Anne Bonny #BlogTour Q&A with @knntom Keith Nixon #Author of, Dig Two Graves @GladiusPress #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #Mystery @BOTBSPublicity

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Dig Two Graves by Keith Nixon
Synopsis:

Was it suicide … or murder? Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray is driven to discover the truth. Whatever the personal cost.

When teenager Nick Buckingham tumbles from the fifth floor of an apartment block, Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray answers the call with a sick feeling in his stomach. The victim was just a kid, sixteen years old. And the exact age the detective’s son was, the son Gray has not seen since he went missing at a funfair ten years ago. Each case involving children haunts Gray with the reminder that his son may still be out there – or worse, dead. The seemingly open and shut case of suicide twists into a darker discovery. Buckingham and Gray have never met, so why is Gray’s number on the dead teenager’s mobile phone?

Gray begins to unravel a murky world of abuse, lies, and corruption. And when the body of Reverend David Hill is found shot to death in the vestry of Gray’s old church, Gray wonders how far the depravity stretches and who might be next. Nothing seems connected, and yet there is one common thread: Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray, himself. As the bodies pile up, Gray must face his own demons and his son’s abduction.

Crippled by loss Gray takes the first step on the long road of redemption. But is the killer closer to home than he realised?

Q&A:

Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?

A) Right now home is in the North West of the UK, near Manchester, but I lived in Broadstairs on the Isle of Thanet, where I base all my books, for 17 years. All three of my children were born there and we still go back periodically to see friends so I know the area and its people very well.

I’ve been writing on and off since I was 9 years old, it’s always been a ‘thing’ for me. However, I really put my nose to the grindstone about twelve years ago when I started pulling together some ideas for a historical fiction novel (The Eagle’s Shadow) about the Roman invasion of Britain – the Romans’ landing site was just a few miles away from where I lived.

However, these days I primarily write crime / thriller – all my work has a strong mystery element to it. I moved into crime when I got made redundant during the credit crunch. I’d had a bad experience with my management and writing about killing somebody was the best legal way of ‘getting away with it’ so to speak.

Dig Two Graves is the first book in a major new series with Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray as the protagonist. Again it’s Margate based. Gray’s son, Tom went missing a decade ago and he’s never really got over it (who would?!). He’s no idea what happened to Tom; whether he’s alive or dead. He’s in a bit of an emotional hole, but not ready to give up. When the body of a teenager turns up who’s the same age as Tom, Gray’s life gets turned upside down because although Gray and the seeming suicide have never met why is Gray’s number on the kid’s mobile?

Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?

A) My writing process is a mixture of development and evolution. As always it starts with one kernel of an idea and grows from there. More often than not that original idea morphs into something else as I work the story.

First I get an idea of who the characters are, where they are in their lives, as all stories emerge through people. Then I’ll start to do some research (for example into County Lines drug sales which was the basis of a recent book) while pulling together a chapter list and the broad ideas that’ll occur at each stage.

Finally, when I feel there’s enough of an outline, I start writing. The story goes on from there, the narrative shifts as more ideas come – that’s the evolution aspect.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) Anything by Ian Rankin – he’s the reason I moved into crime, specifically his breakout novel, Black & Blue.

Christopher Fowler’s Bryant & May novels are vastly under-rated reads.

M.W. Craven’s Washington Poe series too – starting with The Puppet Show. Gruesomely brilliant.

Tim Baker – his CWA nominated Fever City is superb.

And I think we should be supporting indie authors. If you like hard hitting noir look out Martin Stanley’s Stanton Brother’s novels or anything by Mark Wilson. Both are hard-working writers.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) I read a huge amount when I was a kid. Starting with the usual – Enid Blyton’s ‘Five’ mystery stories. Then I moved onto sci-fi – Isaac Asimov and Michael Moorcock in particular, before gravitating onto 1970’s and 1980’s thrillers – Douglas Reeman, Alistair Maclean etc.

Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?

A) That’s a really, really difficult one. My career as a writer has been a series of ups and downs, thankfully more the former than the latter. Every year and with each book new stuff happens. A major highlight has been with Dig Two Graves, however. I got the chance to work with a brilliant editing team (award winning writer Allan Guthrie and Eleanor Abraham), had an audio book out (read by London’s burning Ben Onwokwe) and a German translation. But fundamentally I learnt a huge amount as a writer. And I still am.

Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?

A) First & foremost my wife. She was a bit dubious at first until she read my first crime novel. And the aforementioned Mr Guthrie. He’s been an amazing mentor and made me a better writer. He’s the little devil constantly sitting on my shoulder telling me what I’ve just written needs to be better…

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Keith Nixon
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Anne Bonny #BookReview Edna’s Death Café by @AngelenaBoden 5* @matadorbooks #NewRelease #Mystery @BOTBSPublicity

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Edna’s Death Café Talking About Death, Celebrating Life by Angelena Boden
Review Copy
Synopsis:

As in life, death is not without its agenda. This is something seventy-nine year old Edna Reid finds out when her partner, Ted, suddenly dies.

To cope with her loss, she sets up a Death Cafe to break down the taboo around death and to encourage other members of the community to discuss it openly. Over tea and cake, the participants hide their fears behind a veil of dark humour.

Religious fanaticism clashes with Victorian spiritualism as Edna’s meetings trigger lively conversations on the fragility of life, anxiety over dying, cost of funerals, and making sure long-lost greedy relatives don’t benefit from inheritances.

Soon, a series of events begin to unfold which threaten to undermine Edna’s livelihood and the Death Cafe meetings. These events just happen to coincide with the arrival of a mysterious stranger into the village.

Who is she and why is she so hostile to Edna?

My Review:

“Doing the right thing is very liberating”

Edna’s Death Café, is a quirky and unique read! Perfect for cosying up with in the long winter nights. It is set in Hope Valley, Derbyshire and focuses on many current modern day themes such as loneliness and isolation in the older community.
The novel opens following the death of Edna’s partner Ted Eyre, with Edna struggling with her new identity as a widow. This leads her to begin a series of ‘death cafe’ evenings at the Happy Oatcake Café.

The novel has lots of quirky characters and I loved getting to know their individual stories. You get a real sense of the small town community and gossiping locals. The Derbyshire humour is present throughout, despite the serious nature of the themes within.

“Promises to the dying were often driven by duty to stop them fretting”

The novel discusses the themes of grief/loss in both the aftermath and prior to death. Yet this is not done in a morbid way at all. It is thought-provoking and moving, making it perfect for book groups and debate.
After all, all cultures have a different outlook and approach towards death and living. Which means individuals in communities hold differing opinions, yet it has become a taboo subject to be openly talked about.
Personally, I found the themes very interesting and wondered myself, if I could have attended a death café after the loss of my mothers at 21ys old. Would it have changed my views and helped with my bereavement?

As we come to know the various characters, we learn that they are all effected by death/loss in some way. Ruth in particular was a character that struck at my heartstrings. Ruth is in a deep state of grief over the loss of her daughter. I rooted for Ruth and her husband Patrick my entire way through the story. It is a sub-plot that really moves the reader.

However, with all great stories not everything is what it seems and someone is keeping an exceptionally close eye on Edna and her death café; waiting for their moment to strike. Edna is a tough 80yr old Derbyshire woman, she makes it clear from the get go, she is nobodies victim. What will happen when Edna and her foe come face to face?
Then the local psychics issue Edna with a stark warning!!!!!

Edan’s Death Café is the perfect read, for someone looking for something a bit different and unusual. I have actually been stuck in a reading slump this month and this title brought back my reading mojo.
After I finished Edna, I read two other novels, in one day! 5* 

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Angelena Boden
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Anne Bonny #BlogBlitz #GuestPost Heart Swarm by @allanwatson12 @BOTBSPublicity #NewRelease #Mystery #Thriller

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Heart Swarm by Allan Watson
Synopsis:

Heart Swarm – Prepare to be Scared…
It feels like history is repeating itself when out-of-favour detective Will Harlan gets summoned to a crime scene in the village of Brackenbrae after a young girl is found hanging in the woods.

Five years ago Harlan headed up the investigation of an identical murder in the same woods; a mishandled investigation that effectively destroyed his credibility as a detective. The new case immediately takes a bizarre twist when the body is identified as the same girl found hanging in the woods five years ago.

The following day a local man commits suicide and the police find more dead girls hidden in his basement. The case seems open and closed.

Until the killing spree begins.

Harlan finds himself drawn into a dark world where murder is a form of self-expression and human life treated as one more commodity to be used and discarded.

The only clue that links everything is a large oil painting of ‘Sagittarius A’ – a massive black hole at the centre of the galaxy orbited by thirteen stars daubed in blood with the words –

Heart Swarm

Guest Post:

The Loneliness of a Long Distance Writer

Writing is almost as much about ritual as it is about imagination, sweat and sheer willpower. You’ll find most writers have their own personal charms to get them in the zone. For some this can simply be a glass of wine, or a coffee with a chunky Kit-Kat, while others can’t get down to work without whale song piping from their speakers sometimes preceded by ten minutes of meditation, breathing exercises and yoga. Anything goes. It’s all about tricking the brain into opening up and spilling out those precious pearls of perfect prose. Um… alliteration can also be a useful tool.

To get the creative juices flowing, my own ritual revolves around a fusion of music and light. The light provided by four strategically placed Philips Hue globes, tweaked via the supplied app to give a soft focus fairy-grotto ambience. Candles or draped strings of coloured LEDs left over from Xmas work wonders, too. The music is basically whatever iTunes Playlist takes my fancy at the time. Add a glass of gin and a smoke to the mix and I fall into automatic writing mode.

You think this sounds over the top? In that case I’m so glad I never mentioned the glass shelf positioned above my screen where a collection crystals and polished agates are aligned with geometric precision against a phalanx of collectable Zippo lighters, providing me with a focal point to gaze into infinity when considering the merits of the humble colon over the more elaborate semi-colon.

So what happens when the writer gets uprooted from their cosy life-support pods and forced to work in unfamiliar surroundings? For the past six years I’ve been mostly working away from home, living out of a suitcase in a succession of bland and soulless hotel rooms. In theory there’s nothing stopping me getting on with whatever book I’m writing, but getting the magic to seamlessly flow from my fingertips to the screen when away from home isn’t so easy.

Sure, I can stick on my headphones and drip-feed my favourite songs into my bloodstream. I can bring along a string of Xmas lights and drape them over my laptop. I can even keep myself supplied in gin – but there’s always something going on the background to distract and derail my normally dependable train of thought.

Sometimes it’s an inconsiderate clown in the room upstairs Morris-dancing with wooden clogs. Other times it’s the badly hung curtains (six degrees off kilter, I checked with a spirit level app), or weird-shaped stains on the carpet (one definitely resembled a silhouette of Barbara Cartland). After this comes the unpredictable sound of flushing behind the bathroom wall or the hotel air con deciding to impersonate a B52 bomber. And that’s without going into how distracting it can be when the people through the wall decide to have mattress-busting noisy sex without first asking if I mind or not.

Now, instead of slavishly devoting myself to ensuring those pesky sub plots converge properly or trying to subtly drop in a red herring without it stinking up the place like a two-week-old kipper or simply determining a minor character’s fate (pause to check current body count), I find myself looking at Facebook and Twitter. Distractions within distractions, and minor character is getting impatient awaiting his fate as I procrastinate over a picture of a friend’s grilled prawn curry. I quickly decide to kill off minor character to cover up my own ragged attention span. Minor character isn’t happy and says he’ll be talking to his Union Rep. I now realise I’ve been hitting the gin too hard.

I decide to go to bed and sleep. Tomorrow is always another day. I might even buy another Philips Hue globe. And a Zippo. It’s the alignment that’s important.

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Allan Watson
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Author Bio:
Allan Watson is a writer whose work leans towards the dark end of the fiction spectrum. He is the author of seven novels – Dreaming in the Snakepark, Carapace, The Garden of Remembrance, 1-2-3-4, Monochrome, Heart Swarm and Wasp Latitudes.

In between the books, Allan wrote extensively for BBC Radio Scotland, churning out hundreds of comedy sketches, in addition to being a regular contributor for the world famous ‘Herald Diary’.

He occasionally masquerades as a composer/musician, collaborating with crime writer Phil Rickman in a band called Lol Robinson with Hazey Jane II whose albums have sold on four different continents (Antarctica was a hard one to crack)

Allan lives and works in Glasgow, Scotland, but has never worn the kilt or eaten a deep fried Mars Bar. He also once spent three days as a stand-in guitarist for the Bay City Rollers, but he rarely talks much about that…

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