A Lover of Books

Archive for the day “March 11, 2017”

Interview with Chris Parker

It’s time now for an interview with Chris Parker.  His latest book, ‘debris’ was published in January of this year.

 

You seem to have had a variety of books published by Urbane Publications so far. Can you tell me a bit about them please?

Happy to! I’d like to preface that, however, by explaining why I wanted to be an Urbane author in the first place and why I’m thrilled to still be an Urbane author. And that’s because of Matthew Smith, the founder and owner of Urbane! We first met when he was in his previous role and agreed to publish a book I was writing. I was struck from our first meeting by his unique, creative and much-needed collaborative approach to publishing and working with authors. And I still am. I value our relationship highly. I am a better writer now because of his trust and advice.

So…back to my Urbane books. The first was ‘Influence’. It’s part one in a three-part psychological thriller exploring what happens when Marcus Kline, a man regarded as the world’s leading expert in Communication and Influence, is targeted by a killer who is potentially even more skilled at getting inside people’s minds and making them do whatever he wants. Throughout the trilogy people die, minds are broken and relationships are ruined as the conflict of words and influence rages.

With ‘Influence’ complete, the plan was for me to write the rest of the trilogy – titled ‘Belief’ and ‘Faith’ – in short order. However, I work with and know some exceptional individuals and I’m skilled at modelling excellence. So I let myself be distracted from the world of Marcus Kline and wrote instead about the genius who is Diego Masciaga, the master of customer service and a global legend in the world of hospitality and catering. By the time ‘The Diego Masciaga Way’ was published I had also completed my first poetry collection titled ‘The City Fox and others in our community’. I was genuinely stunned – and scared – when Matthew said he would publish this.

I had been working on ‘Belief’ during this time and it was progressing nicely (I thought), but I then decided that the world needed to know about and learn from the work and teaching of leading American Clinical Sport Psychologist and Sport Scientist, Dr John Sullivan. So that led to me writing the book ‘The Brain Always Wins’. I have to say this will probably always be the most useful book I will ever write. I say that because the better we manage and treat our brain, the better the quality of our life and performance. It is as simple as that. And we know enough now for us all to be able to create and maintain our own personalised daily brain management Process! In the book we teach you how.

With ‘The Brain Always Wins’ complete, it was back to ‘Belief’. I realised then that the first draft was really not that good. So I threw most of it away and started again. The poetry writing hadn’t stopped either, so as I was coming to the end of ‘Belief’ I finished my second poetry collection titled ‘debris’. Wonderfully, Matthew published this in January! And I’m a bit less scared at seeing my name on a poetry book this time.

‘Belief’ is scheduled for publication in June of this year. I have already started work on ‘Faith’ and no other writing project – and Matthew, if you are listening, I really, really mean this – no other writing project will get in the way!

 

I love crime fiction and have got a copy of ‘Influence’ to read. If I was deciding whether to buy it or not, how would you sell it to me?

I would quote a review by Mr Baz who called it “A sizzling detective story that keeps you guessing right up to the end.” Then I would make reference to other reviewers who have called it “original”, “unnerving yet compulsive”, “a well crafted blend of gripping crime and fascinating science” and a “mind numbing book of mystery”.

I would also say that I have been asked many times if there are people who can really influence others using only words and gestures as powerfully as characters do in the book. The answer is a clear and definite “Yes!” Words can be as positive, exciting or frightening as a kiss or as destructive as a bomb. And the ways they are used in ‘Belief’, which are even more shocking and challenging than in ‘Influence’, really drives home this point.

Beyond my writing I have been studying and teaching others about this for four decades. The Marcus Kline trilogy is ultimately based on that old writing principle of ‘write about what you know’. Although, having said that, because of the power of words I always emphasise in my training and teaching the absolute need to influence others positively and respectfully. The killer in the trilogy represents the opposite of that.

 

Does that mean you got the idea for ‘Influence’ from your own study and work?

Essentially, yes. I wanted to highlight the very real power we have to affect others and ourselves through our communication. I wanted to write about words being used as kisses and as bombs, whilst also writing a powerful, engaging and provocative crime thriller.

 

Did you have to do any additional research for it?

Yes. Lots. For example, I knew nothing about police work, or the legal process, or photography, or a very specific act of violence, all of which are integral to the story. Fortunately I love doing the research needed to write both fiction and non-fiction. More fortunately still, I know individuals who are hugely experienced in all the professions and skills I needed to learn about. It’s been very important to me that the Marcus Kline trilogy is realistic throughout. I’m happy if parts of it seem hard to believe – that would be one of the reasons why the second book is called ‘Belief’ – but my experts have all worked with me to ensure that what happens is factual. And, as I said earlier, I know the communication and hypnosis aspects are all grounded in reality.

 

How long have you been writing poetry for?

Since childhood. When my parents died and I spent a day preparing what had been the family home for men in a van to clear, I found a notebook of my childhood poetry in a suitcase underneath the bed in the small bedroom. I’d written it between the ages of nine and eleven. I have absolutely no idea what drew me to write poetry back then. To be honest, I don’t have much more of an idea why I still write it now. I do think, though, that poetry takes people on an inward journey into their own life experiences, beliefs, hopes, questions etc. I love it when someone tells me what I meant by a certain poem and how they ‘got it’, when in fact their interpretation is purely their own! It’s a great example of how easy it is to assume shared perceptions or understandings that don’t exist. It’s also a great indicator of how poetry works on such a personal level for all of us. I think novels and short stories on the other hand draw readers out into an imaginary world. I think they offer more of a degree of escapism – which might be one reason why they are more popular than poems.

 

What do you want readers to get from ‘The City Fox’ and ‘debris’?

For reasons I’ve just intimated that is a really hard question to answer. There are several interconnected themes running throughout both – to do with the relationship between nature, communication, community and learning in all its forms. Having said that, poetry should move, shake or rattle readers. It should get inside them and open them up. It should take them inwards, as I just mentioned, and draw something out.

I wrote a poem that I chose not to put in ‘debris’ called ‘A poem wounds’ and it’s about that very thing. In one sense poetry should wound us; the question is what will we bleed – will it be laughter or recognition or pain or something else altogether? The answer to that question depends on the reader, on who and how and where they are in their life when they engage with the poem.

So, ultimately, readers will get from reading poetry whatever it is they are ready to get. The poet’s job is to make sure it’s never safe. Sometimes a poem will wound you in ways you are not consciously prepared for, in ways you least expect.

 

What are you working on now?

Just yesterday I started work on ‘Faith’, the final book in the Marcus Kline trilogy. Marcus and I have been together for quite a few years now and over that time we have got to know each other very well. He has, quite literally (if you’ll pardon the pun) taken on a life of his own. He has his own website at http://www.marcuskline.co.uk where he blogs and promotes his business. And he is scheduled to appear as a guest on the Unlimited Podcast later this year. That’s assuming, of course, he manages to stay alive and keep his life on track. Which, to be fair, is proving to be an awful lot easier said than done. For obvious reasons, I can’t reveal what condition he is in by the end of ‘Belief’ or, indeed, the condition of anyone he cares about. All I can say is that if things were really bad for Marcus and the other main characters in ‘Influence’, they get far, far worse in ‘Belief’. In fact, they’re so bad I actually struggled to share some of them…

Anyway, moving on from that, ‘Faith’ picks up the story a few months after ‘Belief’ ends. In one sense I’m really looking forward to writing it, and in one sense I’m not. I’m looking forward to it because everything that has gone before has been leading up to what happens in ‘Faith’. Paradoxically, that’s also why I’m not looking forward to it. You see I know what’s going to happen next. It’s not at all good and I’m genuinely fond of many of the characters. Still, there’s no turning back for any of us because Matthew Smith wants the book and I’ve promised he’ll get it. I guess that means Marcus, the other characters and I will just need to push on.

 

Can we look forward to even more books from you?

Absolutely! As I am sure you appreciate, writing is an itch that can never be scratched satisfactorily. In fact, Matthew and I first talked about the trilogy I’m planning to write after Marcus Kline quite a few years ago. It’s called ‘Dark Steps’ and it’s based on a character I included in a novel I had published in the 1990s. Matthew read the novel – it made him smile quite a lot, which was a shame because it wasn’t a comedy – but he did really like one particular character. When I told him I had a storyline planned for this character, he became interested. Thankfully he really liked the plot, which is very, very different from the Marcus Kline story, and I’ve been developing it slowly ever since. So after I’ve developed my ‘Faith’, I’m going to walk some ‘Dark Steps’.

 

Beyond your writing, your career sound fascinating. How did it all start?

Because I met a man who had the ability to understand and influence people in ways I thought were magical. I was a student, training to be a schoolteacher at the time and I realised this type of ability was crucial for educators. Yet it wasn’t a part of the undergraduate degree I was studying. I asked why we weren’t doing at least one module in how to use words to change emotional and physical states, or how to look and listen so we could see below the surface structure of what was being said or done. My lecturers didn’t really have any answers – at least they didn’t have any answers that satisfied me – and as I had already started learning from this particular gentleman I didn’t pursue it any further with them. That was in 1976. The man who became my inspiration and mentor continues to be so. And my fascination with communication and influence, particularly how interpersonal communication affects our brain and how meditative practises can help people prepare for and enhance the entire communication process, is as great now as it has ever been. Currently I divide my working time between lecturing, providing corporate training and, of course, writing.

 

Have you found social media to be useful?

I’m an absolute novice when it comes to using social media well. I need to get an awful lot better and, truthfully, I’d much rather look at and/or listen to another human being in real time. So I have much learning to do in this regard. To put it into context, I’ve only had my websites in place for a year or so! They are http://www.chrisparkerauthor.com and http://www.powerofwords.com. Fortunately I have some very caring and talented people around me who are committed to my social media education and to helping me use it well.

 

Will you be doing any book signings?

Yes. Book signings and talks are great fun! I’m actually talking to members of a local book club later this week. Looking ahead, Matthew has organised a book launch event for ‘Belief’ in June in the wonderful Five Leaves bookshop in Nottingham. The plan is to arrange some talks and signings around that event.

 

What would you do if there were no such thing as words?

Listen to the silence.

 

Links

‘debris’ is available from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/debris/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Debris-poetry-collection-Chris-Parker-ebook/dp/B01N326FYY/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1489248596&sr=1-1&keywords=debris+by+chris+parker

‘The City Fox’ is available from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/the-city-fox/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/City-Fox-others-community-ebook/dp/B010Q1RUXM/ref=sr_1_7?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1489248824&sr=1-7

‘Influence’ is available from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/influence/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Influence-Chris-Parker/dp/1909273066/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1489248824&sr=1-4

‘The Brain Always Wins’ is available from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/the-brain-always-wins/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Brain-Always-Wins-Improving-management/dp/1909273732/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1489248824&sr=1-2

‘The Diego Masciaga Way’ is available from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/the-diego-masciaga-way/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Diego-Masciaga-Way-Lessons-Customer/dp/1909273481/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1489248824&sr=1-5

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Guest Post by Robert Enright

I would like to welcome Robert Enright back to my blog  Last year I read and reviewed the wonderful ‘Doorways’ and I am still waiting patiently for the next book in the series.  Robert has written a guest post for my event.

 

Doorways: A new chapter

I can’t believe it’s been almost 5 months since Doorways has been published. It may not seem like a long time, but considering the book actually came out over a year after signing the contract, my concept of time has rapidly changed. And now, knowing that Doorways is sat on the shelves in places such as Foyles and Waterstones, it feels like a new chapter in my life has begun.

But before all that, let me introduce myself. I am Robert Enright, author and a recent member of the 30 club! I have been writing since I can remember, be it silly stories when I was a kid or roleplaying games during my (admittedly uncool) teens. It was when I hit 17 that I started knuckling down, properly designing characters for a comic book series and planning stories. Then I spent the next 7 to 8 years swinging from idea to idea, like Tarzan through the jungle. Then my brother gave me a boot up the backside and I started writing seriously.

First book, One by One, was met with some great critical acclaim, scoring high ratings with every reviewer who let me grace their blog and it changed my life. Not only did it show people I could do it, it showed me that I could. I pitched it to Matt, but he was more interested in Doorways, which I hinted at in my email. A phone call and a few beers later and I had signed on the dotted line, with only 4 chapters and a concept. It was daunting, because now someone else was backing my idea and I was contractually obliged to provide a good book.

Well hopefully I did. The critical acclaim that Doorways has achieved has been nothing short of mind blowing, purely because it is such a weird book. One by One was a straight revenge story, whereas this is an Urban Sci-Fi, Mystery, Crime Thriller, Buddy Cop, Paranormal Investigation. So yeah….quite a tricky one. And for my book tour, I had a batch of some of the most talented and highly regarded CRIME reviewers. None of them read Sci-Fi and many were fairly sceptical, agreeing to read it based purely on One by One (and NOT because I sent them money. Which I didn’t….because I have none!)

I almost cried at the response. Every single one of them gave Doorways a 5 Star review, all of them perplexed that they had enjoyed a Sci-Fi novel as much as they did. That was what made me smile the most, the fact that I got people to not only experience a new type of story, but to actually enjoy it. If you follow me on social media, you will know I’m pretty nerdy. Comics, computer games, films….I love a lot of Sci-Fi and Doorways was such a passion project for me, as it allowed me to create my own worlds, with their own rules and laws. The fact that Argyle, the ‘Other’ from the Otherside is such a favourite was amazing to hear.

What next? Well Bermuda is coming back!! I am nearly halfway through the sequel which see’s our hero stop decimating London and destroy Glasgow instead. I have a comic book in the works (OH YEAH!!) and whisper it, but we may be seeing One by One reach the shelves aswell. But for now I will go back to writing and slowly panicking at my first book event coming up later this month, before I head to Waterstones in April for my own evening. Seriously…..somebody pinch me!

I would also like to thank every single reader, writer, blogger and reviewer for the continuous support and inspiration you bring to writers like myself. It means more than these words I’m writing. Also, make sure you follow Sonya on Twitter because her blog and reviews are AMAZING!!

Rob 🙂

 

‘Doorways is available from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/doorways

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Doorways-Bermuda-Jones-Case-File-ebook/dp/B01LOO18EW/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1489226001&sr=1-1&keywords=doorways+by+robert+enright

 

Book Review – ‘Fade to Dead’ by Tara Moore


‘Fade to Dead’ is the first book in the Jessica Wideacre series. It was published by Urbane Publications last year. Being a huge fan of crime thrillers I really liked the sound of this book and bought myself a copy.

A serial killer is at large on the streets of South London. Known as The Director, he seems to be obsessed with young women who are barely of legal age, are blonde and beautiful. What exactly is his fascination with them and why does he keep going for just one type?

DI Jessica Wideacre who has been recently promoted is put in charge of the investigation. As the body count rises Jessica and her team find that they don’t have much to go on and soon become very disheartened. Jessica starts feeling that she isn’t up to the job. With her boss breathing down her neck, the pressure of the job and her marriage in jeopardy, Jessica is driven to drinking.

Meanwhile, The Director has a new victim in his sights. Someone who will get the red carpet treatment for sure. He’s really looking forward to acting out this film.

I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Fade to Dead’. It was an exciting, thrilling and gripping read. Tara Moore really is off to a great start with this series. I liked her style of writing and the way she has managed to create characters who are genuine.

I liked DI Jessica Wideacre and thought that some of the things she came out with were hilarious. I suppose even when dealing with murder you need to have some sort of a sense of humour in order to survive everyday life. Jessica swore to the murder victims that she would find their killer and even though it seemed at times that he would never be caught, I knew that sooner or later something had to happen. Those poor girls though and what they went through, it was just horrendous. The reader is also given a glimpse into Jessica’s personal life which I always think is a good thing. There were certain members of her family that I really didn’t take to at all, especially her sister, Carol. I thought she was really selfish.

I was shocked by the ending, it was a real twist in the tale. I really wouldn’t have guessed it.

‘Fade to Dead’ is a must read for crime fiction lovers. This is sure to be one of my favourite books of the year. I am really looking forward to joining DI Jessica Wideacre on her next case. The second book in the Jessica Wideacre series is due out in 2018.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

‘Fade to Dead’ is available from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/fade-to-dead/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fade-Dead-ruthless-Director-Wideacre-ebook/dp/B01FJA8EJO/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1489223492&sr=1-1&keywords=fade+to+dead

 

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