Anne Bonny #Extract and Q&A with @Littlehavenfarm Shaun Baines #Author of #Woodcutter #CrimeFiction #NewRelease #Newcastle @ThistleBooks #AuthorTalks #QandA

cover
Woodcutter by Shaun Baines
Synopsis:

Some family trees are meant to fall.

On the run from his criminal family, Daniel Dayton returns home to Newcastle Upon Tyne when his abandoned daughter is attacked.

But his family have problems of their own. Targeted by a brutal mercenary, their empire is destined to be destroyed should Daniel refuse to help.

Betrayed by his parents. Despised by his brother. In love with his sister-in-law. Home has become a dangerous place to be.

Daniel wants his daughter safe. And he wants his revenge, but in the shadowy streets of Newcastle, things are never what they seem.

Q&A:

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

A) When I completed my degree in English Literature, I found myself in the real world with no idea what I wanted to do. In my heart of hearts, I wanted to be a writer, but that’s not a proper job, is it? So, I drifted from office to office before starting my own gardening business in the middle of a recession. But I was successful and got me thinking about what else I could achieve.
Woodcutter was the answer. It’s the story of Daniel Dayton, who is on the run from his criminal family. He returns to Newcastle when his daughter is harmed by an unknown assailant and Daniel wants revenge.
Daniel’s family have their problems, too. They are targeted by a criminal mastermind who is determined to destroy their empire. Daniel’s father wants to use his son as a weapon. His brother wants him dead and his mother has an agenda of her own. Everyone becomes a suspect in the hunt for the person who hurt Daniel’s daughter.

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

A) The initial idea came from a move from Newcastle to rural Scotland. I wondered what the neighbours thought of two Geordie’s moving in next door. Some sort of dark imaginings stirred and I decided they probably thought we were criminals on the run. That was the starting point for Woodcutter.
I was going to self-publish, but in a moment of rare confidence, I began submitting to agents. I was lucky enough to be picked up by David Haviland of the Andrew Lownie agency. He had faith in my writing and me as an author. I’m pleased to say, he was right because I’m now published with good reviews flooding in.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) I’m obsessed with John Connolly. Not quite Annie Wilkes Misery-style, but close enough for it to be disturbing. His Charlie Parker series never disappoints and The Book of Lost Things was sensational. He rarely puts a foot wrong and I would happily read his shopping list. John, I’m your No. 1 fan.
I think we’re in a golden age of writing with so many excellent authors to choose from. I can also recommend Mark Billingham, Chris Carter, GX Todd and Stephen King himself, of course. One of the most arresting books I’ve read recently was Sarah Pinborough’s The Death House. You’d be right to finish the book with a round of applause.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) My first author crush was on James Herbert, an English horror writer. I was eleven at the time and too young to borrow them from the library. My solution was to stay there, hiding behind bookshelves while I devoured his books. I read most of James Herbert standing up.
As it happens, the librarian was right. I was too young and impressionable to read Herbert. One of his famous books is called Rats and the reason why I have a lifelong phobia of rodents.

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

A) My favourite moments keep on coming. Signing with an agent. Getting a publishing deal. Seeing the cover for the first time. Reading through the positive reviews. I’m incredibly lucky to be in this position. It makes all the previous struggles worthwhile.

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

A) My wife has been a relentless supporter of mine. From helping me out of literary cul-de-sacs to doing the dishes so I have more time to write. Woodcutter wouldn’t exist without her. I have a small team of beta-readers who, with editorial support of my agent, keep me on the straight and narrow. Or rather, steer me down darker and more twisted avenues. I also have to say thank you to the readers who give me a reason to keep going.
They say writing is a lonely profession, but I’ve found the opposite. Like you, Abby, there are huge swathes of people out there ready to support writers. I salute you all.

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

Author profile 1
Shaun Baines
Website
Twitter

Extract:

Charles Bronson woke with a start. He was five foot five, thick set with wavy blonde hair. Like his namesake, he sported a handlebar moustache, but it wasn’t so he looked more like the movie star or that lunatic in prison. It was to detract from the nervous tick in his cheek coming alive from the moment he rose to the moment he fell asleep.
He rubbed his eyes and gulped. “Are you still up there?”
The room was a bedsit in an abandoned block of flats known as the Devil’s Playground, home to junkies and rat faced dealers. The tatty furniture was pushed against the walls, clearing a space for a tin bath filled with slurry. He’d obtained it from a farmer in Crawcrook who was paid enough not to ask questions. Above it was a naked man called Enoch, suspended by his ankles to a beam in the ceiling. His arms were either side of the bath, braced against the floor. Enoch’s skin was slick with sweat as he struggled to stop his head dipping into the slurry.
Bronson checked his watch. “That’s almost two hours. Sorry I nodded off, but if you’re not going to talk, then there’s nothing for me to do, is there?”
“I don’t know anything,” Enoch said, squeezing the words through gritted teeth.
“I wish I could believe that. You know, I’ve drowned two people in that tub so far and they all keep telling me the same thing. They don’t know anything.”
Bronson approached, smoothing out his moustache. His nostrils had become accustomed to the smell of the slurry, but he was annoyed about his clothes. This kind of stink couldn’t be washed out and he’d binned two suits already. He lived on a budget and the organisation he worked for weren’t the type of people to dish out clothing allowance.
“Enoch, I’m going home for a shower. Don’t worry. I’ll come back, but I live a fair distance away and I love long showers. Do you think you can hang around for me?”
He smiled at his own joke, though he’d used it before.
“Please, Bronson. Let me down. I don’t know anything,” Enoch said.
Who had scared these people so badly they would rather drown in cow shit than spill the beans? This was going to go wrong again, Bronson thought. His boss wanted answers, but no-one was talking. He’d be left with another dead body to dispose of and an awkward conversation to be had with his superiors.

 

Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview and #QandA The Tin God by @ChrisNickson2 5* #HistoricalFiction #NewRelease @severnhouse #AnnabelleHarper #WomensRights #ThePoorLaw #Leeds Folk music, feminism and fire. . . .

cover
The Tin God by Chris Nickson
Tom Harper series
Synopsis:

When Superintendent Tom Harper’s wife is threatened during an election campaign, the hunt for the attacker turns personal.

Leeds, England. October, 1897. Superintendent Harper is proud of his wife Annabelle. She’s one of seven women selected to stand for election as a Poor Law Guardian. But even as the campaign begins, Annabelle and the other female candidates start to receive anonymous letters from someone who believes a woman’s place lies firmly in the home.

The threats escalate into outright violence when an explosion rips through the church hall where Annabelle is due to hold a meeting – with fatal consequences. The only piece of evidence Harper has is a scrap of paper left at the scene containing a fragment from an old folk song. But what is its significance?

As polling day approaches and the attacks increase in menace and intensity, Harper knows he’s in a race against time to uncover the culprit before more deaths follow. With the lives of his wife and daughter at risk, the political becomes cruelly personal …

My Review:

Folk music, feminism and fire!
A recipe for historical fiction, with a political spin.

1897 – Leeds, England. Is the era and the setting for the latest Tom Harper mystery. The series is of the crime fiction genre, with great historical accuracy. Annabelle Harper is a firm favourite of mine as a character. She is courageous, honest and a deep thinker. She knows exactly how she wants to change the world. If she can just get herself into a position where she can make a difference. Within this novel she sets her sights on being an elected poor law guardian. Only not everyone is happy about it.

‘Tories and the Liberals were deriding the women for trying to rise above their normal station’

In Leeds seven women are getting prepared to stand for election as poor law guardian’s. They face aggressive opposition from all side of the political spectrum. The opposition is backed heavily by the newspapers and they become well aware it will be no easy victory. But they cannot have foreseen it would turn deadly. . .

‘A woman’s place is in the home, tending to her family and being a graceful loving presence, it is not to shriek in the hustings like a harridan or to display herself in front of the public like a painted whore. . .’
– Letter sent to all seven women.

The women begin to receive anonymous and threatening letters. Local journalist Gerald Hotchkiss writes opinion pieces, lecturing women on their role in society. What we would call in 2018 ‘mansplaining’. He warns the women they should be guided by their husbands, live modestly and look solely to the welfare of their family. Gerald is condescending, using religious reasoning to attempt to control women.
But Annabelle Harper won’t be controlled by anyone!

The novel also has scenes with Harper’s old police partner Billy Reed. He has relocated to the northern coastal town of Whitby. Currently on the case of potential smugglers.
Harper provides police protection for the women and places undercover officers at the future meetings, within the crowd. However, before the police can reach the meeting at St Clements, there’s an explosion that leaves a man dead. Has the person sending the anonymous notes upped their game?

The political dominance and threats continue as the surrounding influences attempt to silence the women. Harper realises not only does he have a tough case on his hands with little clues, he also has a wealth of potential perpetrators. He calls upon the local barracks to provide assistance, in sweeping future meeting places for explosives. Will the bomber strike again?

Despite the terrifying threats Annabelle refuses to stand down.
‘I want to help the poor, not vilify them. They’re not outcasts. They haven’t sinned. They’re us. And that’s why I’d appreciate your vote, so I can do that. Thank you’

Vote Annabelle Harper for poor law guardian

Harper finds some notepaper at the scene of the explosion, some simple song lyrics scribbled down. But what does it mean? He requests the help of local music expert Frank Kidson, to decipher the lyrics and help with the creation of a profile, of sorts.

When one of the candidates is attacked by the railway and threatened with rape. Harper realises that it all just got a lot more sinister. What started has simple opposition has developed into political warfare. Harper has deep concerns for Annabelle’s safety. Across Leeds Annabelle continues to whoo the crowds, she has a determination like no other.

Annabelle speaks with conviction, she seeks to humanise the way the poor are treated. Offering a dignified, respectful future with better quality of life. What will her enemies make of her progressive ideas for the future of Leeds?

The novel is very well researched, the era of politics and women’s rights really draws you into the story. Annabelle is such a great fictional ambassador for women. You can really get a sense for the real-life Annabelle Harper’s who would go on to inspire a generation of women. Which would ultimately fuel and evoke a passion in women, long into the future.

The novel raises many thought-provoking questions regarding women’s liberation and the political oppression the women faced. I think this novel would be ideal for book groups. But I could also see how it could assist the younger generation. The Tin God could create great debate in GCSE English lessons or history class. The emotions of the era are portrayed so well on the page.
A fabulous historical fiction crime read. 5*

Q&A:

Q) For the readers, can you give us a little bit of background behind the inspiration for this novel?

A) It was sparked by a suggestion from a friend, a suffrage historian, who suggested Annabelle should run for office. With that, it all clicked into place. I love Annabelle, she’s the soul of the series, to the point where I honestly think of her as a real person, and I wanted to be able to bring her more into a book, but do it organically, so this was perfect. And the law changed in 1894 so that the working-classes, both men and women could vote in some local elections and run for office – essentially the first steps of the system we have now, and it was one person, one vote. So it all made perfect sense, and Tom and Annabelle’s story is largely the same tale in this. Interestingly, the historian who made the suggestion is curating an exhibition called The Vote Before The Vote which will run all May at Leeds Central Library, celebrating the Victorian Leeds women who battled for equality and the vote well before the Suffragettes. The ‘official’ launch for The Tin God is part of that exhibition, and we’re melding fact and fiction by giving Annabelle her own board as part of the exhibition. She’s become a Leeds Victorian icon, and I’m incredibly proud of that.

Q) Annabelle Harper, although a secondary character in this series. Is firmly one of my favourites, as is Lottie Armstrong. What drives you to write female characters that embody the feminism movement in the differing era’s?

A) I’m not sure anything specific drives me to that. I was raised by a strong woman, I’ve been in relationships with strong women. The world needs more of them! I write the characters that come to me, so I suppose those are the types I’m naturally drawn to describe, people I admire. Annabelle is quite daunting, really, she’s so able at everything she does. Lottie is different, quieter, but strong in her own way. They just feel right to me, that’s probably the best way I can describe it.

Q) To try and summarise this novel at the start of my review, I tried to think of three of the themes. I used Folk songs, feminism and fire. What words would you use to summarise this novel?

A) For me, justice and compassion are the important themes. Annabelle wants the poor to be treated fairly by a system that’s weighted against them. She wants justice – equality – for women. When the book takes place she’s been a suffrage speaker for four years, she’s been insulted and threatened. She stands up, not afraid to be counted.

Q) The poor law guardian’s, was a minor form of election in regard to women’s rights. But was a fundamental part of the journey. Can you expand further, why the moral dilemma of the poor would strike so deeply within Annabelle?

A) It was a huge part of it, women being able to run for some offices and vote for them was a massive leap forward. One of the first women elected as a Poor Law Guardian in Leeds in 1894 was a coal miner’s wife. That’s a huge slap at the establishment. For Annabelle, who grew up in an Irish immigrant family in the poorest part of Leeds and lives and works in a working-class area, poverty is everywhere. She’s known it all her life, she’s worked in a mill and as a servant. As a pub landlady, she has money and influence now, but she sees the effect of having no money and the spectre of the workhouse every day.

Q) In my review I mention the novel’s potential use within the education system. My own teenage daughter is very well read on the topic of women’s rights and the various, current political systems. With young adults becoming more and more invested in politics and their desire to re-write history in some respects. Do you see novels with these themes appealing to the YA readers?

A) Honestly, I’d never thought about that, and I’m flattered you think it might. I’d be very gratified if some political historical fiction did make classroom discussions. But right now, I think the older generation has more to learn from the young than the other way round. During the last election, when Corbyn spoke in Leeds, in a student area, he drew 3,000 people most of them young. They’re tired of a system that excludes them. The young people in Florida are a shining example. They’ve grown up always knowing school shootings and they’re saying enough to the old white men who run things. Change is rumbling, and hopefully the activist will remain more deeply-rooted than it did in the 1960s. My own generation has mostly failed, I admire the young and I hope they succeed.

Q) What is next for Tom and Annabelle Harper?

A) Well, I’m just revising the next Tom Harper book, which is quite different to this one, although Annabelle does play a part, albeit a much smaller one.
That’s probably as much as I should say about that…

CN
Chris Nickson
Website
Facebook
Twitter

***Don’t miss the other fabulous bloggers on the blog tour***
BANNER

 

Anne Bonny #Author #QandA Violet by @LSTateAuthor #Indie #NewRelease #LavenderBlues #ThreeShadesOfLove

cover
Violet – Lavender Blues: Three Shades Of Love by Leslie Tate
Synopsis:

The passionate, late-life love of Beth and James begins in 2003 on a blind date in a London restaurant. Attracted by James’s cheerful openness, Beth is drawn into an unlikely encounter between his larkiness and her own romantic faith. From then on they bond, exchanging love-texts, exploring sea walks and gardens and sharing their past lives with flashbacks to Beth’s rural childhood and her marriage to a dark, charismatic minister.

Telling stories runs in Beth’s family, so she keeps up with her friends, following their efforts to find love in a soulless, materialistic world. But Beth’s own passion for giving and commitment is pushed to the limits as she and James struggle with her divorce, problems with each other’s children, and life-threatening illness. In the end, tested by pain, they discover something larger than themselves that goes beyond suffering and loss.

Q&A:

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

A) I studied Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia and have been shortlisted for the Bridport, Geoff Stevens and Wivenhoe Prizes. I’m the author of the trilogy of novels ‘Purple’, ‘Blue’ and ‘Violet’, as well as my trans memoir ‘Heaven’s Rage’, which has been turned into a film. On my website https://leslietate.com/ I post up weekly creative interviews and guest blogs showing how people use their imagination in life, in many different ways. I run a comedy club, a poetry group and a mixed arts show in Berkhamsted, UK.

‘Violet’ is the third in my trilogy about modern love, but it stands on its own, without having to read the other two books. It’s a rite of passage novel about two fifty year-olds who meet and regain their youth together, only to find themselves tested by divorce problems, each other’s children, and life-threatening illness. In the words of the blurb: ‘The passionate, late-life love of Beth and James begins in 2003 on a blind date in a London restaurant. Attracted by James’s openness, Beth feels an immediate, deep connection between his honesty and her own romantic faith. From then on they bond, exchanging love-texts, exploring sea walks and gardens and sharing their past lives with flashbacks to Beth’s rural childhood and her marriage to a dark, charismatic minister…’

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

A) ‘Violet’ began as ‘Beth’ and was partly written on my University of East Anglia course. I wanted to capture the experience of older people falling in love, partly because it’s so common in today’s society, but also because I’d experienced it myself when I met my wife and author, Sue Hampton.
I wrote it very slowly, editing as I went – something I do because I write by feel allowing the characters to lead me, so one false step could easily send me off in the wrong direction. I aim in a novel to find a route in and out of unknown territory, rather than following a preconceived plot line.
I’m lucky if I complete 250 words a day, so the book grew slowly. The first half, switching between Beth’s late-life love affair with James and her unhappy first marriage, took two years to write. The second half, Beth’s diary ten years on when she’s ill, came more quickly. I then put on a sprint to reach the finishing line, followed by another six months of revisions.
Writing a book is a major feat of endurance. Only writers know the feeling of weariness at the beginning of the day, the hours spent agonising over single lines, and the double-edged feelings that follow after publication when the book goes off into the world and leaves the author behind. It’s like bringing up a child whose growing up travels the full story arc – from complete parental absorption to pride, separation and sudden loss of purpose. In the end the book stands in the world on its own, but the author can always see the child it used to be. So a book is a gift, a portion of someone’s life that cannot be measured by the bottom line or market forces.
Publication with Magic Oxygen Press, my green publisher, was all about spotting errors and didn’t involve rewrites. If I’d had a larger publisher the chances are I’d be told what to put in and what to cut out.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) Carol Shields, particularly The Republic of Love; Drusilla Modjeska, The Orchard; Toni Morrison, Beloved; Marilynne Robinson, Home; Anne Tyler, Breathing Lessons; Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient and my classics – Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway and James Joyce, Ulysses.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) Alice in Wonderland stretched my imagination, Arthur Ransom’s Swallows and Amazons offered adventure, and Jules Verne took me to other worlds. I moved on to Sons and Lovers by D H Lawrence and Portrait of an Artist by Joyce. These last two teenage reads allowed me to fantasise about being an author myself, something I didn’t achieve till much later in life.

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

A) When I watched the first showing of the film of ‘Heaven’s Rage’, based on my book of the same name. I’d acted in it, side by side with a 13 year-old boy playing my younger self, and experienced the long waits and endless retakes of tiny actions. But the result, when I saw it, was uplifting – full of wild, soulful, dream-like images. The director, Mark Crane, is a friend who used to work in Hollywood. Like the book, his film explores the power of the imagination.

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

A) My wife, Sue Hampton, who has written 30 books for both children and adults. We listen and suggest ways around blockages, comment on each other’s scripts and give each other love, support and pep talks on the way.

jEMMA leslie-6
Leslie Tate
Website
Facebook – ‘Leslie Tate’ where I post weekly interviews with people about their creativity
Facebook – ‘Violet by Leslie Tate’ where I offer pre-publication extracts from my forthcoming novel with commentaries revealing how I worked on them.
Twitter

Leslie Picture

 

#Review and Q&A Blood Truth by @coylem @oceanviewpub #AmericanNoir 4* #NewRelease

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

cover
Blood Truth by Matt Coyle
Synopsis:

A hard-boiled PI novel for fans of Raymond Chandler, Ross MacDonald and Dashiell Hammett.

Rick Cahill has long feared the truth about his own blood—the blood of his father coursing through his veins.

When a long-hidden safe unlocks clues about why his father was kicked off the police force twenty-seven years ago and then spiraled into an early drunken death, Rick determines to find the truth even if it proves the one thing he’s always feared.

But as he grapples with his father’s past, the woman he still loves pleads with him to find out if her husband is having an affair—or is involved in something much more sinister. Could the truth send her back into Rick’s arms? Would he have a last shot at happiness? He may never get the chance to find out, as killers who will do anything to protect their secrets lurk in the shadows.

My review:

I am completely new to the writing of Matt Coyle, but I am a huge fan of American noir. I love the crime fiction novels that revolve around specific divisions of the justice system or like this one, feature an intriguing PI.
Rick Cahill is the (PI) private investigator, he is the son of a rumoured disgraced police officer. Nobody has ever uncovered the truth, and this has burdened Cahill all his life. He deals with feelings of shame and self-hatred.
He longs to discover the truth but fears what that truth maybe………..

“We can’t quit just because things get hard” – Cahill motto

This novel covers two separate cases. The novels narrative jumps between the two, keeping you firmly on your toes.
You do not want to miss clues and the backstory, so play close attention to the writing.

The first case revolves around Cahill’s father. He is alerted that a safe exists in the family’s old home. The home was sold off many years previously. But the new owner tracks down the original owner of the safe, Cahill’s father.
Which in turn, leads to Cahill opening the safe……
What he finds, generates so many questions and confirms the inner belief, that his father was a dirty cop. But Cahill, being Cahill, wont rest until he can prove his theories.
No matter how painful they are.

The second case involves Cahill’s ex-lover Kim. She seeks to hire Cahill to spy on her husband and find out if he is being unfaithful. This also creates internal pain for Cahill, as Kim was the one that got away!
She is now married and pregnant. However, days after a positive pregnancy test, she finds her husbands second phone. A series of texts sent to a woman named Sophia Domingo. But who is Sophia Domingo? Is her husband really having an affair, so early in their marriage?
Kim needs answers, so she hires Cahill, as she knows he is the best in town, at what he does.
Rick Cahill’s characterisation is brilliantly written. The back story of his father’s career end and plight into alcoholism, makes for eye-opening reading. He has always believed that, sometimes you have to do what’s right, even if the law says it’s wrong, but never for personal gain. I felt that his internal struggle was that in some way, he would become his father. He feels great shame of the man his father became after the loss of his career.
The writing of this and how it has impacted Cahill’s life from childhood, to adolescence to adulthood, is intense.

Sophia Domingo and the mysterious affair. A case that also throws up more and more twists. I actually really liked Sophia as a character. She is a feisty woman, determined to get what she wants in life. She doesn’t care for who she hurts in the process. Sophia is quite the anomaly, because despite her behaviour being distasteful. I found myself smirking at the way she manipulates people with ease.
I also think it is a great testament to an author, who can write such a different bunch of characters exceptionally well.

The items found in the safe, lead Cahill to a cold case from 27 years ago. A cold case with ties to the mob, police corruption and caused much suffering for all it effected. Cahill asks his PI partner Moira for her, something she may come to regret! Moira is another fantastically written character and I enjoyed every page she was on!
Cahill refuses to back away from the case. But he is unaware it will strike right at the heart of the La Jolla police department; uncovering corruption others would prefer to stay buried with Cahill’s father.
Was Charles Henry Cahill a dirty cop? Where will the clues in the safe, lead Cahill? Who is watching Cahill? And do they seek to silence him forever?

This novel is perfect for fans of American hard-boiled PI novels.
It is a cracking read and Rick Cahill and Matt Coyle, have a new fan!

Q&A:

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

A) I’m the author of the Rick Cahill crime series. The series has won the Anthony, Ben Franklin Silver, and San Diego book Awards and been nominated for The Macavity, Shamus, and Lefty Awards. I’ve worked in the restaurant, golf, and sports collectibles businesses. Although I knew I wanted to write crime fiction as a kid when my father gave me THE SIMPLE ART OF MURDER by Raymond Chandler, I came to writing later in life.

BLOOD TRUTH is the fourth Rick Cahill book. Rick has long feared the truth about his own blood, the blood of his father coursing through his veins. When a long-hidden safe unlocks clues about why his father was kicked off the police force and then spiralled into an early drunken death, Rick searches for the truth even if it proves the one thing he’s always feared.

As Rick grapples with his father’s past, the woman he still loves pleads with him to discover if her husband is having an affair or is involved in something much darker.

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

A) The mystery about his father had been hovering over Rick since the first book, YESTERDAY’S ECHO. The shame, guilt, and disappointment of his father’s demise has been a determining factor in who Rick has become, good and bad. I knew the mystery had to be solved at some point and felt this book was the perfect place to do it. That was made all the more poignant when my own father passed shortly before I started writing the book. With my father’s passing, the flashback scenes of Rick with his father caused me to think about my own relationship with my dad. This made for a difficult, but, ultimately, very rewarding write.

The father/son journey figured to be enough for one book, but I wanted Rick to have other obstacles to overcome as he tried to unravel his father’s mystery. It made sense to have Kim, Rick’s ex-girlfriend involved as she was one of the few people in Rick’s life who he’d ever loved.

I don’t outline. My process is very organic. In other words, I’m disorganised. That used to worry me, but doesn’t anymore as I’ve come to trust the process. My subconscious works overtime when I write and I’ve learned to trust it. This method proved helpful in BLOOD TRUTH, as the thematic connection between the parallel plots became apparent to me with a simple statement by Kim that initially was just a chapter ender but came to have much greater influence on the story.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) My favorites go way back to Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Sir Author Conan Doyle, Chandler and Ross Macdonald. Contemporary favorites are Robert Crais, T. Jefferson Parker, Michael Connelly, and Megan Abbott.
A few recommends are: THE SUN ALSO RISES, by Hemingway, SILENT JOE, by T. Jefferson Parker, and SUSPECT by Robert Crais.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) My brother gave me THE COMPLETE ORIGINAL ILLUSTRATED SHERLOCK HOLMES for Christmas one year and I read every tiny-fonted story in the tome. I also read all the Agatha Christie books I could get my hands on.

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

A) The night I won the Anthony Award for Best First Novel still stands out as my favorite memory. Winning the award was obviously a thrill, but I got to celebrate it with people who had been instrumental in me being in that position. My agent, Kimberley Cameron, who said yes to me after years of so many others saying no and who continues to be a wonderful advocate for my work, was sitting next to me when the award was announced. My publishers at Oceanview, who gave an unknown author with no writing creds and no platform a chance, were in the audience, as was a member of my writers group who had helped shape YESTERDAY’S ECHO into something publishable. Having those folks, as well as other friends, there to celebrate was truly special.

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

A) My family has been very supportive along the way. My mother, who never lived to see me published or even get an agent, always believed in me. My father supported me throughout, but his early encouragement was instrumental in me carrying on through some of the tough times. My brother and sisters have turned into guerrilla marketers of my books.
I learned early on in the writing process that you can’t write in a cocoon and become successful. You need people to critique your work along the way and I’ve been lucky to be in some great writers groups.
My agent, part cheerleader, part velvet hammer, is always in my corner encouraging me. I wouldn’t be where I am without her.

MC
Matt Coyle
Authors Links:
http://mattcoylebooks.com/
https://www.facebook.com/matt.coyle.77
Twitter: @coylem

Author bio:
I grew up in the tract home section of La Jolla, California, battling my Irish/Portuguese brother and sisters for respect and the best spot on the couch in front of the TV. I was a sports addict as a kid, but realized early on that I’d never be good enough to turn pro. Or even amateur.

That didn’t matter because I knew I wanted to be a writer at the age of twelve when my father gave me The Simple Art of Murder by Raymond Chandler.

Somehow, I smuggled a degree in English out of the University of California, Santa Barbara and decided to write the great American novel. That lasted two months until I realized I needed to eat and I got a job at a restaurant back in La Jolla. After managing the restaurant for years, I sold golf clubs for a decade and then went to work in the sports collectible business.

Thirty years after beginning the great American novel I finished it as a thriller, instead. Yesterday’s Echo is the first in the series of Rick Cahill crime novels. I’m currently working on book two in San Diego, where I live with my Yellow Lab, Angus.

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

cover
Blood Truth by Matt Coyle
Available now in the UK and USA

#BlogTour @urbanebooks 12 Days Of Christmas. Q&A with @ggaffa David Gaffney #Author of, All The Places I’ve Ever Lived

9781911331063
All The Places I’ve Ever Lived by David Gaffney
Synopsis:

Part murder ballad, part ghost story, part true crime, All The Places I’ve Ever Lived takes you on a gripping journey from the small-town murder of a teenage girl in the 1970s to the recent real-life shootings in Whitehaven, West Cumbria. Are the crimes linked? Fifteen-year-old Barry Dyer may have the answers, but when events impact so horrifically on a town and its people, it always pays to tread carefully when revealing the truth…

Quirky, disturbing, and haunting, All The Places I’ve Ever Lived is a moving and tender exploration of a teenage outsider in a small community, as well as being a finely wrought portrayal of the neglected industrial settlements of West Cumbria, where nuclear plants, thermometer factories and chemical works contrast vividly with the desolate beauty of the Lake District.

Q&A:

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

A) I grew up in a remote part of the north of England called west cumbria where not much happens and hardly anyone goes. It’s not the lake district. And it’s not touristy or developed for visitors – no tea shops or scented candle emporiums It’s a bit grim and industrial to be honest. There is a big nuclear plant on the coast and some old iron ore mines and lots of other old defunct factories dotted about. But I really like it.

I always think that being brought up there formed my desire to write and tell stories about being on the edge, being outside of things, being different. So this book began as way of talking about Cleator Moor, the town where I was brought up, and trying to explain what it was like as a teenager to live in the middle of nowhere, in a place no one has heard of. But as well as this, I wanted to explore something else. When I was young I developed a skin condition called psoriasis which although it is quite common and harmless, it was quite debilitating for a teenage to have something disfiguring like that all over your skin when you are going through adolescence, and it had a big psychological effect on me, which I also think informed my being drawn into creative pursuits like music and writing.

I also discovered that other writers and creative people suffered from psoriasis too – John Updike, Dennis Potter, Ben Elton, Tom Waits, Gordon Lish (Raymond Carver’s editor) Art Garfunkel – even Nabakov apparently. I was in great company I thought – although they do say Stalin had it as well.

So I began to write about the psoriasis. However, I didn’t want the main character to be a sad little victim, moaning all the time about his poor skin, how special he was, and isn’t life awful. So I turned the skin condition into a kind supernatural thing – a covering of metal studs – which linked him to a sexy ghost and made him able to travel through time. I wanted his skin condition to be more like a superpower than a disability. And that’s how the books works. It links two crimes together over a period of thirty years – the murder of a teenage girl in Cleator Moor in the seventies and the multiple shootings by a taxi driver in west cumbria in 2010 who killed13 people including himself.

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

A) The book began as a very short novella but my agent at the time felt it could be improved by adding more detail about life in the town in the 1970s. And if it were longer, he said, it was likely to be be more successful. I agreed to write more and I added a further 20k words to the total, including more scenes at the boy’s school, scenes in the local church, a scene with a priest, a scene where they run away and sleep in a barn, and in general more texture and detail. It seems from feedback that people do really like these extra sections and so it turned out to have been a good move to extend the middle of the book in that way. I normally write very short stories (flash fiction) and I have a tendency towards the minimalist. But when writing a novel I feel there is a need to create a fuller world that readers can immerse themselves in, enable them to wallow in the reality of it. I think that more texture and detail about the world you are creating really helps. It feels like the budget on a film being increased so that there are more locations, more extras, more background action, and more believable props and costumes. I realised that with a novel, money is no object, so it isn’t necessary to have the same boy repeatedly cycling past on a chopper bike in the background to remind us we are in the seventies; we can have a cast of thousands. So, after that rewrite, I then sent the book to Urbane and they agreed to put it out. Mathew at Urbane has been just great. He worked closely with me on the cover which we were both really pleased with, and then he took the whole thing to market in a really clever way. It hasn’t been an easy sell because the mass shootings which the book focusses around were very recent, so many media outlets just haven’t felt able to discuss it.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) I am a massive fan of Magnus Mills so would recommend everything by him

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) I’d like to say that the first book that really got me interested in writing was something like Camus or Beckett. But it was actually Billy Liar a novel by Keith Waterhouse which I read and re-read when I was very young and it always made a big impression. Before that I thought all novels were Victorian and set in London and all about people of wealth; this story of a working class lad in Yorkshire made me realise what writing could do

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

A) It’s seeing someone on a train or in a shop picking up your book and watching their face as they read a little bit. Its not always a good expression I have to say.

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

A) I am part of a writing group ann all the members encouraged me and gave me detailed critical feedback on the work as it was in progress – so thanks to Elizabeth Baines, Sarah Butler, Sarah- Clare Conlon and Adrian Slatcher for all their help

David Gaffney, writer
David Gaffney
Authors Links:
Website: http://www.davidgaffney.org.uk
Twitter: @ggaffa

banner