Thanks to her story, Shadow of Doubt, SL Beaumont made her way to my elite list of favourite authors - and I haven't been known to have a favourite anything.
I don't have a favourite child nor grandchild, nor vacation destination, colour, season, food, TV show, car - nothing. However, there are some books (and authors who wrote them) who remain on my mind long after reading their titles so they are deserving of being on a special list.
Though introduced to the story through Reedsy Discovery, Shadow of Doubt was already published on Amazon when I got my hands on the book. I read the pages and they flew by quickly - almost too quickly - because I hated for the book to end, yet was so eager to share my thoughts with the author.
Shadow of Doubt is of such caliber to have been a semi-finalist in Publisher's Weekly BookLife Prize. Of so many fiction books which could have been selected, that Shadow of Doubt rose through such ranks is worthy of mention, for sure - coming in at the top of its category then being pooled alongside the top books of the remaining fiction categories. I'd say, "Way to go!"
Beaumont told me she was really excited about being a semi-finalist. She shared that it was an amazing experience, and to have Publisher's Weekly classify it as a suspenseful thriller was extra special, since readers responded so well to the story. In fact, you can read the BookLife critique Beaumont received for Shadow of Doubt by clicking here.
I had an opportunity to host an interview with SL Beaumont and am excited to share with you those aswers she provided to the questions I had asked.
Norma: What does being an author mean to you? I've asked many authors this question throughout the years and I am always amazed at the variety of answers I receive.
SL: "I enjoy plotting a novel and creating layered characters who experience challenges and adventures that us mere mortals can only dream of. Being an author means that I can get my stories out into the world."
Norma: It's not surprising that many authors are readers, whereas many readers will never think about writing a book, or won't finish one if they try. Still, I can't help but wonder about the ratio of authors to readers. It also amazes me how many popular authors are "out there" whose names I've never heard. In general, I wonder about their sources of inspiration; what are your sources of inspiration?
SL: "JK Rowling has been a major source of inspiration for me, without a doubt. Not just her ground breaking Harry Potter series or the fantastic Cormoran Strike novels, but her tenacity and perseverance to keep writing despite being told on numerous occasions that no one wanted to read about a boy wizard!"
Norma: When did you know you wanted to write and publish a book?
SL: "I have written stories for as long as I can remember, but I didn’t seriously sit down with the aim of writing to publish until my children were small. I’ve always been attracted to the mystery/thriller genre. As a child I devoured Enid Blyton tales and grew into Nancy Drew, Agatha Christie and, later on, John Grisham, Linda Fairstein and Robert Harris. One thing that I think is fascinating with mystery and crime writing is that sometimes a character is crafted who becomes better known than his or her creator, such as Sherlock Holmes, Nancy Drew, Jack Reacher and perhaps even Harry Potter. One of my greatest desires as a writer is to, hopefully, create a character whose name people will recognize, a character whose name will live on in popular memory."
Norma: How long did it take to publish your first book?
SL: "From the spark of the idea, the first book took around three years to write, edit and publish. It was a steep learning curve, with many moments along the way where I thought I wouldn’t get there, but I did and found the experience to be a mostly rewarding one. I have since written and published five more titles, with further books in the pipeline."
Norma: Are you currently working on a book?
SL: "I have several projects on the go! The final novel in my mystery series, The Carlswick Mysteries, has been outlined, but I’m currently working on a crime novel set in my favourite city in the world, London. It is untitled as yet, but involves a strong heroine who is a forensic accountant trying to move on from a difficult incident and an ex-army police detective with a past he can’t walk away from. It will be published mid-way through 2020."
Norma: Despite the basic needs we all have - whether living alone, with roommates or part of a family - it's amazing how every author I've interviewed leads a different type of life. What does an average day look like for you?
SL: "Pretty busy! I have three teenage sons, so I seem to be constantly running around after them, providing food and taxi-driving to sport practices. I manage to spend three days writing and working on my publishing business each week, and whatever other time I can grab. My writing days usually start with a coffee with my girlfriends and then it’s to my computer where the creative magic happens!"
Norma: Almost everyone has something they like to do in their spare time, away from any obligation. What are three of your favourite hobbies?
SL: "My three favourite hobbies would have to be travelling, reading and cooking. I love to travel and I’m always planning my next adventure. I am an avid reader; I think most writers are. The ultimate relaxation for me is to curl up with a good book - especially if I’m on a plane travelling to somewhere exotic! I have a large recipe book collection and often pore through them looking for inspiration or just for fun."
Norma: Wow! Throw in photography and you could be talking about me ... what about a favourite quote?
SL: "One of my favourite writing-related quotes is from Ernest Hemingway, who is quoted as saying, “The first draft of anything is shit.” I can so relate to this as I find getting that first draft out of my head and into words is the toughest part of the writing process. Knowing that someone like Hemingway experienced that, too, gives me no end of encouragement!"
Norma (smiles): I am always fascinated by the answers I receive to this question, considering it forces authors to reflect upon their own literary creations. What's your favourite story that you've published?
SL: "My favourite title would have to be Shadow of Doubt, my most recent release. It’s a modern-day thriller set in the UK amidst the turmoil of Brexit and the threat of terrorism. It’s the story of one woman’s quest to put her life back together after it’s derailed by events outside of her control. The book has been well received, which I’m delighted about."
Norma's closing thoughts:
I know I'm certainly delighted about how well Shadow of Doubt was received; it's an exceptional story. I'm so glad I discovered the book on Reedsy Discovery and decided to give it a chance. I would like to take this opportunity to thank SL Beaumont for appearing on my site. It has been a true pleasure learning more about her and discovering some of the things we have in common. I look forward to reading other stories she has written.
You can read my thoughts about Shadow of Doubt by clicking here and you can listen to an audio sample at Sound Cloud. You can also learn more about the story and take a look at the reviews by visiting Shadow of Doubt's page on Amazon.
If you would like to catch up with SL Beaumont, you can find her on Facebook and Instagram, plus her website.