Nathan O’Hagan Guest Post

Hi everyone,

Today I’m delighted to welcome author Nathan O’Hagan to my blog. Nathan has kindly written a couple of posts for me today so without further ado, I’ll hand you over to him… 🙂


 

After spending most of his teens and twenties in various unsuccessful bands, Nathan eventually turned his hand to writing.  In 2013 he self published a short fiction collection, “Purge”. “The World Is (Not) A Cold Dead Place” is his first completed novel, though he has since completed one more and is in the late stages of a third. He has also written a screenplay and another series of short stories which he may self publish in the future. He regularly writes features and reviews for God Is In The TV and Sabotage Times.

Nathan grew up on Merseyside, rarely venturing away other than a brief stint in Carlisle. He now lives in Northamptonshire with his wife and two children, and works full time for the NHS.

 


 

I have developed a detachment from the rest of the human race. I don’t fear them. I don’t consider myself above them. It’s just that I genuinely loathe them. There is no reason. I wasn’t abused as a child. There were no traumatic events in adolescence, no heartbreak or rejection in early adulthood. Nothing to account for the person I have become. I shall offer no explanation, no mitigation for what I am. But whatever the reason, I have come adrift from mankind, and that is where I intend to stay.

Welcome to Gary Lennon’s world. It isn’t a cold dead place. You’ll like it there. You’ll see things his way and you’ll want to stay. But Gary’s therapist has other ideas. He thinks Gary should get a job, meet people and interact with the real world. Look out, people. Look out, world.

“Gary is an anti-hero for our times, Everyman and the Outsider rolled into one, and his zeitgeist will explode off the page and roll down your chin with each mounting episode.” John Lake (author, Hot Knife)

 

“Nathan O’Hagan is a very talented writer.”

Kevin Sampson – Awaydays, Powder, The House On The Hill etc.

 

“Dark, funny, shitty, violent and moving. A Birkenhead OCD sufferer is forced to work in Call Centre. If you want a book that will make you laugh throughout try this.”

James Brown – Sabotage Times, talkSPORT, founder of Loaded.

 

Check out Nathan O’Hagan’s book here: The World Is {Not} A Cold, Dead Place

Facebook: Nathan O’Hagan

Twitter: @NathanOHagan

 


 

 

When I eventually clicked ‘save’ having completed my first novel, I thought the hard work was done. I’d been through edits, re-writes, re-drafts and title changes, eventually arriving at what I thought, or at least hoped, was a pretty decent novel. Now, all I had to do was find a publisher. I wasn’t naive enough to think this would be simple. The novel I had written, which I had eventually entitled “The World Is (Not) A Cold Dead Place” wasn’t a particularly  easy sell; set in Birkenhead, it tells the story of a misanthropic loner, Gary Lennon, struggling with OCD and various other anxiety disorders and mental health issues. Gary has very few friends (and seems intent on alienating those), strained relationships with his family, and explodes when his carefully honed routines and rituals and disturbed by the few social interactions he is unable to avoid. When he is forced off benefits and has to take a job in a local call centre, his world is turned upside down. Although there is a lot of humour in Gary’s outbursts, his rants also take the reader to some fairly dark places, and I knew that, while some would relate to him, others would find him very hard to like or even empathise with. The dialogue is also generously seasoned with the kind of language that might make Irvine Welsh blush. As I say, not an easy sell.

I was well aware that the publishing industry had become more risk averse than ever, and knew I would receive plenty of rejections before that one acceptance. I just wasn’t quite prepared for how many rejections. For the most part, given the swiftness and generic nature of the rejections, I was pretty sure many publishers weren’t even reading past the synopsis, if even that far. I had a niggling suspicion that many were simply seeing an unknown name and throwing it straight onto the ‘reject’ pile. I also had a feeling many of those who did bother to read it weren’t even getting past the word ‘Birkenhead’. Of the few that gave me any genuinely feedback, it was, surprisingly, universally positive. I received praise for the grittiness, the truthfulness of the characters, and particularly for the dialogue. The novel was compared in various quarters to the aforementioned Welsh, Chuck Palahniuk and Brett Easton Ellis, three of my favourite writers. ‘You write well’ one London agent told me, which, for some reason, stood out to me amongst the name checking and comparisons. A major international publisher, based in London, asked to see the full manuscript. When they eventually got back to me, they emailed me a few pages of more praise, some notes and suggestions, but at the end of the message was the dreaded phrase ‘but it’s not quite right for us’. I had now heard variants of that phrase several times. ‘Not quite what we’re looking for at the moment’ and ‘a little too dark’ also cropped up, along with one credible indie publisher telling me it was just a little too similar to something they’d published the year before.

This was all incredibly frustrating, far more so than if they had simply told me I was crap. That I could accept; knowing that I written something that seemed to be genuinely pretty good, but not being able to get anyone to bite, that was harder to take.

Still, it was enough incentive to keep going, but repeated rejections had certainly dented my enthusiasm for the pursuit, so I started work on a second novel, occasionally sending off another submission for ...Cold Dead Place but almost being beyond caring when the rejections trickled through.

Then, purely by chance, I happened across some bloke called Mick McCann on Twitter. Someone I followed had retweeted a post of Mick’s, saying he was actively seeking submissions for his indie publishers Armley Press. Looking into it, Armley Press, based in Leeds, described themselves as ‘Northern, punk publishers’. Well, as a Northerner (albeit one by now living in Northamptonshire) and a punk, this instantly caught my attention. They were also looking for gritty, sweary, realistic work, and I felt my novel fitted the bill. Armley Press had been set up by Mick a few years earlier to publish his own book “Coming Out As A Bowie Fan In Leeds” and his encyclopaedia of Leeds “How Leeds Changed The World”. Mick then also published a novel by his friend John Lake, who had had similar experiences to me when trying to get his own novel “Hot Knife” published. “Hot Knife” is a funny, violent and searing tale of drugs and gangs in Leeds, and the first part of an eventual trilogy. Mick couldn’t believe John’s London agent hadn’t managed to find a publisher, and offered to put the book out for him. John then joined forces with Mick to re-launch Armley Press, and to widen their remit and find more original writers who had been overlooked by the mainstream, not because of lack of talent, but because they didn’t fit the safe, no risks model the industry now seemed, for the most part, to be following. I contacted Mick via twitter and he told me to send the manuscript to John, who selected what they wanted to publish. John instantly responded well to it, sending me emails about passages he had enjoyed, and within a couple of weeks had told me he wanted to publish it. Better still, beyond having done a bit of copy editing and reformatting, he didn’t want me to change a single word.

We published on 21st August last year, and I couldn’t believe the response. Within a few weeks we had far outsold my expectations, thanks in no small part to some very generous promotion from media figures such as James Brown and James Endeacott, and writer Russ Litten.

This word-of-mouth factor has maintained a slow trickle of sales. Clearly two blokes from Leeds will never have the marketing reach of the big boys, but by trying to get the book into the hands of people they think will like it, they’ve tried to be creative to offset that disparity. I won’t be giving J.K. Rowling any sleepless nights in the bestseller stakes, and I certainly can’t afford to give up the day job, but what Armley Press have given me, and several other writers since, is a voice. When people like John and Mick, in their own rights superb writers, experts on pop culture, and all round raconteurs tell you, in all sincerity, how much they love your work, you get something you may well not get with a large publisher (not that I’d know, of course). They were willing to put their name to my book, and to put it out there. That, and the feedback I’ve had on Twitter and Facebook, from people I’ve never met who have enjoyed the book, some voraciously so, has made the struggle to get published worthwhile.

 


 

Huge thanks to Nathan O’Hagan for taking the time to do these guest posts for Bibliophile Book Club! 🙂

The Dead Can’t Talk… But Nick Quantrill can!

TDCT - Final cover
See what I did there?! 😂 I know, my puns are terrible, but I had to come up with something!
Aaaaaaanyway, day 2 of a week of blog posts featuring Nick Quantrill, and I’m lucky enough to have a post about Unorthodox Protagonists. I don’t know about you all, but I’m suitably intrigued 😉

So without further ado, I’ll hand it over to the man himself…

Unorthodox Protagonists (by Nick Quantrill)
Undoubtedly, the police novel dominates the crime fiction field. The professional police officer, often a Detective Inspector, investigates the worse humanity can offer, sometimes over stepping the mark, but inevitably righting the wrongs that have been committed. The dominance of the sub-genre means it’s saturated with novels, and not all of them are great. But for all the generic heavy drinking detectives with broken personal lives, we have many inventive interpretations. Eva Dolan’s Zigic and Ferreira series set in Peterborough’s Hate Crime Unit and Luca Veste’s Murphy and Rossi continue to redefine what we can expect from a police novel.

It’s only fair to confess that I once tried to write a police novel. It was terrible. Really, really terrible. It borrowed heavily from Rankin’s Rebus series, essentially seeking to map my home city of Hull in the way Ian maps Edinburgh. It wasn’t for me as a writer, and besides, David Mark has very much nailed down the Hull cop novel with his excellent DS McAvoy series.

I had to do something different. The Joe Geraghty trilogy featured a small time Private Investigator. But Geraghty isn’t the wise-cracking, whisky drinking type of guy who has a femme fatale stumble into his office every other day. It was important to me that he reflected his surroundings. Over the course of the trilogy, Hull moved from being voted the UK’s ‘Crap Town’ title holder to 2017 UK City of Culture, and it’s opened the door to more stories I want to tell. But could he open the door to the rich and the powerful, the kind of people suddenly interested in an isolated northern port city? All I knew was that I didn’t want to write a police character.

I spent some time experimenting with different protagonists, but settled on Anna Stone and Luke Carver, who are both introduced in “The Dead Can’t Talk”. I need to confess that Stone is sort of a police officer. She’s a Detective Constable with Humberside Police, but is on an enforced break after overstepping the mark when investigating the disappearance of her sister. Luke Carver is a man she’d previously arrested, but he’s now out of prison, drifting and looking for a fresh purpose.

They’re brought back together when Carver is handed a videotape, a piece of evidence which might just unlock the mystery of Stone’s sister’s disappearance. It won’t be an easy road for either of them. Their recent history means they can’t trust each other and have to develop an understanding. They’re different, but also the same, an irony they both come to recognise. Can they continue to work together and what form will any agreement take? I’m still peeling back the layers and am excited to find out for myself. But I do have a police character in mind to develop in the future…

 
About Nick Quantrill: 




Nick Quantrill was born and raised in Hull, an isolated industrial city in East Yorkshire.
His acclaimed Joe Geraghty crime novels, featuring a small time
rugby league player turned Private Investigator, have mapped the city’s journey from being branded the UK’s Crap Town winner through to being crowned 2017 UK City of Culture. “The Dead Can’t Talk” marks the start of an exciting new series and introduces readers to Anna Stone, a disillusioned police officer, and Luke Carver, a drifter freshly released from prison. Still exploring a rapidly changing Hull, the settings may be local, but the ideas and issues resonate on a much wider basis.
Also a prolific short story writer, his work has appeared in various volumes of “The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime”. In 2011, he became the first person to hold the role of ‘Writer in Residence’ at Hull Kingston Rovers, contributing exclusive fiction to the matchday programme and assisting with the club’s literacy programme. A regular fixture at events, he’s taken to the stage at Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate, Crimefest and Iceland Noir, as well as numerous libraries around the north of England.

www.nickquantrill.co.uk
@NickQuantrill

 

About The Dead Can’t Talk:

How far will Anna Stone, a disillusioned police officer on the brink of leaving her job, go to uncover the truth about her sister’s disappearance? Approached by Luke Carver, an ex-Army drifter she’s previously sent to prison, he claims to have information which will help her. As the trail leads from Hull and the Humber’s desperate and downtrodden to its great and good, an unsolved murder 25 years ago places their lives in danger, leaving Stone to decide if she can really trust a man who has his own reasons for helping.

Click this link to purchase–> The Dead Can’t Talk by Nick Quantrill

 

Huge thanks to Nick for his guest post! I have The Dead Can’t Talk on my TBR so there will be a review up just as soon as I’ve read it! 😊

Inaugural Sucker For A Series Post 

Hi everyone,

So today is a busy day for me! 😊 I have two posts on the blog today and it’s also my 30th birthday! 🎉 I decided to launch my new feature today, as it’s a date I won’t forget, and I figured I should kick it off!

I love a series, hence the title, I often say to people “I’m a sucker for a series” so thought I may as well call the feature that! 

Series are brilliant for so many reasons; they can go on for years (see Sue Grafton, Jonathan Kellerman, John Sandford, Michael Connelly to name  a handful), they are something to get excited about when you are waiting for the next instalment, and they are fun to collect. (I only have a handful I can take a pic of!)


For my first series post, I’ve chosen the Jack Reacher series written by Lee Child. I have all of these books, mostly in paperback but some on kindle too! As I write this, there are 20 books in the series:

  • Killing Floor (1997)
  • Die Trying (1998)
  • Tripwire (1999) 
  • Running Blind (2000) 
  • Echo Burning (2001) 
  • Without Fail (2002) 
  • Persuader (2003) 
  • The Enemy (2004) 
  • One Shot (2005) 
  • The Hard Way (2006) 
  • Bad Luck And Trouble (2007) 
  • Nothing To Lose (2008) 
  • Gone Tomorrow (2009) 
  • 61 Hours (2010) 
  • Worth Dying For (2010) 
  • The Affair (2011) 
  • A Wanted Man (2012) 
  • Never Go Back (2013) 
  • Personal (2014) 
  • Make Me (2015)

I’m relatively new to Lee Child’s work. When I say relatively new, I mean I only started reading them in the last 7 years or so. The first book, Killing Floor was published in 1997, with the most recent Make Me being published in September 2015 but I’ve managed to catch up! 😂

I’ve read every one of these books, in order, and they have not disappointed me once. Lee Child, for me, is a “comfort” author. When there is an imminent Jack Reacher novel, you can be guaranteed I have it on preorder or I buy it immediately! I know what they are like, and I know all the characters. Picking up a Jack Reacher novel is like catching up with an old friend! 

I really enjoy manly books. The kind of books that are full of action and fighting and bad guys and everything else that goes along with them. They basically read like a movie, which I love!

Speaking of, Jack Reacher, was a movie made in 2012. Starring Tom Cruise, it wasn’t what I expected. Not least because apparently Jack Reacher is built like a brick shithouse, which Cruise is clearly not! Questionable casting aside, I still thoroughly enjoy an action film so it’s by no means the worst I’ve seen!

I don’t reread books, ever, if I’m honest. However, I can say with certainty that I will reread the Jack Reacher series at some point. As a character, I think he’s brilliant and I hate that I will never read them with fresh eyes, but I won’t let that stop me! 😊

I could go on and on about Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series, but at some stage I’ll have to stop! 😁 If you haven’t read them, I highly recommend them! The books are escapism, action-filled, testosterone-fuelled and full of tension. I’ll continue to read them for as long as Lee Child continues to write them!

I’ve devoted this post to Lee Child because his series is the longest I’ve read, at 20 books. That being said, there are tons more series I’ve read and loved so I’m sure you can expect to see more posts from me during the course of this new monthly feature. 

I have posts up until November, but if you’re an author or blogger and want to feature, email me at bibliophilebookclub@gmail.com for more info! 😊

Q&A with David Jackson: A Tapping at my Door

Hi everyone,

Today I’m delighted to have a q&a with David Jackson, author of A Tapping At My Door as part of a week long celebration for his new novel. I recently read this book and absolutely loved it! So much so that I went and bought David’s back catalogue of books!!! You can have a read of my review by clicking on the link below:

A Tapping at my Door by David Jackson

DJ1

Day Five: Meet the Author 

 

Can we talk about David Jackson? 

We certainly can. He’s a great guy. 

Before David Jackson ‘the author’ who was David Jackson?  How did you occupy your days? 

I was, and still am, a university lecturer. My days are now doubly occupied! 

If writing is a solitary experience, then how do you step back from the keyboard and relax? 

Usually by spending time with my family. I love a good movie, or a nice meal, and now and again it’s great to get drunk with friends and put the world to rights. 

Were you a bookworm as a child?  What books or which authors were your constant companions? 

I went through various phases. When I was very young I worked my way through the Famous Five and Secret Seven books by Enid Blyton. Later came my science fiction period. I read everything by Isaac Asimov, and much by Arthur C Clarke. Mystery novels came after that: Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie. Then I discovered Ed McBain and other American crime writers, and that’s when I was really bitten by the crime bug. 

Do you have a writing ritual? Is there discipline to your day or is writing time snatched between a never-ending list of domestic chores? 

Because I have a day job, I need to have a certain amount of discipline. After the evening meal is usually when I will force myself to head upstairs to write. That’s exactly what I’ve done now to respond to this Q&A! 

What was the last film you saw at the cinema?  Are you a fan of the current trend to remake/reimagine movie classics from days gone by? 

Funnily enough, the last film I saw was the new version of Jungle Book, which is of course a reworking of a classic. It’s actually really good, with incredible use of CGI, but more generally I think it’s only worth doing a remake if something new can be brought to the viewing experience. It has worked for The Fly, Cape Fear and Scarface, but for some others they really shouldn’t have bothered. 

If you could give your 10 year old self one piece of advice what would it be? 

Not to take advice from an adult who you’ve never met, but who looks strangely familiar and is determined to give you advice. 

 


 

My thanks to David for joining me on the blog today. A Tapping At My  Door is out NOW and you can get a copy from Amazon by clicking the link below:

A Tapping At My Door by David Jackson

David Jackson is the author of a series of crime thrillers featuring New York Detective Callum Doyle. His debut novel, Pariah, was Highly Commended in the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Awards. When not writing fiction, David spends his time as a lecturer in a university science department. He also gives occasional workshops on creative writing. He lives on the Wirral peninsula with his wife and two daughters. David can be followed on Twitter, where he goes under the name @Author_Dave!

 

Dead Is Better by Jo Perry

 

Massive thank you to Chris McVeigh at Fahrenheit Press for my ARC of Dead Is Better. If you missed it, I had a brilliant exclusive Q&A with the author, Jo Perry, on my blog yesterday which you can read HERE.


About the book (via Goodreads):


Charles Stone has just woken up dead. Well he’s pretty sure he’s dead, what with the bullet holes in his chest and all. He also appears to be totally alone in the after-life except for the equally dead dog who seems to be his new companion.

Unable to interact with the world of the living other than watching and listening, he and the dead dog (whom he names Rose) have nothing to do and all the time in the world to do it.

When Charles and Rose try to unravel the circumstances of Charles’s death, they uncover a criminal who is raking in millions of dollars by cruelly exploiting, and sometimes killing, his victims.

But what difference can a ghost make?

And what does the damn dog have to do with any of this?

 

 

My thoughts:


I really enjoyed Dead Is Better. It is yet another unique choice from Fahrenheit Press! I read this book in one sitting, it was that engaging for me.

Short chapters make it super easy to read, and there is a quote about death at the beginning of each one which, personally, I thought was a great addition to the book!

Dead Is Better opens with Charles Stone’s demise, and the reader is instantly made to start asking questions. How? Why? And what the hell is with the dog?!

I have to say, once the story got going, I couldn’t stop reading! I was dying (pardon the pun 😂) to find out what happened to Charles, and why the dog (subsequently named Rose) was with him specifically.

I found some of the supporting characters to be awful human beings; they were greedy, self centred and uncaring! That’s testament to the the author and her ability to evoke these emotions in the reader. I like it when books make me hate characters as it’s doing its job!

I’m not going to lie, my eyes may have welled up (just a little mind!) towards the end of the book. I won’t spoil it though. Maybe it caught me off guard! 😉

Dead Is Better is a wonderful book. It is so well written that you just don’t want to stop reading for fear you’ll miss anything!

It will make you question your own mortality and what your feelings about death are, while at the same time reaffirming that life is not always bad. The quotes used at the beginning of each chapter, all of which refer to death or dying, really add to the experience while you’re reading.

I gave Dead Is Better an easy 5⭐️ on Goodreads. It weird, unique, funny and sad all at the same time. An emotional read, but a bloody great story! I can’t wait to read the follow up, Dead Is Best!

You can purchase a copy of Dead Is Better HERE

Happy Reading 😊📖


**Exclusive Author Interview- Jo Perry**

Today, I’m super excited to say that Jo Perry, author of Dead Is Better is joining me on the blog for a little Q&A session! 

Last month, I had the absolute pleasure of reading Dead Is Better thanks to Chris McVeigh at Fahrenheit Press. I’ll be posting my full review tomorrow so make sure to check back and have a read of my thoughts. 

  


(Author pic from http://www.authorjoperry.com)


So, without further ado…


Hi Jo,

Welcome to Bibliophile Book Club and thanks for taking the time to answer some questions 🙂

First off, could you tell us a little about yourself? 

I have a Ph.D. in English, taught writing and literature, wrote and produced television shows, have written articles and reviews, etc. I’m the mother of two grown children—one in chaplaincy school and the other in medical school. I live in Los Angeles with my husband, novelist Thomas Perry, and a quartet of rescue cats and dogs. 

How did you begin writing?

I always wrote. Poetry mostly. My father was a comedy writer, so seeing him working at his typewriter was a normal part of life. I wrote academic stuff, too (my dissertation was on the representation of feeling in the novels of Samuel Richardson—yikes!), then t.v. scripts, then freelance stuff. I came to fiction late. 


Your novel, Dead Is Better has been published before and now you’re with Fahrenheit Press, how did that come about? 

My relationship with Fahrenheit Press was a completely weird, accidental, wonderful fluke. I discovered Fahrenheit Press on Twitter—loved the chinless skull––and checked out the website. More skulls! A smart, smartass, no bullshit modus operandi at work. Terrific books. A book club. Such energy. 

So I sent off my sequel, DEAD IS BEST, with a very brief introductory note to Chris McVeigh, Fahrenheit Commander in Chief. 

And to my delighted surprise–Fahrenheit was unlike other publishers. Those guys rarely answer queries in a timely manner (i.e. during your lifetime), and if they do agree to look at something, they demand all sorts of painful and time-devouring reformatting, word counting, font-changing, and then––if they do respond––it’s after a year or so and you‘ve forgotten all about them.

So imagine my shock when I heard from Chris rather promptly, and my amazement when I learned that he’d actually read my manuscript and was familiar with Dead Is Better.

So here we are. Fahrenheit Press is a miracle.

* (I should note here that Chris is blazing a trail through the publishing world lately, so much fun to watch on Twitter!)*


You have a follow up to Dead Is Better coming up, can you tell us about Dead Is Best? (I’ve read the start and I’m excited for it!) 

Dead Is Best has Charles and the #deaddog Rose returning to the world of the living once again. 

This time Charles is not searching for his own murderer as he was in Dead Is Better, but trying help his charm-free and spoiled step-daughter get out of trouble. Along the way, Charles must confront his failed marriage, his failure as a stepfather, and he must revisit the place he hates most on earth, the place he calls “Beverly Fucking Hills.” 

Charles and Rose follow his stepdaughter into the American Southwest, where she becomes the victim of a vicious and lethal operation that preys on troubled teens. When things get truly terrible, the human ghost—with the help of his ghost dog and a few others ––must find a way to save her life.  


Do you have any rituals or quirks when you wrote?! Favourite mug? Place to sit? Night or day? 

I try to write every day. Having two dogs shapes my schedule. So after coffee and the morning walk, it’s time to write. More coffee is necessary. The mug doesn’t matter. There is usually a cat on the desk and a dog at my feet. Day is for writing; night is for reading. And martinis.


I know your husband, Thomas, is a Novelist also. Would you/have you thought about collaborating together on a book?

Yes, my husband is Thomas Perry. I love and admire his work. He’s known for his Butcher’s Boy series, his Jane Whitefield series and a number of terrific stand-alone thrillers and mysteries. While we collaborated successfully as television writers, I don’t think we could ever collaborate on a novel. We are very different writers. For one thing, my characters are dead and his are alive. 


Did you find it difficult to get Dead Is Better noticed/published? It’s such an unusual theme, were people reluctant to publish it?

Yes. It’s a weird book––genre-bent or genre-mixed—whichever characterization you prefer––with unusual protagonists, a lot of darkness, humor and swearing. I suppose I didn’t realize how unusual the book was until I was told by one publisher that I had to get rid of the dog, that it wasn’t permissible to have a dead dog as a protagonist.  

Another told me that I couldn’t write a book “that way.” That Dead Is Better wasn’t like other mysteries or crime novels and I’d better make it like them. Or else. 

So many publishers have decided that it’s their job to zealously police the boundaries that separate mystery categories, i.e. noir, cozy, hard-boiled, pet detective, etc. 

Dead Is Better doesn’t fit neatly into any of those slots. 

Which is why I’m beyond lucky to have found a publisher who loves dead dogs as much as I do, who isn’t a member of the Genre Police, and who is interested in the reader’s experience more than anything else. 


The plot for DIB is so well thought out, I know you said they happened to you, but how did Charles and Rose make you write the book?! 

The truth is that I didn’t plan the book; Charles and Rose really and truly just happened to me. I suppose they were lurking in my subconscious for some time. I’d been thinking seriously and deeply about death, about cruelty, and how ineffective we are to stop it. Also, a few years before, a dog found me and changed my life in all sorts of small and powerful ways—the rhythm of my days, the way I looked at things, the way I felt. 

One of my favourite things about the book (morbidity alert!!!) is the quotes relating to death at the start of the chapters. What made you decide to open the chapters with these quotes?

I like them. Also, they give the reader a break from the voice of the first-person narrator, Charles, and provide other voices. They let the reader come up for air every once in awhile. I also hope that funny and not always funny meditations on death bring Charles and the reader closer together. 


If you wanted to tell future readers of your books anything about the book and the message it conveys, what would you tell them?

Hmmm. I guess the message is that we don’t know a fucking thing. About ourselves. About others. About anything. We think we do, but we don’t. 


What are your own reading habits? I always assume writers are voracious readers so I’m always interested to know what books people read! 

I always read my husband’s books, of course. They are part of my life and my mental landscape. For a long time I read mostly nonfiction, but I’m back to reading fiction, too. I confess to being a polyamorous reader; I read a number of books at once and have piles of them around. Recently I’ve really enjoyed Cat Warren’s What The Dog Knows, about the training of cadaver dogs; At Day’s Close: Night In Times Past by A Roger Ekirch—about night—it’s fascinating; I loved Grant Sutherland’s brooding and clever West of the City; and I’m really into Timothy Hallinan’s for the Dead, Lisa Brackman’s Dragon Day and James Craig’s A Slow Death—all brilliant and terrific and completely different.


Where can people find out more about you? Facebook/Twitter/Website? 

I have a website: www.authorjoperry.com

Facebook: Jo Perry Author

I’m on Twitter: @JoPerryAuthor


Lastly, what question do you never get asked but with you did? And what would your answer be?

Funny you should ask this. I’m moderating a panel at Left Coast Crime (a crime writers’ convention) at the end of the month, and have been working on questions for the authors. One is, “What are you most afraid of? What fear do you force your protagonist to face?” The idea being—Are the author and his character fearful of the same things?

My answer: 

Death has its drawbacks, but the prospect of living forever scares the shit out of me.

But cruelty scares me, too. Where does it come from? Like love, it’s a mystery.

For my hero Charles, the greatest fear is failure—and that’s how he finds himself when the book opens, he’s a ghost who has pretty much fucked up his life. 

For my canine heroine, # deaddog Rose, the fear is cruelty. She’s already faced this fear. Death has set her free. 


***********


Massive thanks to Jo for taking the time to answer my questions! 😊 If that doesn’t make you want to read Dead Is Better then I’ll leave you with Chris McVeigh’s thoughts on #DeadDog:

“So here’s the thing, everyone at Fahrenheit Press is in LOVE with the #DeadDog book. It’s smart, funny, sweary and just a lil’bit twisted. If all that doesn’t SCREAM Fahrenheit Press I don’t know what does. To be frank, if you don’t like this one we’re pretty sure your NOT our kinda people and we’re pretty sure we don’t want you in our gang. In fact if you buy this book and don’t enjoy it you can get a full 100% refund – the simple truth is, if you don’t like #DeadDog we don’t want your damn money.” 


Check back here tomorrow for my review… 😊📖

Author Q&A with Iain King

Today, I’m delighted to have a Q&A with Iain King, author of Secrets of the Last Nazi and Last Prophecy of Rome. Iain is another Bookouture author (they have some of the best authors around at the moment to be fair!!) and today is publication day for Last Prophecy of Rome. 

 

About the books:

  • Secrets of the Last Nazi:

 

THE GREATEST DISCOVERY OF THE 20TH CENTURY.

KEPT SECRET.

UNTIL NOW.

Berlin, 2015 – a well-connected SS Commander is found dead, having protected the last secret of the Nazi empire for seventy years. A discovery by Nazi Scientists so potent it could change the balance of world power – forever.
Led by misfit military historian Myles Munro, an international team begin to piece together the complex puzzle left by SS Captain Werner Stolz. As their hunt across Europe gathers pace, the brutal killing of one of the group signals that they are not the only ones chasing the answer.
Plunged into a world of international espionage, Myles only has his intellect and instincts to keep him alive. As the team edge closer to an explosive truth, it becomes clear to him that there is a traitor amongst them.

Who can Myles trust? And can he unravel the clues of the past in time to save the future?

  • Last Prophecy of Rome

 

An ancient empire. A terrifying threat to the World’s Superpower. Only one man can stop it.

ROME: Maverick military historian Myles Munro is on holiday with girlfriend and journalist Helen Bridle. He’s convinced a bomb is about to be detonated at the American Embassy.
NEW YORK: A delivery van hurtling through Wall Street, blows up, showering the sky with a chilling message: America is about to be brought down like the Roman Empire.
Juma, an African warlord, set free by the Arab Spring, plans to make it happen.
When a US Senator is taken hostage, a chilling chain of events begins, and Myles finds himself caught in a race against time to stop Juma. But, he’s not prepared for the shocking truth that the woman he once loved, Juma’s wife, Placidia, has now become a terrorist.

Buy your copy of Secrets of the Last Nazi HERE

Buy your copy of Last Prophecy of Rome HERE


And without further ado, here’s my Q&A with Iain himself…


Hi Iain,


Many thanks for taking the time to answer these questions for my blog!

 

First off, how do you go from published political author to writing and publishing crime fiction/conspiracy thrillers? 



A good friend, when she was dying from cancer, told me to switch to fiction and asked me to name a character after her. That’s why I changed, and that’s why Myles Munro’s partner is called Helen Bridle.

 


You’ve been bestowed with the CBE from the Queen, can you tell us more about what led to you getting the honour? 

It was for my work in Libya, Afghanistan and Kosovo. There were lots of people in all three places who deserved it more than me, though. I think I just got lucky.

 

Do you feel that your history with political unrest in places like Kosovo have shaped the way you research and write your books?



Yes, definitely. In Kosovo, you couldn’t count on electricity, or shops, or the law – they were all in doubt. All the conflicts I’ve worked in have been chaotic. All my books try to question some of our most taken-for-granted assumptions.



For anyone who hasn’t read your books, can you tell us a little bit about them?



They focus on Myles Munro – a maverick academic – and his partner, TV journalist Helen Bridle. In each book, the characters tumble into a search for amazing and important information, while they try to outrun various dangers. Each book has several twists, and a ‘whodunnit’ element. Even though you know a surprise is coming, the books should still surprise you.



If you had to compare your books with any other author, who would it be and why? I’ve heard comparisons to Dan Brown and Scott Mariani mentioned… 



Each of my books tries to be more than fiction: they all have a message, or something else – not just an entertaining story. So, in that way they’re like both Dan Brown and Scott Mariani, or perhaps Alistair Maclean. But I’d never let my hero use a gun – that’s too easy.



What made you choose to write conspiracy thrillers? Is it something you are interested in or do you believe in conspiracy theories?



There’s too much chaos and incompetence in the world for most conspiracies. But both secrets in ‘Secrets of the Last Nazi’ are true, and there really are huge parallels between ancient Rome and modern society, which is the theme at the heart of ‘Last Prophecy of Rome’.



How much inspiration do you take from real life? (I.e. Do you give characters the same attributes you see in people closest to you or do you base certain aspects on things you have seen or experienced in your own life?)



Yes, both. All my characters have attributes I’ve seen, although I don’t base any of them on individuals – they’re more like composites of several people. And many scenes are based on real-life events. Some of the scenes featuring refugees I wrote for ‘Last Prophecy of Rome’ were based on things I saw in at the dockside in Benghazi, during the war in Libya.



I always assume authors are voracious readers, so do you read books? If so, what kind of books do you read and who are your favourite authors? I’ve asked authors this before, and I’ve been surprised by the answers! More than once I’ve learned they don’t read much at all!!!



I read every evening – but it’s usually children’s book, to my kids. If I’m reading for myself, I go with recommendations from people I trust.



Where do you see yourself going with your writing career? Will you continue to write Myles Munro novels? 



I hadn’t expected Myles Munro to be so popular. I’m planning at least two more novels around him – the next one is called ‘Secrets of the Rogue Alchemist’ and will hopefully be ready before Christmas 2017. But I’m also thinking of more non-fiction, too.



If you could have been the original author of a book, any book, what would it be and why?



My new book, ‘Last Prophecy of Rome’ includes several references to Edward Gibbon’s masterpiece, ‘A History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire’, which came out in 1776. It’s a book which combines research with philosophy, history, commentary and portent. If only…



Also, if there was ever to be a movie made, who could you see playing Myles?! 



It would need sort of cross between Cary Grant, David Niven and Richard Burton – pity they’re all dead. If the movie is made, I hope they pick an actor who can define the role for themselves – the real Myles would ignore what was expected of him.



Do you have any superstitions or rituals when you write? A favourite desk/ coffee shop seat/ loud or quiet/ night or day? 

I find my words flow when I have lots of caffeine. But there’s no particular place – I’ve written on planes, at bus-stops and in internet cafes in the past: writing makes me zone out, so it doesn’t matter much where I am.

Where can people find out more about you? (Website/ Facebook/ Twitter and so on?) 



On twitter, I’m @iainbking. My webpage is http://www.iainbking.com, and I’ve got a brand new author page on facebook – https://www.facebook.com/iainkingsbooks. Come and say hello!

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions Iain. Best of luck with the release of The Last Prophecy of Rome! 🙂



Thank you. I hope you enjoy it.


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Happiest of publication days to Iain King 😊