Anne Bonny #BlogTour Q&A with A.F. Brady @AFBradyNYC #Author of, Once A Liar #NewRelease #Legal #Thriller #Suspense @HQstories

Once A Liar by A.F. Brady

Synopsis ~

The next gripping thriller from AF Brady…

Peter Caine, a cutthroat Manhattan defense attorney, worked ruthlessly to become the best at his job. On the surface, he is charming and handsome, but inside he is cold and heartless. He fights without remorse to acquit murderers, pedophiles and rapists.

When Charlie Doyle, the daughter of the Manhattan DA—and Peter’s former lover—is murdered, Peter’s world is quickly sent into a tailspin. He becomes the prime suspect as the DA, a professional enemy of Peter’s, embarks on a witch hunt to avenge his daughter’s death, stopping at nothing to ensure Peter is found guilty of the murder.

In the challenge of his career and his life, Peter races against the clock to prove his innocence. As the evidence mounts against him, he’s forced to begin unraveling his own dark web of lies and confront the sins of his past. But the truth of who killed Charlie Doyle is more twisted and sinister than anyone could have imagined…

Q&A ~

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

A.) I am a psychotherapist, I’ve been working in the mental health field for nearly twenty years, and Once a Liar is my second novel. I draw heavily from my experiences working with individuals with mental illnesses when I write my books, which I think lends a unique authenticity to my work.

My novels are set in Manhattan, where I grew up, a place teeming with interesting and diverse people from whom I draw inspiration.

Once a Liar is the story of Peter Caine, a cut-throat Manhattan defence attorney who has recently gained custody of his teenaged son upon the death of his ex-wife. Peter sees little value in other human beings, which has served him well in his career defending the indefensible. When he finds the tables have turned and he is accused of the brutal murder of his on-again off-again mistress Charlie Doyle, Peter desperately tries to prove his innocence, and along his journey, he finds that the damage his heartlessness has done may be too great to overcome.

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

A.) I wanted to write a book from the perspective of a sociopath because I found more often than not, literary and media representation of sociopathic stories are told through the lens of those who have been hurt or victimised by the sociopath. I wanted to dig inside his mind and get unsettled in there.

Peter was born of a combination of people I have known in my career, mixed together with a healthy dose of imagination. While I was writing him, I found myself becoming sympathetic to his situation. He’s a cold and unempathetic man, but he has a past, a history that led to his current condition, and he has a future that he seems willing to take steps to improve. Peter took the reins at some point in the writing process and showed me sides of himself that I didn’t know were coming. It was quite a journey.

I was nervous and excited for publication because I knew what a risk I was taking by creating a protagonist that’s hard to sympathize with, but I’m so glad I did. I love stepping outside the box, and my readers have really enjoyed getting inside the mind of a sociopath. It’s unique in that way, but also fast paced and the plot is twisty and complex. It was a pleasure to write, despite getting a little scared of the person I was creating from time to time.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A.) I love reading books of all genres, and going back to old favourites. I love Jay McInerney, Hemingway (especially Islands in the Stream when it starts to get warm out), anything David Sedaris writes, James Frey, especially A Million Little Pieces, Chuck Palahniuk… I would recommend that everyone read Karoo by Steve Tesich. It’s one of my all-time favourites. I just love the story and the difficult protagonist. I love a journey that’s paved with self-discovery and change.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A.) As a kid, I loved Winnie the Pooh, and I still do. I loved Swallows and Amazons (Arthur Ransome), Nancy Drew, the Famous Five (Enid Blyton), all these kinds of adventure stories. My grandparents had troves of old books at their house in Greece, so every summer my brother and I would devour everything they had left over from their own childhoods. And my favourite book growing up was My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell.

Q) What are you currently reading?

A.) I am currently in the middle of several books: American Overdose (Chris McGreal) Picking Cotton (Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton), Bright Lights, Big City (Jay McInerney) I reread this one almost yearly, The Plague (Camus) I reread this one almost yearly as well, and I’m just about to start Where the Crawdads Sing (Delia Owens). I’m also reading some manuscripts so I can blurb for other suspense/thriller writers.

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

A.) My favourite moment came earlier this spring when a woman reached out to me via email to tell me that she has a very close friend who was diagnosed with a terminal illness and was beginning a bucket list. One of the items on her bucket list was meeting me. I was absolutely floored that my writing had meant so much to someone. We arranged a date and the three of us sat at a diner in Manhattan and chatted for hours about her life, my books, and the impact I made on her life.

Connecting with readers and telling stories that people feel deep down and relate to on some level has always been my favourite part of being a writer, but this one really meant a lot to me.

We are still in touch and are planning on meeting up at the diner again!

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

My family has been incredibly supportive, especially my husband. He takes on many additional roles in order to allow me to take the time I need to write. He helps me work out sticky plot issues, and he never gets tired of sitting around over dinner discussing things I’m going to do to my characters. My dog is also omnipresent while I’m writing, and it’s gotten to the point that I can’t complete a sentence unless he’s lying with me.

A.F. Brady


Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract Liberation Square by @GarethRubin #NewRelease #AlternativeHistory #Political #Thriller @MichaelJBooks

Liberation Square by Gareth Rubin
Review To Follow

Synopsis ~

It’s 1952 and Soviet troops control British streets after winning the Second World War.

After the disastrous failure of D-Day, Britain is occupied by Nazi Germany, and only rescued by Russian soldiers arriving from the east and Americans from the west.
The two superpowers divide the nation between them, a wall running through London like a scar.

On the Soviet side of the wall, Jane Cawson calls into her husband’s medical practice, hoping to surprise him. But instead she detects the perfume worn by his former wife, Lorelei, star of propaganda films for the new Marxist regime.

Jane rushes to confront them, but soon finds herself caught up in the glamorous actress’s death.

Her husband Nick is arrested for murder. Desperate to clear his name, Jane must risk the attention of the brutal secret police as she follows a trail of corruption right to the highest levels of the state.

And she might find she never really knew her husband at all.

Extract ~

We walked all the way to Checkpoint Charlie that day. At the end of the road, the grey autumn light made the barbed wire and the concrete guard towers disappear into the sky, so that you could believe they kept on rising forever. I stood watching crowds of people stare at the only opening in the Wall for twenty kilometres, and tried to pick out those who had come for a day trip just to gaze at it from the locals who could remember it being built and still felt the loss. But the faces all showed the same mix of anger and quiet sorrow. The soldiers in their muddy- brown uniforms looked bored as they paced back and forth between the metal barriers. They always look bored. I once saw one grinning and winking at the girls in the crowd, but he was the

exception –  they stand there for six hours straight, rain or shine, and you wonder if they hope for the occasional attempt to jump the Wall, or an attack by the Western
Fascists, just so they can put their training into practice. Even I, when I had a gun placed in my hands for my
Compulsory Basic, felt a bit of a thrill as I pulled the trigger. The kick from the Kalashnikov nearly knocked me over, though, and my instructor laughed before taking it from me and replacing it with a single- shot rifle. So the boys in the watch towers were looking for a spark of excitement while the people below were looking for some sort of understanding. They wouldn’t find any there, I knew.

Nick appeared through the crowd then, carrying the drinks that he had bought from a man with a cart. He handed one to me, and we both turned to silently gaze at the barrier. ‘What do you think, when you look at it?’ he said after a while. My eyes ranged over the barbed wire and thick camouflage netting that prevented you from seeing through the

ten- metre opening in the concrete. ‘I suppose it’s hard to put into words,’ I replied. ‘It feels like we’ve lost something, something we won’t get back. But, well, maybe it’s necessary, just for now.’ He peered up at the guard tower. ‘So they say.’ A group of schoolboys shuffled past, clutching the red paperbacks that were to be the map to our future. One broke off and wandered right up to the soldiers, but his teacher caught him and dragged him away, to the laughter of the others. They were just like the ones that I used to teach. I suppose children are the same everywhere. ‘Do you remember it going up?’ I asked. ‘Vividly,’ Nick said. ‘Yes, vividly.’ I understood and twisted his warm fingers into mine. After five months of marriage I could recognize the ridges and wrinkles in his skin. ‘At least we’re on the same side of it.’ ‘Yes. That’s something.’ He sighed. ‘I do have friends over there, though.’ I looked over at the guards, wondering what they were thinking as they stared back at us. It must all have seemed very different to them. Perspective changes things. ‘I expect you’ll see them again. They might be on the other side right now, looking this way.’

‘Perhaps.’ A man approached the schoolboys, offering photographs of the Wall to be used as postcards. ‘Strange things to send,’ I said. ‘Presumably you give them to people you don’t like.’ I smiled. The school party stopped in front of a hoarding showing the country split in half, with ten occupied babies’ cots on the other side, and nine on ours alongside an empty one bearing the slogan your child. strength in numbers! The boys’ teacher reached into his briefcase, took out another copy of the red book, in which the First Secretary had set out our nation’s course, and began to read out a passage. Nick nodded in his direction with a sceptical smirk. ‘Does he think it’s all going to work so beautifully?’ he said. I glanced around to make sure we couldn’t be overheard. ‘Well it’s worth trying, isn’t it? Surely if the state makes certain everyone is fed and has a job, nine tenths of all the fights and arguments we have with each other will be gone.’ And really it did make sense –  God knows there were difficult aspects to our new life, but the argument seemed entirely logical, and rehearsing it in my mind made me hopeful for the future. ‘Overnight. In a puff of smoke.’ He tried to suppress a smile. ‘Oh, you’re a horrid man.’ I poked him in the ribs. ‘So what’s your big idea, then?’ ‘I’m glad you asked,’ he said. ‘A gliding wing.’ ‘A gliding wing?’ ‘That’s it. We build it on the roof in the dead of night,

wait until the wind picks up, then soar over the Wall like a
couple of birds. Down a pink gin and slip into the best hotel we can find for an hour.’ He did some cal culations in his head. ‘Make it ninety minutes.’ ‘You need a cold shower.’ But my hand slipped around his waist. ‘Maybe I do.’ A soldier crossed from one side of the watch tower to the other, scanning the crowd with his
binoculars. ‘Awful job,’ Nick said. ‘People surprise you. What they can do.’ ‘That’s true. That’s always true.’ Above us a flock of black birds drifted so high that they became specks of dust. ‘Shall we go?’ I nodded. ‘Yes, let’s.’ As we left, north towards Oxford Street, I gazed back at the statue of Eros, his attempt to leap over the Wall permanently frozen, caught by the concrete and the wire.

Gareth Rubin

***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the blog tour***
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#BlogTour Q&A with @judithoreilly #Author of #KillingState #NewRelease

Killing State Latest Cover
Killing State by Judith O’Reilly
The bullet in his brain isn’t the problem. She is.
Michael North is a hero, with a bullet in the brain to prove it. A bullet which has rewired his neural pathways and heightened his sense of intuition. A bullet which is driving him mad. Working for an extra-governmental agency called The Board, North knows one thing for sure. He is very good at killing very bad guys. But what happens when a hero is ordered to kill a good woman rather than a bad man? Because it turns out that rising political star, Honor Jones, MP, can’t stop asking the right questions about the wrong people.
He should follow orders.
Shouldn’t he?


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

A) Before I started writing I was a journalist. I worked in the lobby and I was education correspondent for The Sunday Times and before that a political producer, first for Channel 4 News and then for Newsnight. Being a journalist, of course, is all about telling a story.
Killing State is the book I’m bringing out now. Before Killing State, came Wife in the North and A Year of Doing Good (both of which were published by Viking, Penguin). Wife in the North was a bestseller/Radio 4 Book of the Week/serialised etc. which was absolutely great, but I really wanted to try my hand at fiction writing. It took me a lot of hard work to get my head round how to write a novel. It’s harder than I ever imagined.
The bullet in his brain isn’t the problem. She is.
Michael North is a hero, with a bullet in the brain to prove it. A bullet which has rewired his neural pathways and heightened his sense of intuition.

A bullet which is driving him mad.

Working for an extra-governmental agency called The Board, North knows one thing for sure.

He is very good at killing very bad guys.

But what happens when a hero is ordered to kill a good woman rather than a bad man? Because it turns out that rising political star, Honor Jones, MP, can’t stop asking the right questions about the wrong people.

He should follow orders.

Shouldn’t he?

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

A)Where did the idea come from? I’m interested in mortality, morality and the mind. I wanted a quirky British hero rather than your all-guns-blazing hero, and obviously a hero has to be vulnerable or you know from the get-go he will vanquish all-comers and that would be dull. But, I didn’t want him to be middle-aged like a lot of detectives. I liked the idea of him being a young man which means he’s more reckless than he should be. Friendship is also very important to me (maybe because I’m an only child so I invest particularly heavily in my friends.) I liked the idea of exploring how far a woman would go to get her best mate out of trouble. Turns out – right to the brink. As for the whole journey. Basically I wrote a draft. Chucked half of it out. Wrote it all over again and kept re-writing till I thought it held together. It’s intricately plotted, because conspiracies often are.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) Lee Child – I’ve read everything he’s written. Queen of Crime, Martina Cole (love the vividness of her characters and story-telling. I’ve also met her and she is incredibly generous and supportive to new writers). Margaret Attwood, who I discovered as a teenager and never let go. Robert Galbraith (J K Rowling’s hero, like mine, is a wounded ex-soldier). Raymond Chandler. Dashiell Hammett. John D. MacDonald. (I go through phrases and read everything an author’s written.) Love Anthony Trollope. Love Anne Tyler’s writing. So elegant. Life is too short to read shoddy writing. Just getting into John Connolly’s Charlie Parker, and Philip Kerr’s Berlin noir books featuring Bernie Gunther. Armistead Maupin is a beautiful writer I very much admire. Then there is John Le Carré, Robert Harris, James Patterson, Andy McNab. I enjoy the great Sophie Hannah. Charles Cumming. A personal favourite of mine is Mick Herron’s outstanding Jackson Lamb series. Increasingly, I’m prepared to read non-fiction if it’s a subject that interests me like neurology or forensic science or something political.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) I didn’t do any of those standard Winnie the Pooh/ Swallows and Amazons kind of books. Read the thesaurus. Read the Encyclopaedia of Catholic Saints. I even remember reading the phone book at one point. (Was I an odd child? I don’t think so.) I read anything that wasn’t nailed down. All of Jean Plaidy, Victoria Holt and Philippa Carr certainly. I was into drama so I ploughed through the collected works of Shakespeare – not sure how much I understood. Historical novels by Geoffrey Trease and Henry Treece, humour by David Pook and PG Wodehouse. Agatha Christie naturally. And, I remember reading The Women’s Room, the feminist classic by Marilyn French, and thinking wow, I understand everything Which I didn’t.

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

A) Good question. There have been some great moments. When I got an offer for my first book, I remember jumping up and down with joy in my kitchen. Hearing the news that Radio 4 was going to feature it as a Book of the Week. The fact there was an editorial in The Sunday Times on it was surreal. But there are other great moments too. It is a tremendous kick to get a good blurb in from someone you really respect and admire as a writer. In my case, this time for Killing State I’ve had great blurbs in from Andy McNab, Mick Herron and Frederick Forsyth. For my first book, Jenny Colgan’s was the first blurb in and I was wildly excited at her generosity to a new writer. (In the same way, funnily enough, now I think about it, asking writers to read your book may well be one of my least favourite moments in the process. But you can’t have one without the other.)

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

A) My husband is incredibly supportive or I’d have had to give up a long time ago and get a proper job that paid me a regular salary. I’ve also worked closely with a mate on the artwork and website. She is incredibly talented and without her great cover, the book wouldn’t be going into WHSmith Travel at Easter. Another friend subbed it for me picking up all my terrible spelling mistakes and the fact I do not know how to use the vocative comma.
All of my mates have listened to me yak on about it endlessly and have resisted rolling their eyes or telling me to get a proper job. This book has taken me way too long to write Three and a half years in total with very little money coming in during most of that time, so I’d also have to give a big shout out to the mates who’ve bought me too many dinners to count. I’ve known them all for decades and without their friendship, life would be a greyer place. Though I’d probably be thinner. I should also give a shout-out to Karen Sullivan at the fab literary publisher Orenda. Bearing in mind I’m not even published by Orenda, she has been a source of wisdom and sanity ever since I was lucky enough to meet her.

Judith Author Pic
Judith O’Reilly
Authors links:
You can sign up to Judith’s newsletter on her website and she’ll throw a short story at you, featuring her hero Michael North as a young boy.

Author bio:
Judith O’Reilly is the author of Wife in the North and A Year of Doing Good (both published by Viking Penguin, 2008 and 2013 respectively). Wife in the North reached number three in the UK bestsellers’ chart and was in the top ten for five weeks. It was also a top ten bestseller in Germany. It sold into ten countries, was serialised by The Sunday Times and the Daily Telegraph, was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, and was based on Judith’s eponymous blog which was named as one of the top 100 blogs in the world by The Sunday Times. Judith’s blog is credited with kicking off the popularity of domestic blogging in the UK.
Wife in the North and A Year of Doing Good were both non-fiction. Killing State is a commercial political thriller and Judith’s first novel. At least the first one she’s allowed to leave the house without her.
Judith is a former political producer with BBC 2’s Newsnight and ITN’s Channel 4 News, and a former education correspondent with The Sunday Times where she also covered politics, undercover reporting and general news.  She still writes for The Sunday Times, and has acted as a strategic communications adviser for both government and business.