Categories
Q&A

Q&A with Tom Chatfield, author of This is Gomorrah

Hey guys,

Recently, I had the pleasure of having Tom Chatfield answer some of my burning questions, and I’ll be sharing that with you all today!

Who is Tom Chatfield?

Tom Chatfield

Dr Tom Chatfield (@TomChatfield) is a British writer, broadcaster and tech philosopher. His seven books exploring contemporary culture—most recently Live This Book! (Penguin) and Critical Thinking (SAGE Publishing), researched as a Visiting Associate at the Oxford Internet Institute—are published in over two dozen languages. His debut novel, This is Gomorrah (Hodder), the first in a series set in the world of the dark net, was published worldwide in July 2019 and was a Sunday Times thriller of the month.

Tom is interested in improving our understanding of digital technology, and its uses in policy, education and engagement. He is currently technology and media advisor at Agathos LLP; a Non Executive Director at the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society and at the Copyright Licensing Agency; a faculty member at London’s School of Life; a Master’s Committee member at the Economics Research Council; guest faculty member at the Said Business School, Oxford; and a senior expert at the Global Governance Institute.

Past collaborators include Google, the BBC, Channel 4 Education, Mind Candy, Shift, Flamingo London, Six to Start, Preloaded, Firefish, Future Lab, Sense Worldwide, SAGE Publications, Sugru and Allianz. Tom took his doctorate and taught at St John’s College, Oxford, and continues to guest lecture at universities across the world.

As a speaker and broadcaster, Tom’s appearances include TED Global and the Cannes Lions Festival; authors@Google; the World Congress on Information Technology; Science Foo Camp; Intelligence Squared; the Houses of Parliament; Aspen Seminars for Leaders; the RSA, Royal Society and Royal Institution; and venues ranging from the Sydney Opera House to the Googleplex.

A launch columnist for the BBC’s worldwide technology site, BBC Future, Tom writes and commentate widely in the international media, as well as guest lecturing at universities in the UK and Europe. He is a regular on BBC radio and television, and broadcasts around the world.

He is represented for writing and broadcasting by Jim Gill at United Agents, and for speaking and appearances by Chartwell and VBQ Speakers.

When not working, he plays jazz piano and drinks too much coffee.

What you need to know about This Is Gomorrah:

This is Gomorrah: the dark web threatens one innocent man by [Chatfield, Tom]

What he knows could kill him. . .

‘Gripping, intelligent and stylish’ Sophie Hannah

At the darkest heart of the internet lies Gomorrah. 
An exclusive online market place where anything and everything is for sale: guns and porn, identities and elections, lives and deaths.

Azi Bello is nobody’s idea of a hero. 
From a shed in his mum’s back garden in East Croydon, he spins webs in the darknet to lure evil from the shadows. Until evil comes knocking at his door in the real world, taking everything he has, sending him on the run, risking his life, offering him redemption. But at a price he never expected to pay . . .

The gates of Gomorrah have been opened. All hell is about to break loose.

Click the link below to grab your copy:

This Is Gomorrah by Tom Chatfield

Here’s what Tom had to say with my questions…

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m a geek in his late thirties who has written half a dozen non-fiction books about bits and pieces of digital culture—video games, online language, critical thinking and disinformation—and who has finally managed to turn some of those fascinations into what I hope is a darkly satirical thriller about the underbelly of global tech. 

How did you get into writing? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?

I’ve wanted to write for a living pretty much since I learned how to write. I wrote poetry and short stories at school from the age of six or seven, I studied literature at university, then went on to do a masters and doctorate looking at contemporary literature and the world of ideas. I’ve always believed that writing matters: that finding ways to talk about what it means to be alive, to wrestle with the human condition through words, is one of the most wonderful things you can do. I worked in magazines after finishing my doctorate, having decided that academia wasn’t for me, then managed to become a full-time writer thanks to a lot of luck and a passion for pouring my obsessions into prose.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

The world, and other writers! Technology and its human contexts fascinate me, because I think technology is implicated in so much of what it means to be human, and so much of what makes humans unique amongst life on Earth: our development of mental technologies like art and mathematics and written words, that convert our inner lives into shared cultures able to outlive us; the machines with which we vastly amplify our power and impacts; the appalling and amazing ongoing consequences of all this. And of course our current ambitions to build machines that, in some sense at least, are able to think and recreate our own mental achievements. 

How would you describe your writing to anyone who hasn’t read your book?

Jason Bourne meets Edward Snowden: a fast-paced fiction digging into the dark purposes technology is put to in the modern world while, I hope, telling a twisting tale that’s ultimately more interested in human consequences than shiny gadgets.

Do you think social media helps in regard to promotion and drumming up publicity for a new book?

Absolutely, although it does so in enigmatic ways that it’s foolish to pretend you can control. It’s easy to go a little crazy and watch every flicker of interest or engagement online. I’m guilty of this, sometimes, but I’m trying hard not to descend into total digital solipsism.

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

Having readers! To be read, whether by a small or a large number of people, is just such a spectacular privilege.

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?

The profound uncertainty around what, if anything, the world makes of your work – and trying to manage the emotional impacts of this. You can’t help caring. For me, at least, one of the biggest parts of the whole writing process is simply trying to control the emotional turmoil around whether what I’m doing is any good, deserves to be read, does something interesting, and so on.

Where do you see your writing career 5 years from now?

The wonderful thing is that I really have no idea. Things will come up, or won’t, as a result of what I put out into the world – and the most exciting thing is to be able to respond to circumstances, to react and learn and improve, to keep on discovering and grasping fresh opportunities.

What’s next for you?

I’m already embarked on the sequel to This Is Gomorrah, and hope to have it largely finished by the end of the year. I also have a little textbook out in September, called Think Critically, and will probably write another short and accessible textbook next year diving more deeply into what it means to think well. There are also a couple of books of non-fiction I’d like to write, and some more fiction, but we’ll have to see about those…

I often wonder are authors voracious readers. Do you read much, and if so, what kind of books do you enjoy?

I’m constantly reading, as I think most people have to in order to write – although I often prefer to read outside the genre I’m writing in at the time. Somehow, it makes it easier for me to hear my own voice. I love philosophical non-fiction and books of ideas: I’m reading a wonderful book about the history of calculus at the moment, Infinite Powers by Steveen Strogatz; a couple of Cormac McCarthys—Blood Meridian and No Country for Old Men—for the sheer brilliance and force of his prose; a few books of non-fiction directly related to the dark net; Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson; and a selection of other short stories and works of philosophy. I really do love ideas-driven genre fiction, and those authors that bend and break the barriers between genres—and I tend to have the softest spot for thrillers that are witty as well as action-packed, like Mick Herron’s or Chris Brookmyre’s.

Can you tell me your all time favourite book, or if you have to, your top 5?

Pretty much impossible. But Bryan Magee’s book on the philosopher Karl Popper, simply called Popper, is one of my models for truly intelligent clarity and economy in non-fiction; Neal Stephenson has I think done some of modern fiction’s finest explanations of complex ideas and slices of history in books like Cryptonomicon and The Baroque Cycle; the poetry of WB Yeats, Patrick Kavanagh, WH Auden and Philip Larkin is on a shelf near my desk in always-easy reach; and what Tolstoy and Dickens and, before them, Austen did to the novel continues to knock my socks off every time I go back and re-read them.

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

Apart from the whole eating and sleeping thing, I spend most of my time with my children (aged three and five) playing or reading or picking up or dropping off or trying not to get utterly exasperated. Being a parent is utterly amazing, and exhausting, and the joy/challenge of working largely from home is just how much you’re able to be involved in their lives. I’m also a rather keen pianist, and have been known to share my exploits on social media. I find it therapeutic: the total focus on making music is a far better break than just sitting around.

Huge thanks to Tom for answering these questions, and make sure you check out This Is Gomorrah and add it to your TBR!

Categories
Books

Cover Reveal: Black 13 by Adam Hamdy

Morning lovelies!

Today, I am delighted to be able to reveal the cover Black 13 by Adam Hamdy! Adam is the author of the Pendulum trilogy, one of my favourite book series of the last few years!


About the author:

Picture

British author and screenwriter Adam Hamdy works with studios and production companies on both sides of the Atlantic. 

He is the author of the Pendulum trilogy, an epic series of conspiracy thriller novels.  James Patterson described Pendulum as ‘one of the best thrillers of the year’, and the novel was nominated for the Glass Bell Award for contemporary fiction, and chosen as book of the month by Goldsboro Books and WH Smith Travel.  Pendulum was also selected for the BBC Radio 2 Book Club.  

Prior to embarking on his writing career, Adam was a strategy consultant and advised global businesses in the medical systems, robotics, technology and financial services sectors, experience that has given him a useful insight into many industries.

Adam has a law degree from Oxford University and a philosophy degree from the University of London.  He is a seasoned rock climber,skier and CPSA marksman.

Adam is a co-founder of Capital Crime. He is also the membership coordinator for the ITW Debut Authors Program.

About the book:

An exiled agent. A growing threat. A clandestine war.
The world is changing beyond recognition.
Radical extremists are rising and seek to enforce their ideology globally.
Governments, the military and intelligence agencies are being outmanoeuvred at every step. Borders are breaking down. Those in power are puppets.
The old rules are obsolete. To fight this war a new doctrine is needed.
In a world where nothing is at it seems, where trust is gone, one man will make the difference.
Meet Ex-MI6 agent and man in exile, Scott Pearce.
It’s time to burn the espionage rule book.
Watch Pearce light the fire.


Before I show you all the cover, Adam kindly answered some questions for me!

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m an author and screenwriter. Apart from three years living in Cairo between the ages of eight and eleven, I was born and raised in London. My wife and I moved to Shropshire a few years ago, where we now live with our three children. Having been a city boy most of my life, I’m a convert to the health benefits of living in the countryside and can often be found jogging along country lanes, or scaling cliffs in the Peak District and the Welsh mountains.


How did you end up becoming an author?

My parents struggled financially, so I wanted a career that was stable and lucrative and decided to study law at university. I found law quite dry and uninspiring, and after my degree became a management consultant. The sudden and unexpected death of my father caused me to re-evaluate my priorities and I decided to pursue my passion for writing. Amy and I left London, expecting it to take two years or so before I’d make any money from writing. It took ten.

I started off screenwriting because I was more comfortable with the form and was daunted by thought of writing a book, but in 2010, I decided to confront my fear and wrote a novel called Battalion. A big publisher was interested, but ultimately passed, so I self-published the book and it got nice reviews, which encouraged me to try again. The same thing happened with my second book, a dark paranormal thriller called Phase, and then I wrote Pendulum, which was the book that really changed things for me.

We went through some tough times during those ten ‘hardship’ years, but it’s been worth it, and not just for me. Amy’s also been writing and has fulfilled a lifetime ambition to become an author. She has a thriller, Remember Me, coming out with Orion in November.


How would you describe your writing to anyone who hasn’t read your books?

Like getting on a rollercoaster. I try to write action-packed books that will entertain readers and leave them a little breathless. I’m also fascinated by the issues raised by big social changes and weave them into my stories. Pendulum is all about the Internet and how it’s changed the way we interact. My new book, Black 13, is about the rise of the far-right and how espionage has changed beyond recognition.

Your forthcoming book, Black 13, rewrites the espionage thrillers as we know them. What made you decide to tear up the rule book with this one?

Black 13 is the first book in a new series that introduces readers to Scott Pearce and Leila Nahum. Pearce is a disgraced MI6 operative who’s on a quest to clear his tarnished reputation. Leila is a former M16 contractor, a fiercely independent Syrian refugee who’s haunted by the loss of her family. Black 13 sees them partner to take on a far-right conspiracy.

The book was inspired by my personal experiences during and after the 2016 EU referendum. I noticed a number of strange connections between disparate people and groups on social media and started mapping them. I took my research into the real world and went to a number of political meetings and protests on both sides of the divide, and talked to members and leaders of far-right and far-left groups, and people in law enforcement and intelligence.

One of my most surreal experiences was sitting in a Supermax prison next to a former member of a far-right group and hearing him say wistfully, ‘It’s all political now. Everything we were saying in the 80s and 90s, it’s all in the mainstream now. And there’s big money involved.’

That’s a pretty good summary of the landscape of Black 13.

One of the things I’m hoping to do with Black 13 and the Scott Pearce series is to showcase how intelligence has changed. Digital technology has given governments and private organisations the ability to manipulate populations. The Internet has democratised espionage work. We can all start and spread propaganda. Private citizens and corporations can and do employ intelligence organisations to carry out successful surveillance, intimidation and covert operations. Imagine what a well-resourced intelligence organisation can achieve in a world where they can reach billions of people directly.

Placing powerful digital tools in private hands and removing the filter of national media has put us all on the front line of contemporary espionage and I’m hoping the new Scott Pearce series will show the link between what happens on the street and what goes on in the corridors of power, and how covert operations affect us all in a very real and dangerous way.


Did you find it difficult to switch from the high-octane Pendulum trilogy universe to Black 13? 

Black 13 and the Scott Pearce series is every bit as high-octane as the Pendulum trilogy. Scott Pearce is a man who’s been trained for hostile environments and I really put him through his paces. And as for Leila…she’s inspired by three people I know. She’s been through things that would ruin many of us and struggles with a painful disability, and the events of Black 13 thoroughly test her, but she has a core of steel. I believe in pushing characters to their limits and letting the story unfold through action. It brings us back to the question about writing style. Black 13 is another rollercoaster, so readers will need to buckle up.


You’re also one of the co-founders of the newly created Capital Crime Festival, can you tell us what to expect?

David Headley and I founded Capital Crime last year and are hosting our first festival in London in September. We’ve brought together some of the world’s best crime and thriller authors in a huge celebration of the genre. It’s two-and-a-half days of marvellous events, screenings and parties and we’re trying to make it as inclusive and accessible as possible. We’ve got discount schemes for librarians and people on low incomes and are running initiatives to help people travelling alone connect with others. We want people to come to Capital Crime to spend time with their favourite authors and discover new ones, but most of all we want fans to have a wonderful and entertaining experience.


Are you guys ready to see the cover?

Take a look at this beauty….

I am BEYOND excited to read Black 13, and that cover is just perfect! If you want to pre-order your copy (published by Macmillan in 2020), just click the link below!

Black 13 by Adam Hamdy

Categories
Books

Vicious Rumer by Joshua Winning~Interview and Ellen’s Review

Hi everyone,

Today I’m thrilled to be able to share a Q&A I did with Joshua Winning, author of the Vicious Rumer, AND Ellen’s brilliant review 😊

About the author:

Joshua Winning Sentinel Shoot 2014

Joshua Winning is an author and film journalist who writes for TOTAL FILM, SFX, GAY TIMES and RADIO TIMES. He has been on set with Kermit the Frog, devoured breakfast with zombies on The Walking Dead, and sat on the Iron Throne while visiting the Game Of Thrones set in Dublin. Jeff Goldblum once told him he looks a bit like Paul Bettany.

In 2014, SENTINEL – the first book in Joshua’s SENTINEL TRILOGY – was published by Peridot Press. The second book, RUINS, followed in 2015. Joshua’s short story DEAD AIR appeared in SPEAK MY LANGUAGE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF GAY FICTION and Joshua’s new novel, VICIOUS RUMER, will be published by Unbound in 2018. He also co-wrote ’80s teen horror CAMP CARNAGE.

About the book:

VICIOUSRUMER_FRONT

Rumer Cross is cursed. Scraping by working for a dingy London detective agency, she lives in the shadow of her mother, a violent criminal dubbed the ‘Witch Assassin’ whose bloodthirsty rampage terrorised London for over a decade.

Raised by foster families who never understood her and terrified she could one day turn into her mother, Rumer has become detached and self-reliant. But when she’s targeted by a vicious mobster who believes she’s hiding an occult relic, she’s drawn into the very world she’s been fighting to avoid.

Hunted by assassins and haunted by her mother’s dark legacy, Rumer must also confront a terrible truth: that she’s cursed, because no matter what she does, everybody she’s ever grown close to has died screaming.

Ellen’s Review:

What a ride this book is; from the opening chapter to the last you are grabbed by your throat and dragged on an exhilarating (and often brutal) journey. Cursed at birth and abandoned by her ruthless mother who was known as the “Witch Assassin”, you could say that Rumer has had an unsettling start to life. Bouncing between foster homes and misunderstood by those around her she becomes a recluse, a shadow. Her skills at being unseen soon gets her employment within a London detective agency. Things take a turn for the strange when Rumer is kidnapped by a mobster who is convinced she holds the secret to the location of an ancient relic that grants immortality. Her life depends on finding The Crook Spear and evading the ghosts of her past that are nipping at her heels.

I loved Rumer – I’d definitely wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of her though. She is ruthless and ready to do anything to get the truth but she also has a wicked sense of humour so you can’t but help warm to her. After the upheaval of her early years you can forgive her brittleness and reluctance to form friendships, after all, those she grows close to have an uncanny habit of dying violently!

A kick ass thriller with elements of horror and humour; this is not a book for the faint hearted due to the gore factor. Vicious Rumer would make an awesome film and the soundtrack was rattling around my mind throughout reading. Also, just to add that the the book’s cover is pop art perfection.

Highly recommend!

Author interview:

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Of course! I’m blond, athletic and a good cook. Wait, sorry, that’s my dating answer. I’m a film journalist and author originally from a tiny Suffolk town called Bury St Edmunds. Now I live in London, spending roughly 60 per cent of my time at a computer, 20 per cent watching movies, 10 per cent on the yoga mat and 10 per cent in the pub.

How did you get into writing? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?

Aside from a few years when I wanted to be an Olympic gymnast (I was 10 and I dreamed big) I’ve always wanted to tell stories. My bedroom was always full of books. CS Lewis, Robin Jarvis, Christopher Pike… I had an entire Point Horror library that, sadly, has been lost to time. But yes, I’ve always compulsively written and it quickly became my idea of a dream job.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Inspiration is such a weird thing because so much of it is unconscious. Sometimes I’ll be writing a scene and I’ll realise it’s an exact replica of something from Friends. Or I discover I’ve been writing Drusilla from Buffy The Vampire Slayer. The easiest answer is that, when I’m writing, I draw from pop culture both consciously and unconsciously because I’m a kid of the ’80s, so I was raised by TV and Scholastic and that stuff’s lodged in my brain forever.

How would you describe your writing to anyone who hasn’t read your book?

Quirky, fast-paced, grounded. I’ve had a lot of people say my books play in their heads like they’re watching a movie, which is an excellent compliment that I’ll totally use to answer this question!

Do you think social media helps in regard to promotion and drumming up publicity for a new book?

Absolutely, but I don’t know if that translates into sales. Social media is great for connecting with readers, bloggers and fellow authors, and I’ve met so many awesome people on Twitter who have been enthusiastic and supportive when my energy levels have dried up. Social media can be a vacuum, too, but if you stick with it and try to only share things that add value to people’s lives (rather than just ‘BUY MY BOOK K?’), it can be a really useful tool.

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

I’m not gonna lie, it’s pretty cool when somebody tells me my book gave them nightmares. In all seriousness, though, being an author is great because I get to tell stories. I love figuring out characters and seeing the world from their POV. And when somebody likes what you’ve written (and leaves a review on Amazon, he adds not at all subtly), that’s the best feeling ever.

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?

Getting a numb bum every 60 minutes!

Where do you see your writing career 5 years from now?

I try not to look that far ahead. Obviously, it would be amazing to write a bestseller, but I’d also be totally OK if I’m still doing what I’m doing now, which is writing, writing, writing, and hopefully getting better with time.

What’s next for you?

A holiday! To celebrate the release of Vicious Rumer, me and a buddy are off to Ibiza. We’re both in our 30s so we won’t be raving it up Inbetweeners-style (unless somebody buys us a tequila, in which case, game over). I’m looking forward to beach, cocktails and time to catch up on reading. My TBR has spiralled out of control again…

I often wonder are authors voracious readers. Do you read much, and if so, what kind of books do you enjoy?

I used to be voracious but I really have to force myself to make time for reading nowadays, which is a bit of a tragedy. I generally use my commute to work for reading, so it has to be a really good book. I love all sorts of genres, but I’ll always be a sucker for a good fantasy horror like A Monster Calls, or a really juicy thriller like Silence Of The Lambs.

Can you tell me your all time favourite book, or if you have to, your top 5?

Ah, the question every reader dreads! My absolute favourites are Song Of Achilles by Madeline Miller, The Whitby Witches by Robin Jarvis, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier and On Writing by Stephen King. Oh cool, that was easier than I expected!

Has there been any books you’ve read that you wish you had written?

Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill is a masterpiece of science-fiction that says something really important about contemporary culture. It’s gripping, SHARP, and completely devastating.

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

Netflix is my bestie; it’s always there when I need it, and it doesn’t judge me when all I want to do is rewatch Party Of Five. I’m also a fan of the squash court, and at any given time I’m usually beta reading for one of my writer buddies. Because I’m not enough of a nerd already, I’ve also just got into videogames – I’m totally hooked on Heavy Rain at the moment. Highly recommended.

Have you any hobbies that aren’t book-related?

It’s generally frowned upon to read while playing squash or doing yoga, so those are my two non-literary activities. Unless you count the pub.

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

New York, always and forever. I spent two weeks there a few years back, staying with a friend, and they were the most amazing two weeks. We went hiking in the Catskills and visited a ton of cool galleries (the Whitney is a must). I’d move to Brooklyn in a heartbeat if I could.

Favourite food?

Peanut butter. On anything. When I was a kid, I never understood why Americans were so obsessed by PB, but now I get it. And I’m obsessed, too. But I’d never have it with jam because gross.

Favourite drink?

Coffee. But only coffee that tastes like coffee, not those double-mocha-with-whipped-cream-and-a-twist-of-pineapple things.

Last but not least, why writing? Why not something else?

It’s all I can do! It’s a compulsion that I can’t curb. It’s therapy and creativity and escapism all in one. If I couldn’t write, I’d die. Simple (and only slightly overdramatic).

Categories
Books

Blog Tour: Beneath The Whispers by Jim Ody

Hi everyone,

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Beneath The Whispers by Jim Ody, and I have a Q&A with the author for you all to check out!

About the author:

Author Photo

 

Jim was first published in an English School Textbook in 1987. He won a competition to draw a dog-walking machine. Having won an art competition the year before, he felt that at the age of eleven he had peaked and consequently retired from the world of art.

 

For 10 years Jim wrote for a number of websites reviewing and interviewing bands in his own unique way, as well as contributing dark poems and comedic features.

 

He writes dark psychological/thrillers that have endings that you won’t see coming, and favours stories packed with wit. He has written three novels released through Zombie Cupcake Press and has also contributed to several anthologies. Coming soon is his psychological/mystery ‘Beneath The Whispers’ released by Crazy Ink. He also has short stories appearing in the following anthologies ‘War Paint’, ‘Crazy Fools’, ‘AWOL A.I.’ and ‘The End?’.

Jim has a very strange sense of humour and is often considered a little odd.  When not writing he will be found playing the drums, watching football and eating chocolate. He lives with his long-suffering wife and three beautiful children in Swindon, Wiltshire.

About the book:

27545527_943824882459561_758883722917580050_n.jpg

Genevieve Deboise is too good for Scott Dean. He’s always known that. It isn’t a shock to learn she is cheating on him.
What is a surprise is bumping into his childhood sweetheart in the woods where he’d planned to take solace in his heartbreak and bruised ego.

But running into Mary-Ann Jennings isn’t exactly the fairy tale it might seem.
Instead, his first love needs his help finding a USB stick that has fallen into the wrong hands. Now in the cellar of Genevieve’s new lover, Scotty must confront his feelings for both women in order to retrieve the missing USB stick.
On a quest to confront his past and locate Mary-Ann’s property, he journeys through the whispers that have always surrounded him.

Love will make you do crazy things.
But is it enough to get beneath the whispers?

Click HERE to get your copy!

Make sure to check out the blog tour:

Beneath The Whispers Blog Tour Final.jpg

 

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

 

I am married and have three children who are a handful. I work as a Business Analyst in the day and write every night when the family has gone to bed. I’m an avid reader, love movies, music and football.  

 

How did you get into writing? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?

 

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I wrote a lot of stories when I was younger, but it was when I was a regular writer for a music website that I began to gain recognition. I enjoyed making my reviews interesting and was quoted by a lot of bands over the ten years I was a reviewer and interviewer.

 

Where do you get your inspiration from?

 

I gain my inspiration from the world around me. I watch movies and think of alternative endings or will suddenly get a small idea that will plant itself in the back of my mind and grow into an interesting idea that I want to expand on.

 

How would you describe your writing to anyone who hasn’t read your book?

 

My writing is multi-layered. It is very much character driven and I like to focus not only on what they are doing but looking back at their past at what might have driven them to do what they are doing. I love to break up the tension with witty dialogue and am known for unexpected endings.

 

Do you think social media helps in regard to promotion and drumming up publicity for a new book?

 

Definitely. Social Media has been a huge help with increasing my profile and making people aware of my books. Whether it’s Blog Tours, Author Takeovers, or discussions within book groups I cannot stress enough the importance of connecting with potential readers. It also helps me to understand the market and see what successful authors are doing.

 

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

 

It has got to be getting positive feedback about my work. Those ideas that have grown, nurtured and blossomed into a novel, being enjoyed by readers is a wonderful feeling. I especially enjoy the feedback I’ve received of people enjoying my books so much that they’re discussed them at lengths with family members and friends. Then seeing them recommended in groups.

 

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?

 

I think it’s the lack financial return verses the huge number of hours dedicated in writing, promoting and general marketing. If it was for the money, then I would get more for working a second job of an evening at minimum wage! However, being an author is so much more than that!

 

Where do you see your writing career 5 years from now?

 

My ambition is to release a book a year for a large publisher, whilst still releasing another novel and novella for one of my current publishers. If this does not pan out then I will still have released at least a dozen more novels and built up a larger fanbase.

 

What’s next for you?

 

I have a lot going on! This year I will be releasing seven short-stories in seven separate anthologies. I’ve already released one novel, and one novella. I have a crime/comedy called ‘…Just South Of Heaven’ that is the first of a series I’m writing. This should be out by autumn. I have another three novels to start on and I hope one of those will be also released by the end of the year. Depending on all of these I have plans to co-write three novels with three separate authors. We need to match up our schedules and pencil in the plans for these.

 

I often wonder are authors voracious readers. Do you read much, and if so, what kind of books do you enjoy?

 

Yes, I have always been a big reader. I am a reader first and a writer second. I always try to help promote other authors because I want great books to read too! I enjoy psychological/thrillers, mysteries, comedies and horror. I try to read a wide variety of books and often learn little things for each. I truly believe that reading more books makes you a better writer.

 

Can you tell me your all time favourite book, or if you have to, your top 5?

 

This changes frequently but now it’s Caroline Kepnes ‘You’. I really enjoy her style and have just finished and enjoyed the follow up ‘Hidden Bodies’. I love the brash dialogue and the deep observations along with an unexpected plot. I think I have a similar writing style, but Caroline’s is the superior completed article.

 

Has there been any books you’ve read that you wish you had written?

 

The two above along with Peter Benchley’s ‘Jaws’, and Joe R Lansdale ‘Freezer Burn’.

 

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

 

We do a lot as a family. Other than that, I play football twice a week and also play the drums. I have to be doing something as \I get bored easily.

 

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

 

I’ve been to Hawaii twice and really love it there. We’ve also enjoyed the times we’ve been to America. I’ve set a couple of short-stories in America and would love to go back.

 

Favourite food?

 

Either Fish & Chips or Chinese

 

Favourite drink?

 

Coffee

 

Last but not least, why writing? Why not something else?

 

I wanted to be either a writer, a drummer or a footballer. I am too old to be a footballer now which was something I dedicated a lot of my younger years to. I never had friends into music so apart from a couple of gigs I did to help out a band this was never an option. Writing is something I’ve always done, and arguably something you get better with age at. I have received the best feedback for it too. It is something that you can be unique and creative at too.

 

 

Categories
Blog Tour Books

Blog Tour~Anaconda Vice by James Stansfield

Morning all,

Let’s try this one again, shall we? And do the correct blog tour post on the correct day! I’m blaming it on the cabin fever, haha! Anyway, today is my stop on the blog tour for Anaconda Vice by James Stansfield and I have a Q&A with the man himself!

About the author:

James S1

James Stansfield grew up in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire and now lives in Cardiff with his wife and daughter.  He began his writing career contributing features and television reviews to the website Den of Geek, covering shows such as The Killing, Banshee and Archer.

His action thriller debut, Anaconda Vice, will be published in February 2018.

About the book:

anacondaviceKINDLE

When Lucas Winter, a retired professional wrestler, runs out of gas on a dark and desolate road, his only thoughts are on getting to the lights of the small town up ahead, getting some gas, and getting out of there…only things aren’t quite what they seem in the tiny town of Anaconda.

Before he has a chance to solve his transport problem, Lucas finds himself in trouble with the law after a local man picks a fight with him…and then ends up dead. Innocent, Lucas fights to clear his name, tangling with the local law enforcement and the family of the dead man, who seem set on taking their revenge. Can Lucas get out alive? And just what is it that the residents of Anaconda are hiding….

Anaconda Vice by James Stansfield

Q&A with James:

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Of course, but first, thank you for having me on the blog.  I grew up in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire but I’ve been in Cardiff, Wales for 13 years now following 5 years in Scotland.  I live with my wife Genevieve and daughter Lily.  In my day job I’m an I.T. Support Analyst and Programmer, which is nowhere near as interesting as writing.

How did you get into writing? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?

Yes, pretty much, in one way or another.  I’ve always written something.  I used to steal blank exercise books from school and fill them with stories or film reviews.  I suppose I started taking it seriously when I began writing for the website Den of Geek in 2012.  They gave me a chance and it was a big confidence booster.  

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Anywhere and everywhere.  I think one of the major plot points in Anaconda Vice came from a newspaper article I read one morning on the bus.  Other times it can be a hint of an idea or character from something on TV or a line in a song.  It all gets thrown together to hopefully form something that resembles a story.

How would you describe your writing to anyone who hasn’t read your book?

I’m aiming to entertain.  I want people to look forward to perhaps settling down at the end of the day with it and being able to forget everything else that they’ve got going on.  There’s enough doom and gloom going on in the world right now that I think everyone needs some escapist fun and that’s what I hope Anaconda Vice delivers.  That’s how writing it felt so I hope that translates to the reader.

Do you think social media helps in regard to promotion and drumming up publicity for a new book?

Definitely, especially Twitter.  I’ve been quite overwhelmed by how supportive the book community has been on Twitter and it’s certainly helped news of Anaconda Vice reach people.  I’ve been a big Twitter user for a number of years and it’s a great tool for connecting with people you share common interests with.  I do think that you need to temper the promotional stuff with some personal bits too.  People want to know what you’re doing, watching, reading and enjoying, not just to be hit with a sales pitch several times a day.

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

In terms of the actual writing, probably when you’re working on a chapter and without realizing it you’ve done a thousand words as it’s just flowed so naturally.  That always feels pretty good.

Away from the keyboard, I’m still getting used to the idea that people are reading a book that I’ve written, so whenever anyone tells me they are, or that they’re excited to read it, that’s something that’s been really encouraging.

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?

I suppose the worst thing that’s happened to me so far was having to throw away an entire book after working on it for seven months.  It was only a first draft and I know everyone says that first drafts are supposed to be terrible but I think you know when something is never going to work.  It was a learning experience if nothing else.

Where do you see your writing career 5 years from now?

I’d like to continue writing books about Lucas Winter, the protagonist of Anaconda Vice.  He’s a lot of fun to write and if people enjoy the character then I’d like to have another three or four of his adventures out by 2023.  I’m working on the follow up now and I’ve got at least another couple of plots in mind for him.

What’s next for you?

Immediately, that’ll be the second draft of Lucas Winter 2.  I recently sent a synopsis of the story to Liz and Lisa at Manatee Books and thankfully, they gave it a double thumbs up.

I often wonder are authors voracious readers. Do you read much, and if so, what kind of books do you enjoy?

Absolutely.  I try to read for an hour before going to sleep most nights, though I sometimes don’t last that long if I’m tired.  I’ll read anything that takes my fancy, though in recent years crime fiction and thrillers in one shape or another have dominated most of my choices.  I like horror, YA and occasional bit of fantasy too.  I’m one of the many still waiting on that sixth A Song of Ice and Fire book.

Can you tell me your all time favourite book, or if you have to, your top 5?

My very favourite book is Alex Garland’s paradise gone wrong thriller The Beach.  I first read it when I was at university and it was like nothing else I’d come across before. I read it again every couple of years.  I don’t think I’ve ever identified with a character as much as I do Richard.  It’s simply a stunning book.

Has there been any books you’ve read that you wish you had written?

Loads but right at the top of the list would be Futuristic Violence & Fancy Suits by David Wong.  It’s a future set thriller with some incredible world building and is so effortlessly cool.  It’s also one of the funniest books I’ve ever read.  More recently, I would love to have written Six Stories or Hydra by Matt Wesolowski.  Those books are jaw-droppingly brilliant and I can’t wait to read what he does next.

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

Aside from the day job, parenting, writing and reading, I like to watch wrestling both live and on TV, which will probably come as no surprise given Lucas Winter’s background.  There’s a great promotion called Attack Pro Wrestling who run shows in Cardiff and Bristol so I go to see them about once a month.

I follow American Football between September and February.  I’m a New England Patriots fan which, well, our season didn’t end quite as we’d have hoped this year.  I also try to get out for a half hour run three times a week, which is a brilliant way to take some time out to solve nagging plot problems.  You’d be amazed what you can figure out whilst jogging along to Slipknot.

Have you any hobbies that aren’t book-related?

Our household is pretty heavily into gaming so Friday and Saturday nights are usually spent on the PlayStation.  My wife and I have just finished playing a fantastic game called Danganronpa – Trigger Happy Havoc.  It’s an interactive Japanese anime where you have to solve murders in a mysterious high school.  Games have played a pretty big influence on my writing.  When I wrote Anaconda Vice I was playing the first three Uncharted games and there’s definitely a bit of Nathan Drake in Lucas Winter.

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

New York City.  It’s the best city in the world with just the most amazingly friendly people.  On our last visit, my wife and I saw Pearl Jam play two consecutive nights at Madison Square Garden, the second show being the best concert I’ve ever attended.  I also love the Madives.  We spent two weeks there in a villa over the water and I don’t think I’ve ever been more relaxed in my entire life.

Favourite food?

I’m a total crisps fiend but saying Doritos seems rather lame.  There’s a place in Cardiff called the New York Deli which does the most incredible hoagies so I’ll go with those.  Oh, and my wife’s vanilla cupcakes are out of this world.

Favourite drink?

It’s a toss up between a good strong coffee and a glass of Shiraz.

Last but not least, why writing? Why not something else?

I want to give some deep and meaningful answer here but the truth is, I just enjoy doing it.  Even when I was writing things that nobody but me would ever read, I always liked coming up with phrases, descriptions and stories.  And besides, I tried being in a band for years only to be forced to admit in the end that I had not one shred of musical talent, so writing it is.

Follow the blog tour:

img_0108

Categories
Books

A chat with author Lawrence Davis

Hi all,

Something a bit different today! I had the pleasure of asking Lawrence Davis a few questions recently and I’ll be sharing that with you in a bit. First though, the all-important bookish info!

About the author:

Lawrence.jpg

Lawrence Davis is a decorated U. S. Army Infantryman who served three combat tours overseas, including in Iraq. His first book, Blunt Force Magic, was written in part to help navigate the struggles associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He’s a shooting instructor and a dog rescue advocate who lives in Florida with his four rescue pitbulls and extremely patient girlfriend.

About the book:

Blunt Force Magic.jpg

Janzen Robinson is a man torn between two worlds. Five years removed from a life as an apprentice to a group of do-gooding heroes who championed the fight against supernatural evils, the once-promising student is now a package courier going through the daily grind, passing time at a hole-in-the-wall bar and living in a tiny, run-down apartment on the south side of Cleveland, Ohio. Then fate (or a case of bad timing) brings him face to face with a door that’s got his old life written all over it.

From the ancient recesses of unyielding darkness known as the Abyss, a creature has been summoned: a Stalker, a predator whose real name is forbidden to be spoken aloud. It’s a bastardization of the natural order, a formidable blend of dark magic and primal tenacity. Its single-minded mission? Ending the life of a fiery, emerging young witch. Thrust into the role of protector, a role once reserved for those he’d lost years ago, the out-of-practice “Artificer” not only has to return to a life he’d left behind, but must relive that painful past while facing down the greatest threat to come to our world in a century.

Janzen will have to journey through the magical underbelly of the city and not only stay one step ahead of an unstoppable monster hellbent on destruction but try and figure out why it’s been brought to our world in the first place. Past wounds are reopened as Janzen looks to old friends, a quiet stranger, and his own questionable wits to see them all to the other side of this nightmare that may cost him his life and, quite possibly, the world itself.

Blunt Force Magic by Lawrence Davis


 

Little about me:

My name is Lawrence Davis, I’m still pretty fresh into my thirties. Big time fan of science-fiction and Fantasy, also a comic fan. I’m an Army combat veteran, I served with the infantry. Pitbull advocate, I’ve rescued four and they’re my absolute babies. Pizza is a constant of my diet and the bane of all my attempts to lose weight. Generally I’m not good at the about me section so I hope this scattershot of facts help.

How did you start writing:

I actually started writing when I was in trouble, I got online and got into a role-playing community. I mean silly stuff too, writing out Dragon Ball Z and stuff about Zelda. It was this cool smorgasbord of all my favorite mediums of entertainment, just senselessly smashed together. I loved it, and that was the genesis of my writing. That was where I met my creative partner Karla as well as a bunch of other writers I remained friends with over the years.

Inspiration:

Tolkien was kind of my muse; when I decided I wanted to write a book I read a bunch about how he did a lot of world building during the first World War while in the trenches… so I started carrying a notebook around in Iraq, penciling in random ideas and notes. Salvatore, Butcher, Frank Miller, Joseph Loeb — like a Jackson Pollock of all the last twenty years of gritty, action stuff. As I got older though, I went less from trying to make an echo of the anti-hero type I fell so in love with and started really getting into more character development stuff. Not in terms just of growth, but flaws, how those flaws enrich them as characters and make them relatable.

Writing style:

Ugh, as a writer I’ll love what I wrote until the ink dries. Honestly I think my style is a marriage of a gruff narrator and an aspiring poet, like a guy who’s not good but has an occasional pearl. My style is like my signature: easy to read, a little sloppy and full of character.

Social media:

Oh, right now I would be an awful voice on that. This is my first novel, but I will say the community is amazing. I mean even this page, the proprietor hasn’t read the book but she’s supportive enough to allow me to contribute. I guess I would say it can’t hurt, and the reception from the community has been almost life-affirming.

Favorite thing about being an author:

People I know not only buying my book, which is such a humbling honor, but reading it. Reading it and liking it. That was such a thrill. I wrote this book as an homage to my best friend who died, and our entire adult life he wanted me to put a book out. It feels like it validates his belief in me, and that’s priceless.

Least favorite:

It’s been dope to me, but I guess I’ve never questioned myself as a writer, I always did it for fun and being judged wasn’t a thing. Now it is, and that can suck.

Five years from now:

Book 6-7 of the series, plus I’m writing an accompanying novella trilogy to the main story so maybe the second novella coming out?

Next:

Book 2 is almost done now, as well as the first novella. So hopefully those continue on as planned. Fingers crossed and all.

Are you a reader:

I actually don’t read a lot when writing. When coming up as a writer we took all the time from our favorite writers, and while I know that’s inevitable and has been happening since the dawn of written word, I try not to assimilate too much because of that habit. In my downtime I read a bunch. Simon R. Green, Neil Gaiman, as I stated before I stay up with comics and I love a series called Invincible by Image Comics.

Free time:

I actively rescue and foster dogs, so that takes a lot of time up. I also own a security company, we hire mostly immigrants and veterans because my family background is both so we’re proud of that.

Hobbies:

Dog rescue, shooting (I instruct a lot), trying to cultivate a program that introduces veterans to artistic mediums to help them along with new and productive ways of expression. Pizza. Love pizza.

Holiday destination:

Since I live in south Florida probably northern California. I love the mountains.

Food:

… pizza. Extra cheese, pepperoni? Whew. My kryptonite.

Drink:

Chocolate milk? On the adult end, a vodka and soda water. Trying to count calories what with my pizza intake being what it is.

Why Writing:

Because words are the most invigorating yet frustrating thing in all my life. I know my soul has some stuff to say, and discovering the way to not only articulate it but do it with eloquence is such an unending yet oddly rewarding challenge—or journey, rather. I couldn’t imagine anything else.


Many thanks to Lawrence for answering my questions for the blog! 🙂
Categories
Books Q&A

Q&A with Jacqueline Chadwick @jackiechaddy @fahrenheitpress

Hi everyone,

To celebrate Briefly Maiden’s release on Thursday, the second Ali Dalglish book, by Jacqueline Chadwick, I’m re-sharing my Q&A today, and tomorrow I’ll be resharing my review for her debut, In The Still!

About the author:


Jacqueline Chadwick is probably best known for her work in British soap operas.

Jackie appeared in ITV soap opera Emmerdale, as Tina Dingle from 1994–1996. For this role she was nominated for Most Popular Actress at the 1996 National Television Awards.

Jackie next appeared in Coronation Street in 1998 as factory machinist Linda Sykes. The storyline involving her character’s relationship with Mike Baldwin won Best Storyline at The British Soap Awards in 2001. She left Coronation Street in 2001.

In 2002 she relocated to Canada with her husband and family.

In The Still is her first novel.

You can follow her on twitter @JackieChaddy

About the book:

Jackie C

When Ali Dalglish immigrated to Canada she left behind her career as Britain’s most in-demand forensic pathologist & criminal psychologist.

Now, eight years later, Ali feels alone, and bored, and full of resentment. Suffocated and frustrated by her circumstances and in an increasingly love-starved marriage, Ali finds herself embroiled in a murder case that forces her to call upon her dormant investigative skills.

As she’s pulled deeper into the case of ‘The Alder Beach Girl’ and into the mind of a true psychopath, Ali is forced to confront her fears and to finally embrace her own history of mental illness.

In an increasingly febrile atmosphere Ali must fight hard to protect those she loves from the wrath of a determined and vicious predator and to ultimately allow the woman she once was to breathe again.

You can get your copy bu clicking the link below:

In The Still (Ali Dalglish Book 1) by Jacqueline Chadwick


Can you tell us a little about yourself?

At the risk of boring you to death: I am forty-two, Scottish, I have two children and too many dogs. I have a fabulous husband who is a firefighter. I grew up in Birmingham where I became an actress at the age of 11 and continued in that field until I was 26. I left acting to focus on motherhood and to homeschool my kids. I moved to Canada in 2009 were I work as a writer and miss the U.K. every day.

 

How did you get into writing? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?

I have always loved writing. During my years as an actress, writing was my ‘dirty little secret’ and I would sneak off to my dressing room and write plays and TV scripts and screenplays. Nowadays I like to write novels, especially ones that are just a little bit twisted.

 

Where do you get your inspiration from?

The inspiration for my first novel, ‘In The Still’, was a combination of  two things: a secluded nature trail near my house and my husband’s job as a first responder. I wanted to know, if a murder victim was discovered in the sleepy municipality where I now live, how would it be handled? Who would be first on scene? Would they bring in specialists? Then, once I started to describe the setting, it became clear to me that a killer could operate undetected for a long time, perhaps forever, in such a place as long as he chose his victims carefully and didn’t get clumsy.

 

How would you describe your writing to anyone who hasn’t read your books?

I am fascinated by the dark side of human nature. I love to explore the notion of evil. I get excited writing things that are grim and sometimes uncomfortable. I’m happy with certain chapters only when I have to take a break after writing to have a drink of water and let my nausea subside. My central character is a brilliant woman called Ali Dalglish but what I especially like about her is that she isn’t perfect, she is flawed and about as far away from sorted as you can get.

 

Do you think social media helps in regard to promotion and drumming up publicity for a new book?

Since ‘In The Still’ is my debut, I am green to the industry and to social media. Although I’ve become totally addicted, I am a Twitter newbie and so you’ll have to ask me that one in the future.

 

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

Writing every day. It is my idea of heaven on earth. I love every moment of it from the first chapter to the very last.

 

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?

Well, as I said before, I’m learning as I go but I have noticed that, once your work is out there, you have frequent moments of self-doubt and sheer panic. However, thus far it’s been nothing a glass of wine can’t fix.

 

Where do you see your writing career 5 years from now?

I’d like to have written another five books.

 

What’s next for you?

‘Briefly Maiden’ and ‘Silent Sisters’ (books two and three in the Ali Dalglish series) are being published by Fahrenheit Press later this year and I’m currently working on a fourth that’s set in Britain because I’m just so damn homesick.

 

I often wonder are authors voracious readers. Do you read much, and if so, what kind of books do you enjoy?

I read every day. At the moment I’m working my way through the works of the Fahrenheit Press family and I’m thoroughly enjoying them all. Crime fiction is my favourite genre and always has been since I was little but I like to read a mix of styles and genres, both modern and classic.

 

Can you tell me your all time favourite book, or if you have to, your top 5?

There are many books I love but one in particular stands out as my favourite: ‘Hannibal’ by Thomas Harris. I remember reading it on the train and my face getting hot as Harris introduces Mason Verger, it was the first time I had to shut a book just to steel myself for more.

 

 

Has there been any books you’ve read that you wish you had written?

Hannibal.

 

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

I have always homeschooled my kids. My daughter is twenty and so she’s all done but I still work with my son, Jamie. There’s always crap to do around the house (especially with four dogs) but nowadays I can slip off to my desk, dive into a new chapter and leave it for tomorrow.

 

Have you any hobbies that aren’t book-related?

Oil painting and furniture restoration although, since Ali Dalglish took up residence in my skull, I haven’t done either for a while.

 

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

My husband and I have always taken the kids to Disney but right now, given the chance, I’d go to Britain – I’m dying for a proper fish supper, some tattie scones and as much Irn Bru as I can take.

 

Favourite food?

As above!!!

 

Favourite drink?

I love beer but it’s too fattening (I’m five foot and so every pound just takes me closer to that barrel-shape I’m genetically destined for) so I stick to vodka and cranberry and the odd glass (bottle) of red.

 

 

Last but not least, why writing? Why not something else?

Whenever I don’t write, even if for just a few days, I go more than a little bit crazy. It’s something I am compelled to do. I bloody love it!


Huge thanks to Jackie for answering my questions! 🙂

Check back tomorrow for my refresher of In The Still…

Categories
Blog Tour Books

~Blog Tour Q&A~ Dead Lands by Lloyd Otis

Hi everyone,

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Dead Lands by Lloyd Otis and I get to share a Q&A that I did with Lloyd for you guys!

About the book:

DL.jpg

Dead Lands is a thrilling crime story set in the 1970s. When a woman’s body is found a special team is called in to investigate and prime suspect Alexander Troy is arrested for the murder. Desperate to remain a free man, Troy protests his innocence, but refuses to use his alibi. Trying to protect the woman he loves becomes a dangerous game – questions are asked and suspicions deepen. When the prime suspect completes a daring escape from custody, DI Breck and DS Kearns begin the hunt. Breck wants out of the force while Kearns has her own agenda and seeks revenge. Breck has his suspicions and she wants to keep it from him, and a right-wing march provides an explosive backdrop to their hunt for Troy. Dead Lands is the thrilling debut of award winning short story writer Lloyd Otis, and intelligently covers issues of race, discrimination and violence in a changing 70s landscape.   

Published by Urbane Books, you can order your copy HERE!

About the author:

lo.jpg

Lloyd was born in London and attained a BA (Hons) in Media and Communication. After gaining several years of valuable experience within the finance and digital sectors, he completed a course in journalism. Lloyd has interviewed a host of bestselling authors, such as Mark Billingham, Hugh Howey, Kerry Hudson, and Lawrence Block. Two of his short stories were selected for publication in the ‘Out of My Window’ anthology, and he currently works as an Editor.

Authors links:

Web: http://www.lloydotis.com/

Via Urbane: http://urbanepublications.com/book_author/lloyd-otis/

Twitter: @LloydOtisWriter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LloydOtisWriter


 

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

 

Hi, thank you for having me on Bibliophile Book Club.

I was born and raised in South London and in the past, I’ve been a music reviewer and I’ve been a book blogger. My passion for books led me to be the editor of a book column for a monthly lifestyle magazine which was fun, and I’ve always been creative, even when I worked in the financial square mile with a client list of big businesses. I currently work as an editor.

 

How did you get into writing? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?

 

Yes, it was always something I wanted to do because the concept of the story always appealed to me. I think it was while I attended university that my desire to take the writing to another level really took off. I tried my hand at writing longer stories and thought some were great when they probably weren’t. But it became a key learning curve and I was happy getting on with life and practice the writing. I later joined a local writer’s group. We’d meet once a week, write a topic that the tutor chose and then stand up in front of the class and read aloud. At first that was a little nerve-wracking but I have an appetite to learn so it didn’t deter me and it soon became second nature. I also started book blogging at around that time and received requests from publishers to interview their authors.

 

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I’d say everyday life and by observing the smallest of details. Writers often spend long periods in solitude in order to concentrate, which is necessary, but I find that it helps to mingle afterwards and have face-to-face conversations. There is so much that you can pick up.

 

How would you describe your writing to anyone who hasn’t read your books?

 

That’s an interesting question that I can only describe by saying, I like to have my characters be declamatory when necessary amidst a punchy prose.  I want to lead the reader by the hand to the place where things are hidden. I want to tell the story, that’s important.

 

Do you think social media helps in regard to promotion and drumming up publicity for a new book?

 

Yes, most definitely, and there are succinct reasons for that. We’re in the digital age now and an author needs to have a digital footprint. Through social media, a vast amount of promotional ground and awareness can be gained by reaching people, for example, on the other side of the world which is amazing.

 

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

 

My favourite thing about being an author is finally feeling like one. And knowing that an idea which was once floating around in my head and then scribbled down on piece of paper, is now a story that a lot of people can enjoy. That’s awesome.

 

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?

 

Being initially ruthless with my rewrites and edits while forgetting that I’m then the one that needs to implement them. Ouch.

 

Where do you see your writing career 5 years from now?

 

Hopefully, going strong with a solid fan base, with really good books behind me that readers have enjoyed.

 

What’s next for you?

 

For the time being it’ll be more promotional activity for Dead Lands – which might eventually see me donning seventies gear – meeting crime fiction fans and having great experiences. And of course, writing something new.

 

I often wonder are authors voracious readers. Do you read much, and if so, what kind of books do you enjoy?

 

I like to read as much as I can, sometimes even two books at once. I have a pile of books to be read, a pile that keeps getting bigger, and within that pile you’ll find crime fiction, thrillers, memoirs, and other types of general fiction.

 

Can you tell me your all-time favourite book, or if you have to, your top 5?

 

There isn’t a standard set top five list as such or an all-time favourite but I recall reading A Piece of Cake: A Memoir by Cupcake Brown, a hard-hitting book which stayed with me for a while, and The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino, that had such a well-paced masterful build-up as it neared its end.

 

Has there been any books you’ve read that you wish you had written?

 

Plenty but it’s probably best to keep it restricted to this small amount. The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger, and more recently, Ghost Man by the late Roger Hobbs who had agreed to do an interview for me a few years back. Unfortunately, it never happened.

 

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

 

I go to the gym, chill out with the family, and read and watch bad TV.

 

Have you any hobbies that aren’t book-related?

Yes, I’m a bit of a high-end video gamer, and I’m learning to play the guitar so that I can solo like Slash one day.

 

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

I think the UK has some beautiful places but at the moment, Italy just pips it.

 

Favourite food?

 

Depends on the mood I’m in but right now, exactly right now, I’m desperate for apple crumble.

 

Favourite drink?

 

It’s got to be Chambord, it comes in the cutest bottle too. Google it.

 

Last but not least, why writing? Why not something else?

 

As I no longer have my motorbike, I can’t be a MOTO GP champion. However, I’ve got a vivid imagination where good always battles evil, so the only way to have it utilised thoroughly is through writing. I’ve still got a few more stories to tell yet so it’d be criminal (pun definitely intended) to do anything else.


Follow the blog tour:

BANNER.jpg

Categories
Blog Tour Books

~Blog Tour~ Rocco and The Nightingale by Adrian Magson

Hi guys,

Today I’m delighted to be taking part on the blog tour for Rocco and The Nightingale by Adrian Magson. I’ll be sharing my review as well as a Q&A that I got to do with Adrian as well!

About the book:

rocco.jpg

When a minor Paris criminal is found stabbed in the neck on a country lane in Picardie it looks like another case for Inspector Lucas Rocco. But instead he is called off to watch over a Gabonese government minister, hiding out in France following a coup. Meanwhile, Rocco discovers that there is a contract on his head taken out by an Algerian gang leader with a personal grudge against him.

Published by The Dome Press, you can order your copy HERE!

About the author:

AM.jpg

Hailed by the Daily Mail as “a classic crime star in the making”, Adrian Magson’s next book is Rocco and the Nightingale (The Dome Press – October 2017). This is the fifth in the Inspector Lucas Rocco series set in France in the 1960s.

Before this, Adrian had written 21 crime and spy thriller books built around Gavin & Palmer (investigative reporter Riley Gavin and ex-Military Policeman Frank Palmer) – “Gritty and fast-paced detecting of the traditional kind, with a welcome injection of realism” (The Guardian); Harry Tate, ex-soldier and MI5 officer – “fast-paced, with more twists and turns than a high-octane roller coaster” (New York Journal of Books); Inspector Lucas Rocco (crime series set in 1960s Picardie) – “Deserves to be ranked with the best” (Daily Mail), “Captures perfectly the rural atmosphere of France… a brilliant debut” (Books Monthly); Marc Portman (The Watchman) – prompting one reviewer to write: “the most explosive opening chapters I have read in a long time. Give this man a Bond script to play with!”; investigators Ruth Gonzales and Andy Vaslik – “Magson takes the suburban thriller overseas and gives it a good twist. [Readers] will happily get lost in the nightmare presented here” (Booklist Reviews).

Adrian also has hundreds of short stories and articles in national and international magazines to his name, plus a non-fiction work: Write On! – The Writer’s Help Book (Accent Press).

Adrian lives in the Forest of Dean and rumours that he is building a nuclear bunker are unfounded. It is a bird table.

@AdrianMagson1

http://www.adrianmagson.com

​http://adrianmagson.blogspot.co.uk/

My thoughts:

I was looking forward to reading Rocco and The Nightingale as Adrian Magson is a new-to-me author and I do love a series. It is safe to say I wasn’t disappointed with it, as I couldn’t put it down once I started.

Rocco is a really genuine character, and I didn’t feel like I was missing any back story by not having read the previous books. In “The Nightingale”, Rocco assumes he will be investigating the death of a criminal from Paris, but instead he is tasked with watching a Gabonese government minister who is hiding out in France. This leads the reader, and Rocco, to question why exactly he was taken of the first case in lieu of babysitting a minister.

Along with this, Rocco discovers that someone has put a hit out on him. With his life in danger, its safe to say he is in a bit of trouble. To make life harder for himself, he continues to investigate the murder, and he has to deal with the consequences and the fallout from that!

I don’t want to say much more about the plot, but it is definitely a gripping story. I really liked Rocco as a character and the various story arcs made for some great change of pace throughout the book. I will most certainly be adding more Rocco books to my TBR after reading this one!

Recommended!

Interview:

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m married, to Ann, am a full-time writer of crime novels and spy thrillers (22 published to date) and live in Gloucestershire.

How did you get into writing? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?
Absolutely. I got hooked on books at the age of 8, starting with crime novels and westerns, and decided then that it must be a great way to earn a living, being paid to tell stories. It took me many years to do it, but I began by selling lots of short fiction for women’s magazines, then features and a few other things in between, and finally made the jump to books, which was where I’d been aiming all along. And I’m still learning.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
I wish I knew for sure. Sometimes it can be something in the news, or an idea prompted by something I’ve read. Other times an idea comes out of nowhere, although clearly there has to have been some kind of prompt. Because I write series, though, using the same main characters and settings (as with Detective Inspector Lucas Rocco in the French police in this case), I do tend to look for specific areas to write about within that frame. With the Rocco series, I start off looking at events in French history during the 1960s to see if there’s anything to bounce off. In previous books this meant echoes of WW2 and France’s war in Indochina, the effects of Algerian Independence, assassination attempts on President de Gaulle. That might all sound rather heavy and historic, but it’s really not, as I use them only as a backdrop to a plot, helping me put the story together.

How would you describe your writing to anyone who hasn’t read your book?
I hope, easy to read, entertaining, with plenty of pace, interesting characters and settings. I also try to inject some humour where I can (although not always possible in spy thrillers). I like to think readers will be satisfied at the end of the book and want to come back for more.

Do you think social media helps in regard to promotion and drumming up publicity for a new book?
It certainly seems to help at the moment, I think, and thank goodness. Publishers these days do not or cannot do a full job of marketing or selling on all books, and there’s no other way of getting exposure short of getting some prominent press reviews or being in the news. As an author, trying to get your book into bookshops is extremely tough because of the competition and pricing, over which we have no control, and every minute you spend on marketing is another minute away from your main job of writing.

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?
Well, seeing the finished published book has to be way up there – always a huge buzz, because it means you’ve done it and all that hard work has come to fruition. Writers live to write but we also want to get our work out there. But for me it’s beginning another book, because that’s exciting on a different level, involving research, creating characters, events and plot twists and turns. And I can’t ignore the enormous buzz when someone tells you out of the blue that they’ve enjoyed your book. That’s huge and very uplifting.

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?
We all get indifferent or poor reviews, which can be depressing. But you have to learn to accept them because not everyone likes the same kind of book. Editing can be rewarding on one level, but a painful chore you have to deal with, when you’ve read the book through several times and find yet another typo! There’s also the not enough time in the day problem, which can be frustrating when you just want to write another scene… !

Where do you see your writing career 5 years from now?
Hopefully, no different in writing terms from now, because that’s what it boils down to – being a full-time writer. On a purely base level, there’s always the hope that sales will increase, a fabulous tv or film deal will come along and I’ll be rich and famous!

What’s next for you?
I’m currently editing a standalone book, which is nearly done, and have another Rocco book bubbling away. But I’ve also got another spy thriller in the Harry Tate series in mind. All this means I just have to go without sleep or food for about 6 months and I’ll get it done!

I often wonder are authors voracious readers. Do you read much, and if so, what kind of books do you enjoy?
I love books and always have. I read crime and spy thrillers, an occasional biography, but I’m probably less adventurous than I should be when it comes to broad reading. My problem with reading books in my own genres, be it spy or crime, can sometimes fill my head with the wrong kind of voice, which is off-putting. So occasionally I avoid them until I’ve finished writing.

Can you tell me your all time favourite book, or if you have to, your top 5?
Not so much books, but authors, definitely. In no particular order or genre, Leslie Thomas, Bill Bryson, John Sandford, Robert Crais. Thomas Enger, too.

 

Has there been any books you’ve read that you wish you had written?
I don’t think so. I admire lots of books by different authors, but on a professional level I have to keep coming up with my own ideas – and to be pleased with them.

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
Watching too much television and DVDs, doing DIY, walking, being with Ann.

Have you any hobbies that aren’t book-related?
Woodwork, I think. I like to make stuff, although nothing too fancy. It’s the physical focus which takes me right out of writing for a while. Then I’ll start thinking about a plot point and I have to down tools and go make some notes.

What’s your favourite holiday destination?
Best remembered, the Maldives. Superb. Paris and New York, of course. But I like to try different places. Otherwise, anywhere with a beach and/or some good places to eat. And home.

Favourite food?
Ann’s chorizo pizza – my weekly treat. Curries, a good burger or an egg-and-bacon sarnie.
Not necessarily together.

Favourite drink?
Vodka and tonic. Or a nice glass of Merlot. Depends on the weather.

 

Last but not least, why writing? Why not something else?
Because I never really wanted to do anything else. I’ve done other things, worked in the corporate sector, but they never quite cut it for me… or maybe I was never really good enough at them. I’m shamelessly shallow.

 

Follow the blog tour:

Rocco Blog Tour Banner.png

Categories
Blog Tour Books

~Blog Tour~ There Was A Crooked Man by Cat Hogan #Review #Q&A

Hi all,

Today, I’ve got the lovely Cat Hogan answering some questions as part of the blog tour, and I’m also  going to be sharing my review!

 

The Crooked Man cover REVISE-1 (1) (1).jpg

About the book:

Scott makes enemies everywhere. Powerful people want him dead. He’s coming back to Ireland to finish what he started. But first, he must make it out of Marrakech alive.

Jen knows Scott will come back. Every day, she waits. He almost killed her last time and, fuelled by hate and arrogance, he’s not a man to ever just move on. He will kill her and he will kill her young son. But her husband and friends believe she has spiralled into paranoia.

So she knows, when he returns, she’ll face the psychopath alone.

Published by Poolbeg, There Was A Crooked Man is out now and you can grab your copy by clicking HERE.

About the author:

CatHogan--3.jpg

Cat has worked for many years in the hospitality industry training hotel management. She earned a bachelors degree in business from Galway Mayo Institute of Technology as well as an honors degree in law from Carlow Institute of Technology. When she is not bringing her imaginary friends to life, she offers a freelance writing service to business start-ups.

You can follow Cat on Twitter at @Kittycathogan

My review:

Having read and enjoyed They All Fall Down earlier this year, I was thrilled to be asked to review There Was A Crooked Man as part of the blog tour. I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading it, but I was quickly hooked and ended up having it read in 24 hours!

TWACM (Yep, I’m doing that, because its a long title to keep typing, haha!) begins with a bang and the pace genuinely doesn’t let up for the rest of the book. Scott is most definitely back, and he is badder and more arsey than before, if that is even possible! The author has chosen to have chapters from Scott’s POV at the beginning and they make for tense reading. Going into the mind of a psychopath is no easy feat but these chapters are gripping.

Its a little way into TWACM before we meet the rest of the characters, but it is plain to see how the events of They All Fall Down have impacted their lives. I really like how the author tries to capture the various issues that Jen, her friends and family are all dealing with. There is more than enough drama going on within the pages to keep the reader more than a little intrigued.

TWACM is quite a different book to They All Fall Down. It is much darker, and much more of a departure for Cat Hogan than her debut. I think it was a risk worth taking though, because the reader gets a gripping and completely enthralling story with plenty of red herrings thrown around the place.

There Was A Crooked Man weaves a tangled narrative that leaves the reader questioning the characters and their motives. It is dark, compelling and thoroughly riveting.

Highly recommended!


 

If you were to cast your characters from They All Fall Down, who would you pick and why? (Add in pics if needed!)

 

 

When I was about 20 thousand words in to writing the first draft of They All Fall Down (in the spirit of dreaming big), I sat down one night to write the cast list for the Hollywood block-buster this (unwritten) book would clearly become. I’ve changed my mind a thousand times over – with one exception. Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones, Queer as Folk, Love/Hate, The Dark Knight Rises, The Wire) was the only choice for my anti-hero, Scott. As I continued with the novel, it was his face I saw as I wrote the scenes for my everyone-loves-to-hate-bad boy. His voice remained in my head as I wrote the sequel, ‘There Was A Crooked Man.’

Through a series of bizarre chance encounters, I finally got to meet Aidan. I told him the back story and he agreed to read the manuscript for book two- and if he liked it, he would give me a quote for the cover. He loved it – in particular Scott’s character and I now have a brilliant quote on the cover from the man himself! Next step is the screen play so watch this space 😊  

 

 

 

How has your year been since They All Fall Down was published?

 

Since then, I haven’t had a chance to draw breath! TAFD hit the shelves in July 2016- it quickly became an Irish Times best seller and a best seller on Amazon in the UK and in the US. We were delighted with the response the novel was getting and that’s when the fun started. I had started a stand alone novel- another dark tale of death, destruction and misery but the characters from the first novel wouldn’t leave me alone. Then the readers started- and the question on everyone’s lips was ‘When is the sequel?’ Scott had to come back and so too did the rest of the characters. I started writing the first draft of ‘There Was A Crooked Man’ in late September/ early October 2016 and the pressure was on. If this one didn’t work- I had just knocked myself back by about half a year. Luckily, it did work and the novel was launched this week!

It was a fast and interesting year and a very steep learning curve. You learn fast on your feet and now I feel as though I’m getting to grips will all the different facets of this busy industry. There has been loads of high lights over the last 12 months or so. I love it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How do you balance your writing life with a young family? Do you stick to a strict routine?

 

 

I am incredibly organised and structured. I always have been. I survive on very little sleep and I’m not one for procrastinating. If I say I’m going to do something, I’ll do it- end of story. I like to be busy and I like to get shit done. ( #gsd) I take my professional life very seriously and I don’t waste a minute. That said, I’m fierce and protective of my time when it comes to my children too. Nothing interferes with that. Joey is in primary school and Arthur is in Montessori. I work in the morning when they are away, I spend my afternoons after school with the boys doing the mammy thing- homework, dinner, and all the lovely normal things and when they go to bed, I go back to work. I rarely work past midnight and I’ll either go to bed with a book or wind down with a movie. It works for me (for now!)  It is so important too, to have a bit of down time- coffee/drinks with friends and the odd duvet day.

 

 

 

 

What has been your proudest writing achievement so far?

 

 

They All Fall Down was nominated for The Annie McHale Debut Novel of the Year award, shortly after publication. It got really amazing reviews and all in all, it has been flying off the shelves. Already, ‘There Was A Crooked Man’ has been getting great reviews too- and of course, was endorsed by Aidan Gillen and Jackie Hayden. It’s a big deal to have their names associated with the novel. The biggest thing for me though, was at the two back to back launches last week. It was the look on my mother’s face and the faces of my close friends. They were about to burst with pride. They are all the people who have been in my life, through thick and thin, and seeing that look on their faces is more precious to me than all the tea in China. That’s the moment of magic for me and it will never get old.

 

 

 

What kind of research do you do for your books? Have you come across anything weird or crazy while researching?

 

Researching is one of my favourite parts of writing. I’m a bit of a nerd like that- I’ll start off researching one topic and the end up going down the rabbit hole of internet searches and YouTube. I often wonder how my contemporaries did it years ago, without the monstrosity that is Google at their fingertips. A lot of my research was done through Wexford Library too- with good old-fashioned books. A couple of people have asked me about when I was in Marrakech- a good portion of ‘There Was A Crooked Man’ is set there. I’ve never been. Good research and a wild imagination can take you anywhere.

The second novel touches on the sex-industry and human trafficking. That was difficult to research. When you are looking at the darker side of human nature, it’s hard to comprehend the depths of evil sometimes.

On a lighter note though, while researching They All Fall Down, I came across an interesting fact I had never heard before….

On November 1st, 1755, a series of tsunamis lasting more than seven hours tore at the south west coast of Ireland, “wrecking fishing boats around Kinsale” and “even damaging coastal buildings as far north as Galway Bay. In Kinsale Harbour between 3 and 4 pm, the water came over the quay with such violence as to throw many people down” – Now, I’ve just taken that from a piece online but there’s very little documented evidence about the actual events. I was told this story by a local and there’s a brief reference to it in the first book. If anyone would like to furnish me with more details- get in touch!!

 

 

 

If you had to choose a different career, what would you pick and why?

 

I trained and worked for many years in the Hospitality industry and it was a career I loved, but it’s difficult to have anything outside of that career because of the long, and very anti-social hours (and the mediocre pay). But, I loved it. I’m very much a people person, always have been.

In a voluntary capacity, I’m a trained Emergency Medical Technician with the Wexford Unit of The Order of Malta Ambulance Corps. I often thought about going on and training to be a full-time Paramedic. Maybe I’ll just write a novel about being one instead. That’s the beauty of story-telling, you can be whatever you want to be!

 

 

Whats the hardest scene you’ve had to write?

 

 

I think writing all the scenes from Scott’s perspective proved interesting. He’s male, he’s a psychopathic killer and he’s a real misogynist.  A few of the scenes made me a little bit uncomfortable while writing them- but that’s the whole point, isn’t it? It’s fiction for me!

In They All Fall Down, there’s a scene where Jen’s little boy is in real danger. That was hard to write as I had to put myself in her shoes and imagine if it were me and my boy, Joey. I felt the same things she felt as I walked though that scene.

In There Was A Crooked Man, one of the characters shuffles off their mortal coil (no spoilers). I cried the whole way through writing the scene. There’s a piece of music associated with that character and I played it on loudspeaker the whole time. I was a wreck at the end of it!

 

 

 

What lessons have you learned as a writer?

 

I’ve learned many lessons in the last twelve months in particular, more about the industry I’m now in, rather than the creative side of my profession. I take what I do very seriously, but I don’t particularly take myself very seriously (in a positive way). And the biggest lesson I’ve learned is to stick with the people who bring the magic out of you, and not the madness.

I’m a dreamer as well as a grafter- I’ll always keep my eyes open for signs and my ears open for good advice. If people can’t cheer for me while I’m on this journey, they can shag off and go cheer for someone else.

Roald Dahl sums up my approach to life perfectly with this quote:

 

‘And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.’


 

Huge thanks to Cat for answering my questions, and for having me on the blog tour. Make sure to check out these other fab blogs taking part:

September tour poster 1 .jpg