FARZAD ABED is an unhinged Iranian immigrant living in Australia. His sociopathic tendencies coupled with his political views make him a very dangerous man indeed. Farzad wants the world to sit up and take notice of him and randomly selects six bystanders to hold hostage at a city restaurant.
JACOB BROWN is a fitness fanatic who finds himself at the centre of a bizarre situation when he arrives at his favourite restaurant to pick up a takeaway for dinner.
JAGRITI GOSHAL is a young unassuming Indian waitress working at Alessandro’s Cucina.
REGINA TERRY is a fearless Afro-American woman in Australia on a business visa who unexpectedly finds herself embroiled in a crazy siege with a madman.
LEVI HAINES and BILL WALKER are colleagues having a business dinner at the restaurant. Bill is Levi’s sleazy boss with unethical intentions and Levi is dining with him against her will.
PAUL TOWNSEND is a local electrician who happens to drop off a quote at Alessandro’s Cucina at the same time Farzad descends on the restaurant to begin taking hostages.
Follow the roller coaster ride of emotions as these strangers find themselves embroiled in a terrifying siege orchestrated by a madman. The authorities scramble to put together a definitive plan of action to contain the situation quickly. But not everyone will come out alive …
Hello book lovers! Today is a day where I will be writing another author spotlight for a well-accomplished author whose work I have loved. As you know book lovers I love learning about authors and the inspiration behind their work, it fascinates me and adds to the depth of the book because the reader will be able to better understand it. That is how the author spotlights were created because I soon discovered that you lovely readers ALSO love learning about author’s, so I am excited to tell you a little bit more about author Gill D Anderson whose book The Chosen Seven captivated me from beginning to end. I personally would recommend this book to all of those that love thrillers but really the book can be read by anybody as it is flawlessly written and highly enjoyable. With today’s author spotlight, a biography of the author and an interview between me and Gill D Anderson will be shared, and I hope that you book lovers enjoy reading it! To kick this off here is an author bio about the wonderful Gill D Anderson!
Gill D Anderson is the author of best selling novels Hidden From View and The Chosen Seven. Gill was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and immigrated to Adelaide, South Australia in 2004 with her husband and two daughters. Gill has a Social Work background and currently works in a corporate role in the field of Child Protection. Gill feels very strongly about violence and sexual assault which are prominent themes in her debut novel Hidden From View.
Now, how wonderful does Gill D Anderson sound?! Gill D Anderson is a truly exceptional writer and I hope that you lovely readers have a read of the author’s work because you will not regret it! Please see below an interview between me and the author and I hope that you enjoy Gill D Anderson’s answers to my questions, they are incredible and provide some great advice too!
Could you please tell us what your book is about and what inspired you to write it?
The Chosen Seven is a crime/thriller/drama fiction novel of six strangers whose lives are changed forever when a lunatic with a gun enters Alessandro’s Cucina restaurant. Farzad Abed, crazy and angry with the world, claims to be a terrorist and states that his sudden violence is an Islamic State attack on Australia. He starts with a restaurant full of hostages but narrows it down to six. He claims that he and his remaining hostages are the chosen seven. Farzad believes that after brainwashing the hostages to take his side, they can make the world sit up and take notice. Stuck inside the restaurant with their lives on the line and their rescuers hesitating outside, the hostages realise if they want to survive then they need to work together to outsmart their captor.
I was inspired to write this book for a couple of reasons, firstly I was fascinated with the Lindt café siege that occurred in Sydney in 2014. It got me thinking about how various personality types would react in a hostage situation. I wanted to tap into the psychology and traits of each fictitious character and demonstrate how life or death situations bring out different facets of people’s personalities. I wanted to create characters who would self-reflect and review what is important in life when faced with a near death experience.
Secondly, when I was in Bali in 2019, I was in a restaurant with my husband when a strange man came and sat near us. The whole vibe changed and his behaviour was very odd. Just like in the prologue of The Chosen Seven, this character walked out not long after he arrived, but I had a real sense of foreboding about what he might have done if he had stayed. My imagination kicked into overdrive and as soon as I flew home, I started writing the story.
What would your advice be for aspiring writers?
Try not to allow feelings of self-doubt to plague you. Even the most established and confident authors have these moments. Being an author is unique, you have to love writing with a passion because the reality is that unless you hit the best seller lists, it is unlikely you will become rich from it. Most books have an initial spike in sales post release and then it becomes sporadic. It’s not like other small business that are able to keep generating a steady income. The truth is, writers can never truly estimate how many people read our books because for every sale, a reader will then pass the book to a friend, who passes it to another friend and so on. I do this myself! If I have a great book, I then gift it to a girlfriend to enjoy. It would be unusual to expect her to buy it when I can pass it along for free. I just hope that people might be kind enough to leave a review on goodreads.com if they happened to read my books as the result of someone passing it on because for me the reviews are more important than the amount of sales.
There are days you will question whether the author journey is worth it especially when feedback is very slow. In the digital world we live in, reviews are everything, not just to authors but to any service nowadays so encourage your readers to leave them and let them know how to do this. Also make sure you thoroughly research how to market your book, and figure out your target audience. There are a number of marketing strategies and online tools that can assist with this. Beware of dodgy online book promoters who take your money but provide a poor service. Ensure they have a good reputation first and have proven deliverable results. Given that authors are expected to market their own books these days, it’s important to have a social media presence as an author. This will be very helpful for marketing and getting to know your readers. There is nothing more heartwarming than a perfect stranger connecting with you and taking time out of their day to tell you they enjoyed your work and want to read more. That is priceless and always lifts my spirits
In your opinion, what is the most important thing about a book?
It has to connect with the reader and draw them in straight away. I want readers to drink it all in and ponder about what is happening for the protagonist and the antagonist. The hook in the prologue should make people so curious that they want to find out more. I want readers to empathise with my characters and be able to relate to them on some level. The book has to somehow pull on your heart strings and make you invested in finding out the outcome of whatever the characters are facing. I love writing about moral dilemmas where an outcome means the character is damned if they do and damned if they don’t take a certain course of action. I write about confronting and risqué themes and like to weave complex story lines together to make the reader curious about how it all ends up. I like to use six degrees of separation (the theory that we are all connected to others through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries).
What is your writing process like?
I’m a little manic. Some days I will write 1000’s of words and other days only 200. I think consistency is key, so long as I write most days then it keeps momentum going. I don’t stress about how much I write each day because it messes with my creativity. If I’m getting a little writers block, I’m not going to beat myself up by staring at the screen achieving nothing. I just reassure myself that a productive day is only around the corner. As I have a day job, have family commitments and also try to fit in going to the gym, being committed is crucial.
What kind of research do you do and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I generally make sure I know a bit about the demographics and infrastructure of a city I’m writing about to give it credibility. There is nothing worse than reading about a hilly town that you know to be flat! My books have scenes in Edinburgh, Adelaide, Bali and New York which are all places I have either lived in or visited so I was fairly confident that I was depicting them accurately. For The Chosen Seven, I researched the background of what occurred at the Lindt café siege in Sydney on 15 December 2014. I was intrigued by the journalist Deborah Snow who wrote in great detail about the horrors of that day. I was fascinated by the vortex of mishaps by the authorities and the commendable bravery displayed by the hostages. The over whelming grief and horror still haunts the world today. I drew from that to allow a fictitious story to unravel using what I knew and combined it with my active imagination.
Do you have a set schedule for writing, or do you only write when you feel inspired?
I try to write every day but as stated above, I don’t stress too much about forcing unnecessary deadlines on myself. I’m deliberating over my third book a lot more and taking my time to fine tune it.
Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?
I read and review other authors constantly. It’s getting harder to find the time but as I catch the tram to and from my day job, I try to read as much as possible then. There are so many authors that I am in awe of, way too many to mention! I am currently reading A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone who is a Scottish crime writer. It is a gritty and compelling novel that keeps you in suspense. I love that its set in Edinburgh (my home town). Ian Rankin is another Scottish crime writer I enjoy reading, the Inspector Rebus novels are well worth a read! For a more light hearted and fun read, I like Marian Keyes who is an Irish writer full of wit. I also enjoy reading the Australian author Liane Moriarty (and her sisters Nicola and Jaclyn). All three sisters are known for their edgy novels that are peppered with psychological twists and turns. Lastly, I’ve recently become a fan of Adele Parks who I feel is the UK equivalent of Liane Moriarty in her ability to weave a compelling tale full of psychological drama and suspense.
Lastly when can we expect to read more wonderful books from you?
I’m around three quarters of the way through my third fiction novel called Melita. It touches on the complex relationships that sometimes occur between mothers and daughters. I haven’t quite decided on the ending yet so am taking my time with this one! I am hoping that it will be out by the end of 2020. I have also recently been inspired with another crime thriller idea so my urge to write that might mean that Melita gets shelved for a short time! My other two books were released fairly close to each other but this was due to me being homebound with a broken ankle with nothing else to do but write! I hope to build some anticipation with this one!
Its official book lovers, I am obsessed with Gill D Anderson! If you have liked what you have read about the author and are interested in learning more, then please do have a browse of the links below and be sure to have a read of the preview too! You will not regret it.
Goodbye for now book lovers,