Interview with Rachael Hewitson Dixon

Hello Everyone!

We are delighted to have author Rachael Hewitson Dixon amongst us today at Musikdiv India Online Magazine at our Special ‘Authors Festival’ interview series to tell us about her new book Slippery Souls (Sunray Bay Series) !
Please read on …

Libby has hit a bad patch in life, and just when she thinks things can’t get any worse she’s killed in a car accident alongside her dog Rufus. During their transition to the afterlife’s Sunray Bay, Rufus somehow manages to absorb her soul – which, in turn, gives him human-like qualities and renders her soulless.
Accompanied by her now talking dog, Libby tries to unravel the mystery of her slippery soul, encountering many setbacks and dilemmas along the way. She has no idea why a group of monster slayers, headed by an ex-convict, are hunting her down, and when she teams up with rogue Peace & Order Maintenance Officer, Grim, she’s shocked to discover that there’s a mob of disgruntled vampires and a very angry mayor hot on their heels too.
Libby has never felt so unpopular, and begins to wonder whether it’s possible to die twice in one day…


So Rachael, we’ll start your Interview with the very first question

1. Please introduce and tell the readers something about yourself.

Hey everyone, I’m Rachael and I live in the northeast of England with my husband and our furry, four-legged son. I have a degree in Graphic Design, I’m qualified to do Indian Head Massage and I love dressing up as a pirate.

2.What brought you to writing?

I’ve always loved the escapism that books offer. I’m a very creative and imaginative person, and I find it easy to get lost in someone else’s ‘world’. And for that reason, I suppose, I’ve always wanted to create ‘worlds’ of my own. You could say I’m one of those people who always has their head in the clouds!

3.How long have you been writing?

On a whole, from around the age I could very first write – I’ve always been drawn to it. I’d always ask my parents to buy me notebooks – I had (and probably still have) an obsession with them. I’d fill them up with stories and poems, and I’d tell people I wanted to be an Arthur when I grew up (I couldn’t pronounce author).
I remember going to see Santa in his grotto when I was about five years old. He gave me a baby doll, which I was most displeased about – not because I didn’t like baby dolls, but because I saw that he’d given one of the other girls from my class the most gorgeous red embroidered notebook that I’d ever seen before. I was practically drooling all over it. Luckily, it turned out the other girl wasn’t impressed with the notebook, because she’d been hoping for a doll – so we traded gifts, and I was the happiest kid ever!
As I grew older I stopped writing short stories and poetry per se – because life just seemed to get in the way. But in 2009 I set aside some time to write again and I enrolled in a home study writing course. It was also around this time that I began writing my first book, Slippery Souls. So I suppose you could say I’ve been writing seriously since 2009.

4.Which was your first literary project?Tell us something about it.

My parents bought me a Petite typewriter in the mid-80s, and I undertook my first big literary project – a short story (which at the time seemed more like a novel to me, at around 20 pages long) called The Hound, The Wife & Vince. It was a great tale of murder and deceit – with a sprinkling of talcum powder – quite laughable really. But nonetheless, at the time, I was very proud of the finished piece. I still wonder what ever happened to it, but when I ask my parents they just shrug their shoulders – I suspect they probably lit the fire with it!

5.Is this your new/latest project?

I’m involved in quite a few projects at the moment – but thankfully they’re all better than The Hound, The Wife & Vince was. Honest!
Slippery Souls, the first book in the Sunray Bay Series, was my biggest undertaking to date because it was my first novel and I had a lot of learning to do along the way. Right now I’m marketing that and drafting up notes for the second book in the series (The Forgotten Ones). I’ve also completed the first draft of a women’s fiction novel called Monday – which needs the compulsory second, third and fourth polishing.
I have an idea for a horror/chiller rattling around inside my head too – which is just dying to get out. But it’s going to have to wait for the moment, there’s only so much multi-tasking I can do!

6. Traditional books or e-books? How do you prefer to see your works published? Have you tried ever publishing the traditional way?

I was on the fence for a long while regarding e-books – but when my husband bought me a Kindle for Christmas in 2010 I was completely won over. Don’t get me wrong, traditional books will never be replaced as far as I’m concerned – I just embrace both mediums now. So in answer to your question, I’m greedy – I love seeing my work published in both ways.
I never tried to go down the traditional publishing route with Slippery Souls. Call me impatient or over-enthusiastic, but I just wanted to see the whole project through from start to finish by myself. And I suppose, if I’m completely honest, I didn’t want to dampen my spirits with a whole ream of rejection letters. There’s nothing quite like rejection to fuel self-doubt, which is a writer’s worst enemy – well, it’s certainly mine anyway!

7.Can you give a chapter sample preview of your book here for our readers to know more about it.

Yes, certainly. Here’s the prologue, and the beginning of chapter one.
( Please look at the bottom of the interview for book excerpts )

8.What are your hobbies?Things that you enjoy doing besides books of course.

Apart from writing and reading, I’m always out walking the dog – we walk just over two miles every day. I get some great ideas when there’s just the two of us and the path ahead.
I also love travelling – whether abroad or in the UK, I like to explore new places (unusual and interesting places that I can write about later – I love to keep travel journals).
As with lots of other creative types, it would be fair to say, I love the odd glass of red wine now and then. Oh and horror films – I’m a sucker for scaring myself silly.

9.Who is your favourite author?

That’s a tough one, but if I had to whittle it down to just one I’d have to say James Herbert. Ever since I was a kid I’ve had a soft spot him. You could say he’s my literary hero. His books are fast paced, and exciting – books that you can’t put down until you’re finished.

10.What is your favourite genre to read and also to write?

My favourite genres to read are horror and thriller – there’s something about the grisly and macabre that attracts me. However, when writing I think I’m still finding my feet, dabbling in this and that. I don’t think I’d ever take on a thriller – but I definitely love writing horror.
Slippery Souls is more urban fantasy. It’s a bit of light-hearted escapism, if you will. Ultimately, I’m still experimenting with my writing ‘voice’. After I’ve completed the Sunray Bay Series, I’d like to get my ‘serious head’ on and write this dark horror that’s starting to take shape in my mind – I’m hoping it’ll come out as something deep and terrifying.

11.Do you have a role model that you get inspiration from?

I’d say my biggest role model is James Herbert, because he was probably one of the main reasons why I decided I wanted to be a writer in the first place. His books captivated me.
I also draw inspiration from other indie writers who put themselves out there professionally and do well for themselves. Indie writers have such a bad reputation, so it’s great when you get a writer who rises above all of that to prove that not all self-published work is sub-standard.

12.Where do get your ideas from?Do you take your story ideas from real life situations?

I usually start with a character or a first line prompt. For instance, the two main characters in Slippery Souls came to me in a dream. I liked who they were and when I couldn’t get them out of my mind for weeks afterwards, I knew theirs was a story that needed to be told. And with my novel, Monday, I started out with a first line prompt – “Nobody likes Mondays, do they?” Once I have a basic element that I’m happy and excited with, I’ll expand on it and let it go wherever it likes.
I sometimes do incorporate my own experiences into my work, wherever possible, to give some depth and believability – but with horror and urban fantasy, most of it just comes down to good old imagination.

13. Do you have a pseudonym?

No I use my real name – though I might consider using a different pen name when I publish my women’s fiction novel, Monday, just to differentiate the genre.

14.Whats your experience been like in the publishing industry?Postive or negative?Please share your experience with our readers.

So far I’ve found things to be very positive – yet time consuming.
The marketing aspect of self-publishing is definitely the huge challenge. Getting yourself out there and getting people to take notice is hard work!
Publishing on Kindle is easy enough, and there’s a big enough support network of friendly, like-minded people who are willing to help out if you run into problems.
For my paperback copies, I self-published via – an Arts Council funded company in the UK. They’ve been brilliant to work with and I’d definitely recommend them to fellow self-publishers who want to see their work in print.

15.Where do you see yourself 10years from now?

Who knows – I know where I’d like to be in 10 years’ time, but I’ll leave that up to fate. Whatever happens though, I know I’ll definitely still be writing stories!

16. What motivates you to write?

That’s a good question – but I’m not sure I have a real answer. The motivation to write just comes from some weird desire inside to just get stuff down, as most writers will testify. With ideas comes a desire to write, and with a desire to write comes motivation. It’s just there.

17. How important is good cover art for your books?

Having a degree in graphic design, I know the importance of good cover art. Books are judged by their covers, and it isn’t something that should be taken lightly. I spent months creating my cover art, changing it and tweaking it until I felt it portrayed my book in the right light.
I will pick up a book on the basis that its front cover attracted me. Ok, so it doesn’t always mean I will buy the book, because I might not like the blurb on the back cover – but in that first instance, it at least makes me pick it up. On the flipside, I tend to steer clear of books with bad covers. I’m an arty person though, so, for me, the cover must be visually appealing. I think the interior and exterior go hand in hand; a book is a whole package. In my view, if you put all that effort into writing the book then you have to make sure that the outside of the book works just as hard.

18. Do you have a price strategy for your books?

Not really, I’d just like my work to be widely read and enjoyed – and as a new author, I feel it’s only right to keep my prices low so people will hopefully take a risk on me.

19. How does it make you feel when you read a bestselling book that you don’t feel is as good as yours?

Hmmm, I’m not sure I’ve ever read a bestseller that I thought wasn’t as good as mine, per se. I don’t think I have that level of cockiness. Certainly I’ve read bestsellers that I didn’t particularly enjoy, but the fact it’s a bestseller means that lots of other people do like it – therefore that author must be doing something right.

20.Why do you think readers should buy your book?What can you offer them through your book?

Slippery Souls is light-hearted escapism. It’s got vampires, werewolves, a talking dog in it – and, best of all, the e-version costs less than a pint of beer!

21.Where is your book available?Any Buy Link for our readers?


22.Do you have a website or a blog that you’d like to share here.

Yes, the official Slippery Souls website is – where you’ll find competitions, news and updates on the subsequent books in the Sunray Bay Series.
I also have a blog that I update weekly, initially it was all about the Slippery Souls journey, but now it’s turned into a general writing blog (often featuring guest posts and blog tours) –
And I have a generic website for all my writing news, which also includes a Writer Showcase section that features interviews from other writers –

23. What advice would you give to other writers?

Don’t rush things. Edit, edit and then go back and edit some more. If you aren’t sick to the back teeth of your book by the time it’s going out to the public then you haven’t edited enough.
Also, read lots. And don’t just enjoy the story – pay attention to the way it’s structured. Pay attention to what you like/dislike about it, and take those things on board for your own work.

24.Anything else you’d like to share with our readers

Just a big thank you for reading this, and remember to always wear your best undies! J

  • Thank you Rachael Hewitson Dixon for gracing us with your presence.It was a sheer pleasure.Good luck with your book.We conclude the interview here

    Thanks again from Team MusikDIV

    Book Exerpts – Sample Chapter

    Slippery Souls (Sunray Bay Series) By Rachael Hewitson Dixon

    Mirrored shades made him feel less conspicuous. He felt more at ease knowing she was completely oblivious to the fact he was staring at her; really staring at her. These were his special letching shades, and under different circumstances they’d have served their purpose without fail. Despite the snappy wind it was a warm day, and women in their droves sauntered around in short sundresses and low-cut tops. But, for the time being, the cheap Ray Ban knock-offs had transformed from letching shades into strictly spying shades. There’d be plenty of time for ogling the ladies later. Right now he had a task in hand.

    Sitting in the car, while its engine idled and purred, he watched her standing on the pavement waiting to cross the road; jean legs flapping in the wind. With long red hair whipping up a fiery frenzy around her head, she chewed on her bottom lip looking somewhat troubled.

    He knew she was pregnant. Not that it showed, because it certainly didn’t. Her stomach was as flat as a washboard. In fact she probably didn’t even know it herself yet; it was too soon. Ever since he could remember he’d had a knack of knowing things. Picking up on stuff. Stuff he couldn’t possibly know about, but somehow did. It was his gift.

    A small sigh escaped from his partially open mouth; he almost felt sorry for her. He knew her current worries were trivial in comparison to the circumstances she had unwittingly got herself caught up in. Poor thing. Ignorance probably was bliss in her case. She was just a silly little girl playing with fire, and it seemed she was about to get burnt.

    He watched her like a dog would watch a cat. No, he hated dogs. He watched her like a cat would watch a mouse. Licking his lips in anticipation, or maybe it was nervousness mistaken for anticipation.

    His body tensed and his leather-gloved fingers tightened around the steering wheel when she stepped off the pavement onto the road.

    “Let’s go,” he whispered, grinning the way he imagined a Cheshire cat would grin. Though he wasn’t quite sure why he was grinning. There wasn’t anything remotely humorous about the situation.

    His left hand grabbed the gearstick and his right foot slammed down onto the accelerator pedal. He pounced like a tiger. Yes, a tiger, he liked that. It seemed far more appropriate than a dipshit cat.

    He sped off in her direction like a fearless Bengal.

    Chapter 1
    If she’d known she was going to die that day Libby Hood would have worn her best lace underwear. Hell, she would have put on more make-up too. Her mother said you should always wear nice underwear. Nothing in the world would be more embarrassing than being involved in an accident, resulting in a trip to the hospital, only for doctors and nurses to discover shamefully mismatched, or old and holey, bra and pants. Perish the thought. And Libby interpreted this notion to be applicable also in the event of death.

    Of course, it hadn’t been her intention to become entangled in the freakish foxtrot Death was now leading her – she’d only popped out for a bottle of milk. So, along with uncoordinated underwear, her final look consisted of yesterday’s dishevelled clothes and a light smattering of lip-gloss and mascara. She hadn’t even showered or brushed her teeth.

    Now, ridiculous as it may sound, the whole tragic incident and subsequent chain of events came about because Libby couldn’t start the day without a cup of tea…

    Buy Slippery Souls (Sunray Bay Series) by Rachael Hewitson Dixon On Amazon Kindle >>

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