Guest post from David Mark- Setting the Scene.

Hi everyone,

Today I get to share a great guest post on setting the scene from David Mark, author of Cruel Mercy, the most recent instalment in the DS McEvoy series of novels.

About David Mark (via Wikipedia):
David John Mark (born December 28, 1977) is an English novelist and journalist, known for his DS Aector McAvoy series of crime fiction books. Mark’s debut novel, entitled Dark Winter, became one of Richard & Judy’s Book Club picks in 2012, helping to raise its profile. Follow-up Original Skin was released in April 2013.It continues the story of DS Aector McAvoy, a Scottish policeman based in Hull’s Serious And Organised Crime Unit, following him as he investigates suspicious deaths within the city’s sleazy underworld, while contending with changing politics within the force. The third novel, Sorrow Bound was also a critical success. Before signing his publishing deal with Quercus, Mark was a journalist specialising in crime reporting for a number of newspapers and agencies – most notably for the Yorkshire Post in their Hull office. He spent time as a showbusiness reporter for the Press Association, though he has claimed he loathed the experience.

About the book:

Two men are taken into the woods. Forced to dig their own graves. But one of them survives the gunshot…

The two men travelled from Ireland to America with another man, now missing, presumed guilty. His name is Valentine Teague. Petty criminal, bare-knuckle fighter – and DS Aector McAvoy’s brother in law.

Back home, Val’s being held responsible for the blood spilt in the snowy woods of upstate New York. If McAvoy doesn’t find out the truth, all hell will break loose, putting his own family in the crossfire.

Investigating proves harder than he could have imagined. New York City is a different world, with different rules. Soon, he finds himself up against squabbling cops, mafias old and new, and the culmination of a crime forty years in the making.

All McAvoy can do is the right thing. Even if it kills him…

Click HERE to get your copy!


Guest post- Setting The Scene…

I write a lot. I’m only a one-book-a-year chap because my publishers like to have a bit of time off between launches. I bash out thousands of words each day and in the time that I’m not writing, I’m composing lines and conceiving new characters in my head. There is a name for this affliction. It’s ‘annoying’. The Latin escapes me.

Invariably (until recently) my books have been set in Hull. Why? Well, I know the city. I’ve lived around the area for 17 years and I was a journalist in the city for an age. I can describe the buildings because I know them so well. I know that if you drive down Southcoates Lane with your windows down you will smell the cocoa from the chocolate factory.  I know if you head for Wincolmlee to avoid the traffic on Beverley Road, the stink from the tanners will make your eyes water. I know that the car park at the shops on Victoria Dock looks like the surface of the moon thanks to some kind of weird erosion that you tend to get when you in-fill an old dock and cover it with houses. I know that if you pop into The George on Land of Green Ginger, you’ll get chatting with an old sailor who drinks rum-and-blackcurrant and who takes taxis back and forth between his favourite pubs, four miles apart, after every round.  I know the sort of customer you will see in Bob Carver’s chippy at lunchtime and the sort who will clip-clop an extra mile to try and find a falafel and hummus wrap on Princes Avenue. I know Hull, and I know how to write it.

But after five books with the city as the star, one can begin to wonder where to go next. I’ve set scenes in all the local landmarks that I feel an affinity with. I’ve described the sky so many times that I’m beginning to think that my anthology will be entitled Hull’s Sky – Fifty Shades of Grey. I’m not bored with it by any means – I just like describing new sights and sounds and sensations.

That kind of thinking can only lead in one direction. Lower East Side, Manhattan. I’m sure you’re presuming I chose the area because I was familiar with it. Nope. Never been. Hadn’t been to America, actually. Clueless. Didn’t even know Manhattan was an island until I pressed the wrong button on GoogleMaps. But I’m nothing if not a masochist. I had a story floating around my cranium, you see. I wondered how McAvoy would deal with a new cast of characters and a whole different landscape to lose himself in. How he would respond to situations when everybody could conceivably be carrying a gun. I wondered whether I could successfully see out through the eyes of a good-hearted New York priest whose good intentions lead him into darkness. I wondered if I could create new Mafioso hitmen and bosses and make them original. Whether the scope and scale of the country would allow a serial killer to remain undetected for decades. And I wondered how McAvoy would feel about asking questions and following the trail in a city where he has no authority and nobody can understand his accent. It was my stranger-in-a-strange-land story and it still comes as a shock to me that agent extraordinare Oli Munson was able to persuade my UK and US publishers that I could do the project justice.

Was it difficult? Yes, horribly. When you can literally throw a rock in the air and know it will land somewhere stimulating, one can feel a little overwhelmed. How to boil it down? How to pick the nits that work? How to put Aector where he needs to be without it seeming like a contrivance? GoogleMaps was a help. So were the endless newspaper articles I read online. But in the end I did what I always do. I walked the streets, drank in the bars and talked to the people. I soaked it up. 72 hours in New York. Bars, boxing gyms, casinos and after-hours drinking dens. I had a far better time than Aector. I didn’t have to have any bare-knuckle boxing matches or have my skin carved open by a serial killer called The Penitent (who uses human remains in a way that might turn your stomach). I let my imagination become an aerial, picking up the frequencies of dialect, description and nuance. I don’t know if I nailed it, but I know I enjoyed describing things I hadn’t described before.

Aector will be home in the next book and I don’t know if I will take him away again. Hull is home, after all. And on the plus side, while I was away I did come up with a dozen new ways to describe the sky over Hull… ‘As bleak as the post-election mood’.    

Big thanks to David for taking the time to write such a great guest post! 🙂

*Blog Tour* Sealskin by Su Bristow

Hello lovelies,

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Sealskin by Su Bristow and I have a great guest post from the author for you all to read. As always though, I’ll give you the bookish info first!

About the book:

What happens when magic collides with reality?Donald is a young fisherman, eking out a lonely living on the west coast of Scotland. One night he witnesses something miraculous …and makes a terrible mistake. His action changes lives – not only his own, but those of his family and the entire tightly knit community in which they live. Can he ever atone for the wrong he has done, and can love grow when its foundation is violence?Based on the legend of the selkies – seals who can transform into people – Sealskin is a magical story, evoking the harsh beauty of the landscape, the resilience of its people, both human and animal, and the triumph of hope over fear and prejudice. With exquisite grace, Exeter Novel Prize-winner Su Bristow transports us to a different world, subtly and beautifully exploring what it means to be an outsider, and our innate capacity for forgiveness and acceptance. Rich with myth and magic, Sealskin is, nonetheless, a very human story, as relevant to our world as to the timeless place in which it is set. And it is, quite simply, unforgettable.

Out in paperback on Feb 15th, click HERE to pre-order your copy!


About the author:

Su Bristow is a consultant medical herbalist by day. She’s the author of two books on herbal medicine: The Herbal Medicine Chest and The Herb Handbook; and two on relationship skills: The Courage to Love and Falling in Love, Staying in Love, co-written with psychotherapist, Malcolm Stern. Her published fiction includes ‘Troll Steps’ (in the anthology, Barcelona to Bihar), and ‘Changes’ which came second in the 2010 CreativeWritingMatters flash fiction competition. Her forthcoming novel, Sealskin, is set in the Hebrides, and it’s a reworking of the Scottish legend of the selkies, or seals who can turn into people. It won the Exeter Novel Prize 2013. Her writing has been described as ‘magical realism; Angela Carter meets Eowyn Ivey’.


And now I’ll hand you over to Su with her guest post…

The Selkie Legend
There are variations on this story around the coasts of Scotland and Northern Ireland, and across the North Sea in Scandinavia too. All over the world, in fact, you get stories of animals taking human form, and marriages between human and animal. I think it’s the same impulse that makes people want to own dangerous creatures like lions or crocodiles, train hawks or make friends with wild things. We’d love to somehow ‘own’ that wildness for ourselves. But the stories never end happily; it’s not a problem that has a solution.

In some versions of the selkie myth, they can change back and forth at will, but there’s something about the purity of the version I’ve used that appeals to me. You can imagine some storytellers trying to resolve the problem; in one variation, the fisherman sees his former wife – as a seal – in the sea, and she ‘puts out her head’ and tells him she loves her seal husband more than him. I don’t buy that! Part of the strength of the story is in its sadness, its inevitability; once she’s gone, there can be no return.

The legends don’t go into a lot of detail about how the marriage between the fisherman and the selkie actually worked, except to say that ‘from time to time, she would look out to sea and weep’. But that’s what really interested me. How could you build any kind of relationship on such a terrible start? And what kind of a person would the seal-woman be? I decided to make her playful, just as seals are, and able to learn, but never to speak. Whether that’s by choice or not, who knows? And I gave her a little magic, too…

*Many thanks to Su for stopping by Bibliophile Book Club today! Make sure to follow the blog tour:



*Blog Tour* Dare To Remember by Susanna Beard

Hi everyone,

Today I’m thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for Dare To Remember by Susanna Beard. I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet, but rest assured, it is on the immediate TBR! I have a great guest post from the author, but as per, here’s all of the bookish info first!

About the book:

Reeling from a brutal attack that leaves her best friend dead and her badly injured, Lisa Fulbrook flees to the countryside to recuperate. With only vague memories of the event, she isolates herself from her friends and family, content to spend her days wandering the hills with her dog, Riley.

However, Lisa is soon plagued, not only by vivid flashbacks, but questions, too: how did their assailant know them? Why were they attacked? And what really happened that night?

As she desperately tries to piece together the memories, Lisa realises that there’s another truth still hidden to her, a truth she can’t escape from. A truth that may have been right in front of her all along.

Dare to Remember is out now, and you can order your copy by clicking HERE.


About the author:

Susanna lives in Marlow, Buckinghamshire with her two sons and two dogs. She has worked in public relations and marketing since her twenties. As well as walking and adventures, Susanna loves tennis, skiing and hanging out with friends. Dare to Remember is her first novel.


And now I’ll hand you over to Susanna…


But is it you?


As an enthusiastic attendee at literary festivals, where I doggedly choose the sessions with both new and established authors over the celebrity writers, I’ve noticed a commonality in the questions following an author interview.


One predictable question would be: “Is your novel autobiographical?” I’ve heard a variety of responses, from a simple “no” to “well, yes, obviously,” and plenty in between.


When I started Dare to Remember I was aware of the common premise that an author’s debut novel is autobiographical, in other words, it’s based on his or her own experience, character, personality and understanding. Being quite a private person, I was determined that Lisa, my protagonist, was not going to be me. So she’s younger than me, unambitious, likes old films (I don’t), passive, has no siblings, and there are many other aspects of her character which are not at all like me.


She also experiences a horrible, traumatic event, which changes her life. Fortunately, I have not, though I know people who have. And I watch a lot of ‘Nordic Noir’ dramas.


But there’s inevitably going to be something of me in Lisa. After all, I created her, and I have to use my own knowledge and experience to bring her to life. Certainly the dog walking – and its therapeutic effect on her – comes from my own experience. My dogs keep me grounded and make me laugh at the same time. Walking them gets me out of bed and into the countryside whatever the weather. Some days, being tied to my desk, it’s the only time I leave the house.


Lisa suffers from PTSD and depression. I have absolutely no personal experience of PTSD, a little of depression – but I empathise strongly with those who do. I’m also an introvert, as Lisa is.


So no, Lisa is not me. And yes, she is. People are complex entities, with many different personae. The job of an author is to demonstrate this complexity, creating believable characters, both from themselves and from other, quite different people.

Huge thanks to Susanna Beard for this fab post, and to Lucy at Legend Press for inviting me to take part on the blog tour!

Make sure to follow the tour:






Guest Post from TM Logan

Hi everyone,

Today I’m thrilled to have a guest post from TM Logan, the author of the recently released book, Lies which was published on January 17th 2017.

First though, here’s all of the things you need to know about Lies ad TM Logan:

About the book:


When Joe Lynch stumbles across his wife driving into a hotel car park while she’s supposed to be at work, he’s intrigued enough to follow her in.
And when he witnesses her in an angry altercation with family friend Ben, he knows he ought to intervene.

But just as the confrontation between the two men turns violent, and Ben is knocked unconscious, Joe’s young son has an asthma attack – and Joe must flee in order to help him.

When he returns, desperate to make sure Ben is OK, Joe is horrified to find that Ben has disappeared.

And that’s when Joe receives the first message…

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the author:

TM Logan was born in Berkshire to an English father and a German mother. He studied at Queen Mary and Cardiff universities before becoming a national newspaper journalist. He currently works in communications and lives in Nottinghamshire with his wife and two children. LIES is his first novel – published on January 17th 2017 (ebook) and May 4th 2017 (paperback). Follow him on Twitter @TMLoganAuthor


And now, I’ll hand you over to Tim who has written a great piece fot you guys to read…


Truth, lies and social media

My debut thriller LIES is about the things that are important to all of us: love, trust, loyalty, family. But it’s also about betrayal, adultery, revenge and the lies that grow when obsession takes hold. It’s about a man trying to figure out what’s real and what’s not – at a time when we have more ways to lie and deceive each other than ever before.

Don’t get me wrong, social media and technology in general have changed the way we live in lots of wonderful ways. I always have my mobile with me, and feel lost without it. I think social media is great – it helps us to stay connected with people and have friendships that might never have happened a few years ago. But what about the other side of that? The darker side? Haven’t you ever secretly wondered who your nearest and dearest is really talking to, messaging, texting, tweeting, when they’re transfixed by their mobile phone? Of course you have…

One of the themes of LIES is whether we can ever really know those closest to us, when technology has made deception so easy. Another is how it can blur the lines between fantasy and reality, which is an idea I wanted to explore as my protagonist Joe Lynch fights to save his family and clear his name.

My research for LIES showed me the blurring of fantasy and reality can have deadly consequences in real life, as this study by Birmingham City University found in looking at 48 criminal cases from around the world. The researchers identified six different types of Facebook criminal according to how the social networking site featured in their crimes – from ‘predator’, ‘imposter’ and ‘fantasist’, to ‘reactor’, ‘informer’ and ‘antagonist’.

And it’s not just at a personal level those lines get blurred, but also in the way we perceive the world in general. Do you believe what the politician says on News at Ten? Or what you read on your Facebook news feed? Do you trust your instincts, your gut feeling, or do you believe something shared by fifty or a hundred or a thousand people on your Facebook feed?

Here’s a quick test. Did you read a news story about the Pope endorsing Donald Trump during last year’s presidential election? Or an FBI agent investigating Hillary Clinton’s emails being found dead in an apparent murder-suicide? Or President Obama banning the US Pledge of Allegiance in schools a month before the election?

These stories all had a couple of things in common. They all had more than 500,000 engagements on Facebook. And they’re all totally bogus. Made up. Fake news posted on social media, and sent viral with hundreds of thousands of views and shares on Facebook and other platforms. There were dozens of fake news stories circulating during the election, and the traction they got on social media suggests many people simply couldn’t tell where the truth stopped and the lies started.

Now imagine what it would be like if your life depended on sifting out the lies. If everything you held dear was at stake…


Huge thanks to Tim for writing such a great piece! I’ve been lucky enough to read and review Lies as well as take part in the blog tour, so you can click the links below to catch up on those posts too! 🙂

Lies by T. M. Logan

*Blog Tour* Lies by TM Logan

*Blog Tour* Malcolm Hollingdrake Hell’s Gate

Hi everyone,

Today is my stop on the Hell’s Gate blog tour and I have a great guest post from the author, Malcolm Hollingdrake for you guys! First though, here’s all the bookish info you need…

About the book:

A disused railway tunnel where, cruel and sinister deeds are executed.

A policeman on a mission.

A killer who will stop at nothing.

The formidable DCI Cyril Bennett and DS David Owen of Harrogate Police find themselves embroiled in a series of bizarre events.

A domestic dog attack on a child soon leads to a more complex case – the macabre discovery of a jigsaw of featureless, indiscernible body parts amongst bin bags littering a quiet road on the outskirts of the town.

While under the leadership of a Chinese Mafioso, a team of Eastern Europeans spreads its tentacles into the sordid underworld of people trafficking, dog fighting, prostitution and murder.

Bennett quickly has his hands full investigating a gambling syndicate, the discovery of a mutilated corpse, the death of a prostitute and the case of a badly beaten police officer.

As Bennett and his team are stretched to capacity cracks begin to appear.

Is there a link between these cases and can they catch a twisted killer before he strikes again?

Click HERE to get your copy!


About the author:

You could say that the writing was clearly written on the wall for anyone born in a library that they might aspire to be an author but to get to that point Malcolm Hollingdrake has travelled a circuitous route.

Malcolm worked in education for many years, even teaching for a period in Cairo before he started writing, a challenge he had longed to tackle for more years than he cares to remember.

Malcolm has written a number of successful short stories and has four books now available. Presently he is concentrating on a series of crime novels set in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

Born in Bradford and spending three years in Ripon, Malcolm has never lost his love for his home county, a passion that is reflected in the settings for all three novels.

Malcolm has enjoyed many hobbies including collecting works by Northern artists; the art auctions offer a degree of excitement when both buying and certainly when selling. It’s a hobby he has bestowed on DCI Cyril Bennett, the main character in his latest novel.


Guest post:

I often reflect on those very early writing experiences, some of you, I hope, will recall these yourselves by just rubbing the middle finger of your dominant hand. Can you feel the evidence, that small, hard callous formed by hours of holding the nibbed, wooden shafted school dip pen. Mine for years had the appearance of an angry Ancient Briton, indelibly mottled wode blue.

Handwriting, letter forms, joined-up writing practice, composition, dictation, comprehension – goodness it was a never ending stream that slowly built up that calloused blue mound. But, on reflection it built up something else, something that gestated deep within and that was the artistic love of making a mark, expressing a thought, describing a feeling and conveying emotion in all its facetted forms. The writer was being forged. As time passed and the writing implements improved, some for the better, a love of expressing emotion, detail and story through the written word developed…the foundations were in place. So let’s fast forward.

Ink is not the only fluid that flows through the nib of an author’s pen, there’s a heady fluid cocktail, a subtle blend of hope, ambition, desire and a love, a love to see the work read by as many people as possible. What isn’t included within this special ink formula is luck, liquid serendipity. That can only come later and only to a few.

I had written my first novel, ‘Engulfed’ and had the usual rejections. The old copy was then lost as a laptop died. I’d effectively surrendered along with the technology. The book languished in the garage within the dead laptop for months. Before it was thrown out I plugged it in and lo and behold the computer came to life. I found the novel and transferred it to a new computer just as the old machine crashed for the final time. A stroke of luck! I decided to self publish. A short story competition win gave me the confidence to pick up the pen again; I was back on the writing trail and loving every minute of it. I was now a self-published author!

Make sure to keep up with the blog tour:



*Blog Tour* The Reykjavik Assignment- Adam LeBor

Hi everyone,

Today I’m delighted to host a guest post from Adam LeBor, author of The Reykjavik Assignment.

About the book:

UN covert negotiator, Yael Azoulay, has been sent to Reykjavik to broker a secret meeting between US President Freshwater and the Iranian president. Both parties want the violence to stop, but Yael soon realises that powerful enemies are pulling the strings. Enemies for whom peace means an end to their lucrative profit streams.

Out now from Head of Zeus, click HERE to get a copy!


About the author:

Adam LeBor is a British author, novelist and journalist. Born in London in 1961, LeBor has worked as a foreign correspondent since 1991. He covered the collapse of Communism and the Yugoslav wars for The Independent and The Times and has worked in more than thirty countries. He currently reports from Hungary and Central Europe for The Economist, Monocle magazine and Newsweek. In the United States, he contributes to the New York Times and the Daily Beast.[1][2]

LeBor has written three novels and eight non-fiction books, which have been published in more than twelve languages. He reviews books for The Economist, the New York Times and Literary Review.


There is an old joke about two foreign correspondents in a bar.

The first asks: “So what are you up to nowadays?”  

His friend replies:   “I’m writing a thriller.”

The first replies: “Really, neither am I.”

Every journalist it seems, secretly aspires to be a novelist. At first glance, journalism, especially working as a foreign correspondent, appears to be the ideal training for a career as a fiction writer. We write about revolutions, riots and coups. We get arrested, tear-gassed and shot at. Such dramatic and dangerous experiences are a rich source for future works of fiction.

Several well-known and successful thriller writers began their careers as journalists. Frederick Forsyth, author of Day of the Jackal and The Odessa File,  worked as a foreign correspondent for Reuters. Stig Larsson, creator of the Lisbeth Salander trilogy, was a Swedish reporter who specialised in investigating the far-right. Alex Berenson, an American thriller writer, is a former reporter for the New York Times, while Jonathan Freedland, aka ‘Sam Bourne’ is a journalist at the Guardian.

I started out as a foreign correspondent since the early 1990s, covering the collapse of Communism in eastern Europe and the Yugoslav wars for The Independent and The Times. Living in Budapest for more than twenty years certainly gave me plenty of material to use in my first thriller, The Budapest Protocol. Working in Bosnia during the Yugoslav wars, I spent much time with UN officials and peacekeeping troops. That eventually inspired the ‘Yael Azoulay’ thriller series, featuring a former Mossad agent who now works as the covert negotiator for the UN secretary-general. My latest thriller, The Reykjavik Assignment, is the third volume in the trilogy.

But in some ways the essence of journalism, what we call the 5 Ws and an H – Who, What, When, Where, Why and How – is the worst training for a career in fiction. There is a deep and inherent tension between non-fiction – especially journalism – and fiction.  

Journalism has a clear mission to explain; to outline an event, or series of events and clearly explain their causes and consequences. Journalists do the thinking, so the reader does not have to. Fiction – especially crime and thriller writing – does the opposite. The aim is to lay false trails, to deceive the reader, to cut-back, double-back and triple cross. The writer must make the reader do plenty of work, both to engage him and also so that the ‘Eureka’ moment, when it happens, is all the more pleasurable and satisfying.

This was especially difficult for me when starting out as a novelist. The hero of The Budapest Protocol was (perhaps not surprisingly) a foreign correspondent based in Budapest. Early versions of the book had the sinister conspiracy explained in the first few pages and solved soon after.

What was needed, I soon realised, was less a learning curve than an unlearning curve. Or, as my wife said, when looking at first drafts, “Stop explaining everything”. After a while, I learned not to.

Still then other hazards awaited: over-using research and slathering on too much detail; placing a (metaphorical) flashing blue light on an important connection so that readers don’t miss an important connection (they won’t) and didactic dialogue. E.g., hero to love interest: “That’s incredible, you have just solved the mystery of the sinister conspiracy and saved the world”. (I exaggerate, but you get the point.)

But with enough determination and tenacity the unlearning curve can be mastered. The readers of my thrillers certainly seem to think so. But take a look at The Reykjavik Assignment and decide for yourself.

Many thanks to Adam LeBor and Blake Brooks at Head of Zeus for today’s post!

Daniel Pembrey and Susi Holliday in Conversation…

Hi everyone,

Happy Halloween!!! And do I have a treat (see what I did there?!?!) for you guys!!!

Today, I have not one, but TWO fabulous authors stopping by Bibliophile Book Club to have a chat about Halloween, horror and their books!

So without further ado, I’ll hand you over to Daniel and Susi….

Daniel Pembrey and Susi (SJI) Holliday talk Halloween, horror and their book covers

Happy Halloween, everyone. I’m debut novelist Daniel Pembrey, and I’m here with the wonderful Susi Holliday, who just did a fabulous cover reveal for her upcoming novel The Damselfly. Now before we begin, you must all come and see us both (and Amanda Jennings, Thomas Mogford and Sarah Ward) at Waterstones King’s Road tomorrow evening, 1st November, if you’re anywhere near Central London. It’s free (free wine!) and begins at 18:30:


 Click this link to pre-order Susi’s book —>


DP: Okay, your new cover is an absolute stunner, and calls to mind such genre classics as Silence of The Lambs and John Fowles’ The Collector. Were those associations conscious in your mind (or the designer’s mind)? Or would you name other, perhaps quite different titles as key influences on your stories?

SH: Thank you! You’re spot on. I am a huge fan of Silence of The Lambs, and have been weirdly obsessed with the whole insect thing ever since. I knew that one day I would write a book that would lend itself to having an insect on the cover. It’s nicely creepy, isn’t it? Intriguing too. I hope at least one person might wonder about the significance of this particular insect and how it fits into my story.

DP: And for those who haven’t read the first two books, could you briefly explain the names of all three titles in the trilogy?

SH: Well … Black Wood is actually a real ‘wood’ quite near the area where the real town is that my fictional town of Banktoun is based on. I spotted it on a map and thought it was a perfect fit for the story. Willow Walk is a street in the town where my husband grew up. A nice, sleepy street in a picture-postcard town. I have a street called Willow Walk in the book. BAD THINGS happen there! I like that there’s a nature theme running throughout.

DP: I’ve read both and they’re brilliant books … So The Damselfly is available for pre-order now, for release on 2nd February?

SH: Yep, both e-book and print are out on the same day this time, which hasn’t happened before. I’m excited!

DP: So am I. We’re all looking forward to that. Thank you!

SH: Hang on, DP. What about your new book? The Harbour Master … That’s quite a coup getting a quote from Susan Hill. She wrote my favourite ghost story! I’m not going to suggest that you might have paid for it or anything like that, but how exactly did you get such a fabulous author to say such nice things about you?


Click this link to get your copy of Daniel’s book —>


DP: Ha! She generously read my first published novella, a ghost story set in the American South, which she looked kindly upon. This was all arranged via a manuscript assessment organisation called The Literary Consultancy. I was lucky because Susan Hill rarely reads – and blurbs – other books. And it’s a bit of a creepy cover with that body in the water, so I’m very grateful for her name being there, above!

SH: Incredible. I’ve read that ghost story too. It’s excellent, actually. You’re pretty good at this writing lark. This body, though. It’s totally creeping me out. What’s that all about?!

DP: Thank you! Honestly, initially I had reservations about the design, but my publisher got strongly positive feedback from bookshop chains (and one in particular). Importantly for me, it’s highly plausible that someone could end up floating in that part of Amsterdam harbour. The Harbour Master stories grew out of a feature article I wrote about trafficking in the Red Light District. I was invited on an undercover operation there with the Dutch National Crime Squad. The majority of sex workers are from elsewhere; one street, Molensteeg, is known as ‘Little Hungary’. How do they get there? Varying levels of coercion, essentially. A lot of it is psychological, but inevitably some is physical. The woman depicted in the water is called Saskia and, in the story, she got on the wrong side of a violent Hungarian pimp. To know more, you’ll need to read the book!

SH: I’m reading it right now! I do love the way you manage to absorb the reader into the setting. You’ve done that with everything of yours I’ve read. You’re not bad, DP. Not bad at all. You’re pretty good at holding drinks too, as it goes. Anyway, this book of yours … it’s available now as an e-book? At a special introductory price, right?

DP: I try my best with the drinks-holding! That’s right, the introductory reduced Kindle price lasts until 8th November. The print book launches on November 10th.

SH: Excellent. I hope it flies off the shelves … which would make a pretty good talking point at Waterstones King’s Road, wouldn’t it. See you there. I’ll be the one dressed like a skeleton!


DP: Indeed. And I’ll be Dracula – Regency-era! His creator, Bram Stoker, lived two streets from that Waterstones. Thanks Susi, and let’s thanks the lovely Kate as well for having us!

Buy The Harbour Master here:

Pre-order The Damselfly here:

And for more about the Halloween event at Waterstones King’s Road in London, please go here:

Big thanks to both Daniel and Susi for joining me on the blog for this brilliant chat! Make sure to check out the Waterstones event, and definitely check out the books!

Happy Halloween everyone…