Q&A with @McGuinnessRoss #Author of Five Parks @EndeavourPress #Psychological #Thriller #DebutNovel

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Five Parks by Ross McGuinness
Synopsis:

Five Parks.
Five blind dates.
Five potential kidnappers.
No escape.

After breaking off her engagement with Michael, Suzanne is still looking for The One. Bored with her freelancing job, she decides to take matters of both work and love into her own hands and Five Parks is born.

She starts a blog, offering five prospective suitors a chance of one of five dates in five London parks. Suzanne’s blog goes viral, amassing a huge following and even getting a column in a daily newspaper.

But after the fifth date – which she has no memory of – Suzanne wakes up shackled to a bed in a windowless room. The only items with her are a table, a chair and a laptop.

And an instruction from her captor: Keep Writing.

Q&A:

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

A) Five Parks is a psychological thriller about a freelance journalist who sets up a dating blog to go on five blind dates with five different men in five London parks. After the fifth date, of which she has no memory, she wakes up alone in a dark room, handcuffed. The only light comes from a laptop her captor has left her, along with a simple instruction… ‘Keep writing’. She must do so, as well as go through her previous blog posts, if she is to uncover which of her dates kidnapped her, and more importantly, find a way out.

Like Suzanne, the protagonist of my novel, I am a freelance journalist, and have been for the past three years, writing for Yahoo, Metro.co.uk, The Guardian and the BBC. Before that, I spent three years as news features editor at the Metro newspaper in London.

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

A) Every debut author has a long, drawn-out tale of climbing the mountain to publication, and I guess I’m no different. In 2013, an agent, Andrew Gordon at David Higham Associates, approached me and asked if I had any plans to write a book. We met and I pitched him several (mostly rubbish) ideas, but there was one he liked. So off I went for the next year and cracked out a first draft of what I hoped would be my debut novel. Only trouble was, just as I finished it, another book with a very similar jumping-off point was published. I decided to put what I had written to one side and concentrate instead on another idea, one that would eventually become Five Parks. I spent another year or so writing Five Parks and then after that Andrew found it a home at Endeavour Press.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) If a brilliant novel was published a year ago, you can guarantee I’ll get to it in another 12 months – I’m terrible! I’ve only just read Behind Her Eyes, Sarah Pinborough’s thriller that totally deserved its famous #WTFthatending hashtag. It actually should have had a #WTFthatbeginning hashtag, because once you read the WTF ending you can’t help thinking what happened at the start was even more out there. Brilliant book.

I absolutely love Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series. I went to university in Dublin and also worked there, and she captures the city’s seedy side so wonderfully. She’s one of those rare crime writers who doesn’t have to rely on plot developments to hold your attention – the writing on its own is just so fantastic.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) I went straight from Roald Dahl into Stephen King, a literary journey I would highly recommend. Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes are still as horrifying as anything King has concocted. Most would-be authors say On Writing is King’s best book – and it kind of is – but it’s a fight between Salem’s Lot and The Dark Half in my 13-year-old brain. The best book I’ve ever read is still Frankenstein though – every single sentence is packed with ideas.

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

A) I did my own Five Parks book tour, leaving free copies on benches in each of the five London parks from the novel. In one of the parks, I overheard a reader who had picked up her copy say, ‘This has made my day!’ – which pretty much made mine.

I also found out recently that Five Parks has made it into its first book club, which is tremendous. Even if they spend just two minutes discussing the novel before moving on to talking about how crap work is or what they’re watching on Netflix (like every book club ever), Five Parks will still have made it into a book club!

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

A) Just like Suzanne, I was very secretive with Five Parks. The only person who knew I was writing a novel at all, apart from my agent, was my wife. I couldn’t have done it without her.

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Ross McGuinness
Authors links:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/McGuinnessRoss
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ross.mcg.58

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#Exclusive #Giveaway Dead Lands by @LloydOtisWriter #SignedCopy #BookyPen @urbanepub @urbanebooks

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Dead Lands by Lloyd Otis
Synopsis:

The stunning debut from thriller writer Lloyd Otis. When a woman’s body is found a special team is called in to investigate and prime suspect Alex 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 – and a right-wing march provides an explosive backdrop to their hunt for Troy. Lloyd Otis brings a startling account of the past back to life over a burgeoning ’70s landscape, and delivers a thrilling piece of crime fiction that will excite any fan of the genre.

#Giveaway: 

To be in with a chance of winning the signed copy of Dead Lands (& the booky pen! love a booky pen). Just comment ONE answer of the following questions. Comment on either the blog post, pinned Tweet or original Facebbook post at Anne Bonny Book Reviews.
What I want to know is…………
What decade is Dead Lands set in?
What UK city?
What is the protagonist police officers name?
You only have to answer one question correctly to be in with a chance of winning!
Dead Lands fans are free to answer all 3, if they like!
Each entry will receive a number and one of my kids shall pick at random!
Good luck! 

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Lloyd Otis
Author bio:
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

Q&A with @maxmanningcrime #DebutAuthor of #NewRelease #NowYouSee @Wildfirebks @headlinepg @Sourcebooks

I was lucky enough to win a proof via a Twitter competition and wished to re-pay my gratitude to the author & publisher.
Knowing I could not read the novel by its Ebook release on 1st November 2017. I offered Max Manning the opportunity to tell us more about his debut novel.
So here it is!

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Now You See by Max Manning
Synopsis:

Will you look her in the eyes, just before she dies? A terrifying crime thriller that will set your pulse pounding. Perfect for fans of M. J. Arlidge, Robert Bryndza, and Angela Marsons.

I, Killer has posted two photos of his first victim online – Before Death and After Death. They’ve gone viral before DCI Fenton’s team even discovers the body.

Soon, another victim’s photo is similarly posted…and so begins the killer’s following.

DCI Fenton is determined to discover the identity of I, Killer. Then the murderer makes the hunt personal, and Fenton’s search becomes a matter of life or death for him and his daughter.

But as I, Killer‘s body-count rises, his number of online followers is growing – and he loves to give his fans what they want…

Q&A:

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

A) In my late teens I began thinking about becoming a writer and a career in journalism beckoned. I started as a news reporter on local and regional newspapers. Eventually, I moved to Fleet Street, working for several national newspapers including the Financial Times and the Daily Express. I later joined the staff of The Daily Telegraph, where I was employed as a news sub-editor for sixteen years.

My debut crime novel Now You See starts with a killer posting two photos of his first victim on line – Before Death and After Death. They go viral before the police discover the body. Soon, another victim’s photo is posted…and so begins the killer’s following. DCI Dan Fenton teams up with troubled journalist Adam Blake to uncover the killer’s identity. Things turn personal and Fenton, and his young daughter, discover that if you hunt the hunter, you risk becoming the prey. As the body count rises, the killer’s online following grows­ – and he loves to give his fans what he wants….

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

A) My work as a news reporter involved writing a lot of crime stories, dealing with the police on a daily basis and covering murder trials. I quickly became fascinated by the workings of the criminal, and especially the psychopathic, mind. When I started writing Now You See, I wanted to try to give the reader an insight into the mind of a psychopath. The use of social media is a fantastic communication tool, but it also allows the dark side of human nature to be expressed without the usual social constraints.

After long evenings spent writing in my office/garden shed, I sent the manuscript out to literary agents looking for crime fiction and I was delighted to get an offer of representation from Madeleine Milburn. After working on the manuscript with her, things moved fairly quickly and I was excited to hear that the Headline imprint Wildfire loved Now You See. The next stage involved working on the MS with my editor, Kate Stephenson, and I found it a fascinating process.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) There are so many authors I love it is hard to pick one or two, but I’ll do my best. When it comes to series crime I think Michael Connelly’s creation, Harry Bosch, is hard to beat. Connelly is a former reporter and his writing style is lean, but forceful. Another of my favourite crime writers is Val McDermid. The Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series, beginning with The Mermaids Singing, is fantastic. McDermid’s prose is strikingly powerful and a pleasure to read. My recommendations? Read Connelly and McDermid to see how it’s done. I also recommend Susie Steiner and the standalone thrillers of Belinda Bauer. Away from crime, I enjoy reading historical fiction. My all-time favourites include Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) Under the age of ten I devoured all of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Seven books and anything that involved adventures in space or pirates. Pirates in space would have been even better. In my early teens I moved on to Tolkien and read The Lord of The Rings during a two-week Easter holiday. I also developed an obsession with science fiction and read everything I could find by Isaac Asimov and Philip K. Dick.

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

A) From the point of sitting down and starting to write to becoming a published author, there are so many memorable milestones. They range from simply pressing the send button to put your manuscript out there, to getting a literary agent and then a publisher. All of them are a cause for celebration in their own way. The moment that stands out for me, up to now, is getting an email from my agent while sitting with my wife in the sunshine in the garden of a café after a day cycling along the north Kent coast. The email confirmed that Now You See had been sold to publishers in the UK, the US and Germany. It was a brilliant moment.

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

A) Once the first draft of Now You See was finished, I was fortunate to have had great encouragement from my agent and my editor. Getting that first draft down on paper is a rollercoaster process and impossible without the support and understanding of those closest to you. Without doubt my strongest source of support, from the moment I decided to write Now You See, has been my wife, Valerie. From first word to last, she has been an invaluable sounding board and tireless reader.

Max-Manning
Max Manning
Authors links:
Twitter: @maxmanningcrime
Website: maxmanningcrime.com

*Thank you for taking part in the Q&A on my blog, I wish you every success with your writing career.

**Now You See, is released in Ebook format tomorrow for just £1.99 on Kindle. The paperback release will be 19th April 2018.**

I am so intrigued and engrossed by this cover & synopsis! The novel is calling to me from the book shelves! I may have to be a #NaughtyBookBlogger. Ignore my own lists and read this one next!!!!!!!

 

 

#BlogTour #Review and Q&A #DeadLands by @LloydOtisWriter 5* Genius @urbanebooks #DebutNovel @urbanepub

*I received an arc via the publisher in return for an honest review*

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Dead Lands by Lloyd Otis
Synopsis:

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.

*Release date 12th October 2017.

My review:

Very few novels do I contact the publisher directly and ask to read a ‘coming soon’ title as soon as physically possible. This was one of those times! Dead Lands has an eye-catching cover and an intriguing synopsis. I was left dying to know more, little did I know I was in for one hell of a read………..

The location is London and the year is 1977, which makes for atmospheric reading but also an entirely different pace to a contemporary crime novel. Policing in the 1970s isn’t what it is today! A different era with its own approaches to racial profiling. Cransham, Lewisham and New Cross areas still left reeling from the ‘Rivers Of Blood’ speech of 1968 and its impact on London communities.
The backdrop of a right wing march in this novel offers a staggering reminder of that 1970s era.

The novel opens with violently brutal scene, it drew me in from the very first page! Police officers Detective Inspector Arlo Breck and Detective Sargent Patricia Kearns arrive on the scene. They are from the Sensitive Crimes Unit (SCU), basically dealing with cases that involve wealthy and influential people.
Money Talks!

The victim Janet Maskell has suffered a violent death. The scene offers little in the form of evidence except a name written on a magazine and a credit card both stating Alexander Troy. Who is Alex Troy? How does he fit in with the victim? Janet was a dedicated career woman and held a prestigious job with an investment firm. She had a routine life and no time for friends outside of work.
Who would want Janet dead and why?

The papers cite of the upcoming ‘war on our streets’ fuelling the far-right march. The area’s deprivation and hopelessness adds to the racial tension and mistrust. With all this happening Detective Superintendent Anil Bashir wants to override his detectives and run Janet’s case his way. Leaving Breck disillusioned with police work altogether.

Breck is dealing with a distressed girlfriend, who appears to be suffering with mental health issues from the flashbacks of a recent attack. He also faces verbal abuse from fellow copper Riley. Kearns is divorced, lonely and has virtually no interaction with her only child. The role of a female police officer in the 1970s is fully explored. The police officer’s backgrounds adds to the complexity of this novel.
There are revelations, secrets and lies. They read brilliantly as a police duo.

The police finally trace Alex Troy and bring him in for questioning. He works at the same investment firm and was facing a disciplinary hearing that day, which Janet had run against him. Is this his motive? He is completely baffled with their accusations. He pleads his innocence but refuses to give an alibi.
There is confusion, when another Alex Troy is linked to the case.
Then Troy escapes……….

The case of the two Alex Troy’s is fascinating reading. Identify theft in the 1970s, easily done and impossible to unravel. With one a person of interest (POI) and the other, the prime suspect. The prime suspect is desperate and on the run!

Nosey neighbour Wynda Brodie, informs the police that Janet did have one frequent visitor. Her gardener and lover Benjamin Genta. Stating her dislike at the thought of ‘half-caste kids’ running up and down the street! It would appear Wynda, is uncomfortable with the colour of Benjamin’s skin.
But who is Benjamin Genta and how does he tie into the case?

The investigation continues, there are searches for the two Alex Troys, interviews with people connecting to the victim and searches of property. But they throw up more dead ends than leads. Breck decides to approach Benjamin and discover more about the victim Janet. Benjamin has a clean record and a serious distrust of the police. His brother was an innocent victim in a stabbing and he recites cases of police harassment and brutality from an officer named Riley. But he was in love with Janet and they held the same political beliefs with regards to the anti-fascist movement against the far-right march. Was Janet’s death politically motivated? How involved was she?

“We’re in the dead lands, a place where you’re judged solely by the word of others. No one ever gets out. They stay trapped forever” Benjamin Genta
*Still poignant 40 years later.

There are chapters written from ‘the messengers’ perspective that make for harrowing reading. But they add thrills, fear and mystery. Who is the messenger? With a fellow officer proving there is a fine line between police work and police corruption. With his potential involvement in the march. Then one of the Alex Troy’s dead body is discovered the case is blown wide-open. Breck and Kearns must solve this case and fast! Before more dead bodies pile up.

A multifaceted complex novel, with themes of violence, past secrets, lies, police corruption, betrayals, racial tension and civil unrest. 5* Genius

Q&A:

Q) As a duo DI Arlo Breck and DS Patricia Kearns, come alive on the page. They are an unlikely pair and I often thought to myself they are chalk and cheese. But when you dig a little deeper into their pasts, the reader discovers they are both just trying to survive their own personal secrets. Was this intentional, to have two police officers so different but yet so alike?

A)It was, because as we know, opposites attract but when you scratch beneath the surface, you’ll find that they are both desperate to make amends. It’s the common denominator that secretly binds them together as individuals. Having them be different characters allowed me to provide a few interesting moments between them.

Q) I was very surprised to discover that DS Kearns was a female, due to the era. What made you decide to cast the role of Kearns as a female?

A) I wanted to create a more equal playing field in the story. Career opportunities for women across many industries were sadly extremely limited during the 70s, which is one of the reasons why I put Kearns in a specialist unit. A place where the skillset of an individual surpasses gender. There, the fact she is a woman, wouldn’t be such an obstacle as in other areas. I also felt that Breck and Kearns would bounce off each other better if one was male and the other female.

Q) Breck faces a dominating and bullying relationship with fellow police officer Riley. Which made me utterly despise Riley. Was this also part of the writing process to give an honest portrayal of the police in the 1970s?

A) To some extent, yes. The 70s had a lot of controversies, so there are some things that I just couldn’t underplay when setting its core in London. The stories about people being wrongly arrested, being discriminated against on a regular basis back then, and corruption, have already been well documented. To not have a character like Riley around wouldn’t be true to the decade. Having said that, not all officers were bad and that’s where Breck comes in. He’s Riley’s opposite in a sense.

Q) With themes of corruption and coercion, sometimes it was difficult to take the individual characters at face value. This added to the mystery and suspense feel of the novel and I was desperately trying to figure it out, before I got to the end. Is this sort of layered writing difficult to write, do you have to remind yourself who’s who? Does the direction of a character every change during the writing process?

A) Yes, this sort of layered writing is difficult to write because if there are multiple layers to a story, it can’t be rushed. Those layers have to understood by the author inside out. Once the author has that understanding, then the ultimate direction of the characters won’t change, their responses to situations may fluctuate, but their true direction will remain intact and the author won’t get confused with who’s who.

Q) Writing a novel set in 1977, is very different to the novels that flood the market. what was the inspiration behind this era? What was the research process for understanding policing in 1977?

A) For my debut I wanted create a story that you could say was under represented in the crime fiction market. Readers don’t want all books to be the same and we authors are creative, so we can try new things. I think there needs to be individualism in writing that continues to offer readers as much choice as possible. In terms of research, I underwent a lot for the period. From sifting through newspapers of the time, to speaking to someone who was present at ‘the march’ which serves as the backdrop to the story, and I was able to get on-the-job insights from a retired police sergeant that served during the decade.

Q) Breck identifies with Benjamin in the novel, almost as if he can imagine life thorough his eyes. We the reader also then witness Benjamin appear to let down his guard around Breck. How do you plan how various characters will interact with each another?

A) Good question. I think the keyword here is backgrounds. The background of a character leads me to decide how best that particular character would interact with others, especially in one-to-one scenes.

Q) If I had to sum up your novel in 5 words, I would say it is edgy, tense, unique, intelligent and thought-provoking. What 5 words would you use?

A) Thank you, Abby, that’s very kind. I honestly don’t think I could choose any different, or better, words than those.

Q) Finally, the question I am dying to know the answer to, is this debut novel the start of a Breck & Kearns series? If so are you working on ideas/themes for the next novel?

A) Breck & Kearns deserve their moment. I spent a lot of time considering who they were and what they were supposed to represent. Dead Lands is their story, from the beginning to the end, alongside a piece of real history. Will they return? Never say never.

LO2
Lloyd Otis
Author Bio:
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