Books guest post

Guest Post: Why My Main Character Has Cerebral Palsy by Richard Rippon

Hey guys,

Today is publication day for Lord Of The Dead by Richard Rippon, and I have a guest post from him for you all to read! First though, here’s the all-important bookish information you need to know!

Press Release:


On the 3rd November 2017, a thrilling new voice in contemporary British crime-fiction will emerge.


A woman’s body has been found on the moors of Northumberland, brutally murdered and grotesquely dismembered. Northumbria police enlist the help of unconventional university psychologist Jon Atherton, a decision complicated by his personal history with lead investigator Detective Sergeant Kate Prejean. 


As Christmas approaches and pressure mounts on the force, Prejean and Atherton’s personal lives begin to unravel as they find themselves the focus of media attention, and that of the killer known only as Son Of Geb. 


Lord Of The Dead is a gripping, electrifying piece of modern noir fiction.


“A stunning novel. If Thomas Harris was to write a British take on the Nordic-Noir genre, this would be it. Rippon is an exciting new voice in British crime fiction.” 

Nathan O’Hagan, author of ‘The World Is (Not) A Cold Dead Place’



Why My Main Character Has Cerebral Palsy


Before I started writing it, I had some ideas of the things I wanted to achieve with my novel. I wanted it to be firmly set in the North East, but I didn’t want it to feel small-town. I wanted to create a pacy thriller, but have an interesting and unique premise. I wanted it to have a gritty noir feel, but have almost cinematic moments, which would make the most of the Northumberland setting. Most importantly, I wanted the characters, and particularly my protagonist, to be as realistic – but as different and engaging – as possible.


I hit upon the idea of creating a younger version of my Uncle Jim, a retired accountant who happens to have a razor-sharp intellect, a great sense of humour and a wicked turn of phrase, which I thought would work well on the page. He also happens to be affected by cerebral palsy.


Although I initially planned to simply transplant parts of his personality into an able-bodied person, it didn’t feel right to airbrush his disability away, to just cherry-pick certain aspects of his personality for the convenience of the book. Disabled people are still woefully under-represented on TV and in literature. For example, around 5% of TV characters have a disability, compared to 16% in the UK. When they are represented, they’re rarely given substantial storylines. I wanted my character to be front and centre – the lead, the hero – not the quirky sidekick behind the scenes.    


And so, Jon Atherton was born. While I wanted to include his disability, I didn’t want this to be the sole focus, I wanted it to be more incidental. Yes, it’s part of him, but just one part. I went on to add some significant embellishments, until Jon stopped being a version of Jim, and took a life of his own.


Of course the fictional Jon’s disability is something that has shaped him in part. He has memories of being bullied, and a complicated relationship with his parents that stems from this, but it isn’t his defining characteristic. He’s a bit of a lad – a sexual being, with a fondness for female company – and has an interesting psychological makeup, which makes him well-suited to hunt down killers. He’s also not without his flaws. He’s witty, but sometimes his sarcasm can be hurtful and inappropriate. He’s been unfaithful to a wife who is still suffering from post-partum depression, and their relationship is still in recovery.       


Atherton having CP presented a few practical problems. He probably couldn’t be the cop I first envisaged. Instead, he’d be a university professor who specialises in serial killers. There’d be no chase scenes, or sliding over car bonnets in the pursuit of criminals. Instead, his input would be rely on his intellect, aided by a female partner, and police team who’d step in when things got physical.


Another problem was that I didn’t know enough about the day-to-day implications of living with cerebral palsy. I felt like a bit of a charlatan. What right did I have to write with any kind of authenticity about what it would be like to have a lifelong condition such as CP? I turned to Twitter for help, and found someone who helped me better understand how CP feels, and the frustrations that can come with it.


In the end, I think my decision to introduce Jon Atherton was the right one. I’ll never be the best-qualified to write with absolute authority about life with CP, but I can at least try to contribute a believable and compelling hero who happens to live with a disability.

Many thanks to Richard Rippon for this great post, and to Nathan O’Hagan of Obliterati Press!

You can pick up a copy of Lord Of The Dead by clicking the link below:

Lord Of The Dead by Richard Rippon

Blog Tour Books guest post

~Blog Tour Guest Post~ Mike Thomas @ItDaFiveOh @BonnierZaffre #Unforgivable

Hi everyone,

Today is my turn on the blog tour for Unforgivable by Mike Thomas and I’ve got a great post from Mike for you all to read a little further down. First though, here’s all the bookish information you need to know!

About the book:


Bombs detonate in a busy souk, causing massive devastation. 
An explosion rips apart a mosque, killing and injuring those inside. 
But this isn’t the Middle East – this is Cardiff . . . 

In a city where tensions are already running high, DC Will MacReady and his colleagues begin the desperate hunt for the attacker. If they knew the ‘why’, then surely they can find the ‘who’? But that isn’t so easy, and time is fast running out . . .

MacReady is still trying to prove himself after the horrific events of the previous year, which left his sergeant injured and his job in jeopardy, so he feels sidelined when he’s asked to investigate a vicious knife attack on a young woman.

But all is not as it seems with his new case, and soon MacReady must put everything on the line in order to do what is right.

Out now from Bonnier Zaffre, click  HERE to get your copy!

About the author:

Mike Thomas 1

Mike Thomas was born in Wales in 1971. For more than two decades he served in the police, working some of Cardiff ’s busiest neighbourhoods in uniform, public order units, drugs teams and CID. He left the force in 2015 to write full time.

His debut novel, ‘Pocket Notebook’, was published by William Heinemann (Penguin Random House) and longlisted for the Wales Book of the Year. The author was also named as one of Waterstones’ ‘New Voices’ for 2010. His second novel, ‘Ugly Bus’, is currently in development for a six part television series with the BBC.

The first in the MacReady series of novels, ‘Ash and Bones’, was released August 2016 by Bonnier Zaffre. ‘Unforgivable’, the second in the series, is released in July 2017.

He lives in the wilds of Portugal with his wife and two children.

Follow the author on Twitter at @ItDaFiveOh. More details can be found on the website



The Writing Process


Some writers like to have a set routine. Some can’t operate unless they do the same thing day in, day out. You know, bounce out of bed at six in the morning, make a coffee then type away until noon, not stopping until they hit their word count target. Then it’s some lunch and social media and rewriting other stuff and finally a late evening stroll, possibly wearing something corduroy.

My writing life, in comparison, is chaotic. I’ve moved house half a dozen times in the last seven years, and within each new home I – for various incredibly tedious reasons like decorating and family coming to stay and that one time I got electrocuted – have had to constantly move ‘office’. As a result, I don’t really have a fixed writing place – at the moment it’s a desk in the corner of my bedroom, which is handy for rolling from under the duvet to my chair – never mind a ‘process’. It’s more of a very rough and ragged list of things I need – or need to do – in order to get a few words out. No writing-based profundity here, I’m afraid!

So here they are, in all their glory.


  • I always aim for one thousand words each session. I stay there and type until I hit my target. It might be sunny outside and ripe for a walk. Netflix might have dropped a new episode of Orange is the New Black. I might not have argued with anybody on Twitter for at least an hour. I KEEP WRITING. All that fun stuff can come later.
  • I turn all notifications off. Everything. Gong noises and whoops and alarms sounding plus envelopes and red dots popping up everywhere is just distracting, like having toddlers tugging at your ankles every five minutes, demanding attention. Off they go. Sometimes I forget to turn them back on, and lose followers on Twitter. Sorry everyone.
  • Tea. I like tea. Lots and lots of tea, piping hot with two sugars to help bring on Type 2 Diabetes when I reach fifty. This is a holdover from my policing days, when we used to drink urns of the stuff in the nick then laugh and laugh as our stomachs burbled and wobbled while we wrestled with drunks.
  • A window. One with a nice view so you can turn from the screen for a quick break and stroke your chin while thinking Fancy Writing Thoughts, or perhaps whether you should get a haircut as it’s a bit long (fact: I once spent an hour mulling this over). Anyway, I live in Portugal, and until mid-June this year I had a lovely view of bright blue sky and red roof tiles and shimmering eucalyptus trees but then the whole bloody country caught fire so now I get to see ash and charred tree trunks disappearing into the distance. Which is nice.
  • I cannot keep writing a single, hugely lengthy document such as a novel manuscript, typing new scenes and chapters as I go. I get completely lost, and as I am also incapable of using ‘writing software’ such as Scrivener, this is the only way I can do it: I write the chapters separately, working and reworking them until I’m completely happy they’re not utter rubbish. It is only then that I add them to a ‘first draft’ of the manuscript. In other words, they don’t get in the club unless they’re good…
  • I have a particular way of formatting the page – chapter headings, scene breaks, font (Times New Roman, every time) and so on. I can’t write if it’s not right. This will come across as a tad weird and borderline OCD, but I simply cannot create, darling, if things aren’t perfect. What I really mean is, I try to replicate the look of a novel, even if the MS is in its embryonic stage. It just helps me along a little, knowing what the thing will look like when – if – published…
  • I like to work on the latest novel in the afternoon. I am awful in the morning, a complete waste of space – staggering around, grumbling and unable to form a coherent thought, never mind sentence. So first I work on my other job as a writer-for-hire, doing travel pieces and ‘The Best Bartending School in Brisbane’ type articles. It pays the bills, and it also gets the rusted cogs turning in my head, so by the afternoon I’m raring to go for several hours. Or to stare out of the window at toasted countryside.
  • See the above regarding Scrivener. Several years ago my wife, oh so hilariously, told me she’d purchased a Scrivener subscription to help me write my debut novel, ‘Pocket Notebook’. Turned out to be a long roll of wallpaper lining where I could ‘do’ flowcharts and other plot-related stuff, using the handy set of pencils she’d also bought. But the last laugh was on her, because I now use it every time I begin to prep a new novel. I hang it – crammed full of flowcharts, bullet points, scribbles and thoughts – on the wall right in front of my desk in the bedroom, which is terribly unsightly and drives her mad. That’ll learn her, eh?



Many thanks to Mike for this great post, and to Emily at Bonnier Zaffre for having me on the tour! Make sure to check out the rest of the tour too! 🙂

Unforgivable_Blog Tour_Twitter cards_Two (1).jpg

Books guest post

~Guest Post~ Nathan O’Hagan of Obliterati Press

Hey guys,

Something a little different today. Author Nathan O’Hagan has set up an indie publisher called Obliterati Press, and he’s written a guest post!

About Nathan:


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 early stages of a third. He has also written a screenplay and and another series of short stores which he may self publish in the future. He regularly writes features and reviews for the online fanzine God Is In The TV.

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.

Follow Nathan on twitter @NathanOHagan and Facebook Nathan O’Hagan, writer.

And now over to Nathan…

A quick Google search for ‘independent uk publishers’ will tell you there is currently no shortage of publishing presses in operation. I wouldn’t even begin to try to count them all, as there’s probably already another few sprung up since I started typing this. When I first began discussing with my friend Wayne Leeming the idea of setting up our own small press, the main question I kept asking myself was ‘why’? Did the world really need yet another indie publishing press? Especially one set up by two blokes who, to be frank, didn’t have a clue what they were doing at that point. After a few months of discussion with Wayne the ‘why’ changed to ‘why not’? We agreed on the name Obliterati Press, inspired by the album ‘The Obliterati’ by American alternative rock legends Mission Of Burma, and agreed our focus, at least initially, and as much out of necessity as out of choice, would be to find debut or emerging novelists.


We talked about the kinds of books we were interested in publishing. Although we both have broad taste, and didn’t want to necessarily rule out any genre, we knew that the sweet spot was going to be books similar to our own, and to the books we loved most. There were certain key words; gritty, authentic, powerful, that came up a lot. Although both northerners, we both now live away from the north; me in the Midlands, Wayne in Somerset, so although we’re drawn strongly to northern writing, we were both agreed we didn’t want to limit ourselves to that alone. We talked about other publishers we admired; Armley Press (who published both my two novels and Wayne’s), Wrecking Ball Press, Dead Ink and others. Armley Press provided the most inspiration, not only as they published our own work, but we decided very early that, to make setting up financially realistic, we would copy the print-on-demand model they use. To get started, we knew we’d have to put in some of our own money, but to make things economically sustainable, print-on-demand was the only way to go.


The main breakthrough idea we had was that, rather than set up, try to build up a following and seek submissions from far and wide, leading to a potential glut of submissions the two of us would never be able to read through with sufficient care and attention (I still work full time, so my reading and writing time is limited), we decided that I would approach a couple of writers I knew who, although talented, were amongst the many gifted writers who had as yet been unable to find a publisher. I sent off a couple of emails explaining what me and Wayne were planning, and asked whether they would be willing to let us read their current, unpublished manuscripts, with a view to potentially putting them out as our first releases. Luckily, both were amenable to the request, and seemed cautiously enthusiastic about the idea of being there at the start of something new. First up was ‘Lord Of The Dead’ by Richard Rippon, a brilliantly dark crime-thriller set in and around Newcastle. Wayne and I knew right away that we wanted this to be the first book we put out. It had everything; a gripping, twisty plot, great lead characters, a distinctive regional setting, and great commercial potential. We were salivating at the prospect of publishing it, and, thankfully, Richard agreed to take a chance with a new press.


Next was ‘The Baggage Carousel’ by Dave Olner, a deliciously visceral dark comedy that will shock and amuse in equal measure, and contains a young male protagonist who is destined to go down in literary history with the likes of Caulfield and Meursault. Having struck so lucky with Richard, we couldn’t believe our luck when another brilliant writer, with such a brilliant novel, was willing to go with us.


So the answer to my original ‘why’ was, if books as good as ‘Lord Of The Dead’ and ‘The Baggage Carousel’ hadn’t found publication, then yes, there absolutely is a need for yet another indie press. There are so many great, undiscovered, unrecognised writers out there that, frankly, I don’t think there can ever be enough publishers. I can’t begin to imagine how many talented writers there are out there, just needing someone to take a chance on them, to give them a platform. We’re very proud we have done that for two brilliant writers, and hope to do so for many more writers as Obliterati Press hopefully grows and develops in the coming months and years.


‘Lord Of The Dead’ will be published in November 2017, and ‘The Baggage Carousel’ will be published in Spring 2018.


Obliterati Press- Facebook


Many thanks to Nathan for writing this guest post! Wishing you and Wayne all the best with Obliterati Press! 🙂

Books guest post

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 Books 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 Books guest post

*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:






Books guest post

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 Books guest post

*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:



Books guest post

*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!

authors Books guest 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…