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
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#BlogTour #GuestPost #Location #Cornwall Miss Boston & Miss Hargreaves by @RachelMalik99 @PenguinUKBooks @penguinrandom

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Miss Boston And Miss Hargreaves by Rachel Malik
Synopsis:
When Rene Hargreaves is billeted to Starlight Farm as a Land Girl, far from the city where she grew up, she finds farmer Elsie Boston and her country ways strange at first. Yet over the days and months Rene and Elsie come to understand and depend on each other. Soon they can no longer imagine a life apart.

But a visitor from Rene’s past threatens the life they have built together, a life that has always kept others at a careful distance. Soon they are involved in a war of their own that endangers everything and will finally expose them to the nation’s press and the full force of the law.

#GuestPost Location Cornwall:

Place is incredibly important in Miss Boston and Miss Hargreaves. The two central characters, Elsie Boston and Rene Hargreaves, lose the first home they share – Starlight Farm in Berkshire – during the Second World War. For many years after, they must travel through England looking for work and for somewhere to live. They spend time near the Lakes, in Yorkshire, in Devon and in Cornwall, where they find, just outside the village of Rosenys, a cottage, Wheal Rock, to which they are strongly drawn.

Cornwall is famous as a literary setting and I was very aware of this when I was writing Miss Boston and Miss Hargreaves. Far from the capital, Cornwall’s peninsular geography can make it seem like a separate country, surrounded on three sides by the dangerous possibilities of water. When Rene returns to Rosenys from London she feels the boundary that she crosses:

[A]s the train left Plymouth and Devon and crawled across the homely Tamar, the journey caught up with her. At last she was going home. And then as she looked out of the window, everything outside started to come vivid. The tide was well out and in the sandy sludge of the river she could see waders, probably redshanks though it was hard to be sure looking for food … Each stop seemed to take an age: the train would squeal to a halt outside the station, and a brief lull of warmth and summer sound would come wafting through the open window. Rene would look out, often she could see the platform, almost within reach.

Many writers who have written about Cornwall, also lived there. One of my favourites, Daphne Du Maurier, spent childhood holidays in Cornwall and, most famously, leased ‘Menabilly’ a house near Fowey on the South Cornish Coast where she lived for over twenty-five years. Frenchman’s Creek plays on the differences between rule-governed London and the wilder shores of Cornwall. In Rebecca, Manderley, as a place and way of living, is clearly distinct from the artifice of Monte Carlo where the narrator meets Maxim de Winter for the first time, or from London (depicted as a combination of bohemian Soho and orderly, domestic Maida Vale). At Manderley, nature and tradition appear to combine in some ideal way. Except that the house is haunted. The sea – central to the Cornish geography – is central to this haunting. There are places in the house where there is no sight or sound of the sea, others where it is insistent. The sinister housekeeper, Mrs Danvers explains to the second Mrs De Winter:

‘”You know now”, she said, why Mr De Winter does not use these rooms anymore. Listen to the sea”’

It is the sea that brings Rebecca back to life.
Winston Graham who wrote the Poldark novels moved to Perranporth on the North Cornish Coast in 1925 when he was only 17 (he already knew he wanted to be a writer) and lived there till 1960. The first Poldark novel starts in 1783, just after the end of the American Revolutionary War and was published in 1945. The last Poldark novel ends in 1820 – it’s a period of dramatic change and conflict. In the Poldark novels, Cornwall is represented as less socially fettered than many other parts of the country, and many days ride from London. One of my favourite things about these books is how they trace the interdependent lives of a whole community. Much of the hazardous adventure in Poldark stems from Cornwall’s closeness to various other dangerous places: Ireland and above all France.

The Cornwall in which Rene and Elsie live is very different. It’s the 1950s, some of the harshness of post-war austerity is ending, but money is still very tight. The cottage they come to love, Wheal Rock, close to the chimney of an old mine, isn’t by the sea though it is never far away and water becomes very important as the novel reaches its climax. They live outside Rosenys, but they are also a tentative part of it, accepted by the village. When the two women are faced with danger, there is support for them from neighbours, even if some find them odd.

Early in the novel, Rene and Elsie have to leave a place they love and become wanderers, they must follow the work and when the work ends they have to move on. Without work, they are, quite literally, homeless. When they rent Wheal Rock, Rene and Elsie are reminded of the long lost Starlight, but they also see the possibility of a new beginning. Wheal Rock seems to offer the chance to make a real home (and not just a place to live). This is one of the key things the novel is about: the struggle to build a home and what people are prepared to do when that home and the security it offers are threatened.

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Rachel Malik
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#BlogTour #GuestPost #Location Tall Chimneys by @Alliescribbler Allie Cresswell @rararesources

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Tall Chimneys by Allie Cresswell
Synopsis:

Considered a troublesome burden, Evelyn Talbot is banished by her family to their remote country house. Tall Chimneys is hidden in a damp and gloomy hollow. It is outmoded and inconvenient but Evelyn is determined to save it from the fate of so many stately homes at the time – abandonment or demolition.
Occasional echoes of tumult in the wider world reach their sequestered backwater – the strident cries of political extremists, a furore of royal scandal, rumblings of the European war machine. But their isolated spot seems largely untouched. At times life is hard – little more than survival. At times it feels enchanted, almost outside of time itself. The woman and the house shore each other up – until love comes calling, threatening to pull them asunder.

Her desertion will spell its demise, but saving Tall Chimneys could mean sacrificing her hope for happiness, even sacrificing herself.

A century later, a distant relative crosses the globe to find the house of his ancestors. What he finds in the strange depression of the moor could change the course of his life forever.
One woman, one house, one hundred years.
Publication Date: 12th December 2017

Guest post:

Location
There is nothing better than a book with an evocative, tangible setting. What would Wuthering Heights be without the brooding moor? What a loss the teeming streets of London and the busy banks of the Thames would be to Dickens’ novels. Anthony Trollope is the master of fictional geography. His imaginary county Barsetshire takes on a life on its own in his novels.

I think location should be authentic. If a writer sets his novel in Dallas he needs to know the geography, the street lay-out, the whereabouts of the rail terminus and the police station. You can be sure, if he gets it wrong, a reader will point it out to him, and rightly so. If readers are to engage with our stories we must make them believable. Similarly, if a writer uses an imaginary setting, that, too, must be plausible and consistent, so that readers can immerse themselves in it. Any wrong note will jar, and break the spell. I don’t know if you recall the film Somewhere in Time? A man literally wills himself back in time seventy or so years, transporting himself bodily through the power of his mind, but the discovery of a modern coin in his pocket breaks his concentration and he is yanked back to the present. This is not an experience we writers want for our readers!

Location should also be dynamic – it must exert an influence on the plot and the characters, or else, what is the point of it? It must be much more than a flat and immutable canvas. It must breathe and ripple and play a part. I might almost say it should be a character itself – changing, developing, vital, unpredicatable.

Location plays a large part in my latest novel, Tall Chimneys. It is set in Yorkshire, in a rural community hemmed in by moor. It is a beautiful setting, very painterly, and I introduced an artist, John Cressing, to render its colours and textures. The house itself is located in a peculiar depression in the moor, a sort of crater, surrounded by trees and invisible to the passer by. I wanted a sense of seclusion, for it to be outside of modern progress and almost outside of time itself. I hoped the house and the woman would be in a sort of vacuum, their close kinship fermented by their utter isolation. But I found the amphitheatre-like setting did occasionally echo with strains of the modern world – I couldn’t keep it out entirely. So the rise of the Fascists in the 1930s, the abdication crisis and WW2 do find their way to Tall Chimneys. The house is a shelter to the woman but it is also a huge burden of responsibility. At one point she asks herself if it is a refuge or a prison.

I have always been fascinated by houses and I wanted Tall Chimneys to have a vivid presence in the book, to be a character itself. It exerts a strange influence on Evelyn, my protagonist. In another of my books, Relative Strangers, a dysfunctional family spends a week at a country house and it acts as a crucible for all their resentments and misplaced loyalties. With all its many rooms and labyrinthine passageways, there is nowhere to hide and the family’s secrets come spilling out with tragic results. In The Hoarder’s Widow, a woman has become almost imprisoned in her house, fenced in by the towering piles of furniture and rubbish accumulated by her compulsive hoarder husband. In each case, the location of the stories – the houses and their surrounding environments – are authentic – I drew out their floorplans and gardens and localities so that I would be sure to be consistent. Each plays a part in the plots, influencing events, so they are dynamic too. I hope each is more than just bricks and mortar in the readers’ minds. I hope, like every good location, they reach out and grab the imagination, and draw the reader in.

Tall Chimneys - Allie Cresswell
Allie Cresswell
Author Bio
Allie Cresswell was born in Stockport, UK and began writing fiction as soon as she could hold a pencil.
She did a BA in English Literature at Birmingham University and an MA at Queen Mary College, London.
She has been a print-buyer, a pub landlady, a book-keeper, run a B & B and a group of boutique holiday cottages. Nowadays Allie writes full time having retired from teaching literature to lifelong learners.
She has two grown-up children, one granddaughter and two grandsons, is married to Tim and lives in Cumbria, NW England.
Tall Chimneys is the sixth of her novels to be published.

Author links:
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/alliescribbler/
Website – http://allie-cresswell.com/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/Alliescribbler

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#BlogTour #GuestPost #Location #Yemen Trading Down by @stephennorman49 @EndeavourPress @midaspr #NewRelease

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Trading Down by Stephen Norman
Synopsis:

Chris Peters loves his work in a multi-national bank: the excitement of the trading floor, the impossible deadlines and the constant challenge of the superfast computers in his care. And he loves his beautiful wife, Olivia. But over time, the dream turns sour. His systems crash, the traders turn on him, and Olivia becomes angry and disillusioned. So much bad luck.

Or is it? A natural detective, Chris finds evidence of something sinister in the mysterious meltdown of a US datacentre. A new kind of terrorist. But can he get anyone to believe him? His obsessive search leads him to a jihadist website, filled with violent images; a man beaten to a pulp in a Dubai carpark; and a woman in a gold sari dancing in the flames of her own destruction. Slowly, a tragic story from decades ago in Yemen emerges.

Too late, Chris understands the nature of the treachery, so close to him. His adversary knows every move and is ready to strike. Even his boss agrees: if this program is run, it will destroy this bank as surely as a neutron bomb. And Chris Peters has 48 hours to figure it out…

#GuestPost:

Sana’a
Yemen is one of the most romantic and mysterious countries in the world, and Sana’a is the jewel at the centre. The city is set in the highlands of western Yemen, surrounded by mountains and about 200 miles north of the port of Aden. To the north and east of Sana’a is the “empty quarter” of Saudi Arabia, which is mostly desert. If you head west, you get to the Red Sea.
In days gone by, Yemen was an important producer of rare spices, especially frankincense and myrrh which are harvested from slow-growing trees. It exported them along the Red Sea to ancient Egypt, to India across the Indian Ocean, and by camel north, to Jerusalem and the Mediterranean. The ships that sailed to India came back to the port of Aden, laden with precious articles from the Far East. There they would unload their cargoes onto camel trains which headed up to Sana’a, through the Empty Quarter to Jerusalem and beyond. It took 40 days to get to Jerusalem across the desert.
If you visit Sana’a, you should try to stay in the Old City. We stayed in a wonderful guest house called Felix Arabia (Happy Arabia) which is several Yemen family homes put together. You can stay there and get some sense of what life in a Yemen house is like. Small boys will volunteer to take your suitcases up to your room, up the high, steep steps. It is best to let them!
Every morning you will be woken by the wonderful calling of the muezzins across the City singing the dawn prayer:
God is great,
There is no god except God
And Mohammed is his messenger
Hurry to prayer,
Hurry to success
Prayer is better than sleep
God is great…

You may or may not agree that “prayer is better than sleep” but it is an unforgettable experience.
The buildings of Sana’a
The Old City is a World Heritage site, and for good reason. The city is at least 2,500 years old. According to popular legend, it was founded by Shem, the son of Noah. It has 100 mosques, surrounded by the extraordinary Yemeni family buildings that look like miniature brown skyscrapers.
The early Christians were active here, and a large cathedral was built, but not much is known about it because – being close to Mecca and Medina – it became an important centre for Islam and the Great Mosque of Sana’a was built c. 700AD using the materials from the cathedral and a palace. You can see it still standing today with its huge minarets. You will be shown stones in the wall with crosses which are said to come from the cathedral. It’s amazing to think that this ancient building was itself built from the stones of a previous Christian building which was itself many centuries old when it was pulled down and re-used.
An even larger modern mosque was built in 2008, the Saleh Mosque, which is a beautiful building, especially at night.

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The Saleh Mosque in the early morning

The most distinctive feature of the Yemen landscape, both in Sana’a and across the interior of the country are the tower houses. There are 6,500 of them in the Old City. These tall, thin buildings, built from mud bricks and beautifully decorated with white stones and glass, are typically the home of a single extended family, and they are laid out inside in a standard way. The top floor is the mafraj. This is an airy room with coloured windows on all sides. This room is reserved for the men of the family. Here they come in the heat of the day and chew qat. In the evening, the city glows with coloured lights like so many Chinese lanterns. These are the illuminated windows of the mafraj.

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The Old City at night
Below the mafraj is the family room, and below that the dining room and below that the quarters for women and children. There are staircases which run up the side of these buildings. The steps are big and very steep, and must keep the family fit.

The markets
Visiting the souks of Old Sana’a is a must. There are 10 such markets including cloth, cattle, brassware, silver and Salt. The Salt market is a wonderful place; you can buy not only salt but spices of all kinds, piled in great heaps and smelling exotic. The Persian family in Trading Down have a stall at the Salt Market.

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The people of Yemen
They are a proud people, strongly tribal and very tough.
Yemeni men dress in Arab dress, with a long, flowing thawb, or a simple tunic with trousers. It can be very cold, and most men will wear a woollen jacket and a headscarf. Many of them look quite threatening like these three with their large, curved dagger slung from a large leather belt.

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As you walk the streets in the afternoon, you will see men and boys sitting on the side of the road, chewing leaves. This is qat. Qat is the ruin of Yemen. It is a bush which is grown all over the country and a lot of precious water is consumed in growing it. Everyday, thousands of qat trees are torn down and brought into the city and sold by roadside vendors. You can go and choose the tastiest shoots yourself. To consume it, you chew on the leaf, making it into a ball which you keep inside your cheek. A mildly intoxicating substance is released into your saliva by chewing, and gives you a mild lift. Qat is addictive and when we were there, about 90% of men and 40% of women are addicted to it.

Women of Yemen
Most of the women you will see in Sana’a will be wearing black, and some form of veil. The married women will tend to conceal their eyes behind the veil. There is a special form of burkah worn in Yemen, but it is not typically worn in Sana’a. Most women will wear the less restrictive niqab. As you walk behind them, look closely! You will often get a glimpse of sandals and blue jeans underneath.
My daughter, who stayed in Sana’a to learn Arabic, used to go to the hospital once a week to teach English. It was hard for the nurses and female doctors to learn English because the English teachers were mostly men and they were not allowed to mix with them.

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Romantic and mysterious though it is, Sana’a is not a place to visit today. It is at the heart of a brutal civil war. It has been bombed and the water and electricity supplies cut off. Cholera is raging through Yemen, and a large scale famine is threatened. I hope that one day it is once again a place for people to discover and enjoy.

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Stephen Norman
Author bio:
Stephen Norman spent 20 years at the forefront of investment banking IT, facing industry turbulence, from the rise and fall of the dotcoms, the destruction of 911 and the banking collapse of 2008. He has worked in financial centres across the world – from London and New York, to Hong Kong and Tokyo – and has fulfilled a range of high powered roles including Chief Technology Officer at Merrill Lynch and an unusually long 7 year stint as CIO of RBS Global Markets. In 2012, he left the world of finance to focus on his writing. His chilling debut novel, Trading Down is set between London and Yemen and is published by Endeavour Press.
Twitter: @stephennorman49