Author Interview: Keith Dixon

How long have you been writing for?

Since the age of 16.

What would you say is the most difficult part of writing a book?

Working out the middle section.

What genre do you generally write?


Do you have a favourite author and why?

Currently American crime writer Ross Macdonald because of the excellence of his language, the complexity of his plots and the psychological depth of his characters.

What is your book called and how did you choose this title?

The Cobalt Sky is the latest Sam Dyke Investigation – chosen because my detective’s client is an artist who is famous for his ‘skies’ using the colour cobalt blue.


Edward Ransome is one of England’s most famous artists – rich, a friend to celebrities and known for his devotion to his craft for almost fifty years. Then someone steals his favourite painting – the painting that set Ransome on course to fame and fortune but was never sold and rarely seen. Sam Dyke is hired to find the painting, and the thief, but quickly discovers that the loss of the painting is only one of the many losses suffered by Ransome, and his family. What’s more, whoever stole the painting is keen to keep it a secret, and committing murder to do so is not out of the question. Soon Dyke finds he has more than a simple burglary on his hands – it’s a case that spans generations and includes more than one ordinary crime. The Cobalt Sky is a subtle but exciting exploration of the ways in which families can hurt each other over time … without even trying.

Has your book been published and how did you go about this?

On September 1st. I’ve been self-publishing since 2006, first in paperback with Lulu, recently with Kindle Direct Publishing for Kindle books and paperbacks. Also with IngramSpark, for distribution to bookstores worldwide.

Approximately how long did it take you to finish your book?

Six months.

What advice would you give aspiring authors?

Read writers in your genre closely, analyse how they construct plots, paragraphs and sentences. Examine their word choices and how they construct dialogue. Also, study books on structure and how to construct a narrative that works.

Do you use social media to promote your book? If yes, then which social networks do you like the most?

Yes, mostly Facebook. I have an Instagram account but rarely use it.

What other ways do you market your book/s?

I’ve used both Facebook ads and Amazon ads in the past, alongside some of the online sites that will advertise your book. For The Cobalt Sky I’m also using a Blog Tour, which is being organised for me by someone else – I did it once but it’s very time-consuming.

Have you enrolled your book onto Amazon’s KDP Select and how have you found it?

Yes, all of my books are on Select now. I used to be ‘wide’ through Draft2Digital and Smashwords and Amazon, but sales began to dry up about 9 months ago so I thought I’d try putting everything on Select. That worked well for a few months, though the results are a bit spotty at the moment – from what I read and hear, everyone’s going through the same issue.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?

Not spend 7 years on the first book and 4 on the second! Write more quickly to establish the series.

What books do you like to read in your spare time?

Books on American society – currently reading one about the birth and growth of Los Angeles from 1900 to 1930, focusing on three celebrities of the period.

What do you feel is the most important stage of writing a book?

Structuring the storyline so that it’s engaging, has surprises and leads to a satisfying conclusion.

How did you go about designing the cover for your book?

I design my own covers and my current route is to find one good image (or 2 that I can combine into one!) and then make it conform to the style I’ve established for the series so far.

Are you writing or considering writing a follow-up to your book?

It’s No. 10 in a series, so there will be a No. 11!

Do you have a day job (if so, what do you do?) or do you write full-time?

Living in France as a full-time writer.

Check out Keith’s book, The Cobalt Sky