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Interview with Simon Chambers

Devil's Playground

Last year Simon Chambers had his debut book published by Percy Publishing.  He kindly took the time to answer some questions for me.

 

Can you tell me a little bit about ‘Devil’s Playground’ please?

After serving my full 22 years in the army of which 16 years was with Airborne units and then finishing my army career with several years in the Territorial Army, I was looking around for something along the same lines. I didnt like being a civilian and was still pretty fit for my age. I got the opportunity to work for Eric Prince of Blackwater after being reccomended by some of my American Special Forces friends and was the only British Para on Paul Bremers bodyguard team in Iraq. It was 2004 and we were in some pretty tight situations. It was still early days and Iraq resembled the wild west. Mercinaries/Contractors were doing some very difficult jobs but still getting some pretty bad press and when any of us were killed or wounded we wouldnt appear in the military casualty figures. We were an asset they could forget if they needed to. People though we were highly paid killing machines with no rules of engagement. Nothing could be further from the truth and so I decided to look over my daily ‘Battlefield’ notes and write about it. Try to set the record straight so to speak.

The book explains the problems getting into this line of bussiness and then doing your best to keep the job while trying not to get shot and blown up. It should put a lot of people off even contemplating this line of work. I hope it gives the reader a good idea of the daily life of a bodyguard in the early days in Iraq and describes some of the incidents that would not have made the press.

 

What inspired you to write this book?

As I said I wanted to try to set the record straight. Some of the things I saw civilian security contractors do when under fire would have got them a medal had they still been serving. Some of my own team and others on the same contract were killed and I myself ended up getting shot and wounded. This made me more determined to write about our operations.

 

Did it take you long to write?

It took me about 6 months to write but I was then threatened by Blackwater and told I couldnt publish the book even though I had originally asked and got their permission. Until Clifford Marker from Percy Publishing took me on board I had tried for almost 10 years without any luck.

 

Did you have to do any research for it?

Very little as I had a daily diary of virtually everything that had happened. Most of what happened was etched firmly in my minds eye. It also helped that I took many photos, over 1000, which helped jog my memory on some incidents. I did a little research on events going on around us at the same time and I researched the Karbala incident mentioned at the back of the book as this happened some time after we had handed the CPA over to the US Army.

 

Have you got any other writing projects on the go?

I’m a staff writer for Airsoft Action Magazine and I’ve books 2 and 3 already written and waiting for Percy Publishing to help me edit them. These are on my further career with other companies working on different Iraqi projects.

 

Describe a day in your life.

At the moment I’m waiting for the start of another ‘Security project’ once again in a Hostile enviroment. Its what I do and enjoy. Its also the reason I have to use a pen name to maintain Operational security. Im busy writing course programs, editing my books and keeping people informed via the internet and facebook…and drinking lots of coffee.

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I parachute in my spare time and belong to an organisation called Pathfinder Parachute Group Europe. We specialise in jumping with round military static line parachutes for fun and as part of our efforts to keep the veterans in the public eye we represent them every year by jumping into Normandy and Arnhem in WW2 uniform and from a Dakota aircraft. At least 80 percent of the guys are former Paratroopers from all around the world. 27 countries were represented within Pathfinder last count. Jumping with these guys helps keep me sane.

http://www.pathfindergroupuk.com/

 

‘Devil’s Playground’ is available from Amazon:-

Interview with Ian Jackson

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Ian Jackson has just had his debut novel published by Percy Publishing.  He has kindly taken the time to answer some questions for me.

 

You’ve written your debut novel.  How do you feel?

Ecstatic! I love the process of writing fiction and have always wanted to complete a crime thriller. I’m very pleased with the finished result. Ruth Killeen my agent says that the book will ‘challenge a readers’ emotions and test their morals’ and I think she’s spot on.

 

Can you tell me a little bit about your book please?

Dead_Charming_front_cover

Dead Charming is a psychological crime thriller based in Greater Manchester. The book tells the story of two central characters, Jenny Foster a novice criminal profiler and Joe Reed a serial rapist and later murderer.

Joe Reed is charming and charismatic and the book opens to describe his crimes against the women he has seduced. As the novel continues, all is not what it seems and Reed takes the reader through a series of twists and turns, analysing his psychopathy with terrifying results.

Jenny Foster is married with a daughter and her ambition has driven her on to secure her dream role as a criminal profiler attached to the Manchester Metropolitan Police. She is soon out of her depth as the investigation becomes more complicated and she is faced with real-life situations. At the same time, her personal life spirals out of control with catastrophic results putting her entire team in danger.

 

How long did it take you to write?

I began writing Dead Charming in February 2013 and finished in October 2013, so about nine months. Perhaps that’s why they call a finished novel, the writer’s ‘baby’.

 

Where did you get your ideas from?

I have always been interested in psychology and crime. The characters portrayed do not resemble anyone I know, but each of us has the capacity to be unkind, with that trait developing into evil for some people.

I spent two years as a volunteer at a Wirral hospital in the psychiatric unit and a further five years as a volunteer at a homeless shelter. I encountered many forms of mental illness, some of which could clearly lead to violence if left unchecked.

I became interested in what triggers would be necessary to turn a sufferer of somewhat mild or common psychological imbalances into a person that might commit despicable acts. I asked myself who might be to blame when a person who might be a borderline sociopath escalates their behaviour to act out their psychotic fantasies.

That journey of discovery continues.

 

What are you working on now if anything?

I work full time, running my own business in Chester and write when I find the time.

I am currently writing my second novel, with the working title Dead Precious and have committed to a completion deadline of April 2015.

 

Where is your favourite place to write?

Someone mentioned to me recently that many novelists tend to write sitting up in bed, but I would be asleep with my head lodged into my laptop keyboard after ten minutes.

I enjoy writing in public when there’s a great deal going on. Somehow, it helps my train of thought to look up every now and again and perhaps see a glimpse of one of my characters’ personalities in a passerby.

 

Would you like to see your book made into a film?

Of course, I think every writer dreams of having their characters come to life on film. If casting was up to me, I would choose Sheradin Smith (Cilla, Mrs Biggs) to play the part of Jenny Foster and Richard Armitage (Spooks, The Hobbit) as Joe Reed.

 

Is 2015 going to be a good year for you? 

I sincerely hope so. My daughter, Anna is due back from Australia in May, my son, Tom will hopefully take up his chosen profession as a Speech and Language Therapist at UCL and I get married to my fiancée, Susie in June. This all means that 2015 should be a very special and memorable year.

 

About Ian Jackson

I was born in Liverpool in 1964.

I am a local magazine and sports programme publisher and I run a small advertising business. I have been in advertising and publishing since 1989. I also organise events and awards.

I have written many articles for consumer magazines such as Concept for Living and Style Guide for The Daily Mail and I am an accomplished feature writer.

My debut novel, Dead Charming, stems from a keen interest in psychology and crime, where the experiences of both perpetrator and victim can be analysed through their emotional and psychological turmoil with often terrifying results.

I have two children, Tom, 23 who has gained a Masters Degree in Psycholinguistics and is currently studying to work in the NHS with stroke victims and Anna, 20 who is currently working and travelling in Australia.

 

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Interview with Joseph V Sultana

Joseph V Sultana

Joseph V Sultana’s writing career was kick-started by losing a bet with a friend.  Now known as the ‘Accidental Author’, it wasn’t long before he was writing his first novel.  His book ‘Reapers Shadow’ is set to be made into a film.  Joe kindly took the time answer a few questions for me.

 

Can you tell me a bit about your new book please?

It’s a dark tale set in a future England that has been abandoned by the world after London was destroyed in a devastating nuclear attack in 2012. Scotland, Wales and even Cornwall have separated from the once centre of a mighty empire and all that remains is the corrupt marshal law in the form of enforcers and crime is a way of life for most.

 

How long did it take you to write?

It took about 11 months solid work but over a two and a half year period. I only had the time from my commute and lunch breaks you see.

 

Did you have to do any research for your novel?

I did.  I researched a lot on Scottish independence which took me to the Welsh independence quest and then finally the Kernow movement. A real fight from some of the Cornish people to breakaway from England. Also the layout of Launceston, couldn’t have done it without Google.

 

How do you feel about ‘Reapers Shadows’ being made into a film?

Oh I love the idea. I cannot believe how well received the book has been and the momentum that the film has picked up. The fact that stars like John Challis, Ray Quinn et al. plus the added amazement that Hollywood actors Michele Martin and Matt Wolf have signed up too. I have a couple more but not allowed to say who at this stage. Believe me when I say its amazing.

 

Would you like to be one of the actors?

Nope.  I can honestly say I have no drive for that at the moment, might do a sneaky cameo though.

 

Where do you do most of your writing?

Pret or any local coffee shop.

 

What are you currently working on?

The film production, the sequel book, audio book, graphic novel, audio drama, a possible computer game, a few short films and a couple of documentaries.

 

Does Percy the dog give good advice?

You know he is a dog don’t you?

 

Percy Publishing – The Story

LogoMilitary secrets, hedonism and the dark London underworld may seem like it is lifted straight out of a movie script, but for the Authors signed to independent publishing house, Percy Publishing it’s all in a days work. Working under the premise of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, Percy Publishing are bringing a flavour of debauchery to the world of books and are fast developing a fan base with a taste for the aberrant. From twisted erotica to a violent military coup d’état, and featuring a character list jam packed full of mercenaries, prostitutes, businessmen and crime syndicates, the books guarantee to have everything that an avid reader of pulp-fiction truly needs.

With the main criteria for new authors being highlighted as action packed, fast paced and sexy manuscripts, it comes as no surprise to Managing Director Clifford Marker that the company is already gathering a lot of attention.

“I travel a lot for the engineering company that I own, and I spent a lot of time in airports looking for books that I wanted to read and finish over short trips away. A lot of these tended to be nice stories about romance aimed at young women going on holidays. I wanted something exciting that I could read from beginning to end and really get my teeth into.” Says Clifford. “Fast paced no nonsense action, that a bloke could read as well. Then I heard an old saying, ‘If you can’t find a book that you want to read, then write it,’ and it became my mantra. I thought to myself, ‘yes, that’s exactly what I will do.’ I went looking for some new unsigned writers that were writing the kind of stories that I like.”

The first book published was the cult read, “Unsceptred Isle: Three of a Kind” by an accidental new author Joseph V. Sultana, who wrote his first novel, purely as a bet with friends. Having already gained a cult fan base, the book is now being adapted for feature film release in 2015. It tells a surreal tale of a post-apocalyptic England, and gives an account of tortured souls, sex and violence that give this book a quintessentially British feel.

Being an ex-soldier Clifford soon found a military connection and had published authors from a similar armed service background. Jamie Fineran, a former Prince of Wales Regiment soldier has been shortlisted for literary awards and featured in National military magazines since the publication of his book series, “Sabre Six – File 51,” which follows Michael Fox, an ex-SAS soldier as he assists the MI5 in an important case, and “Ace of Spades – File 52,” which tells a tale of the Taliban and the lost control of the country’s opium fields.

John Marsh, an ex-Royal Corps Signaller offered a fictitious account of life in the army in his debut novel ‘Hearts of Green,’ gathering both notoriety and five star reviews for its brazen tale of sex and violence from the point of view of a twenty-two year serving soldier. Already the book has received reviews from ex-servicemen throughout the country and has been shortlisted for the People’s Book Prize.

“I didn’t imagine that setting up a publishing company would give me such a blast from the past.” Says Clifford, “But as an ex-soldier myself, I can understand the catharsis of putting things down onto paper. From my own perspective, I understand that the military lifestyle is one of explosive and vivid experiences that make it ideal as a work of fiction. As soon as I picked up the manuscript, I knew that it was exactly my kind of book.”

Following on from the military theme, Simon Chambers offers a true-life account of a ruthless mercenary joining the infamous Blackwater. Having been sent to Iraq, he soon finds that he is putting his own life on the line to get paid, with no questions asked.

“It’s another fast and intense read.” Says Ruth Killeen, Literary Agent for Percy Publishing. “I am also a fan of pulp-fiction and hard hitting stories, and working alongside Clifford, I have developed a clear idea of the type of books that he is looking for. We have expanded our catalogue of books now, and have different styles and genres with some of our new authors. It’s such a great team of people ranging from a celebrity tattooist to an ex-middle man for the London gangster scene. We also have a rock singer, an artist and a builder on our rosta, so you can see that we really are an eclectic bunch.”

Two of the books due for release next year are very much anticipated by the publisher. The first is already being cast for a biopic feature film. The casting have confirmed actors such as X-Factor finalist and Dancing on Ice winner Ray Quinn along with rumours of Ex-Eastenders stars also on the billing. The film will be directed by the notorious Mr. H, and tells the biographical story of an ex-gangster, who spent a long and lucrative career as a middleman in London. The second is a photo and sketchbook from the celebrity tattooist, Kevin Paul. The book is hugely exciting for Kevin who has already tattooed celebrities from TOWIE, as well as naming Harry Styles and Ed Sheeran amongst his friends.

“I had a tough time growing up. But I thought, if I can tattoo celebrities, hopefully I could give my family a better life.” Said Kevin, “Initially, it was hard work but I’m proud of what I have achieved. Now I want to use my own experiences to help others, and especially younger people who are dealing with difficult situations like I did. Hopefully the book will show those kids that it doesn’t have to end badly, and if I can make something of myself, then anyone can. I’m proud of my work and I’m excited to show some of it.”

Along with the military fiction and the autobiographical sections of Percy Publishing, new authors have been signed from the Crime, Mystery and Thriller fields. Builder, Colin Llewelyn Chapman, has seen his first novel, Cold Call, hit the shelves. Its seedy and racy story follows a wealthy entrepreneur, Robin Bradford finding another outlet for his energy while he waits for his business to recover from the financial strain, taking him down a very dark and lonely road while he attempts to juggle between his two lives.

While rock singer, DJ Priddle writes about an ex-detective in the MET, Jonas Brock, who has already served five years in Belmarsh for his protection racquets and prostitutes. Now free to live his life, but still entranced by the young prostitute, Selena that he has protected for over ten years, can Jonas use his new job as a private detective to solve a huge fraud case, worth millions of pounds.

With an ever-increasing fan base, that is hungry for these pulp-fiction style stories, the future looks bright for the independent publisher and their entire roster of creative talent.

 

For more information and a list of current titles please contact WeDo PR on either (01983) 241895 or news@wedopr.co.uk

Interview with DJ Priddle

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DJ Priddle’s debut novel ‘The Honey Trap’ is being published by Percy Publishing.  It is out on Kindle from Monday 1st September 2014 with the paperback being released on 19th September 2014.  DJ Priddle kindly took the time to answer some questions for me.

 

Tell me a bit about your book ‘The Honey Trap’.

The Honey Trap is a story about a ‘bad’ cop, Jonas Brock, who used to work in the Metropolitan Police Force. He has made some pretty bad decisions and ended up in prison. The story focuses on his life, and his attempts to rebuild his broken relationships, but unfortunately for him, he is not very good at it. He is selfish and broken by his own past, and continues to hurt all of the people that he cares for the most. Jonas takes on some private investigator work, but is soon out of his depth with an enormous fraud case and unexplained murder.

 

How long did it take you to write it?

I did a lot of reading and learning before I sat down to write the book. I looked at a lot of advice pages and blogs to try to learn the process, and one quote that stuck in my mind throughout, was from Stephen King. He said, “If you haven’t finished it in three months then it’s not worth keeping.” I used this as my own rule and kept to his guidelines. I built the story in my mind for the first month and then got it down on paper in the second month. It is at this point when the real writing starts, because most people will find that the first draft is terrible. Only a small handful of people will have the perfect first draft, but for most of us, it is just a written barrage of nonsensical ideas. I edited for the third month, crossing things out and screwing up whole pages of drivel, before only keeping what works. It is very difficult to know when to stop editing, it is easy to become hyper critical of your own work, so I listened to a quote from Leonardo Da Vinci and it became my mantra, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.”

 

Did you have to do any research?

Yes. Lots. ‘The Honey Trap’ is about things that I knew nothing about. While the story line (I hope) is about human interaction and relationships, the setting was new to me. I am a huge fan of British TV police dramas and wanted to explore those dark ideas. As I began to build Jonas Brock’s back-story, I decided that to know as much about him as possible, I would write short biographies of each of his close family. In each case, I researched the historical details of their lives, such as his mother’s role as a female in the MET throughout the sixties and seventies, and also the closure of the London cargo docks. Although very little of this research appeared in the book, I found that it gave me a far better insight into the environment that Jonas was part of.

I also enlisted the help of a friend, who works in the police force, to ensure that the procedural information was correct.

 

Did you always want to write?

It was not that always wanted to write, I just did. Since I was young, I’ve always enjoyed creative writing. Throughout school I wrote short stories and enjoyed studying English Literature and the Greek Classics. I had two English teachers at high school who were a huge inspiration to me, and their passion for the classic writings of Sophocles, Homer, Harper Lee and Shakespeare meant that I really engaged with them. I remember closing my eyes as they would read the books aloud to the class, and letting the ideas and images fill my brain. I was inspired by the way that the characters interacted with each other. The main storyline always felt merely like a top layer of a much more complex idea, to me, and that is what I wished to create in my own writing. As I got older, I continued to write, but never completed anything. I realised that I did not know how to write a story, to the end. I did not have the focus or the attention span to see it through. So, I had to retrain my brain and learn the craft of ‘long-distance’ writing.

 

Are you working on any other writing projects?

I am currently working on the follow up second and third book of the series. After finishing ‘The Honey Trap’ I realised that I had only really finished the very beginning of the story. The story is bigger than I had originally planned, and Jonas has a long way to go before his own journey is complete. I began planning the second book, ‘Blood Runs Deep,’ at the end of June this year, but as I was planning, I soon found that book two and three were so closely intertwined, that they would have to be written together. It has become a very complex story, with a great deal more characters to introduce, and I think that the only way to stay true to the original idea is to write them both, and then split them into two books.

 

What advice do you have for anyone wishing to write their first novel?

My advice would probably go on for pages and pages, but I will try to be brief.

  1. Learn how to write. By this I mean, don’t assume that the idea in your head will spill out onto the pages fully formed. This is rarely the case. The mind is a collection of ideas and images, connected by the thinnest and delicate threads. On paper, these ideas are less than appealing to a reader. Take the time to learn the process. There is now so much information out there from authors, teachers and editors. Trawl the Internet and you can find help groups and lessons on how other people have gone about it. I read the ‘Dramatica Theory of Story Structure,’ an idea that the story has its own mind and personality predetermined by the storytelling, and tried to implement some of its ideas into my own writing. Read anything on the Internet called, ‘How to write a novel,’ or similar and learn whatever you can.
  2. Plan! Plan! Plan! The more time that you dedicate to planning your book the better you will understand it. If you don’t know the story, how can you ever expect to narrate it to your reader? Readers are as fickle as you are, and they will quickly see through a writer who is ‘making it up as they go along.’ So, you have to believe what you are writing. Know your backdrop, understand your story and feel your characters. Laugh with them, get angry with them and cry with them. It will make the story more believable for your reader.
  3. Probably the most important advice of all is, Write. Nobody wrote a novel by staring at a computer screen. It is true that everyone has a novel inside them, but what is the main difference between them and an author? The author actually finished it.

So, sit and tap away at the keyboard, and give yourself permission to be exceptionally bad at it. Write rubbish, use terrible grammar, make spelling mistakes and lose your storyline to go on a worthless tangent, but do not stop, until its finished. Then, and only then, edit. Writing and editing are different processes; do not confuse them as one. When you write, you do just that. No sooner than the idea is formed in your mind, it is shot out of your fingertips and onto the page. Editing is a slow and analytical process, and in my opinion, where the real storytelling happens. Each sentence is taken apart, one word at a time, and reconstructed to flow and to entice the reader to read on. Write hot, edit cold. Write freely without censoring yourself in any way. Allow those creative ideas to rush out of your psyche, and hopefully you will create something wonderful. Edit as if it is the worst story that you have ever read. Be harsh, show no mercy and do not spare your feelings. Sometimes in an edit, you will have to get rid of ideas that you have come to care about. You will kill off characters, lose whole scenes of amazing creativity, and sometimes you will be sad to see them go. However, if it does not move the narrative forward, then you need to get rid of it. Be prepared to kill those ideas. Do not get precious about them. What you have at the end could be the greatest work of fiction that the world has ever seen, it probably is not, but that ‘maybe’ is hope enough for any author.

 

What do you like doing in your spare time?

I’m the lead singer of a rock band. No really, I am. My wife and I run a wedding and function band, and I’m the front man. I travel the country in an old transit van and perform on stage. When I am not doing that, I write press releases for an independent PR company and I present a show on local radio. I live with my wife and three daughters, which mean that my spare time is filled very quickly with DIY, day’s out and dad duties. If after all of that, I have any time left, I might watch a film.

 

About DJ Priddle

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DJ Priddle has worked as a professional musician and actor since leaving school and drawing from his experiences from performing.  As well as filming with BBC and ITV, he has always been a keen writer of lyrics, scripts and short stories, and now his love of crime thrillers and dark fantasy novels has helped him to pursue his own professional writing career.

Now he performs weekly in a top UK function band as well as presenting on local radio, while working as a full time writer.

He lives on the Isle of Wight with his wife and three young daughters.

 

‘The Honey Trap’ will be available to buy on Amazon and can currently be pre-ordered:-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Honey-Trap-DJ-Priddle-ebook/dp/B00MZEMP6Q/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1409381115&sr=8-3&keywords=the+honey+trap

 

 

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