Today I am very pleased to be able to introduce my readers to Denise Bloom, author of ‘The Ladies of Whitechapel’, her latest novel. Grab a cup of whatever you like to drink and sit back and learn more about the lovely Denise.
I had met Denise a few times socially before she asked me to build her a website. It was truly a pleasure to meet her properly in her wonderful home, and to share our love of writing. We talked for a couple of hours about her books, her writing and her writing group. I also learned a bit about her house and her life. And all with a lovely cup of tea and biscuits!
Initially we met to discuss the fact that she wanted a website. I asked her loads of questions about her target market, the purpose of her website and how she wanted it to look and feel for her readers.
Following an initial telephone call, she had done some research herself on the kind of site she wanted by looking at the websites of other authors and between us, we came up with an initial design, then decided on the pages, the content and how it would all be presented. It is obviously very important to Denise that part of the website’s function is to showcase and sell her books, via a link to Amazon, so we looked at how that would work.
Denise also runs a writing group in her local area, Writer’s Cramp, and she wanted to make this a page on the website to encourage people to write, and showcase some of her group’s work each month.
Denise is lucky enough to live in a fabulous old house which, from the outside, looks like something out of Hammer House of Horror! I absolutely loved it from the start and was sure that it would have some effect on inspiring her to write. Find out more about this in the interview!
She has been writing for as long as she can remember and already has one previously published book, ‘The Invisible Woman‘, which is a darkly chilling and compelling read! This new book, ‘The Ladies of Whitechapel‘, is about the lives of four women and their demise at the hands of Jack the Ripper. I’m not going to give any more of the story away, but you must read it!
Now that Denise has her website up and running, and her book is published and on sale through Amazon, we thought we would collaborate. I wanted to interview Denise about her writing and her book, as well as her website for a mini case study – interview style, and Denise wanted to start a blog, with the first post as an interview about her book, so it made sense to combine the two. Although our blog posts will be taken from the same interview, they will be from slightly different perspectives.
Without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to Denise…
Denise and her thoughts
Denise, you have been a writer for a while now, but what actually made you want to become a writer?
I have always written stories, right back from being little. I remember, I used to write short plays for my friends. We would practice them and would then perform them in front of our parents!
You’ve been writing since you were small, but when did you realise it was something you’d like to do seriously?
When I was in my teens, I wrote short stories and always wanted to write a book.
What made you pick your particular genre?
I feel a bit of a fraud here! I can write in any genre, even fantasy. However, the reason I wrote ‘The Invisible Woman’ was that I always loved crime novels.
Ian Rankin and Agatha Christie are among my favourites. At that particular time in my life, I felt invisible, a feeling that overtakes most women at a certain time of life. I just wrote how I was feeling at that moment. And NO, I didn’t kill anyone, but it didn’t mean that I have never felt like killing someone!
My sequel to ‘The Ladies of Whitechapel’ is almost finished but I cannot give the title away just yet. It is very dark almost horror.
If you could give your younger writing self some advice on writing, what would it be?
The advice to my younger self would be to save all the work you have done in the past. Never throw any of your work away.
How do you decide on the names for your characters?
The names of my characters are taken from the most popular names of the year they were born. You can do this on Google. However, I have chosen names and then changed them mid-book because I didn’t feel the name suited my character.
Do you want each of your books to stand alone, or are you trying to build connections between each book you write?
‘The Invisible Woman’ was successful and most of my readers have begged me to write a sequel. I have one on the back burner, so Heather can live another day!
‘The Ladies of Whitechapel’, although stands alone as a story, has really drawn me into the Victorian era. I have a written a short piece that will be included in an anthology of short stories, called ‘Dark London’, which will be available from June. It includes a couple of my characters from ‘The Ladies of Whitechapel’.
I’m also just finishing a novella, again based in Whitechapel, so watch this space!
Does your beautiful, haunting home inspire your writing? If it does, how?
I have written a ghost story about my house. The area we live in has a history of the resistance and collaboration. I got absorbed in the research and the book is set in both the present day and 1940 Vichy France.
Reasons for your website
It certainly sounds like you have been keeping busy, Denise. I’d like to now ask you a few questions about your website …
Why did you decide to have an author website?
I decided to have an author website, because most of the authors I know have one. People are interested in what you write, why you write and how you write. Instead of answering emails or loads of questions, you can instead guide them to your site, where hopefully, you have the answers.
You have a page on your website for your writer’s group, ‘Writer’s Cramp’. What made you want to start a writer’s group?
I started ‘Writer’s Cramp’ a couple of years ago. I had been attending creative writing classes, run by Kate Rose, a very talented writer and poet. When Kate moved away from the area, we all wanted to keep on writing together and to keep running, so the group was born.
You chose a very minimalist look for your website – why?
The style I chose for my author’s site had to be simple for me to use. I am really not a ‘frills’ person. I like things to be straight forward, and wanted my website to do the job! It’s important to me that my website is easy to navigate for my readers without them having to search or scroll endlessly.
Is there anything you think you might like to add to your website at a later date?
Obviously I want to add a blog, of which this interview is the first post! I think as my books are published and my writing group evolves, I will think of other things I want to add.
For the writing group, I would like them to be able to add their stories, or send them to me if they want me to review a piece. And of course, I will be changing the stories on the website every month, so different members of the writing group get their work ‘published’.
I often look at other authors on the internet, so may see something else I like from their sites. However, I am always open to suggestions and as you, Cindy, are on the ball with new innovations, I know that you’ll come up with more great ideas and will guide me to what is current!
Thank you for the confidence you have in me, Denise! I’m really pleased that you are happy with your site and that it does the job! I’m sure that through our future meetings and conversations, we will come up with new ideas. I know we’ve talked about book reviews, so that’s something we will be adding.
Thank you so much for your time and for sharing a little bit of you with my readers and with yours! If any of you have read any of Denise’s books, we would love to hear from you in the comments below.
If you’d like to take a look at Denise’s website, please click here.
If you would like a website for your business, or need any kind of creative writing for blogs, website content, articles or product descriptions, or would like a free consultation call to discuss a marketing strategy or business plan for your business, feel free to contact me.