#Guest #Author #GrahamBartlett @gbpoliceadvisor author of his #Debut #Novel #BadForGood #published 23.06.2022 by @AllisonandBusby

Graham Bartlett after signing 1500 Limited Edition copies of Bad For Good at Goldsboro Books London

JW: Thank you so much Graham for being a guest on my blog, it is a huge honour! 

JW: I’d like to start by asking, have you always wanted to be a writer? In those days of fighting crime, did you think about writing a fiction novel then?

GB: I’m so unlike many authors in that I had no thoughts of being a writer until I was in my later 40s. As with most things in my life, it all happened by accident. Peter James had been a friend for a few years and saw a blog I wrote. He called me up and said he liked my writing style, describing it as ‘not quite of a commercial standard but workable.’ He followed that up with a suggestion that we write a non-fiction of the stories that inspired the Roy Grace novels. So, the Best Seller, Death Comes Knocking was born. I did most of the writing and he tidied it up, but I got the bug and am now so proud I’m going to be a solo published author.

JW: Where did the inspiration for Bad For Good come from, it is a quite unique and realistic plot!

GB: It all started with me getting angry with the swinging cuts the police were suffering. I imagined what would happen if it got much worse. Would vigilantism take over as the crime control method of choice? And what if that was sponsored by corrupt officials? That was the birth of Bad of Good and I weaved it into a world I was very familiar with so, hopefully, that’s where the terrifying authenticity comes from.

JW: Who would you like to see playing the part of DS Jo Howe, if /when Bad For Good is made into a TV series?

GB; Keeley Hawes! She wasn’t in mind when I wrote Jo but I know she’d play such a complex, driven yet vulnerable character perfectly.

Keeley Hawes

JW: As a child growing up, were you an avid reader or was television your thing? Do you have a favourite childhood book or television programme?

GB: When I was very young, I loved the Narnia stories as the worlds and adventures they took me on were spellbinding. I remember then picking up When the Lion Feeds, by Wilbur Smith and similarly lost myself in this time a real, yet far away, world. His storytelling just drew me in and that started my love of books. In terms of the TV, it has to be The Professionals. I loved it so much that I remember my police -officer uncle, no doubt prompted by my dad, sitting me down to check that I knew the force I’d set my sights on joining wasn’t actually like that!

JW: As we’re now in May, which book that you’ve read this year has been your favourite? OR which are you most looking forward to?

GB: Wow, there are so so many! I think I’ll plump for Truth be Told by Kia Abdullah. The themes she fearlessly explores around class, privilege, race and religion are so powerfully woven into a gripping race to the truth, it left me quite breathless.

I can’t wait for The Murder Book by Mark Billingham. His Thorne stories, and the standalone, are utterly addictive and so brilliantly written it makes me sick! He’s a friend so I can say that!

JW: Have you ever been starstruck by meeting one of your heroes in real life?

GB: I love Gregg Hurwitz’s Orphan X books. The whole concept of an orphan who escapes a black ops programme to go around helping desperate people, in the most violent ways you could imagine, is stunning. But it’s his writing which really brings it alive. There is not a wasted syllable, and his descriptive powers and similes are inspired. In 2018, I’d had a few beers at Harrogate Crime Festival when someone, out of the blue, introduced him to me. Well, I fawned over him, quoting brilliant lines I remembered. I could tell he was bored, despite smiling nicely. Thankfully someone ushered me away before I made a complete fool of myself!

JW: What do you consider your greatest achievement?

GB: No hesitation – bringing up triplets to become the wonderful young adults they are now. My wife, Julie, and I always put them first. She gave up her job and I did what I could not to get unnecessarily sucked into work so we could be there for them. Now we have a police officer (who’s also a high-level football referee), a nurse and an astrophysics PhD (don’t ask!) We couldn’t be more proud of Conall, Niamh and Deaglan.

JW: If you could go back in time, to one historical event, to witness it, what would it be and why?

GB: The 1966 World Cup final. I love football and it would have been great to see what would become a once in a lifetime victory for England. The young, poorly paid, un-pampered men who brought the country the pride we so needed, probably wasn’t as appreciated as it would have been if they’d known what footballing failures we’d become and how mollycoddled today’s players are.

JW: What is something you are passionate about aside from writing?

GB: It might sound corny, but my family. I still adore spending time with the ‘kids’ (I watch Conall being abused by players and crowds alike most Saturdays at Football) and just enjoying their company as funny, intelligent grown-ups. I love it that two still live at home, and they’re 25 in July!

JW: Can you share a shelfie with us? (A photo of your bookshelf)

GB: One of many bookshelves in my home.

JW: If you could invite four people to dinner, living or dead, who would you invite and why?

GB: Wilbur Smith – to suck up every ounce of his advice and hopefully learn that he suffered from imposter syndrome too.

Alexander Hamilton – I’m fascinated with his story (borne from the musical, I’ll admit) but would love to know how it felt to build a nation amongst such hostility.

Doreen Lawrence – To say sorry on behalf of the police service (although I had nothing to do with the Metropolitan Police then or now) and to hear how a mother could show such dignity in the wake of such tragedy and injustice.

Oscar Wilde – He’d just be fascinating, but I’d love to hear how it was to suffer the horrors of being punished just for being who you were.

JW: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

GB: Be kind and if you can’t be kind, be quiet.

JW: What’s next? What are you currently working on??

GB: As well as advising dozens of authors and TV writers, I’m editing the second in the Jo Howe series and writing Book 3. I’m really putting her through it by the way!

You can find Graham Bartlett’s website HERE


You can BUY Bad For Good HERE

#Guest #Author #TinaOrrMunro @TinaOrrMunro Author of @BreakneckPoint published by @HQstories

Thank you so much Tina for being a guest on my blog, it is a huge honour! 

JW: I’d like to start by asking, have you always wanted to be a writer? And where did the idea of Breakneck Point come from?

TOM: Yes, I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. I wrote my first ‘book’ at 14 which was a terrible plagiarised version of a novel I’d just read! Until I wrote Breakneck Point, I had always seen myself as a potential YA novelist. It was a friend who got me thinking when they asked me that as someone who’d been a CSI and then a police and crime journalist for twenty odd years, why had I never written a crime novel?

JW: Did you base Ally Dymond, the lead character in Breakneck Point on anyone?

TOM: No, she isn’t based on anyone, but I would say she shares a few qualities with one of my sisters including that strong sense of pursuing something because it is the right thing to do even though it could cost you.

JW: Who would you like to see playing the part of Ally Dymond if Breakneck Point was turned into a TV series or movie?

TOM: I think Eve Myles would make a great Ally Dymond.

Eve Myles

JW: As a child growing up, were you an avid reader or was television your thing? Do you have a favourite childhood book or television programme?

TOM: I grew up in rural Devon in the 70s when television wasn’t on 24 hours a day and children’s programmes took up a small part of the schedule, so television was far less significant than it is now. Both my parents were huge readers and passed their love of books onto their children. I would look forward to the weekly mobile library visit with far more anticipation than any television programme. I loved Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven books.

JW: Which book, that you read in 2022, has been your favourite?

TOM: I’ve read some great debuts this year, but the one that stands out for me is The Storytellers by Caron McKinlay (out in May) which I had early sight of. It’s a grab-you by-the-scruff-of-the-neck-and-not-let-you-go-kind-of-book about three women who find themselves in the afterlife where they must face the reckoning of the relationships they had when they were alive. It is a bold, dark, witty tale.

JW: Who do you most admire?

TOM: My grandmother. She was orphaned as a baby during the Armenian Genocide of 1915. She faced enormous hardship in her early life, but she survived it all and went on to create a family that she adored and meant the world to her. She had a steely spirit, but she was incredibly warm and generous, and she loved to laugh.

JW: What do you consider your greatest achievement?

TOM: My children, although it’s an ongoing project!

JW: If you could go back in time, to one historical event, to witness it, what would it be and why?

TOM: I’d like to visit The Globe on the opening night of A Midsummers Night’s Dream. I love Shakespeare and I’ve seen several versions of this play, but I’d love to see how it was originally produced and to experience the atmosphere of an Elizabethan theatre.

JW: What is something you are passionate about aside from writing?

TOM: Greece. I spend a lot of time there and just love it.

JW: If you could invite 4 people to dinner, living or dead, who would you invite and why?

TOM: Robin Williams who I first saw in Mork and Mindy and just thought he was the funniest person I’d ever come across. A brilliantly inventive comedian, he’d keep us entertained, but he always struck me as a nice guy too. Charles Dickens because I’m endlessly fascinated by the era he was writing in and would want to know more about that thin veneer of Victorian prosperity and propriety that masked incredible poverty and deprivation. Elvis because I love live music and go as often as I can, but I was too young to see Elvis. I would ask him very nicely to sing Only Fools Fall in Love. Gerald Durrell because I adored My Family and Other Animals and he’d regale me with brilliant tales of growing up on Corfu which I first visited and fell in love with when I was ten years old.

JW: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

TOM: The best piece of advice I was ever given is “that it is better to do something than to regret not doing it.”

JW: What’s next? What are you currently working on??

TOM: I’m currently writing book 2 in the CSI Ally Dymond series. I’m also working on my grandmother’s memoir.

Breakneck Point introduces the character of Ally Dymond, a tough, but flawed Crime Scene Investigator (or Scenes of Crime Officer) consigned to minor crimes in a North Devon backwater after blowing the whistle on corruption. I hadn’t read many novels that had a CSI as their main protagonist and as I used to be a SOCO many years ago (long enough ago that it was more Sherlock Holmes than CSI Miami!) I decided I would write one.
I am a massive fan of urban crime, but I specifically wanted to set Breakneck Point in North Devon. North Devon is area that is very close to my heart. I grew up there in the 70s and had what I call an ‘Enid Blyton’ upbringing in a tiny village called Wembworthy. I now live in Barnstaple with my own family. It is as beautiful as the postcards show you, but I wanted to write crime a novel that shows the reality for many, of living in a rural area, a reality that is often at odds with those stunning views. I hope Breakneck Point will be the first of many novels featuring Ally Dymond that I’ll be adding to my author page. Thank you for reading.
I’d love it if you followed me on Twitter @Tinaorrmunro or Instagram @tinaorrmunro I also run a blog called Cocktails With My Characters (www.cocktailswithmycharacters.com) where authors drop by the imaginary Tequila Mockingbird Cocktail Bar to give us the inside line on one of their characters. You can also find us on Twitter @cocktails_my and instagram @cocktails_with_my_characters. Join us for a Gin Eyre (sorry!) and chat.

You can buy Breakneck Point HERE

You can follow Tina on Twitter Facebook Instagram

#Guest #Author #DeonMeyer @MeyerDeon #Bestselling author of #TheDarkTide his latest novel @HodderBooks

JW: I’d like to start by asking, have you always wanted to be a writer? And where did the idea of The Benny Griessel novels come from?

DM: Growing up in the blue-collar neighbourhood of a gold mining town on the African highveld, it never occurred to me that becoming a writer was even possible. I wrote, as a teenager, because I was in love with stories. Then, life happened, and I only got back to writing in my thirties when, as a single parent and sole breadwinner, I hoped to earn a little extra by selling short stories to magazines.

It was never my intention to write a series based on one character. As a matter of fact, in the early part of my career, I was adamant that it wouldn’t happen. I wanted the freedom (and pleasure) of creating new characters for every book. I firmly believed that the story should always be paramount and should determine the characters.

And then came Benny Griessel. By accident. He was a minor character in an early novel (Dead Before Dying), created for a single, important scene in which I needed a drunk, alcoholic cop. He was supposed to come and go in a few pages. I created him on the fly, named him after the son of one of my favourite teachers at high school, and thought that was it.

The problem was, that he made things happen on the page. I liked writing to him! He did not want to go away. And by the end of that book, I know I had to bring him back again. Two novels later, Benny got his own book.

After that, he just kept coming back.

JW: Having only just read your latest novel The Dark Flood (although I have bought the previous 6 Benny Griessel novels to read during May!), one of the main things that stood out for me was your obvious love of your home Country. With such a chequered past, do you think it’s important to write about REAL South Africa?

DM: That’s a great question. I don’t think any writer is smart enough to paint the full picture of this wonderful country in all its multi-faceted complexity. For instance, what is real to me, would be far removed from what is real to someone living in a township in a remote area of KwaZulu-Natal or the Limpopo province.

What I try to do, is to see my country through the eyes of my characters (an enriching experience) and allow as much of their reality as the story and the conventions of crime fiction allow.

Furthermore, South Africans are the first readers of my books. My hope and aim is to write with an honesty about our country that they would find credible.

JW: Who would you like to see playing the parts of Benny Griessel & Vaughn Cupido if The Dark Flood were to be turned into a TV series? (I could SO see this happening!)

DM: It just so happens that there might be a casting call in the next few months (I’m not at liberty to divulge more at the moment). So, voicing my preferences at this time would be unfair.

However, when TRACKERS and DEAD BEFORE DYING were adapted for television, I learnt how the awesome talent of actors to make a character come to life very quickly put paid to personal preconceptions. So, I have no doubt that whoever gets the job, Bennie and Vaughn will be perfectly cast.

JW: As a child growing up, were you an avid reader or was television your thing? Do you have a favourite childhood book or television programme?

DM: I was a voracious reader from a very young age. (The Apartheid regime was terrified of the power of television, so we grew up without it. And when we finally got it – when I was seventeen – the content was strictly controlled.)

There are so many favourite childhood books, many of them in my mother tongue of Afrikaans. One author I’m sure most Britons of my age will know, Is Enid Blyton. I still believe her Famous Five and Secret Seven series laid the foundation for my love of crime fiction.

JW: Which book, that you read in 2021, has been your favourite?

DM: I relished Bill Buford’s brilliant Dirt. Exceptional writing about one of my favourite subjects (food) in one of my favourite cities (Lyon).

JW: Do you have a favourite Author? Or a favourite book of all time?

DM: The late, great Ed McBain remains my favourite of all time. His Ten Plus One is the perfect crime novel, I think.

JW: What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Convincing Marianne to marry me. Being a dependable parent to all our children. Writing the last sentence of every novel. Mastering a dual-purpose motorcycle in the soft sand. And finally sort of coming to grips with the intricacies of the golf swing.

JW: If you could go back in time, to one historical event, to witness it, what would it be and why?

DM: Being in London on May 8, 1945, to witness VE Day.

VE Day May 8th 1945 London Uk

The Second World War has fascinated me from a very young age, perhaps because it was so influential in the lives of my parents. I’ve read all the great works about the war, including everything by Anthony Beevor. In my teens, I read and reread the escape stories of Richard Pape and Paul Brickhill. It inspired me to major in history at university. The war shaped my world, more than any other event.

JW: If you could invite four people to dinner, living or dead, who would you invite and why?

DM: Marianne and I would love to invite Nelson Mandela, because he is the greatest South African of my lifetime, and he was a wonderful storyteller. Ed McBain, to ask advice from. My late father, was the best raconteur I ever knew. I still miss him every day. And Stellenbosch chef Bertus Basson, to make sure the food is sublime.

JW: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

DM: My father said: “Find something you really love, and then work very, very hard at it.”

JW: What is something you are passionate about aside from writing?

DM: My family (including my grandson Matteo!). Mountain biking, golf, travel, cooking, Springbok rugby, reading, movies …

The Springbok’s

JW: Are you currently writing another book?

DM: I have started a new Benny Griessel and Vaughn Cupido novel. I’m still looking for the right title, though.

JW: Many Thanks must go to Deon Meyer for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer my questions.

Deon Meyer is a South African crime fiction author and screenwriter.
A former journalist, advertising copywriter, Internet manager and brand strategist, Deon has published thirteen novels and two short story collections. His books have been published in 28 languages in more than 40 countries worldwide.
He has also written several series for television, and four screenplays for feature films. Deon has also produced and directed movies in his native Afrikaans.
Accolades for his books include Le Grand Prix de Littérature Policière (2003) and Le Prix Mystère de la critique (2004) from France, the Deutsche Krimi Preis (2006, 2009), the Swedish Martin Beck Award (2010), the ATKV Prose Prize (2000, 2003, and 2004), the ATKV Suspense Fiction Prize (2008, 2009, 2011, 2014, 2019), the M-Net Award for Most Filmic Novel (2009, 2012), and the Barry Award for Best Thriller in the USA (2010).
Deon was born in Paarl in 1958 and matriculated in Klerksdorp in 1976. He studied at the Universities of Northwest, Free State and Stellenbosch, and holds a Masters’ Degree in Creative Writing.
He lives in Stellenbosch with his wife Marianne, and is passionate about South Africa, Mozart, mountain biking, cooking, photography, and Free State Cheetahs and Springbok rugby.

You can buy The Dark Flood HERE

You can follow Deon on Twitter Facebook Instagram

Deon Meyer’s Official website HERE

#Guest #Author #JamesMylet @JamesMylet author of #TheHomes @ViperBooks @UA_Books published 22.05.2022

Thank you so much James for being a guest on my blog, it is a huge honour! 

JW: I’d like to start, by asking, have you always wanted to be a writer? And where did the idea of The Homes come from?

JM: Yes I have always wanted to be a writer, from about the age of 16 when I first fell in love with books. I always used to write short stories or ideas and share them with my friends, as if I didn’t get them out of my head they would eat away at me. It took me to the age of 34 to first get published and there were a couple of books I wrote first before then that looking back probably helped me get better at writing.

The idea for The Homes came about because after my father died I moved back in with my mum and we talked a lot more than we had done when I was growing up as there was no longer the burden of parenting any more. She told me about The Quarrier’s homes in Bridge of Weir and it sounded like such a strange and unique place, I hadn’t ever seen a book written that was set there and I wanted to get the story told before that generation who lived it got too old.

Quarrier’s Home’s Children’s Houses on Faith Avenue (Dalry Home nearest Camera) 2005 @ Peter Higginbotham

JW: How hard was it writing from the point of view of teenage girls (Lesley & Jonesy)?

JM: I wrestled a lot with this a lot. I felt weird writing at a 40+ bloke writing as a 12-year-old girl (and originally wanted it to be anonymous or under a pseudonym, in the end, we went with a genderless name), but that girl is essentially my mother at that age and I worked with her a lot to get it right, but I would think it is unlikely I would write in the voice of a teenage girl again, just feels a bit weird.

There is an amazing and hilarious Twitter account called @menwritewomen and I live in fear of ever having my work on there.


JW: How important do you think it is to raise the issues children face in care, in the past and today?

JM: The overwhelming thing I wanted to get across was how brave the kids were to make it out of these places, they really had to fend for themselves. The whole book is a tribute to my mum and her friend (who she didn’t meet until after they had left the homes) and the courage and bravery that showed each day.

My mum is a quiet woman and I wanted a book that showed bravery not as a soldier running into a battlefield all guns blazing, but as a small person showing courage on a daily basis to get themselves out of this place.

JW: Who would you like to see playing the part of Jonesy & Lesley The Homes were to be turned into a TV series or movie?

JM: I never really had ideas for the children’s parts as I don’t know any child actors, but I did think of Peter Mullan as the Superintendent.

Peter Mullan

JW: I have to add here that I think Tessa Peake-Jones would be brilliant as Mrs Patterson!!

Tessa Peake -Jones

JW: As a child growing up, were you an avid reader or was television your thing? Do you have a favourite childhood book or television programme?

JM: I really didn’t like reading growing up. My dad loved reading and it wasn’t for me, I wanted to be outside playing football. Then one day I read Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh and a lightbulb went on that “Oh books can be like this”

That said my favourite childhood book and the book that I remember my dad reading to me was Danny Champion of the World by Roald Dahl, and I have since read it to my son and he loved it and it felt like passing on a baton.

JW: Which book, that you read in 2021, has been your favourite?

JM: I really enjoyed Andrew O’Hagan – Mayflies and The Young Team by Graeme Armstrong

I should say in the last year I have read a lot of the authors on Viper., the publisher of The Homes, and the standard on that imprint is terrifyingly good. Janice Hallet, Tina Baker, David Jackson, Catriona Ward, every one of the books gives you something more that you were thinking of, every one of them has wonderful extra levels.

JW: Who do you most admire?

JM: Bookwise Iain Banks, Michael Marshall Smith, Steve Toltz.

JW: What do you consider your greatest achievement?

JM: I think the friends and family I have, I am fortunate to have such good friends and a lovely family and it’s important to stop and appreciate it, that and the penalty I saved in the last minute of a cup final when I was 10.

JW: If you could go back in time, to one historical event, to witness it, what would it be and why?

JM: Anfield ’89. I got offered a ticket in my maths lesson at school for £3.50 and we couldn’t go as we were travelling to Scotland that day for the Scotland vs England match the next day.

Football – 1988 / 1989 First Division – Liverpool 0 Arsenal 2 The press team sheet list the players for the title-deciding game at Anfield. 26/05/1989

JW: What is something you are passionate about aside from writing?

JM: Music – I have always loved music. I haven’t been to an event in a long time and saw Father John Misty last week and I have forgotten how much I love it. I have spent a lot of this year trying to listen to albums in full rather than Spotify shuffle.

Father John Misty

JW: If you could invite 4 people to dinner, living or dead, who would you invite and why?

JM: Amanda Donohoe, David Rocastle, Bill Drummond, David Bowie (the world has gone to pieces since he left us, I think he was holding it all together)

JW: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

JM: Bad news quick, good news slow. If you know or think something is going to be bad, better warn someone and let them know, with good news, make sure you are certain of the good news as it’s the hope that kills you.

JW: What’s next? What are you currently working on??

JM: I am working on a story called The Herd of Buffaloes, I am 75,000 words into the first draft so there’s a long way to go but after 10 years of starting it I finally have the ending I want for it which is a relief. The hard work starts once the first draft is done.

James Mylet

You can Pre-order The Homes HERE

You can follow James Mylet on TWITTER FACEBOOK

#Guest Author #SamHolland @SamHollandBooks author of the upcoming #Debut #TheEchoMan published by @HarperCollins (UK) OUT NOW!

J; Thank you so much Sam for being a guest on my blog, I’m so honoured!

SH: Thank you for having me!

J: I’d like to start by asking, have you always wanted to be a writer? And where did the idea of The Echo Man come from, as it’s so unique!

SH: I’ve always wanted to be an author, but I never really believed it was something I could achieve. I took a more standard career first – doing a degree in Psychology then working in HR for fifteen years. But I’ve always loved books and wanted to write, and eventually I just thought ‘sod it!’ and put fingers to keyboard.

The idea for The Echo Man came from a perfect storm of TV watching. I’d been enjoying a lot of David Fincher’s work – films like Fight Club and Se7en – and had just started watching Mindhunter. The serial killers, combined with dark, scratchy scenes got me thinking – why wouldn’t a narcissistic, sadistic killer also watch this stuff? And what better people to teach him the craft, than those who had come before him? And so The Echo Man was born.

J: How much research did you do into the killings in The Echo Man?

SH: A huge amount! I wanted to make sure I got the little details correct, so I started reading biographies and watching documentaries on the serial killers I wanted to include. Dahmer, Bundy (so much on Bundy!), the GSK, Manson. At one point I had a list of serial killers covering my whiteboard, including how and who they killed. It was quite a sight! In the end I read over a dozen books on serial killers and their psychology – it’s a fascinating subject.

J; Who would you like to see playing the parts of Jess Ambrose, DS Nate Griffin, DCI Cara Elliott, DS Noah Deakin and DC Toby Shenton if The Echo Man was turned into a TV series/Movie?

SH: When I’m writing I have a board next to my desk with images of what the characters look like – so this is an easy question. Nate Griffin is a young Karl Urban, Jess Ambrose – Brie Larson. Cara Elliott is a brunette Emily Blunt, and Noah Deakin is an Israeli actor called Tomar Kapon. Shenton, I’m not sure about. He always had an ethereal quantity to him – so a previously unknown actor, I think.

J: As a child growing up, were you an avid reader or was television your thing? Do you have a favourite childhood book or television programme?

SH: Both! I read a huge number of books, but I also devoured films and TV. I remember I used to watch the old Poirot with David Suchet. When I was a child, I loved Stephen King and Dean Koontz although thinking about it now I must have been far too young. Explains a lot, I think.

J: What is your favourite book you read in 2021?

SH: So many. Push by Audrey Audrain. We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker. Vine Street by Dominic Nolan. I went through all of the Aidan Waits books by Joseph Knox and loved those. We are going through an incredible time at the moment for crime fiction; there are too many books I am desperate to read. This year I am making my way through Mo Hayder’s back catalogue – they are fantastic.

J: Do you have a favourite Author? Or a favourite book of all time?

SH: I have some go to authors: Jane Harper, Tim Winton, Maggie O’Farrell, Eva Dolan, Cara Hunter, to name a few. I buy their books the moment they’re released; they never disappoint. Favourite book of all time is very hard to quantify. The crime book taking the top spot at the moment is The Lost Man by Jane Harper. I love it with a passion and recommend it to anyone who asks.

J: If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?

SH: New Zealand. I have a long-held aspiration to tour the country in a campervan. One day, maybe.

J: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

SH: In terms of being a writer it has to be a toss-up between two. Stephen King: “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” And Jodi Picoult: “You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.” Simple but very true.

J: If you were moving to another country, but could only pack one carry-on sized bag, what would you pack?

SH: Is it just me? Let’s assume so because if I’m taking the dog or the child I would definitely need more luggage!

Laptop, notebook, pen. Phone – with a few books saved in case I can’t get my hands on proper paperbacks. Jeans, favourite hoodie, boots. Running shoes. Headphones. Passport. Driver’s licence. This is a very dull but practical answer, sorry!

J: Do you have a hidden talent?

SH: I can cross my eyes then move one eye independently, does that count? Not much of a talent!

J: Are you currently writing another book?

SH: I am currently editing the follow up to The Echo Man – called The Twenty (title may yet change!) about a serial killer counting down from twenty. There’s a lot more going on though – blood, phobias, love, regret. It looks at the duality of personality – who we are from the outside and the secrets we hold within. Very dark and lots of fun.

We meet some new characters – in particular DCI Adam Bishop who, like Nate Griffin before him, I am slightly obsessed with. Dark and disturbed, as all irresistible men are.

It’s not a sequel but in the same world – so Cara makes a few cameos and there are other characters you’ll recognise. It’s out Spring 2023, and already I can’t wait.

Having always been fascinated with the dark and macabre, Sam Holland’s love of reading was forged in the library through Stephen King, Dean Koontz and James Herbert. A self-confessed serial killer nerd, Holland studied psychology at university then spent the next few years working in HR, before quitting for a full-time career in writing. The Echo Man is the result.

You can follow Sam Holland on Twitter Facebook Instagram

You can BUY The Echo Man HERE

#GuestAuthor on this weeks #Blog #AlexSegura @alex_segura discussing #SecretIdentity and more!

JW: I’d like to start by asking, have you always wanted to be a writer? And where did the idea of Secret Identity come from?

AS: I think so. There was never a moment where lightning struck, or a bat flew through my window and I realized “I must become…a writer!” I always loved stories – comics, novels, history. While consuming these stories, even as a kid, I’d try to write my own – either with characters I knew, or new ones. It just felt natural. Eventually, you discover it’s a profession and a business, but it all starts very innocently – it’s just something I did, and I’m lucky I can continue to do it.

The idea for Secret Identity came in different ways – the idea for comic book sequences in the novel was spurred by having read Michael Chabon’s stupendous The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, which is one of my favourite novels ever. I loved Chabon’s first two novels, but this book really hit home for me – for obvious reasons. But the thing that I was left wanting was the comics. I wanted to read The Escapist books while reading the prose. The idea just stuck with me. At the same time, I was in a short story writing class in college, and I wrote a draft for a story that featured a comic book company employee discovering a lost comic book hero and writing their adventures. It was called “Sometimes Green,” and while I don’t have the story anymore – the idea, of a lost character – seemed to stick in my brain. A few years later, living in Miami and working as an editor for my newspaper’s website, I started dabbling with a superhero idea – called the Lynx. It was very different from the Legendary Lynx, but the name also stuck with me.

So, fast forward to around 2019, and I’ve finished up my PI series set in Miami and started working on a Star Wars novel. I knew my next crime novel would be something different – if not a standalone, then at least something tighter and more limited. I landed on the idea of doing a comic book noir – a murder mystery set in the comic book industry. But having read a ton of books about comics and the characters that populate that world, I knew I wanted it to be an era in stark contrast to today. That’s why I landed on 1975 – and that’s when Carmen walked into my mind, and when the other ideas – comic book sequences, the Lynx, and the basic plot – appeared again, ready to be pulled off my mental shelf.

JW: I loved Secret identity and the fact that Carmen (lead character) is so complex and a lover of Comics. Did you base her on yourself?

AS: Carmen and I have a lot in common, for sure – I believe very strongly in writing about people like me. For most of my childhood and well into my twenties, it was hard to find books and stories that featured Cuban-American people in the starring role – not as a sidekick, or funny friend, or drug dealer/villain. It was tiresome. So once I started creating my own stories, I wanted to really show that there was real flexibility there. Heroes and protagonists didn’t look just one way. Many if not all of my characters – Pete Fernandez, The Black Ghost, the Dusk, Carmen – are Cuban-Americans from Miami. I really believe that identification is such a powerful force, and as a kid, it meant so much to me to see people like me in movies or books or comics. That said, Carmen and I are also different – she’s a queer woman living in 1975. I’m a straight man living in 2022. I had to be mindful of that and do the work – sensitivity readers, research, everything. I had to make sure that my interpretation and story resonated and felt true to her. It was very important for me to try and get that right. That said, it’s a mystery, and that’s the goal first and foremost, and I wanted to present her the way she appeared to me in my mind, but I also took that job very seriously. It was all about striking that balance and being thoughtful and transparent. I’m proud of the character that’s on the page and I’m thankful to the many people who read the book at various stages to give me feedback and insight, to make sure it landed properly.

JW: Who would you like to see playing the part of carmen Valdez if Secret Identity was turned into a TV series? (I could SO see this happening!)

AS: Great question! I often do a running “cast” document while writing a book – where I drop in pictures of actors and places. I guess it’s a mediocre vision board, haha. For Carmen, I cast Ana de Armas, who I think is an amazing actress.

Ana de Armas

JW: As a child growing up, were you an avid reader or was television your thing? Do you have a favourite childhood book or television programme?

AS: Oh, I loved all kinds of entertainment. In terms of books, Bridge to Terabithia stands out – it was the first book that dealt with death that I read, and it was so thoughtful and intensely written, that it sticks with me today. As far as TV – I loved cartoons like Batman: The Animated Series, He-Man, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and lots of Star Trek.

JW: Which book, that you read in 2021, has been your favourite?

AS: I absolutely loved Like A Sister by Kellye Garrett. Kellye is a dear friend and our publishing journeys have run parallel – so it was great to see this book launch alongside Secret Identity. It’s an amazing, taut, sharply-written, and evocative – loaded with great characters and the kind of family drama that really makes it propulsive. I loved this book.

JW: Who do you most admire?

AS: My maternal grandfather was a great person – try to be like him every day.

JW: What do you consider your greatest achievement?

AS: My kids! Professionally, it’s probably SECRET IDENTITY.

JW: If you could go back in time, to one historical event, to witness it, what would it be and why?

AS: A great question! The music nerd in me would love to be on that rooftop in London for the last Beatles live performance.

03/1/1969 the Beatles

JW: What is something you are passionate about aside from writing?

AS: Music. I obsess over different artists, played in bands for a long time, and just love that world.

JW: If you could invite four people to dinner, living or dead, who would you invite and why?

AS: Jose Marti. Patricia Highsmith. James Baldwin. Robert F. Kennedy.

JW; What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

AS; “”Finish what you start and treat writing like the job you want it to become.“”

JW; Whats next? What are you currently working on??

AS; I’m working on a sequel to SECRET IDENTITY set in the modern-day.

Some absolutely great answers there from Alex Segura, and I am so looking forward to the Sequel to Secret Identity!

To find out more about Alex Segura head over to his website HERE

#GuestAuthor #PaulCleave @PaulCleave author of the brilliant #TheQuietPeople @OrendaBooks

J: Thank you so much Paul for being a guest on my blog, I’m so honoured!

J: I’d like to start by asking, have you always wanted to be a writer? And where did the idea of The Quiet People come from?

PC: Yes – for as long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to write. But – growing up, it never seemed like a reality. It’s not like teachers at our schools are saying “that sounds like a realistic way to make a living”. So I never really believed I could be one. Then – when I was 19, a friend at the time asked – “If you could do anything in the world, what would it be?” I said I’d like to be a writer. She said, “why not try?” And I thought, yeah, I actually could try. So I did. I tried for years and years… going from novel to novel getting experience, and just a quick 12 years later my first book came out, and the crazy thing is that’s getting up to almost 20 years ago. My characters don’t age, but I do… and quickly too, it seems.

As for TQP – well, the idea came from the idea if I ever got married, and something bad happened to my wife – like – maybe she’d fall down a flight of stairs, or disappear – I would be blamed for it because crime writers would be able to stage such a thing. Could we? Probably. The idea scares me enough that I can’t get married… since I have stairs in my house.

J: Your insight into what a parent’s mind could be like when a child goes missing is impeccable, did you do any research into this?

PC: No, not into that – in these cases, I just do my best to capture what I imagine that grief would be like. But – this is the only book where I actually did do some research – I met with a Police Detective here in Christchurch and picked his brains as to how the investigation would unfold – first hour, the first evening, first day, what happens the second day, etc etc, and that gave me a roadmap for the first few days of the book. It was incredibly helpful – and to be honest, I felt bad because often when I write about the police in books, I have them chasing their tails for some time and making huge mistakes in the process… otherwise, they’d solve the crime by the end of chapter one.

J: Who would you like to see playing the parts of Lisa & Cameron and DI Rebecca Kent if The Quiet People was turned into a TV series/Movie?

PC: Oh geez – tough question, and until you asked it, I’ve never thought about it. Adam Driver would do a cool Cameron. Reese Witherspoon could do Lisa, and Halle Berry would make a nice Kent.

J: As a child growing up, were you an avid reader or was television your thing? Do you have a favourite childhood book or television programme?

PC: I was an avid reader – though I couldn’t name what I read back then as it’s all a blur. I still am. But of course, I’m a product of the 70s, which means I’m an 80s kid when it comes to TV – so The A-Team, MacGyver, Magnum – all that stuff I grew up with. My all-time favourite?  Probably Star Trek. I’m what I call a closet Trekkie.

J: What is your favourite book you read in 2021?

PC: Tough. I have two. One is called ‘Kill Your Brother’ by Jack Heath. The other was ‘The Hate U Give’ by ‘Angie Thomas’. Two very different books – the first was a lot of fun, the second confronting and important.

J: Do you have a favourite Author? Or a favourite book of all time?

PC: Favourite author – I guess Stephen King. It’s a bit of a cliché, but yes, I think he’s the best. Favourite book? Funnily enough, it’s not a King book, but it’d be The Passage, by Justin Cronin.

J: If you could go back in time, to one historical event, to witness it, what would it be and why?

PC: Too many to choose from. But – it would be cool to go back in time and watch humans figure out what is edible. I’ve always wondered about that – in human history, people must have tried everything to know what tasted good and what didn’t, what had to be cooked and what could be raw. Would have been a messy time. So I’d love to see the moment where somebody looked at what fell out of chicken, and said, “Let’s try eating that”.

J: If you could invite four people to dinner, living or dead, who would you invite and why?

PC: Well, I guess I’d have to invite my Mum. She’s been dead a while, and I think she’d be slighted if I had other dead people around and didn’t ask her. But I wouldn’t want to get stuck talking to her all evening, so I’d probably invite one of her dead siblings so they could hang out. Then my Dad, who is very much alive, would be upset if he heard about this and hadn’t been invited, so I’d have to ask him too. Then I’d need somebody that I could talk to while those three are catching up because I’d get bored with them – I’d invite Tiger Woods in the hope he can help me with my slice.

J: If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?

PC: I had some cool stuff for 2020 that all fell apart I’d still like to do – from the Northern Lights in Norway to Machu Picchu, to the Great Wall of China, to a trip through the Caribbean, Morocco, Jordan, Portugal, I had 15 countries lined up… as soon as our borders open I’ll try to make it happen. But where would I really love to go that I don’t think I’ll ever really get the chance? Antarctica. I have this thing where I like to throw my frisbee in as many countries as possible (42 at the moment), and even though Antarctica is a continent, I’d love to add it to my list. But it’s not an easy trip to make, nor is it cheap.

J: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

PC: Well, years ago Michael Robotham gave me some great advice – he said always have some go-to stories for when you’re on stage. It doesn’t matter what you’re being asked up there, but have four or five great stories and try to use one or two of them when you’re up there.

J: If you were moving to another country, but could only pack one carry-on sized bag, what would you pack?

PC: Haha – I always travel with carry-on size luggage – even if I’m heading to Europe for a month or two. Ipad, passport, cash, sneakers, shorts, jeans, jacket, t-shirts. That’s all I ever need. Plus a bunch of cables for charging stuff – half my luggage is cables.

J: Do you have a hidden talent?

PC: I can solve a Rubik’s Cube in under two minutes – or could use to. I know a couple of neat card tricks. And cats tend to like me.

J: Are you currently writing another book?

PC: Always!!

Paul Cleave is Christchurch born and raised, and other than a couple of years when he was living in London and bouncing around Europe a little, he’s always lived there. He started writing at nineteen when a friend asked him the classic question of ‘if there’s anything in life you could do for a living, what would it be?’ The answer was simple. He wanted to be a writer. For the next five years, he worked in the evenings on manuscripts that he has promised will never be taken out of the bottom drawer. Back then he wanted to write horror, and it was a few years in when he realised that crime – real-life crime – is horror. As he says, people don’t come home from vampire movies and lock their doors to keep them out, but they will come home from a movie like Silence of the Lambs and lock their doors in case the neighbour is planning on eating them. When he made that connection, he turned to writing dark crime fiction, writing first The Killing Hour, and then The Cleaner, in his mid-twenties. Not long after that Paul sold his house and lived with his parents so he could write full time – a gamble that paid off a few years later when Random House signed him up. From that point on he’s written his dark tales set in his home city, introducing Joe Middleton – the Christchurch Carver, and Melissa, and Theodore Tate, and Schroder, and Jerry Gray, among others to the world.
These days he still lives in Christchurch, but generally spends two or three months travelling overseas for book festivals and meeting readers and publishers and talking on stage. He always travels with his frisbee and throws it in as many countries as he can – often in iconic locations if possible. He’s thrown it on five continents, and in over forty countries – with the goal of throwing it in fifty before he’s 50. He’s also learning to play the guitar, he can hit a golf ball extremely far in the wrong direction, can do some basic card tricks, and he’s pretty handy with a power tool. He hates shopping and hates gardening, he can solve a Rubik’s cube in under two minutes and plays tennis as well as any six-year-old can.

You Can BUY The Quiet People HERE


Paul Cleave has a website HERE

#GuestAuthor this week is the fabulous @TinaBakerBooks author of the gripping #NastyLittleCuts @ViperBooks

J; Thank you so much Tina for being a guest on my blog, I’m so honoured.

J: I’d like to start by asking, have you always wanted to be a writer? And where did the idea of Nasty Little Cuts come from?

TB: ALWAYS! From the time I first started to scribble, before school. I was THRILLED being able to write, although spelling, not so much. I wrote poems and stories as a child.

Nasty Little Cuts was originally called Serrations. The idea was to write about all those irritating little things that build in a relationship until they can cause huge damage, coupled with two very flawed people at a tense time in their lives – Christmas, money worries, menopause, bereavement – catalysing the final explosion.

Tina Baker Promo for Nasty Little Cuts

J; The writing of Deb and Marc’s relationship in Nasty Little Cuts is extremely realistic, what research did you do in writing the book?

TB: I’ve been in several toxic relationships. But not like this. It’s fictionalised. The book is an amalgamation of all the (many) bad things that have happened to me.

I’ve also interviewed both women and men who’ve been in abusive relationships in my work as a journalist.

Me with Nasty Little Cuts!

J; Who would you like to see playing the parts of Deb & Marc if (and when!) Nasty Little Cuts is turned into a TV series/Movie?

TB: WHEN! Please, God! I’d love Jamie Dornan as Marc. Not just for his looks, but because he can play wounded as well as brooding.

Debs, I’d love to be played by a working-class actress. I adored Sophie Willan in the award-winning comedy, Alma’s Not Normal. She’d be great.

J; As a child growing up, were you an avid reader or was television your thing? Do you have a favourite childhood book or television programme?

TB; We didn’t have a TV for years. Radio was my first love.

I loved reading and read everything, including my dad’s, very age-inappropriate books and as many adult books in the library as I could when no one was watching.

Early TV I loved The Magic Roundabout and Stingray and Thunderbirds. My first crush was on a puppet! Captain Troy Tempest!

Fave children’s books, Wind in the Willows, The Wombles, Paddington, A Wrinkle in Time.

J; What was your favourite book of 2021 and why??

TB; They are all my favourite children. You can’t make me choose!

 I loved The Last House on Needless Street, Girl A, The Stranding, The End of Men.

I read a lot of crime last year because I hadn’t read a lot before. And so much pre-pandemic horror! Even The Last One At The Party was about a bloody pandemic. I had no idea because I bought a load of debuts just because and I sometimes like to read without the synopsis

J; Do you have a favourite Author? Or a favourite book of all time?

TB; Again, its TOO HARD to choose!!

I’ve re-read a lot of DH Lawrence, Dickens, Thomas Hardy and the poetry of Sylvia Plath, Vasko Popa and Ted Hughes. I love Joyce Carol Oates, Ann Tyler and ALL the Viper authors.

J; If you could go back in time, to one historical event, to witness it, what would it be and why?

TB; Either a party at Studio 54 in the OTT heyday or being on the moon at the moon landing.

J; What’s the most ridiculous thing you have bought?

TB; In the last month – 2 wedding dresses, 4 wedding veils, fake blood and a rubber knife – for silly promotion videos.

I could also say, THE LIES OF THE MEN WHO SAID THEY LOVED ME! Ha Ha! (J.. I LOVE this answer!!)

J; If you could invite four people to dinner, living or dead, who would you invite and why?

TB; Bette Midler. Icon. Hilarious.

Stephen Fry. Clever. Real gent.

Marilyn Monroe. Icon. Incandescent.

Billy Connolly. The best storyteller in the business.

J; Was there ever something that you thought was possible after watching some movie as a kid, that is now absolutely ridiculous to think of in retrospect?

TB; There was a children’s cartoon where a little girl wished her hair to keep growing. And I watched so many films about miracles, I prayed for my teddy to become real.

J; If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?

TB; Right now ANYWHERE!!! I’ve not been abroad for 4 years. I’ve only had 1 week off since the pandemic kicked off. So, either a week or two in the Caribbean or Cornwall (my husband’s from there) when it’s warmer!

J; What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

TB; Don’t let the bastards grind you down. One of my Dad’s.

J; What is your routine for an average weekday?

TB: There isn’t an exact routine as some of the personal training sessions revolve around other people. Ditto press surrounding the publication of a new book.

Writing is a bit haphazard at the moment too. My brain doesn’t work the same thanks to long term anxiety. In an ideal week I’d write a little every day, some days longer, teach a fitness class or 2, and post silly things on social media.

J; Are you currently writing another book?

TB; I’ve just finished another thriller for Viper which has yet to be edited. The story of a domestic cleaner who turns to crime. And I’m kicking around ideas for book 4 for Viper.

Tina Baker, the daughter of a window cleaner and fairground traveller, worked as a journalist and broadcaster for thirty years and is probably best known as a television critic for the BBC and GMTV. After so many hours watching soaps gave her a widescreen bum, she got off it and won Celebrity Fit Club. She now avoids writing-induced DVT by working as a Fitness Instructor.
Call Me Mummy is Tina’s first novel, inspired by her own unsuccessful attempts to become a mother. Despite the grief of that, she’s not stolen a child – so far. But she does rescue cats, whether they want to be rescued or not.

You can BUY Nasty Little Cuts HERE

Follow Tina Baker on TWITTER INSTAGRAM

Tina Baker WEBSITE

#GuestAuthor #GilesKristian @GilesKristian author of #WhereTheBloodRunsCold published by #BantamPress @TransworldBooks 24.02.22

J; Thank you so much, Giles, for being a guest on my blog.

Thank you for hosting me

J; I’d like to start by asking, have you always wanted to be a writer? And where did the idea of Where Blood Runs Cold come from?

Reading the poems of Seamus Heaney for A-Level wove a spell on me. From that moment I knew I wanted to write professionally. I went off to university to do a degree in English Language and Literature but dropped out after just a few months to join a pop group. It was an incredible diversion, packed with extraordinary experiences. But, after four hit records and several years in the music industry, I got back on track with my ambition to become a writer. In 2003, I undertook a cross country skiing and igloo building trip in Norway. It gave me the idea for a thriller about a parent and child being hunted through the snowbound mountains. By the time I got round to writing it, I was living in New York and Raven: Blood Eye was on submission. Luckily, Transworld (Penguin Random House) offered me a publishing deal for my Viking trilogy and so I stuck my snowy thriller in a drawer and have been writing historical novels ever since. Then, after Lancelot and Camelot, which were both big, emotionally draining books, I needed to get my teeth into something fresh and different. It was the perfect time to dig my thriller out of the snow. After eleven historical novels, Where Blood Runs Cold is my first contemporary story and I’m excited to send it out into the world.

J; How much research did you need to do before writing Where Blood Runs Cold (without giving the plot away!)?

Well, I’ve spent time in the mountains of Norway, and as already mentioned, I got the idea from a ski touring trip, so much of it stems from experience. There’s always research, of course, but for this book it was a piece of cake compared with writing a historical novel, where hours of the day can be spent researching. With this book it was more like, what’s the most popular hybrid SUV in Norway? Or, what’s a popular brand of snowshoes? Or could a drone fitted with a thermal camera detect a body beneath the snow? These questions are easy enough to Google, whereas the historical stuff requires a library of reference books.

J; Who would you like to see playing the parts of Erik and Sofia Amdahl if Where Blood Runs Cold was made into a movie (I hope it is!)

Viggo Mortensen would make a brilliant Erik. As would Alexander Skarsgård. Sofia is more difficult to cast because her age is more specific, and I don’t know many young teenage actresses. Someone like Bella Ramsey (Lyanna Mormont in ‘Game of Thrones’ and star of the forthcoming series ‘The Last of Us’) would be good. As it happens, there’s already serious interest in the film adaptation of Where Blood Runs Cold, so perhaps we’ll need to think about this sooner rather than later. Would be a nice problem to have.

J; As a child growing up, were you an avid reader, or was television your thing? Do you have a favourite childhood book or television programme?

I didn’t read books as a child. The first book I read for pleasure was the Crystal Shard by R.A. Salvatore, which my mum bought me when I was thirteen and off school for several weeks with glandular fever. It blew my mind! Funny to think that if I hadn’t been poorly, I might not be a writer today. As for TV, I loved the series ‘Robin of Sherwood’. I still sometimes play the soundtrack by Clannad. As soon as I hear Robin (The Hooded Man), I’m a boy again.

J; What is your favourite book which you read in 2021?

The Gates of Athens by Conn Iggulden. Conn really knows what it is to be human, and this gives his writing such wisdom. Iconic figures from history, men such as Themistocles and Xanthippus emerge fully fleshed. Conn reveals their motivations and hopes, their fears, jealousies, and ideals, so that although they died two thousand five hundred years ago, they live and breathe again between the pages. If that wasn’t enough, there’s the prose itself, which is at once economical and beautiful. I was transported. I felt the Mediterranean sun on my face, smelled the sea on the air, stood on the rocky outcrop of the Acropolis, watched the hustle and bustle of Athenian life. I cared for the characters, and I wanted to cast my vote in the Assembly! It was all so vivid in my mind’s eye.

J; Which book that you have written are you the proudest of?

I’m most proud of Lancelot. I wrote that book whilst grieving the death of my father and it was hard. And yet, something of my soul poured into that book. My editor once said something along the lines of, ‘Giles, if you got knocked down tomorrow by the no. 27 bus, it would be OK because you’d have written Lancelot.’ In a way, I agree with him.

J; Do you have a favourite Author? Or a favourite book of all time?

My favourite author is Cormac McCarthy. I’ve never come across another writer with his powers of description. Books like All the Pretty Horses, Blood Meridian, and The Road are stunning examples of the craft. However, The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell holds a special place for me. That trilogy inspired me like nothing else, and I’m a huge Bernard Cornwell fan. When he gave me a cover quote for my first novel, I was overjoyed.

J; If you could go back in time, to one historical event, to witness it, what would it be and why?

I would go back to witness The Battle of Hastings. I’m sure that it would make for a traumatic and hideous spectacle, and I’d probably suffer PTSD after, but it was such a momentous battle, and given that the historical record presents it as a close-run thing, I’d be fascinated to see just how close it was. Because the Norman invasion had a huge impact on the social, cultural & economic life of the kingdom of England. The Normans brought Latin and French, castles, and wine. Culturally, whereas England had looked north to Scandinavia, now it looked to the south-east and continental Europe. The Battle of Hastings was one of those pivotal moment in history.

J; If you could invite four people to dinner, living or dead, who would you invite and why?

Harald Hardrada, because he was the greatest warrior of his age and I’d want to hear about all his battles. Beyoncé, because she’s a goddess. Elvis Presley, because his charisma would light up the room. King Charles II, because, as Horrible Histories puts it, he was the King of Partying.

J; If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I’d like to visit Moscow in winter. Maybe not right now, but some time. I’d also like to go to Alaska and drink beer in small town bar. Cold places appeal to me. As does beer.

J; What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

My grandma told me not to hide my light under a bushel. This was good advice for the painfully shy boy I was.

J; Do you have a hidden talent?

No, because of the aforementioned advice! Although, new readers might not know that I can throw an axe or two.

J; Are you currently writing another book?

I’m currently writing Arthur, the third book in my Arthurian Tales. I also have a cracking idea for another thriller, but that’s for another time.

During the 90s Giles Kristian was the lead singer of pop group Upside Down, achieving four top twenty hit records, performing on Top of the Pops as well as at the Royal Albert Hall, N.E.C. and Wembley Arena, and playing concerts on the same bill as such artists as The Spice Girls, Take That, The Backstreet Boys and Eric Clapton! As a singer-songwriter, he lived and toured for two years in Europe and has made music videos all over the world, from Prague, Miami, Mexico and the Swiss Alps, to Bognor Regis. To fund his writing habit, he has worked as a model, appearing in TV commercials and ads for Walls Ice Cream (he was a Magnum Man!), Canon Cameras and two brands of lager. He has worked as an advertising copywriter and lived for three years in New York, where he wrote copy for movie marketing company Empire Design but mainly worked on his first novel, RAVEN: Blood Eye
Giles, who is half-Norwegian, was inspired by his family history to write his first historical novels: the acclaimed and bestselling RAVEN Viking trilogy – Blood Eye, Sons of Thunder and Odin’s Wolves. For his next series, he drew on a long-held fascination with the English Civil War to chart the fortunes of a family divided by this brutal conflict in The Bleeding Land and Brothers’ Fury. Giles also co-wrote Wilbur Smith’s No.1 bestseller, Golden Lion. In The Rise of Sigurd novels – God of Vengeance, Winter’s Fire, and Wings of the Storm – he returned to the world of the Vikings to tell the story of Sigurd and his celebrated fictional fellowship. His Sunday Times bestseller, Lancelot, is currently in development for TV with a major studio. He followed Lancelot with Camelot, and now, Where Blood Runs Cold is his debut contemporary thriller.  

You can find Giles Kristian’s website HERE


#GuestAuthor #LewisHastings @istheauthor author of #TheChemist @hobeckbooks release date UK 22.02.22

J; Thank you so much Lewis for being a guest on my blog

LH; My pleasure!

 J; I’d like to start by asking, have you always wanted to be a writer? And where did the idea for The Seventh Wave Trilogy come from?

LH; I fell in love with writing in the 1970s, when my English teacher, the brilliantly named Theodora Bruton told me I had a gift for​storytelling. My parents felt that this meant I daydreamed or told lies! Needless to say, Theo Bruton was right. I so wish she was alive now to read my work. (Of possible interest my old school approached me and asked me to be a writing ambassador for the current generation – I was thrilled!)

 The Seventh Wave Trilogy was a real-life event. I was the duty officer at an international airport when a mysterious Bulgarian female asked to see an Interpol officer. I was the nearest we had. Over six hours she told me her story. That story formed the Seventh Wave (Terribly, as she was telling me, I couldn’t help but see a movie series…)  I tracked her for a week then lost all trace of her somewhere in Thailand as contrary to what we knew she’d managed to get hold of a false passport and slipped off the radar. I have no idea where she is now but I hope she’s OK…she was the woman behind Niko Petrova.

J; How much research did you need to do before writing The Chemist?

LH; Very little. Again, the characters are all very real or based upon real people I have either worked with, followed, or taken into custody. A lot of the chemistry/toxin work was self-researched, but the more complex stuff is down to two men; Mr Brian Price, a fellow Hobeck author who has far more knowledge in the forensic space and a dear friend, Jeremy Batchelor, one of the most gifted organic chemists I’ve ever met. What he doesn’t know about making things explode isn’t worth knowing!

J; Constantin Nicolescu is probably THE most fucked up criminal in any book I’ve read, where did the original ideas for his murders come from? 

LH; Thank you. I think…I’m smiling nonetheless. Constantin was mentioned by Nikolina, (she’s the mysterious Bulgarian woman), as being the cruellest man that she’d ever met. From there I just let my mind inhabit his and considered what I’d most like to do to the few enemies I have in the world. The centrepiece in the old music hall (again a very real place, you can find it on Google maps if you know where to look!) was purely my imagination.

J; Who would you like to see playing the parts of Nicolescu, Jason Roberts, Jack Cade and Carrie O’Shea ( or any other of your great characters) if The Chemist was made into a movie (I hope it is!)

LH; Ah the eternal question. Here goes, and this may surprise you. I would LOVE someone to make them into films, I am told repeatedly that the books are cinematographic which is humbling – to be told that they drew a colourful picture in the mind of a reader who has aphantasia (Google it..) was possibly my greatest achievement.

Jack. he’s the difficult one. Possibly an unknown like Daniel Craig was relatively speaking when he became Bond. Someone like a Rupert Penry-Jones with a rougher edge.

Nicolescu the same. An unknown, or someone who can really get into a character. Who knows perhaps Michael Sheen – he’s yet to put a foot wrong!

Michael Sheen

Jason Roberts – I’m smiling but you need to know the real Jason. I’d possibly go a little off-piste and choose Eddie Izzard.

Eddie Izzard

Carrie. Easy. Vicky McClure (sultry, sexy, but with attitude.) I’ve thought about this. I just need Adrian from Hobeck to bribe Jed Mercurio…

Vicky McClure

Bridie would be someone like Jessica Raine.

Jessica Raine

Colin Firth would make a good JD.

Colin Firth

J; As a child growing up, were you an avid reader or was television your thing? Do you have a favourite childhood book or television programme?

LH; Famous Five, Secret Seven that sort of thing. Adventures, for the young mind! TV was very much BBC oriented, so Blue Peter rather than Magpie and Swap Shop instead of TISWAS…

J; What is your favourite book you read in 2021?

LH; The Body – Bill Bryson. I love his style and research – humour meets science head-on. 10/10.

J; Do you have a favourite Author? Or a favourite book of all time?

LH; I love Peter James’ books – he was my early inspiration and we stay in touch now. He wrote back to me whilst in Jamaica doing some research (him, not me…) and even offered to have Seventh my first novel read by the real Roy Grace. It meant a lot. (‘Roy’ loved it..)

That said, my favourite books of all time are probably Papillon (Henri Charriere) and Birdsong (Sebastian Faulks).

J; If you could go back in time, to one historical event, to witness it, what would it be and why? 

LH; Christmas Eve 1914. To witness the truce. To stand and watch my dear grandfather as a young man and to listen to him tell the tales of the Great War. I was never allowed to ask later in life when as a boy I was fascinated by his bravery. It was never mentioned again. He was one of the most highly decorated members of the Royal Tank Corps as a 26-year-old Corporal on the Western Front.

    “The night wore on to dawn – a night made easier by songs from the German trenches, the pipings of piccolos and from our broad lines laughter and Christmas carols. Not a shot was fired.”

J;  If you could invite four people to dinner, living or dead, who would you invite and why? 

LH; My grandfather to finally listen to those tales. My Dad. I flew 10,000 miles to read my autobiography to him in a hospice in Kent (this may sound familiar if you have read The Angel of Whitehall) just so I could tell him I’d made it as an author! Something still so powerful that even typing that sentence brings a tear to my eye. For selfish reasons, Kate Beckinsale and for cinematic reasons Vicky McClure to discuss her role as Carrie. And I’d pay for my family to sit on the next table as they’ve all endured my endless book conversations…

J; If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?

LH; I’ve been lucky to have travelled very well with work and privately. Cape Cod appeals. I flew over it after enduring a hurricane off the coast of Newfoundland once, and we nearly had to divert there. Looking down it really appealed. Or Bora Bora with Kate Beckinsale.

J; What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? 

LH; Never go back!

J; Do you have a hidden talent? 

LH; Many. I can’t play the guitar in any key. And I’m a mimic, having turned down a fair amount of voice-over work.

J; Are you currently writing another book?

LH;  I am, yes. It’s the sixth in the Jack Cade series and features three places with the same name. I have a seventh in development already which may be a standalone and will introduce a new character which I think will be a first in literature.

Then I have another which is like nothing else I’ve ever written. A love story like no other set initially in sixties London among the publishing world and the British Army. Hobeck might not find a place for it, but like all my books, it will have a twist.

In closing, I’d like to thank you for what you do for people like me Jude, for supporting me and above all reading my books. They are subjective, like people, that you enjoyed them means more than you could ever imagine.

Lewis Hastings is a pseudonym. His real name is far more, real.

Born as a product of the long, harsh and miserable winter of the early nineteen sixties in southern England he soon shot to fame for his child acting, embellishment and love of justice and propensity for injury. His catalogue of injuries and their research has actually proven to be of use, particularly when describing some of the medical events within the book. The sensation of pain, often clinically described, is based upon real-world events and countless hours in Accident and Emergency Wards. His relationships with the many nurses, doctors and specialists is acknowledged.

Above all Lewis is a passionate and caring soul who always puts the needs of others before his own, a career in law enforcement was, therefore, a logical path, having drifted helplessly on a sinking rudderless ship that saw him involved in many diverse occupations, including but not limited to selling, border security, exotic dancing, prostitution and people trafficking*.

He joined the British Police in April 1990 and was posted to an upmarket suburb of Nottingham where he learned the art of policing; investigation, intelligence and communication. Along the way, he dabbled in many varied branches of policing and worked for seven years in one of the toughest inner-city areas in Britain. Some of the key events and people are brought back to life in the early segments of the story that are set in Nottingham, again, to protect those still serving their names have been changed.

Having spent his formative years both living and working in the United Kingdom he was offered what for many would be the chance of a lifetime. Clutching his worldly goods, his family and his reputation he took the leap of faith and now lives on the other side of the world in a house, with the same wife and a lake-loving Labrador.

Having headed across the world, his law enforcement career – not unlike Jack Cade’s – would take an unexpected turn and soon he found himself building a capable and worthy team at an international border. The thirteen years that followed saw him carve out a reputation as a subject matter expert in port security, document fraud and international border intelligence, particularly the influence of travelling European criminals.

He now acts as a government liaison officer – connecting law enforcement units throughout the Five Eyes community. He hopes for the chance to meet another “Theodora”  – tired, afraid but agenda-driven and with her own unique story to tell to someone prepared to listen.

He has two amazing children, one adorable granddaughter, an equally adorable grandson and a long-suffering, incredibly patient wife who meets all of the cliched aspects of a redhead.

You can find Lewis Hasting’s Website HERE Twitter HERE

Instagram HERE Facebook HERE