Guest Author Interview – Gaynor Torrance

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Title: Step Up or Die

Genre: Thriller/Suspense

Synopsis: Attacks in the US and the UK result in a significant loss of life. Meghan Dawson has no interest in these events until her father is murdered. Stumbling across the identity of his killer she realises that her young son is in danger too. Fleeing New York she finds herself having to outwit a killer who knows her better than she knows herself. To save her son, it’s time for Meghan to Step Up or Die.

Gaynor Torrance, Author

International Authors on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Gaynor Torrance, an international author from South Wales. She has developed a strong interest in psychological and psychiatric conditions, which is incorporated in her books. Welcome to my blog, Gaynor.

CH: Can you tell us in one sentence, why we should read your book?

GT: Step Up or Die is the story of a woman who faces the ultimate challenge when she discovers that a psychopath is intent upon killing her and her twelve year old son.

CH: This book is a transatlantic thriller. Where did you get the idea for this book?

GT: The ideas for this book came from three separate sources:

  • An episode of Elementary starring Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu gave me a basic idea for my villain.
  • A documentary on the construction of St. Paul’s cathedral in London inspired the location for my ending.
  • An episode of Horizon (a science show which has aired for more than 40 years here in the UK) gave me the idea of what could tie the various strands of the story together.

CH: Does your background in psychological and psychiatric conditions have great influence on this book?

GT: Not in this instance, though I like to write about characters with psychological flaws or psychiatric conditions.

CH: Is this your debut novel? How long have you been writing?

GT: Step Up or Die is the second book that I’ve published. My debut novel, Revenge, is a whodunit set in Cardiff (the capital city of Wales), which was my home town when I wrote the book.

CH: Did you find anything challenging while writing this book?

GT: Setting much of Step Up or Die in New York was particularly challenging for me. It’s a city I have always wanted to visit but don’t have first-hand experience of. I’ve seen it on the TV, and these days you can view locations on Google Earth, which was particularly helpful when describing places. A crucial section of my story relies on journeys being made within a particular timeframe which was quite problematic for me as I wanted this to be as realistic as possible.

CH: Your book has a lot of ups and downs and potholes and high rises, so do you prefer writing a book with a lot of twists and turns?

GT: I love reading and writing books with intricate plots and plenty of surprises. I want to be caught up in the story, racing towards danger, pulling back just in time, feeling that I’ve got a handle on things without quite knowing whether or not things will work out fine in the end. A story has to be exciting and perilous to hold my interest.

CH: Is there a message in your novel that you want the readers to grasp?

GT: The message is how easy it is for any of us to be blinded by love as we tend to see only what we want to see. It would be wonderful to think that each of us will only ever experience happy, healthy and respectful relationships, but human nature dictates that some people will not be so fortunate. To enter into any romantic relationship you have to be optimistic about what it has to offer. Else why would you risk opening yourself up to another person? But it is this very investment of hope, coupled with a desire for happiness which can make you vulnerable to the other person’s character flaws. In most cases these flaws are trivial, and may irritate or cause minor upset when they come to light. But in the worst case scenario they are grounded in malevolence and so well hidden that you would not suspect your chosen partner to be capable of such thoughts or deeds. It is impossible to analyse someone’s every word or action, and it would not be a healthy path to embark upon as trust is essential for a relationship to flourish. However, there are occasions when you may not pick up on warning signals that something was not quite right. And no matter how secure you may feel you may suddenly discover that everything you took for granted has been snatched away from you.

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your unique, suspenseful writing?

GT: I write about the darker side of human nature where nothing can be taken at face value. I also like to intertwine actual contemporary and historical issues into my work to inform and add interest to either the setting or the story.

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?

GT: It wasn’t hard to create fictional situations, and as I mentioned in the previous question, I also weave in real life issues to make the setting and plot more believable.

CH: Where do you get inspiration for your characters?

GT: I find inspiration from many sources, from snippets of overheard conversations, news articles, historical characters and sometimes even people I know. But my characters are always a hybrid, which makes them interesting for me to write.

CH: Which character was hardest to write? Which character was your favorite to write?

GT: I found that my protagonist, Meghan Dawson was the hardest character to write. When she is first introduced she is quite dislikeable, but as you get to know her you realise that having spent her entire life amongst high achievers she has very little self-confidence.  She has to start believing in herself and as the story develops, we witness a slow, reluctant transformation taking place. When she discovers what her husband is up to, she knows that she has to stop him, but she is terrified of doing something which may get herself or her son killed. There comes a point when she has no one to turn to and has to make decisions for herself. As a writer I had to hold on to her self-imposed limitations and keep pushing her until she had no choice but to commit to a course of action.

Meghan’s husband Russell was my favourite character. As he had no conscience and was also a technological genius; it gave me so much scope to extend my plot.

CH: Do you have a book trailer? What are your thoughts on book trailers?

GT: I have trailers for both of my books. I think they are a very good way of advertising your book as people like visual and auditory stimulation. The book trailer for Step Up or Die can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvkkVeOCH7U&feature=youtu.be

CH: Are there any other genres you would like to write?

GT: I have recently had an idea for a science fiction story set in Florida which I may play around with and possibly develop at sometime in the future.

CH: Are there any writing projects in progress? What can we expect next from you?

GT: I am currently writing Cuckoo, which is about a teenage girl who is in a coma and two women who have links with her. It is a far slower pace than my previous books, but will have quite a few twists and turns along the way. I think I would class it as psychological suspense which will test readers’ expectations of the characters.

CH: Can you tell my audience where your book is sold?

GT: My book is available at: Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Apple.  It is also be available at Inktera and Blio.

CH: How to find Gaynor Torrance:

CH: Any Closing remarks?

GT: Cheryl, I would just like to thank you for this interview, and encourage anyone who wishes to know more about my work to contact me via my website.

CH: Thank you so much, Gaynor Torrance, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet and Gaynor Torrance.

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On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

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