Indie Spotlight – Brenda Guiton

Today I am welcoming Brenda Guiton to my Indie Spotlight feature.

Brenda is the author of 3 short plays that were performed at the former Priestley Theatre in Bradford, before turning her hand to novel writing. The first, Out of the Confusion, was also broadcast on Bradford Community Radio. In her role as Administrator for an Independent library, Brenda produced and edited a monthly magazine and was responsible for choosing and purchasing all the fiction titles – a task that she tackled with relish.

Her debut novel, Taking Chances, was given a full page spread in the Bradford Telegraph & Argus and her books have all received five star reviews. Brenda is well travelled and has led a colourful life, providing her with a rich source of material for her writing. Her characters are drawn from the many interesting people she has met over the years. Her novels are in the suspense genre – her latest, Beneath the Poison Tree is set within her home town of Doncaster. Suspicion a cold-case mystery set in the nearby Yorkshire Dales.

Brenda feels she has mastered the ability to surprise, determined that no-one will be able to say ‘I saw that coming.’ A central theme running through her novels is the frailty of human-nature and the flawed characters that succumb to its weaknesses. Constantly in pursuit of a challenge, her diverse career has included office management, ambulance liaison, social services (Domiciliary Care) and a 6-year spell running her own restaurant – a demanding enterprise during the height of the 1990’s recession. What followed still brings a smile to her face – a fun job at an up-market Introduction Agency, where she put all the matches together. She describes this as a real eye-opener!

Happily retired from working life, Brenda has returned to her home town in South
Yorkshire (England) and lives with her husband, Derek, an academic writer who also shares her love of literature. Her hobbies have included painting in oils and acrylics and jewellery-making. Nowadays, her leisure time is devoted solely to writing. Her social life revolves around family and friends. She enjoys evocative music, entertaining, good wine and stimulating conversation.

Hi Brenda, welcome to my blog today!
What made you decide to publish your books independently?

When I wrote my debut novel I was pretty naive about the publishing industry in general. Even so, I realised it would be no mean feat to capture the attention of an agent or publisher, given the legendary slush piles of aspiring authors still waiting to be discovered. Eager to see my name in print (as we all are in the beginning), I didn’t let this deter me and spent a great deal of time and effort submitting my MS. As anticipated, the rejections came rolling in thick and fast. After further unsuccessful attempts I looked into the alternatives. 

I was heartened by the discovery: I didn’t have to rely on the off-chance that my precious first attempt would be singled out by a traditional publisher, making me one of the lucky ones. After learning more about publishing independently, I shelved the idea for later and went on to write my next book, wanting to concentrate on honing my skills.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on

I had never harboured the illusion of becoming rich and famous, nor did I imagine that writing would become a means of earning a living. Dipping my toes into the writing pool came late for me, so I saw this as more of an exciting challenge rather than a career path. No doubt my attitude and ambitions would have been different had I been twenty years younger.

Being happily retired, it means that I can devote myself to an art that brings me great satisfaction and fulfilment. I am passionate about literature in all its forms and I can honestly say that I write for the sheer joy of it. Of course, like everyone else, I would love to see my books have a greater reach and I do all I can to promote this aim, but I’ve chosen to do this independently. The main reason I decided not to go down the traditional route, was the desire to retain complete control of my work.

What are the benefits of being an Indie author?

I love the creative freedom that comes with self-publishing, enabling me to decide on the title, the cover, how I choose to structure the story, the date I want to publish – in short, all aspects of the writing process.

The rise of the Indie author since the advent of the eBook has changed the world of publishing and given the Indie author newfound respect. It’s gratifying to be part of a wonderful community who are willing to share their expertise and give support to each other, many of whom have become close friends.

Photo by Lydia on

Writers lead a solitary life and, rather than being a lone voice in the wilderness, it’s good to know there is a platform where we can share our experiences.

Yes, having a community, people to sound ideas off, is important in building confidence and making you feel like you’re on the right track.

What challenges do you feel that Indie authors face?

The biggest challenge for most of us has to be the marketing. I find this a constant struggle, particularly as it usurps valuable time that could be put to better use writing.

What advice would you give to aspiring Indie authors?

Above all, my advice would be to learn your craft, or at least have some idea of the basics, before committing pen to paper. Judging by some of the questions that arise on social media, it’s obvious that many aspiring writers have never bothered to read about structure, common pitfalls and how to avoid them, or any of the fundamental elements necessary if they want to become a success.

I would strongly advise them to read lots of books on the subject by experienced authors who have proved their worth.

A good place to start is Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’. As well as highlighting the need to read, read, read, he emphasises that this should include bad writing as well as the good, so that we can differentiate between the two.

Whatever stage we’ve reached in our writing endeavours, we are on a continual learning curve and I, for one, devour articles that relate to the writing process.

What can we look forward to seeing from you in 2021?

I’m currently working on my fifth book that I hope to publish in the coming months. I toyed with the idea of a change of genre but my muse won’t let me. I’m confident that I could write a good romance, for example, but I’m drawn to suspense. It’s what I do best, so I’m working on the principle ‘if it’s not broken, why fix it?’

I have a rule that forbids me from discussing my WIP as I firmly believe that, in doing so, it loses some of its creative tension and magic. All I will say is that, in tune with my previous books, it’s a family drama.

Thank you so much, Sue, for inviting me to share my views and I’m looking forward to reading what your future guests have to say.

You are very welcome! Thank you very much for joining me here today on my blog and good luck with your fifth book – as you know, my Mum loves your books, so I will be keeping my eyes open for it!

Beneath the Poison Tree

Dawn, a woman unfulfilled and living her life vicariously through her sister, has found a way to come to terms with her lot, investing all her energy into maintaining the close family ties – strong bonds that are complex and not how they appear to others.
When faced with the shock of betrayal, threatening to derail all she holds precious, Dawn
commits an unspeakable act – one that goes undetected but, later, comes back to haunt her.
A tragic accident brings an unexpected turn in her life and, in its aftermath, an opportunity for Dawn to realise her dreams. But fate has other things in store and she is unprepared for the arrival of a stranger, whose untimely intrusion wreaks havoc with her plans. Can she dispose of the problem as she’s done in the past, or are the obstacles too great?
A family drama, steeped in suspense, that delves into the mind of a woman obsessed and the lengths she will go to when her life starts to unravel.

Add Beneath The Poison Tree to your goodreads To Be Read list here:

Buy Beneath The Poison Tree here:



At The End Of The Sentence

Following her mother’s dying revelation, Kirsty’s life is about to unravel. Shocked to learn
that her true father is not Rick, a man she hates and fears who is serving time for armed
robbery, but a wealthy accountant named David Atherton, she seeks him out. Until Kirsty
makes contact, he is blissfully unaware of her existence.
Desperate to form a relationship with him, Kirsty hides the shameful truth about Rick’s
imprisonment, but her attempt to make a new life is fraught with problems in the face of
David’s unreceptive wife and spoilt possessive daughter.
As Kirsty is soon to discover, the past is not so easily silenced and there is to be no escaping Rick’s clutches. The real nightmare begins with his untimely release from prison and the harrowing events that follow.

Add At The End Of The Sentence to your goodreads To Be Read list here:

Buy At The End Of The Sentence here:




A lightning romance and hastily arranged marriage takes Holly up north to live at the heart of Nathan’s family business – a luxurious log-cabin park on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. She has everything to look forward to, but within days of her arrival she falls prey to a series of unsettling events. It is obvious that someone doesn’t want her there.
It all points to Kyle, Nathan’s surrogate brother, a deeply manipulative individual who shares a complex relationship with her husband. Suspicious of his motives and desperate for some answers, she starts delving into his past. An accidental discovery, concerning a mysterious disappearance, alerts Holly’s suspicions further and she is determined to find the key to it all. But things are not so straightforward and she is unprepared for the chilling revelations in store.

Add Suspicion to your goodreads To Be Read list here:

Buy Suspicion here:



Taking Chances

Sudden wealth, family tensions and a heady illicit affair are overshadowed by another mans uncontrollable obsession.

After inheriting a fortune, Mike believes a move to Ascombe in the Yorkshire Dales will be the realisation of his dreams. His wife, a dyed-in-the-wool city girl, is far from enthusiastic.

Since her divorce, Emma, a beautiful artist in Ascombe, has embarked only on safe, casual affairs. When she meets Leo, a dark and brooding playwright, it seems he has other ideas.

The story moves to Cyprus where their lives become fatefully involved and leads to passion, jealousy and hatred that brings tragedy to the village of Ascombe.

Add Taking Chances to your goodreads To Be Read list here:

Buy Taking Chances here:



Who’s next on Indie Spotlight?

Tom Williams

I used to write books for business. Now I write historical novels and books about vampires that are generally described as fiction but which are often more realistic than the business books. The stories have given me an excuse to travel to Argentina, Egypt and Borneo and call it research. 

I live in London where my main interest is avoiding doing any honest work. In the days before covid I used to ski and skate and dance tango. Now all that is left is dancing tango at home with my wife, which is more fun than it really ought to be. Otherwise I read old books and spend far too much time looking at ancient weaponry.

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