Todays #Author answering Questions is #Guest #JohanaGustawsson @JoGustawsson #TheBleeding @OrendaBooks

JW; How much research did you have to do for The Bleeding? Especially the settings as they are so visceral!

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

JG: No, I didn’t know yet! At the time I was answering: an actress! Hahaha! I studied in Paris at a famous acting school at the same time as working as a journalist for the press and TV, and I dreamt of becoming an actress. I was on stage in Paris and had an agent, but I really didn’t like this business. I didn’t like learning the texts, or going to auditions, which was problematic, as you can imagine! It took me a while to realize that what I liked was the text itself! I have always been an avid reader and was very fond of crime novels so, years after that, I started writing and that, I tremendously enjoyed!

The idea of The Bleeding was a mix of crazy and completely different desires: writing about La Belle Epoque, Maxine, and Lina, who came first in my mind and had to be fleshed, setting up my characters in Québec, which I fell in love with thanks to Roxanne Bouchard a friend and fellow writer at Orenda Books.

JW; How much research did you have to do for The Bleeding? Especially the settings as they are so visceral!

JG; It was a lot of research, about the Belle Epoque and witchcraft, but it was fun and I spent a few phenomenal months! I started researching something that had nothing to do with what The Bleeding ended up talking about: I wanted to write about the secret society of the Golden Dawn, and with this terrible habit I have to research more and more and some more with every detail which I find thrilling, I ended up in the caldron of quite a few witches!

JW; The 3 women in The Bleeding are all strong characters, was it important to you to portray them in this way even during the eras?

JG; It was key to me. I wanted to showcase the battles we, women, go through. Battles that can become wars. And some of those battles haven’t changed, despite changing centuries. We have still so much to fight for and against.

JW; As a child growing up, were you an avid reader or watcher of television? Did any part of your childhood make you the writer you are?

JG; I became an avid reader after plunging into my first Agatha Christie, around the age of 7. It was The Mysterious Affair at Styles that made me one. Then I devoured books. I don’t know how I became the writer I am today, but reading, from poetry to dark gritty crimes, surely played its role.

JW; As we’re now in September, which books that you’ve read this year have been your favorite? OR which are you most looking forward to?

JG; I have been reading quite a few but mostly for research for a project I cannot yet talk about. Reading about neurology mostly and memory. And I really found fascinating “Livewired” by David Eagleman, a neuroscientist explains how our brains work.

JW; Do you have a favorite Author or favorite book of all time?

JG: Agatha Christie and French poet Charles Baudelaire. French writer Marguerite Duras is too… “Murder on The Orient Express” and “Les Fleurs du Mal” (Flowers of Evil) are two of my favorites. And actually, traveling on the Orient Express train is still on our dream list with my father, who is also a big fan!

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

JG; As a journalist, I met Samuel L. Jackson with whom I shared breakfast (well, I did not eat a thing). I was interviewing him for the movie Snakes on the plane, and he welcomed me saying: “that was a shit movie, don’t you think? Let’s talk about something else. Where are you from?” And we ended up talking about Provence and golf, and god knows what else, whilst he ate his eggs and bacon! And I met Harlan Coben, in 2019 at the Harrogate festival, and there too: starstruck!

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

JG; Oh yes! Dancing! I used to be a ballet dancer, and I would love to go back to some sort of dancing: flamenco being my top choice, but I have absolutely no time to dive into anything but writing, which is also my passion, as my three boys take up all my time!

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

JG; Oh god. There are so many. But I’d chose Paris during La Belle Epoque, like in The Bleeding. The international fair. Another era. The Beauty of Paris in the making.

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

JW: You can pick 4 famous people, dead or alive, for a dinner party, who would you pick and why?

JG: Agatha Christie. Almodóvar. Poirot (David Suchet will do if I’m not allowed to have a fictionalized character). Dalí. I think the night would be completely mad!

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

JG: That hard work is the key. Consistency and hard work always pay off. It was, of course, my parents. They taught me it is not over when you lose, it only is when you quit. And of course, they were right!

JW; What’s next? Are you writing a new novel?

JG; I just handed in my next novel to my French publisher, called The Island of Yule, which Karen Sullivan, my UK and US publisher Called “Christmas Island”, on the spot. The novel is taking place on the island of Storholmen, just in front of the one I live on, in Sweden, where a young girl is found hanged close to a manor said to be haunted. It is out in France in January 2023.

You can buy The Bleeding HERE from Orenda Books

You can follow Johana on TWITTER INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK

Johana Gustawsson has her own website HERE

#BlogTour #TheDavesNextDoor by will_carver published by @OrendaBooks 21st July 2022 #WillBlowUpThisTrain

A disillusioned nurse suddenly learns how to care.

An injured young sportsman wakes up find that he can see only in black and white.

A desperate old widower takes too many pills and believes that two angels have arrived to usher him through purgatory.

Two agoraphobic men called Dave share the symptoms of a brain tumour, and frequently waken their neighbour with their ongoing rows.

Separate lives, running in parallel, destined to collide and then explode.

Like the suicide bomber, riding the Circle Line, day after day, waiting for the right time to detonate, waiting for answers to his questions: Am I God? Am I dead? Will I blow up this train?

Shocking, intensely emotive and wildly original, Will Carver’s The Daves Next Door is an explosive existential thriller and a piercing examination of what it means to be human … or not.

Firstly thank you to Anne @RandomThingsTours and Orenda Books for my copy of The Dave’s Next Door.

This is my second novel that I’ve read by Will Carver, I loved Psychopaths Anonymous so was excited to get my teeth in The Dave’s Next Door.

I don’t normally read books set in the future so that was a surprise to start with, but the storyline starts there and takes us back in time to an event.

Will Carvers writing can be challenging and in your face, so The Dave’s Next Door is not an easy read, it’s a hard hitting thought provoking read but then in The Dave’s Next Door so is the subject matter!

The plot was a fascinating slow build and the characters are all richly well written and observed, for some reason Wills writing style in this novel really reminded me of Martin Amis whose books I loved in the 1980’s….but none else can write novels like Will Carver, he is able to throw things at the reader and make you face your prejudices in the most astonishing and shocking way. Will Carvers books are not for the easily offended or faint hearted but that’s what makes them uepic in my opinion! And The Dave’s Next Door is so dark but also the characters lives are mundane in some respect, which makes it even more apt when there’s a curveball to you think and question your own opinions!

As always I’m not going to give any of the storyline away….BUT you seriously need to read The Dave’s Next Door, it’s going to be a classic novel that people will be talking about for years to come. I would love to know how Mr Carver’s mind works, and how he even comes up with these out of the box ideas for novels….but then again that would take some of the magic away!

A superbly well written, tense and thought provoking novel that deserves a definite 5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ in my opinion!


Will Carver is the bestselling author of the January Series – Girl 4 (2011), The Two (2012), The Killer Inside (2013), Dead Set (2013) – and the critically acclaimed Detective Pace series, which includes Good Samaritans (2018), Nothing Important Happened Today (2019) and Hinton Hollow Death Trip (2020), all of which were selected as books of the year in mainstream international press. The books in this series have also been longlisted/shortlisted for the Amazon Readers Independent Voice Award, Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award, Not The Booker Prize and the Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year Award. Will spent his early years living in Germany, but returned at age eleven. He studied theatre and television at King Alfred’s Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition business and lives in Reading with his children.

You can follow Will Carver on TWITTER INSTAGRAM

And on Will Carver’s own WEBSITE

#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 on Amazon TWITTER INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK

Paul Cleave has a website HERE

#GuestAuthor #WillCarver @will_carver #Q&A #PsychopathsAnonymous @Orendabooks

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

 W; I didn’t really know what I wanted to be when I was a kid. I had a real thirst for knowledge, though. All I wanted to do was learn as much as I could about EVERYTHING. I dabbled with the idea of being a poet, a playwright, a painter and a singer. Theatre directing also made an appearance. So, I definitely always had a creative/expressive edge to everything. But I really honed in on the idea of writing a book while at university.

               The idea for PSYCHOPATHS ANONYMOUS has been brewing for a while. When my dad died, I found a book in his house called ‘Steps to Christ’, which I kept. It’s the kind of thing you are given on a 12-Step program and I assumed he acquired it at some AA meeting. Religion/belief has always fascinated me or, more specifically, the psychology behind it. I knew I’d do something with it one day.

               My books tend to stir up something in me as I write. HINTON HOLLOW DEATH TRIP looked into the idea of good and evil. This fed into THE BERESFORD where I thought a little more about heaven and hell. This then made me consider the function of a God figure. I was looking into Alcoholics Anonymous because I wanted to bring Maeve back and give her a story of her own. All of these things just came together and I invented the Psychopaths Anonymous support group.

J; How much research did you have to do for Psychopaths Anonymous…! Did you have to do a lot of drinking (lol) etc?

W; Ha! I do enjoy a drink and I like to ‘method write’ so I certainly allowed myself to get into Maeve’s character. I do have some personal experience of knowing people with addiction and I drew a little on that. I read through the 12-Step program several times. I always keep a Bible handy, too. I had considered attending an AA meeting but it felt very underhand when there were people there with real problems. We were locked down and there were online meetings but I just felt wrong doing that.

               I did read testimonies from people who say how much the plan worked and I found people who believed it made things much worse.

           When it came to the psychopathy element, I’m constantly researching this for my books and it’s a case of reading a lot of non-fiction and case studies and experiments, all of which I find incredibly interesting. I knew that a person could be a functioning alcoholic and wondered how it would play out to be a functioning psychopath.

J; Maeve is quite possibly THE best female Psycho EVER, how did you write her with such conviction? Did you base her on anyone!

W; It’s funny, a lot of people ask me this. Somebody even suggested that I may have based it on a female writer that I know. But the answer is no. She is fictitious. I had already invented Maeve for GOOD SAMARITANS. She was a successful and independent woman who drank a lot. She was obsessed with reality television and supported her husband, Seth, through some very dark moments. I had hinted at her psychopathy in the next two books and now it was time to ramp up her character.

               There are so many male psychopaths and serial killers to draw from but I liked the idea that there aren’t as many women. It is suggested that men are more violent but I thought it would be interesting to see a woman do these things and not get caught. Maeve is smarter than men. She is calm, considered. She has a list.

               But she also wants love. She wants somebody in her life. She gets off on seeing her ‘friend’ Jill’s misery but also feels those inflicting misery upon her should be punished.

               Maeve is just a very rich and psychologically interesting character, and there was a great sense of playfulness I had in developing and writing her.  

J; Who would you like to see playing the part of Maeve, if Psychopaths Anonymous is turned into a Movie?

W; I have to say that I think the idea lends itself more to a TV series than a film, perhaps. If I had written this book ten years ago, it would be Kate Winslet. No question. (I’d happily make Maeve a little older if Kate Winslet wanted to play her.)

               When we were casting for the audiobook, I did say that Emily Blunt would be my choice in an ideal world, I think she has everything to pull this character off.

               But, in my head, I was thinking of someone that looked like Sherilyn Fenn when she played Audrey Horne in Twin Peaks – that quirky femme fatale type.

J; As a child growing up, were you an avid reader or watcher of television? Did any part of your childhood make you the writer you are?

W; My parents weren’t big readers, so we didn’t have loads of books in the house. My mother was – and still is – into true crime books, so I assume that seeped into my mind somehow. But, yes, I always read a lot as a kid but I’ve always been way more into films. We always watched films, always went to the cinema. My favourite job – apart from writing – was working in my local cinema. Even now, I find it an entirely magical experience whenever I go.

               I have a gigantic film collection. I get a message each week from my mother reminding me that there are still 3,000 VHS tapes in boxes in her loft. (I’ve snuck some DVDs up there, too. Shhh.) I think film has been the biggest influence on the way I write and is probably why I mess around with the structure of my books so much and end up telling each story in a different way.

               As for my childhood, I spent a fair amount of time alone for various reasons and I think that lends itself to the process of writing/thinking/creating rather well.

J; What is your favourite book you’ve read in 2021 and why?

W; When was 2021? I read quite a few books over the year, I’m bound to forget something then kick myself for doing so. I’m going to pick a couple. One was a big hit, the other was more of an indie discovery.

               I really enjoyed TRUE CRIME STORY by Joseph Knox. It’s nice to see a commercially successful author push things in a different direction. A great idea handled well. It still felt commercial to me and I think could have been edgier than it was but I absolutely tore through it. I’m sure there will be some awards nods coming its way.

               And I’LL PRAY WHEN I’M DYING by Stephen J. Golds. I am a big fan of the writing. It’s dirty and raw and unapologetic. This is the other end of the spectrum to my last choice. There’s a real poetry to the writing. There’s rhythm and style and a powerfully dark story with a screwed up protagonist you want to succeed, even though you shouldn’t.

J; Do you have a favourite author or favourite book of all time?

 W;              When it comes to contemporary fiction, you can’t beat Chuck Palahniuk, and FIGHT CLUB is an anarchic masterpiece. The book changed my life and made me want to write novels, rather than plays.

               I love Hemingway. A MOVEABLE FEAST and TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT are probably my favourites. You can’t beat Fitzgerald, either. I mean, THE GREAT GATSBY is basically perfect. Oh, and Bukowski, of course. POST OFFICE. Raw. Dirty. Brilliant. I could go on but these are the books I go back to again and again.

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

W; It’s funny, I do suffer from a thing called ‘Golden Age Syndrome’ where you think your current generation is awful and want to travel back to the time you see as the best.

I’d love to go back to 1969 and attend Woodstock but Joni Mitchell didn’t play, which sucks because she’s the best.

I’d happily stick around for ten years after that to witness the greatest decade in cinema history. (It was also quite a fruitful time in the world of serial killers that I have written about.)

But, if I could only choose one, I’d probably head to Paris in the 20s and drink absinthe and wine with all of my favourite writers and artists. The crazy thing is that they would probably choose to go back to some other time when they thought literature was at its height.

I know that isn’t necessarily one historical moment like the JFK assassination but having all that talent in one city at one time seems worthy to me.

J; You can pick 4 famous people, dead or alive, for a dinner party, who would you pick and why?

W;               I recently wrote a piece on six fictional psychopaths I would invite to dinner. But if I could have real people. CHARLES BUKOWSKI. I’d want someone who would stay up and drink with me until the early hours. It might end in some kind of fight, who knows? I think the same would be said for HEMINGWAY but he’s a little too serious, probably. Take the work seriously but yourself less so. 

               FRAN LEBOWITZ. Damn, I just love her. Smart, funny, outspoken, interesting. If you get a chance to read anything she has written, you should. And check out her documentary on Netflix to get a flavour for her genius. I could listen to her talk all night. And she probably would.

               PAUL MCCARTNEY. I’m on a real Beatles high, at the moment, and he’s my favourite. I like the idea that we might be able to jam after dinner on the guitar and piano and rock out some songs.

               KEVIN WIGNALL. I’ve been to dinner with Kevin many times. He hosts an intimate gathering every year on the Saturday of Harrogate festival. We eat lovely food, drink great wine and he has a love for dessert wine that is renowned. I think I’d like to repay his hospitality with this fine bunch while also using his unsurpassed skills as a raconteur.

J; When you’re writing do like silence or do you listen to music?

W:                When I’m creating, I tend to do it in silence or with the thrum of a cafe filled with screaming children. If I listen to music while writing, it’s usually classical or jazz. I can’t listen to anything with lyrics. (I love the Cinema Paradiso soundtrack. Ennio Morricone. Beautiful.)

However, when I’m trying to create a certain mood or vibe to write in, I will listen to something before I write, to get me in the right space to create the sense I want on the page. When I edit, I can have music with lyrics and I tend to have something in the background because editing sucks and I need some joy in that process.

               I also always listen to The Weight by The Band when I finish a book. And I drink a LARGE whisky.

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

W;            STOP EATING ANIMALS. That’s the best piece of life advice I’ve received. Going vegan changed me for the better. I feel cleaner, healthier and ethically wrinkle-free. I wish I’d done it sooner.

               The best piece of writing advice I’ve ever received was to ‘add light to the shade’. My books are often trying to talk about some societal issue and I can fall into a place where it feels like I am punching the reader in the face repeatedly to make the point. That doesn’t work. Often a serious point can be made by injecting humour. You can’t just hear about a character’s faults, there has to be some redemption. you have to let the reader breathe.

               The funny thing is, I know this, but it’s always the note that comes back to me on any edit. But I think that the first draft is where I am completely caught up in the story and I am getting everything out. The best advice I can give to a budding writer is to get somebody to read your work that doesn’t love you. Your mum/partner/brother/cousin shouldn’t have to tell you that you are awful, it’s not fair. Find someone to read who will be honest. It will set you up for the world of writing and publishing to hear that what you’ve just written is a load of crap because that’s all being a writer is.

J; Are you currently writing another book?

W; I’m always writing another book. I have a lot of ideas and I need to get them down. PSYCHOPATHS ANONYMOUS hasn’t been out that long, so people are still talking about that. I’m in the editing phase of THE DAVES NEXT DOOR, which is due in July, and I am currently writing my book for the end of the year, which is preliminarily called SUICIDE THURSDAY. I’ve written some of it and I’ve got an idea of where it’s going to go but it’s not quite ready for me to really sit down and pound out the words.

               I think I know my next four books and I’d like to branch out in the world of screenplays/stageplays at some point. I enjoy working hard and I love writing, so there is always something on the go.

J; Which of your books are you most proud of?

W;            NOTHING IMPORTANT HAPPENED TODAY. Without a doubt. I don’t think there’s a book out there like it. I really managed to hit on something original there but I think, and it’s incredibly rare, it came out exactly as I wanted it to. I can think of things I would change in all of my other books but I just wouldn’t change anything in this. The prose was sparse but had the impact I wanted. I think my voice is at its strongest, too. I know that the subject matter is difficult and I know that the readers who don’t like it tend to really hate it but its point is to provoke that reaction, to get people thinking.

               I’d love to feel that way again about a book but I’m not sure lightning will strike twice. 

Thank you once again Will Carver for agreeing to be my blog guest, and also special thanks to Karen at Orenda books for arranging this and supporting me.

Will Carver is the bestselling author of the January Series – Girl 4 (2011), The Two (2012), The Killer Inside (2013), Dead Set (2013) – and the critically acclaimed Detective Pace series, which includes Good Samaritans (2018), Nothing Important Happened Today (2019) and Hinton Hollow Death Trip (2020), all of which were selected as books of the year in the mainstream international press. The books in this series have also been longlisted/shortlisted for the Amazon Readers Independent Voice Award, Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award, Not The Booker Prize and the Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year Award. Will spent his early years living in Germany but returned at age eleven. He studied theatre and television at King Alfred’s Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition business and lives in Reading with his children.

You can buy Will’s books HERE

Follow Will Carver on Twitter Instagram Facebook

My #Review of #TheQuietPeople by @PaulCleave @OrendaBooks

THE QUIET PEOPLE BY PAUL CLEAVE

Cameron and Lisa Murdoch are successful New Zealand crime writers, happily married and topping bestseller lists worldwide. They have been on the promotional circuit for years, joking that no one knows how to get away with crime like they do. After all, they write about it for a living.

So when their challenging seven-year-old son Zach disappears, the police and the public naturally wonder if they have finally decided to prove what they have been saying all this time…

Are they trying to show how they can commit the perfect crime?

Electrifying, taut and immaculately plotted, The Quiet People is a chilling, tantalisingly twisted thriller that will keep you gripped and guessing to the last explosive page.

Firstly thank you so so much to Karen at Orenda Books for my copy of the Quiet People, is there ever a bad book from Orenda? NO!

So from the extremely shocking and gripping prologue, The Quiet People had me, there is no way you would be able to read this slowly, you need to devour it and with each page the plot just gets more and more shocking!

I really want to say lots about this book, but I also don’t want to give the plots away! But it is without a doubt one of the darkest, thrillers I’ve had the pleasure of reading!

The 2 main characters, Cameron and Lis Murdoch go through absolute hell in this storyline, the way Paul has written the events and how someone would probably cope (or not) and how one reaction leads to the butterfly effect, is just sublime! I was so anxiety ridden reading The Quiet People, I actually didn’t sleep much over the two days I was reading it as I could wait to see what transpired next! Gripping is an understatement! The setting for this book is Christchurch, New Zealand and I found the descriptions of the city were wonderful, gritty and added to the dark atmosphere.

Once you get halfway thru, the shocks and twists just keep building like a train rushing down a track, you KNOW that there’s going to be a crash, but not what it will be!! I will also say that I cried at the end of the book, this is because you will feel like you’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster just like Cameron Murdoch!

In summing up, this is a fabulously well written thriller, by a writer who knows how to look inside the darkest places of the human mind and to then be able to write this for us the readers to enjoy! Phenomenal book and I look forward to reading Paul Cleave’s next work!

Another 5 ⭐️ read ( although it’s so good it deserves more!)

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 incase 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.

Visit Paul Cleave’s WEBSITE Twitter

You can buy The Quiet People HERE at Orenda Books

My review of the brilliant and unique #PsychopathsAnonymous by @will_carver @OrendaBooks

Maeve has everything. A high-powered job, a beautiful home, a string of uncomplicated one-night encounters. She’s also an addict: A functioning alcoholic with a dependence on sex and an insatiable appetite for killing men.

When she can’t find a support group to share her obsession, she creates her own. And Psychopaths Anonymous is born. Friends of Maeve.

Now in a serious relationship, Maeve wants to keep the group a secret. But not everyone in the group adheres to the rules, and when a reckless member raises suspicions with the police, Maeve’s drinking spirals out of control.

She needs to stop killing. She needs to close the group.

But Maeve can’t seem to quit the things that are bad for her, including her new man…

A scathing, violent and darkly funny book about love, connection, obsessions and sex – and the aspects of human nature we’d prefer to hide – Psychopaths Anonymous is also an electrifyingly original, unpredictable thriller that challenges virtually everything.

This is the first book that I have read by Will Carver, and I must say a very kind thank you to Karen at Orenda Books for sending it to me to read, and hopefully Will Carver will be on my blog answering questions next year.

This is such a unique book, there is no Police Detective to lead an investigation but there are murders….several of them! The story revolves around Maeve and her addictions….to booze, to killing and sex!

The way Will Carver has written this book is not like any other you will read, the protagonist, Maeve is so fucking fierce, bold, messed up, funny, weird, and mostly psychotic, it’s brilliant! Never have I ever felt that I identified with a character in a novel more, than Maeve ( I know slightly worrying, right! ) There are moments of hilarity interspersed with her ravings about God, Booze, Alcoholics Anonymous and life in general. She is such a bloody immense fictional character! I adore her!

Will Carver is so talented and his writing style and talent for describing his characters are just sublime, he obviously has a dark and fantastical mind!

If you like you crime with an edge, something different, something unique, something that may be too close to the bone for some! Then look no further than Psychopaths Anonymous, it’s an unputdownable gripping read, dark, bold, unique and truely the work of genius!

About Will Carver

Will Carver is the bestselling author of the January Series – Girl 4 (2011), The Two (2012), The Killer Inside (2013), Dead Set (2013) – and the critically acclaimed Detective Pace series, which includes Good Samaritans (2018), Nothing Important Happened Today (2019) and Hinton Hollow Death Trip (2020), all of which were selected as books of the year in mainstream international press. The books in this series have also been longlisted/shortlisted for the Amazon Readers Independent Voice Award, Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award, Not The Booker Prize and the Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year Award. Will spent his early years living in Germany, but returned at age eleven. He studied theatre and television at King Alfred’s Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition business and lives in Reading with his children

You can buy Will’s books from Orenda Books

Will’s Social Media Links – Twitter Instagram Facebook

#Novembers first #Author #Chat is with the brilliant @AwaisKhanAuthor

Firstly, I must say and huge thank you to Awais Khan for taking the time to answer my questions.

I’d like to start by asking, have you always wanted to be a writer? And where did the idea of No Honour come from?

Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Jude! It is a huge honour. To answer your question, no, I never thought I would be a writer. I was always an avid reader, of course, but it wasn’t until I went to Canada for my bachelor’s degree that I realized that publishing was actually an industry. That got me interested in writing, but it wasn’t until I was 25 that I was able to write my first novel. No Honour actually began as a short story that I’d written for a magazine. My agent, Annette Crossland, took one look at it and told me that it was too important a topic to not be expanded into a novel. I wasn’t very sure, but thanks to her encouragement, I decided to attempt it. I had to do a lot of research because I wasn’t very familiar with life in our rural areas. I had to visit the rural areas in southern Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to see what life was really like and what I saw thoroughly depressed me. That was when I knew that I had to write this book.

How much research did you have to do for No Honour, and did you encounter hate in writing this book, as it’s a controversial subject?

I think there will always be some degree of hate for an author, but it’s the love from readers and supporters like yourself that more than makes up for it. I understand the criticism and I take it in my stride and use it to improve my craft, but I don’t understand blind hate, especially when people disregard my struggle and assume that I got here on pure luck. No, what you see today is the culmination of decades worth of struggle and I’ve only barely scratched the surface.

Abida’s Father is such a strong progressive character, did you base him on anyone?

Jamil was entirely fictional. However, I was aware that the evil father was a consistent stereotype in Pakistani television and fiction and I wanted to break away from that. Also, I wanted to show how much of an impact proper nurturing can make. Jamil was raised by a progressive woman who did not take any nonsense, and that enabled him to defy social convention

Who would you like to see playing the parts of Abida and Jamil, if No Honour is turned into a Movie?

Ah, that is a tough one. I think Abida could be played well by either Alia Bhatt or Sajal Ali whereas Jamil could be played well by Shaan from Pakistan or Sanjay Dutt from India.

As a child growing up, were you an avid reader? Do you have a favourite childhood book?

I was a very avid reader. As a matter of fact, when my parents would take me to a departmental store, I’d make a beeline for the books section ignoring the toy section entirely. I grew up reading The Secret Seven and Famous Five. I loved those books so much! Later, Harry Potter came.

What is your favourite book you’ve read this year and why?.

Ah, this is again a very difficult question. There can never be a single favourite book haha! Some books that I really enjoyed this year and would classify as my favourites are:

Better Confess by Alan Gorevan (He writes kickass thrillers with a generous dose of humour. Believe me, this book is worth all the hype it is getting and more!)
She’s Mine by A.A. Chaudhuri (This is Chaudhuri’s first foray into psychological thrillers and what an accomplishment it is. I was engrossed!)
Everything Happens for a Reason by Katie Allen (This one will break your heart, but then mend it all over again. I inhaled this book!)
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (Nobody can do horror and thrillers quite like Shirley Jackson)

Do you have a favourite author or favourite book of all time?

Again, there can’t be a single favourite author 😉 My favourite authors would be Faiqa Mansab, A.A. Chaudhuri, Alan Gorevan, Donna Tartt, Eve Smith… the list is endless. Favourite book of all time… well, that would be Harry Potter!

What were the challenges you faced growing up in Pakistan? And did you have a role model?

Pakistan is not the best place for a creative person. You are forced to quell your passion every step of the way. Luckily, I have supportive parents, but many people don’t. However, even with parents who have supported me, society has questioned my every career decision and regarded it with scorn. It is not easy to endure all of this. Even though I was working on other things apart from writing, I would always be asked when my book would be out and how much money I was going to make or am making. Is that something you would ask a person who works in a bank or in an office? No, you wouldn’t, so why is it okay to ask writers how much they earn? I think my role model is my father. I have always looked up to him, but sadly, I have never managed to be like him. I am literally the opposite! I think my role model is my father. I have always looked up to him, but sadly, I have never managed to be like him. I am literally the opposite!

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

I’m not sure. History is full of so many horrors that I’m not sure I would ever like to go in the past at all. However, I suppose it would have been nice to be able to witness the fall of the Berlin Wall (9/11/1989) and see people finally getting their much-deserved freedom. I mean, I was alive at that time, but too young to remember.

You can pick 4 famous people, dead or alive, for a dinner party, who would you pick and why?

  • My paternal grandmother. She may not have been famous, but she was very special to me. I would give anything to see her again, even for a moment. I miss her terribly.
  • J.K. Rowling, only to beg her to write another Harry Potter book or maybe a prequel featuring Dumbledore.
  • Noor Jahan. She was such an accomplished singer. I’d love to listen to her sing live.
  • And you, Jude. Wouldn’t you like to join me for this fabulous dinner party and you are definitely famous enough to do so

When you’re writing do like silence or do you listen to music?

I don’t really have a preference. Whenever I am in London, I love to write in cafes. My favourite haunt is the Starbucks in Brunswick Centre near Russell Square Station. I can write in the silence of my study just as well.

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

Someone told me once to think of my biggest possible aspiration and imagine that it has come true. I was told to hold on to that feeling and believe in it, and that if I do, it will come true. In many cases, that has happened.

What’s the greatest gift you’ve ever received?

The gift of friends. I’ve always had very few close friends. In school, I was the weird kid who loved books and hated sports. College was a huge culture shock for me and I just didn’t get to enjoy it the way I should have. I think I bloomed properly in my 30s. I now have some amazing close friends and life is good!

Are you currently writing another book?

I am, indeed. I am writing another book for Orenda. This one is set between Lahore and London and explores the immigrant experience to a great extent. I think it will resonate a lot with South Asian ex-pats living in the UK.

Thank you once again, Awais for your brilliant answers, it’s great to get to know you better!

Awais Khan is a writer and consultant based in Lahore. A graduate of the University of Western Ontario and the University of Durham, he has studied Creative Writing at the prestigious Faber Academy in London. His work has appeared in the Aleph Review, The Hindu, Missing Slate Magazine (he was also their Author of the Month), Daily Times, MODE, The News International etc. He teaches creative writing through the Writing Institute in Pakistan and has a large student base both in Pakistan and abroad. He has conducted lectures on creative writing at Durham University, American University of Dubai, Canadian University of Dubai, United States Educational Foundation of Pakistan, Kinnaird College, Hajvery University etc.

Awais has also been featured in various magazines, TV and Radio channels. His interviews have appeared in the Khaleej Times, HELLO! Pakistan and Shots Blog UK to name a few and his TV and Radio interviews have appeared on Voice of America, Dubai Eye, Samaa TV, Cambridge Radio, Luton Radio, Uxbridge Radio, Indus TV, PTV Home and City42. He has had events at Foyles Charing Cross, Waterstones Cambridge, Waterstones Durham, Hillingdon Libraries, Dubai Literary Salon and Dolcino Loughborough.

His first novel, IN THE COMPANY OF STRANGERS, was published by The Book Guild in July 2019, by Simon & Schuster India in December 2019 and by Liberty Publishing Pakistan in April 2020 to much critical acclaim. Stunning reviews have appeared in Khaleej Times, Hello!, Free Press Journal, Dawn, The News International, Daily Times, Outlook Magazine, Newsline, Daily Telegraph (India), Pakistan Today and the novel has been hailed by bestselling authors and journalists including Faiqa Mansab, Soniah Kamal, Anita Chaudhuri, Miranda Husain, A.A. Chaudhuri and many more.

Audio rights for IN THE COMPANY OF STRANGERS have been acquired by Isis Audio for publication in 2021. Awais next book will be published in 2022, by Orenda.

You can find Awais here on Twitter Instagram here Facebook here

You can buy In The Company of Strangers HERE

You can buy No Honour HERE

My Review of the exceptional #BlackReedBay by @Rod_WR @OrendaBooks

When a young woman vanishes from an exclusive oceanfront community in the middle of the night, Detective Casey Wray’s takes on a case that leads her in chilling, unexpected directions … A twisty, breath-taking police procedural. First in a heart-pounding new series.

Black Reed Bay had been sat on my To Read shelf for quite a while ( I should learn that any book published by Orenda Books is amazing!) so on picking it up I was quite ambivalent as to what to expect.

WELL….I cannot jump from the trees and shout enough about how bloody fantastic Black Reed Bay is! Firstly, I must explain that not only am I a huge Crime Fiction fan, I also have an unhealthy obsession with True Crime and serial killers…..I will put this down to being a frustrated wannabe Cop/Detective, alas for many reasons I never got to live my dream job, but came close in being a small Town Traffic Warden in the early 1990’s, chasing shoplifters, and facing gunmen along the way!

That’s me, in action as Traffic Warden 33, during a Bomb Scare at the local Tax Office.

SO I totally got from the beginning of Black Reed Bay, that Rod Reynolds had based it on the Long Island Killer, and it is awesome because of that! If you don’t know the story behind the Long Island Killer check it out on Google, then Black Reed Bay will become even more amazing……!

The characters that he introduces us to to Detective Sergeant Casey Wray and her partner Detective David Cullen are both SO well written, and really likeable, in fact all the cast are really written with a great eye for the human psyche.

Anyway after a weird 911 call they are thrown into a strange investigation where things move at a startling pace and trusting anyone but themselves is a dangerous game.

As you know, I never give the storyline away, but I will say this….it took me 3 days to read, I was totally invested in Casey ‘Big’ Wray and the search for the truth. It was gripping and frankly creepy the way the descriptions of the settings were written, small, bleak, lonely places, came alive in my minds eye.

In Black Reed Bay you will find everything a crime fiction fan loves, and frankly much more….it is just a stellar and bloody brilliant book! In fact, if you’re reading this review, Rod, when the heck is the next instalment going to be ready as I’m obsessed and want to read it now!

Another 5 ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star read, and dare I say my favourite book of the year! Thank you Orenda books for finding these phenomenal authors and publishing their works! ❤️

Rod Reynolds is the author of four novels, including the Charlie Yates series. His 2015 debut, The Dark Inside, was longlisted for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood Dagger), and was followed by Black Night Falling (2016) and Cold Desert Sky (2018); The Guardian have called the books ‘Pitch-perfect American noir.’ A lifelong Londoner, his critically acclaimed standalone thriller, Blood Red City, is the first book set in his hometown, but he’s crossing the ocean again, with his explosive new thriller, Black Reed Bay. Rod previously worked in advertising as a media buyer, and holds an MA in novel writing from City University London. Rod lives with his wife and family and spends most of his time trying to keep up with his two young daughters. Chat to Rod on Twitter @Rod_WR.

You can buy Black Reed Bay here https://orendabooks.co.uk/product/black-reed-bay