#GuestPost Lord Of The Dead by @RichRippon @ObliteratiPress @NathanOHagan #NewRelease #Indie

*I am proud to post this #GuestPost this morning as not only does the novel sound intense and intriguing. The title pretty much summarises how I feel this cold foggy November morning! lol*

Lord Of The Dead by Richard Rippon

A woman’s body has been found on the moors of Northumberland, brutally murdered and dismembered. Northumbria police enlist the help of unconventional psychologist Jon Atherton, a decision complicated by his personal history with lead investigator Detective Sergeant Kate Prejean.

As Christmas approaches and pressure mounts on the force, Prejean and Atherton’s personal lives begin to unravel as they find themselves the focus of media attention, and that of the killer known only as Son Of Geb.

Lord Of The Dead is a gripping, startling piece of modern noir fiction.

“A stunning debut. If Thomas Harris was to write a British take on the Nordic-Noir genre, this would be it. Rippon is an exciting new voice in British crime fiction.”

Nathan O’Hagan, author of ‘The World Is (Not) A Cold Dead Place’


Cave, Mann and Deep Red

 I wrote my new novel, Lord of the Dead, on the back of cigarette packets. Not literally of course – that would be just mad. What I mean is that it was written in a very piecemeal style and on the hoof, using snatches of stolen time. Anyone with a full-time job and a family knows how hard it is to find spare time for a hobby or passion. And so, my book was written on the bus, to and from work, or an hour here and there after the kids had gone to bed.

I wrote in notebooks, on scraps of paper, or in emails that I’d send to myself. Sometimes I’d write a few hundred words in one go, other times just a few lines. Sometimes, weeks would go by and I’d not have written a thing.

The result was inevitably patchy. Names – or their spellings – would mysteriously change from one chapter to the next. Plot strands would begin only to be completely abandoned. Once, a character was spectacularly killed off, only to appear in much better health later on.

Time for research was scant. I relied on Google and Twitter; the latter providing a forensic expert and someone living with cerebral palsy, who graciously helped to answer my stupid questions online. Close friends – a cop and a nurse – helped to keep things real when it came to police and hospital procedures.

When I grew closer to finishing, my patient agent – a former editor – helped me make sense of the mess, and told me what was working and what wasn’t. After multiple reworks, revisions and redrafts, it grew closer to something resembling a novel.

Over almost two years of writing it, I had a number of inspirations. Michael Mann’s 1986 film, Manhunter, featured a killer who’d watch the families who would eventually become his victims. Brian Cox – as Hannibal Lector – has a great line: “Have you ever seen blood in the moonlight, Will? It appears quite black.” I became interested in writing a killer who revelled in the night, felt empowered and emboldened by it. It was the starting point for the character and his motivation. I wondered what aspect of the night and darkness might fuel his fantasies. I also loved the idea of someone who was a watcher. I wrote my villain as someone who liked to surveil the cops as well as his victims, and was always one step ahead, and ready to strike.

I became obsessed with the Manhunter soundtrack. A difficult-to-find collection of electronica and eighties pop-rock. Similarly, I was listening to Nick Cave’s album, Push the Sky Away on endless loop. There were a number of tracks that seemed to resonate with what I was aiming for. Songs like We No Who U R, Water’s Edge and the title track, had a beautiful, hypnotic and ominous quality that I’ll forever associate with Lord of the Dead. Later I saw the video for We No Who U R, with a shadowy figure wandering through a forest at night, which could have been depicting my antagonist himself.

As a teenager, I became a fan of horror movies and decorated my bedroom with gory posters from Fangoria magazine. When I was writing the book, I bought a blu-ray of an old favourite, Dario Argento’s Deep Red, which I’d previously owned on bootleg VHS. Back in the day, the ‘video nasty’ scandal had led to a number of titles being banned outright, and others severely cut by the British Board of Film Classification. Me and my friends, who preferred our horror unadulterated, would buy copies by post, videos that would have terrible image quality, colours that bled into each other and tape-chewing tracking issues. Deep Red features a number of gruesome and ritualised killings and an antagonist who’s hiding in plain sight. Both of these elements feature in Lord of the Dead, and although I don’t think the book is an outright horror, it certainly doesn’t shy away from the horrific.

As I write this, I’m pondering a sequel to Lord of the Dead and hopefully, I’ve learnt something from the chaotic way I tackled the first book. Planning is the key. Then, I’m going to take it one chapter at a time. ‘Write one true sentence, and then go on from there…’ was Hemingway’s advice. I’d like it to have a subtly different vibe – the same, but different. It exists in the same world of course, but the main characters have been dramatically and permanently affected by the events of the first book. The villain needs to be completely different, something we’ve never seen before, and therein lies the challenge – and the fun.

Richard Rippon
Author Bio:
Richard Rippon has been writing since 2007, when his short story, Full Tilt, was long-listed for a Northern Dagger award. In 2009, he won a New Writing North Award for his first novel, The Kebab King. Since then he’s had a number of short stories published in newspapers, magazines and online. In 2012, he was commissioned to write a short story (The Other One), which appears in the Platform anthology. He lives on the North East coast with his wife and two children, and works in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Richard was also a social media phenomenon in 2016, as one of the men behind the twitter sensation #DrummondPuddleWatch.
Authors Links:
Follow Richard on Twitter @RichRippon
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/richard.rippon.3.


#GuestPost @ObliteratiPress by @MWLeeming @NathanOHagan


Okay, so look…as far as publishing in the UK is concerned, I’m not the only one who takes a dim view of the mainstream literary equivalent to Muzak that gets spewed out by big name publishing companies, right? Hell…let’s have it right. Some of this guff isn’t even as good as Muzak. A lot of it is the literary equivalent of fingernails on a chalkboard, man. I’m surely not the only one who thinks this..? That – despite a few notable exceptions – the mainstream industry has a slavering appetite for the kind of brightly packaged, two-inch thick hardback story of whatever surgically reconfigured Z-list celebrity is currently winning people over with their bleached-white smiles, right?

I mean…I know it’s not all like this. But Jesus…! There does seem to be good grounds for arguing that the perception (at least) is this: there’s an awful lot of books by an awful lot of awful television personalities whose transient popularity on reality TV seems to mean more to the world of mainstream publishing than publishing good stories written by good writers. Because – at the risk of sounding snobby here – most of these here-today gone-tomorrow television personalities haven’t yet convinced me that they possess a particular aptitude for stringing a coherent sentence together when they open their gobs, let alone the skill required for writing a good book. Granted…most of the time we see them, they’re completely shit-faced and grunting some sort of belligerent abuse at other reality TV stars, whilst prancing about half-naked in front of ‘hidden’ cameras.

Katie Price, for instance, has a ton of books to her name having signed large publishing deals to enlighten the world of her life’s experiences in some grotesque carnival celebration of name-dropped, shit-stirring and confessional tattling that really has all the literary appeal of rubbernecking a motorway pile-up. But she didn’t write a single one of them. Hell, her nine-year-old daughter has a book deal. And this is infuriating, right? I’ve been working hard at honing my abilities as a writer for over twenty years. I’ve gone through all the usual experiences a writer goes through. Setting aside the time to write, even if it means sacrificing something else, which quite often in my case was a social life. Living with characters and plots and multiple worlds unfolding within the TARDIS-like dimension of my creative mind in a manner that often interferes with my ability to function as a regular human being with regular human being commitments. The frequent anguish that lurks deep in the writer’s brain like an ever-present demon with a flair for sadistic haranguing; taunting you that the work you’ve written is rubbish. That it’s pointless, and no-one is ever going to take you seriously as a writer. Asking you why you even bother.

I’ve spent many sleepless nights splurging stories on to my PC screen or the nearest available scrap of paper, or staring at the ceiling muddling through tricky plot elements. I’ve devoted years to crafting novels which, when completed, still don’t feel completely complete and upon which I have to make harsh, disciplined decisions and just finally draw a goddamn line beneath. I’ve spent hours and hours drafting covering letters to agents and publishers and eagerly refreshing my email inbox with an obsessive compulsion that borders on maniacal fanaticism. I’ve received countless rejections, countless “it’s very good but…” responses, which as any other writer will know, are agonising in their tantalising and soul-crushing finality.

But all this…this is how one learns to truly write. Not by having someone write your life story because you’re the next plastic-faced gobshite dominating our TV screens.

Hell…I know that this is all an exaggeration. The mainstream publishing industry does put out some damn good books, and it would be rotten of me not to acknowledge this. But the perception is there. And I don’t think I’m the only one who is feeling it.

So thank God for small presses, right. Because they’re able to take a risk on lesser known writers who seem to be faced with the impossible task of having well-crafted work noticed. And yes, that means writers have to work a bit harder once their book is out. Small presses lack the clout and the resources of the Big Boys. So they’ve got to roll up their sleeves and muck in. But it seems most authors are doing that any way. A social media presence is pretty much vital these days, so in many respects small presses aren’t asking above and beyond what has fast become a social norm anyway.

Having experienced all this for ourselves, Nathan O’Hagan and I spent a lot of time discussing the viability of bringing a new small press into the world. Starting up a new venture is scary, but after all the inevitable can-we/can’t-we back and forth, we decided yes…we can. And we would. Because as authors published through a small press, we recognised that the uphill struggle to get noticed by the Big Boys wasn’t necessarily because we can’t write. We’re pretty damn happy with our literary efforts and have received some really pleasing feedback from people. But had it not been for a small press recognising our abilities, we’d probably still be banging our heads against a brick wall seeking the attention of the Big Boys. And we both know that there are loads of other writers out there having the same experience.

The small press is able to buck the trend. We feel proud to be doing our bit to bring some attention to writers whose work may have been overlooked and stories that shine a light on under-represented issues.

The first book we’re releasing is by Richard Rippon, a very talented story-teller from Newcastle, whose novel “Lord of the Dead” is something like the hybrid offspring of the movie “Seven”, Thomas Harris’s “The Silence of the Lambs” and Peter James’s “Detective Roy Grace” novels. The lead character is an unconventional psychologist with cerebral palsy, an issue that became somewhat contentious with the Big Boys who’d first expressed some interest in his novel. Rather than change this element of his main character – who is placed alongside a strong female lead – we believed that Rippon had a unique story with unique characters and I can vouch for Nathan here when I say that we’re both thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with Richard on this.

The next book we will release is by David Olner, who writes with a keen perceptiveness and a caustic wit. His prose is full of dark, melancholy humour, playful and poetic prose and brooding introspection. “The Baggage Carousel” is essentially the story of two young travellers from opposite ends of the globe (Dan and Amber) who meet in South Africa whilst travelling the world to escape their troubled lives back home. Their brief and intense romance ends with a sudden jolt, leaving them both to make the inevitable and necessary confrontations with their own problems.

Written by @MWLeeming

For further details of what we’re doing, please check out our website at www.obliteratipress.com

And be sure to follow us on social media for updates on our submission windows.

Q&A, with author of #OutOfTheCity Nathan O’Hagan @NathanOHagan @ArmleyPress

Out Of The City Cover
Out Of The City by Nathan O’Hagan

The synopsis:

The new novel by Birkenhead-born Nathan O’Hagan, author of The World is (Not) a Cold Dead Place, turns the temperature down to absolute zero in a thriller that stalks the darkest corners of the male psyche.

On the streets of Liverpool, three lives – a young skateboarder, a steroid-crazed bodybuilder and a family man with a dark, troubled profession – are about to overlap in a dance of frustration, humiliation and murder.

This noir journey through bars, gyms, retirement homes, gay clubs and footballers’ mansions leaves a trail of suffocating guilt and psychosexual violence that seems all too real. In exploring ‘crises of masculinity’, O’Hagan trenches psychological depths with a worldly cynicism worthy of Camus, Jim Thompson or Bret Easton Ellis – and transcends the limits of the crime genre as we know it.


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

A) ‘Out Of The City’ is my second novel. My first, ‘The World Is (Not) A Cold Dead Place’ was published in August 2015. ‘Out Of The City’, which was published in February, is very different in tone; ‘TWINACDP’ was a dark comedy told in first person; ‘Out Of The City’ certainly has the dark, but not so much the comedy. It’s a crime thriller about three men, a violent and powerful ‘security consultant’ (essentially a fixer for the local rich and powerful), a young skateboarder and a body-building nightclub bouncer. All three men are deeply damaged in various ways, and their lives intersect at a crucial time for all of them. Although ostensibly a thriller, I really wanted to use that genre to explore certain issues, particularly toxic masculinity and male sexuality, and the effect an abusive father/son relationship can have on a man.

Other than the Merseyside settings and themes of mental health and alienation, the two novels couldn’t really be more different.

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

A) Probably much the same as most people; a long run of rejections from or being ignored by publishers, a bit of interest here and there, all the while rewriting, editing, trying to improve the work. Eventually I happened across Armley Press, Leeds-based ‘punk publishers’. They’re run by Mick McCann and John Lake. John commissions the books they put out, and he read ‘TWINACDP’ and loved it straight away. It was published within about five months of him reading it, and it far outsold our expectations.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) It was reading James Ellroy’s L.A. Quartet that made me realise I wanted to write fiction, and the likes of Kevin Sampson, Chuck Palahniuk, Brett Easton Ellis and Irvine Welsh have been significant influences. Of my contemporaries, I’ve just reread ‘Heartland’ by Anthony Cartwright. That, as well as his ‘How I Killed Margaret Thatcher’ and ‘Iron Towns’ are amongst my favourite novels of recent years. I’m also a big Russ Litten fan. ‘Swear Down’ and ‘Kingdom’ in particular I highly recommend. He’s a writer that doesn’t restrict himself to any particular genre, which I like.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) As a kid I was pretty severely dyslexic and struggled to read or write much at all. It took quite a lot of hard work for me to be able to even begin to overcome it, but the first thing I remember reading for pleasure, other than the programmes I bought at Everton matches, was a collection of abridged Sherlock Holmes stories. I read the same book a few times on a family holiday in France. I then went and read the full unabridged originals, and loved them, as well as the T.V. series with Jeremy Brett. I’ve always felt that Arthur Conan Doyle pretty much taught me to read. Then, when I was about 13, I read Easton Ellis’ ‘American Psycho’. Then I reread it several times immediately after. I imagine social services might have had a thing or two to say about a young teen reading such extreme material, but it absolutely blew me away. It became a huge influence on me (my writing, not my behaviour!) and remains one of the greatest novels ever written as far as I’m concerned.

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

A) Probably finishing work a month or two after ‘The World Is (Not) A Cold Dead Place’ had been published, and my phone suddenly almost exploding with twitter notifications. James Brown (editor of loaded and GQ, and author of ‘Above Head Height’) had read it and tweeted about it, and lots of people were retweeting it and saying there were buying it. After that I got a fairly steady stream of people tweeting me to tell me how much they liked it. That’s just an incredible feeling, to connect with strangers who’ve taken the time not only to buy and read your work, but to tell you that they liked it, and I’ll never tire of it

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

A) That’d have to be John Lake at Armley Press. If he hadn’t liked ‘TWINACDP’ and wanted to publish it, I might still be plugging away trying to find a publishers, or even have given up by now. He was also very supportive during the writing and editing of ‘Out Of The City’, and gave me some really valuable advice.

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Nathan O’Hagan
Authors links:
Twitter: @NathanOHagan

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