Tips for Creating the Perfect Villain

How many times have you read a book where the villain reminds you of the old black-caped character twirling his handlebar mustache and laughing maniacally? Readers may have settled for that characterization a hundred years ago or even twenty-five years ago, but now they are looking for more complex characters. Just like your hero needs […]

Sibling Rivalries throughout the Ages

  Sibling rivalries have existed throughout recorded history, beginning with Cain and Abel in the bible. I haven’t been exempt myself, and if you have a sibling, you probably haven’t either. Siblings can be the best of friends, and also, the worst of enemies. When I was a teenager, one of my three sisters threw […]

The Strange True Stories Behind The Girl in the Mirror

  Why do we read novels? We all know they aren’t true, but we allow ourselves to believe, to get caught up as though in a dream. Readers’ willingness to suspend disbelief is perhaps one of the strangest things about fiction. However, there are limits. Some readers will happily swallow stories with fanciful creatures, sci-fi […]

Seven spellbinding books that shaped modern ‘Western’ magic

    Corpus Hermeticum (1st-3rd centuries CE), Anon These mysterious ‘wisdom texts’, written in Greek and attributed to an ancient Egyptian sage Hermes Trismegistus, could claim to be foundational to both Western magic and science! Their huge influence followed their rediscovery and translation during the Italian renaissance, and the hermetic idea of controlling nature by […]


  Writing across several genres—women’s fiction, romance and domestic thrillers—can be challenging and a question I’m often asked is ‘what is a domestic thriller?’ For me, it’s women’s fiction with a killer twist…or many. Domestic thrillers are also labelled as domestic suspense, domestic noir and psychological thrillers, when in fact they’re a subgenre of the […]

The Writer Inside Me

    Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me (1952) established him as one of the preeminent practitioners of hardboiled crime fiction. A first-person confession of a small town deputy sheriff going on a murder spree, it is a frightening and gripping novel that earned Thompson the sobriquet “Dimestore Dostoevsky.” Stanley Kubrick, who directed two Jim […]


  I was gazing over at my bedside table the other morning and noticed that the content and size of my ‘currently reading’ pile has changed over the last few months. In the world before Covid, there was always a judicious mix of business books and literary novels—literature and business being two of my great […]

English Domestic Thrillers

    The most difficult part of writing this article was deciding which books to recommend. English domestic thrillers have long been popular and perhaps never more so than in the past decade when the choice of suspenseful, chilling reads feels as if it has never been more plentiful. The current market for domestic thrillers […]

The Man behind Merlin

The historical figure who inspired a legend. By Signe Pike Nearly 1,500 years ago, a man stood on top of a hill fort in Scotland knowing he was about to die. He was not alone, though he might as well have been, given the size of the army marching to lay siege upon the fortress. […]

An Exclusive with Colleen Coble

Strand Magazine Interview – Colleen Coble Best-selling romantic suspense author Colleen Coble’s novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, the ACFW Carol Award, the Romance Writers of America RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has nearly 4 million books […]