A Lover of Books

Cover Reveal – ‘The Good Daughter’ by Alexandra Burt

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I am thrilled to be revealing the cover of Alexandra Burt’s new book.  ‘The Good Daughter’ is out in paperback and as an eBook on the 23rd February 2017.  Here’s what its about:-

 

Book Blurb

What if you were the worst crime your mother ever committed?

Dahlia Waller’s childhood memories consist of stuffy cars, seedy motels, and a rootless existence traveling the country with her eccentric mother. Now grown, she desperately wants to distance herself from that life. Yet one thing is stopping her from moving forward: she has questions.

In order to understand her past, Dahlia must go back. Back to her mother in the stifling town of Aurora, Texas. Back into the past of a woman on the brink of madness. But after she discovers three grave-like mounds on a neighbouring farm, she’ll learn that in her mother’s world of secrets, not all questions are meant to be answered…

The Good Daughter is a compelling take on a genre that shows no sign of slowing down. The perfect read for fans of Gillian Flynn and Paula Hawkins.

 

‘The Good Daughter’ can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2jlLq7V

 

Blog Tour – ‘Unknown’ by Phil Price

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I am delighted to be taking part in this blog tour today.  ‘Unknown’ was published in paperback on the 1st July 2015 and is also available as an eBook.  I have an extract for you all and there’s a Rafflecopter giveaway at the end of my post.

 

Extract

Chapter 1

Year 10974 (1674 A.D.)

The two prone figures lay in the centre of the scorched field. Any grass or trees were either ashes, or twisted souls looking on at the slaughter. Bodies lay all around as tendrils of smoke caressed their cold limbs, moving slowly across the horseshoe shaped crater. The southern edge of the landscape gave way to a dense forest, whose trees were melded together in a brown and green weave that looked impenetrable. The walls on the east and west of the crater rose up high over the death and destruction, slowly falling at the northern edge where a raging river cut through the land on its way to the sea. The sunset, obscured by a thick blanket of cloud gave the crater a claustrophobic effect. The birds that circled overhead, or that sat in the branches in the trees, looked on with interest, their caw-cawing the only noise to be heard apart from the crackle of tinder.

A giant rook landed on a blackened twisted limb of a tree near the centre of the field, its beady red eyes searching out the best option for a quick meal. He knew what lay around him. Meat was meat. Whether dead, or undead. He hopped down from its perch onto a headless corpse, poking his beak into the cold yellow flesh where the head once rested. Slithers of meat were pulled away from the ragged stump as the rook feasted as fast as he could – before something saw him as a meal option too. He ignored the two corpses further on that lay almost touching. Their capes and tunics distinguishing them from the rest of the carnage. Both bodies were missing limbs. One had lost an arm and both legs below the knee, along with several gaping wounds across the body. The head was almost severed. Only the spinal cord barely held it in place as it lolled unnaturally to one side. The white tunic was now no more than a bloodied rag. The eagle emblem across the chest was covered in chunks of flesh and smears of charred earth. The other corpse had lost a hand and half its left leg. Its body was almost free of punctures, except for one in its chest that still had the sword that inflicted the wound lodged there. The black tunic was also covered in blood while the red spider in the centre of the chest was skewered by the large blade.  The battle was over for now. The next stage of the war was about to begin. Hibernation.  On opposite ends of the tree line, two groups walked through the smoke towards the cape wearing bodies. Their heads bowed as they trooped towards their masters. Two figures split from the packs, coming together in front of the bodies, one dressed in red, one in black.

“Looks like a dead tie. Pardon the pun Elias,” the figure in black whispered.

“So it would seem Torg,” the red clad figure said. They removed their hoods to address each other face to face.

White skin meeting grey skin.

Fangs facing tusks.

The larger black figure looked at the pitiful remains on the floor. “This will take some time. Let’s hope next time they meet it’s finished once and for all. Then our master will rule both lands, and maybe one day the other places. When that day comes my dear Elias, you’ll bow down to him.”

“Only in your sickened dreams Torg,” the red figure spat. “Next time we’ll be ready. He’ll be stronger. Things are already in place. The race is on, my friend, to see who wakes first.”

They beckoned their respective groups forward, hurrying to their masters, a stretcher being laid next to each of them. Carefully, they hoisted the bodies into the gurneys before setting to work binding the lost limbs back into place. The severed head was bound with strips of damp cloth and two wooden splints to hold it in place for the journey home, the limbs likewise until both groups gave a series of satisfied grunts and nods. The sword that protruded from the black figure’s chest was left in place for fear of doing more damage by removing it.

“Deliver that back to us when the time is upon us, for Korgan will not miss the mark next time. Once he’s slain his brother he will close the doors to your land for eternity. Then you can feed only on the mutant beasts that roam that place. Let’s see if that satisfies your hunger.”

Both groups parted to sneers and hisses as they made their way in opposite directions across the crater.

They would not return here until the brothers were ready to finish the feud that had festered for millennia.

 

About Phil Price

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Phil Price was born in Sutton Coldfield in 1974. He lived in various places until his family settled in Rednal, Birmingham in 1979. Growing up with an older brother and sister he always flirted with reading as there were always books lying on shelves around the house. Then in 1997 he embarked on a travel expedition that took him from Greece to Thailand, via East and Southern Africa. Sitting in dusty bus stations in Kenya, Tanzania, and Malawi gave him the opportunity to ignite his imagination fully. Since those far off days he has never been without a book to read.

He toyed with the idea of writing a book in 2009. After writing a few short stories he caught a whiff of a story in his head. It grew and grew in 2010 until he had enough to begin. Marriage and two children came along, with the story being moved to the back burner for periods of time. However during those periods of writing inactivity the story continued to evolve until it just needed to be written down.

The book is littered with places that had influenced Phil’s life. From the Lickey Hills in Birmingham, to the Amatola Mountains in South Africa with other locations, in-between and far beyond.

 

Purchase Links

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Phil-Price/dp/1515236757/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1483440933&sr=8-1&keywords=unknown+by+phil+price

Amazon.com – https://www.amazon.com/Phil-Price/dp/1515236757/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1483440983&sr=8-1&keywords=unknown+by+phil+price

 

Giveaway

Enter this giveaway by clicking on the link below.  The prize is 2 x eBook copies of ‘Unknown’.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

‘Miss Christie Regrets’ by Guy Fraser-Sampson

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Congratulations to Guy Fraser-Sampson whose new novel, ‘Miss Christie Regrets’, the second in the Hampstead Murders series is out today. Agatha Christie herself plays a key part in this book so it’s really nice that it has been published on her death anniversary. Makes it kind of special don’t you think. I would like to thank Matthew Smith of Urbane Publications for sending me a proof copy to review.

The story itself opens with a death at an iconic local venue, certainly not something you would expect on a day out. A police investigation commences and it seems that there could be a connection with an unsolved murder featuring Cold War betrayals. But is it just pure coincidence or is there more than meets the eye? It soon emerges that none other than Agatha Christie herself may be the key witness who is able to provide the missing link.

I really enjoyed ‘Death in Profile’, the first book in the series and was looking forward to reading ‘Miss Christie Regrets’. I like Guy Fraser-Sampson’s style of writing. He has such a wonderful and elegant way with words.

You should definitely read ‘Death in Profile’ first in order to get the full benefit of this book as a couple of the storylines are ongoing. It was really nice meeting some of the characters from the previous novel again. I was just dying to know how things were going to develop for DS Karen Willis.

Just as with the first book I enjoyed reading about the police procedurals and I actually felt as if I learnt something. I think it’s ironic that Agatha Christie who wrote all those detective novels should now be mentioned in another author’s book. I mean what a brilliant idea! I reckon that she would have been quite touched with being mentioned in ‘Miss Christie Regrets’.

‘Miss Christie Regrets’ is a classic whodunit, Golden Age crime fiction at its best. It is perfect for people who like reading cosy crime. I actually think that the Hampstead Murders novels would make a really good TV series and I hope it is considered.

The third book in the series, ‘A Whiff of Cyanide’ is due to be published this summer and I eagerly await it.

I give this book 4 out of 5.

 

‘Miss Christie Regrets’ is available to buy from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/miss-christie-regrets/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Miss-Christie-Regrets-Guy-Fraser-Sampson/1911331809/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1484164698&sr=1-1&keywords=miss+christie+regrets

 

‘Deep Down Dead’ by Steph Broadribb

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‘Deep Down Dead’ was published in paperback by Orenda Books on the 5th January 2017 and is also available as an eBook. The first book in the Lori Anderson series, this is Steph Broadribb’s debut novel. I would like to say thank you to Karen Sullivan for very kindly sending me a copy to review.

Lori Anderson, a Florida bounty hunter is as tough as they come. After everything she has been through she has to be. Lori is a single mother to nine-year-old Dakota who is suffering from leukaemia. With the hospital bills starting to mount up she could do with some extra cash and fast. Dakota needs to keep getting treatment. Then Lori is offered a job which isn’t really ideal as she is being assigned to haul back no other than her former mentor, JT who taught her everything she knows, a man who knows the secrets of her past. It’s hard but it’s got to be done as the money being offered is too good to refuse. It sounds like a straightforward pick up which is just as well as she has no choice but to take her daughter along with her. But as Lori is about to find out things aren’t that simple and she soon wonders what she has let herself in for.

Wow! Where do I start? I admit that when I first read the press release I wasn’t too sure if I would like this book even though I love crime fiction. I didn’t know if it would be for me. How wrong was I! I know that the publisher has a real eye for talent so decided to give it a go. The prologue left me totally intrigued and needing to know more. The words literally jumped off the pages and I was drawn right into the story. I found it really hard to put down this book and couldn’t wait for a chance to read more. I have to say, I can’t actually believe that this is a debut novel as the author writes so confidently.

I took an instant liking to Lori. She was a feisty woman who didn’t give up no matter what was thrown at her. Put a gun to her head and she would still be planning her escape even if the chances were slim. She’s my new heroine. It’s such a pity that her little girl had to get caught up in all the drama. There were things that she just shouldn’t have seen. For a nine-year-old she was very brave though. JT was very nice too and I just wished things could have been different. There were also a number of not so nice characters who would give you nightmares for life.  Some of what went on was just pure evil.

‘Deep Down Dead’ is a truly amazing book. It’s an exciting and gripping read with non-stop action. So much is packed into three days. It’s like being on an eternal rollercoaster ride.

If you’re a fan of crime then you have to read this book. But please don’t just take my word for it. Get yourself a copy and lose yourself in it. I really can’t wait for the second book in the series.

This is definitely going to be one of my top books of 2017.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

‘Deep Down Dead’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deep-Down-Dead-Lori-Anderson/dp/1910633550/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1484028691&sr=1-1&keywords=deep+down+dead+steph+broadribb

 

Interview with Isabel Costello

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I am delighted to welcome Isabel Costello to my blog today.  Isabel’s book, ‘Paris Mon Amour’ was published as an eBook last June by Canelo.  I asked Isabel some questions.

 

Firstly, can you tell me a bit about your debut novel, Paris Mon Amour?

At the heart of the book is the intense affair between 40-year-old Alexandra and a much younger man, Jean-Luc, who’s the son of her husband’s best friend.  It’s definitely a love story first and foremost, but it’s also about family ties, living with the past and what it means to ‘belong’ in another country and culture.  Alexandra is American, her husband Philippe is French and she’s lived in Paris for ten years.

 

I fell in love with the cover of your book when I first saw it. Who designed it?

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Thank you!  I’m thrilled the cover has been such a hit with readers.  It’s the work of Dan Mogford, who specialises in publishing and book cover design.  It made a big difference that Dan really ‘got’ the novel – the smashed lily, based on an image by Australian photographer Anna Thomas, captures the essence of the story perfectly.

 

What made you decide to write this book?

It arose from my deep frustration at the double standards by which men and women are judged, never more so than when it’s about looks, ageing and sex.  But that doesn’t make a novel – I knew I’d need a strong plot and characters who’d really pull the reader in, and the story took shape fairly quickly.

 

How long did it take you to write?

About 18 months.  As it was closely based on a short story which already had a complete narrative arc I had a clear idea where I was going with it from the start – that’s how I like to approach a novel.  It was very intense, but I loved writing it.

 

Did you have to do any research?

Since my main interest is human nature and the way people feel and behave in different situations, life experience is more important to my writing than ‘book research’ – sometimes it’s an advantage being a mature debut author! But I did a lot of on-site research in Paris, even though I already knew the city well.  Rather than rehashing the tourist version, I wanted to see it through my character’s eyes and gain a deeper understanding by talking to people who live there.

 

Can you relate to any of your characters?

Paris Mon Amour is a frank first person narrative dealing with sensitive and exposing issues, and I couldn’t have written it without feeling for my protagonist Alexandra.  Although the novel isn’t autobiographical in the obvious sense, there’s a fair bit of me in her, but many aspects of her personality and experience demanded a lot of imagination.  Going deeply into my characters’ heads is the part I enjoy most – I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be someone else.

 

How easy was it to get your book published?

‘Easy’ is not a word I associate with getting published and following several near misses, this book nearly didn’t make it out there.  But perseverance is essential, and so is having people willing to believe and invest in your work.   I’m lucky to have a very committed agent and publisher who’ve enabled me to share Alexandra’s story with readers.

 

What are you working on now?

I’m currently outlining my next novel, also set in Paris, and will start my first draft in the new year.  Suddenly it’s really coming together, which is exciting!

 

Have you been given any good advice about writing?

The best was from Lionel Shriver, who said ‘write what matters to you – it’s the only way you can be certain your time is well spent’. The advice to ‘take risks’ and ‘be bold’ also resonates and just as well, as I seem to be naturally drawn to subjects people often avoid talking about.

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love swimming and walking, cooking, art, cinema – and reading, of course.  Running the Literary Sofa takes up a lot of my time but it’s a labour of love.

 

If you could have dinner with just one author, who would it be?

That is SO hard to answer!  My first instinct was to choose a certain male novelist I’ve already met, but instead I’m going to go with the author I’d most like to meet: A M (Amy) Homes.  I love her writing (especially This Book Will Change Your Life), she’s smart and witty and I reckon she’d be fun and interesting to talk to.  And if we get to do it in New York City, that would be a bonus!

 

About Isabel Costello

Isabel Costello’s debut novel Paris Mon Amour is available in digital (Canelo) in the UK, USA and Canada and in audiobook worldwide (Audible). She hosts the Literary Sofa blog, where you can find her new quarterly book selection, the Winter 2016 Sofa Spotlight.  She’s also on Twitter @isabelcostello

 

‘Paris Mon Amour’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Paris-Mon-Amour-Isabel-Costello-ebook/dp/B01FR0XFGS/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1483813725&sr=1-2&keywords=paris+mon+amour

 

Happy New Year!

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I would like to wish all my readers a vey Happy New Year.  There’s always something so very nice about the 1st of January.  It’s a chance to wipe the slate clean and to make lots of lovely plans.  My aim this year is to be much more positive and to try and live each day to the full.

I have met some wonderful book bloggers, authors and publishers at various book events and this year I plan to go to lots more.  It’s such a great way to socialise.  I am also going to organise myself better and read as much as I can.  I have so many fabulous books to tell you all about.

I hope you enjoy my posts this year.

 

Love from Sonya xx

 

My Top 10 Books of 2016

top-10This is the first time I have actually compiled a list.  2016 has seen some fantastic books being published and I felt they should be mentioned.  Here are my favourites:-

 

1.  ‘Nightblind’ by Ragnar Jónasson

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This is the second book in the Dark Iceland series and one I recommend to all fans of crime.  You can read my review here:-

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2016/01/11/blog-tour-nightblind-by-ragnar-jonasson/

 

2.  ‘You And Me, Always’ by Jill Mansell

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This was the very first book I had ever read by Jill Mansell and I’m so glad I did.  It was absolutely delightful.  Here is my review:-

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2016/01/31/blog-tour-you-and-me-always-by-jill-mansell/

 

3.  ‘Redemption Song’ by Laura Wilkinson

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Having really enjoyed Laura Wilkinson’s previous two books I couldn’t wait to read ‘Redemption Song’.  I thought this to be a wonderful story.  Here is my review:-

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2016/02/08/blog-tour-redemption-song-by-laura-wilkinson/

 

4.  ‘Song of the Sea Maid’ by Rebecca Mascull

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This was a truly amazing and fascinating story and one I found very hard to put down.  Here is my review:-

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2016/02/14/blog-tour-song-of-the-sea-maid-by-rebecca-mascull/

 

 

5.  ‘In Her Wake’ by Amanda Jennings

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This book has been on one hell of a journey this year.  I loved this book and knew from the start that I was going to enjoy it.  Here is my review:-

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2016/04/09/blog-tour-in-her-wake-by-amanda-jennings/

 

6.  ‘The Butcher Bird’ by S D Sykes

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Having thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the Oswald de Lacy series I couldn’t wait to read this book.  I expected great things and I wasn’t let down.  Here is my review:-

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2016/05/21/the-butcher-bird-by-s-d-sykes/

 

7.  ‘The Optician’s Wife’ by Betsy Reavley

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This book was fantastic.  It really grabbed me and played with my mind.  Here’s my review:-

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2016/06/18/the-opticians-wife-by-betsy-reavley/

 

8.  ‘The Constant Soldier’ by William Ryan

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I loved this book.  From the very first chapter I was drawn into the story.  Here’s my review:-

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2016/09/08/the-constant-soldier-by-william-ryan/

 

9.  ‘Doorways’ by Robert Enright

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I was totally hooked from the start and found this book very hard to put down.  I was taken on an exciting and unstoppable journey.  Here’s my review:-

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2016/10/13/blog-tour-doorways-by-robert-enright/

 

10.  ‘Dancers in the Wind’ by Anne Coates

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I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Dancers in the Wind’ and I loved the element of suspense throughout.  Here’s my review:-

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2016/11/04/dancers-in-the-wind-by-anne-coates/

 

Blog Tour – ‘Scared to Death’ by Rachel Amphlett

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‘Scared to Death’, the first book of a series, was published by Saxon Publishing on the 6th December 2016. I was contacted a while back by Rachel Amphlett with regards to taking part in a blog tour. Having liked the sound of this book I was delighted to. Read on for my review.

The story is set in Kent. A schoolgirl is kidnapped, her body found in an abandoned biosciences building. It seems she shouldn’t have died and that the kidnapping went wrong. However, Detective Kay Hunter isn’t entirely convinced, especially when a man who has the ransom money in his possession is found dead. Then soon after a second schoolgirl is taken and Kay’s worse fears are confirmed. With her career in jeopardy the hunt for the killer becomes a race against time. Will Kay be able to solve this case before more people are killed?

I totally loved ‘Scared to Death’. It was such an exciting read and I felt like I was on a rollercoaster a lot of the time. There were just so many twists and turns as well as a few shockers throughout. I’m just so glad that this is the first of a series. I don’t think I could stand it if there weren’t any more books to come.

Kay Hunter is probably my most favourite female detective at the moment. I liked her from the very beginning. Time was against her and the other officers, especially after a second schoolgirl was kidnapped. I thought she tackled the case really well. Only a monster could do something like that to young girls. I enjoyed learning a bit about Kay’s personal life too.

‘Scared to Death’ is a gripping read which will keep you on the edge of your seat. It’s a must read for fans of crime. I for one can’t wait for the next book.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

About Rachel Amphlett

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Rachel Amphlett is the bestselling author of the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the new Detective Kay Hunter crime thriller series, as well as a number of standalone crime thrillers.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel’s novels appeal to a worldwide audience, and have been compared to Robert Ludlum, Lee Child and Michael Crichton.

She is a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold, being sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint in 2014.

An advocate for knowledge within the publishing industry, Rachel is always happy to share her experiences to a wider audience through her blogging and speaking engagements.

 

Links

‘Scared to Death’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Scared-Death-Detective-Hunter-novel/dp/099443376X/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1482088880&sr=1-1

Twitter – @RachelAmphlett

 

Blog Blitz – ‘In The Wake of Death’ by Billy McLaughlin

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I am thrilled to be taking part in this blog blitz.  ‘In The Wake of Death’ was published in paperback and as an eBook in August of this year.   Billy McLaughlin has written a guest post for my blog, but first here’s what his book is all about.

 

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Book Blurb

Sometimes waking up is only the beginning…

He was left for dead on the side of the road. Now Marc Adams is awake and he can barely remember anything about his life before. All he knows is that his meddling sister has returned to his life, whilst his partner Joel is gone.

Marc is convinced that something has happened to Joel. Why won’t anybody believe him?

As he is pulled further into the pit of his subconscious, Marc begins to remember exactly what happened on the night of his accident.

Soon, he’ll be wishing he hadn’t woken up at all.

~~~~~

Guest Post

Publication Day

So, your book is being published!

Woo hoo!!

How do you spend publication day eve and the actual day?

•   What do you do the night before?
•   The morning?
•   Who are you with?
•   Where do you go?
•   What do you spend the day doing?
•   Is publication day 1 the same as publication day 2? And so on?
•   Do you have any rituals?

These questions are not set in stone; answer the ones you like and add in anything you think has been missed!

I haven’t enjoyed any of my publication dates so far. The first novelette was released when I was on my way to Birmingham on a coach. I hadn’t yet even told a single living soul that I was releasing it – not even my partner.

The publication date of my second book ‘Lost Girl’ happened to fall on a working day, so I didn’t do anything to celebrate it.

I think I will make a point of having some sort of celebration when I release the next book because it’s something I want to enjoy now that I feel more connected to it.

I have no rituals when I finish a book except to breathe. I get so engrossed in the writing that I thunder forward without really thinking about how I’ll feel when its finished. The new book is taking longer than any of the previous ones, but that’s because I haven’t given myself such a rigid deadline and because I want it to be perfect. Also, the story is brand new. It hasn’t been built on the carcass of anything that I had previously written. The only thing carried over in it is some of the characters who have now become mainstays of my books.

~~~~~

Giveaway

There is a chance to win an eBook copy of ‘In The Wake Of Death’.  To enter just click on the link below:-

a Rafflecopter giveaway

~~~~~

About Billy McLaughlin

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Billy McLaughlin is a Glasgow born author whose first three books are based in and around the area of Glasgow. His first novelette “Invisible” was a precursor to his first mystery novel “Lost Girl” which was released in May 2016. He then followed up with “In The Wake Of Death” which saw its release date of August 2016. Both novels have received praise for their dark and pacey tone, and for their strong relatable characters. Work on the next novel has already begun, with a view to a late 2016 / early 2017 release.

‘In The Wake of Death’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wake-Death-Mr-Billy-McLaughlin/dp/1535010495/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1481983372&sr=1-1-spell

 

Interview with John A. Marley

I would like to introduce you all to John A. Marley.  I met him at Goldsboro Books Crime in the Court event back in September.  His debut novel, ‘Standstill’, was published by Avocado Books on the 14th September.  I asked John some questions.

 

Can you tell me a bit about your book, ‘Standstill’ please. 

Standstill revolves around an ambitious young thief called Danny Felix who finds himself dragged into an audacious plot to pull off the biggest robbery London has ever seen, He is co-erced into this by a corrupt, psychopathic policeman called Inspector Harkness, who is simultaneously being investigated by another Detective called Christine Chance.  The robbery is huge, the characters intense and London looms large as a character in it’s own right throughout.  Expect violence, a fast moving story and the odd bit of black humour along the way.

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What made you decide to write it? 

I have always read and loved books particularly pulp crime fiction and so I just really wanted to have a crack myself.  It’s been tremendous fun and, most importantly for me, truly creative.

 

Where did you get your idea from for this book?

It was an amalgam of thoughts all born during endless commutes in and out of London by train and tube, and latterly when I met my wife and her family, some of whom are retired ex Flying Squad, the plot just gelled for me…and I was off and running…

 

I see it is the first of a series.  How many books in total will there be?

At the moment I have five books in my head…but who knows…Danny might lead us on more merry dances…

 

Did you have to do any research and if so, what did it entail?

I researched extensively.  Whilst I obviously wanted it to be entertaining, Standstill had to have an authentic core.  I met and spoke with many Flying Squad detectives, some retired some still serving.  I recce’ed most of the locations in the book, especially where the robbery takes place and I used pretty much every scrap of info, anecdote and observation that I gleaned from the many real cops (and the odd reformed villain too)… I was very lucky, lots of people were generous with their time and thoughts for me.

 

Would you like to see ‘Standstill’ made into a film? 

Ooh yes, and any crime fiction writer who says no to that is either lying or they’re lying…take your pick! Films play a huge part in Danny’s life, and indeed in mine (I started out as a film critic in Northern Ireland and I was one of Barry Norman’s producers at the BBC).

 

What do you hope people will get from your book?

Entertainment!  I want them to not notice their commute, or read just one more chapter before lights off, or enjoy it on a sun lounger somewhere hot and nice.  i want them to want to know more about Danny and I want them to laugh, cry and gasp along the way.  No pressure!!

 

Did you always want to write? 

Yes.  I love words, language, I always have, and when you have that mindset I think it becomes a compulsion, a need.  Playing, working and living through your words and use of them is to be celebrated at every turn.  My heroes (apart from Eric Cantona) are people who can take words and weave magic with them.  Funny magic like Groucho Marx or Elmore Leonard.  Thrilling magic like Michael Connelly or Denis Lehane and of course beautiful magic like James Lee Burke or Carlos Ruiz Zafon.  Words are to be played with and respected, they make our world a better place.

 

Apart from writing what else do you do? 

I love my football, travel is a great passion, I have two Cocker Spaniels, Bobby and Baxter, who really run the show and I enjoy cooking and real ale, but not necesarily in that order.

 

How has social media helped you as an author? 

I love how crime readers and writers have so much access to each other and the feeling of community that generates. Social Media helps make that happen. I love how you can discover new writers and encourage new readers especially with Twitter…I’m generally a fan of it and Facebook…

 

Have you got any advice for anyone wanting to write a book?  

Do it! Just do it.  You’d be surprised at how it happens once you have started.  It’s the old saying, a word becomes a phrase, a phrase a sentence, a sentence a paragraph and suddenly you’ve written a page.  Then you can roll from there.  Even if you never show it to anyone, just the act of committing a story or thoughts to paper or laptop screen is hugely beneficial and therapeutic.  It’s fun!  If you want to write a story in which the Queen’s pants fall down then guess what…they do!  Creativity is at its best when it is done out of sheer joy, writing a book or short story can be the release of that joy.

 

Who are your favourite authors? 

I’d need a toilet roll to get all the names on, but if pushed, James Lee Burke is my favourite.  His lyrical prose combined with hard boiled plots, just makes my heart swell.  I also like Westerns, if you have not read “St Agnes’ Stand” by Thomas Eidson, you’ve missed a gem.  Elmore Leonard…Denis Lehane, my fellow Irishman Brian McGilloway writes wonderfully, Craig Johnson’s Longmire books are fun…I could go on and on…oh, make your kids read the Asterix and Obelix books, they play with language beautifully and teach them how funny word play can be.

 

About John A. Marley

John A. Marley is a writer and TV producer with a proven track record in creating and producing distinctive, original entertainment and factual programming and formats for both a UK and international audience. His eclectic portfolio of high-profile shows include Britain’s Ultimate Pilots: Inside the RAF; Britain’s Flying Past; Staraoke; Best of Friends; Skatoony; Noel’s House Party; Through the Keyhole; SMTV:Live/CD:UK; How Euro Are You? and live coverage of The Oscars. In 2008, John set up his own production company Archie Productions. Prior to this, he enjoyed a wide and varied career in television with creative roles at Talent Television, Planet 24, Carlton Television and Walt Disney UK.

John’s writing career started with a poem about two brothers who both liked sausages. Their names were Butch and Dutch, and his Primary School teacher Mr. Murray liked it so much it made the main noticeboard at the entrance to Holy Child Primary School in West Belfast. A little older but none the wiser, he ended up as a film journalist in his native Northern Ireland, contributing to local newspapers, BBC Radio Ulster and latterly writing as the main film critic for the glossy magazine, Northern Woman.

In the course of writing his first novel Standstill, John was determined to make it ring true to the work of the Met Police’s legendary Flying Squad. He was lucky enough to be able to call upon the experiences and stories of several officers from the squad, some serving and some retired, which he found invaluable.  Most importantly, the female serving officers he met were very generous with their time and anecdotes, helping him to create the character of DC Christine Chance and rounding her out with some of the realities of being a woman in a 21st century police force.

John’s love of good stories came from the Irish predilection for telling a good yarn and the fact that there was nothing quite like sneaking away his Dad’s battered paperbacks to read. And so pulp fiction such as The Edge Westerns by George G. Gilman, the adventure novels of Alistair MacLean and the thrillers of Jack Higgins all served to whet his appetite for a good story told at pace. These days, his reading tastes still focus on thrills, spills and good plot and he can’t walk by a James Lee Burke or an Elmore Leonard without pausing to read a few pages…even if it is in a busy bookshop. Standstill is his debut, and the first in a planned series.

 

Links

‘Standstill’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

Paperback – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Standstill-1-J-Marley/dp/0993565840/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1481483684&sr=1-1&keywords=standstill

Kindle – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Standstill-J-Marley-ebook/dp/B01L5O5I74/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1481483684&sr=1-2&keywords=standstill

Website – http://www.jamarley.com/

Twitter – @jamarleybooks

 

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