Author S.C. Cunningham writes with film in mind, as she says she worked in the music to film industry. She describes her work in movie styles, “Think ‘Silence of the Lambs’ meets ‘Basic Instinct’ meets ‘Sex and the City.’ Terrifying thrills with intense sex and naughty chuckles.”
Siobhán says agents compare her style to that of Martina Cole, Karen Rose, and Jilly Cooper with added sex and laughter. She says, “What sets me apart is that I throw the book at the readers, mixing fear, romance, sex, giggles and thought provoking questions.”
Siobhán finds her inspiration from watching people. “I can sit in a café window for hours watching characters go by, making up stories in my head; who they are, what they are doing, with who and why. It’s a nightmare trying to have a conversation with me when I’m in a public place. If I didn’t write I would be a policewoman or private detective.”
She says all her characters to date have been a mix of people she knows or has met. “I have worked in some pretty ‘racy’ industries (football, music, fashion, media), and have some pretty ‘hot’ girl and boy friends, so a lot of information to glean storylines from.”
She has also drawn inspiration from her own life experiences. “In my 20’s I crossed paths with a brutal attacker, his cold, calculating energy planted the fictional character seed for my psychological killer, David, in THE PENANCE LIST, part of The David Trilogy.”
Siobhán likes to get into a space where she can hover “god-like” over her characters and their situations to create stories with complicated twists and turns, staying one step ahead of the reader. She says the challenge in reaching that space is finding sufficient peace and quiet, and emptying her mind of day-to-day survival trivia.
I’ve mentioned before that writing is not a spectator sport. Siobhán says when she’s writing she lives like a hermit, and eventually gets a little stir crazy. Fortunately, she has friends who drag her away from the keyboard every once in a while. She says she then goes out and gorges on the energy of city life.
Siobhán says coming to grips with the media side of things was tricky in the beginning. She had the advantage of having worked in advertising and celebrity management in the past, so she understands the importance of branding and marketing. “As if creating a best seller wasn’t hard enough, you also need to be a publicist, marketer, salesperson, blogger, social media freak, a complete and utter show-off, a mediagenic marketable person with a robust platform – heaven forbid, they didn’t teach us this at school in my day!”
She advises aspiring authors, “Just do it. Push yourself to finish the first stab at the whole storyline, whether rubbish or not, complete the manuscript. No one else will see it, so what if it’s not perfect. Then edit, edit, edit, edit over and over until your coal is turned to diamond, get someone you respect to be honest with you, edit some more, and chase up an agent that suits you. At times, writing is the loneliest, hardest, hair-pulling, back aching, and wrist damaging job in the world… but when a line goes right it is absolute heaven. The ability to pull people out of their worlds for a few hours of spoiling escapism is a gift, if you have it, use it.”
Her book, The Penance List is receiving great reviews and is being adapted to a screenplay:
We follow Cunningham’s captivating psychopath, David Howard, as he stalks the movements of London’s showbiz class, offering an ambitious and exciting thriller exposing the secrets of prostitutes, footballers, models, priests, headmasters and schoolboys.
A stylish, heart pounding thriller, based in Chelsea and the Amalfi Coast, Cunningham has it all; fear, lust, laughter, obsession, thought provoking questions, twists and turns galore. Empathy for a killer; an understanding of a boy, but a fear for the man he becomes.
He loved being him… he got away with murder.
She loved being her… until she met him.
What becomes of a beautiful altar boy after years of sexual abuse, the loss of his mother, the loss of his faith and the loss of his one true love… he finally cracks.
The Penance List is available through Amazon US, Amazon UK, and Smashwords. It is also available as an audiobook. Learn more about S.C. Cunningham and her work at her website and her blog. You can find her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.