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Blog Tour – ‘Abel’s Revenge’ by Ross Greenwood

‘Abel’s Revenge’ was published as an eBook on the 25th March 2018 and is also available in paperback. Having read and reviewed Ross Greenwood’s last book I was thrilled to be invited to take part in this blog tour. I would like to thank both Caroline Vincent who organised this tour and Ross Greenwood for my review copy of his book.

This story is set in a city, London to be precise. Like any other place, there’s violence. There are murderers who live amongst us.

This is also a tale about a couple who are sometimes friends, occasionally lovers, but always partners no matter what happens. Dan and Olivia are fighting everyday battles; the ones parents have over a lack of money, time or peace.

Meanwhile an escalating serial killer is terrifying the streets and homes. As the body count rises their relationship crumbles. Society reveals its dark side and it seems no one is safe. Will Abel’s reign of terror ever end or will it get worse?

I loved the sound of ‘Abel’s Revenge’ and was really looking forward to reading it. This is the second of Ross Greenwood’s books that I have read. I really do like his style of writing. The short chapters made the story all the more exciting and left me dying to know what was going to happen next.

The chapters are narrated mainly by the main characters; Abel, Dan and Olivia. There are two different storylines. There’s the serial killer who commits some absolutely horrendous crimes and then there’s Dan and Olivia who are going through a rough time.

I liked the dark humour in this story. There was also quite a bit of toilet humour which might not be to everyone’s taste. Dan and Olivia are an everyday flawed normal couple who are having a few ups and downs. There’s never enough money or time to do everything. Having children also means they don’t get much peace. Dan has a nervous breakdown and is signed off work for months and from then on his relationship with Olivia seems to get worse. In the meantime, Abel is roaming the streets, terrorising and torturing people. He’s out for revenge and he’ll do what he can to rid the city of vermin. Who needs dealers and pimps anyway.

That ending! I never in a million years expected to read what I did. It left me really quite shocked.

‘Abel’s Revenge’ is gripping and exciting and will leave you wanting more.

Thanks for a fabulous read, Ross. You are fast becoming one of my favourite authors and I await your next book eagerly.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

~~~~~

‘Abel’s Revenge’ is available from:-

Amazon UK – http://bit.ly/AbelsRevenge-RossGreenwood-AmazonUK

Amazon US – http://bit.ly/AbelsRevenge-RossGreenwood-AmazonUS

 

Links

Website – www.rossgreenwoodauthor.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/RossGreenwoodAuthor/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/greenwoodross

 

Other Books by Ross Greenwood

Lazy Blood (Sept. 2016) – Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2pqxLfo
The Boy Inside (Febr 2017) – Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2uuGWRQ
Fifty Years of Fear (Sept.2017) – Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2DY1TWB

 

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Lynne Milford’s (aka LM Milford’s) Monthly Guest Post – March 2018

It’s time for Lynne Milford’s monthly guest post. I hope you have enjoyed her posts so far. They really are fascinating. For ease of reference I will add the links to them at the bottom. Today Lynne is talking about creating the perfect cast for her book.

 

Creating the perfect cast for A Deadly Rejection

JK Rowling famously said that Harry Potter walked into her head fully formed. Sadly, my main character, journalist Dan Sullivan, certainly did not. Instead he’s been dragged, kicking and screaming into the person he is now.

I started writing A Deadly Rejection a long time ago and, as I was writing what I know, I based Dan very loosely on the male friends I had at the time. Boys in their early 20s are a bit daft and don’t really take things seriously – or at least the guys I knew didn’t – and so that’s what Dan did.

But then I shared the book with my editor and she said ‘he seems a bit childish’. And indeed he was. He was a terrible sulk and didn’t really think things through. This worried me because I needed the reader to take him seriously. So I took a step back and Dan grew up a lot, very quickly.

I’d decided to write a male main character because I always struggled to develop realistic female characters. Instead of coming out as real people, they were always what I wanted to be – tall, slim, gorgeous and brilliant at everything. That doesn’t work for a fictional character because no one is perfect – and frankly they’ll just come across as smug and annoying for the reader. So instead I took a step away by choosing a male lead.

All great characters generally have a fatal flaw, something that will prove to be their downfall. For example, Macbeth’s fatal flaw is ambition. In a journalist, this works particularly well and so Dan developed a serious ambition problem. You can see by the mistakes he makes and the way he acts that he’s getting carried away. He needs someone to bring him in line. That’s where your supporting cast comes in.

Your main character needs friends who bring out the best in them and enemies who bring out the worst. In the first instance, Dan has Emma and Ed, both work colleagues and friends. I often feel deeply sorry for them as they battle to keep Dan from flying off at a tangent. Then there are those who play on his fatal flaw and drag him towards danger knowing that he’ll follow where they lead, desperate for the next step in his career.

But the relationships between Dan and Emma and Dan and Ed are not straightforward. For a start, Emma can’t stand him. His ambition and borderline arrogance get on her nerves. But one of the reasons that happens is because she shares his ambition, up to a point. (There is a reason but that’s for a later book.) However, she has a well developed sense of self preservation. You can’t imagine her behaving the way Dan does. Ed again is different. He’s not ambitious but he does a good job at what he does. At times Dan drives him mad because he doesn’t understand why Dan behaves the way he does. He doesn’t understand the need to prove yourself because he’s secure in himself and what he wants.

It’s equally important to create a good villain. Your bad guy needs to work against your hero and frustrate him at every turn. This means that your bad guy needs to know how to push your hero’s buttons. In A Deadly Rejection, the bad guys know exactly how to reel Dan in until they’ve got him exactly where they want him. But your bad guy needs to be realistic. He (or she) needs to fit into the book, sometimes fit right into the world your characters live in, hiding his evil nature in plain sight. It’s as important for your villain to be right, as for your hero.

I hadn’t initially planned for Dan to be a series character. I’d intended to make the town the centre of the story, with the same police officers, but Dan would only play cameo roles in the later books. But he seems to have been popular with readers so far and so he’s going to be leading the series. Let’s just hope it doesn’t go to his head, eh?

 

 

Book Blurb

How far would you go to get what you want?

Beneath the bustling, respectable exterior of the Kent town of Allensbury lies a world of corruption and greed.

When local news reporter Dan Sullivan scents a story in the local council, he begins to ask questions. But when his source dies in mysterious circumstances, Dan is implicated. He is quickly drawn into a world of lies, ambition and avarice as he fights to clear his name.

The more he digs, the more someone tries to stop the story from ever seeing the light of day.

Dan must decide what’s more important to him…the story, or his life.

 

Links

Book shortlink to Amazon http://ow.ly/57IG30fS5F5

Long link UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deadly-Rejection-would-what-want-ebook/dp/B0768WP1SB/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1507972626&sr=8-1&keywords=a+deadly+rejection

LM Milford’s blog – http://www.lmmilford.wordpress.com/

Twitter – @lmmilford

 

Previous Guest Posts

First guest post (January 2018) – My writing journey

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/01/31/lynne-milfords-monthly-guest-post/

Second guest Post (February 2018) – Where did A Deadly Rejection come from?

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/02/27/lynne-milfords-aka-lm-milfords-monthly-guest-post/

Lynne Milford’s (aka LM Milford’s) Monthly Guest Post

I am delighted to welcome the lovely Lynne Milford aka LM Milford back to my blog.  Lynne was the winner of my competition to feature on my blog for a whole year.  Here is her second guest post.

 

Where did A Deadly Rejection come from?

When you’re starting out as a writer, one of the first pieces of advice you’re given is ‘write what you know’. There are several schools of thought on whether this is good advice or not – some say you can write about what you like as long as you’ve done the research. But I think when you’re first starting out, writing about something you know well means you can concentrate on learning how to write, without having to stop and research every step. That can come later, once you have writing experience.

In a former life, I was a local newspaper reporter for about 8 years. In that time I did some great jobs and some awful jobs. One of the not-quite-so-bad jobs was covering council meetings. I’d been to them all – planning, licensing, governance, for example. These meetings could be fascinating and dull in equal measures. Sometimes you had to dig to get a story from them, but there was always something there if you looked hard enough.

It was during a meeting of the ‘Innovation Panel’ that my brain started to stir.

The meeting had run on for two hours, with very little innovation taking place, when the councillors decided they’d better have a comfort break. My heart sank at the idea of yet more time wasted. Bear in mind that it was now after 8pm and I’d been working since 9am. In addition, I have to file what stories I could glean from the meeting before I could go to bed (to fill any spaces left in the next day’s edition). I had pages and pages of shorthand notes and began to review them to make writing up easier. Near me, as I sat at the desk kept for the press, was a small gaggle of councillors and officers deep in whispered conversation. As I picked up my pen to make a note in the margin by a useful quote, they all stopped talking, stared at me and then, as a group shuffled away to the back of the room.

Immediately my suspicious journalist brain lit up with ‘what were they talking about that they thought I’d overheard?’. It was probably nothing, but for the next few weeks I couldn’t shake that idea from my head, that if something was going on, what would they do to stop me from printing what they thought I’d overheard?

There would have been a lot of ways to do that without going to the extremes of what happens to Dan, the reporter in A Deadly Rejection, but I’ve always been somewhat over-dramatic about this type of thing – a good skill for a crime writer to have, don’t you think?

I can’t recall the moment I sat down to write the book, but it probably began to emerge over the next few weeks. It seems strange to look back now, when the book has been edited and changed so much, and think that without that one moment, that one reaction to a journalist, A Deadly Rejection might not have happened.

The book took over my life for many an evening, weekend, holiday for years but finally I’ve got it onto the virtual bookshelves and readers are enjoying it (most importantly).

I thank those councillors and officers for the inspiration. I promise that none of them is in the finished book, nor is the innovation panel. After all, who would believe that such a thing existed? You couldn’t make it up.

~~~~~

You can read Lynne’s first guest post about her writing journey here https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/01/31/lynne-milfords-monthly-guest-post/

 

Book Blurb

How far would you go to get what you want?

Beneath the bustling, respectable exterior of the Kent town of Allensbury lies a world of corruption and greed.

When local news reporter Dan Sullivan scents a story in the local council, he begins to ask questions. But when his source dies in mysterious circumstances, Dan is implicated. He is quickly drawn into a world of lies, ambition and avarice as he fights to clear his name.

The more he digs, the more someone tries to stop the story from ever seeing the light of day.

Dan must decide what’s more important to him…the story, or his life.

 

Links

Book shortlink to Amazon http://ow.ly/57IG30fS5F5

Long link UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deadly-Rejection-would-what-want-ebook/dp/B0768WP1SB/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1507972626&sr=8-1&keywords=a+deadly+rejection

LM Milford’s blog – http://www.lmmilford.wordpress.com/

Twitter – @lmmilford

 

Cover Reveal – ‘Abel’s Revenge’ by Ross Greenwood

This is such an exciting day.  You might be wondering why and the reason is this.  ‘Abel’s Revenge’ is Ross Greenwood’s brand new book and it is being published as an eBook on the 25th March 2018.  Today, along with a number of other bloggers I am helping to reveal the cover and I can tell you now that it is fab.

So, are you ready to see the cover?  I won’t keep you waiting any longer.  Feast your eyes on this little beauty…..

 

Book Blurb

This is a story about a city. As with all others, it’s a place of violence. There are murderers, and they live among us.

This is also a tale about a couple — sometimes friends, occasionally lovers, but always partners. Dan and Olivia are fighting modern battles; the ones parents have over a lack of money, time or peace.

An escalating serial killer terrifies the streets and homes. The body count rises as their relationship crumbles. Society reveals its dark side, and no one is safe. Dan and Olivia experience this first-hand as danger closes in.

Will Abel’s reign of terror ever end?

Who will live and who will die?

~~~~~

‘Abel’s Revenge’ can be pre-ordered from:-

Amazon UK – http://bit.ly/AbelsRevenge-RossGreenwood-AmazonUK

Amazon US – http://bit.ly/AbelsRevenge-RossGreenwood-AmazonUS

 

About Ross Greenwood

Ross Greenwood was born in 1973 in Peterborough and lived there until he was 20, attending The King’s School in the city. He then began a rather nomadic existence, living and working all over the country and various parts of the world.

Ross found himself returning to Peterborough many times over the years, usually, so he says “when things had gone wrong.” It was on one of these occasions that he met his partner about 100 metres from his back door whilst walking a dog. Two children swiftly followed. And, according to Ross, he is “still a little stunned by the pace of it now.”

Lazy Blood book was started a long time ago but parenthood and then four years as a prison officer got in the way. Ironically it was the four a.m. feed which gave the author the opportunity to finish the book as unable to get back to sleep he completed it in the early morning hours.

Ross Greenwood’s second book, The Boy Inside, was picked up by Bloodhound Books, and in September 2017, Fifty Years of Fear was published. All his books are thought provoking, and told with a sense of humour.

Ross Greenwood hopes you enjoy reading them.

 

Author Links

Website – www.rossgreenwoodauthor.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/RossGreenwoodAuthor/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/greenwoodross

 

Other Books by Ross Greenwood

Lazy Blood (Sept. 2016) – Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2pqxLfo
The Boy Inside (Febr 2017) – Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2uuGWRQ
Fifty Years of Fear (Sept.2017) – Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2DY1TWB

~~~~~

Blog Tour

There will be a blog tour starting on publication day which has been organised by the wonderful Caroline Vincent of Bits about Books.

Lynne Milford’s Monthly Guest Post

Last year I ran a competition on Twitter, the prize being for an author to feature on my blog for a whole year.  The lucky winner was Lynne Milford aka LM Milford.  During the course of this year Lynne will be writing a variety of guest posts which I hope you all enjoy.

 

My writing journey

If you’d asked me as a child what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer would, without any thought, have been ‘a writer’. By that, I meant a published author with a shelf groaning with my books. I think I was about seven or eight-years-old when I developed this ambition. It was last year, at the age of 36 and a half, that I finally achieved that aim. That should tell you just how long my writing journey has been!

But in actual fact, I’ve been a writer since the day I picked up a pencil at the age of seven or eight and started to try and write a story. When I look back at my work it’s clear what I was reading at the time because my writing very much mirrors it. When I was in my Famous Five phase, it was always children having adventures without the problem of parents stopping you from having fun. When I hit my teens and moved on to Sweet Valley High and other romantic fiction, I tried my hand at that but soon realised it wasn’t for me. I simply couldn’t create a heroine who wasn’t a carbon copy of any other heroines out there. Maybe it was that I didn’t really believe in romance – it was something that hadn’t really touched me and so I couldn’t express it.

Then I met (figuratively speaking) a nice lady called Agatha Christie. Suddenly reading, and writing, took on a new dimension. I’d found my home – my genre – in the tightly plotted mystery. I recently said to a friend that Agatha Christie was one of my major influencers and she said you can see it in my book – what a compliment! So it’s clear that you learn to write by reading extensively in your genre.

It was an exercise in a Year 9 English literature class that really set me off on my journey to being a crime writer. We were told to write the opening scene of a novel, using a number of set words. Mine turned into a private detective heading down to a country house party to tackle a mysterious circumstance. You can see Agatha Christie’s influence there, can’t you? I never finished that book (I may one day, who knows) but it gave me the taste for sitting down and creating people and a mystery that my main character had to solve. And, of course, he would be the only person who could solve it!

I’ve always been aware that a career as a full-time writer is a long way off – if not out of my grasp – and so I’ve always had a full-time job. I started out in journalism and it was during a very dull council meeting that the book that became A Deadly Rejection started to develop. That was in about 2007, so that will also tell you how long the writing journey is (or can be). Over the next two years I poured the unplanned story onto the page and then learned, the hard way, that a novel needs to be plotted out before you start writing. Otherwise you spend ages going up blind alleys and wasting a lot of time. At the end of the two years I was quite pleased with the story and after a bit of tinkering sent it out to a few agents. I now recognise this was a bit of a mistake because the book was nowhere near ready, but I have a very nice rejection letter from one agent which I’ve kept all these years.

When nothing happened with Book One, I decided to sit down and write another. Again it took two years, thanks to my full time job and a period of illness. It was also unplanned. However, this gave me the confidence that I could do it again – by which I mean finish something. That’s a big challenge in writing – to not decide that what you’re writing is a load of rubbish (it probably isn’t) and give up.

Since then, I’ve learned a lot. I revised A Deadly Rejection over and over again, learning more and more about the plotting and editing process as I went along. It’s been slow progress and has taken longer than it took to write to kick the book into shape. It’s taken blood, sweat and tears (literally in some cases) to get the book to where it is, but it’s been worth every second. To stand there holding your paperback, knowing that you did it all yourself (it’s self-published) is a feeling that’s second to none.

Publishing the first book is fantastic, but it’s not the end – it’s only the beginning. I’m currently kicking Book Two into shape and am hoping to publish it later this year. Then it’s onto writing Book Three and editing the novella that I’ve already written.

Sometimes writing is hard work. Just getting into the writing chair feels impossible. But it’s worth it for the end result!

A Deadly Rejection is available in paperback and ebook through Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0768WP1SB

 

About Lynne Milford

By day, I work in PR and communications; by night (and at weekends) I write crime fiction (as well as baking pies and chocolate brownies).

In a previous life I worked as a local newspaper reporter. This gave me the inspiration for the story that has become my first novel, A Deadly Rejection.

I live in Kent and spend far too much time on trains commuting into London for work, which does however give me time to work on plotting and writing my books.

You can keep tabs on what I’m up to by following me on Twitter @lmmilford or by checking out my blog www.lmmilford.wordpress.com. I write about what I’m working on, advice on what I’ve learned through my work and how to move forward with writing.

 

Cover Reveal – ‘Disposal’ by David Evans

I am really excited to be revealing the cover for ‘Disposal’ by David Evans.  The first book in the Tendring series, it is being published in paperback and as an eBook on the 16th January 2018 by Orchard View Publications.

Here’s what ‘Disposal’ is about.

 

Book Blurb

August 1976 and it seems as though the long hot summer will never end. Early morning at Clacton on the north Essex coast, a light aircraft takes off from the airstrip but struggles for height and crashes into the sea. First on the scene, Sergeant Cyril Claydon pulls the pilot’s body from the wreckage. But something else catches his eye. A bulky package wrapped in black plastic is on the passenger seat. Returning to investigate, he makes a grim discovery – another body. And so begins a series of events that puts him and others in danger as he is drawn into the investigation, having to work alongside DI ‘Dick’ Barton, a man with totally alien attitudes. Can they work together?

~~~~~

‘Disposal’ will soon be available to pre-order from:-

Amazon UK – http://bit.ly/AmUKtoDisposal-DavidEvans

Amazon US – http://bit.ly/AmUStoDisposal-DavidEvans

 

About David Evans

David Evans is a Scots-born writer who found his true love as well as his inspiration for his detective series, set primarily in Wakefield. Having written all his life, in 2012 he decided to go for it – successfully as the next year, in 2013, he was shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger Award.

The Wakefield Series became an International Bestseller in June 2017 with success in Canada and Australia as well as the UK. But now, whilst the Wakefield Series awaits the next instalment, David Evans has written Disposal, the first in the Tendring Series, a completely new detective series set in north Essex in the 1970s.

 

Links

Author Website: http://www.davidevanswriter.co.uk/

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/davidevanswriter/

Twitter: @DavidEwriter

~~~~~

The blog tour for ‘Disposal’, organised by Caroline Vincent of Bits about Books will be starting on the 16th January 2018 so do keep a look out for it.

 

Book Extract – ‘Don’t Tell A Soul’ by D.K. Hood

Bookouture are publishing some amazing books at the moment.  ‘Don’t Tell A Soul’, the first in the Detectives Kane and Alton series was released last month in paperback and as an eBook.  I have an extract from this book for all of you to read, but first here’s what it’s all about.

 

Book Blurb

Small town. Big crimes. Dark secrets.

A wave of panic rushed over her as her heart pounded hard enough to break her ribs. ‘Not a soul knows where I am,’ she thought as she took in the darkness around her.

Sheriff Jenna Alton and her deputy David Kane arrive in the town of Black Rock Falls, each hoping to escape their past for a new beginning. But instead, they find a town living in terror, and a killer on the loose…

Samantha Woodward was last seen driving towards Black Rock Falls to buy a house for her family. They haven’t heard from her since, and they fear for her life.

John Helms headed to town to watch a big game, but nobody knows if he made it or not. He was never seen again.

When a body is found, and Jenna’s life is threatened, she and her deputy become caught in a race against time to find a brutal killer, and to unlock the secret that lies at the dark heart of the town before it is too late…

Don’t Tell a Soul is a tense detective thriller that will have you guessing right up until the end, perfect for readers of Robert Dugoni, Karin Slaughter and Rachel Abbott.

 

Extract

Prologue

Kill me. One blood-splattered cowboy boot crunched on the chipped cement floor inches away from his cheek. A sick chuckle followed by a nerve-shattering kick to broken ribs brought back the tremors. A lightning bolt of white-hot agony shot down his spine. In a desperate attempt to pull precious air through swollen lips, he spat blood and gasped precious air. Lungs burning with effort, he writhed like a worm in the dirt waiting for the death blow. His vision blurred and pain pierced his eyes. He had lost all sense of direction, and his tormentor’s peals of satanic laughter played tricks with his confused mind. Night had drifted into another day of endless torture. He tried to crawl away and puffed out a spray of red, stirring the straw on the dusty floor.

How long had it been since he walked into the stables? One day? Five days? Time had become the periods between attacks. He had suffered unimaginable torture from a man well skilled at inflicting misery, but he’d somehow survived. At first, he tried to reason with his captor and gave him the information he demanded, but he had fallen into a lunatic’s sadistic fantasy. He had had no time to retaliate, no time to bargain for his life. The first hammer blow knocked him senseless and he came out of oblivion into a world of pain, tied hand and foot at the mercy of a monster.

He hovered between reality and delusion. The mind is a wonderful organ, and his tried to compensate by taking him on trips to the beach with his family. At times, he floated into another dimension on marshmallow clouds but reality came crashing back with each round of torment. He soon discovered crying or begging for mercy made the sessions last longer. Biting back moans and pretending to be unconscious gave the wielder of pain no satisfaction.

Under him, the cold floor acted as a balm to his injuries, numbing the agony, and when darkness came, he could crawl beneath a pile of stinking straw. The fermenting horse dung kept him warm, kept him alive. He had spent the first hours in captivity gnawing at the ropes around his wrists, using his teeth to loosen the knot, but one swing of the lunatic’s hammer put paid to any hope of escape. A shadow passed over him. A boot pressed down on his spine, the heel twisting to part the vertebrae in bone-jarring agony. Sensation left his legs. He has paralyzed me. Determined not to give him the satisfaction of crying out, he remained silent. One more night naked on the freezing ground would finish him, and he would welcome the release.

A car engine hummed in the distance and Cowboy Boots bent over him, grabbed his legs, and dragged him into a stall. Straw tumbled over him, coating his eyelashes with dust. Through the golden strands, he peered out the open door and his heart pounded in anticipation. A police cruiser pulled up in the driveway and two uniformed officers climbed out. A female cop handed his captor a piece of paper. He edged forward on his elbows, dragging his useless legs behind him. Sucking in a deep breath, he screamed though his shredded lips but only a long whine escaped his throat. The woman glanced in his direction and he clawed at the ground, edging inch by inch from the stall. He had to get her attention, and fighting back waves of nausea, he tried again. “Aaaaarh.”

The police officer indicated toward the barn with her chin then moved in his direction, but Cowboy Boots blocked her way and shook his head. A grin spread across his face with the cunning of a gargoyle, evil personified. The cop spoke again but her muffled words dissipated in the wind and his tormentor’s attention moved back to the paper in his hand. Somehow, he had convinced her all was well. I have a chance to escape. He dug for his last ounce of strength and bucked to move forward one painful inch at a time.

I must crawl into the open. Spitting blood, he pushed sound through his shattered mouth. Hear me. Please hear me. “Aaaaarh.”

The woman flicked a look his way, squeezed Cowboy Boots’ arm in a comforting gesture then followed the other officer back to the car. Despair enveloped him, and all hope lost, he allowed the tears stinging his eyes to run down his cheeks. Footsteps came tapping on the cement floor like the ringing of a death knell. His cries for help had enraged the maniac.

“How dare you try to alert the cops? I own you.” Cowboy Boots spat a hot, slimy globule on his cheek. “It’s your fault the bitch scanned my yard. You are so gonna pay.”

Blows rained down on him, searing pain exploded in his head, and his vision blinked. A strange fog surrounded him and he embraced the peace of darkness.

~~~~~

Has this extract left you needing to read more?  If so, you can buy it from:-

Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2wESpf4

Amazon US – http://amzn.to/2vgQtva

 

About D.K. Hood

I’ve always had a wicked sense of humour, and was the kid who told the ghost stories around the campfire. I am lucky to have family all over the world and have spent many wonderful vacations in places from Paris France to Montana USA and Australia. I use the wonderful memories from these visits to enhance my stories.

My interest in the development of forensic science to solve crime goes back many years. I enjoy writing crime, mystery and thrillers. With many stories, waiting for me to write I’ll look forward to sharing many spine tingling stories with you. D.K. Hood is an active member of International Thriller Writers.

Website – www.dkhood.com

 

Blog Tour – ‘A Litany of Good Intentions’ by Andrew Harris

Congratulations to Andrew Harris whose new book ‘A Litany of Good Intentions’, the second of The Human Spirit Trilogy is out today, published by Faithful Hound Media.  I am delighted to be taking part in this blog tour for which Andrew has written a guest post, but first here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

A thrilling, powerful and important story of a discovery that could change the world, that some would stop at nothing to keep hidden… 

Leading oncologist Dr Hannah Siekierkowski and her partner Lawrence McGlynn are visiting New Delhi for a conference, and enjoying a well-earned break. By chance, they meet Lawrence’s old friend Toby and his passionate daughter Okki, a charity worker. She introduces them to the organisation Sanitation In Action, and its charismatic leader, the young Chinese philanthropist Jock Lim.

An end to world poverty is more than just a dream for Jock. Through his charity connections and his fiancée Nisha’s extraordinary scientific breakthrough, Jock has discovered a way to release 2.6 billion people from the imminent threat of death and disease. Caught up in their passion and energy, Hannah agrees to help present their project at a conference in Uppsala, Sweden.

But with the discovery of a dead body, they realise that someone will stop at nothing to prevent them from achieving Jock’s dream. As the clock ticks down to the conference, Hannah and Lawrence are drawn into a web of corporate greed, racial prejudice and a seething hatred of the new world order: a hatred that originates back in the Second World War, with even earlier links to Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

An urgent fast-paced thriller, about right and wrong, people versus profits, and the best of intentions pitted against the failings and greed of humanity, which fans of Robert Harris, John le Carre and Michael Cordy will love.

 

Guest Post

A Reluctant Celebrity

For most people, finding a cure for cancer or saving the world from poverty, would be a momentous achievement. For Dr Hannah Siekierkowski, CEO of New York’s own Klinkenhammer Foundation for Medical Research, it’s what she gets paid to do: just another day in the office.  Matthew Cox wanted to know how she was coping with so much media attention.   

“Wealth is like sea water: the more we drink, the thirstier we become. The same is true of fame… for most people anyway. But for me? I’ve got other things to do.” She quotes Arthur Schopenhauer like he was her great uncle. Maybe he was – the European connections run deep in her family history, according to the official bio I’ve received.

The coffees arrive with a fanfare. She waits while the table is being laid out. Restless fingers continue to drum on her stylish black skirt. She checks her watch for the third time in as many minutes.

Is this making you nervous, I ask? I offer to turn off the recorder. She shakes her head briefly, flashing a tepid smile before her attention is caught by something going on behind me.

“I didn’t think this place really existed,” she continues, back with me, at least for now, “yet it’s only a few blocks from our office. Even the cab driver didn’t believe me.”

I’d chosen the location for our interview carefully. My boss said Number Sixty Nine was classy and discreet. There was no signage on the outside. Entrance was by keypad through an unmarked door in the back alley. My best friend said it was an upmarket knocking shop for the rich and famous when they were in town….well, Getting It Off Broadway’s what he actually said.

“How was Scandinavia? Good Conference?” I tried to get her talking about her recent trip. Her A-list status was pretty high before the live TV appearance from Sweden. What we all witnessed that day had shaken the world and rocketed her into the media stratosphere.

“Look, I know you’ve got magazines to sell. I have a copy in my apartment. And I know why people are interested in what I’ve been doing. But do they really want to know what razors I shave my legs with or how I take my coffee?” she smiles, warmer this time, sips another mouthful of espresso. “This is good by the way, thank you.”

“OK, try this.” Her bio said she’d been brought up in Brooklyn so I went for the more direct approach. “It isn’t about you. Our readers want to meet the person behind the job title. Someone they can relate to. Someone they can believe in. Someone they can trust with their hard-earned cash.”

She goes quiet. I’ve finally got her full attention. “This article will be syndicated into the business press and picked up by the pharmaceutical companies, the trust funds, the healthcare corporations, the investment bankers. They want to know if you can make a fast buck for them. If you can maximise the return on their investment, as they say. That’s what this is all about.”

She leans back into the sofa and pulls the cuff down over her watch. She looks me full in the face for the first time. I feel her warmth wrapping itself around me. Somehow I’ve crossed a threshold. What will come next will be from the heart. From the heart of a woman who has saved so many hearts from a lifetime of misery and suffering.

“Making money has become an obsession at the expense of really matters.” She holds up her hand before I have a chance to speak, “and before you jump in, I know, I’m just as much a part of a money-making machine. Our medical research could not continue without it.”

Her hands are running over the soft chintzy material. She’s starting to relax.

“Lawrence was right. There never was an economic argument against slavery.” Any pretence at playing the media game has now gone. This was the person I really wanted to meet.

“People used to be more religious, more connected to a spiritual world of right and wrong, of good and evil. It wasn’t economics that led to the abolition of slavery. It was the moral argument. Nowadays, the moral argument has been washed away in a world of accountancy, financial investment, banking….a world of purely making money.”

Lawrence was the new man in her life. Her Head of Diabetes Research at the Foundation: he was also her partner, her live-in lover. Her colleagues told me she had taken fierce criticism over his appointment. Lawrence was under-qualified for the job. He’d had no previous medical training. Accusations of favouritism were thrown at her. It had been a challenging year, she pointed out.

“We have lost touch with our own humanity. People have become resources again to be bought and sold. Even in my own world of medical research, we are developing more and more profitable drugs to treat disease rather than trying to find out what causes the disease in the first place or how to prevent it.

She tells me that Alexander Fleming never profited out of the discovery of penicillin. The most important medical breakthrough in our history was his gift to world, she explains. Such an act of human kindness today would be unthinkable. What’s changed, she continues, is our attitude. For Fleming, it was about how he could save lives. Today is about me and how I can benefit financially, often at the expense of others.

“I can’t change the world. But I can lead by example. I feel very privileged to be who I am.” She checks her watch again. Times up. The ordeal is over. Her media obligation is fulfilled. We shake hands.

And one last question. What about the future? Her work in finding a cure for Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes is reaching a tipping point, so her PR agency reports. Would she like to comment?

The smile says it all. I’ll have to wait. We’ll all have to wait until she is ready to tell us. She may be a reluctant celebrity but I’m hooked – she is one fascinating, enigmatic woman.

 

About Andrew Harris

Andrew Harris moved from the United Kingdom to New Zealand in 2008. He was born in Liverpool, survived a grammar school education and graduated with a first class honours degree from the University of Leeds. He had a successful career in people management before running his own executive search consultancy. In this capacity, he travelled extensively and has been privileged to meet some remarkable and influential characters around the world.

One of his passions is crime fiction. Andrew strongly believes this genre provides the perfect vehicle for stimulating debate and challenging the status quo. He writes thrillers with a social conscience, putting fictional characters in real life situations.

A Litany of Good Intentions is the second book in Andrew’s The Human Spirit Trilogy, a series of thrillers with a social conscience based on exciting scientific discoveries in medicine, physics and biology. The second book follows The C Clef, published in April 2016 and available on Amazon.

In The Human Spirit Trilogy, Andrew combines the factual world of science with pacey, action-packed thrillers to explore urgent questions faced by humanity. Why isn’t there a cure for cancer? How do we end world poverty? What will eradicate addiction? How are we going to feed 9 billion people without destroying our precious planet?

Each book is a standalone novel and features the main characters of Dr Hannah Siekierkowski, leading American oncologist and Lawrence McGlynn, British project manager.

 

‘A Litany of Good Intentions’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Litany-Intentions-Human-Spirit-Trilogy/dp/1911195492/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1507744547&sr=1-1

 

Cover Reveal – ‘Hell to Pay’ by Rachel Amphlett

I am more than just a little bit excited today.  In fact I am thrilled as I can at last reveal the cover for Rachel Amphlett’s new book, ‘Hell to Pay’, the fourth book in the Detective Kay Hunter series.  I swear the covers just keep getting better and better.

‘Hell to Pay’ is being published on the 16th November 2017 by Saxon Publishing and will be available in paperback, as an eBook and in audiobook.  Here’s what it’s about.

 

Book Blurb

When a road traffic accident on a dark autumn night uncovers a disturbing conspiracy, Detective Sergeant Kay Hunter’s investigation exposes a ruthless serial killer exploiting vulnerable young women.

With her enemies unmasked and her career spiralling out of control, Kay’s determination to seek vengeance for the victims brings her dangerously close to those who want to silence her.

Undeterred, she uncovers the real reason behind a plot to destroy her career and sets in motion a terrifying chain of events.

Could Kay’s need for revenge be her undoing, or will she survive to see justice served?

Hell to Pay is a gripping fast paced crime thriller, and the fourth in the Detective Kay Hunter series:

1. SCARED TO DEATH

2. WILL TO LIVE

3. ONE TO WATCH

4. HELL TO PAY

A page-turning whodunit for fans of Peter Robinson, David Baldacci and James Patterson.

 

‘Hell to Pay’ can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hell-Pay-Detective-Hunter-Thriller/dp/0994547943/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1506969985&sr=1-1&keywords=hell+to+pay+by+rachel+amphlett

 

Blog Tour – ‘The One That Got Away’ by Annabel Kantaria

‘The One That Got Away’ was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 21st September 2017 by HQ Stories.  I am delighted to be closing this blog tour along with Creative Misfit and I have for you a guest post by Annabel Kantaria.  First though, here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

Everyone has one. An ex you still think about. The one who makes you ask ‘what if’?

Fifteen years have passed since Stella and George last saw each other. But something makes Stella click ‘yes’ to the invite to her school reunion.

There’s still a spark between them, and although their relationship ended badly, they begin an affair.

But once someone gets you back, sometimes they’re never going to let you go again…

 

Guest Post

On the mixed emotions of school reunions

Hello Sonya, and thanks for hosting me today as part of my blog tour.

How do you feel about school reunions? Have you been to one? Avoided one?

‘The One That Got Away’ begins when a couple who used to date at school meet up at their fifteen-year school reunion. As the story begins, you see the protagonist, Stella, who’s now a successful businesswoman, taking a moment to gather her thoughts before she goes into the venue. She’s not sure if she wants to go: she knows that her ex-boyfriend George – who’s now a bit of a celebrity – will be there. They parted on bad terms when they were eighteen, and Stella hasn’t seen him since. In fact, as she sits in the taxi, she’s not sure why she clicked yes to the invitation in the first place. Her life’s sorted now… but then, there always was something special about him. He’s ‘the one that got away’, and a part of her wants to show him what a success she’s made of her life.

My own year group had a reunion a few years ago and I knew at once that I wanted to go: aside from hoping that no-one would remember the incident involving the music teacher and a scotch egg, I had no need to avoid anyone, and I’m very nosy, which is ultimately what it’s about, isn’t it? You want to see how everyone’s really turned out without the benefit of Instagram filters and Facetune. And, despite experiencing last-minute nerves just like Stella, I’m glad I went. It was fun to see everyone again. It was really good to meet them all as adults, and to realise that, no matter who was in the ‘in’ crowd and who was geeky back in the day, we’re all treading the same paths now: even the coolest kids are just pretty normal adults dealing with partners, families, jobs and aging parents.

But, more than that, it was wonderful to meet up with people with whom I have a shared past. I realised that night that, whether or not you liked them at school, you have a unique bond with your classmates. No matter where you all live and what you do now, there’s a pot of really special memories that you can share only with them. Memories of teachers, of catch-phrases and of silly things that happened in the classroom – that time you projectile-vomited on the biology teacher’s shoes / set fire to your pencil case with a bunsen burner / fell flat on your face collecting an award in assembly – no-one else remembers these things and it’s fun to reminisce.

So, yes, for me, the reunion was a good thing, but for my fictitious Stella, the reunion’s a catalyst that kicks off a chain of increasingly dark events. I’d go as far to say that, if you’ve got a reunion coming up – and especially if your ex will be there – you might want to save reading ‘The One That Got Away’ until after you’ve been!

 

About Annabel Kantaria

Annabel Kantaria is a British journalist and columnist who’s written prolifically for publications in the UK and the Middle East. She lives in Dubai with her husband and two children. Her debut novel, Coming Home, won the Montegrappa Prize for First Fiction at the 2013 Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. Her second novel, The Disappearance, was published in Spring 2016.

 

Links

‘The One That Got Away’ is available to buy from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/One-That-Got-Away-ebook/dp/B01NCMVD8U/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1506016748&sr=1-2

Website – http://annabelkantaria.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/AnnabelKantariaAuthor

Twitter – https://twitter.com/bellakay

Instagram – http://instagram.com/dubaipix

 

Cover Reveal – ‘Fifty Years of Fear’ by Ross Greenwood

I am absolutely thrilled to be revealing the cover for Ross Greenwood’s new book.  I totally love it and think that it’s really eye catching.  ‘Fifty Years of Fear’ is being published on the 1st October 2017 and to coincide with its release there will be a blog tour starting on the same day.  All very exciting!  In the meantime though, here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

A childhood accident robs Vincent of his memories, causing him to become sensitive and anxious around others. His differences attract bullies, and he comes to rely heavily on the support of his family.

After the devastating loss of his parents, a remarkable woman teaches him to embrace life, and, little by little, he realises the world is far more forgiving than he imagined. When fragments of his memory return, he begins to unravel his past.

Who was his mother? What kind of man was his brother, Frank? And why does death surround him?

Fate is cruel. History is dark. Things are not as they seem.

Perhaps he should’ve stayed at home.

 

About Ross Greenwood

Ross Greenwood was born in 1973 in Peterborough and lived there until he was 20, attending The King’s School in the city. He then began a rather nomadic existence, living and working all over the country and various parts of the world.

Ross found himself returning to Peterborough many times over the years, usually, so he says “when things had gone wrong.” It was on one of these occasions that he met his partner about 100 metres from his back door whilst walking a dog. Two children swiftly followed. And, according to Ross, he is “still a little stunned by the pace of it now.”

Lazy Blood book was started a long time ago but parenthood and then four years as a prison officer got in the way. Ironically it was the four a.m. feed which gave the author the opportunity to finish the book as unable to get back to sleep he completed it in the early morning hours.

Ross Greenwood’s second book, The Boy Inside, was picked up by Bloodhound Books, and soon, Fifty Years of Fear, will be out. All his books are thought provoking, and told with a sense of humour.

Ross Greenwood hopes you enjoy reading them.

 

Links

‘Fifty Years of Fear’ can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fifty-Years-Fear-Ross-Greenwood-ebook/dp/B075FFQVK9/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1504811305&sr=1-1&keywords=fifty+years+of+fear

Website – http://www.rossgreenwoodauthor.com

Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/RossGreenwoodAuthor/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/greenwoodross

 

Blog Tour – ‘Last Stop Tokyo’ by James Buckler

‘Last Stop Tokyo’ is James Buckler’s debut novel. It is being published on the 24th August 2017 in hardback and as an eBook by Doubleday and Transworld Digital. The lovely Anne Cater invited me to participate in this blog tour and I would like to say thank you for my review copy.

Alex thought running away from all his mistakes would make everything better. He decides to move to Tokyo where he’ll have a new life.

The bright lights and dark corners of this alien and fascinating city intoxicate Alex and he finds himself transfixed. Not long after he arrives in Tokyo, Alex meets the enigmatic and alluring Naoko. He doesn’t realise it at the time but the peace he is after is about to slip even further from his grasp.

Alex is about to discover that there’s no such thing as hitting rock bottom. Things could get even worse.

Wow! Are you sure this is really a debut novel? It was absolutely fantastic and had me totally hooked. This was such an exciting and fast-paced read and I felt as if I had come off a rollercoaster by the end of it. I loved the author’s writing style and the storyline. I also enjoyed reading about the events which led to Alex deciding to make a new life for himself.

It was interesting reading about Tokyo. Life there seemed to go on non-stop and it sounded like a very modern city. This book is such a good example of being able to travel to another country without actually leaving your seat.

Out of all the characters Alex was my favourite. He thought starting off afresh in another country would solve his problems but unfortunately things weren’t that simple. He found himself in an extremely difficult situation and one that to me seemed impossible to get out of. I didn’t really know what to make of Naoko. She appeared to be nice at first, but there was just something about her. I admired her though for her gutsiness.

I would never have guessed how the story was going to end and I was left quite shocked. I didn’t know who could be trusted anymore.

‘Last Stop Tokyo’ is not a story I will forget in a hurry. It is definitely going to be on my list of favourite books of the year. I am looking forward to more from James Buckler.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

About James Buckler


James Buckler grew up in the South West of England and currently lives in London. In the past he lived in America and Japan, where he worked as an English teacher, providing inspiration for Last Stop Tokyo. He studied Film at the University of Westminster and worked in film & TV for many years, most notably as a post-production specialist for MTV and BBC Films. Last Stop Tokyo is his debut novel.

 

‘Last Stop Tokyo’ can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Last-Stop-Tokyo-James-Buckler/dp/0857524968/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1503130393&sr=1-2

 

Blog Tour – ‘Six Stories’ by Matt Wesolowski

‘Six Stories’ is Matt Wesolowski’s first crime novel. It was released as an eBook last December by Orenda Books and was published in paperback on the 15th March 2017. I am absolutely delighted to be taking part in this blog tour and would like to say thank you for my copy of ‘Six Stories’ to review.

In 1996 during a trip to Scarclaw Fell, Tom Jeffries, a member of a group called The Rangers disappeared under mysterious circumstances. A year later his body was discovered. Was he murdered or was it an accident?

It’s now 2017, twenty years since the body was discovered. It seems someone isn’t convinced that Tom Jeffries died due to accidental death. Scott King is an elusive investigative journalist whose podcasts examine complicated cases. His concealed identity has made him something of a cult internet figure. In a series of six interviews King attempts to work out how the dynamics of a group of idle teenagers conspired with the sinister legends surrounding the fell to result in Jeffries’ mysterious death.

I so enjoyed reading ‘Six Stories’. Never before have I come across a book like this. I really liked Matt Wesolowski’s style of writing. He has a way of drawing you into the story and then just like that he delivers a shocker when you least expect it. I thought the idea of the podcasts was totally wonderful and unique.

The podcasts really came to life and it felt as if I was actually listening to them rather than reading them. I guess that’s what the author’s aim was and it certainly worked. The further in I got the more fascinated I was. The interviews were a real eye opener and I learnt a lot about the various characters. I found myself trying to work out who if anyone was responsible for Tom Jeffries death. I think the podcasts definitely opened up a can of worms and I would love to have known what if anything happened next.

‘Six Stories’ has been beautifully written. It is a thought provoking, haunting and thrilling read which will keep you guessing. This could well be one of my favourite books of the year.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

About Matt Wesolowski


Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor and leads Cuckoo Young Writers creative writing workshops for young people in association with New Writing North. Matt started his writing career in horror and his short horror fiction has been published in Ethereal Tales magazine, Midnight Movie Creature Feature anthology, 22 More Quick Shivers anthology and many more. His debut novella The Black Land, a horror set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013 and a new novella set in the forests of Sweden will be available shortly. Matt was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in 2015. He is currently working on his second crime novel Ashes, which involves black metal and Icelandic sorcery.

 

‘Six Stories’ is available to buy from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Six-Stories-Matt-Wesolowski/dp/1910633623/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1490721953&sr=1-1&keywords=six+stories

 

Extract from ‘The Prague Ultimatum’ by James Silvester

It’s time now for a taster from ‘The Prague Ultimatum’.  I hope you all enjoy it.

 

Book Blurb

Fear stalks the newly reunified Czechoslovakia, the terror wrought by international terrorism and violent extremists overshadowing the forthcoming fiftieth anniversary of the Prague Spring, and threatening to burn the country in its wake.

Into this arena steps Captain Lincoln Stone, a disgraced British officer, humiliatingly scapegoated by his government for his role in the disastrous on-going Syrian Conflict. Plucked from his purgatory, Stone is teased with exoneration by British Foreign Secretary Jonathan Greyson, in return for his ‘off the books’ aid of Czechoslovak Prime Minister, Miroslava Svobodova. Stone, resentful of his treatment and determined to prove himself, is driven by deeper motives than the casual platitudes of his superiors, and finds himself at the epicentre as the country descends into chaos.

Cut off from the international community and isolated in the face of an expansionist Russia, and with the sinister Institute for European Harmony ever present behind the scenes, Czechoslovakia’s fate, and that of the world, hangs on the outcome to the Prague Ultimatum.

 

Extract

Extract from ‘The Prague Ultimatum’

 

Guest Post by James Silvester

I would like to welcome James Silvester back to my blog.  His new book, ‘The Prague Ultimatum’ is out on the 13th April.  James has written a guest post for this event.

~~~~~

A huge thanks firstly to Sonya for kindly allowing me back onto her site, and thanks also to Matthew at Urbane Publications for his continuing confidence in me.

Getting the nod from your publisher that he wants to commission your second book and that you need to start work is like downing a cocktail composed of wildly different elements.

First is the elation; sheer and complete. The idea that your work has been well received and the bloke you’ve been working so hard to impress has enough belief in your ability to invest in a future offering, brings with it a joy of a kind all its own. But shortly afterwards, once that has sunk in, comes the clawing spectre of self-doubt along with all its nagging chums. Whereas your first book might well have been written over several years, without deadlines or pressures other than those self-imposed, this time it’s a different kettle of fish. Now there is someone investing in you, both with money and time, and along with the investment comes expectation, deadlines and the deeply ingrained worry that you’re not really up to this…

Of course, you ultimately pull yourself together and crack on, but there’s no denying that some of the challenges are just that little bit harder this time; and this is nowhere more apparent than when designing your new characters. My second book, The Prague Ultimatum, serves as a sequel to 2015’s Escape To Perdition, although not so blindly that it can’t be read as a stand-alone story. But even though a number of characters make return appearances, the focus is on someone entirely new, and putting the pieces of the new protagonist together was one of the most challenging aspects of the entire process.

While in some respects it would be nice to slip back into writing for a familiar and established character, one for whom you have already developed a back story, motivations and relationships, in this case (all spoilers aside) it simply wasn’t an option. This new book required a new Lead, someone who could view the landscape with fresh eyes, less attuned to the political intricacies and moral ambiguities than Peter Lowe, the anti-hero of Escape To Perdition. I needed someone who could fill the role of a Stranger in a Strange Land, someone above the political intrigue and dark deeds that typify the espionage genre, and desperate to remain so. Rather than a repentant spy, ashamed of himself and his work in an unseen and murderous underworld, the story called for an honourable character, used to fighting his battles in more open territory; unwilling to be corrupted by the seedy world he has been thrust into, but slowly being overpowered by it nonetheless.

One of the questions I was often asked after my first book was how much of ‘me’ was there in the main character, and the truth is a sometimes disappointing ‘bits and pieces.’ Peter Lowe certainly shares my tastes in sixties music and fashion, and I can certainly give in to the occasional foul mood and desire for the odd tipple, but the character wasn’t intended as some sort of literary reflection. Besides which, I’m not sure a thriller about a balding writer with an ever expanding waistline, would make for good reading… If I’m honest, I’m guilty of peppering several characters with a few more ‘bits and pieces’ of myself and that’s true as well of The Prague Ultimatum’s chief protagonist, Captain Lincoln Stone, though I hope not in a self-serving or obtrusive way.

Though the story is fictional, it draws heavily on the political realities of today’s world, with the tensions and crises that occupy it very much present, whether in the form of international terrorism, populism or political instability. As must we all, Stone has little choice but to adapt to these tensions if he is to survive and move on, and he does so by falling back on his military training and experience. But as precarious as the international situation fast becomes, nothing is as important to Stone as the personal crisis he daily struggles with, having been unfairly scapegoated by his government and desperate to prove his honour to the world, and more importantly, to his son.

Putting together a new cast of characters is always a challenge; trying to keep them fresh and engaging enough to hold the reader’s interest and carry the story often feels a somewhat gargantuan task. The rewards though, when reading a kind review or listening to people’s reactions to characters, speak for themselves, and hard though it sometimes it, it’s a challenge I hope I never tire of.

And while Captain Stone fast becomes an essential cog in the mix, I hope his reactions and motivations reflect those of a good many readers in coming to terms with the issues of the day.

 

Links

‘The Prague Ultimatum’ can be pre-ordered from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/the-prague-ultimatum/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Prague-Ultimatum-James-Silvester/dp/1911331388/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1489603671&sr=1-1&keywords=the+prague+ultimatum

‘Escape to Perdition’ is available to buy from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/escape-to-perdition/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Escape-Perdition-Could-nation-himself-ebook/dp/B01GW71G70/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1489603846&sr=1-2

Twitter – @JamesSilvester

 

Interview with Richard Whittle

I’m delighted to have Richard Whittle on my blog.  His new book, ‘The Man Who Played Trains’ is being published next month.  I asked Richard some questions.

 

Can you tell me a bit about ‘The Man Who Played Trains’ please?

The Man Who Played Trains is a crime novel and thriller in which two stories, apparently separate, run side by side. In one, mining engineer John Spargo is distraught when his mother is attacked in her home and later dies from her injuries. In the other, wartime U-boat captain Theodor Volker, on leave after a gruelling mission, is accosted by a stranger while waiting for a train to take him to the south of Germany to see his young son.

Though the stories appear to be separate, the reader gradually becomes aware of connections between them. John Spargo, desperate to understand who murdered his mother, and why, finds a link between his late mine-manager father’s wartime mine and the wreck of a U-boat found off the Scottish coast. The connection deepens when he discovers the diaries of the U-Boat captain and a wartime mission to spirit Göring to safety, along with a fortune in stolen art.

A mysterious consortium contacts John to say they have abducted his daughter, Jez. Unless he can meet their unreasonable demands, her life is at risk.

 

When I first saw the cover I was fascinated by it and I still am.  Where do those steps lead to?

The Man Who Played Trains has two main characters. Both are ‘underground men’. John Spargo is a mining engineer. The steps might well represent John Spargo about to come out from darkness in so many different ways. Also, perhaps, Theodor Volker emerging from a basement in Berlin. Or, possibly, from Hermann Göring’s Carinhall bunker…

 

Where did you get the idea for this book from?

This is a difficult one, and quite personal. Before WW2 my mother had a German boyfriend, the son of a ship’s captain. Just before the outbreak of war her father banned her from seeing him. I believe the boyfriend died in the war. I have often wondered what would have happened had my mother married that first boyfriend (apart from me being years older than I am now!). Having said all that, The Man Who Played Trains is not in the least bit autobiographical. Nor is it a war story. You asked me where I got the idea from. You will have to read the book to find out how that little bit of history fits the plot.

 

How long did it take you to write?

Several years ago, before setting pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard – to write The Man Who Played Trains, I did almost a year of background research. Then, after drafting around 50,000 words, I put it aside and started another novel, returning to The Man Who Played Trains some months later. It is difficult to say how long it took to write, as I rewrote it at least twice.

I always have two or three novels in the pipeline, revisiting them every few months to add chapters and to revise and rewrite. Writing this way has advantages and disadvantages. One advantage is that I seldom get ‘writers’ block’. Almost invariably, in the intervening months, the next part of the set-aside novel has developed in my head. Another advantage is that when I restart, I have to read, and therefore edit, everything that I have written so far – though some would call that a disadvantage. Happily, it seems to work for me.

 

Can you relate to any of your characters?

I am always in my characters’ heads. I have to be, it is the only way I can see what they see, think what they think, and say what they say. I try to make my lead characters ‘victims of circumstance’, who become entangled in situations not of their own making. From a professional point of view I can relate to John Spargo: as a geologist and engineer I spent time working underground, in mines, tunnels and caverns.

 

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

Always in coffee shops, seldom at home. I have a favourite café in a small, family-run garden centre south of Edinburgh, where they leave me alone and let me write.

 

Would you say that you are a people watcher?

Not really. I am more of a people rememberer. I have been a policeman, a diesel engine tester, a mature student, an engineering geologist and director. I can recall situations, individuals and conversations, even from way back. It is rather like having my own Aladdin’s Cave.

 

What has your experience of getting published been like?

The Man Who Played Trains will be published by Urbane Publications this April. Matthew Smith and his staff at Urbane have been a godsend because they have taken away the pressure I felt when I self-published my first novel, Playpits Park, with Amazon. For that novel I formatted the whole book, I even designed the cover. My previous attempts to find a publisher had elicited responses such as this does not fit with our current list. Or, more often, it is difficult to place your work in any genre…

 

Will there be any more books?

Undoubtedly. I am writing two others. In no way are they alike. Depending on my mood, I bounce between them. Is that weird? Maybe, but it works for me.

 

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

Just keep writing! – advice given to me by Ian Rankin when he presented me with a prize when I was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association’s Debut Dagger.

 

Who are your favourite authors?

Kate Atkinson, Michael Connelly, Graham Greene, John Grisham, Robert Harris, Shona Maclean, Peter May, Ian Rankin. Note the alphabetical order, not order of preference.

 

Do you actually like trains?

I have always been interested in engines of all kinds. Like many boys of my generation I was a ‘train spotter’, standing on railway station platforms, ticking off engine numbers in a small book. Modern diesel and electric trains do not appeal to me in the same way.

Despite my novel’s title, railways play a very small part in the story, though the small part they play is crucial to the plot. Also, the man who played trains is not John Spargo…

 

Links

Amazon: https://goo.gl/a4lWwY

Waterstones: https://goo.gl/8riR5d

Urbane: http://urbanepublications.com/book_author/richard-whittle/

Richard Whittle’s blog:  https://playpitspark.wordpress.com/

Richard’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/richard1whittle

 

 

 

Guest Post by Rose McGinty

Rose McGinty’s debut novel, ‘Electric Souk’ is out on the 23rd March.  I am absolutely thrilled to have Rose on my blog today with a guest post.

 

Electric Souk by Rose McGinty

This is my first piece about Electric Souk for a blog review and I am delighted it is for Sonya’s site as her love of reading shines from the screen and she is such a supporter of new writers. Sonya asked me what inspired my story and to say something of my travels. I really enjoyed thinking back to my time in the desert and I hope you enjoy a glimpse into that world too.

Electric Souk started out as a letter home – from the desert. I had taken a job in the health service in the Middle East.  The day started early and finished by 1pm.  Now, I had always craved living in a culture where you could while away the afternoon in dreams. But I was somewhere that so saturated the senses that sleep was impossible. So while the desert afternoon was still I wrote a diary and long letters home, based on  my entries.

My letters at first documented nights in the shisha-smoky souk, or the bizarre scraps I found myself in as a lone, white, western woman. Such as the time when I had a meeting with the Director of the ambulance service and was given the typically hazy desert directions of ‘Go to the hospital and her office is next to the line-up of ambulances.’ I found a line-up of ambulances at the A and E.  I had my doubts and the receptionist quickly put me right.  The ambulance station was on the other side of the hospital complex.

‘Shukran,’ I called to her as I turned to walk back out. The receptionist and three porters bore down on me, ‘Lady! Lady! Where are you going?’ I was heading to the ambulance station.  ‘Are you crazee?’ It was at most a ten minute walk, admittedly in forty degree heat and humidity like a wet velvet towel.

There wasn’t a hope I was going to be allowed to walk there. I was going to be late. I didn’t have time to call and wait for a taxi. Taxis were almost as mythical as magic carpets. If you did manage to persuade a taxi to come and pick you up, you were in for a minimum hour wait in a city where the roads were permanently grid locked with Land Cruisers, and mostly the taxis never turned up.

I could walk I insisted, trying again to exit, managing to get half a foot over the threshold. I should have known better. Within seconds everyone in the A and E was shrieking at me. Step forward my hero in a green boiler suit.  Sami was a paramedic and he was heading over to the ambulance station. He would give me a lift. I was so grateful it didn’t click immediately that within the next minutes I would find myself hurtling downtown, the opposite direction to the station, in an ambulance.

Sami explained that the hospital enforced a strict one way system, which meant that whenever the ambulances needed to return to base they had to detour downtown. I gulped, fished out my mobile and rang my office to ask them to let the ambulance Director know I was going to be late.  A trip downtown meant a good hour in the snarling traffic, at least. As I explained my predicament on the phone, that I had got a lift but was stuck in traffic, carefully neglecting to mention I was in the back of an ambulance, I felt a sharp lurch.  Sami had stamped on the accelerator. The undeniable wail of the siren somewhat gave away my mode of transportation. I got to my meeting pretty much on time, Arabic time, but I never heard the end of it back at the office.

As the weeks turned to months my initial thrill of being somewhere so completely unfamiliar and disorienting wore off, and my diaries and letters became my life line.  The ripples of recession in Europe and America lapped at the edge of the desert. Gas and oil prices plunged deep. Threats of purging ex pats from government jobs intensified.  Suspicion about foreigners spread. The champagne brunches at seven star hotels lost a touch of their wild abandon. Was it time to cut and run? Would there be a coup? What was the truth about the rumours of a power struggle at the palace? The locals were whispering about it and after all power never transferred without bloodshed out here. You just can’t sweep away the desert, however many times a day you take a broom to the piles of sticky, red sand that insinuated through every tiny crevice.

Why did our mobile phones click, when they never did that at home? Who was the man now sitting on a stool outside my office every day? Who had been in my apartment, gone through my things yet not taken anything, just moved everything by an inch, and left the door open and a stubbed out cigarette – to let me know? And that night, that pitch, blistering night out in the desert – what really happened then?

Back home, free from the sand djinn, they still scorched my dreams. The only way I knew how to deal with them was to write. I took up my letters and diaries and pulled out morsels, popped them in the mouths of the characters that haunted my night terrors and Souk spoke as I put my pen to the page.

If you enjoyed this piece, you can read more about the moments that formed a backdrop to Electric Souk at my blog http://rosemcginty.wordpress.com

 

Links

‘Electric Souk’ is available from Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/electric-souk/

It can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Electric-Souk-Rose-McGinty/dp/1911129821/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1489520881&sr=1-1

Twitter – @rosemcginty

 

Interview with Deirdre Quiery

Let’s have another author interview.  Deirdre Quiery’s debut novel, ‘Eden Burning’ was published by Urbane Publications in August 2015 and her new book, ‘The Secret Wound’ is out in June of this year.

 

Can you tell me a bit about ‘The Secret Wound’ please?

“The Secret Wound” is inspired by my love of why we keep secrets, the world of myths, the sense that every single person’s life is a mythical journey, taking them through a world of adventure to transformation and metamorphosis and my love of storytelling.

I have always been fascinated by the “secrets” which people keep and take with them to the grave. That made me think that perhaps what makes people really unique and interesting is everything that we don’t know about them and maybe will never know.

It is as if when we look at another person we see a door but it is locked. We don’t have the key to open it. The person looking back at us is holding the key in their heart. They are torn by this dilemma. One part of them wants to hand us the key and allow us to open the door and to walk inside and see who they truly are. They know that this will open to them the depths of intimacy and acceptance which they so desire. The other part of them is afraid that if they hand us the key, we will walk inside and run away screaming in horror at what we have discovered. This second possibility is terrifying – as it has the potential of totally destroying the fragments of identity which the person is so desperately clinging to. They choose to keep the key in their heart and most insist on the door remaining closed.

When I started writing “The Secret Wound” I had a dream of creating “a new myth” – which would allow me to tell a new story about the hero setting out on a journey, facing challenges and returning home transformed. I imagined making it “new” by having the journey take place on two levels – one is a real physical journey and the second a psychological journey into the heart, where the hidden key is discovered. The individual with great difficulty opens the door which allows them to see themselves as they truly are and rather than run away screaming – this revelation of what was hidden and distorting their lives will be the catalyst for transformation.

Gurtha – a key protagonist – goes to Mallorca after his mother Nuala is murdered and his life is in disarray. He does not know who killed Nuala or why she was murdered. He decides to spend 40 days on the beautiful Mediterranean island to take stock of his life and to find a new direction and meaning for life. He meets with a circle of friends within the ex-pat community; dark secrets are revealed which transform each of their lives within 40 days and the secret about who murdered Nuala is unlocked.

 

Where did you get the idea for it from?

By observing in real life people acting in ways which cause great suffering to themselves and others but they are unaware of what is driving their behaviour. It is hidden to them. It is only when they see what is hidden that they are released from their personal “prison”, are healed and liberated.

 

Did you have to do any research for your new book?

Yes. I adored it. I researched the origin of myths, remembering Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero of a Thousand Faces” and “The Power of Myth”.

I then began to read Bernard McGinn’s books on the “foundations, growth and flowering” of mysticism. Bernard McGinn is a Professor of Divinity at Chicago University and is considered to be the world’s expert on mysticism. The path of mysticism is very much like the hero’s journey. It is a journey to experience love, casting off the ego along the way. It has phases of awakening, purgation, illumination and union. Union is the experience of ‘resting’ in a love beyond human understanding.

I so much enjoyed this research that I am off to Houston in August of this year to attend a 3 day workshop run by Bernard McGinn on the subject of mysticism.

 

Do you see yourself in any of your characters?

Yes. I am in them all in one way or another! When people have read “Eden Burning” they are quite shocked that I can create a murderer. However, I think a writer has to have empathy for every single one of their characters. If you have deep empathy that means that you understand how they feel, the situation that they find themselves in and why they are acting in ways which may not be understood by others.

When your level of empathy for your characters deepens, you find that you have compassion for them. For me, this means suffering with them. At that moment the writer and the character are one and the same. For that to happen, I have to be in them from the start.

When my friends say goodbye to me after a visit, they often say, “Don’t be murdering anyone today – well do it, only if it’s in your novel.”

 

Are you the type of person who wakes up in the middle of the night with ideas that you have to jot down straightaway?

No. However, I do awaken up at times in the middle of the night from a strange and wonderful dream which I always remember in the morning and which inspires my stories.

I love the dream world. I have experienced in my own life, dreams which predict the future, archetypal dreams presenting me with an insight into life and lucid dreams where I am aware in the dream that I am dreaming. In these dreams I can make the dream change according to my wishes. I remember one such dream when I realised within the dream that I could make anything I thought come true. I had great fun doing that!

 

Will you be having a book launch?

Yes. I am thrilled to be having my book launch on the 6th July 2017, at the Meditation Centre, St Mark’s Church Myddelton Square, London, EC1R 1XX – 1830 – 2100. At the book launch I will simultaneously be opening an exhibition of my art which will explore the theme of “The Secret Wound” in oils.

 

What do you want people to get out of your book?

I really want them to enjoy it. I love TV programmes like Agatha Christie – including Poirot, Criminal Minds, Inspector Morse, Lewis … I would like them to have a sense of reading a psychological thriller in which they are captivated. I also would like to give them a sense that life is really wonderful and mysterious. If they already feel this – then we can have a chuckle together about it.

 

Any pearls of wisdom for anyone wanting to write?

If you want to write – you already have the desire planted within you which is your gift. All you have to do now is to honour it and begin to write. Don’t judge your writing but be open to feedback from people you trust and especially from people who know the key to your heart.

 

How long have you been painting for?

Since moving to Mallorca – 15 years ago.

 

What’s it like living in Mallorca?

When people hear that I live in Mallorca, they think I am lying on the beach for a large part of the year. However, nothing could be further from the truth. I actually haven’t been into the sea in 15 years – even though it is only 10 minutes from home in the car.

What I love about Mallorca is its natural beauty – being in nature – living beside the sea, seeing the oranges change colour at sunset, watching the figs appear on the fig trees, the orange blossom in April turning into Christmas oranges.

For the first year and a half, we lived in an isolated olive grove, with no running water, no TV, no fixed line telephone, no internet. It was then that I felt myself a part of nature – at one with sheep, cats, eagles, bees, beetles and the olive trees.

I would say that what I have learnt living there, when I am not travelling with work, is that life can be incredibly simple and we have a tendency to complicate it.

 

Would you ever move to London?

Never say never. I love London. I know this is going to sound weird but I feel really at home in London – more than I do after 15 years in Mallorca. I also adored living in Oxford for 12 years. I am going to keep an open mind and who knows what might happen. What I might struggle with is cutting my umbilical cord to living so intensely now with nature.

 

Describe your life in five words.

I’m a seeker still seeking.

 

Links

‘Eden Burning’ is available to buy from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/eden-burning/

Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Eden-Burning-Deirdre-Quiery/dp/1909273902/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1458254682&sr=1-1&keywords=eden+burning

‘The Secret Wound’ can be pre-ordered from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/the-secret-wound/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Secret-Wound-Deirdre-Quiery/1911331833/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1489434292&sr=1-1&keywords=the+secret+wound

Author Page with a weekly blog –  www.deirdrequiery.com

Twitter – @SupernovaQ

Link for the book trailer for Eden Burning – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0v5Su7exVI

Book teasers for The Secret Wound – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4jxyEb0s_A and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftirPMb515Q

Book Review – ‘Fade to Dead’ by Tara Moore


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

‘Fade to Dead’ is available from:-

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

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

 

Interview with John Simmons

I’m delighted to welcome John Simmons back to my blog.  His  new book, ‘Spanish Crossings’ will be out next month.  I asked John some questions.

 

Your new book sounds wonderful. Can you tell me a bit about ‘Spanish Crossings’ please.

It’s my second novel – ‘Leaves’ was my first. Some readers remarked about ‘Leaves’ that it was a historical novel – set in 1970 – and that surprised me. But I think it gave me the courage to attempt something more genuinely historical, so ‘Spanish Crossings’ is set before, during and after the Second World War. Its main background is the Spanish Civil War and the true but little-known story of the 4000 Basque children who were refugees from that conflict in 1937. History always has a contemporary relevance.

But it’s not a history book, it’s a story. And as a story there is a main character, Lorna, who is a young woman in the 1930s engaged in the politics of that time. The novel is her story and it’s about conflict and love against that historical background. I hope – and early readers confirm – that it’s a gripping story with a somewhat chequered but intriguing relationship at its heart.

 

Where did you get the idea for this book?

I had gone to Spain to run a Dark Angels writing course. I dreamt the line “Mother declared herself happy” – the first time such a thing has happened to me. I liked the line and continued writing that day in Seville. Going from café to café, bench to bench, it grew into a story that is now the novel’s Prologue and it created the main character and theme. It showed that I had been thinking about some family history.

My daughter Jessie – named after my mother – is the family researcher. She’s always been interested in family stories, perhaps particularly about my mother and father whom she never met (they died while I was relatively young). We had photographs of my mum with refugee children during the Spanish Civil War, and of a Spanish boy my mum and dad had ‘adopted’ at the time. I only knew his name was Jesús and that he had returned to Bilbao in 1938.

Jessie gave me a book called ‘Only for three months’ (by Adrian Bell) that told the story of the Spanish children who had come over on a boat called the Habana in 1937, soon after the bombing of Guernica by German airplanes. Guernica became famous for its brutality and for Picasso’s response in one of his most famous paintings. So the combination of family and world history developed the idea for the book, and once I started working on it, it took hold of me.

 

Did you have to do research and what did it entail?

It started with the reading of that book ‘Only for three months’, and a number of plotlines came from that. I read a lot around the subject and the period. I also found the art and photographs of the time helped me really enter the period. One photographer – Wolfgang Suschitsky, himself a 1930s refugee from fascism – was particularly inspirational (one of his photographs is on the front cover).

The other vital research was to do with place. There are three main settings: London, Guernica and the French border town of Hendaye. I grew up in central London so the London settings came naturally, but it was still fascinating to walk the streets featured and imagine them in an earlier period. I visited Bilbao and Guernica in northern Spain and that helped me get a proper feel, though obviously they are much changed. Visiting Hendaye was probably the most directly inspirational because it has a particular geography that plays an important part in the story. I could look across the estuary towards Spain, just a couple of miles away, and write on the spot.

 

How long did it take you to write?

I wrote what is now the Prologue on that Dark Angels course in September 2014. And finished writing the novel in April 2016. So two years with further editing time.

 

What is your usual writing routine?

My routine is not to have a routine. I’m not one of these writers who starts at 6, say, and works through to lunchtime every day – then plays tennis in the afternoon. My life is not like that because I work as a writer and consultant in the world of business and brands. My paid work in those areas subsidises my personal, fictional work. So I fit my own writing in when and where I can.

Actually my one really established writing habit is to always spend Friday evenings locked away – nowadays in my converted loft at home – and write as late as the spirit moves me. It used to be till the early hours – nowadays I stop before midnight.

 

I think it would be wonderful if some of the characters from your book came alive. What would be your reaction if that happened?

It has happened. These characters are real for me. I also have the strange experience with this novel of my family history. My mum and dad are definitely not characters in the novel but I found myself writing scenes where they might have been present. It might sound spooky or sentimental – but it was an important aspect of the writing experience with this book.

 

What are you planning to write next?

When I finished ‘Spanish Crossings’ I felt bereft – the story and characters I’d lived with had moved out of my head. So I needed to fill it with another story and new characters. I almost forced that to happen one Friday night, writing a series of short pieces set during the First World War. That gave me a range of characters and the characters suggested stories that could be linked.

What has emerged is a novel in progress called ‘The Good Messenger’. It’s set before and after the First World War; the first part has a nine-year-old boy as its central character, the final part shows him grown up in the 1920s and reconnecting with some of the characters from the pre-war period. I’m probably two-thirds (about 60.000 words) through the first draft.

 

You’ve had an interesting career by the looks of it. Can you tell me a bit about your Dark Angels workshops?

I was a director of Interbrand until 2003 (‘the world’s leading brand agency’). I insisted that language – the way companies communicate through words – needed to be part of branding. So I established a discipline to focus on that, and started writing books about ‘how to write more powerfully for brands’. One of those books was called ‘Dark Angels’, and this also became a training programme in ‘creative writing for business’. Three books make up the Dark Angels Trilogy and these have now been published in new editions by Urbane.

I’ve been running these Dark Angels courses for more than a dozen years now, for most of that time with two Scottish writers (Stuart Delves and Jamie Jauncey) and now with a wider group of associates, including writer/trainers in the USA, Ireland and the Antipodes. We go to remote and beautiful places – the Scottish highlands, Andalucian national park, coast of Cornwall, rural Ireland – and work with writers intensively on creative exercises. It’s great fun. People who ‘graduate’ tell me that it’s a life-transforming experience. www.dark-angels.org.uk

 

What are your thoughts on social media?

It’s the world we live in now. When the most powerful man in the world seems addicted to Twitter, you can’t ignore its influence. So I’m regularly on Twitter @JNSim, less regularly on Facebook, and I enjoy Instagram because I love photography and make no claims for any ability in that area.

More recently I’ve discovered more of the background to my Spanish story and the events of that time via Twitter. I was followed by a number of Spanish/Basque people and they have been enormously helpful in uncovering previously unknown aspects of that history. Including some of what happened to Jesùs Iguaran Aramburu after he returned to Spain.

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I’ve always loved theatre and football. I’ve been lucky to combine these passions with my writing work. With my son Matt I wrote a book about our team, the Arsenal, and I’ve worked on the brands of a number of theatrical institutions such as the National Theatre, the Globe and the Old Vic.

 

What do you prefer – hardbacks or paperbacks?

I’ve always loved the book as a physical object, the look, feel and smell of a new book. The hardback has more of that tactile, sensuous appeal but I probably prefer to read paperbacks simply because I read while travelling, and a paperback is so easy to carry around and read on the tube, train etc. But I do believe all books are beautiful, collectible objects – I had to create my loft largely because I’d run out of shelf space for all the books. Books do furnish a room.

 

Describe your life in three words

Observing, listening, writing.

 

Links

26 Fruits Website – www.26fruits.co.uk/blog

Dark Angels Website – www.dark-angels.org.uk

Co-founder of www.26.org.uk

Twitter – @JNSim

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