Today I’m thrilled to be hosting a stop on Ava Marsh’s UNTOUCHABLE blog tour, and interviewing the author herself. UNTOUCHABLE is a sizzling new crime thriller that’s published this month, and is one of my must-reads of the year.
So, to the interview …
Welcome, Ava. Your new book UNTOUCHABLE is out now, can you tell us a bit about it?
Certainly. It’s the story of Stella, an expensive London call girl, who stumbles into a top-level conspiracy when a friend and colleague is found murdered in a hotel room. Nothing about this death adds up for Stella, who finds she can’t leave it alone. But uncovering the truth comes at a high price, especially for a woman whose past refuses to stay buried.
How did you get the idea for the story?
Two things converged. One, I was interested in writing crime, and when the whole Fifty Shades thing broke out, it occurred to me that perhaps a slightly racier thriller might be a good way to go. But I was also curious about high-end sex work, as it seemed that call girls, who often ‘service’ the rich and powerful, enjoy a great deal of insight into those men’s private lives. Untouchable was born with the idea that such insight might include something impossible to ignore.
UNTOUCHABLE is a crime story set in the world of high-class escorts. How easy (or not) was it to do the research you needed?
Much easier than you’d imagine. Escorts working at this level have a lot of downtime – they might only have a few appointments a week – so a lot write or blog about their work. Most famously, Brooke Magnanti, otherwise known as Belle de Jour, though I deliberately avoided reading her novels, good as they are, for fear of unconscious plagiarism.
And yes, I know some people in the business. Intelligent, well-educated, professional women who decided to escort for all sorts of reasons. Obviously they had some interesting tales to tell.
What’s your writing process – do you plan first or jump right in?
I plan. I’d be too scared to embark on a complex thriller without having a pretty clear idea of where the story was going. That said, I leave plenty of room for inspiration or a change of heart.
Usually I’ll do a rough outline, and split that into chapters, working further on the plot until I have enough scenes to start writing. Then off I go, though there’s always a lot of swapping things around until I get a structure I’m happy with. And of course you get to do it all over again during publisher edits.
What advice would you give a writer aspiring to publication?
- Learn your craft. Writers are made rather than born, and there are dozens of ways you can learn how to write well and structure a novel – creative writing courses, books, online programmes, there’s a wealth of material out there to help you on your way.
- Grow a thick skin. You are going to face rejection a lot. Even when you find an agent, your book will be rejected on submission. Even when you secure a publisher, there’s still a thousand ways for that novel to be unloved – failing to garner online promotions or deals, getting shitty reviews, not being picked for prizes or festival slots. And so on and so on. Try not to be too downhearted when that first wave of ‘no’ hits you. Perseverance is everything in this game.
- Be nice. Be nice to other aspiring writers, be nice to published authors, be nice to the gatekeepers. Just be as nice as you can, given that writing is a difficult and often frustrating line of business. And by nice, I mean reciprocate. Make sure you’re bigging up others as well as yourself, and be grateful when they return the favour. Don’t make it all about you.
And finally, what does the rest of the year have in store for you?
Err… work. Further editing on my next book, Exposure, about a young porn star who ends up in prison for double murder. More promotional stuff. And my tax return is looming larger by the day. Oh, joy.
On the bright side, I’m brewing up an exciting new idea. Something I can’t wait to get stuck into, so that’s sustaining me through the grittier side of things.
And wine. I predict the rest of the year will involve some choice bottles of red.
Huge thanks for making the CTG blog the latest stop on her UNTOUCHABLE blog tour. To find out more about Ava pop over to her website at http://www.avamarsh.co.uk and be sure to follow her on Twitter @MsAvaMarsh
UNTOUCHABLE is out now. Here’s the blurb: “Stella is an escort, immersed in a world of desire, betrayal and secrets. It’s exactly where she wants to be. Stella used to be someone else: respectable, loved, safe. But one mistake changed all that.
When a fellow call girl is murdered, Stella has a choice: forget what she’s seen, or risk everything to get justice for her friend. In her line of work, she’s never far from the edge, but pursuing the truth could take her past the point of no return.
Nothing is off limits. Not for her – and not for them. But is anyone truly untouchable?”
To order it via Amazon click on the book cover below:
And be sure to check out the rest of the fabulous UNTOUCHABLE blog tour …