Steve Dickinson, Author Spotlight

Detective Erika Kelemen has already been thrown out of the Budapest Murder Squad once. But in the middle of the global pandemic, her forensic attention to detail is back in demand. When the body count of tortured octogenarians rises, Erika discovers links to the Cold War era, and deadly grudges that have their origins in Hungary’s dark, post WW2 history.
With Erika’s personal life falling apart around her, she soon finds she is in a race -not only to stop the assassin -but also to reveal the secrets of a conspiracy that appears to be guiding the killer. The more she digs to uncover the truth, the more she puts herself in jeopardy. Will she find the murderer before he strikes again, and if she does, will she be able to bring him to justice?

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 authors, so I am excited to tell you a little bit more about author Steve Dickinson whose book Confession thrilled me from beginning to end. I personally would recommend this book to all of those that love thrillers and suspense novels 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 Steve Dickinson 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 Steve Dickinson!

Steve Dickinson is the author of Confession, the Amazon #1 Best Seller Assassination Thriller | Amazon #1 Best Seller Conspiracy Thriller. In April 2022, Confession was awarded the Gold Medal in the Mystery/Crime Fiction Category, in the Global Book Awards. Steve was born in 1957 in Liverpool, England. He is an engineering graduate from the University of Liverpool, and has had a forty-year career in international business. Set in Budapest, Hungary, a city he has worked in and explored extensively, Confession is Steve’s first novel. He lives with his wife in the beautiful English county of North Yorkshire, and can be found at SteveDickinsonBooks.com

Now, how wonderful does Steve Dickinson sound?! Steve Dickinson 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 Steve Dickinson’s answers to my questions, they are incredible and provide some great advice too!

Please tell us more about yourself.

I was born in Liverpool, England in 1957, just too late to become the fifth Beatle. I’m married and we have one daughter and two grandsons. I’m an engineer by profession, and have run engineering businesses, which led me to work around the world, visit many fabulous places and meet some incredible people.

What inspired you to write your book?

For the last three decades, we have lived in Harrogate, which is home to the UK’s largest and best Crime Writers Festival. I’ve seen authors on the Festival stage like Dan Brown, John Grisham, Lynda La Plante, Val McDermid and Michael Connelly. If they can’t inspire you to write, no-one will. I aspired to writing crime thrillers, once I’d retired from my day job. For material, I draw inspiration from the people I have met and the places I have spent time in. My protagonist, Detective Erika Kelemen, is a strong woman working in a man’s world. I’ve known many strong women, including my grandma, Monica Ellis. She painted warships during the second world war and was bombed out of three houses during the blitz on Liverpool. I’ve also witnessed plenty of the misogyny faced by the strongest of women in my life, and I’ve seen how they dealt with it. In terms of location, Confession is set in Budapest, a city I’ve spent a lot of time in, as a Director of a business located there. I’m fascinated by the Cold War history of Hungary, and indeed of the whole of Central Europe. Writing gave the opportunity to explore that history and relate it to current affairs.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write about what you know, but be prepared to stretch the boundaries of your knowledge through research, to explore conflict situations for your characters you may not have experienced. I initially did not know how to structure my story, or what was expected by readers of my chosen genre. Once I discovered The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne, www.storygrid.com, so much fell into place. Shawn comes at writing from the perspective of an experienced copy editor. He taught me how to break my story into a three-act play, and describe it on a single sheet of A4. Through his work, I have gained a far greater understanding of genre and of the ‘obligatory scenes’ readers expect to find in their chosen genre. What’s more, knowing the rules allows you to break them.

What is the most important thing about a book?

Whether we know it, our desire to write comes from the urge to not just be creative, it comes from the need to help others. A well-told story is a gift to the reader, because it teaches them how to confront their own problems. Storytelling really can change the world, and being good at it can change you too.

What is your writing process like?

I am an engineer by profession. I like a plan. Early on, I came across the ‘Snowflake Method’ by Randy Ingermanson. www.ingermanson.com which taught me how to summarise my storyline in one sentence and build out from there, until I have a scene-by-scene outline, together with a ‘bible’ describing each of my major characters. For those successful writers (like Stephen King) who write by the seat of their pants, it may seem like a lot of unnecessary upfront work. It ensures I have a coherent plot, yet with the freedom to change things as better ideas crop up and the story develops. I try to write every day, but with a growing family to look after, things don’t always go to plan. Having my own adapted Snowflake/Story-Grid outline to hand helps me keep track of things until I’m done with my first draft.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Confession was research-heavy, in terms of locations, characters and historical accuracy. I had a good understanding of the layout of Budapest from my many visits there on business. However, I’d never been to the Police Headquarters, nor the Military Hospital, the Psychiatric hospital or the ‘House of Terror’ where the Communist Party tortured its political prisoners in the fifties. These required further research trips. Thank goodness for Google Maps, which allowed me to research the crime scene locations and many other details.

Do you have a set schedule for writing, or only write when you feel inspired?

I invest a lot of time into developing my story outline. I don’t always follow it, but having it there means I have a good idea where my story is going. I try to write every day, but sometimes real life interrupts.

Do you read much, and who are your favourite authors?

My mother taught me to read well before I went to school. I have therefore been an avid reader for over sixty years. These days, I have more time for reading both fiction and non-fiction. With crime fiction, I love the work of my fellow Liverpudlian, Lynda La Plante, as well as Val McDermid and Ian Rankin. For thrillers: James Patterson, Tom Clancy, John Grisham and Dan Brown. My favourite non-fiction author is Bill Bryson. If I only had one book to take onto a desert island, it would be Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything.

When can readers expect more wonderful books from you?

Erika Kelemen’s second book in the series is entitled Killing Order. It’s currently a work in progress, and I hope it will be published before the end of the year.

Its official book lovers, I am obsessed with Steve Dickinson! 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,

Amazon USAmazon UKGoodreads

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