*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!

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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.

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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:

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*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!

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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.

GUEST POST

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:

https://www.waterstones.com/events/compass-points-in-crime-panel-event/london-kings-road

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 Click this link to pre-order Susi’s book —> https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01M7RBU7W

    

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?

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Click this link to get your copy of Daniel’s book —> https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01I4ALTDE/

     

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: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01I4ALTDE/

Pre-order The Damselfly here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01M7RBU7W/

And for more about the Halloween event at Waterstones King’s Road in London, please go here: https://www.waterstones.com/events/compass-points-in-crime-panel-event/london-kings-road


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…

*Blog Tour* The Secret by Katerina Diamond

Hey everyone,

Super excited to take part in the blog tour for Katerina Diamond’s new book, The Secret. Avon Books have gone a bit mad with their concept for this one, in that the hosts are all kept secret so well done if you guessed that The Secret blog tour was stopping at Bibliophile Book Club today!

I read and thoroughly enjoyed Katerina’s previous book, The Teacher so I’m really looking forward to reading The Secret when I get  chance. Click the link below to read my previous review:

The Teacher by Katerina Diamond

Aaaaanyway, I have a great guest post from Katerina Diamond, but first, you know the drill!!! Here’s all the bookish info you need to know!

About the book:

Can you keep a secret? Your life depends on it…

When Bridget Reid wakes up in a locked room, terrifying memories come flooding back – of blood, pain, and desperate fear. Her captor knows things she’s never told anyone. How can she escape someone who knows all of her secrets?

As DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles search for Bridget, they uncover a horrifying web of abuse, betrayal and murder right under their noses in Exeter.

And as the past comes back to haunt her, Grey must confront her own demons. Because she knows that it can be those closest to us who hurt us the most…

CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR COPY!!!

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Read on for Katerina Diamond’s guest post…..

My Secret Writing Tips

These aren’t so much secret writing tips as things that – when I finally accepted them – helped me move from amateur to professional in terms of my writing.

  • The first is – getting to the end of the first draft is more important than having it perfect. I was as guilty of this as anyone – I had a tendency to edit a paragraph, section, word until it was perfect. I would get stuck on it, obsess about it – until I hated it altogether. Just keep moving forward. The truth is, until you have a first draft nothing is going to look perfect because the thing you are looking for only comes to you after you have written the end. A strange feeling of clarity seems to sweep over me after I have completed the first draft, then I read through the novel again. You’ll be amazed at how some things just don’t fit anymore.  

 

  • The second is – editing is the fun bit. Hard to believe, but it’s true: editing is the part where you really get to hone your craft and make your work stand out – you have done the hard graft of getting your plot into a vaguely rounded shape, and now you get to focus on the details. I never appreciated this before and the moment I accepted it I realised where I had been going wrong previously.

 

  • The third – cut, cut, cut. Cutting bits out is not as bad as you think it is – and it’s necessary. It really is something you get used to and kind of have to force yourself into. I was always reluctant to do it when I was unpublished but the more I read and re-read The Teacher the easier it was to recognise the things that needed to go. That’s the beauty of having an editor. They can point out the things that aren’t working, but until you do have an editor, you need to be brutally honest with yourself about what’s working and what isn’t.

 

  • The fourth, and possibly most important, is – remember that you don’t have to write 5000 words a day; you don’t even have to write 1000 words a day. 500 words is perfectly achievable in half an hour – 500 words a day, that’s 3500 words a week 14,000 a month and a pretty solid first draft in 5 months (70,000) – how many people do you know that would be happy with a first draft in 5 months? Most people, I would argue. Writing a novel takes a lot of patience. Sometimes just getting to the computer and sticking 500 words in can make the difference between procrastination and progress, and trust me, I’ve done my fair share of procrastinating. It also takes away from the age-old excuse, ‘I don’t have time to write’. Time isn’t what’s stopping you; I know – I’ve been there.

 

  • The last thing is – trust your voice. Sometimes you get an urge to write something that feels a bit ‘out there’, and my advice is just to embrace that. Put it in and don’t censor yourself at the start. When you come back to it, think about whether it’s worth keeping or not; there may be a perfectly valid reason why that particular thing came into your head. It may be the natural progression of the plot, or it may be that kick up the bum the story needs.

Huge thanks to Katerina Diamond for joining me today!

Make sure you keep up with The Secret blog tour….

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Rebecca Bradley Guest Post

Hi everyone,

Today I’m delighted to have the lovely Rebecca Bradley joining me on the blog today. Rebecca has written an excellent guest post on Sexism in Modern Policing which I get to share with you guys!

Rebecca has recently published a novella, Three Weeks Dead, which is a prequel for the DI Hannah Robbins series and you can get your copy by clicking HERE.

And click HERE to have  look at Rebecca Bradley’s Amazon page and her books!

About the book:

How far would you go if someone took your wife?

Especially, if you buried her a week ago.

When Jason Wells is faced with this scenario, he is confronted with the prospect of committing a crime that will have far-reaching consequences.

Can young DC Sally Poynter get through to him before he crosses that line, or does a desperate husband prove to be the case she won’t ever forget?

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About Rebecca Bradley:

Rebecca Bradley is a retired police detective and lives in Nottinghamshire with her family and her two cockapoo’s Alfie and Lola, who keep her company while she writes. Rebecca needs to drink copious amounts of tea to function throughout the day and if she could, she would survive on a diet of tea and cake while committing murder on a regular basis, in her writing of course.

Sign up to the newsletter, on the blog at rebeccabradleycrime.com, for exclusive content and giveaways.

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And without further ado, I’ll hand you over to Rebecca…

Sexism in Modern Day Policing

 

Firstly, I want to thank Kate for having me on the blog today, especially after a bit of a mix up with dates thanks to a hastily arranged medical procedure throwing  me off kilter, making me forget to write this! So, thank you for still having me Kate.

 

I’m a medically retired police detective, having served for 16 years before retirement. I worked 8 years in uniform and 8 years as a plain clothes detective in a specialist unit.

 

I asked Kate if she’d be interested in this topic because in Three Weeks Dead, the novella I’ve just released, my DC, Sally Poynter, starts her first shifts on the Major Crimes Unit and faces a misogynistic colleague. It got me to wondering what the perception was of sexism in modern day policing – would my story of it be believed?

 

So, with that in mind, I thought I’d write a blog piece. A behind the scenes look, if you will, because there have been plenty of news articles on the topic over the years. Only in August of this year, ex-Chief Constable of Northumbria, Sue Sim stated that there was a ‘sexist, money-grabbing, boys’ club culture’ within her own force. This is a 2016 news article not 1980s sentiment as you might imagine. Examples in the press tend to be the extremes, though. The big cases that involve outlandish statements or large sums of monies when women sue forces for sexism. I wanted to give a personal view, a personal working experience.

 

This is that.

 

I joined the police in 1999. My tutor was a long-serving male officer and a nicer officer/man, you couldn’t wish to meet. I was incredibly lucky to be sent out onto the streets with him as my guide. With (we’ll call him Derek) Derek, I got to hear about how life in the police was in the ‘old days’. He used to love to tell me the tales about how women officers never even used to be allowed into the main station, they had their own shed to work from which was set up in the car park. Can you believe that, they had a shed to work from? And their work was to look after the women and children. If you look at it from that point of view, then women in the police service has moved on considerably.

 

As a probationary constable, I was treated as part of the team, right from my first day. But, there was one officer, who, when we went out together, said to me once, and I’ve never forgotten it – ‘If someone does a runner, I’ll give you my hat to hold while I run after them.’

 

Well, I’m not a shy retiring flower. I gave him some earache and as soon as we were back in the station I made sure everyone else knew so they could give him earache. It wasn’t malicious, not on his part or on mine. We ribbed him about the stupidity of his comment and that was how I dealt with it. I was lucky to work with a great group of people.

 

I was also very lucky to be told during a discussion one evening that one of the guys would rather go into a fight (pub fight or some other similar public disorder incident) with me than some of the other male choices he had. My early years were positive and I didn’t see – other than one stupid, but not malicious male – misogyny.

 

But, that’s it, isn’t it? Does sexism have to be malicious to cause harm to its subject? Or does the hapless, speak-before-they-think, male, still fall into this category? I don’t think hat-holder meant to offend, he was a lovely guy in every other way, but I do think he considered himself the better option to go off during the chase.

 

Other than the early incidents (there may have been a couple with hat-holder), I never saw my career being hampered or held up because of my gender. My health was doing enough of that for me in later years!

 

What I did notice though, was how female officers of rank were talked about. How they dressed, wore their hair and even how they smelled were perfectly acceptable discussion points. In fact, these were practically all that were mentioned rather than work issues. Women in such a strong work environment are fighting to be seen on an equal footing. Don’t let it fool you that we have female Chief Constables and females of higher ranks so women must be winning the fight for equality within the walls of policing, because these women have worked hard to get where they are, but I’m betting you, someone, somewhere, below them, is discussing what they’re wearing (if in plain clothes) how they’re styling their hair and how they smell – women wear perfume, get over it.

 

No, I didn’t find myself up against sexism, but had my health allowed me to progress the promotion ladder, I most certainly would have been discussed in terms of all the above when out of earshot, rather than what it was we were working on.

 

This is not acceptable and policing has a long way to go to have women on a real equal footing. There is still education to be done amongst the lower ranks about women and their progression. I adored the job, but it doesn’t mean I’m blind to its flaws.

 

Within the police there are a couple of associations, the Black Police Association, and Women’s Police Association to name a couple. What I regularly heard from white males, was why wasn’t there a white male association. Many just don’t understand the difficulties facing women (or black/minority ethnic officers), they see that women are now progressing, but they don’t notice the underlying problems that are still there. That women officers might need the support of fellow women officers. That if there wasn’t an issue in the first place the associations wouldn’t have existed. According to Gov.uk 2015 only 30% of the police service is made up of women and of those only 21% are Chief Inspector or above.

 

While some women may have broken through the glass ceiling in policing and made it all the way to Chief Constable level, the way in which they are perceived by their peers and subordinates, is another issue entirely.

 

Women in policing – there is a long way to go. There is still work to do. And it’s work that everyone, women included need to be a part of. There is sexism in the police service, but it’s not always as overt as you’d expect it to be. Now it needs to be brought out from the shadows and all officers just do the job and love it, regardless of the gender they are or the gender of those they work with, below or above.


Huge thanks to Rebecca for taking the time to come up with such an interesting guest post! I thoroughly enjoyed reading that, and getting a glimpse into her time working in the police.

I was lucky enough to be a part of Rebecca’s previous blog tour too, and you can click the link below to have a look at another great post!

Rebecca Bradley *Guest Post*

 

*Blog Tour* For The Love of Grace by Andy Blackman

Hi everyone,

Today it’s my turn on the blog tour for Andy Blackman’s For The Love of Grace and I’ve got a great guest post from the author himself!

About the book:

Grace Backer had a life full of tragedy. But despite everything, she raised her son, Tom, with her secret intact. Tom is a prodigal child, destined to escape the slums of the East End of London for a better life; circumstances will make him flee his loving mother and their home much sooner than expected. Tom starts a new life in Odessa, Russia, and with the help of new-found friends starts a business. At last, he is finally accepted into a new and loving family, but one which holds its own dark secrets. A chance meeting with the son of a duke of the realm leads to close friendship and a new business partnership. When Tom decides to move his company to London and have his regal new friend run it, the firm thrives. However, not everything is as it seems, and Tom?s business soon conceals dangerous secrets of its own. Years later, when Tom finally decides to return to London, he is a wanted man, one hunted by the intelligence agencies. If he is finally to be reunited with his beloved mother and his best friend, he must fight to put the past behind him. But keeping secrets is never easy.

Preorder your copy by clicking HERE

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About the author:

After serving in the British Army for over twenty-five years in the Parachute Regiment, Andy Blackman today lives in Bedworth, Warwickshire and works within in the IT sector. In his spare time he can be found visiting his three daughters and grandchildren.

Without further do, I’ll hand you over to Andy Blackman…

Conception of the Novel

The concept of the novel was family, I can remember as a child in the 60’s doing things together as a family at home, not like nowadays where children are spread around the house in different rooms, playing with either Xboxes, computers or mobile phones, never coming together to socialise, but prefer to sit in front of a screen and do their own thing,  it was the same with meal times, we always sat around the table and ate together as a family unit, it seems to me that some family meal times are set around television listings, we never had all the devices or distractions that children have now, so we used to play board games as a family and we had the art of conservation, and knew how to socialise we used to spend hours playing card games with our parents or make games up but still played as a family, one of my favourite games was hunt the thimble, one person left the room, you hid the thimble and then when they came back in you gave them clues of “hotter, colder”, and it was a laugh and all the family played especially at Christmas when you had extra family members present, I wonder how long children today would last playing a simple game like that before they became bored.  

We did have a television but it was not 24 hour with 200 channels as it is today, so the use of the television was very restricted.  So I decided to base my novel on a time when family was important, not because they could be because the art of conservation was still thriving and it was normal to sit and talk, also family life was different you had more relatives around you, and saw more of them, today, families are more self contained in their own bubble, plus travel is easier and families tend to fragment more, as a child with limited transport families tended to stay and live in the same area, although some did move away, I can always remember going to visit my grandmother, we had to take two buses to see her so it was a day out and an adventure to us children, but now as I am older and  look back at that journey today it would be a 15 minute car journey, nothing in this day and age, and people go for a weekend visit to see their relatives and spend hours on a car journey.

The other concept was what to choose as a genre, I definitely was not going to write a romance novel, although I must admit there is some romance in the book, Horror is not my thing, I do not like even to watch horror films, comedy perhaps, but I decided eventually to select crime/thriller as I always found these books more appealing to me. I then decided to start my book in the era where I think family life was still very important and families values were still very much part of life, so it was not a stretch for Grace to help her son escape justice, although him leaving for a far off place was more of a life sentence to her than it was for him.  The book started with these principles and it took on a life of its own as I was writing it, parts were very easy, some needed thought, but it did flow most of the time, and I am proud of the finished book.


Huge thanks to Andy  Blackman for joining me on the blog today. Make sure to keep up with the tour on these blogs:

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Saturday Series Spotlight- Conrad Jones

Hi all,

Today I’m joined by Conrad Jones as part of the Series Spotlight feature! He has pretty much done all the work for me so I’ll hand you straight over..

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I am Conrad Jones a 50-year-old Author, originally from a sleepy green-belt called Tarbock Green, which is situated on the outskirts of Liverpool. I spent a number of years living in Holyhead, Anglesey, which I class as my home, before starting a career as a trainee manger with McDonalds Restaurants in 1989. I worked in management at McDonalds Restaurants Ltd from 1989-2002, working my way up to Business Consultant (area manager) working in the corporate and franchised departments.

On March 20th 1993 I was managing the Restaurant in Warrington`s Bridge St when two Irish Republican Army bombs exploded directly outside the store, resulting in the death of two young boys and many casualties. Along with hundreds of other people there that day I was deeply affected by the attack, which led to a long-term interest in the motivation and mind set of criminal gangs. I began to read anything crime related that I could get my hands on.

I link this experience with the desire to write books on the subject, which came much later on due to an unusual set of circumstances. Because of that experience my early novels follow the adventures of an elite counter terrorist unit, The Terrorist Task Force, and their enigmatic leader, John Tankersley, or `Tank`and they are the Soft Target Series, which have been described by a reviewer as ‘Reacher on steroids’ ; You can see them here;

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Target-Series-Length-Mystery-Thrillers-ebook/dp/B00JEN607Q

 

I had no intentions of writing until 2007, when I set off on an 11-week tour of the USA. The Day before I boarded the plane, Madeleine Mcann disappeared and all through the holiday I followed the American news reports which had little or no information about her. I didn’t realise it at the time, but the terrible kidnap would inspire my book, The Child Taker years later. During that trip, I received news that my house had been burgled and my work van and equipment were stolen. That summer was the year when York and Tewksbury were flooded by a deluge and insurance companies were swamped with claims. They informed me that they couldn’t do anything for weeks and that returning home would be a wasted journey. Rendered unemployed on a beach in Clearwater, Florida, I decided to begin my first book, Soft Target. I have never stopped writing since. I have recently completed my 15 novel, ‘Brick’, something that never would have happened but for that burglary and my experiences in Warrington.

The Child Taker was the 6th book in the Soft target Series but it also became the first book in the Detective Alec Ramsay Series when I signed a three book deal with London based publishers, Thames River Press. The series is now 7 books long with an average of 4.8 stars from over 2000 reviews. The first two books are always free with over 1100 5-star reviews. You can see them here;

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B010DWH57K

As far as my favourite series ever, it has to be James Herbert’s, The Rats trilogy. The first book did for me what school books couldn’t. It fascinated me, triggered my imagination and gave me the hunger to want to read more. I waited years for the second book, The Lair, and Domain, the third book to come out and they were amazing. Domain is one of the best books I have ever read. In later years, Lee Child, especially the early books, has kept me hypnotised on my sunbed on holiday as has Michael Connelly and his Harry Bosch Series.       


 

Huge thanks to Conrad for taking part in this series feature! If you want to get in touch, you can find him on TwitterFacebook or via his Website.

Happy reading! 🙂