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Interview: Chris Reynolds, Author of Mind Secrets

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Just who is Chris Reynolds? She is a huge lover of adventure stories, a fascination which she enthusiastically fed growing up by avidly reading them, watching them on TV and writing them in her school exercise books. Ms. Reynolds was often frustrated that the stories written by other people didn’t go the way she wanted them to, so she decided to take matters into her own hands and write her own.

In the interim, she has worked for the BBC and independent radio as a journalist, written for magazines and has also published non-fiction books. Now Chris Reynolds’ stories are available for all to read, with the release of her acclaimed debut novel Mind Secrets.

Chris Reynolds resides among the Chiltern Hills, north of London. Readers can learn more about Ms. Reynolds and her work by visiting the following links:

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter

Could you please tell us a bit about your book? The story? The characters?

Teenagers become outcasts when they develop the power to sense the thoughts and feelings of other people. Some adults want to ‘cure’ them, others want to kill them. Michael enters their scary world when he befriends a gang of teenagers in London and hides in their squat in the hope of escaping from a man called Carter.

Michael’s memories have been wiped and he believes the Perceivers, as they call themselves, can help him uncover his past. But the more he investigates, the more he realises the truth about the Perceivers is not what the authorities claim.

How did you come up with the title and how much say did you have on the cover design?

The title took weeks—and I’m not kidding—weeks of thinking and scribbling notes on pieces of paper and asking my friends and doing more thinking and scribbling more notes. I wanted to convey the sense it was about people with special powers, but I also wanted to suggest it was an adventure/mystery. I settled on the word ‘mind’ quite quickly, but ‘mind powers’ or ‘mind readers’ didn’t really work. When I finally thought of Mind Secrets, it was a relief.

I had a lot of input into the cover because I knew I wanted it to have impact and convey something of the story, but visually showing mind powers is near-on impossible. If you look up “telepathy” in Google images you don’t get anything inspiring. But I think the way the boy stares out of the cover and appears to have some sort of electric glow emanating from him really works.

Do you have a favorite line or excerpt that you would like to share from your book?

I was really pleased with this paragraph when I wrote it, and I still think it works well. Michael has just met a Perceiver called Jennifer and asks her to search for his lost memories inside his mind.

“Her stare was intense. She looked into his eyes. Deep. Penetrating. Probing. Through the cornea, past the iris and beyond the pupil. Until she was inside his mind. He couldn’t feel her, but he knew she had to be in there. The subtlety in her stare showed she was thinking about everything she perceived. Like a tiny flashing light on a computer, each bite of information sent a flicker across her eyes. Her breath shallow in concentration. Body absorbed in stillness. Her singular perception, sharp and focused, stretching out the seconds into minutes.”

What are some of your favorite ways to promote your work?

I’ve started podcasts of Mind Secrets on my website: www.chrisreynolds-writer.co.uk, with one episode coming out every week. I work in radio, so it seemed a good opportunity to link my voice work with writing.

Otherwise, I’m generally out and about in the online world and visiting a few blogs.

What are some ways that you like to relax?

I like watching telly. I know some literary types frown upon this sort of thing, but flopping on the armchair in front of a good TV drama is an enjoyable way to wind down.

At a writers’ event a few years ago, one of the speakers said how it’s important to keep in touch with popular culture such as television and cinema. I went up and thanked her afterwards because it was the first time I’d ever heard a novelist praise the value of television. There’s some wonderfully written stuff on the small screen these days, so I’m proud to say I’m a telly fan.

My other great hobby at the moment is running. It’s a great way to free the mind, although ‘relaxing’ is perhaps not the right word for it.

What author/s do you think are overlooked in the writing/reading world today?

Am I allowed to mention an author who’s not with us anymore? Because I loved John Wyndham when I was growing up; in fact, his The Chrysalids partly inspired Mind Secrets. He told simple ‘what if’ stories that were really captivating and this sort of thing just doesn’t seem to be published these days.

What author would you most like to meet and why?

Meeting people you admire is always a disaster. Either you’re all gushing and they’re embarrassed, or you’re all tongue-tied and they’re embarrassed, or you turn into an interrogator ‘why did you do x to your hero?’ which is just embarrassing for everyone.

So there’s no specific author I would like to meet. Having interviewed lots of famous people when I was writing for magazines, I’ve sort of cured myself of that need.

Do you have any upcoming projects that you would like to share with readers?

I want to do a series of short stories set in the same world as Mind Secrets, but before the events of the novel. I’d also love to write a sequel, which I know some readers are already asking me for, but it depends on sales of the first one, so I’m crossing my fingers.

What is something about yourself that would come as a surprise to many people?

I once threw up all over a scuba diving instructor in Australia. I had sunstroke and felt sick, so he held up a bucket for me, but I missed.

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