Anne Bonny #BlogTour #GuestPost #Location #Inpiration Black Moss by @Nolanwriter #MancNoir @fahrenheitpress #NewRelease #Mystery

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Black Moss by David Nolan
Synopsis:

In April 1990, as rioters took over Strangeways prison in Manchester, someone killed a little boy at Black Moss.

And no one cared.

No one except Danny Johnston, an inexperienced radio reporter trying to make a name for himself.

More than a quarter of a century later, Danny returns to his home city to revisit the murder that’s always haunted him.

If Danny can find out what really happened to the boy, maybe he can cure the emptiness he’s felt inside since he too was a child.

But finding out the truth might just be the worst idea Danny Johnston has ever had.

Guest Post:

Location/Inspiration

One of the main characters in the book isn’t a person at all – it’s the landscape around Manchester. It dominates. You can even see the hills from the city centre – they cup Manchester like a horseshoe. You can’t get away from them. The moors around Oldham, in particular, are especially bleak and unforgiving. In parts there isn’t even a tree to break up the view. The vista is as intimidating as anything you’d get in Scandinavia and sometimes almost as snowbound. It’s not necessarily what you’d think of when the word ‘Manchester’ is mentioned is it? But it’s true.

We’ve had plenty of ‘Scandi Noir’…Black Moss is ‘Manc Noir’.

The original idea came to me when I was out walking. I came across a reservoir way up in the hills that had a beach. Ian Brown, lead singer of The Stone Roses has a famous quote: ‘Manchester’s got everything, apart from a beach.’ It appears he was wrong. Here was a beach. I had a notion: ‘If I was going to dump a body somewhere, this is where I’d do it.’ Then I thought: ‘What a really weird thing to cross my mind.’ I looked at the map to see what the reservoir was called. It was called Black Moss.
Such a great name. Black Moss. Wow.

I couldn’t see another human being as far as I looked in every direction, yet in the distance I could see the skyline on Manchester City Centre. I thought that if anything happened to me here, I’d be done for. Yet I can see Manchester. Help is near, yet so far away. It gave me the chills. It all started from that thought, though there were several years between me seeing the beach and starting the book.

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David Nolan
Website
Twitter

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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #GuestPost & #Extract Can’t Get You Out Of My Head by @thatsueshepherd #NewRelease @CorazonBooks Sisters, secrets and second chances. . . .

Can't Get You Out of My Head artwork by Sue Shepherd 120318
Can’t Get You Out Of My Head by Sue Shepherd
Synopsis:

A moving and funny story about sisters, secrets and second chances.

Twin sisters Beth and Lisa do everything together, so what will happen now they both want a life of their own?

Beth has a secret she’s kept from everyone except her sister. But it’s time to get on with her life. Could a seductive Italian, a smooth-talking charmer or backpacking around Australia be the answer?

Lisa feels she’s always lived in her sister’s shadow. Maybe now it’s her turn for some fun, whatever the consequences. But will her drunken antics land Beth in trouble?

And when it comes to the crunch, will one sister have to give up what she wants so the other can have what she needs?

Guest Post – Inspiration:

‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’ is the story of twin sisters, Beth and Lisa. Growing up, they’re very close and Beth is happy to share everything with her twin. When they’re ten, an accident at their birthday party disturbs Beth. But, as always, Lisa is there to comfort her and lull her off to sleep at bedtime. However, as Beth approaches adulthood, finding it more and more difficult to share everything with Lisa, she decides it’s time to start making a life for herself – alone.

Tired of living in her twin sister’s shadow, Lisa also makes a decision. It’s finally her turn to have some fun. She’s coming out into the spotlight, whatever the consequences.

What was the inspiration for the book?

When I began writing ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’ I had no idea where the story would take me. Initially, I simply decided to include a couple of events from my own life. For example; for Beth and Lisa’s tenth birthday, their dad, Don, makes them a homemade paddling pool. Temperatures are soaring, and all around the neighbourhood the conversation revolves around the drought and the hosepipe ban. Don is too scared to fill the pool more than a few inches, knowing his neighbour ‘Grumpy Jack’ would think nothing of dobbing him in. This part of the story was based on my own tenth birthday. Being born in the summer of 1966, it means, of course, that my tenth birthday took place during what became known as ‘the long hot summer of ’76’. I have such strong memories of my sister and I jumping in and out of that small homemade pool. Our dad was also a nervous wreck, and, like Don, he turned the tap off after just five minutes.
The other part of the story that’s based on my own memories is the backpacking trip to Australia. After a harrowing experience at the age of seventeen, the twins decide to take a trip to Australia with their friend, Michelle. Some of the things that happen in Australia are based on the experiences of either myself or people that I met whilst there. Reading through my Aussie diaries conjured up many memories.

Why twins?

I knew that I wanted to write about sisters. Being one of two sisters myself, it’s a relationship I felt confident to write about. But I’ve always been rather interested in twins. Usually we spend the first part of our lives alone in the womb, and I find it fascinating that twins share those very important nine months.

Who is Michelle?

Michelle is Beth’s best friend. They meet when they are Primary School age. They are kindred spirits. Beth has her troublesome twin, Lisa, to contend with and Michelle has her overbearing mother. When, at the age of ten, the girls take a bit of fun slightly too far, Beth is forced to summons up all her courage, and risks a slap when standing up to Michelle’s mum. Eventually, freeing herself from the situation, she calls on her nanna to put Michelle’s mum firmly in her place. Throughout the book Beth and Michelle’s friendship goes through highs and lows. But, there are moments of great tenderness and devotion between them. It’s a friendship to be proud of.

What genre does the book fall into?

It’s a romcom. It centres around the tempestuous connection between the twins. But, with a seductive Italian and a charming backpacker up for grabs, it also includes a little bit of naughtiness. It touches on some difficult and relevant topics, with sensitivity and humour. As well as this, the story includes all the usual shenanigans and dramas associated with a busy, loving family. Ultimately, ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’ has, at its heart, a touching romance. Hopefully my readers will laugh, cry and urge the characters on to achieve the things they deserve.

Is there a twist?

I’ve always enjoyed that slight ‘other world’ feel to a story. One of my favourite films is ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, which of course includes a look at how life would’ve been if George Bailey had never been born.
My first novel was a tongue in cheek look at guardian angels. Sometimes written from the point of view of the overworked angels, who have the unenviable task of watching over us. I enjoyed creating a world that was not just inhabited by humans.
My second, told the tale of a decision and its two alternative outcomes. Two possibilities intertwined, kind of like the movie ‘Sliding Doors’. I’ve always been intrigued by the idea that there could be more than one world, running simultaneously, where a seemingly inconsequential choice can change the future of those closest to us.

So, as you can see, I enjoy writing novels where things are not quite as they first appear, and ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head,’ is no different.

What is the twist?

Well, now … that would be telling!

Extract:

Beth was getting out of her car when she heard a familiar voice behind her. ‘Beth Campbell, are you stalking me?’
She spun round, a smile already on her face. ‘Charlie Morris, you wally!’ He held his arms open and she ran to him. ‘When did you get back?’
‘Just over a week ago. Thought I’d come and see you, and, um … and … catch up with Michelle.’
‘You were away for ages.’
‘Yeah. I’ve been gone so long my face ought to be on milk cartons.’ He grinned, then added, ‘Don’t say it …’
‘What?’
‘That my face ought to be on bog rolls!’
‘I would never say such a thing.’ Beth gave his chin a stroke. ‘Your bum fluff hasn’t improved much.’
‘Nonsense. This is a brilliant beard,’ Charlie snorted.
She’d missed his laugh. ‘Michelle doesn’t live in Tennison Avenue any more. She moved out of her mum’s house.’
‘No one can blame her for that.’ He shuddered. ‘Bloody hell. Her mother. Meddling cow!’
‘Absolutely. Michelle’s not far though. She rents a flat with Ricky.’
‘OK. Cool.’
‘Do you want to go for a drink or something? You know, to catch up.’
He gave a casual shrug. ‘Yeah, sure.’
‘I’ll just need to pop in and tell them I’m going out, they were expecting me for dinner.’ Beth gestured towards her parents’ house. ‘Fancy coming in, to see them?’
Again, he was casual. ‘Uh huh.’
She opened the front door and called out, ‘Look who I found loitering outside the house.’
Pat and Don appeared at the kitchen doorway. Don blanched and dropped the tea towel he’d been holding. ‘Oh, Christ.’
‘Is that little Charlie Morris?’ Pat had a closer look.
‘Yep, it’s me. All grown up.’
‘You’re not wrong. How are you?’ She was staring up at him, amazed at his size.
‘I’m good, thanks. Just back from Singapore for a while.’ Charlie held out his hand to Don. ‘Hello.’ With a slightly nervous cough, he added, ‘I’m OK, honest I am.’
Realising he’d been staring, with his mouth open, Don apologised and shook the hand he’d been offered. ‘Sorry, son, it’s just, you know. I can’t help remembering …’
At this point, Nanna came down the stairs. ‘Who’s this, then?’ Examining Charlie’s face, she grabbed the bull by the horns and said, ‘It’s the boy who nearly died. Blimey, you didn’t get like that eating salad, did you?’ Turning to Pat she remarked, ‘You’d never be able to pick him up out of that paddling pool now, would you?’
Charlie grinned. ‘Hello, Nanna. It’s good to see you again.’
‘We’re going to pop out for a drink to catch up. Don’t worry about me for dinner, Mum, I’ll get something whilst we’re out.’ Beth grabbed her handbag and made her way over to the hall mirror. Applying an extra coat of mascara and some fresh lipstick, she then set about adding some cover up to the scars on her chin, a constant reminder not to listen to Lisa’s advice.
‘OK. Just the two of you, is it?’ Pat asked.
Beth looked at Charlie. ‘Um … Charlie wants to catch up with Michelle too.’
‘Well, we don’t have to … I just …’
‘He had no intention of catching up with her, you idiot. Can’t you tell when someone wants to be alone with you?’ Lisa asked.
‘He mentioned her first. I’m just going along with his plan.’
Beth gave Nanna a hug. ‘See you later.’
‘Have fun with the big fella.’
‘You know something, Nanna?’ Charlie said. ‘You haven’t changed a bit.’
Nanna tilted her head. ‘Nonsense, I’ve aged like a sausage in the sun, but thank you anyway.’

Sue Shepherd author photo
Sue Shepherd
Website
Twitter
Author Bio:
Born in Harrow, Sue went on to spend several years living in Hertfordshire before selling up and taking a leap of faith across The Solent. She now resides on the picturesque Isle of Wight with her husband, two sons and a standard poodle. Her passions in life are: her family, writing, the seaside and all the beautiful purple things her sons have bought her over the years. Happiest when hunched over her laptop with a cup of tea on the go, Sue loves to create stories with plenty of heart and laughs, but she makes sure to include a bit of naughtiness too. Ask Sue to plan too far in advance and you’ll give her the heebie-jeebies and she’d prefer you not to mention Christmas until at least November!

***My review to follow this month, but check out the other fabulous bloggers on the blog tour***
Sue Shepherd Blog Tour
Also by Sue Shepherd:

DEHAS LTALT
For more details, see the authors website. Happy Monday reading!

 

 

 

Q&A with @ellisshuman #Author of The Burgas Affair #GuestPost #Inspiration #Indie

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The Burgas Affair by Ellis Shuman
Synopsis:

She’s an Israeli data analyst. He’s a headstrong Bulgarian detective. Together they must track down those responsible for a horrific bombing.

In the wake of a deadly terrorist attack at Burgas Airport in Bulgaria, Israeli and Bulgarian intelligence agencies launch a joint investigation. Detective Boyko Stanchev on the police task force teams up with Ayala Navon, a young Israeli intelligence analyst on her first overseas assignment.

The two must establish whether the terrorists were assisted by a Bulgarian crime organization in laying the groundwork for the attack.

It should be a routine investigation, but shadows of the past keep interfering.

Boyko’s interactions with a crime boss pursuing a vendetta against him threaten to throw him off track. Ayala’s pursuit of the terrorists and their accomplices brings up painful memories of a family tragedy.

Boyko and Ayala form a shaky alliance, one that evolves into growing cooperation and affection as they desperately race against time to uncover who was behind the Burgas bombing.

The Burgas Affair is a fictional account of the aftermath of a very real terrorist attack. On July 18, 2012, a deadly explosive rocked a tourist bus at Burgas Airport, killing five Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver. The terrorists responsible for this murderous attack have never been brought to justice.

Q&A:

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

A) I was born in the United States but moved to Israel as a teenager. I finished high school in Jerusalem, served in the Israeli army, and was a founding member of a kibbutz. I have worked in many professions but the latest is content marketing. My job was relocated to Bulgaria for two years and as a result, my novels are very much connected to Bulgaria.

My new novel deals with the aftermath of a terrorist bombing in Bulgaria, in which five Israelis and one Bulgarian were killed. This happened at Burgas Airport in July 2012. In my mind I envisioned a joint Israeli-Bulgarian investigation. The novel is primarily focused on the interaction between the Bulgarian detective and the Israeli data analyst on her first overseas assignment who have teamed up to track down those responsible for the bombing.

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

A) The terror attack at Burgas Affair took me by surprise. Although I grew up in Israel and was very familiar, unfortunately, with similar bombings, I never imagined that one could occur in Bulgaria. I kept thinking about this and then my creative mind envisioned what happened the next day. I was sure that Bulgarians and Israelis would work together in this investigation so I came up with idea to write a fictional account of their teamwork. The result is The Burgas Affair, available for download at Amazon with a paperback edition to follow.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) I frequently write book reviews and when I do, I usually write about books related to Bulgaria or Israel. I am probably one of the most ‘prolific’ reviewers of modern Bulgarian literature that has been translated into English. That said, one of my favourite authors is Haruki Murakami. I have an entire bookshelf devoted to his books. They fascinate me because they transport me to Japan in a very surreal way.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) I can’t recall having favourite reads as a child, but I did read a lot! As a teenager, my favourite author was Kurt Vonnegut. I especially enjoyed his novels Cat’s Cradle and The Sirens of Titan. I wrote my major high school project on Vonnegut’s writing, although I didn’t enjoy his later works as much. From time to time I come across Vonnegut quotes that prove to me that he was a very talented writer.

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

A) The Burgas Affair was traditionally published in 2016. Because I had a lot of connections in the Bulgarian media, I was able to sell the Bulgarian language rights to the book to a major publisher in Sofia. My favourite moment as an author was attending the book’s presentation in Sofia and participating in the book signing there. The novel is now being published in its original English for the first time.

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

A) Today, my creative writing focuses on my love for two countries – Israel and Bulgaria. My wife, Jodie, has been with me all of my adult life in Israel, and she shared the two years of my relocation in Bulgaria, something we labelled our Bulgarian adventure. She has given the greatest support for my writing, and has encouraged me every step of the way. In addition, she reads my writing, makes comments and suggestions, and helps me correct the occasional spelling mistake!

#GuestPost:

What Inspired Me to Write “The Burgas Affair”

In my crime thriller, The Burgas Affair, Bulgaria and Israel conduct a joint investigation into a terrorist bombing at a Bulgarian airport. The novel is based on a very real terror attack, but the investigation I describe is completely fictional.

One of the questions people ask me when they hear about the book is what inspired me to write it? For me, the answer is simple. The novel is set in two countries I love: Bulgaria and Israel. While there are many novels set in Israel, it is quite unlikely that you will find a novel in the English language with a Bulgarian setting.

I have a particular affinity for anything and everything connected to Bulgaria and that is because my wife and I lived in Sofia for two years (2009-2010). I was on a relocation assignment from my job and we made the most of our stay in Bulgaria. During our free time we explored the country and we were astonished by what we saw. Bulgaria has picturesque villages; a rich culture and history; beautiful forests, mountains, and seashores; and very friendly people.

When we returned to our home in Israel, I couldn’t stop thinking about Bulgaria. I wanted to share my experiences with others, especially those who know nothing about the country. I began writing travel articles about Bulgaria, encouraging people to visit and see how wonderful a place it is.

I also began featuring Bulgaria in my fiction. My first novel, Valley of Thracians (published in 2013), was set entirely in Bulgaria. It was warmly received by many as an introduction to Bulgaria.

My new novel, The Bulgaria Affair, is my second work of fiction to take place in Bulgaria, as well as being set in Israel, my home. My experiences in Bulgaria, and my desire to share them with others, inspired me to write my novels. I hope readers will share my enthusiasm for the country.

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Ellis Shuman
Authors bio:
Ellis Shuman was born in Sioux City, Iowa, and immigrated to Israel as a teenager. He completed high school in Jerusalem and served for three years in the Israeli army. Along with his wife, Jodie, he was a founding member of Kibbutz Yahel. After working for several years in the hotel industry, he today writes and edits online marketing content. In the years 2009 – 2010, his job was relocated to Sofia, Bulgaria. His writing has appeared in The Times of Israel, The Huffington Post, The Jerusalem Post, Israel Insider, and on a wide range of Internet websites. His collection of short stories, The Virtual Kibbutz, was originally published in 2003. His novel Valley of Thracians was published in 2013. Ellis lives with his wife, children, and grandchildren on Moshav Neve Ilan, outside Jerusalem.

Authors Links:
Ellis Shuman Writes: http://ellisshuman.blogspot.com
Ellis Shuman on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ellisshumanauthor
Ellis Shuman on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ellisshuman
Ellis Shuman on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1529444.Ellis_Shuman

**The Burgas Affair has been released on 30th October 2017**

 

#GuestPost #SeekingEden by @BevHarvey_ #InspirationBehindTheNovel @urbanebooks

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Seeking Eden by Beverley Harvey
Synopsis:

’50 is the new 30 – haven’t you heard?’

Or so says Ben Wilde’s record producer on the eve of his comeback. If only Ben could win back ex-girlfriend, Kate, he’d be a happy man.

But married Kate has moved on, and moved out – to Eden Hill, a quiet housing estate in the suburbs. Lonely and homesick for London, can Kate resist ego-maniac Ben’s advances and save her own flagging marriage?

Streets away, Kate’s new friend Lisa, a Chihuahua toting ex-WAG, is primed for a fresh start – until her footballer ex-husband is found dead and she is vilified in the gutter press.

But Kate, Lisa and Ben aren’t the only ones having a midlife crisis; local shop owner Martin dreams of escaping his dutiful marriage, and develops an unhealthy obsession with Lisa and her friends in Eden Hill.

Alongside a colourful cast of friends and family, Kate, Lisa, Ben and Martin are living proof that older does not always mean wiser because in Eden Hill, there’s temptation around every corner.

#GuestPost

What inspired me to write Seeking Eden, by Beverley Harvey

Write what you know may be a cliché but it’s also brilliant advice for fledgling writers. It was a principle I kept close to my heart when I began writing Seeking Eden, which is about the lives and loves of the residents of Eden Hill, a suburban housing estate.

I have lived in such a place for the last ten years; a ‘new town’ which did not exist twenty five years ago, yet now has a population of over 8,000.

I love living in an arear where there is little to no crime; where people are friendly and terribly decent to each other, because community spirit comes as standard, along with a double garage and two en-suites, and where this is a pioneering spirit as residents set out to create clubs and societies where previously there were none.

But the other side of this bright and shiny coin is that it can become claustrophobic. Just try avoiding someone you’ve fallen out with – practically impossible when you’re all shopping at the same supermarket, and going to the same gym/Costa Coffee/doctors/dentist/hairdressers!

Then there’s the insidious threat of materialism taking over; keeping up with the Joneses can rule your life if you let it.

So when I started my novel, I had a readymade location and the stage was set. All I needed was a believable cast of above-averagely dysfunctional characters and I was on my way.

I soon realised that the lives of friends and neighbours were a rich seam to mine. Not actual personalities, but fictionalised versions of people in similar circumstances. So I started to write about a couple in their forties, Kate and Neil, who leave London after a burglary, but are unprepared for the culture shock that awaits them in Eden Hill.

Homesick for London and missing her friends, Kate’s loneliness leaves her vulnerable to ex-boyfriend Ben’s amorous attentions. Wilde by name and wild by nature, one-hit wonder Ben returns from abroad hoping to revive his recording career – and his relationship with Kate.

Meanwhile, former-WAG Lisa is looking forward to independence and a new life in Eden Hill.  But her happiness is cut short when her ex-husband is found dead following a ‘drinking accident’ and unscrupulous journalists blame Lisa for his demise.  At a low ebb she befriends Martin, a shop owner from the neighbouring village. As Martin teeters on the brink of a midlife crisis, he picks up all the wrong signals, obsessing about Lisa and the ‘good life’ her perceives her to live.

It’s a book about materialism, loneliness, and burgeoning mid-life crises. About searching for something – and not even knowing what it is; of feeling like a fraud and not quite belonging; of making mistakes and committing indiscretions that cannot be taken back. Of looking out for your friends, but not always knowing who they are. And, whilst the plot may appear racy and salacious, it’s based on real life. Because there’s no such thing as ‘ordinary’ or ‘normal’ –   scratch the surface and we are all flawed and for me, there’s nothing more fascinating than real life.

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Beverley Harvey

About Beverley Harvey

Seeking Eden is Beverley’s debut novel, following almost thirty years in corporate communications, working first in advertising and then in PR. She was born in Yorkshire but raised in Bromley in the South East; Beverley then lived in London until 2007 when she returned to Kent with her partner Mark. Beverley is currently working on the sequel to Seeking Eden.

Seeking Eden was published by Urbane on 6th July. Follow on Twitter @BevHarvey_ or visit www.beverleyharvey.co.uk .

 

Q&A with #HistFic #Author @LJCruickshanks & #Inspiration #GuestPost @QuercusBooks #Vietnam #Burma

I am always looking for unique historical fiction novels, whether it be the era, location or characters etc. Then I happened to stumble across Lucy’s novels via Twitter, which ticks all the boxes for me.
Let me know what you think and what your favourite historical fiction novels are and why? 🙂

Q&A:

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

A) I’m lucky enough to have had two historical thrillers published by Quercus in the last few years: The Trader of Saigon, set in 1980s Vietnam, and The Road to Rangoon, set in 1980s Myanmar (then called Burma).

Trader is about a US Army deserter turned human trafficker, the desperately poor young Vietnamese woman he tries to ensnare, and how their paths cross with a former highflying businessman, now unable to pay his financial and political debts to the government. The context to the novel is bleak but, in a way, it’s a redemption story really – and a story of self-determination. Each character is battling to take control of their life when the personal, cultural and political odds are stacked against them.

Rangoon takes place in Burma’s exotic ruby-mining region, against the backdrop of the world’s longest running civil war. It follows three characters again; a young woman smuggling gems to escape her past, the British Ambassador’s son, accidentally out of his depth and alone in the mountains, and an ambitious military officer determined to better his lot at any cost. It’s a story of cunning and resourcefulness in the face of enormous danger, but one of hope and salvation too.

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

A) I completed the first draft of Trader on the MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. I wrote the novel quickly, found an agent quickly, and was rejected by a dozen London publishers quickly too. Though the manuscript didn’t sell, I received such positive feedback and encouragement that I didn’t feel ready to jettison it quite yet. I spent six months rewriting, took my time in finding a new agent who I believed would really champion it, and was thrilled to sell with a choice of lovely offers in the end, and a two-book deal.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) Patricia Highsmith, for the darkness of her wit and how she somehow leaves you rooting for characters that are utterly deplorable. Amitav Ghosh, for his mastery of language. The way he can capture the essence of a time and place is astounding. George Orwell, for how he champions the underdog, and his caustic judgments on the nature of power. Corban Addison, for how he seamless stitches contemporary political issues with compelling characters and riveting plots. I can’t talk about favourite books or authors without naming Karl Marlantes, Matterhorn, too. I’ve never read anything more devastating about war. It’s a masterpiece.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) Anything by Roald Dahl. I adore him. His imagination and sense of humour is still unmatchable, in my mind. I can’t wait until my children are old enough to enjoy him too.

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

A) Being shortlisted for the Author’s Club Best First Novel Award for Trader was such a surprise and a real honour, but it’s probably a handful of personal emails I’ve had from readers who lived in Vietnam and Myanmar at the times my novels were set that I treasure most.

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

A) My husband. He was the person who told me to stop talking about writing a novel and actually put pen to paper in the first place, the person who has ready every word of every draft and told me the truth about what’s great and what’s rubbish, and the person who always says ‘keep going’ when I want to stop. Trader could only ever have been dedicated to him.

Guest post: #Inspiration

The Inspiration behind The Trader of Saigon

My debut novel, The Trader if Saigon, was inspired by a chance meeting on a flight between Singapore and Vietnam in 2007, though I was unaware of this fact at the time. I had been travelling through Asia for several months and was heading to Vietnam for the first time to pick up my intended route, having taken an unexpected detour from Cambodia to the isolation ward of Singapore General Hospital with a nasty bout of suspected (though ultimately fraudulent) Bird Flu.

I was travelling with my husband, Scott, and we were seated beside a well-fed Asian man in a sharp grey suit and tinted glasses. The plane took off and he hailed the stewardess for a whiskey, then he pulled out his wallet, presented his business card, and casually told us how he made his fortune selling women. He said he’d sat next to a missionary couple on his previous flight and was delighted to have better company, this time. It quickly became clear that this was an exaggeration – he was not at all interested in talking to me – but I filtered my questions through Scott and listened intently. His business was strictly legitimate, of course; he sold nothing but brides. His women were young, beautiful, smart and ambitious. From across the continent, they had sought him out and were looking for love. These days, the market was mostly in China, where men outnumbered women and it was often difficult to find a wife, but he had sold his girls all over the world. American, German and British customers were not uncommon. Asian brides were the best wives a man could get – so loyal and obedient. Demand was unprecedented. He’d been clever to capitalise. Business boomed.

I continued my travels with his card as my bookmark for the rest of our trip. I had no intention of writing a book about this (or anything else) at the time, but several years later when I did sit down to write, the man on the plane was the character I just couldn’t shift.

The Novels:

The trader of saigon cover
The Trader Of Saigon

Synopsis:

In the chaos and corruption of 1980s’ Vietnam, three seemingly unconnected lives are brought together by greed, fear and hope.

As a US Army deserter, Alexander is a man without country; trapped in a life he no longer controls and embroiled in the dark business of trading women. His latest victim is Hanh, a rural girl who moved to Hanoi to escape inevitable poverty and who sees Alexander’s arrival as the answer to her prayers. Neither of them has ever met Phuc – a Vietnamese businessman who backed the wrong side in the war and is now unable to pay his financial and political debts to the Party. But his struggles are about to change both their lives.

From a society torn apart by war comes a tale of redemption and salvation; a thrilling saga and an explosive debut novel.

The road to rangoon cover
The Road To Rangoon

Synopsis:

In 1980s Burma, the British ambassador’s son goes missing.

Discovered in the north of the country, Michael Atwood is in imminent danger, trapped between sides fighting a bitter civil war and with no way of getting back to Rangoon. His best hope of salvation is to trust Thuza, a ruby smuggler who offers to help him escape.

Beautiful and deeply scarred, Thuza has spent her entire life in a frontier town between rebel and government forces, never choosing a side but trying to make a living from both. For Thuza, the ambassador’s son is her ticket out of poverty. For Than, an ambitious military officer, exploiting those caught up in the war offers an opportunity for promotion and distinction.

But as all three learn to their cost, in this exotic, enigmatic and savage country, everyone has a price.

Lucy Cruickshanks Headshot 2
Lucy Cruickshanks

 Author Bio:

Lucy Cruickshanks’ love of travel inspires her writing. A great fan of the underdog, she’s drawn to countries with troubled recent histories, writing about periods of time when societies are at their most precarious and fraught with risk.

Her debut novel, The Trader of Saigon, was shortlisted for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award and the Guardian Not The Booker Prize, and named a Top Ten Book of 2013 by The Bookbag. The Road to Rangoon was described as a ‘gutsy atmospheric thriller’ by Women and Home magazine, ‘enjoyable and well-written’ by the South China Morning Post and ‘haunting and heart-wrenching’ by Novelicous. It was chosen as Book of the Month by Candis.

Born in 1984 and raised in Cornwall, UK, Lucy holds a BA in Politics and Philosophy from the University of Warwick and an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University. She lives in Hampshire and divides her time between writing and caring for her two young sons.

Authors Links:
Twitter: @ljcruickshanks
Facebook: www.facebook.com/L.J.Cruickshanks
Website: www.lucycruickshanks.com

*Both novels are currently on offer via Kindle Ebook for just 99p in the UK*