Q&A with @AndrewTurpin #Author of #TheLastNazi #ww2Fiction #HistFic

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The Last Nazi by Andrew Turpin
Synopsis:

The buried contents of a Nazi train. An aging SS mass-murderer. And the wartime secrets of a U.S. presidential hopeful’s Jewish family, hidden for seven decades.
War crimes investigator and ex-CIA officer Joe Johnson is more than intrigued when he learns of a link between the contents of a Nazi train, hidden by Hitler’s Third Reich, a ruthless blackmail plot, and financing for a U.S. presidential hopeful’s 2012 campaign.
But the investigation becomes bigger and more deeply personal than Johnson expects when it leads him toward an SS Holocaust killer who escaped his net years earlier, and propels him into a deadly conflict.
Soon there are high-level intelligence and criminal networks combining against Johnson across three continents.
He finds himself inextricably caught up in a terrifying quest to win justice, to avenge his mother’s tortured past and revive his flagging career.
With dramatic settings, explosive action and characters readers will come to love, The Last Nazi is a gripping full-length thriller—the first in a forthcoming series featuring Joe Johnson.

Q&A:

Q) The protagonist Joe Johnson, has a past and this is interwoven into the story. Can you tell us a little more about Joe?

A) Joe is a war crimes investigator who runs his own freelance business, based in Portland, Maine. Years ago, he worked for the CIA in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He was fired after an operation went wrong and a badly timed affair, and then he did a long stint from 1992-2006 with the U.S. Government’s Office of Special Investigations, part of the Department of Justice – basically its Nazi-hunting unit. We meet him in 2011 at a time when he’s had a tough few years bringing up his two teenage children after the death of his wife in 2005, and when career-wise, he’s itching for a new challenge after spending a lot of time on “small-town” investigative jobs. So when he gets a lead with a possible Nazi linkage, he jumps at it. He’s a determined character with a strong desire to bring to justice those who have committed some of the worst kinds of crime – atrocities dating back years, often with sectarian and racist roots. He’s not afraid to take on senior politicians and intelligence organizations, who sometimes have vested interests in keeping these types of offenses hidden under the carpet. Part of his motivation stems from his mother, who suffered in a concentration camp during the Second World War.

Q) I am a complete ww2 nerd, the era, the fiction etc. What drew you to write about the era?

A) I’m fascinated by some of the big picture themes that were played out during that time and in the years that followed, many of which we have seen repeated many times over history. There is a fascination to the tussle between good and evil, the shades of grey in between, and the moral ambiguities and compromises that were made by many world leaders and their subordinates in the pursuit of power and influence as the cornerstones of what became the Cold War were put in place. And I’m interested by some of the questions thrown off from this and other wars: what drives sectarian and religious conflict and how could a nation’s population fall in so readily behind someone like Hitler? I guess the parallels to the present day, when leaders such as Donald Trump are dividing opinions so sharply, are there for everyone to see and forces us to take a fresh look at history.

Q) The novel focuses on the discovery of the contents of a Nazi train. Was this inspired by a real-life event?

A) It was in part! When I was planning the novel, in late 2015, there was a lot of media attention on the possibility that a Nazi train containing gold and jewellery that had been looted by Hitler’s Third Reich from across Europe was hidden in secret tunnels beneath Książ Castle, in Walbrzych, Poland. Then a few months later, the historian Dan Snow did a BBC documentary about it. Search teams have so far come up with nothing. However, I started reading up on the extensive tunnel complexes in that area, which were built by the Nazis using mainly Jewish labour from concentration camps. It triggered a “what if?” moment, which rapidly took the thoughts around my plot in a new direction. I had been looking for plot and protagonist ideas that would enable me to link together historical events and current affairs, and that crystallised things for me quite significantly.

Q) The novels evil character is a SS holocaust kill and mass murderer. Is it difficult to write such dark characters?

A) It’s difficult on multiple levels. Firstly, it requires significant research to build a character’s backstory and CV that is as plausible as possible, and to portray the person’s actions in a way that might fit with those of a real-life SS officer at that time. Secondly, there is the question of motivation. I found it just as interesting to focus on the impact on the SS man’s son of having a father like that. How would it feel to have a dad who had done such unspeakable things in the past, and how could it be possible to build any kind of real relationship with such a person? I found it a real challenge – and I’m not at all sure how well I did it!

Q) What is your research process? Have you uncovered anything that shocked you?

A) I spent a lot of time reading online, trawling through documents and going through various books, both non-fiction and fiction. The horrors of daily life in the concentration camps were something that I had read about before, but coming back to it afresh, and finding some new first-hand accounts by survivors was quite emotive. I was also astonished at the extent to which the U.S. intelligence networks collaborated with ex-Nazis after the Second World War, offering protection in exchange for information about the Russians in particular. I was vaguely aware that it had happened, but the numbers of ex-Nazis who were given safe haven in the U.S. after the war came as a real eye-opener.

A theme that I am likely to weave into the Joe Johnson series is around the futility and counter-productive nature of sectarian and religious conflict and the wars that ensue from that. And then the search for truth, justice and forgiveness that has to be pursued to the maximum, even if it takes years or decades to do so. For example, I’m certain that will be the case in Syria, as it has been in other theatres of war. It is the responsibility of political leaders to counter such forces, not fuel them.

Q) The novel is split between a 1944 setting and the modern day. Is it difficult to write between two eras? What are the challenges faced?

A) I was keen to write a novel primarily set in the present day. So the challenge was to find a way of pulling in characters and events from almost seventy years earlier without them getting in the way of the plot and slowing the pace of what is intended to be a reasonably fast-paced modern thriller. I used various devices, including documents, Nazi party files, memoirs and diaries, as well as flashbacks. I found myself over-writing the memoirs/diaries in the early drafts, particularly the recollections of life in Wüstegiersdorf concentration camp by Joe Johnson’s mother and by the two Polish Jewish brothers, Daniel and Jacob Kudrow. So I ended up cutting those back significantly – in many ways I was sorry to do this, but I think it did improve the pacing. No doubt readers will give me a view on this!

Q) What are your favourite ww2 fiction novels?

A) Those I have most enjoyed are thrillers set in the real world, and against a backdrop of true or plausible events or scenarios. Some of those on my shelf include Robert Harris’s Enigma, Sebastian Faulks’s Charlotte Gray, Ken Follett’s Eye of the Needle.

Q) Finally, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

A) I’m 52, married with two teenage children, and we live in St Albans, around 20 miles north of London. I’ve always had a love of writing, history, current affairs and research, and I spent several years as a business journalist with newspapers including The Scotsman, working mostly in London. I switched into corporate PR in 2002, and worked for three large energy companies, which was interesting. Then when I was made redundant, I decided to have a go at writing a novel, which was something I’d always wanted to try, but had never done. The Last Nazi is the product of that.

I’m originally from Grantham, in Lincolnshire. I studied history at Loughborough University. I love playing and watching cricket and listening to music of various types, and I like traveling. I once hitch-hiked across the Sahara from Morocco and Algeria down to Niger, back in the days when it was safer to do that kind of thing and I was more reckless.

 *Huge thanks for taking part in a Q&A on my blog! I wish you every success with your novel.

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Andrew Turpin
Authors Links:
E-mail: andrew@andrewturpin.com
Website: www.andrewturpin.com
Facebook: @AndrewTurpinAuthor
Twitter: @AndrewTurpin

Author bio:
Andrew is a former journalist who has always had a love of writing and a passion for reading good thrillers. Now he has finally put the two interests together. His first book, The Last Nazi, has now been published, and he has a second, The Old Bridge, in the advanced stages of editing. The themes behind these thrillers also pull together some of Andrew’s other interests, particularly history, world news, and travel. They explore the ways in which events and human behaviors deep into the past continue to impact on modern society, politics and business.  The Last Nazi draws strongly on these themes. It is the first in a planned series of thrillers featuring the protagonist, Joe Johnson, an ex-CIA officer and former U.S. Nazi hunter with the Office of Special Investigations, part of the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. Johnson has a passion for justice and a drive to investigate unsolved war crimes in different parts of the world. Andrew studied history at Loughborough University and worked for many years as a business and financial journalist before becoming a corporate and financial communications adviser with several large energy companies. He originally came from Grantham, Lincolnshire, and lives with his family in St. Albans in Hertfordshire, U.K.

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The Last Nazi is available free to Kindle Unlimited members or for the Ebook price of just 99p! #Bargain

 

 

#BlogTour Q&A #TheFourthFriend by #JoyEllis @JoffeBooks @Books_n_all

BLOG TOUR BANNER
The Fourth Friend by Joy Ellis
Synopsis:

FOUR LOST FRIENDS. FOUR TASKS TO COMPLETE. ONE BIG MYSTERY LEFT.

Police detective Carter McLean is the only survivor of a plane crash that kills his four best friends. He returns to work but he is left full of guilt and terrible flashbacks. So for each of his four friends he decides to complete something that they left unfinished.

Eighteen months before the crash, Suzanne Holland disappeared, leaving a room with traces of blood, but no other leads. Suzanne was the wife of one of Carter’s four best friends.

Adding to the pressure, the boss’s daughter has a stalker. Due to the sensitivity of the Holland case, Carter is put on this investigation.

DS Marie Evans is the only person Carter can confide in. But even she begins to doubt whether he can really cope and whether he is actually losing his mind.

DI Jackman and DS Evans of the Fenland police face a battle to untangle three mysteries, and can they really believe their friend and colleague Carter?

Q&A:

Questions that readers ask me.

 How did you start working with Joffe Books?

My first two books were taken up by Robert Hale and produced as hardbacks. Although at the time, seeing my books published was a dream come true, I arrived at a rather bad time in the mainstream publishing world. My last royalties were so low that my agent paid me in postage stamps as it wasn’t worth writing a cheque! Then my lovely agent sadly passed away, and just as I was about to throw in the towel and give up writing for ever… I had a call from Jasper Joffe. As we talked I knew that things were about to change, I just never realised quite how radical that change would be. I love working with Jasper and the Joffe books team and I can’t thank them enough for what they have done for me, (and for Nikki Galena, and Rowan Jackman, and Stella North!)

What’s your favourite/ most memorable reader review?

Tough one. Some of them have left me speechless; several have reduced me to tears, in a good way! I really could not pick a favourite, and I honestly think I would feel like a bit of a show-off to start quoting 5* reviews. However, I did love a comment at the end of one review that said, “I wish Joy Ellis could write a book a day!” So does Joy Ellis!

Do you get a lot of fan mail?

Quite a bit. I do have to be structured in taking the time to reply to everyone, or I could finish up with no time left for writing. However, I try to deal with incoming mail as quickly as possible, and I do answer every email. If someone has been kind enough to contact me, the least I can do is thank them and have a bit of a chat! I have had some wonderful letters and now have a band of Fen Followers all around the world. They are lovely people and I’m proud to keep in touch with them. I know some of them almost as well as my close friends. I know their dogs names, where they go on holiday and what they are growing in their gardens. We swap photos and stories. It’s quite amazing what books can do to bring people together.

Are the Fens really so full of mysteries?

On a misty morning, should you take a shortcut across the fen lanes, you would agree that it certainly is, especially if you get lost, and that’s very easy to do. The area abounds in folklore, and parts, although the fens are farmed, are very remote. There are still villages, miles from anywhere, with no bus service and no facilities at all. The skies however, make this part of the country very special. 360 degrees of sky with every imaginable type of cloud, and sometimes a Lancaster bomber or Spitfires and Hurricanes growl their way overhead. And sunsets! Ah, the sunsets. I must have hundreds of photographs taken from the bottom of my garden and looking across the fields to where the sun goes down. Hundreds of shots of the same view, and everyone different.

Will you ever set a mystery in London?

I love London. I started work as an apprentice in Mayfair in the 60’s, then moved up to live there for many years. It was a tough, but magical time. Because of the nature of the books I write now, I doubt I would set a crime novel there. My location is the fenlands, and so much of the character’s lives are tied up with here. One day though, maybe I’ll write an account of being a young woman in 1960’s London. I certainly do have some stories to tell!

Do you like TV crime shows?

I rarely get time to watch them! But, yes, I love them, especially Endeavour. I think that is one of the best. I love the combination of the hard-hitting storylines, the portrayal of the police force at the time, and the highly charged emotional lives of the characters. A lovely synergy. I think British crime drama is unsurpassable, and we have some amazing actors. Anyone want to give DI Nikki Galena a chance??

What does your partner think about your books?

Jacquie is as astounded as I am! But she says to say that she is very proud of me. And I’m very proud of her too. She was a serving police officer for thirty years and was awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery. Without her I would never have been able to write as confidently as I do; her help with police procedural and judicial law is invaluable. And she makes very good tea!

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Joy Ellis
Web site: http://www.joyellis.info

Author bio:

“I was born in Kent but spent most of my working life in London and Surrey. I was an apprentice florist to Constance Spry Ltd, a prestigious Mayfair shop that throughout the sixties and seventies teemed with both royalty and ‘real’ celebrities. What an eye-opener for a working-class kid from the Garden of England! I swore then, probably whilst I was scrubbing the floor or making the tea, that I would have a shop of my own one day. It took until the early eighties, but I did it. Sadly the recession wiped us out, and I embarked on a series of weird and wonderful jobs; the last one being a bookshop manager. Surrounded by books all day, getting to order whatever you liked, and being paid for it! Oh bliss!

And now I live in a village in the Lincolnshire Fens with my partner, Jacqueline, and our two second generation Springer spaniels. I had been writing mysteries for years but never had the time to take it seriously. Now I can, and as my partner is a highly decorated retired police officer; my choice of genre was suddenly clear. I have set my crime thrillers here in the misty fens because I sincerely love the remoteness and airy beauty of the marshlands. This area is steeped in superstitions and lends itself so well to murder!” 

 

9781912106868

ALSO BY JOY ELLIS
THE NIKKI GALENA SERIES
Book 1: CRIME ON THE FENS
Book 2: SHADOW OVER THE FENS
Book 3: HUNTED ON THE FENS
Book 4: KILLER ON THE FENS
Book 5: STALKER ON THE FENS
Book 6: CAPTIVE ON THE FENS
Book 7: BURIED ON THE FENS

JACKMAN & EVANS
Book 1: THE MURDERER’S SON
Book 2: THEIR LOST DAUGHTERS
Book 3: THE FOURTH FRIEND