Featured Interview With T. J. Blake
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
Hi everyone, I’m T. J. Blake, a psychological thriller author who enjoys creating unique characters and plonking them into dark stories. My imagination is a little ridiculous, it always has been, so becoming an author was the best way to put those ideas into something entertaining. To date, I’ve written six novels – five full length and one short. My latest novel is my supernatural suspense thriller, “Familiar”.
I was born in Guildford, Surrey in the UK. I lived all my childhood in the same house actually, in a little town called Haslemere in Surrey. Even when I moved out, I stayed in Haslemere. I didn’t leave until I was twenty-one.
Funnily enough, my fifth novel, DECEPTION: A Love of Lies, is based in the same area where I grew up. I little village called Hammer. Anyone local will know the woodlands where DECEPTION is based.
Now I live in Lindford, Hampshire, which is still only around a fifteen minute drive from Haslemere!
When I lived with my parents I persuaded them (after a good eighteen years trying to convince them!) to get a dog. Although I don’t live with my parents anymore, I still see my little Cocker Spaniel, Coco, as my pooch. She’s a lovely little thing. A real diva at times, but she’s adorable. Somehow she knows the sound of my car when it pulls up outside my parents’ home, and goes absolutely mental when I do.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
I’ve always had a love for reading. It was as early as primary school where I found my love for it – I was always a few grades/ages above the class for reading. And writing, well, I wrote my first full novel back when I was around seven years old – it was about a kick-ass girl called Elizabeth, she used to fight monsters.
It’s funny thinking back – I had a little notepad book, and I literally filled all the pages with the story. All handwritten. Once the story was complete (a little bit of editing here and there), I would force my parents to sit down and listen to me read the story. I think they were genuinely surprised how good my stories were. A clear structure to the story, realistic dialogue (or so my seven year old brain thought), and some great descriptions for the setting.
But before all that, I was a child who needed speech therapy and additional learning to hand write. The idea of me becoming a writer was definitely not on the cards.
Alongside reading and writing, I had a real obsession back at school, even now to be fair, with spelling. Most kids at school hated spelling tests. Me, I absolutely loved them. Thrived at them. I would always get high marks, most of the time full marks. Again, my parents would gladly show off my spelling to friends and family who came round to see us. Then the friends and family would chuck words at me to spell.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
I’m the kind of reader who is more focused on the plot itself. If your cover looks great and the story is intriguing, then I’ll give it a go. It doesn’t matter whether you were traditionally or self published, I’m an advocate to stories.
There are however some writers that I love and will always read their books whenever they release a new one. Stephen King; obviously, Gillian Flynn, Karin Slaughter, Linwood Barclay, Alex Michaelides, Alex Lake to name a few. I’ve also read quite a lot of books by authors I didn’t know through Amazon Prime reading – there are some really great books there!
The next book on my list, The Institute – Stephen King.
Favourite genre for me is always psychological thrillers, detective fiction, suspense, horror – essentially anything that is dark, gritty and has a story that you want to guess before the conclusion or twist is revealed.
In terms of my inspirations, I’ve found human nature is my biggest inspiration – it’s the recurring theme in all my stories. The protagonist in each story has a past and they have something in them that isn’t entirely normal. That’s what drives the story. The plot itself is key, but it’s the protagonist that always drives it and makes the story what it is. It’s quite cool that human nature is my formula to all stories. I have to say, it works every single time!
Tell us a little about your latest book?
My latest novel is the supernatural suspense thriller, “Familiar”. It’s based on a psychic medium known as Arabella.
‘For as long as she can remember, Arabella has communicated with those who exist only in memory.
Being the centre of attention growing up was uncomfortable, and now, as a renowned psychic medium, it is becoming more of a struggle. Arabella’s ability and reputation always made it impossible to hold onto lasting relationships, but with those who no longer walk this earth, that’s not the case.
Arabella returns to where it all began fifteen-years before – on the very same stage. After an evening reconnecting loved ones and exposing untold stories, Arabella can’t help but wonder about the one unclaimed ‘friend’, and their cryptic message.
In an unexpected turn of events, Arabella finds herself the subject of morning headlines and at the centre of Detective Barnes’ investigation.
Can Arabella use her ability to prove her innocence and uncover the truth about the past?’
The plot for this one was complex to put together. It took a lot of time planning before even attempting to write it. It’s a great story with a twist that I don’t think anyone will be able to get. I challenge you to read and let me know if you did manage to guess it.
What I like most about “Familiar” is that Arabella is constantly speaking to ghosts, or as she calls them, her friends. With that comes many different characters coming into it – different stories to tell. It’s a book that has many short stories to tell.
The strapline for “Familiar” sums it up well:
“For the living, it’s closure. For the departed, it’s the last chance to expose the truth.”
It’s a supernatural story, but I did my best to not make it just a massive cliche with other paranormal stories. I think I’ve achieved this, and I’m really proud of this book. A couple of reviews have come in already – 5 stars so far!
I would love for you to read “Familiar” – it’s free on Kindle Unlimited too: https://viewbook.at/Familiar-TJBlake (global link to Amazon)
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