This month, I am very excited to be discussing the life and works of Siobhan Cunningham, author of The Penance List, Unfinished Business and The Deal.
S C Cunningham creates psychological crime thrillers and paranormal romance with a skilled mix of fuelled tension, dark humour, and pulsating sex scenes. Having worked in the industries she writes about, her novels offer a fresh level of sincerity and authority, rare in fiction.
Abducted as a child, she survived; and every night for months afterward, she prayed to God, asking for a deal. This personal journey sparked the fuse behind the intriguing and riveting fictional world she portrays in The Deal, the first in The Fallen Angel series. Twenty years later Cunningham crossed paths with a violent serial attacker, sowing the seed for her mind-bending thriller, The David Trilogy; The Penance List, Unfinished Business, For My Sins.
An ex-model, British born of Irish roots, she married a rock musician and has worked in the exciting worlds of music, film, sports, celebrity management and as a Crime Investigator for the British Police (Wanted & Absconder Unit, Major Crime Team, Intelligence Analyst, Investigations Hub).
She is the proud mother to contemporary Artist Scarlett Raven and owned by three dogs.
So Let’s start by exploring a little more about your Genre, Siobhan… why did you choose to write in this genre?
I write Paranormal Crime Romance and Psychological Rom Thrillers. Also, as respite from the blood and gore, I’ve written a children’s picture book about a rescue dog (based on a rescue Pyrenees Mountain Dog I had when living in Texas), my artist daughter, Scarlett Raven, produced the art work.
My current passion is a Paranormal Crime Romance series of 8, The Fallen Angel Series. When I was about 3 or 4 years old I was taken, I got away, the following week another little girl was taken, but she didn’t get away, she died. I come from an Irish Catholic family; I remember saying my prayers at night, asking God to do a deal with me. If I was a good girl, when I die would he let me sit on a cloud for a while, invisible, and help him get the baddies that slip through his fingers? I have always had a strong feeling of justice, of looking after the underdog.
There have been a few times in my life where I seemed to have been extremely lucky to have survived situations. I call it my Angels looking out for me.
There is something else up there; I don’t know what it is, but it’s there. If my gut says something, I have learned to follow it. My paranormal works are taking this idea to the next level, of Vigilante Angels dishing out tough karma from the skies. I am a romantic, therefore there is always romance.
My Psychological Thrillers are based on an incident that happened to me in my 20’s, I crossed paths with a prolific serial attacker who was haunting London at the time, targeting girls living on their own in basement flats in Notting Hill and Olympia. I got away unscathed (those angels again) and helped Police with a photofit. I remember looking at him wondering why? What makes someone so evil? The seed for my David Trilogy was sown.
The common thread here is I write about what I know. I guess it choses me.
Oh my God, that’s actually quite chilling! It’s easy to see where you got your inspiration from.
Yes, from life experiences; story-lines that provoke thoughts, that teach, that help others. I’ve worked in various industries; Music, Film, Football, Modelling, Sports Celebrity Management, and more lately in crime – Crime Investigator, Major Crime Team, Intelligence Analyst, Wanted and Absconder Unit for Sussex Police.
So to be short and sweet, how would you describe your novels in 10 words?
Fast paced, exciting, thought provoking, sexy, funny, heart pounding, thrilling.
Now just to lighten the tone a little, let’s talk about your writing environment.
I have a writing room at home. I write whenever I can, I have no social life, am a bit of a recluse. I set the scene to write, with lovely smells/candles, soft music, lighting and dogs curled at my feet. It takes hours to block out the world in my head, then I settle down to churn out the words. It’s hard to get to the writing ‘place’ but once you are there, it is wonderful. My ideal place would be in a villa with a pool in the sunshine, where I could pop out to take a dip in the pool between chapters… but hey, one day…
That sounds so chilled out. Dogs are great writing companions – mine curls up with me too when I’m writing but moving on, are any of your characters based on real people?
From my own life experiences, studying people, observing, listening, I see stories in everything, even as I walk down a street… sometimes it’s a bit exhausting. Characters are a mishmash of different people I know. It is easier to write about the truth.
So I must ask, which authors do you like and do you have a favourite book?
My chosen authors include Lee Child, Martina Cole, Michael Connelly, James Patterson, Agatha Christie, Harlan Coben, John Grisham, Patricia Cornwell and Karin Slaughter. The Lee Child Jack Reacher Series is my favourite… I have a crush on Jack Reacher. Although if I ever get to meet Lee Child I will bollock him for selling out to Tom Cruise. Cruise is wonderful, but he is no Jack Reacher.
Thanks for sharing that! So who would you like to see playing the lead character in your book?
My Psycho Thriller books, Tom Hardy. I think he has the depth of mind to play the part. He’s been there and done that in his own life, therefore can bring it to the fore in his acting. My Fallen Angel Series, Hmmmm… (scratches head)… I actually cannot think of anyone yet… maybe an unknown actor could step forward and shock the socks off people!
So going back to your books, do you work out a strict plot or just start writing?
I just start writing and it develops itself. If I knew what happened in the end I would be bored. I love the way a story writes itself.
Writing is the fun part, so what about research?
My life is research in a way. I’m constantly observing, learning and adapting my own experiences to the page, and am of course SO grateful to google which answers any technical questions I may have i.e. blood splatter, gun calibre, drugs, health symptoms etc (my web search history is damming). My Police Investigation work is like a university degree in the criminal mind. However I have signed the official secrets act, therefore am not able to talk about cases I work on – which is of course right.
That’s understandable… I know what you mean about browser history, the mind boggles. Do you have any tips you’d like to share about writing, to inspire others?
Just start, keep doing it, every day, the first outline can be as rough as you like, no one else sees it. The magic then comes in the first edit, shining the coal into a diamond.
That’s a lovely analogy. So do you have any future plans for writing, that is, are you working on anything now?
I am finishing off the series and trilogy, then adapting them to screenplay. Book I of the David Trilogy has been adapted to film script and is sitting on a desk in Hollywood as the moment. Fingers crossed.
Good luck! That would be amazing. Last but not least, here are the links to the books.
UK The Deal (Fallen Angel Series Book I) https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deal-Fallen-Angel-S-Cunningham/dp/1521465479/
UK The Penance List (David Triogy Book I) https://www.amazon.co.uk/Penance-List-David-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00B0HMTW4/
UK Unfinished Business (David Trilogy Book II) https://www.amazon.co.uk/Unfinished-Business-David-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00B623ABC/
“Cunningham has crafted an epic in proportion novel here. Her characters are sultry and as real as they can get.”
“The book is dark, naughty…sometimes downright nasty. Cunningham will hold your attention to the very end.”
“Delicious and salacious, this novel offers a new twist on the modern romance and the classic psychological thriller.”
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/siobhancunningham8
Website – http://www.sccunningham.com/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/SCCunningham8
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pg/sccunningham8/
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/sccunningham/
Google+ – https://plus.google.com/+SCCunninghamAuthor
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/siobhancunningham8/
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3120154.S_C_Cunningham
AND LAST OF ALL, HERE ARE SOME INTERESTING (AND JUICY) SNIPPETS FROM SIOBHAN’S BIOGRAPHY
- Sports Celebrity Management job consisted of working for the management company of footballer personalities – i.e. David Beckham, Alan Shearer, Gary Lineker, Gaby Logan and helped coordinate a EURO Football Tournament in Belgium and Holland. Got to see first hand the crazy way fans and women react when a footballer walks into a room/club!!
- Worked in music business (8yrs) with first husband, Raf Ravenscroft, who played sax on Baker Street by Jerry Rafferty, he played with the likes of Marvin Gaye, Tina Turner, Pink Floyd, Lou Reed etc. We had a recording studio in Oxford Circus, making music for film,TV and radio. Was the eye candy in a band (couldn’t sing or play an instrument), appeared on Wogan Show twice, entry for Eurovision Song Context.
- Single mum with Scarlett from age of 7. Worked in London until she finished Uni, then she didn’t need me any more and could start my writing life in earnest.
- Worked in Horse racing for 5yrs, running events, looking after international VIPs coming into UK for Ascot, Derby etc. The horse racing world is racier than any other industry I have worked, its all that hay and sweat. Great fodder for authors like Jilly Cooper.
- Got fed up lining the pockets of the rich, wanted to line the pockets of the poor so worked for a year or so as an international coordinator for Children’s Charity raising awareness and funds for HIV, orphanages, schools, meds etc in Africa – visiting these children was a humbling experience.
- Got drunk and married in Vegas to second husband, a tall dark handsome Texan. We lived in Dallas, had great fun for 2 years, love the Texan larger than life, can-do-anything mentality.
- Fashion model for 5 years, catwalk and beauty (makeup etc). Europe USA & Far East. Witnessing the behind the scenes behaviour of the glamour world. Sadly, I liked my food too much and didn’t bow down to the ‘casting couch’ mentality/pressure.
- All of the above are great fodder for my story-lines.
- Charitable causes I wish to support are; Veterans, Mental Health and Animal Abuse. I am angry with the way Veterans are treated in this country, MH is increasingly prevalent, especially in my Police work, and I prefer animals to some humans.