Q&A with @olivertidy #Author of The Prole Soldier #RainbowCity #Dystopian @CarolineBookBit

The Prole Soldier - Oliver Tidy - Book Cover
The Prole Soldier by Oliver Tidy


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

A) Is it OK if I just give you the blurb for the book? I’m worried that if I start going on about me or this book most of the people reading this won’t get to question two.
Theo lives and works in the Blue Zone of Rainbow City. He is almost sixteen at which age he will begin four years conscription – military or mines. He wants neither. He hates his life and despises the cruelty, injustice and inequality that prevails. When the opportunity arises for Theo to be involved in the fight for change he grabs it, knowing that failure will cost him everything.

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

A) Generally, I have an idea. I give it some thought. I start writing. And then, usually, it pours out of me like a broken pipe. That’s the way most of my books get written. On the Creative Writing MA courses I believe they call it ‘making it up as you go along’. That’s me. I think through my finger tips as I type.
I’m essentially a self-publisher. But I’ve always wanted to be traditionally published. I really believed The Prole Soldier was a book that was worth touting to literary agents. So I did. Three of them. And then I got fed up waiting three months not to hear back from anyone and decided to self-publish. Because life is too short and I could get killed by a bus next week and then no one would get to read my story.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) As the title of this novel suggests (I hope) the story is strongly influenced by George Orwell’s 1984. I read other books that encouraged me for this one: We by Yevgeny Zamyatin. The Iron Heel by Jack London. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. There were also films, notably The Hunger Games trilogy. I was going through a phase. Actually, I’ve been rather susceptible to a good dystopian tale for as long as I can remember.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) I cannot remember the title of a single book I read as a child/teenager. I did read but it’s all a blur. I can say that my earliest reading memories are of when I was a young man and devouring Wilbur Smith, Dick Francis, Desmond Bagley and others like them.

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

A) I can’t say that there has been one special experience about being a writer. But I consider that my greatest achievement as a writer involves The Prole Soldier. I had a real and well-known literary agent ask me for the full manuscript for the book after I’d submitted it for consideration. (Yes, one of them got back to me.) That was amazing. She wasn’t interested in taking it any further, which wasn’t so amazing. Apart from that, every time I hear from a reader who has enjoyed one or more of my books is a very special moment. I know that sounds cheesy, but it’s true. It’s a ray of sunshine in my day.

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

A) Undoubtedly it’s my readers, most of whom I have never met. The encouragement and ongoing support I’ve received from a good many regulars has been touching and motivating and among the most rewarding aspects of being a writer. There are a number who have gone the extra distance in their support, but I shan’t mention any names for fear of embarrassing them and missing out others. If you’re reading this, you know who you are. My sincere thanks for everything.

Oliver Tidy Author Image
Oliver Tidy

Author bio:
Crime writing author Oliver Tidy has had a life-long love affair with books. He dreams of one day writing something that he could find in a beautifully-jacketed hard-cover or paperback copy on a shelf in a book shop. He’d even be happy with something taking up space in the remainder bin, on a pavement, in the rain, outside The Works.

He found the time and opportunity to finally indulge his writing ambition after moving abroad to teach English as a foreign language to young learners eight years ago. Impatient for success and an income that would enable him to stay at home all day in his pyjamas he discovered self-publishing. He gave it go. By and large readers have been kind to him. Very kind. Kind enough that two years ago he was able to give up the day job and write full-time. Mostly in his pyjamas.

Oliver Tidy has fourteen books in three series, a couple of stand-alone novels and a couple of short story collections. All available through Amazon (clickable link to Am Author Page). Among his books are The Romney and Marsh Files (British police procedurals set in Dover) and the Booker & Cash novels, a series of private detective tales set in the south of England and published by Bloodhound Books. Oliver is back living on Romney Marsh in the UK. His home. He still wakes in the night from time to time shouting about seeing his books on a shelf in Waterstones

***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the #BlogTour***

Blog Tour Poster The Prole Soldier - Oliver Tidy

#BlogTour #NoAccident by @robertcrouchuk #GuestPost #HealthyRespect @CarolineBookBit

No Accident - Robert Crouch - Book Cover
No Accident by Robert Crouch

Nothing happens by accident, according to Kent Fisher, an environmental health officer with more baggage than an airport carousel. When he ignores a restraining order to investigate the death of Syd Collins in a work accident at Tombstone Adventure Park, he clashes with the owner, playboy millionaire, Miles Birchill, who has his own reasons to block the investigation.

Determined to uncover the truth, Kent casts aside procedure and defies suspension when he becomes convinced that Collins’ death is no accident.

But as Kent rushes to identify the killer and prevent more deaths, he faces even more unpleasant surprises when his professional and private worlds collide with devastating consequences.

Set in and around the beautiful South Downs of East Sussex, No Accident is the first novel in a new series that brings a fresh and irreverent twist to the traditional whodunit.

Guest Post:

Healthy Respect by Robert Crouch

Many years ago, I asked myself a simple question.

‘Could an environmental health officer solve a murder?’

Inspired by the likes of Columbo, Miss Marple and Inspector Morse, I was desperate to write crime fiction, but keen to avoid the cliché detective with a failed marriage and a drink problem. And what did I know about police procedures?

More than I realised, as it turned out, having worked on investigations with the police. And as environmental health officers (EHOs) are also law enforcers, we work to many of the same codes and procedures – but not enough to write confident, credible murder mysteries.

Then I wondered why an environmental health officer would investigate a murder.

Picture the scene as the family settle down at the breakfast table.

‘Darling, I hope you don’t mind, but I was so fed up with all those hygiene inspections, I quit and set up as a private detective. Someone’s bound to have a murder that needs investigating.’

While you can stretch reality in fiction, it was clear that investigating a murder had to be either a sideline or happen by accident. A workplace accident as it turned out.

But that idea took a few years to reach my fingertips.

Those eager fingers were already typing, plunging EHO, Kent Fisher, into murder investigations, taking advantage of the endless possibilities that his work offered. You may not realise it, but almost everything in the world immediately around you is influenced by environmental health officers.

Most people know us for the hygiene inspections we make to ensure food outlets and factories are producing and serving safe food. But environmental health departments licence pubs and clubs, taxis, cinemas, zoos, pet shops, sex establishments, riding stables, kennels and animal boarding, mainly to make sure they’re safe.

Think about the possibilities for murder – a zookeeper bitten by a venomous snake or a taxi driver preying on young women.

Then there’s pollution control – everything from bonfires, dust, sewage, and light nuisance to noisy neighbours. How many times have you wished you could murder the people having another all-night party in the flat above?

We deal with poor and unsafe housing conditions, including houses divided into bedsits or flats, making sure landlords meet their legal obligations. We licence caravan sites, whether people live there or visit for holidays, as you’ll discover in the fourth Kent Fisher mystery, which is little more than an idea at present.

We investigate cases and outbreaks of infectious diseases like E. coli O157, which can kill vulnerable people. The aim is to trace the source, contain the spread and hopefully prevent a recurrence. Add in a dodgy mobile caterer, who repackages out-of-date supermarket sandwiches to sell as his own, and you’re on the trail in the second novel, No Bodies.

We visit and inspect any place that produces and serves food. But forget about restaurants and pubs for a moment, and think about care homes, populated by vulnerable elderly residents. What if a resident believes he’s going to be killed? What if he dies a couple of weeks later?

This is how No Remorse, the third novel, begins. In this case, the victim dies without relatives, which means the local council has to bury him – another duty that often falls to environmental health.

You might be surprised at how many businesses, places and homes EHOs visit. You might also be surprised to learn about the powers we have to protect public health and the environment.

I’m simply thankful for the abundant opportunities and murder plots my work gives me. Not only can I share the stunning beauty of the South Downs as a backdrop for my stories, I let readers into a world they may know little or nothing about.

But like Mike Turner, Kent Fisher’s friend in the stories, you may be put off eating certain foods.

And it all happened by accident, of course. A workplace accident as it turns out.

Accident investigation was a key part of my work around health and safety in the workplace. While I helped employers to improve standards and protect employees, I also wondered whether a murder could be disguised as a work accident.

The answer lies within No Accident, the first Kent Fisher mystery.

Robert Crouch Author Image
Robert Crouch
Author bio:

Inspired by Miss Marple, Inspector Morse and Columbo, Robert Crouch wanted to write entertaining crime fiction the whole family could enjoy.

At their heart is Kent Fisher, an environmental health officer with more baggage than an airport carousel. Passionate about the environment, justice and fair play, he’s soon embroiled in murder.

Drawing on his experiences as an environmental health officer, Robert has created a new kind of detective who brings a unique and fresh twist to the traditional murder mystery. With complex plots, topical issues and a liberal dash of irreverent humour, the Kent Fisher mysteries offer an alternative to the standard police procedural.

Robert now writes full time and lives on the South Coast of England with his wife and their West Highland White Terrier, Harvey, who appears in the novels as Kent’s sidekick, Columbo.

Authors Links:
Website:            http://robertcrouch.co.uk/
Twitter:            @robertcrouchuk
Facebook Author Page:      https://www.facebook.com/robertcrouchauthor/