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Blog Tour – ‘Know Me Now’ by CJ Carver

‘Know Me Now’, the third book in the Dan Forrester series, is CJ Carver’s new novel.  It is being published as an eBook on the 14th December 2017 by Zaffre and will be out in paperback on the 11th January 2018.  I am absolutely delighted to be participating in this blog tour which has been organised by the lovely Emily Burns, along with a number of other bloggers.  I have for you all an interview with CJ Carver.  I hope you enjoy reading it.

 

Firstly, can you tell me a bit about ‘Know Me Now’ please?

Quintessentially, the book is about friendship.  Dan Forrester is one of a group of four people who’ve known each other since they were toddlers, and when the son of one of these friends – Dan’s godson – is found murdered, Dan teams up with his old friend DS Lucy Davies to find out what happened.

When Dan discovers his father has also been murdered, it suggests things are more dangerous than anyone imagined.  A coded message is left in a newspaper advertisement; spies are engaged; an assassin deployed.  And all because of a terrible secret that has been lying undisturbed for decades.  A secret someone will do anything to keep buried . . .

Can you describe your book in five words?

Friendship, betrayal, greed, loyalty and love.

 

Did you have to do much research for it and if so what did it entail?

I’m lucky enough to have a family of top scientists to hand locally, and they are my first port of call for anything technical.  The book is set mainly in Scotland, which was pretty easy to get to, but even though I only set a handful of chapters in Germany it was incredibly valuable going there to make sure I got things right, like police duties in the Federal Republic of Germany are a matter for the individual Countries (16), which are absolutely sovereign in this area… oh, sorry, I might have sent you to sleep with that bit of research!

 

How long did it take you to write this book?

The idea came to me over two years ago when lunching with a Professor friend of mine.  From there, it germinated as I completed Tell Me A Lie, during which time I continued gathering more ideas and information until it was time to plot it out.  From the plotting stage to sending off the proof, took around a year.  However, if you’re talking about the first draft, this book was a good three months, which gave me time to put the manuscript aside occasionally to let it perculate.

 

I noticed that ‘Know Me Now’ is part of a series.  Can it be read as a standalone?

Absolutely.  I make sure that each book in any series can be read without having to read the others, and I was really pleased when a reviewer remarked that although Tell Me A Lie was her first Dan Forrester book (2nd in the series) she didn’t feel at all left out with any backstories.  Oh, and I make sure there are no spoilers to the other books!

 

Are there more books in the series to come?

Ooooh, yes.  I’m writing the fourth right now, and rather wonderfully had a “Eureka!” moment last week when I came up with a cracking idea for the fifth.

 

Can you relate to any of the characters in this book?

I think a writer has to relate to the characters they create, even the villains.  I like to know what makes each person tick in the book, their dreams and their worst nightmares.  I admit to enjoying writing DC Lucy Davies immensely as she is wonderfully outspoken and I wish I could be a bit like her!

 

What would your reaction be if one of them turned up on your doorstep?

If Dan Forrester turned up I would freak out because danger follows him like a shark follows blood.  I would be looking up and down the street behind him for bad guys.

 

What has the publishing process been like?

I started out before the internet, so things have changed a lot.  I think it’s incredibly exciting today with the self-publishing prospects and some indie authors are doing really well.  Having a traditional publisher, however, does mean that it can be a bit of a rollercoaster from time to time, but that, I’ve learned, is part of an author’s life.

 

Is writing something you have always wanted to do?

Well, when I was ten, on holiday in Scotland, I announced to my parents that I was going upstairs to write a book.  Neither looked up from their Agatha Christies, but I remember my father saying, ‘That sounds like a good idea.’  I started my “book” but after the first page realised I didn’t have much of a story and how difficult it was going to be!  I gave up.  When I toddled downstairs after about an hour, Mum and Dad never mentioned it, which meant I didn’t have to get defensive over it!

I eventually fell into writing, but only because I followed my dream: to drive from London to Saigon.  On my return from the 14,500-mile journey, I was asked to write an article for Car Magazine, so I trotted to my local Waterstones and bought a book How to Write and Sell Travel Articles.  It was probably the worst article I ever wrote, but it got published and, amazingly, I got paid.  I’d enjoyed writing it so much I approached other outlets with my story and ended up becoming a travel writer which eventually led me to writing my first novel.  (Which this answer to your question seems to have been…!)

 

Which authors if any have helped to influence your work?

Do you know, on balance I think Dick Francis had the biggest effect on my writing.  Galloping adventure stuff I thoroughly enjoyed as a teen and an adult but what I found magical was that Francis’s books were written from the viewpoint of an “ordinary” person thrown into extraordinary circumstances, which is exactly what happens to Dan Forrester in my books.

A lot of people think Francis is lightweight, but his fast plots and authentic backgrounds in my view were outstanding, along with his characterisation.  His books weren’t long, and they introduced me to punchy, no holds-barred storytelling.  Now that, I remember thinking, is what I want to write: page turners.

 

What are your thoughts on social media?

It’s the biggest time waster of all time.  However, it is also a fantastic support to writer’s and I couldn’t do without it.  That said, when I’m writing I’m very strict about my time on Twitter or Facebook and set a time limit, maximum forty minutes.

 

Have you got any pearls of wisdom for people wanting to pen their first book?

WRITE.  Just do it.  Sit down and get started.  It doesn’t matter if you think it’s rubbish, just keep going and before you know it, you’ll have a chapter, and then another.  And another…

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I am a travel addict, so whenever I can I pack up the camper and hit the open road.  My perfect day is walking across country with a stop at a pub for lunch somewhere, then tucking up with a good book and a cuppa at the end of the day.

 

You have been given a choice of three tasks: stay on a desert island for a month, spend a week in a prison or spend the night in a supposedly haunted castle.  Which one would you choose?

Desert island, please!  I’m a bit of an adventurer so I’d love the challenge.  Can I take a copy of How to Survive on a Desert Island with me?!

 

About CJ Carver

C.J. Carver’s first novel Blood Junction won the CWA Debut Dagger and was selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the best mystery books of the year. Half-English, half New Zealand, C.J. has been a travel writer and long-distance rally driver, driving London to Saigon and London to Cape Town. Her novels have been published in the UK and the USA and translated into several languages.

 

Links

‘Know Me Now’ can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK:- https://www.amazon.co.uk/Know-Me-Now-Dan-Forrester-ebook/dp/B0748J34JF/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Website – http://www.cjcarver.co.uk/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/C_J_Carver

 

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Interview with Richard Rippon

I would like to introduce you all to Richard Rippon whose new book, ‘Lord of the Dead’ is out today in paperback and as an eBook, published by Obliterati Press.  I asked Richard all about it.

 

Can you tell me a bit about ‘Lord of the Dead’ please?

It’s a crime thriller set in the North East. Someone is taking women from Newcastle and brutally murdering them in the Northumbrian countryside. A team of cops investigate, assisted by gifted university psychologist, Jon Atherton. They have very little physical evidence to go on, so it’s up to Atherton to build a profile and get under the skin of the killer. There’s an added complication in that a woman on the police team is someone he’s had an affair with.

 

Where did you get the idea for this book from?

I always wanted to write a serial killer novel, but I never had a strong enough idea. Then I remembered a non-fiction book I’d read about twenty years ago and something clicked. I don’t want to give too much away, but that provided a scenario and a motive for my killer. Once I’d decided what my main character was going to be like, I was up and running.

 

How long did it take you to write?

It took a couple of years. I wrote mainly on the bus, to and from work. There’s a lot to be said for writers using public transport. It gave me about an hour and half each workday when I could focus on the book.

 

Did you have to do any research at all?

Yes. Two of my closest friends are a police officer and a nurse, so they helped to make sure procedurally and tonally I was being authentic in their respective fields. I also corresponded with a historian, a forensic scientist and someone who lives with cerebral palsy. I think I take dramatic license occasionally, but I wanted everything to feel grounded in reality.

   

Did the characters in your book speak to you at all whilst you were writing?

I partially based Atherton on a younger version of my uncle, so I always heard his voice when writing his dialogue. He’s a fiercely intelligent bloke, with a big heart and a funny turn of phrase. He also has cerebral palsy and so does Atherton, so this all helped to shape the character.

 

Do you see yourself in any of your characters?

Not myself, but some family members who’ve read it, think they can recognise themselves or others. It’s led to a few awkward conversations about composite characters and so on. Sometimes I do borrow certain characteristics from people I know. It helps to draw upon real people, locations and situations.

 

What has the experience of getting published been like for you?

It’s been a long road. I won a New Writing North Award in 2009 for my first novel, The Kebab King. It led to me signing with an agent, but the book didn’t get picked up, so I self-published (it’s available for Kindle on Amazon) and got started on Lord of the Dead. There was more interest in it, to the point that we started talking to a publisher about sequel ideas, but then they went cold on me. I felt a bit frustrated and decided to have a break from writing. Nathan O’Hagan got in touch out of the blue, asking if I had anything finished he could read for Obliterati Press. I knew Nathan from my time in Liverpool in the 90s. I loved what he and Wayne were doing with Obliterati and was extremely happy they wanted to publish me.

 

Will you be celebrating when your book is released into the world?

Absolutely. We’re having a book launch event on 3rd November in Newcastle, which is open to all. Having a book published has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember, so I really want to celebrate and make the most of it. I hope it’s the first of many.

 

What do you hope readers will get out of your book?

Principally, I want it to work as a thriller. The main job as a writer is to keep the pages turning, otherwise everything else is pointless. I hope they find it a tense and compelling story, with well-written characters and a terrifying villain. On another level, I hope they’ll enjoy reading a book with a protagonist who has a physical impairment. Of the 24 official James Bond movies, 17 have a villain with some kind of impairment, so they’re broadly presenting this idea that physically different means ‘bad’. I want Lord of the Dead to be the antithesis of this. Atherton has a disability and he’s not the villain, or side-lined as a supporting character. He’s front and centre. He’s the hero.

 

Have you got any other writing projects on the go?

I’ve started on a sequel to Lord of the Dead. The working title is The Life of the Flesh, but that could change. I’ve also been working on some screenplay ideas for movie and TV.

 

What do you think of social media and has it helped you?

I work in social media, so I love it. Twitter in particular has been indispensable to track down the experts I mentioned. There’s a social media element to the book’s plot. I thought it would be interesting to see how a serial killer case could play out in today’s modern world where people publicly document their lives so readily.

 

What advice have you got for anyone wanting to write?

I started with short stories and flash fiction. It’s a good way to get into the habit of writing without throwing yourself straight into a novel. There are lots of websites and magazines with open submissions. Look for competitions. Winning the New Writing North Award gave me the confidence to keep going, helped me make contacts and got me an agent. Join a writers group. Usually, writers only work in isolation, so you never get much feedback on your work. Get people other than your family and friends to read your stuff. Don’t try to emulate the flavour of the month. Write what you want to write about, otherwise you’re really not going to enjoy it.

 

Who are you favourite authors?

My favourite authors aren’t really crime writers and I’m actually quite embarrassed about how little I’ve read in recent years. I like Irvine Welsh, Chuck Palaniuk, Bret Easton Ellis, Stephen King and Cormac McCarthy amongst others.

 

What do you hope to be doing in five years time?

I’d like to think I might have written another novel or two. I see Lord of the Dead as the first in a trilogy, perhaps with a spin-off series featuring a supporting character. I’d love to write or co-write a movie or TV show, but as long as I’m doing something creative, I’ll be happy.

 

 

About Richard Rippon

Richard Rippon has been writing since 2007, when his short story, Full Tilt, was long-listed for a Northern Dagger award. In 2009, he won a New Writing North Award for his first novel, The Kebab King. Since then he’s had a number of short stories published in newspapers, magazines and online. In 2012, he was commissioned to write a short story (The Other One), which appears in the Platform anthology. He lives on the North East coast with his wife and two children, and works in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Richard was also a social media phenomenon in 2016, as one of the men behind the twitter sensation #DrummondPuddleWatch.

 

You can follow Richard on:-

Twitter – @RichRippon

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/richard.rippon.3.

 

‘Lord of the Dead’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

Paperback – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lord-Dead-Richard-Rippon/dp/1999752805/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1509647090&sr=1-1&keywords=lord+of+the+dead+richard+rippon

eBook – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lord-Dead-Richard-Rippon-ebook/dp/B0771Y153J/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1509647090&sr=1-2&keywords=lord+of+the+dead+richard+rippon

 

Book Launch – ‘Parallel Lies’ by Georgia Rose

I am absolutely delighted to have Georgia Rose on my blog today.  Her new book, ‘Parallel Lies’ is out tomorrow, the 12th September 2017 and I asked Georgia all about it.

 

Firstly, for the benefit of my readers can you tell me a bit about ‘Parallel Lies’ please?

Parallel Lies is the story of Madeleine Ross, a young woman who lives in a village and appears to be one thing when in fact she is something very different. I love putting a quote in the front of my books and the one I found for Parallel Lies was perfect.

‘Everyone sees what you appear to be…

…few really know what you are’

Machiavelli

This totally sums up Madeleine, but because we all make assumptions about people around us, it applies equally to them too, as Madeleine finds out. As usual with my stories I’ve been unable to stick to one genre so this one has romance in it plus crime and mystery and the first reviews in have mentioned the thriller element, so there’s that as well.

 

What made you decide to write this book?

This…

‘I hear it, behind me, and to the left. The snap of a twig underfoot and a sharp intake of breath at the indiscretion.’

This has been in my mind for years and years, well before The Grayson Trilogy and I decided if it wasn’t going to let me go, I’d better get on and write it.

 

How long did it take you to write?

A bit less than two years, with the editing and everything else that goes into publishing a book.

 

Did the story come easily to you?

No. It took me ages to ‘find’ Madeleine and get her right. Then every paragraph, some days every line felt like it was having to be dragged from me.

 

Do you see yourself in any of the characters?

Not really. I’d like to be Diane, and maybe I’ll grow up to be her 😀 and Madeleine doesn’t like olives, or mixing fruit and chocolate, and neither do I. But that’s about it. People who know me thought I was Emma from the Grayson Trilogy (I wasn’t!) but given Madeleine’s behaviour in this book I’m hoping I’ve put enough distance between us, otherwise my neighbours may be shocked.

 

What would your reaction be if a character from your book turned up on your doorstep?

I would love it. Well, at least I’d love it with most of the characters. I’d invite whoever it was in anyway but I’d definitely be keeping my wits about me with a couple of them.

 

Do you have a favourite place where you go to do your writing?

It’s not really a favourite place but it is the place where I’m to be found most often and that is my office. Not a very romantic answer or anything but it’s just where the work gets done.

 

What do you think about social media and has it helped you a lot?

I have mixed feelings about it. Like many authors I find it difficult to promote my work and would actually rather be writing. But then without it I wouldn’t have discovered the wonderful online community of other authors, readers and bookish people, book bloggers and reviewers and where would we all be without their support?

 

Could you live without Twitter?

Absolutely, without question.

 

Are there more books in the pipeline?

Well now, I had a little fledgling of an idea that I thought I might try once Parallel Lies was launched but the first feedback I’ve had has been that a sequel is wanted so I might see how it goes and do that. Or, I might go back to my original idea. So, yes is the short answer, just don’t ask me what!

 

Did you always want to be a writer?

I don’t think so. I wanted to be a vet! But I have always enjoyed doing a bit of writing and have tried a couple of times over the years to start a book but always gave up. I’m not particularly prolific with the story ideas so when I get one that comes to me that’s when I crack on with it. I can’t just sit in front of a blank screen and write randomly expecting something to come.

 

What good advice have you been given about writing?

Just do it! Is what it really comes down to. I’ve had so many people say to me, oh I’ve always wanted to write a book, and there are always excuses. If you want to, just do it – it’s as simple as that.

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I don’t have any. If I’m not working or doing the usual domestic and life stuff I’m writing. I guess that is what I do in my spare time 😀

 

You have a collection of 1,000 books at home and are told you are only allowed to keep 3.  Which ones would you choose?

This would change on a daily basis – but right at this minute it would be A Shiny Coin for Carol Prentice by Mark Barry. He’s my editor, this is his latest book and it is terrific. I’ve read it once this year already but I would love to do so again. The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans – I have a lifelong passion for horses and found this fascinating plus I cried at the end which definitely signifies a good book. And lastly, The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger – the last two I haven’t read for years and the details are sufficiently hazy that they are ready for me to enjoy all over again. But there are loads of others I’d choose on another day… couldn’t I just cheat and grab my Kindle instead?

 

~~~~~

 

Book Blurb

My name is Madeleine, Madeleine Ross. It is a name chosen with thought and because it is classy, and that is what is needed here…

Madeleine Ross has life exactly as she planned it.

Cosy cottage, friendly village, satisfying job.

Company… when she wants it.

It’s an enviable existence for an independent young woman, and one she’s keen to protect.

Enter Daniel – strong, dependable and a danger to everything she’s built. He’s not something she was looking for, but hearts can’t be controlled and maybe, just maybe he might be worth letting into hers.

But, all is not what it seems. Because Madeleine is hiding a lifetime of secrets. Deep secrets.

And they never stay buried for ever.

Her darkest secret returns, like the proverbial bad penny. He is her first love, shadowy, dangerous, the baddest of bad boys. No matter how far she runs, or how well she hides, she can never escape him.

Or her past.

Here he is, on her doorstep, with a proposition she is powerless to resist but which could devastate the future she hoped to have.

Can Madeleine satisfy the old love while keeping the new?

You can’t always get what you want but, desperate to preserve the life she has worked so hard for, Madeleine is willing to risk everything to prove that she can.

~~~~~

You can pre-order ‘Parallel Lies’ here – http://getbook.at/ParallelLies

But wait! There’s also a Giveaway for you to enter, should you wish!  Just click on the link below:-

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/adc035ab1/?

 

About Georgia Rose

Georgia Rose is a writer and the author of the romantic and suspenseful Grayson Trilogy books: A Single Step, Before the Dawn and Thicker than Water. A short story, The Joker, based on a favourite character from the series followed and is free to download from Amazon.

Her fourth novel, Parallel Lies, a standalone to be released on 12 September 2017, encompasses crime along with Georgia’s usual blending of genre.

Georgia’s background in countryside living, riding, instructing and working with horses has provided the knowledge needed for some of her storylines; the others are a product of her overactive imagination!

Georgia prefers silence to noise, and being socially inept likes to stay in rather than go out. She is thankful that she grew up in an age before online dating became a thing and before everyone carried a camera as at least all the horrifyingly embarrassing moments of her life can only replay in the confines of her own head.

Her busy life is set in a tranquil part of rural Cambridgeshire in the UK where she lives with her much neglected husband and dog. Their son, currently at university, comes and goes and their daughter, having delighted them all for long enough, has eventually moved out, got married, and is discovering the joys of being all grown up and having a mortgage!

Follow Georgia on Twitter – @GeorgiaRoseBook

*****

Thank you for inviting me on your lovely blog, Sonya, it has been a pleasure to visit you and get to chat to your readers.

 

Interview with Natalie Kleinman

I would like to introduce you all to Natalie Kleinman whose novel, ‘Escape to the Cotswolds’ was published as an eBook on the 21st June 2017 by HQ Digital.  I interviewed Natalie and asked her all about her latest book.

 

Can you tell me a bit about ‘Escape to the Cotswolds’ please?

After her husband cheats on her one time too many, Holly leaves London and starts again in the beautiful village of Cuffingham. A talented artist, she is able, with the help of a legacy from her parents, to open a small gallery in the high street. She’s doing well, is spotted by an American dealer and whisked off to the States for an exhibition. Back in England Holly gets a puppy, the adorable Tubs, but still something is missing from her life. And then there’s Adam, the gorgeous vet with whom she has a less than satisfactory relationship. Will they ever recover from the scrap of their first meeting?

 

How long did it take you to write?

About six months from first draft to first edit. Then another edit. Then ano…

 

Where did you get the idea for your book from?

It began as the germ of an idea. A cheating husband. A girl who has the courage to start again. And an area I lost my heart to years ago in which to set her story. Aside from that I’m a bit of a panster so from that point on it took me where it would. That first draft is as much a journey of discovery for me as I hope the finished article is for my readers.

 

Have you ever visited the Cotswolds and if so, how would you sell it to someone thinking about going on holiday there?

Many times and I wouldn’t have to sell it. It sells itself. Glorious honey coloured stone buildings. Quaint villages and hamlets. English market towns. Rolling countryside. Magnificent country houses. Does it for me.

 

Did you find that your characters spoke to you whilst you were writing?

Always, to the extent that two demanded I change their names because they were definitely not happy with the ones I’d given them, particularly my hero. He was right. The first one didn’t fit. And Holly’s inner thoughts became private conversations between the two of us. I found myself willing her on. Even some of the minor characters are real to me. I can clearly picture Betty and Donald and their farm.

 

What would you do if you met any of the characters from your book for real?

Greet them like the old friends they are.

 

What was the publishing process like for you?

A wonderful experience. My manuscript was submitted on 30th January and accepted on 15th February. My editors at HQ Digital were incredibly helpful and quick to reply to any queries. In no time, it seemed, I was given a publication date, then a cover reveal (I love it) and before I could blink it was up on Amazon and on its way.

 

How did you feel on the day your book was published?

Excited, euphoric and a bit stunned by the promotion side of things.

 

Are there more books coming?

The next one is in the planning stage, sort of. I don’t do a meticulous plan (remember, I said above I’m a panster) but I’ve written an outline and the whole story is in my head, though not the details of course. A couple of chapters done and already I’m finding out about my characters. One is particularly appealing. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

 

Has social media been useful to you?

Immensely. It’s not my favourite thing but I appreciate its importance. How can readers buy a book they don’t even know exists?

 

What advice have you got for anyone wanting to write a book?

Write it – but remember that writing is a craft, to be learned like any other. Now-famous authors who experienced instant fame had probably been writing for many years before their overnight success. There will be highs and lows but if it’s in you it will find a way out. Above all, engage with other writers. Join a group or a creative writing school. And depending on your favoured genre, look to the romantic, crime historical associations and become a member. The help you will receive will be priceless. On a personal level I can’t recommend The Romantic Novelists Association too highly.

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

What spare time?

 

Who are your favourite authors?

Georgette Heyer. Lee Child. Georgette Heyer.  Harlan Coben. Georgette Heyer…

 

You are given the task of living on a desert island for one month and are only allowed to have two books with you.  What would they be?

Frederica by Georgette Heyer. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read it. It’s like a comfort blanket. And Escape to the Cotswolds so my characters, who have become my friends, can hold my hand until I’m rescued.

 

Thanks for answering my questions, Natalie.  Your book sounds wonderful and I wish you every success with it.

 

About Natalie Kleinman

Natalie, a born and bred Londoner, has a not-so-secret wish to live in the area she so enjoys writing about. While this isn’t practical at the moment she stills allows herself to dream of honey-coloured stone cottages, quaint villages and rippling brooks. Maybe one day.

A late-comer to writing, she has two published novels and many short stories to her name. She attributes her success to a determination to improving her craft, attending any and every writing event she can. All that and a weekly attendance at The Write Place Creative School in Dartford where cream cakes are frequently on the agenda.

Natalie lives with her husband in Blackheath, south-east London – except when she’s tripping off to The Cotswolds in the name of research. Somebody has to do it!

 

Links

Amazon
Facebook
Twitter
Blog

 

Interview with Anthony Lavisher

Hello everyone!  I am finally back blogging and I have a lot coming up for all you readers over the coming weeks.

Today I would like to welcome the lovely Anthony Lavisher to my blog.  Anthony self-published his latest novel, ‘Vengeance of a Storm’, the last book in the Storm Trilogy on the 1st December last year.  Below is my interview with Anthony which I really hope you enjoy.

 

Can you tell me a bit about ‘Vengeance of a Storm’ please?

Thanks for having me, certainly, Sonya. Vengeance of a Storm is the culmination of seven years of work, the finale of my Storm Trilogy.

 

What made you decide to write a trilogy?

I grew up reading trilogies, starting with The Lord of the Rings and from there, falling in love with, and devouring, as much fantasy as I could afford or borrow. I love the format of a trilogy, be it on the page or on the silver screen, that natural progression through the story of the characters journey, all of the story arcs, so carefully stitched and threaded through the tale, finishing, hopefully, in a rich tapestry of adventure for both myself and the readers.

 

Where did you get your ideas from?

I overheard a conversation one day in my local supermarket; two members of staff were being, ahem, shall we say, less than complimentary about one of their colleagues. I moved on quickly, but as I queued at the checkout, I thought “Hmm! What if I had overheard something important? Something that would put my life in danger if I chose to do something about it?”

It offered up all sorts of possibilities and the first book Whispers of a Storm began to evolve from there.

 

Did you have to do any research at all?

I did a lot of research on the Middle Ages, one of my favourite periods in history. The trilogy is set in the Four Vales, an imagined medieval land, and I wanted to look at the everyday things people would have faced, their customs and their beliefs, the governance and political system, the tools and clothes they would have worn and the lives they would have led.

 

How long has it taken you to write each book?

It took two years for Whispers of a Storm and three for the sequel Shadows of a Storm (I moved to Wales during that time and started working for the Vale of Glamorgan library service). Vengeance of a Storm, the longest of the trilogy, took 17 months to arrive.

 

Can you relate to any of your characters?

I think there is a little of all of them in me somewhere. Everyone I have met in my life and many that I have not have sown the seeds of the characters that evolved through my tale.

If I had to relate to any of them closely, I think it would be Khadazin and, probably, a bit too much of Arillion.

 

Are you planning to write more books?

I have the ideas for at least seven more, so far…. ah, this is question seven 🙂 I have already started my next tale, a stand-alone modern thriller, a complete departure from my fantasy writing. From there, I shall spend several books in historical fiction before coming back to some thrillers and, who knows, perhaps one day a return to the Four Vales…

 

Where do you do the majority of your writing?

In the summer, I write at the rear of the cottage, where the sun is warmest. During the colder months I migrate to the dining room, closest to the largest radiator. Currently a part-time writer, my dream is that one day I can write full-time and have a study to write from.

 

How has social media helped you?

It has been a wonderful tool and for me, conversely, also the hardest part about the writing process. It puts you in touch with people you may never have met, a legion of eager readers and the other authors out there who are also trying to carve their path in the Ether. It helps to get you noticed, make people aware of your work, a platform from where your voice can at least have a fighting chance to be heard from.

I also find it a burden, however, as it takes up so much of my time. I don’t want to be camped over my laptop 24/7, or checking things on my phone all the time, but in this digital world we now live in, it seems that to get noticed, you do have to spend quite a bit of your day doing so.

 

What’s the best advice you’ve been given regarding writing?

“Be true to yourself and to your writing” – don’t be influenced by what people might want from your tales.

My own belief is also that if I am not enjoying it, nobody else will. The day I stop loving what I am doing, is the day I put the pen down (or switch off the laptop).

 

Who are your favourite authors?

First and foremost, David Gemmell – the British Fantasy writer who sadly passed away in 2006. His style, his tales opened up the floodgates for me and I have never looked back since my friend Alan loaned me a copy of his first novel “Legend.”

I also really enjoy Robert Harris and Bernard Cornwell’s work.

 

If you had another chance at life would you still write books?

Without any hesitation. The only exception/change I would make is that I would make sure I joined the E-book revolution a lot sooner that I did.

I am a stickler for the belief in the physical page and I held out far too long to get with the times.

~~~~~

Competition

Hopefully this interview has left you wanting to read Anthony Lavisher’s trilogy.  If that’s the case then you’re in luck as Anthony is very kindly giving away two paperback copies of ‘Whispers of a Storm’, the first book in the trilogy to start you off.

To enter just leave a comment telling me what you are reading at the moment.

 

Terms and Conditions

This competition is open to UK residents only.

The closing date is the 15th May 2017.  Any entries after this date will not be accepted.

The winners will be randomly chosen and notified within 7 days of the closing date.  Their details will be passed on to Anthony Lavisher who will send out your prizes.

~~~~~

About Anthony Lavisher

Born in Berkshire, England, Anthony has always loved writing stories. After many years of enjoying other authors works, he decided to try and give something back to the literary world. From an early age, since reading The Lord of the Rings, he has been inspired to write his own stories. He states that his favourite author is David Gemmell and that his style of writing has been inspired by the sadly missed author.

Anthony lives in Wales with his wife Amy and Mertle the cat. He is about to start work on his next novel ‘The Last Tiger.’

 

Links

Website: http://alavisher.wordpress.com/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/alavisher

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Anthony-Lavisher-Author/118025884963443

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4242577.Anthony_Lavisher

G+: https://plus.google.com/102712490566399197548/posts

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Anthony-Lavisher/e/B0079N6V68/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1485522874&sr=8-1

 

Blog Tour – ‘Revenge of the Malakim’ by Paul Harrison

I am absolutely thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour for which I have interviewed Paul Harrison.  ‘Revenge of the Malakim’ is Paul’s debut crime fiction novel and it is the first book in The Grooming Parlour Trilogy.

 

For the benefit of my readers can you tell me a bit about ‘Revenge of the Malakim’ please?

Its my debut crime fiction novel, based in Bridlington and surrounding area. A fast paced police procedural, with DCI Will Scott and his sidekick DI Daisy Wright, trying to identify and arrest a serial killer with a difference. Its a roller coaster of an investigation, taking the reader across the north of England, down to London and to the US. There’s lots of twists and turns throughout.

 

How long did it take you to write?

The planning of the story line and plot took the longest, since a common thread runs through the trilogy. It took several months planning, and two months to write.

 

What made you decide to write a series?

I cover a difficult subject, and there are so many different strands that I wanted to cover. The Grooming Parlour Trilogy of books, manages to encompass this without compromising the plot or hopefully, reader enjoyment.

 

When can we expect the next book in the series to be out?

The Dark Web will be out June/July 2017 I hope it will really hit the mark with readers, as the action and intrigue is non stop.

 

What would your reaction be if a character out of your book turned up on your doorstep?

Wow. Depends which one really. I would welcome them all, since Its up to me what they do and how they react. Though there are a couple I would avoid. Cannot say much more, if you get my drift.

 

Would you like to see this series made into a TV programme? 

Definitely yes, I think it lends itself to a television series perfectly.

 

How long were you a police officer for? 

My police career spans three decades. I saw huge changes during that time (1970s through to the late 1990s). I was medically pensioned out of the force after sustaining a serious injury on duty.

 

What sort of cases have you been involved in?

Everything, from murder, to child abduction, kidnapping. Its wrong that murder investigations are super interesting. They are difficult and often monotonous. In fiction, it is the thrill of the chase, and the mystery. You do not get that in day to day police investigations.

 

What was it like interviewing serial killers?

Well, at first it was exciting, being face to face with them. My first serial killer was Ron DeFeo, of Amityville horror fame. He was charming, yet deluded, he continually changed his story.  Peter Sutcliffe, (Yorkshire Ripper) was cold and calculating. I felt uncomfortable with him.  Funnily enough, having interviewed over thirty of these killers, there is one thing they have in common, it isn’t that they are evil. They are insipid characters with weak personalities.

 

Where do you see yourself in five years time?

I would love to still be writing crime fiction and hopefully with Williams and Whiting publisher and Mike Linane. They are the best publisher I have worked for. Mike is amazingly supportive and knows his stuff. I have total respect for him. I think it is fair to say that I have penned my last true crime book now. I had a decent run at it, over thirty books. Fiction is far more interesting.

 

Will there be more books from you after this series?

Most definitely. I am discussing something very special, for later this year, with my publisher Williams and Whiting as we speak.

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I watch football, Leeds United. I do try to go to as many games as I can. In addition, I have three dogs, German Shepherds, so do a lot of walking with them. Which helps me think and plan new plot lines.

 

About Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a retired police officer, with a successful career that spanned three decades.  During that time, he worked on some memorable high profile investigations, and interviewed countless criminals who operated within the darker side of humanity.  Paul began writing and had his first book published during his time in the police.  Since then, he has gone on to write 34 books, mainly in the field of true crime.  Now he has turned all that experience into writing crime fiction.

 

Links

‘Revenge of the Malakim’ is available from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Revenge-Malakim-Grooming-Parlour-Trilogy/dp/1911266527/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1490123310&sr=1-1

Paul Harrison’s Website – http://www.paulharrisonbooks.co.uk

DCI Will Scott (character) Website – http://www.dciwillscott.com/

 

Book Trailer

Interview with Daniel Gothard

I can’t believe this is the very last day of my Urbane Blog Event.  Where has the time gone?  Today I have for you an interview with Daniel Gothard and then later on there will be reviews of both of his books.

 

You have so far had two novels published by Urbane Publications. For the benefit of my readers can you tell me a bit about them please?

“Simon says” is a book about youth, love and the value of great friends – classic tenets of a lot of romantic comedy. I think what sets the novel apart, or so I’ve been told by various readers, is this type of story being from a male point-of-view – heartbreak, starting over, strong friendship … A few people have referred to the novel as “male chick-lit”.

“Reunited” is set in 1992 and 2012 – the story is told in a first-person narrative by Ben Tallis (aged 16 in ’92, at school, dealing with the death of his dad, and being in secret love with one of his best friends. And then in ’12, at 36, a journalist, going to a 20 year school reunion). The chapters go between the 2 time frames and seem to have worked well – reviews have been very positive (to date!)

 

What led you to write them?

I’ve written in various genres – even a 16,000 word 2nd person Dystopian short story! – and I’ve always loved rom-coms: “When Harry Met Sally”, “Four Weddings And A Funeral”, et al. I had the ideas in quick succession and had a really good time writing the books. Writing can be genuinely hard work, but these were a pleasure and I found myself smiling and laughing at my own references and comedic scenes. It was a bit pathetic!?

 

Where did you get your ideas from?

Ah, the BIG question. Probably watching too much TV, too many films and listening to too much music in the 1970s and 1980s! My head is full of useless cultural markers – but they come in handy sometimes. The actual moment of inception, when the idea happens – for me – is just something I can create. That reads as a bit arrogant, but it’s just a thing I’ve done since childhood.

 

Would you like to see either of your books made into a film or TV programme?

Oh yeah! Money, money, money!! And for a wider audience. Artistically, of course, most books don’t translate that well on to the screen. But I love film and TV, and there are some brilliant actors and directors around these days. It would be fantastic

 

What would you do if a character from one of your books knocked on your door?

Pretend I wasn’t home! I mean that wholeheartedly … They are nice enough people, I’m the misanthrope.

 

Can we look forward to more books from you?

Yep. I’ve got 2 books out with literary agents and publishers, but the difficulty with success in the creative arts is always about ‘shifting product’. Quality naturally counts, but a publisher and/or a literary agent has to be VERY sure of you to take the financial risks. I’ve been hugely fortunate. YouGov found, in 2015, over 60% of the UK had writing as their dream-job. 98% of submissions are rejected – and there are, literally, thousands of submissions each week.

 

How easy was it to get published?

Not easy at all. 2013-present has been very busy and my publication rate looks very good. But I started learning the craft in 2000, got married, had a day job and have 3 kids. It’s been a very long process. You have to REALLY want to write, act, make music, etc. to succeed. And there are absolutely no guarantees.

 

Have you got any pearls of wisdom for anyone wanting to write a book?

Look at my answer from the last question. Keep writing, read great, ‘difficult’ books, learn from the best, take chances. Don’t give up. As one of my bosses used to say, “You’re a long time dead. So get on with getting on.” Morbid but true!

 

Has social media been of much benefit to you?

Undoubtedly. I wouldn’t have met Matthew Smith – MD of Urbane Publications – without it. I wrote, as an arts correspondent, for After Nyne Magazine and met the editor, Claire Meadows (another Urbane Publications author) through Twitter. It has changed everything for me.

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Watch great TV/films. Read those ‘difficult’ novels.

 

Describe your writing journey in three words.

Long. Tough. Fulfilling.

 

If you could do all this again, would you?

Absolutely!

 

Links

Twitter – @bookslifelove and @GOTHARDDANIEL

 

Interview with Guy Fraser-Sampson

It’s a pleasure to have Guy Fraser-Sampson on my blog.  Having read and thoroughly enjoyed the first two books in the Hampstead Murders series, I was really happy when Guy agreed to be interviewed for this event.

 

I’ve really enjoyed the first two books in the Hampstead Murders series. For the benefit of my readers can you tell me a bit about your books please?

I’m glad you enjoyed the first two Hampstead Murders. They are intended more as a serial than a series, so it really is a great advantage to read them in the right order. The first, ‘Death in Profile’ describes the hunt for a serial killer. The second, ‘Miss Christie Regrets’ is partly about a cold case enquiry in which, it turns out, Agatha Christie may have been a key witness. The third, ‘A Whiff of Cyanide’, which features suspicious death at a convention of crime writers, is due out in June.

I am a great reader (up to about 200 books a year) but for a long time now I have found it difficult to read modern crime fiction as so much of it feels the same: either noir or cosy. So I deliberately set out to produce something “different”, and above all to write the sort of book I would like to read. Instead of a single central character there are various characters, who ebb and flow in prominence during the course of the series. Instead of a damaged character with drink, drugs or gambling problems these are likeable people about whom the reader will care “what happens next”. Instead of a bleak coastal location there is the sumptuously beautiful townscape of Hampstead.

The books have been described as quirky and intelligent. There are references, both overt and implied, to various Golden Age writers and detectives, most notably Lord Peter Wimsey. Without being in any way surreal, they do ask questions about the relationship between fiction and reality, as well as the role of synchronicity (extreme coincidence) in human affairs.

I have also given my characters real personal lives, with all the problems of love triangles, private tragedy, and police politics. The love triangle in particular is part of the “what happens next” syndrome!

 

Where did you get the idea for this series from?

Once I had decided (after an approach from a publisher I knew) to write a detective series it took me about two years to work out what sort of books they should be and to work out the plot of the first one. Initially I was strongly tempted to write period crime but ended up settling upon this exciting idea of combining a contemporary narrative with a Golden Age writing style, which I don’t think anyone else is doing. Adverbs, for example, seem to have gone entirely out of fashion!

Hampstead was always going to be part of the equation. I’m a strong believer in the importance of a sense of place within a novel. I don’t think it’s a coincidence, for example, that two of my favourite novels are ‘Midnight’s Children’ and ‘The Alexandria Quartet’. So I knew I wanted something that could play the role of Oxford for Morse or Hastings Old Town for Foyle, and Hampstead was the obvious candidate, partly because it’s so beautiful and partly because I knew it so well.

 

Did you have to do any research at all?

I’ve always done a huge amount of research for my books. The Hampstead Murders, along with my Mapp and Lucia novels, feature real life people and events and it’s very important to get these absolutely right: Dorothy L Sayers made the point that if a reader spots a factual mistake then it weakens their suspension of disbelief so far as the plot is concerned. For ‘Miss Christie Regrets’, for example, I did a lot of research into the history of the Lawn Road Flats (the Isokon Building). A lot of real life people feature – Jack Pritchard and Wells Coates for instance – though I did change the name of the Oxbridge don who was recruiting foreign agents there …

 

Would you like to see your books made into a TV series and if so who would you choose to play the main parts?

Yes, I’ve always seen the Hampstead Murders as a TV series, which is partly why I chose the temporal format which I did. People love to watch period drama but it’s very costly to make. This way the production company gets the best of both worlds. It’s contemporary drama, so they don’t have to worry about covering up TV aerials or filming at four in the morning, but with themes like vintage clothing embedded within it, so we can still get to admire people in elegant outfits.

As for casting, I’m afraid the poor old author gets no say whatsoever in this. Look at the recent ‘Mapp and Lucia’ series for a perfect example. When you sign over the screen rights you’re essentially selling your children into slavery. You just have to walk away and not look back.

 

Do you have a favourite place where you do your writing?

Year round I write in my study, which overlooks Spike Milligan’s grave in the graveyard of St Thomas’s church in Winchelsea. During the summer I do like to get out into the garden whenever I can. Ambience is very important to me. I have always found it difficult to do work of any description in unsympathetic surroundings.

 

How did you come to be published by Urbane Publications?

It’s no great secret that the Hampstead Murders were originally going to be published by somebody else, but they pulled out of issuing any new fiction titles just before we were due to go to print. Naturally at the time I was not very amused by this, but in fact things worked out pretty well.

I spent about a year trying to find a new publisher, and had some interesting responses. One described it as ‘a love letter to the detective novel’ but then perversely went on to give this as a reason for turning it down. Ironically, the very unique positioning which I had decided upon worked against it rather than in its favour. Nobody was prepared to take a risk on publishing something “different” despite the fact that my last three novels had all been optioned by BBC television.

Then I met (or rather re-met) Matthew at Urbane and everything fell into place. He had run Kogan Page when they published a book for me, and as soon as he read ‘Death in Profile’ he instantly “got it” about what I was trying to do, and has just been the ideal publisher. He’s very supportive, and encourages his writers to do what feels right for them.

 

You’ve also written a number of non-fiction books. Can you tell me a bit about them please?

I fear many of them would not appeal to the general reader as the early ones tended to be about finance and investment. The ones I would recommend are:

‘Cricket at the Crossroads’: telling the human story of what happened to the English Test side between 1967 and 1977.

‘The Mess We’re In’: a darkly humorous analysis of recent British economic history.

‘No Fear Finance’: de-mystifying finance for the general reader and explaining it in conceptual terms rather than getting bogged down in mathematics.

 

What’s your advice for anyone wanting to write a book?

Go into it with your eyes open. Be prepared for a great deal of rejection, criticism and disappointment. If you can’t handle this then please don’t try, because you will end up just making yourself very unhappy and possibly even ill. Honestly, I know personally some writers who have ended up with severe depression and other mental illnesses as a result of what being a writer has put them through.

The perception is that you get your book published (a hugely difficult thing to accomplish in the first place) and then wake up famous. Sadly, it doesn’t work like that. The hard work hasn’t ended, it has only just begun. Now you have the task of promoting your book, because generally speaking if you don’t, then nobody else will.

Something else that people don’t appreciate is that you risk losing a lot of friends as well. Writers are obsessed with their book: they have to be. Our friends are not: it’s just a peripheral thing at best. We, understandably, expect them to buy copies of our book for themselves and their friends and family, to praise it fulsomely to complete strangers, to attend our events, and post reviews of it online. They, equally understandably, don’t see things that way; it just doesn’t occur to them how important it is to us. Although, a quick tip for any writers’ friends out there: please don’t ever, under any circumstances, say to a writer “I’d love to read your book – can you give me a copy?”

 

Will you be doing more book signings?

I love doing book signings, particularly as part of book festivals, because it’s a wonderful opportunity to meet real life readers and get feedback about what they liked and (just as important) what they didn’t. In fact, I happen to believe that there is a lot of untapped potential out there for writers, readers, and booksellers to interact much more efficiently than they do at present.

Events I am particularly looking forward to are Deal Noir on 26 March, Southwold on 17/18 June, and a crime fiction evening at Heffer’s bookshop in Cambridge on 6 July. For lovers of my Mapp and Lucia books, I will be part of the Rye Festival in September. I mention these because they are open to the general public. I’m also doing various private functions including speaking to various London clubs as well as the Womens’ Institute.

Readers are welcome to contact me at any time to investigate a mutually convenient event. Ditto anyone who would like to organise something.

 

How have book bloggers helped you

Oh my word, massively. The big publishers have a very cosy arrangement with the traditional national media which means indie authors can’t get reviewed there no matter how good they may be. So social media such as book blogs are our life blood, our only real route to a wider readership.

The really great thing about book bloggers is that they are serious readers so their opinions really matter. Getting a recommendation from a book blogger always gives me a real buzz, particularly when they say something that makes me realise that they have absolutely understood exactly what I was trying to achieve.

 

Facebook or Twitter?

I disagree with various writers about Facebook. I think you have to be really careful not to push your books on it too frequently. For me, one mention every couple of days is plenty, although I don’t think anyone minds you posting about events, whether before, during or after. I think people will find anything more than that intrusive, and you risk them unfollowing you.

Twitter is different and I use it a lot, sending tweets to targeted users who have shown an interest in, say, Golden Age detective fiction (or Hampstead!).

So, Twitter for me, although a lady called Laura Stone (@minxlaura123) has recently got me thinking about video blogs. She recently reviewed ‘Miss Christie Regrets’ on a live video feed and had several thousand hits.

 

Wine or Champagne?

Wine, please, and lots of it – preferably new world reds. I have no intention of dying sober.

 

Links

‘Death in Profile’ is available from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/death-in-profile/

Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Death-Profile-Hampstead-Murders-no1/dp/191069293X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1458486555&sr=1-1&keywords=death+in+profile

‘Miss Christie Regrets’ is available 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

‘A Whiff of Cyanide’ can be pre-ordered from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Whiff-Cyanide-Book-Hampstead-Murders/dp/1911129767/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1489860093&sr=1-1&keywords=a+whiff+of+cyanide

 

Interview with Patrick Garratt

It’s time for another interview now.  Patrick Garratt’s debut novel, ‘Deg’ was published last year and I asked him all about it.

 

Can you tell me a bit about your book, ‘Deg’ please?

Deg is screen culture paranoia, anarchic politics and drug exploration written in an automatic, surrealist style. I wrote it in a fit of desperation I doubt I could ever replicate. The diary element to its method set the form of my further books, but it now seems that opinion and inspiration based on imaginary input will alway be subservient to reportage for me. Deg was likely a once in a lifetime event.

 

Is this a book you’ve always wanted to write?

In a way, I suppose. I’d been working on another novel called The Ooning, which I eventually canned after two rewrites, and was spending a lot of time reading twentieth century postmodernism. That these authors could write as they pleased, with little thought for the traditional notion of readability, was revelatory. In that sense I’d always wanted to write Deg. I was just ignorant of the fact.

 

Where did you get your ideas for it from?

Deg is my life story, a psychedelic diary. Thematically it’s a product of my family’s environment at the time of writing. Roughly three years before I wrote Deg we’d emigrated from the UK to Corrèze, a rural department in the Limousin region of southwest France. My wife and I lived in a huge house surrounded by forests with our three small children. Corrèze is so sparsely populated that it’s possible to get back to nature in a way I didn’t realise still existed in western Europe, and I allowed myself to start using cannabis again after a long abstinence from any drugs at all, including alcohol. The result was explosive. I just let it come out.

 

How long did it take you to write?

I wrote the first draft in around three months. It was a little like vomiting.

 

Do you see yourself in any of your characters?

Absolutely, yeah. As I said, it’s a thinly-veiled diary.

 

What was the publication process like for you?

A little bizarre, but ultimately amazing. I tried to get Deg published via the traditional route of finding an agent, but, unsurprisingly, it got rejected everywhere. I’d moved onto writing the next book, and had given up reasonable hope of seeing Deg published at all. On the advice of a friend I approached video game artist Ste Pickford to draw the cover as a precursor to self-publication, and he liked it so much he decided to illustrate every chapter. I saw Matthew Smith, Urbane’s boss, requesting book pitches on Twitter, and he showed immediate interest.

From then the process was incredibly relaxed. Matthew is eminently professional and I couldn’t be happier with the result. The hardback really is a thing of beauty, from the physical materials to the reproduction of Ste’s drawings, and that’s all I could have hoped for. Being published by Urbane was a great experience.

 

Have you got any good advice for anyone wishing to write a novel?

Jeepers. So much of this depends on your goals. Many people approach writing as a career, as a job. There’s a financial element to it, as in they want to make money from novels. They attend seminars and buy places on courses and do degrees in creative writing and whatever else, eventually (hopefully) becoming trained in the creation of commercial fiction. If that’s what you want, then off you go. There’s an entire coaching industry waiting for your cash.

I always wanted to be a literary author, meaning the route to success is far muddier. The truth is that if you “want to be a writer” then you must write. Write anything, everything, in any way you want, but you must be productive. Embrace your fear and write your brain, not someone else’s. Don’t worry about making money or getting published or getting an agent. Just be as good as you can be, and that means a constant striving for personal betterment, for self-tuition and the overcoming of internal struggle. If you want to create art then learn art. Allowing yourself to be the person you want to be, to be you, could well be the hardest thing you ever do, but you’ll only reach your core by remorselessly breaching personal barriers. Stop giving a shit about the opinions of others. You won’t be recognised for replication.

To give an example. While I was working on the book following Deg, I lapsed into quite a serious period of self-doubt (yes, this is normal: few people are more pitiable than unpublished novelists), and signed myself up for a distance learning course in novel-writing. After I’d completed the first lesson, part of which was to outline my goals as a writer, the tutor told me I would never secure an agent or a deal if my work wasn’t “accessible”. Urbane signed Deg the following week. I never got round to lesson two.

 

Are you working on any other writing projects?

It never stops. I’ve written two full novels since Deg and I’m about to start another.

 

Have any authors influenced your work and if so, who?

The more experimental twentieth century postmodernists, such as Gaddis, Burroughs, Ballard, Acker and Pynchon, have heavily influenced me. Ballard’s The Atrocity Exhibition (it’s noteworthy as I read it just before starting writing Deg) showed me how strange fiction could be, that writing could be powerful as a result of being simultaneously formless and structured. It had a strong impact on my work.

I’m starting to read more theatre and poetry. Fiona, my wife, just passed a Masters in translation studies (with distinction, I should add: I’m very proud to be married to a genius), and she focused on Peter Weiss’s Holocaust play The Investigation for her dissertation. This type of experimental form is currently interesting me as I’ve been fixated with novel-length fiction up to now. I’ve also just finished a collection of Daniil Kharms’s poems and plays, something completely different from my usual reading. Some of his pieces are so beautiful, so insightful. It’s hard to not be influenced by him.

 

How long have you been a journalist for?

Forever. I started working as a video gaming journalist in 1998.

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

We now live in the Vosges, a mountain region in the northeast of France, so I’m able to ski when there’s snow and go mountain biking when there isn’t. I work out a lot. Travelling is becoming a lot more important to me, and, obviously, I love to read.

 

If you were only allowed to own two books what would they be?

Probably Infinite Jest and Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson. Ibbotson’s my children’s’ favourite author, so it’d always remind me of when they were young. I’d take Infinite Jest because I still haven’t read the endnotes. I’m such a fraud.

 

Links

‘Deg’ is available to buy from:-

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

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deg-Patrick-Garratt/dp/1911129481/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1489694327&sr=1-1

Patrick Garratt’s Personal Website – https://patrickgarratt.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/patlike

Deg Illustrator Ste Pickford’s Instagram account – https://www.instagram.com/stepickford/

Interview with PJ Whiteley

I am delighted to have PJ Whiteley back on my blog.  His new book, ‘Marching on Together’ was published last month and I asked him all about it.

 

As you know I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘Marching on Together’ when it was a work in progress.  For the benefit of my readers can you tell me a bit about it please?

Thanks Sonya. Marching on Together is about belonging, family and memory, with a hint of romance. A short description would be: ‘Last Orders meets Fever Pitch’. It follows six Leeds United supporters, two of them brothers, on a sojourn to Bruges and the Flanders battlefields in August 2014, for the centenary of the start of the First World War. Yvonne, a central character, has cause to reflect on how a sporting controversy from 1975 continues to haunt her. She was caught up in some post-match violence after a major final, then a transport strike; the combination knocked her young life off course, for reasons that become clearer as you read the book. At the age of 56 in 2014, she has the opportunity to reflect, but also, finally, to move on.

 

Where do you get your ideas from?

I love to combine depth and humour, and to have characters reflect on the most profound matters in quite mundane settings. Other writers can do war, murder and tragedy; I’m more fascinated by how a seemingly small turn of events can alter our life course, and even how we view the world, a bit like in the movie Sliding Doors. Sport and a sense of identity and belonging are also fascinating themes for me.

 

Are you a sports fan?

Yes, and I like to explore the comedy and tension that can lie when one person is devoted to a sport and their significant other is not! In Marching on Together I invert the stereotype because Yvonne is the obsessive football watcher and her husband becomes disenchanted, and feels left out. In Bruges, she has a bit of an argument with a German football fan, but then discovers he loves the band Genesis, and they bond over that. Plus, she fancies him.

 

What do you hope readers will get from ‘Marching on Together’?

I’ve had some very positive feedback, and strong start to sales; I think people engage with the characters. There’s drama in the fine line that can separate good and bad fortune in life – whether it’s on the football field or in your love life.

 

What would you do if one of your characters knocked on your door?

They wouldn’t dare: I know too much about them 😉

 

Can we look forward to more books from you?

Yes. I will write books for as long as I’m breathing. The third novel is called The Rooms We Never Enter, and it’s a spin-off from Marching on Together; it’s a romance, and there’s only a little sport this time!

 

Can you describe Urbane Publications in twenty words?

Urbane Publications is an innovative, independent publisher that dares to publish original voices and empowers authors. It deserves success.

 

How has social media helped you?

Facebook and Twitter are essential for an author, when you don’t have a huge publicity budget. You can build a readership, and engage with existing readers.

 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given about writing?

From my first magazine editor Roy (can’t remember his surname), in 1988: ‘Tell such a strong story, in such an elegant style, that the reader doesn’t notice it’s written; they’re just caught up in the narrative.’

 

If you had a second chance at life would you still write books?

Yes, and I would start at a younger age.

 

Who are your favourite authors?

I love a lot of the greats: Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Mario Vargas Llosa, Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens. I’d like to give special mention to two very underrated post-war British authors: David Lodge and David Nobbs, whom I’ve sought to emulate in combining humour and depth. Javier Marias is an astounding author, so is Donna Tartt and Louis de Bernieres.

 

If you were only allowed one book on your bookcase what would it be?

La Peste, by Albert Camus, still the finest novel I’ve ever read: poetic, beautiful, bleak in its description of the harshness of fate, yet heart-warming in its portrayal of human friendship, funny and astonishingly profound, philosophically and politically.

 

 

Links

‘Marching on Together’ is available to buy from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/marching-on-together/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Marching-Together-P-J-Whiteley/dp/1911129333/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1489606690&sr=1-1

‘Close of Play’ is available to buy from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/close-of-play/

Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Close-Play-Philip-Whiteley-ebook/dp/B01080YEAI/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1458070338&sr=1-1&keywords=close+of+play

Website – http://www.whiteleywords.com/

Blog – http://felipewh.wordpress.com/

Twitter – @Felipewh

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