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Archive for the tag “Williams & Whiting”

Guest Post by Andrea Jutson

I would like to welcome Andrea Jutson to my blog.  Her book, ‘Senseless’, the first volume of The James Paxton Mysteries was published in paperback and as an eBook last month by Williams & Whiting.  Andrea has written a guest post which I hope you all enjoy.

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Pick Your Poison – The Many Flavours of the Crime Novel

What I love about reading – and writing – crime is that, as all crime readers know, there’s no such thing as “the crime novel”. When I set out to write my first crime novel, Senseless, choosing my genre wasn’t as simple as going ‘I’ll write a book with murders in it’. I had to fight really hard to keep my writing and my characters on track, with just the right level of humour to keep it from being the sort of dry police procedural I’d grown tired of, but not so funny it headed into screwball territory. I spent some time reading the kind of authors I aspired to be, and thinking: “What would Mark Billingham sound like here?” Or conversely, having to murder my own best lines, in agony, because the punchlines ruined the punch.

It made me really think about how much crime, as a supposedly single genre, really encompasses all sorts of different conventions that each require their own skills. There’s cosy, there’s Sherlock Holmes-style detective, there’s the eight-minute hardboiled, and six-minute with a few soft bits, there’s darkly funny, the serial killer thriller, there’s police procedural, spy novel, historical – and that has as many sub-genres again – screwball caper, psychological thriller, supernatural…the list goes on. Despite all the genre-blending and bending that goes on, the hardest thing for me as a new writer doing a serial killer thriller with elements of the supernatural was staying on my side of the road. Or even finding the road.

Oddly, the amount of detail I spent describing people’s meals also seemed to come highly loaded – too much detail, and it sounded like a cosy American novel where everyone always seems to eat delicious meals of lobster or linguine with garlic-buttered dinner rolls hot from the oven and pie for dessert, but too little and it came out Lee Child. This seems like a pretty firm rule, and yet while Canadian author Louise Penny is always describing her characters’ gourmet meals – so far, so cosy – the books are somehow psychological studies. Likewise, Andrea Camilleri’s novels can spend chapters on the seafood and pasta dishes Inspector Montalbano stuffs in, and they’re hilarious, but they’re also as political as all hell. The very best crime novelists – hello, Stuart MacBride – can play very close to the edge, regularly veering off into farce while still managing to shock the hell out of us. Rules, it would seem, are meant to be broken.

It makes me shake my head when I see pages of reviews devoted to supposedly “proper” literature, when crime is reduced to just a sidebar. To me, crime is the most multi-faceted genre of all, and it’s definitely the hardest to write. Not only do crime authors need to give you plenty of clues – often more than the real police get – but like the anti-Christmas present, the clues should only be recognisable once they’re all wrapped up. Many’s the time, while pondering how much to reveal at any given moment, that I wished I’d started something easier, like a doctorate.

Now that I’ve had some time to let my own voice develop, the battle’s become easier. I’ve got to understand my characters better, and who I am as a writer. If the flavour of my books matures along the way, that’s fine with me. The wonderful thing about subtly changing your formula is that there are always plenty of readers with tastes to match. (Although the one sub-genre that stubbornly fails to excite me is the psychological thriller – I’ve never been super-keen on unpleasant protagonists! Unless they’re funny…)

 

About my books

Senseless and The Darkness Looking Back both feature barman and reluctant psychic James Paxton, an Englishman who tries to escape his reputation back home, but ends up hunting murderers in his adopted city of Auckland, New Zealand. The twists and turns are spiced with dark humour and the beautiful Auckland setting (if I do say so myself). They are now available for the first time in the UK, and are intended to be read, first and foremost, as crime novels, with a tinge of the supernatural.

 

Here’s the blurb to Senseless:

A small park in a nice Auckland suburb is the least likely spot to stumble across a body. The discovery of a man recently bludgeoned to death shatters the illusion of midwinter calm. But unfortunately for James Paxton, death is nothing out of the ordinary. Suspicion falls all too easily on the Englishman who’s hiding a secret. Not only did Paxton find the dead man – he spoke to him, too. Gifts he wished he never had are called into play when Mark Bradley begs him to track down his killer, for the sake of his daughter. Paxton’s carefully constructed new world threatens to crumble as he is sucked into the hunt for a predator, while the police snap close at his heels. And the corpses keep on mounting, one by one …

A darkly gripping mystery with an other-worldly twist.

 

Paxton’s story continues in The Darkness Looking Back. No matter which flavour of crime novel you prefer, I hope you’ll enjoy them!

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‘Senseless’ is available to purchase from Amazon UK:-

Paperback – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Senseless-1-James-Paxton-Mysteries/dp/1911266829/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1518460367&sr=1-2&keywords=andrea+jutson

eBook – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Senseless-James-Paxton-Mysteries-Book-ebook/dp/B078S6YT1F/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1518460367&sr=1-1&keywords=andrea+jutson

 

About Andrea Jutson

Andrea Jutson is a writer from Auckland, New Zealand. She has written two crime novels featuring reticent medium James Paxton, the first of which is Senseless, and is at work on a third. In her career, Andrea has been a bookseller, journalist, collections librarian, book buyer and journalist again, and once spent almost a year selling tickets at a heritage site in London. She now works at a public relations agency, and lives in South Auckland.

To find out more about Andrea Jutson’s books visit – http://williamsandwhiting.com/

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

How long did it take you to write?

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

 

What made you decide to write a series?

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

How long were you a police officer for? 

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

 

What sort of cases have you been involved in?

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

 

What was it like interviewing serial killers?

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

 

Where do you see yourself in five years time?

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

 

Will there be more books from you after this series?

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

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

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

 

About Paul Harrison

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

 

Links

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

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

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

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

 

Book Trailer

Book Extract – ‘Escapades in Bizarrchaeology: The Journal of Captain Max Virtus’ by Adrian Burrows

front-cover

‘Escapades in Bizarrchaeology: The Journal of Captain Max Virtus’ by Adrian Burrows was published by Williams & Whiting on the 1st December 2016.  I have an extract for all of you to read, but first here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

The History Book For People Who Don’t Like History – Yet! Captain Max Virtus has spent his life Excavating the Extraordinary and Unearthing the Unusual. Gathering the history of the Bizarre to exhibit in his Warehouse of Bizzarchaeology. Now you have the opportunity to take a guided tour of his life’s work, in this, his personal journal. Discover why bats were used as bombs, how an emu can defeat a tank, the reason why guns were installed in cemetries … and how you can get shot with an arrow … and survive. All this … and then things get really weird! Take History To The Max

 

Extract

Those Weird Vikings

Vikings. Brilliant weren’t they?

Stinky, blood thirsty, horned helmet wearing barbarians.

Only that sentence is depressingly untrue.

Firstly, Vikings were not stinky, in fact they were considered a fragrant bouquet of delight compared to their Saxon neighbours. Vikings bathed once a week and fashioned beauty products out of small animal bones, tweezers to pluck out unwanted hair and ear spoons to scoop out gunk from the lug holes of even the most fearsome warrior.

Secondly, Vikings weren’t all that blood thirsty. In fact, their raiding hobby fast moved on to rather more boring interests, such as trading, settling and exploring (YAWN!).

Thirdly, there’s no evidence to suggest that Vikings wore horns on their helmets. After all, why would anyone think it would be a good idea to stick two big easy to grab horns on the side of their head? It would allow a quick thinking opponent to either yank your head in position for a welltimed slash of a broadsword or simply pull your helmet over your eyes and provide chortlesome fun for all their friends as you stumble, blindly around the battlefield. In fact, there’s very little evidence to suggest that Vikings wore helmets AT ALL. Illustrations from the period show them wearing lousy leather caps or boringly bare headed.

So if Vikings aren’t stinky, blood thirsty, horned helmet wearing barbarians then doesn’t that make them rather boring? Oh no no dear reader, Vikings did plenty of bizarrely brilliant things.

 

Vikings loved Skiing

Who doesn’t love Skiing? The answer is not Vikings. They loved it. Their skis were about 2 metres long and made of pine wood. However, Vikings didn’t just ski, they also went ice skating. The skates were made from the foot bones of horses, cows or elks and were strapped to the feet of the Viking as they propelled themselves over the ice with two short sticks.

Are you thinking about a giant bearded Viking warrior involved in a pretty spectacular and surprisingly flexible ice skate dance routine whilst clad in horribly florescent and skin tight lycra? If not, you are now.

 

Wee Dye

Vikings considered the ideal hair colour to be blonde. They could also suffer from horrible infestations of lice and nits in their finely combed (yes, they had combs too) hair.

So what better solution than dunking your head in a month old bucket of wee?

Not only would it eliminate any rogue lice it would also lighten the colour of your hair.

However, having to keep month old buckets of wee could clutter up even the longest longhouse. So Lye Soap was developed instead. The key toxic ingredient of yee olde Lye Soap? Wee.

 

Vikings had a Weird Sense of Humour

Vikings took their reputations very seriously indeed. An insulted Viking would often respond to the verbal bashing by challenging the bully to a physical bashing instead. Duels would be held (not always resulting in death, sometimes the warrior who managed to disarm the other or draw first blood would be the victor) but what happened to the person who lost? Well, they were given a rather odd challenge. A wild cow would be brought into the hall where the duel had taken place. The cow’s tail would then be shaved and coated in grease. Then the Viking who had lost the duel would have their feet covered in grease too. Then the cow would be made angry (calling it names or poking it in the eye with a stick should do the trick). Then the loser would have to grip the cow’s tail (can you tell where this is going yet?).

On a given command the Viking would then have to pull the cow’s tail. Which would make the cow go WILD! Bucking and stomping, kicking out with its hooves like a cowy whirlwind of death. The poor Viking would simply have to keep hold of its tail until it calmed down. If he succeeded, then not only could he keep his life he could also keep the cow as well! Bonus!

 

Secret Bonus Fact: Viking warriors wore eyeliner! It was called kohl and it was a dark coloured powder that kept the harsh light of the sun from damaging sensitive eyeballs.

 

About Adrian Burrows

author-picture

(b.1981) works as an actor, Workshop Practitioner and Author in Lancaster. He is passionate about ensuring that history remains relevant to people of all ages and so spends the vast majority of his time dressed as a Viking, Roman Gladiator and/or a Pirate at primary schools across England.

His combination of broad shoulders and tiny waist means he has often been described as a triangle and he has a deep hatred of grammar and spelling – apologies in advance to his editor…

 

Links

‘Escapades in Bizarrchaeology: The Journal of Captain Max Virtus’ is available to buy from:-

Amazon UK

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Escapades-Bizarrchaeology-1-Adrian-Burrows-x/dp/1911266284/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1484000485&sr=8-1&keywords=escapades+in+bizarrchaeology

Waterstones

https://www.waterstones.com/book/escapades-in-bizarrchaeology/adrian-burrows/9781911266280

 

Adrian Burrow’s Twitter handle – @Adeauthor

 

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