Monday, 6 April 2020

Interview with Douglas Lindsay (Part 2)

So, carrying on from last month’s blog, here’s the second half of my interview with the awesome Douglas Lindsay, author of the Barney Thomson series. I’ve just finished reading this latest outing for the dour Scots barber who seems to have all manner of murder and mishap follow him, and absolutely loved it. Curse of the Clown is available to buy over on Amazon right now and I highly recommend it!

6. What are your future plans for Barney?
After seven Barney books, I'd kind of thought they were done, and then several years later, number eight just sort of happened, and now it's happened again. They're good fun to write, fairly easy, very free form, with no need to hold to any kind of convention. They're not police procedurals, and really, I feel I can do whatever I like with them. So, I have other writing plans for another couple of stand alone or books in other series, but I'm fairly productive, and I expect Barney will come back soon enough.

7. You mentioned earlier that you’ve both had a publisher and also self-published. Which method do you prefer? 
There's a good question. I do like self-publishing. The speed of it. The freedom to do what one feels like doing, without an editor's expectations in the way. Cover choice, and everything else. I finished Barney 9 in February, and it's coming out mid-March. That kind of speed is way beyond the traditional model. So, I'll run the book by my wife, who's good at saying, 'Really? You're writing that??' Then I'll get someone else to proof it, and I have a few processes I'll do myself. I enjoy the whole thing really. Plus, I like numbers and statistics, so I enjoy all the Amazon sales data (even though the numbers may be smaller than one would prefer...)

One downside of self-publishing, is that one's social media game has to be pretty good. I don't have a social media game. Not a fan. Don't really like to interact with anyone. I even get social media angst when people are nice to me. Never know what to say. So, that doesn't help.

Being regularly published obviously has its advantages. There's someone else to sell the books for you, and there's the possibility of them getting the books into bookshops. Of course, publishers still want you to have a social media game, so there's a bit of pressure there. Perhaps the best thing with having a publisher is the validation. I don't worry about that with Barney, because I never offer them to anyone anymore. But after Hodder published the three Westphall books last year, I offered them my next, a literary crime novel entitled These Are The Stories We Tell, and they turned it down. My agent has currently been unable to place it elsewhere. Ultimately, I'll likely end up publishing it myself. Since it's not part of a series, it probably won't get much attention, and it won't be submitted for prizes etc. So, it will vanish, more than likely. And I really like it. So a publisher would've been nice. But that's the way it goes...

Oh, and I should say, that the third Westphall book, The Art of Dying, I'm really keen on, and my editor at Hodder did a great job of steering it in the right direction, and was a great help. I think with something like Westphall that matters; with Barney, which is much more about me writing whatever the hell I like, it doesn't so much. I wouldn't really want an editor saying, why don't you have Barney become a Buddhist, or something?


8. Having the different series of books, do you find your writing style differs between them? Also, are they in separate universes or would there ever be chance of a cross-over or two?
The styles are all very different. Barney: kind of daft, anything goes in the name of comedy, occasionally brutal, occasionally melancholic. Hutton: more visceral, a bit more serious, the humour is earthier, pretty vulgar, contains actual sex scenes, heavy use of the word fuck. Westphall: heavy on the melancholy, a slightly supernatural feel, no attempt at comedy, although I think my dry sense of humour likely still comes through with the man. In my head these are literary crime novels, even if no one else sees them like that. Jericho and Pereira are closer to straight-ish procedurals. Of the stand alones, Ballad in Blue and Mr Kite are heavily influenced by Haruki Murakami, Lost in Juarez is a fairly straight thriller, and Room With No Natural Light is a literary romance. So, I've covered a few different things.

As a result, I'm not in favour of a crossover. Not really a fan anyway. I did do a kind of minor one, once. Lost In Juarez was set during the days of the Brown government, and featured an unnamed, but obviously Brown, PM, and a Damian McBride-esque right hadn't man named Bleacher. A year later I wrote an online Barney story called The Westminster Christmas Massacre, in which Barney gets hauled down to London to be personal barber to the PM. The PM was unnamed, but obviously Brown, and again I used Bleacher as his right hand man. This story is now The End of Days, btw. It's kind of out of place, because it's set after Book 7, but doesn't feature Detective Sergeant Monk, so it's a bit rogue. I do like it though.

9. You mention Murakami as one of your influences. Who do read for fun, for down time and who else influences you?
I read a fairly eclectic mix of things. Literary, I suppose, most of them might be called. I don't read crime novels, or any other genre really. Big fan of Murakami, although latterly he's gotten a bit wordy, so I guess I prefer his earlier books when he was able to fit his story into three hundred pages or so. 1Q84, for example, has no more narrative than one of the old stories, but runs to 1,300 pages. When I'd just started, my biggest two influences were The Shipping News by Annie Proulx, in terms of blunt writing style, and (not a book obviously) Tarantino's Pulp Fiction.
My most recent reads have been Lord of the Rings, Pride & Prejudice, Life of Pi, Solar, Metamorphosis, Great Expectations, The Miniaturist, Goldfinger, A Farewell To Arms, Drive Your Plow Over The Bones Of The Dead.
My favourite was last one. I suppose it was a crime novel, though I don't think the writer sees it that way. And I'm not sure how influenced I've been by any of them, other than that one is constantly influenced by everything one reads, watches, hears...

10. So, as a final question, what pieces of information would you a) give to your younger self and b) give to any aspiring writers out there?
As a liver-in-the-past, I've given this a lot of thought, and I've no great idea. What would I do differently? Maybe I'd tell my past self that the world of publishing will change beyond recognition in the next couple of decades, so none of this laggardly book every eighteen months nonsense. Get on with it, you'll be able to publish everything in a few years.

As for aspiring writers. Crack on. Try not to get bogged down. Write, write, and write some more. Don't make excuses for not writing. If you get stuck on a section, or a word or a detail or a name, don't allow yourself to get stuck too long. Move on to something else, come back to the tricky part. When you think, hmm, I think I'll make this character Polish, I'll just have a look at the internet to see what makes a good Polish surname, don't look on the internet! Park those bits. Do them all at once at some future time. Stay off the internet!

And then, when you've finished - and this is tough - try to leave it as long as possible before doing anything with it, so that you can look at it again a few weeks, or a couple of months later, with fresh eyes. The fresh eyes are so important, and the longer you can leave it the better.

If you've got this far, and read everything above, you may be thinking, hang on a second, you just finished a Barney Thomson book and you're literally publishing it within a month! Well, that's partly do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do territory. I also have slightly different rules with Barney. Barney is the comfortable old pair of slippers. With other books, I do try to listen to my own advice.


Many thanks to Douglas for agreeing to be interviewed. Douglas Lindsay’s Curse of the Clown is available from Amazon on right now. Click here for more details.
For more information on all his works, click here for his website and here for his Twitter.

Next month I’ll be chatting about my next Sam Spallucci novel, Troubled Souls which is due out later this summer.







Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Interview with Douglas Lindsay (part 1)

An absolute treat for this month (and indeed next month). As many of my readers know, I love the Barney Thomson books which are the brain child of Douglas Lindsay. The next adventure of the barber cum former accidental serial killer, Curse of the Clown, is due out on the 23rd March and Douglas very kindly allowed me to interview him. 
It’s a wonderfully substantial interview and, as a result, will span both this month’s blog and April’s.

1. For those who are not familiar with your books, could you please introduce yourself and your works?
I've been writing for about twenty-five years now. Have been extremely lucky to be married to a career diplomat, which has allowed me to do this full-time for most of those twenty-five years, while travelling the world. Having said that, we've had three postings to eastern Europe and one to West Africa, so there are a few bits of the world we've missed.

I mostly write crime novels, something that happened entirely by accident. I neither read crime novels, nor watch crime shows on the TV. Nor, indeed, commit crime for that matter. In my head my first novel, The Long Midnight of Barney Thomson, was a comedy. However, bookshops don't have comedy fiction sections, but they do have very large crime fiction sections. The presence in my comedy novel of detectives, a serial killer and a freezer full of body parts allowed my publisher to put my comedy novel in the crime section, and the die was cast.

My longest running series is Barney Thomson, which is now nine books and counting. They're definitely comedies, if occasionally macabre. Then there's the Detective Sergeant Hutton police procedurals, which are vulgar, violent, and sex and alcohol fulled; there's three books with Detective Inspector Westphall, more sedate police procedures, with a hint of the supernatural; then there are a couple of books each with DCI Jericho and DI Pereira, which are more straightforward procedurals.

I should clarify that the character of Detective Sergeant Hutton is sex and alcohol fuelled, rather than me being fuelled by sex and alcohol when I write them.

I've also written a few definitely-not-crime novels along the way in an attempt to escape the crime fiction circuit, but people don't really buy them, so it hasn't worked yet...


2. As many of my readers know, I am a huge fan of the long-suffering Barney Thomson. What or who influenced you in the creation of him? When I was a kid my mum always took me to this elderly barber who had one single style that he inflicted on every lad in town. Did you suffer a similar barbering hell as a child?
There was a guy in my home town who cut my hair, this would be in my early to mid-twenties, who was the original model for Barney. The chip on the shoulder, the apparent resentment of his colleagues, and possibly of customers. I have no idea if the guy would have recognised himself in Barney.

There's a scene in the first book where Barney is shunned by an entire shop full of customers, all of whom prefer to wait for one of the other two barbers. I witnessed this happen one late afternoon, with men preferring to wait well over an hour for a cut, than submit their hair to this guy. That was pretty brutal. I didn't even think he was that bad a barber.

Barney's mother was, in part, based on my gran, who smoked sixty Woodbine a day and loved watching game shows on TV. I tweaked my gran's personality a little, and made her a serial killer. Emma Thompson, when portraying Barney's mother in the movie, made a massive tweak, adding foul language and prostitution. If you've only seen the movie, that character was not based on my gran!

After three books of Barney being this fearful, resentful, rather dour character, I kind of tired of writing him, so used the circumstances of the novels to take the opportunity to change his character. These days he's a pretty cool, relaxed, somewhat melancholic chap, with a dry sense of humour.

3. I thought Emma Thompson was brilliant in the film as was Robert Carlyle. Mind you I tend to think he’s brilliant in most things, which is why I wandered into my local indie cinema one day to have a gander at his latest film and walked out 90 minutes or so later with tears of laughter streaming down my face. This then obviously led me onto devouring the books. How did the film come about? Did he just ring you up one day and say, “You know what? I’ve always fancied being a serial killer barber."
The idea of the film happening started so long that I first heard about it by letter. November 1998. The book was due for publication the following February, and an agent in London wrote to say he had a guy interested in the film rights, and that he was shopping it around other companies in the hope of getting a bidding war going. De Niro was mentioned. Being old and cynical and from the west of Scotland, and following the movie business far more closely than the publishing business, I knew that films rarely happen - even though films obviously do happen, percentage-wise, they don't - so I never really got too excited. There was no bidding war with just the one guy interested. His name was Martin Rosen, and his main movie claim to fame had been writing, directing and producing Watership Down. He asked me to write the script, and he brought in David MacKenzie as director. At that point, David hadn't directed anything, but he's now a thing. Him being a thing had nothing, sadly, to do with Barney in the end. This being the movies, big acting names were tossed around like kites in a hurricane, in particular Ewan MacGregor, as David was currently working with him, trying to get a film called Young Adam underway. This despite Ewan MacGregor being thirty years too young for the part, and looking about sixty years too young. Young Adam did happen. At this point, Barney Thomson didn't.

Martin Rosen never got the film made. A couple of years later the rights passed to Sigma Films in Glasgow, who were intent on making the movie with Ford Kiernan. They dispensed with my script writing services. I don't know who they got to write the script, or what happened with it, but the movie didn't get made.

Then a Canadian fellow named Richard Cowan, who'd been a long-time assistant director in Hollywood, took the rights to the script. He was going to write and direct, and it was going to be his breakthrough into the next level of filmmaking. Ultimately, it was Richard who made the film happen, but sadly for him it didn't really work out the way he intended. He had the film rights for years. Every year he'd send an update, and try to sound like things were happening, but they weren't really. One year (around about 2010 maybe) he mentioned the script being with Robert Carlyle, but since virtually every British actor alive was mentioned at some point, that didn't seem particularly exciting. But then a year later, when he renewed the option, Carlyle was mentioned again, and then the next year there started to be talk of Carlyle directing. When the movie finally happened, there were other producers involved, and Richard had lost the directing role. Before filming began, Carlyle handed Richard's script over to a Scot, and so Richard's work kind of got lost along the way. Indeed, it was at this point that the book really got completely rewritten.

The movie finally went into production in June 2014, not kicking the pants off sixteen years after that first letter. With Emma Thompson and Ray Winstone on board it has the look and feel of a studio movie; but all along there was no money, and they were scrimping and saving and muddling by. A real low budget independent film. And when it came to it, despite the cast, it never really got much of a release in the UK, and wasn't a huge success. But the movie was fun, and it opened the Edinburgh Film Festival in 2015, and I got to briefly hang out with movie stars and walk on the red carpet, and meet James Cosmo, who's obviously like the coolest actor in all television. And I also got to meet Emma Thompson on set, though she stayed in character of a 75 year-old Glasgow woman while I talked to her, so that was weird.

As for the book. It had gone out of print in around 2002. ie I was dropped by the publisher. I put it back in print myself, because no one else would take it. Then, when the movie came along, the ebook rights were with a digital-only publisher, and I couldn't get a mainstream London publisher on board, despite Emma Thompson, because I couldn't offer digital rights. In the end, the movie tie-in paperback was published by Freight Books, smalltime, but up and coming Glasgow publisher.

They folded a year later. Barney Thomson killed the publisher. Around the same time, the digital publisher folded as well. Barney really is a serial killer.

And now The Long Midnight of Barney Thomson resides on the shelves of Amazon, digital and print on demand, a forgotten masterpiece. Or, my naive early work, as I like to call it.

4. You’ve set the more recent Barney books in Millport on the island of Cumbrae. Was there a particular reason that you chose that location? Does it hold any personal significance for you like Lancaster does for me in my Sam Spallucci books? Also, does the real life town share an identical layout with the books or have you tweaked it?
Millport is one of those towns on the Clyde where Glasgow used to go on holiday, before the introduction of cheap flights to Spain. We had a small flat there, so we'd go several times a year, including for three or four weeks in the summer. I feel much more affection for Millport than I do my home town, which incidentally is where I set the Hutton crime series. I took my kids to Millport often enough, and like to go back when I can.

It has the feel of an English, Victorian seaside town, promenades and palm trees and crazy golf.

The town is exactly as it's painted in the book. From the town you look across the water at a nuclear power station. Not the most attractive view. Around the west coast of the island however, and one is transported to the Highlands, looking out on the firth, with Bute and the mountains of Arran beyond.

5. So, the next Barney Thomson book, Curse of the Clown, comes out on 23rd March. Without being too spoilery, what are you going to inflict on the poor chap this time?
So, in the first Barney novel the killer cuts off a body part of each victim and sends it to the victim's family. Just out of badness, really. There was one day in London, sitting with the Watership Down guy, and his partner in the movie, James Lee, and we were tossing around ideas for the film, and decided that instead of various body parts, wouldn't it be funny if the killer always sent the penis? So we had a scene with the police looking at oblong boxes of various sizes, and the opening scene of the movie was DI Holdall showing a woman into a lab and asking, 'Is this your husband's penis?' I thought that would be one of the all-time great first lines in a movie. Then that particular movie never happened, and the line was lost.

So, at some point, when thinking of what to do with the next Barney novel, I decided to resurrect my lost movie line. This means that the killer has to sever his victim's penises. (Spoiler: this won't actually happen to Barney.) I sent the men of the shop to a fictional barbershop convention in a fictional hotel in Perthshire. The killer himself is a barber, somewhat mirrored on the type of man Barney used to be back in the beginning.


Douglas Lindsay’s Curse of the Clown will be available from Amazon on the 23rd March. Click here for more details.
For more information on all his works, click here for his website and here for his Twitter.

The second half of this interview will pop up in this blog next month. Until then, beware of what lurks in the shadows.

Thursday, 9 January 2020

Hello 2020!

Happy new year to you all!

2019 was a fantastic year for me. I had three new publications come out. Here’s a quick run-down of them in case you missed them.

Children of Cain – A Vampire Omnibus was a collection of the vampire stories that I had previously published across my first three short story anthologies. It collected together for the first time in one place all the stories of the Children of Cain who exist and interact with Sam Spallucci’s universe. There were the three tales set in the modern day concerning newly created vampire Dave Nichols and his mother the regent Nightingale. Alongside these there were three in the Wild West centred around the reluctant heir to the empire, the gunslinger Claw and the ill-fated relationship that he develops with a young orphan boy. Then there were two contrasting stories centred around my favourite pair of construct hunters: Tigress and Scorpion. One saw them out on the tiles and hunting down their unsuspecting prey whereas the other showed us a more vulnerable side to their relationship.

Songbird was another Children of Cain based book. This novella centred around the vampire Nightingale. It tracked her last few weeks as a human, suffering at the hands of a sadistic employer, through to her rebirth and rise to regent of the shadowy figures that await the Divergence and the rise of Kanor.

Finally, Needs Must received an outing as an eBook. Originally part of the anthology All Things Dark And Dangerous, this very popular short story tells the tale of Odd Bod, a human-eating creature down the bottom of a well who has to venture up into the world above when his food source dries up, only to encounter something far more deadly than himself – a little red-headed girl.


So what of 2020? Well the big news is that the next Sam Spallucci book Troubled Souls is now in the editing stage and, all being well, should be published late spring. Like Casebook and Shadows of Lancaster, this new outing for Lancaster’s investigator of the paranormal will take part over five interconnected cases as Sam tries to come to terms with the fallout from Dark Justice

The Case of the Cherokee Checkout sees Sam reluctantly drawn into the spectral happenings at a new supermarket which has apparently been built on a Native American burial ground. Quite an achievement for Lancashire! During the investigation, he encounters Craig Shaw, a local author who has written a book about the Bare Lane Butcher, a serial killer in Morecambe from the 1800s. Not only this, but photographic evidence puts Sam right at the heart of the Victorian killing spree.

The Case of the Distressed Demoniac has Sam called in to try and cure a teenage girl from what appears to be a demonic possession. However, things aren’t quite what they seem and, what’s more, a certain shadowy figure who haunts Sam’s dreams begins to take a far from healthy interest in the occult goings on. 

The Case of the Time Travelling Tea Room sees Sam and Spliff transported back to a Victorian Morecambe which is in the grip of the murderous hand of the Bare Lane Butcher. As they try to solve the case and find a way home, they team up with detectorator duo, Mulberry and Touchstone who have leapt from the pages of Peter Cakebread’s novel The Morecambe Medium

The Case of the Dabbling Dominion involves more time travel as the dominion Mister Tibbles whips Sam and Alec back and forth through points in history (and out of history...) as the diminutive angel tries to force the hand of Sam’s mysterious lodger and get him to accept his destiny. Be prepared to find out what really caused the destruction of the Indus Valley civilisation!

The Case of the Bare Lane Butcher is the final of the five connected tales and sees Sam rooted firmly in the present as the Victorian serial killer seems to raise his ugly head in modern day Morecambe. As Sam hunts down the murderer before they can kill someone close to him, he struggles with continued appearances from Kanor, before things finally come to a head.


So, have a great 2020. Continue to watch this space for more details as and when they are announced and remember: The Divergence Is Coming!



Thursday, 7 November 2019

Embarrassed? You and me both...

What is it with us Brits and being embarrassed? This idea is used so much in films, books and television, isn’t it? I know, I’ve been guilty of using it as a device myself in my own stories. Are we all sufferers from the severe case of, “Err, um, scuse me?” I am, definitely. A case in point: there is a cafĂ© that I frequent which has two
unisex toilet cubicles. One of these is wider than the other and contains a washbasin. The other is narrow and you have to use the washbasin which is in the vestibule shared by both cubicles. So it is that I often find myself coming out of the larger cubicle having already washed my hands to be confronted by someone who is stood mid-ablution. Now, the rational part of my mind says, everyone who drinks and eats here knows that there is a washbasin in the larger cubicle. It’s no biggie. However, the major part of me is cringing at the supposed look of disgust from the other toilet user as I leave the vestibule, apparently not washing my hands. What should I do? Should I just use the smaller cubicle and therefore have to use the shared wash basin? Should I, if there is someone in the vestibule, wash my hands for a second time even though they are perfectly clean? Or, perhaps I should explain that my hands are germ free, clean and indeed ready for inspection? 
You see my predicament?
There seems to be the inbuilt genetic defence mechanism which compels us to do what we deem to be socially acceptable. When our actions come into conflict with this mechanism, then profound embarrassment ensues.
Perhaps it has always been there? If you look back through history, there are possible examples. The English reformation is a suitable candidate. King Henry VIII found himself in a situation which he believed to be socially unacceptable. He had married his dead brother’s wife and no children were forthcoming. Feeling that he had committed a spiritual misdemeanour which would end his lineage and cause another War of the Roses, he appealed to the Pope for an annulment. However, perhaps because he was embarrassed with the situation, Henry sent his minions in his place, rather than tend to the matter himself. Perhaps, if the monarch had not been so red-faced over the matter, then he could have sat down with his Holiness and discussed the matter face to face, come to a political agreement and hey presto, one annulment, no English Reformation.
Now, this isn’t to say that embarrassment can’t be overcome. In fact, there is a simple method that dispels all inhibitions and worries: strong liquor! A few pints or a number of shots and you don’t care that you were walking butt naked down the high street wearing a pair of fake breasts on your head late one Saturday night. But, the relief from our genetic mechanism is only short-lived, especially in this age of social media and our wanton acts will always come back to bite us on the same butt that made that group of nuns tremble when they were out ministering to the homeless one cold, wintry night.
So, perhaps there is nothing we can actually do about our inbuilt need to worry and fret? Perhaps our fear that whatever we do is the wrong thing will always be there?
Indeed, the best thing we can do is just sit back, peer over the top of a large squishy cushion at our raging insecurities and have a secret chuckle at just how daft we actually are?

In case you missed it, I recently gave my short story Needs Must a fresh outing in Kindle format. My most popular story when I read at signings, it is all about a creature named Odd Bod who lives down the bottom of a dark, dank well. Unfortunately for Odd Bod, his human food supply appears to have run out and he has to climb up out of the well to see what has happened. When he reaches the world above, he discovers that he might be the only monster in the neighbourhood...

Until next time, keep looking for what lurks in the shadows.
A.S.Chambers.


Thursday, 5 September 2019

Interview with the amazing Carolyn Edwards

Hello and welcome to this month’s blog.
Something a little bit different this time around. A few days ago I had a chat The Casebook of Sam Spallucciand the second edition of Sam Spallucci: Ghosts From the Past. She is currently working wonders on Sam’s next outing Troubled Souls which includes cases ranging from Cherokee hauntings through to serial killers and time travel.
with the lovely Carolyn Edwards who some of you may know as one of my cover artists for my Sam Spallucci books. At the time of writing, Carolyn has produced covers for the third edition of 
I’ve known Carolyn for a number of years now and she is always a pleasure to meet up with on the convention circuit as well as a delight to work with professionally. There will be links to her sites at the end of the interview.

So, first question. Tell us a little bit about yourself and where you’re from.
I'm from Yorkshire, originally. From a little town called Keighley, but for the last 26 years, I've been a resident of Manchester. I defected to t'other side of t'ill! I'm a professional artist, who likes to keep

fit and active. So some of my hobbies are snowboarding, rollerblading, cycling and running. Running is my current favourite. As for the arty side, I've been drawing for as long as I can remember. I went to art college, gained a degree in Illustration at a University in London, and I've been working professionally since 2000. My favourite things to paint are anything Doctor Who related, particularly pensive portraits, but I love book illustration too. I'm inspired all the time by fellow artists and creators, and love catching up with them when I can, at sci-fi & memorabilia shows.


How would you describe your style? 
Traditional, mainly portraiture. My favourite pieces of art are the ones which evoke an emotion. My favourite portraits are the ones where I've managed to capture a spark of life/personality.

So, as you said, you’ve painted a lot of Doctor Who related pictures. Have any of the good Time Lord’s actors seen your paintings of them and have there been any memorable responses to your work?
I'm fortunate to have met, and had great experiences with many actors, or heard some lovely comments passed on by people who got artwork of mine signed by them... 
Doctor Who Actors: John Barrowman wanted a copy of my portrait of him... Terry Molloy and Frazer Hines commissioned portraits from me. Sylvester McCoy, Peter Davison, Peter Capaldi, Paul McGann, Tom Baker, Ingrid Oliver, Tony Curran, Pearl Mackie, Katy Manning, Arthur Darvil, Noel Clarke, Michael Sheard, Debra Watling and Lisa Bowerman have all been enthusiastic and complimentary about their portraits... Colin Baker uses one of my portraits of his Doctor on his Twitter page. David Bradley admired my portrait of his Doctor, and then kissed me on the cheek... and I've had lovely comments back from people who have taken prints of my artwork to actors for signing and they've liked them. 
My most memorable, hmm. It's hard to choose. There have been so many lovely and humbling experiences meeting the actors. I feel blessed to have had them. 
Non Doctor Who actors: Danny John-Jules, James Marsters, Caroline Munroe, Claudia Christian (Interviewer’s note: Austin feels incredibly jealous about that one...), Tom Ellis, Jon Campling, Devon Murray and Bonnie Wright were very complimentary of their portraits...to mention but a few. 
I think my fondest memory was meeting Rutger Hauer, who was gracious and smiley and accepted a print of my portrait of him. He had a lovely twinkle in his eye. I'm sorry he has left us. 
Those are only the ones I can remember just now... I didn't realise I'd met so many actors!

I don’t know, rubbing shoulders with the stars...
Is there a character (from any series/genre) who you haven’t painted yet who you would love to?
Not really, though I have loads of ideas for paintings waiting to be created, such as a big, bold Doctor Strange canvas...

That would indeed be awesome!
So, obviously you’ve painted two covers for my Sam Spallucci books with one more brewing away at the moment. How does the process differ creating images for fictional characters you’ve read about, but not actually seen in the flesh?
When I'm creating a portrait, I try and 'feel' the person I'm painting, and connect with their personality, in an emotional way. That seems to help create an accurate likeness, and help people to connect with the finished artwork. When I'm creating a character, I find it helps to read as much as I can about them and pick up their characteristics from the page. I also need good picture reference. If the client has a clear idea of what they're after and can convey that, and provide photo reference, it helps a lot. 
I was very lucky in the case of Malcolm's portrait for Ghosts From the Past because I was given a clear idea of his character, and what he looked like, and also knew of an actor (Jon Campling) who I thought fit his physical description very well. Jon kindly agreed to pose for some photos for me at a show he was guesting at. I gave him a brief description of the character he was portraying, we found a prop for the snake staff, and hey presto! I don't always have such wonderful tools to work with! I'm very grateful to Jon for giving me that opportunity.

I met Jon for the first time at York Comic Con this summer. He’s a lovely chap and was blown away by the cover art.
Tell us a bit more about your running. We’re not talking a quick jog to the shops, are we.
Haha, nope!
I've been running on and off for many years, but only started taking it seriously about 8 years ago. I was recovering from a badly broken leg, and determined to get back to running 10km/6 mile distances again. I joined the Parkrun community, and then through them, a running group, who showed me that I was capable of so much more. I completed my first marathon back in February this year, and have a half marathon trail run booked in November, along with lots of other trail races and 10ks in between. I find it helps me mentally and physically to run, and I miss it when I don't. I've definitely got the bug!

I know exactly what you mean. There really is something about the mind and body connecting through exercise. I normally feel more creative when I’ve been off on a long walk or a significantly shorter run than you are used to. Do you find it helps your creative process?
Definitely. Most importantly, it lifts my mood, as I do struggle with low self-esteem and anxiety...

Well I can safely say that your artwork on my books definitely goes down a storm with my readers. When you’re not painting and running you also make quite a few appearances on the convention circuit. Which ones do you have coming up, where people can see you amazing work?
Thanks Austin, it's good to hear people like the covers I've done for you. My next shows are VWorp Con here in Manchester, this Sunday, Nor-Con in Norfolk at the end of September, then Timelash in Germany 11-13th October.

Excellent. As a final word, what advice would you give to young artists just starting out?
Draw/paint what moves you, what you enjoy the most, and keep doing it. Chat to other artists and share ideas, if that helps. Practice, practice and more practice. Look at other artists' work, be inspired, but never take or use it for yourself/publish it without permission and/or credit. Art theft is a big problem for working artists. 
Finally, enjoy the journey. Even mistakes and discarded art is a part of the learning process.

Carolyn many thanks for taking the tie to chat to us.

As promised earlier, you can find Carolyn and her amazing work at the following links:
Twitter: @Timedancer8
Instagram: carolynedwardsart8



Until next time, keep looking for what lurks in the shadows.
A.S.Chambers.