for months, too afraid to sub it. Once contracted (took about 2 months), the reality of publishing schedules bit and added around another year.
10) Do you have a favourite paragraph or sentence from your story that you would like to tantalise us with?
Ignoring the bead of sweat trickling his spine, Nick closed his ears to the muffled sound of cascading water. The image of Anna naked in the steam was killing him. Once he would have forced the lock she’d no doubt turned against him. Sex had always been the most effective way to deal with one of her strops, and he’d liked her stroppy. Hell, he’d been guilty of deliberately winding her up most of the time. His way of reaching out to her without the need for soft words. Little wonder their marriage had gone to hell in a handbasket, their friendship incinerating right along with it. She’d needed gentle; she’d needed kind. Things he didn’t know how to give. He just didn’t have it in him.
11) Over to you, what can you tell us about Hard to Hold, to make us rush out and buy it?
It’s a tale of collision. Between Anna and Nick, both combative, their natural fall back (defensive) position against the hurt they each carry within. Between Anna and Nick, and external threats. Enter Antila, threat #1. But who’s threat #2? Will appeal to readers who enjoy a fast pace, characters with edge, and the occasional cut of dry British snark. It does have a HEA—promise.
12) What can we expect from you next? Is there something you are working on right now?
I’m working on Book 3 in the “Hard to…” series—Will Berwick’s story. Book 2 (Jack Ballentyne’s fall from bachelorhood) will be out in August 2014. He’s an even harder bastard than Nick in Hard to Hold—your have been cautioned. He shoots the love of his life!
QUICK FIRE ROUND – it’s pop quiz time…
13) Plotter or pantser?
I pant my way through the plot, in other words I don’t know, not for sure.
14) Digital books or print books?
Digi—I just cleared out over 1000 print books, none were hurt. Charity book bins are wonderful.
15) Tea or coffee?
Both, sometimes at the same time. In the same mug if I haven’t rinsed out the dregs.
16) Extrovert or introvert?
Painful introvert in real time, extrovert all the time, in my head.
17) Facebook or Twitter?
18) Christmas or birthday?
Weekends, they come round more frequently.
19) Morning person or night owl?
Morning (though don’t speak to me until noon)
20) Sweet or savoury?
Sweet (I really am)
And that’s a wrap!
Thank you so much for taking part, Incy, I wish you every success with your new release.
To discover even more about Incy Black, and to keep up with her latest projects and crazy shenanigans, you can visit her at:
Buy it now…
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Released: 28th April 2014
Read the first chapter in full (plus buy links)