blog tours

#BlogTour Palm Beach Finland by Antti Tuomainen. #guestpost @OrendaBooks @antti_tuomainen #PalmBeachFinland

First Palm Beach BT Poster

Today it is my great pleasure to have a stop on the blog tour by Palm Beach Finland by Antti Tuomainen and published by Orenda Books. Antti is a great author and although I couldn’t fit in reading the book for my stop I’m delighted to have a guest post by him about writing funny crime. And that is something that he does well, the last book that I read of his, The Man Who Died, was really rather gruesome but also very funny.

Guest Post:

WRITING FUNNY CRIME, OR: WHAT I LEARNED FROM THE MARX BROTHERS WHEN I WAS SEVEN

I suppose something similar had already happened even earlier, but I do remember an afternoon in the late 1970s when I was watching television with my father in the northern suburb of Maunula in Helsinki, Finland, when something indeed clicked.

It was an old film, I could tell that by the crackling sound and the black and white picture that sometimes jumped a bit, or omitted a fraction of a second of screen time so the actors’ movements seemed suddenly quite angular. But all of that didn’t matter. I instantly knew it was a good one and right up my alley. My father laughed, I laughed. We probably laughed at different things, or at the same things for different reasons, but that’s just how it goes when one of you is seven and the other is 39. And after seeing that first one, I wanted to see more of those crazy Marx Brothers.

What does this have to with crime writing? Well, the Marx Brothers came to mind again a few years ago when I was at a certain kind of crossroads with my writing. After five very serious, very dark crime novels I needed a change. I believe what I needed to do was bring more of myself into my writing. What I now see I was missing in my writing was my other artistic love besides noir literature: comedy. As I was re-watching old comedies (that probably have more to do with my getting into this writing game in the first place than I am even giving credit for) I realized just how good those old Marx Brothers films were. Or, more precisely, how good their writers were and how much in fact I had learned that Sunday afternoon in 1979.

I watched the films and then read parts of the scripts (Monkey Business, Duck Soup, A Day at the Races) and found them even more anarchic, more absurd, more brilliant than the films. With the films, especially as Groucho or Chico launch into their tirades, everything flies and wizzes past you in nonsensical speed. (An argument could be made that it is nonsensical in any speed, but we’ll skip that.) In reading the scripts, I fully realized that each scene, each exchange was used to the max, so to speak.

To be honest, I never modeled any story or book after the Marx Brothers or even consider them a direct influence. But I do suppose I have tried to learn a thing or two about the optimal use of dialogue, the delightful power of the absurd, and just some perfectly timed silliness. (Of course, the Marx Brothers also tackled more serious issues like, for example, tyranny and dictatorship and war in Duck Soup. In their own way, it must be said.)

And, most importantly, I think, what happened that day long time ago was that a lamp got lit. My goodness, it’s great to laugh at crazy silly anarchic well-done stuff, and how it lifts the spirits and how it lightens the heart. I don’t know. At seven, I probably survived without analyzing the mental health effects of comedic entertainment. It was just enough to laugh and have a good time. (Which actually doesn’t sound too bad on this particular middle-aged grey day.) Anyway, I have the Marx Brothers to thank for something, certainly. And it’s just so nice to know there is writing and film that has stuff like this randomly selected (just by opening the script book) piece of dialogue:

GROUCHO: You’re just the man I wanted to see. If I could show you how to save 20 per cent, would you be interested? Of course you would. In the first place, your overhead is too high and your brow is too low. Interested already, aren’t you?

HELTON: I…

GROUCHO: Now, just wait till I get through.

HELTON: I haven’t got time.

GROUCHO: Now, there are two fellas trying to attack you, aren’t there? And there are two fellas trying to defend you.

HELTON: Why…

GROUCHO: Now that’s 50 per cent waste. Now why can’t you be attacked by your own bodyguards? Your life will be saved and that’s… that’s 100 per cent waste. Now what have you got? You’ve still got me and I’ll attack you for nothing.

Come to think of it, doesn’t that sound like the beginning of a certain kind of crime story?

Blurb:

PALM BEACH PROOF COVER AWFargo meets Baywatch in a darkly funny thriller by the critically acclaimed author of The Man Who Died Multi-platform, buzz-building marketing & publicity campaign Bestselling Finnish crime novel of 2017 Challenges the Scandinavian crime-fiction genre formula Sex, lies and ill-fitting swimwear … Sun Protection Factor 100 Jan Nyman, the ace detective of the covert operations unit of the National Central Police, is sent to a sleepy seaside town to investigate a mysterious death. Nyman arrives in the town dominated by a bizarre holiday village – the ‘hottest beach in Finland’. The suspect: Olivia Koski, who has only recently returned to her old hometown. The mission: find out what happened, by any means necessary. With a nod to Fargo, and the darkest noir, Palm Beach, Finland is both a page-turning thriller and a wicked black comedy about lust for money, fleeing dreams and people struggling at turning points in their lives … from the ‘King of Helsinki Noir’.

About The Author:

Antti TuomainenFinnish Antti Tuomainen was an award-winning copywriter when he made his literary debut in 2007 as a suspense author. The critically acclaimed My Brother’s Keeper was published two years later. In 2011, Tuomainen’s third novel, The Healer, was awarded the Clue Award for ‘Best Finnish Crime Novel of 2011’ and was shortlisted for the Glass Key Award. Two years later, in 2013, the Finnish press crowned Tuomainen the ‘King of Helsinki Noir’ when Dark as My Heart was published. With a piercing and evocative style, Tuomainen was one of the first to challenge the Scandinavian crime genre formula, and his poignant, dark and hilarious The Man Who Died became an international bestseller, shortlisting for the Petrona and Last Laugh      Awards.

Palm Beach Finland by Antti Tuomainen is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

blog tours, guest post

#BlogTour #guestpost Signs in the Rearview Mirror by Kelly Smith. @kellys_author #toxicrelationships

Signs in the Rearview Mirror

Ok, I have to hold my hands up and admit that this post should have gone live yesterday but it didn’t. I am very sorry for that and have many excuses (and pretty good ones at that I think) but I won’t bore you with them now. This is the worst part of blogging, the times when my flawed humaness gets in the way. I’m especially annoyed as I really support this book and what it is about. So sorry to Rachel who organised the tour but especially to the author, Kelly Smith.

Guest Post:

Dating after a toxic relationship can be difficult. Dating after any relationship ends can be difficult, but it’s even harder after you have been abused. In my book Signs in the Rearview Mirror, I talk about my toxic abusive relationship with my ex Gabe, but I also write about my toxic mother and the relationship I had with myself that was extremely toxic. In order for me to be ready to even think about dating again, I had to heal. I had to learn why I was abusive to my ex husband and why I would allow myself to be in an abusive relationship.

After getting out of my toxic relationship, I got help. I began a recovery program and I began to see my therapist a few times a week at first. I had a lot of healing and self exploring to do. I have learned that it’s best to not date while in recovery, but of course I had to learn that the hard way, by doing it. While I was in recovery I felt being single meant you were unlovable. So I tried time after time to force myself to get into a relationship. It didn’t work. The only thing I got from it was bad first dates and good lessons. Now I will share some of my lessons with you.

Dating before you are ready can affect you and the person you are dating. If you have not had a t least one year to go through the motions of your “firsts” you will have a bad time dating. Trying to get through toxic damage while trying to build something with someone is my version of hell. It is near impossible to know if you are with someone because you want to be or because you don’t want to be alone. Take the time to heal before you date again. How do you know you’re ready to date???

  • Time. How much time has passed since you left your previous relationship? Less than one year may not cut it. You can’t speed up the recovery process. You owe it to yourself to find real happiness with someone and you won’t be able to do that if you rush into something too soon. Spend your year of firsts on your own. Your first birthday on your own Christmas, ect. Learn how to be alone and to get comfortable with it.
  • Healing. All time does is pass. That’s it. Time fixes nothing. It is what you do with that time that matters. Get into a recovery group. See a therapist. Once you realize you may be in a toxic relationship and you stay, you need to figure out why. Why would you stay with someone treating you poorly. That is what you need to figure out. You have to take responsibility for your choices to stay where someone is abusing you.
  • Happy on your own. When you can laugh, make plans, figure out solutions to your problems on your own, you are probably ready to date. When you are comfortable staying home alone, making your own decisions, and figuring out who you are, that is when you are probably ready to date. You have to get to a place in your life where if you meet someone and it ends your world won’t come crashing down. Once you are comfortable on your own and secure with yourself, you will be unstoppable.
  • Financially responsible. Once you get to a place where you can support yourself, you will no longer accept anything toxic in your life. Once you can pay your bills and support yourself, you will see how quickly you will not waste time with anyone who does not deserve you.

Those are just a few ways to know you may be ready to date again. You also have to listen to your gut. For me it took a few years to really be ready to date. Now that I am ready, I am having fun with it. Of course I am always on the hunt for red flags, but now that I have healed and I am recovering, I can spot them much easier.

Learn to love yourself and always be brave!

Blurb:

What kind of person ends up in a toxic relationship? And why does she stay? This searingly honest novel answers both those questions head-on. Coming out of a failing marriage, Kelly turns to Gabe out of fear of being alone. Her gradual slide into danger is at once terrifying and inevitable, and the steps she takes to get out of it will both inspire and offer hope.

About The Author:

Signs - fullsizeoutput_37aeBoston born and raised, Kelly now makes her home in Austin with her three sons and one amazing Giant Schnauzer Bullseye. Kelly has written for Huffington Post, blogs at Thoughts Becoming Words, and hosts a podcast, Lets Get Wicked Deep.

Social Media Links – https://www.facebook.com/kellye95/

https://twitter.com/kellys_author

Signs in the Rearview Mirror by Kelly Smith is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

blog tours, guest post

#BlogTour #GuestPost Now You See Her by Heidi Perks @arrowpublishing @HeidiPerksBooks #NowYouSeeHer #booksuggestions

Now You See Her Blog Tour Banner.png

I’m delighted to be part of the blog tour for Now You See Her by Heidi Perks. I really, really want to read this book but I just couldn’t squeeze it in in time for this post, so instead Heidi Perks has written a fabulous guest post about inspiring books that she’s read lately. I’ve read some of them and have to agree that they’re great books so I’m going to add the others to my tbr pile!

Five Books That Have Recently Inspired Me

I’ve always been a prolific reader, something I believe has undoubtedly helped me develop my own writing. I like to know what’s current in my genre – who the bestselling authors are and what topics they are writing about – but I also learn a lot from their style and characterisation.

As a child I devoured Enid Blyton and fell in love with the book, The Last Of The Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Edwards. Having recently read this and The Castle of Adventure to my children I’m certain my love of writing is rooted in my eight-year-old self. In my twenties I was blown away by Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper. This was the type of book I wanted to write too, I realised, though it wouldn’t be for another ten years that I finally started writing seriously.

Since then I read differently. I can still fall deeply into a story but often I find myself wondering about why the author chose certain techniques. Then sometimes I’ll take away something that helps me develop my own writing. Here are five books that have shaped the way I write:

The Dry by Jane Harper. I read this while I was well into round three of edits with my agent, Nelle Andrew. I could see straight away Jane Harper has an incredible skill for writing but what hit me most was her frugality with words. Her story was concise, there were no unnecessary sentences and as soon as I put the book down I went back to the start of mine and began the round of edits again, this time peeling back until I was happy that I was only saying what needed to be said.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. Moriarty has a magical way of making her characters leap off the page in all her books. I read Big Little Lies at the point when I started writing Now You See Her and it taught me how effective a well-drawn character can be. Getting to know your own – their reactions and what makes them tick – is paramount. You might want your characters to surprise your reader but it shouldn’t be because they’re inconsistent.

Beartown by Fredrik Backman. If you want to cast one hundred characters in your book and you need each of them to earn their place on the page then this is a book you should read. I have nowhere near as many characters as there are residents of Beartown and I’m pretty sure if I did I wouldn’t be able to write them half as effectively as Backman. But what I took from this book was that you can create an effective picture of every secondary character in as a little as a couple of lines.

The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton. I read this a while ago but it has stayed with me ever since. I have no interest in visiting the Alaskan wilderness in the depths of winter but the book was so atmospheric I felt the icy coldness embedding into my bones even though I was reading it in summer.

Don’t Close Your Eyes by Holly Seddon. I love a book with different time frames or points of voice because I find it gives the story more perspective. This is why I decided to use both in Now You See Her. While I flash forward two weeks, in Seddon’s book she flashes back to years before and what she creates so effectively is two more or less standalone stories that are then entwined to create an enthralling book.

Blurb:

Now You See Her Hi-Res Cover ImageCharlotte is looking after her best friend’s daughter the day she disappears. She thought the little girl was playing with her own children. She swears she only took her eyes off them for a second.

Now, Charlotte must do the unthinkable: tell her best friend Harriet that her only child is missing. The child she was meant to be watching.

Devastated, Harriet can no longer bear to see Charlotte. No one could expect her to trust her friend again.
Only now she needs to. Because two weeks later Harriet and Charlotte are both being questioned separately by the police. And secrets are about to surface.

Someone is hiding the truth about what really happened to Alice.

About The Author:

20151120_Heidi-Perks_015Heidi Perks was born in 1973. She lives by the sea in Bournemouth with her husband and two children.
Heidi graduated from Bournemouth University in 1997 with a BA (Hons) in Retail Management, and then enjoyed a career in Marketing before leaving in 2012 to focus on both bringing up her family and writing.
She successfully applied for a place on the inaugural Curtis Brown Creative online Novel Writing Course and after that dedicated her time to completing this, her first novel.
She has a huge interest in what makes people tick and loves to write about family relationships, especially where some of the characters are slightly dysfunctional.

Now You See Her by Heidi Parks is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

blog tours, guest post

#Blog Tour #GuestPost The Bespokist Society Guide to London. #The Bespokist #thebespokistsociety #RandomThingsTours #bookblog

bespokist society

So at first glance The Bespokist Society Guide To London is a great and unique guide book that will show the reader new and interesting places to visit. But dig a little deeper and all isn’t as it seems. Perhaps a look at the logo with the words BS being shouted out loudly from a gramophone, what else does BS stand for? I’ve had a quick look at the book which led to lots of chuckling and a smile on my face, I must have a better read of it soon! Don’t take it all too seriously, but do enjoy it!

Guest Post: How the Bespokist Society saved our family 

by Tanya DeVosser

Picture the scene : a family of three, sitting at home in our living room in Kingston, staring out of the window and wishing there was somewhere we could go. Much to our son Hector’s annoyance, you can’t spend your whole life doing cryptic crosswords!

And then on 1 April 2018 The Bespokist Society Guide to…London was launched and our life has been transformed. We quickly realised that the Bespokist Society wasn’t just publishing a guidebook, it was showcasing a way of life. Suddenly we realised what we have been missing all these years – a genuinely curated book suggesting places in London to eat, drink and even visit!

Part of the problem is that we aren’t like most families. Hector has HAIS (highly advanced intelligence syndrome) and he is constantly challenging us to find new experiences. But here’s the rub – unless they have been specifically curated for him, Hector simply isn’t interested. Which is where The Bespokist Society has been a lifesaver. Without it we would never have gone on an excursion to Fecal Matters in Soho where we had a wonderful, bonding family colonic; and we certainly would have missed the mindblowing Courgette Gala in Hanger Lane.

The Bespokist Society has also been proved invaluable as far as food is concerned. Hector won’t touch the kind of kids menus that feature chicken nuggets or even pasta, mainly because he has unique tastebuds that need almost hourly stimulation. The Bespokist Society is on our wavelength – and showcases destinations like Etrusci where Hector gets to feast on an incredible range of offally cuts like lymph nodes and gizzards to his heart’s content!

Adults aren’t forgotten either. The guide has inspired my husband Matthew to get into the ethically sourced forest meat scene while I’ve been spending more and more time at the Temple of Tao where Peter Vaaaje does extraordinary things with naked limbs.

Most importantly, the guide has inspired us to link up with all manner of likeminded families. We have started to spend a lot of time at The Bespokist Society hub in Norbiton where there’s always something going down – last week there was a Mah Jong tournament for kids and a lovely lady from Croydon turned up selling artisanal tripe buns from Shaanxi province. And over the Summer they’re going to be putting on a festival of mindful winemaking where the UK’s very first cogniscent prosecco is going to be launched. It’s going to be a blast!

Blurb:

The Bespokist Society Gramo+BS 1“Wow!!! A genuinely bespoke city guide!!!” – Tommy Sponge, Chairman, The Bespokist Society

As the first travel book produced by the hugely influential Bespokist Society, this handy guide takes you to a London you’ve never seen: a London of challenging Etruscan restaurants, edgy branding parlours, emoji hotels and hidden Icelandic communities; a London where 8-ply toilet paper is a thing.

On the way, meet an eclectic band of inspiring Londoners – from scriveners to socialites via urban wordsmiths and coffee preachers – and see why London is now the global epicentre of Bespokist consciousness, community and culture.

About The Authors:

This is the information on the Bespokist Society’s website. I have no idea if it is true or not, but I suspect not.

THE BESPOKIST SOCIETY JEZ

Jez Tapano

Born : Easter Island

Lives : Plaistow

Favourite drink : Messy Monk IPA

Favourite food : Heritage carrots

Favourite hangout : Vine n Vinyl of course!

 

 

Nastya Petrov

Born : Vladivostock

Lives : Harrow on the Hill

Favourite drink : Dagenham Gin on the rocks

Favourite food : Rare breed walrus

Favourite hangout : Nina Saviceu gallery

 

 

 

The Bespokist Society Guide To London is out now and available from Amazon UK or direct from their website.

 

 

 

guest author, short story

#ShortStory Time Served by Jaime Raven author of The Rebel. @Sabah_K @AvonBooksUK

 

therebel
The Rebel by Jaime Raven.

Today I have a great short story written by Jaime Raven, author of The Rebel which is published by Avon Books. I love a good short story and I’m sure that you’re going to enjoy this one!

 

Blurb:

Jaime Raven

The Rebel

From the author of The Madam and The Mother comes a gripping new thriller that will have everyone talking!

Sometimes you have to take the law into your own hands…

 DI Laura Jefferson will do whatever it takes to bring down London’s most notorious crime boss. When her team receive a deadly threat – stop their investigation or the police and their families will be targeted – but they aren’t willing to back down…

Then the killings begin.

A new body is turns up every day, and with no leads, Laura knows she has to take action. Her family is innocent and she’ll stop at nothing to protect them.

When someone close to her is hurt, she’ll break every rule in the book to get vengeance.

Short Story:

TIME SERVED

BY JAIME RAVEN

Author of THE REBEL

The day has finally arrived and it’s been a long time coming. Fifteen years, seven months and three weeks to be precise.

But having served my time I’m now going to walk out of those prison gates never to return. Sure, I face an uncertain future, but then so does everyone.

At least I’ll no longer have to endure daily threats and taunts and the endless cycle of violence.

I can still remember that bitterly cold December morning when I arrived. It was such a shock to the system that I didn’t think I’d be able to cope.

There were those awful smells that were impossible to identify and the cacophony of noise that gave me headaches.

I found everything about the place intimidating, especially the cold grey eyes of the man who for no particular reason took and instant dislike to me.

Tommy Butcher had already been banged up for five years of a ten year sentence for armed robbery. And he had a fearsome reputation as an uncompromising thug.

‘So what’s your name then?’ he asked me when I encountered him that first day in the prison canteen.

‘Samuels,’ I told him. ‘John Samuels.’

He gave me that creepy, gold-toothed grin that became so familiar, and said, ‘Well I’m gonna call you redtop on account of your ginger hair.’

Much to my dismay the name stuck.

‘Count yourself lucky,’ Bill Simpson said to me more than once. ‘They call me Homer and I hate it with a vengeance.’

Bill has been my best pal throughout. I’ll miss him, and I know he’ll miss having me around.

‘It’ll be my turn to get out next year,’ he tells me as we have our last conversation in the prison’s high-security wing. ‘And I really can’t wait.’

‘I don’t suppose you’ll be as nervous as I am right now,’ I tell him.

He laughs. ‘Try to relax, mate. You’ll be fine. You’ve so much to look forward to.’

I shrug. ‘It doesn’t seem like it. But then I’ve only got myself to blame. I messed up big time.’

We both fall silent and it gives me time to reflect on my mistakes and how much my life has changed since that day fifteen years, seven months and three weeks ago.

Susan divorced me, my only son got married, his wife gave birth to my grandchild and my ginger hair turned grey.

And so much around me changed as well in that time. Conditions inside the prison deteriorated as a result of overcrowding and underfunding. Violence reached an all-time high, and now it seems like every day is a riot waiting to happen.

I’ve managed to survive, though, despite everything that was thrown at me. And that’s no mean feat.

‘You’re still young enough to make every moment count from now on,’ Bill says, but I find that hard to believe.

And yet I know I’m incredibly lucky to have reached this point. Not everyone who’s in for the long haul comes out relatively unscathed.

Jaime Raven

About The Author:

James_RavenJaime Raven is a full-time author living in Southampton UK. Jaime spends some of his time writing at his second home on Spain’s Costa Calida. He has three daughters. He was born in London and grew up in the gritty streets of Peckham where his family were well known street traders.

 

 

The Rebel by Jaime Raven is out now in the UK and available from Amazon UK, you can pre-order The Rebel from Amazon US now.

 

 

 

blog tours, guest author, guest post, how to

#BlogTour #Content Tips for writing about the past by Tiit Alexsejev #LBFBALTICS #BALTICBOOKS @midaspr

From today in London there’s a very big event happening for the book world, it’s the London Book Fair. They’re focusing on celebrating literature from the Baltic Countries and I have a guest post by Tiit Aleksejev talking about writing historical fiction. Enjoy!

Baltic Books Blog Tour

Guest Post: Tips for writing about the past – lessons from a historical fiction writer.

Tiit Aleksejev (1968) is historical fiction writer and playwright. He won the European Union Prize for Literature for his novel The Pilgrimage, which accounts the First Crusade. Since April 2016, Aleksejev has also been the chairman of the Estonian Writers´ Union. Estonia and the Baltic Countries are the Market Focus at this year’s The London Book Fair.

Aleksejev provides some tips on approaching the difficult historical subject matter and turning it into accessible fiction.

  • Do your own research into the period you are writing about. Then forget most of what you have learnt, the reader is not interested in your knowledge; but he or she cares about authenticity. Small errors kill the credibility, an accurate detail can be a cornerstone. Check the details but don’t overload your writing with them
  • Read as many resources as you can: chronicles, accounts, battle reports, songs, poems etc. Most will be inclined or distorted, they are written in favour of someone or something. For example the medieval conception of truth and veracity is completely different from ours. But you may find authentic fragments and voices; it is all about voices.
  • We don’t know how the ancients spoke, we know how they wrote, but this writing was done by a limited social group. So, you have to reconstruct – to invent in most cases – spoken language. Avoid anachronistic speech. It was probably not “O thou noble boy, hand me over this golden chalice!”. Distinguish everyday talk and ceremonial talk. Do your characters speak like priests or beggars? Or do they speak like people who surround you? If you are not sure how they really spoke, go for the brevity and laconic dialogues.
  • Find original names for your characters which suddenly sound right to you. Chronicles is a possibility. Or tomb stones if you are not afraid of the dead.
  • Visualize space: a room, a house, a street, a city. You need to see what is in the room. Pieces of furniture may be unaccustomed to us e.g. shelves for the scrolls. Maybe the room is empty. Then you have to see it empty.

The Baltic countries – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – will be the Market Focus for the London Book Fair 2018 (10th – 12th April).

About The Author:

Tiit Aleksejev

Tiit Aleksejev in 2011

Tiit Aleksejev (born 6 July 1968) is an Estonian novelist and playwright.

Aleksejev was born in Kohtla-Järve. He studied history at the University of Tartu, and served as a diplomat in France and Belgium.

His debut novel was a thriller called Valge kuningriik (The White Kingdom, 2006). It won the Betti Alver Prize for best first novel. His second novel was a work of historical fiction, set in the time of the First Crusade. This novel called Palveränd (The Pilgrimage, 2008) won the EU Prize for Literature and was translated into several languages subsequently (e.g. Italian, Hungarian, and Finnish). In 2011, he published a third novel Kindel linn (Stronghold). Palveränd and Kindel linn are the first and second part of what is to become a trilogy.

His first play Leegionärid (Legionaries), about the fallen soldiers of the Estonian Legion, appeared in 2010 and premiered in 2013 in Rakvere. It received the Virumaa Literary Award in 2011. Another historical play, Kuningad(Kings) was published in 2014 and is about the murder of the four Estonian kings during the St. George’s Night Uprising (1343).

Aleksejev lives in Tallinn.

blog tours, guest author, guest post

#BlogTour #Content 88 North by J.F. Kirwan. @kirwanjf @RaRaResources #thriller #spythriller @HQDigitalUK

 88 North Full Banner
Today I am delighted and excited to be part of the blog tour for 88 North by J.F. Kirwan. Readers of my little blog will have seen my reviews for the first two books in this series, 66 Metres and 37 Hours, both of which were very enjoyable, fast-paced, thrilling reads. I agreed to take part in the blog tour for all three of the books without having read any of them, something that is quite a big commitment for any book blogger that is inundated with requests to read and review books. I was relieved when I read the first one and really enjoyed it and when I finished the second one I asked whether I could have a copy of 88 North so that I could also read and review it, along with the guest post that I’d agreed to post. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to fit in reading 88 North yet, but I absolutely and most definitely will. This is a good series!
And I love this guest post where the author talks about his writing and how he gets his ideas. I like it because he is like me and doesn’t plan much, that he knows the beginning and the end but has no idea about the middle, just as I do and it seems that he does his best thinking in the bath, which is almost the same as me, because I hate baths and shower instead. Perhaps I’m not doing it all wrong then?!!

Guest Post:

Writing and Russian Roulette

by J F Kirwan

People always ask me if I know the end of my next book. I always reply yes, because I do, and that I also know the beginning. However, the middle 300 or so pages are a different matter. It’s like being able to see a house on a faraway mountain, but the valley before it is shrouded in mist. As a writer, having promised a book to a deadline, it kind of feels like Russian Roulette, because there’s a chance that the inspiration simply never comes… I believe this tension travels down through my fingertips into my laptop. I also believe it’s essential, at least for me. If I had it all plotted out, I’d get bored and my writing would be flat. Don’t get me wrong, I know a lot of writers turn out fab thrillers and plot everything out meticulously beforehand, but it just wouldn’t work for me.

After 66 Metres and 37 hours, which have the same protagonist (Nadia) but are slightly different books in style, I wanted the third one also to be different still. For about a month I was keen to start the next book, but after writing the Prologue I stopped, because I couldn’t see the twists and turns I would need to make this one stand-alone from the others and not simply be ‘more of the same’. Mostly, I couldn’t see the overall arc of the protagonist. If you’ve made it to the end of 37 hours, you pretty much know what Nadia needs to do. But what challenges would she have this time, possibly her last? It had to be something new. Luckily for me, my Sony laptop broke (the keyboard – I get carried away and sometimes I can’t type fast enough) – and I had to wait 10 days for a replacement (a Mac – 10 days? I live in France – just don’t ask).

And then, following in the great footsteps of Archimedes, I was sitting in the bath one evening thinking about nothing in particular, and the plot came to me. Just like that. Like it was hiding in plain sight and I’d missed it all this time. I got out, vaguely dried myself and began scribbling notes. This went on for 10 minutes, then I sat back. It would work. Already the shape of the book started to form, the clouds lifted from the valleys, and I could see the road, the places Nadia would travel, the obstacles in her way, and how it would change her. I didn’t go any further, because I still needed that uncertainty to drive me forward.

I also play Russian Roulette with my characters. Quite a few of them die in my books. One in particular, a real innocent, is someone Nadia saves in 88 North. In the initial draft she lived, and my fellow writers applauded. But the more I thought about it, it lessened the dramatic tension, and I knew Nadia’s nemesis, Salamander, would do everything he could to put Nadia off her game. So I killed the innocent. This led to one of the most dramatic scenes in the book, in Sudan, where Nadia finds out, and goes on a killing spree fuelled by revenge. One reader told me she punched the air while reading that scene. Had I planned it all out, and stuck to the plan, it never would have happened.

The ending was also re-written several times, as was the epilogue. I don’t mean edited, where the basic frame stays the same, I’m talking about major-rewrites here (even if the same characters remain standing at the end). But you can’t rewrite too much. Russian Roulette is a good analogy. Six chambers, one bullet. After three pulls of the trigger, you are really pushing your luck…

Blurb:

88 North

The deadliest kind of assassin is one who is already dying…

As the radiation poisoning that Nadia Laksheva was exposed to in Chernobyl takes hold of her body, she knows she has mere weeks to live. But Salamander, the terrorist who murdered her father and sister has a deadly new plan to ‘make the sky bleed’. Nadia is determined to stop him again, even if it is the last thing she ever does.

The only clue she has are the coordinates 88˚ North, a ridge in the Arctic right above one of the largest oil fields in the world, three thousand metres below the ice. If Salamander takes hold of the oil field, he could change the climate of the whole planet for generations to come…

But can Nadia stop him before her own time runs out?

The gripping third and final novel in J.F. Kirwan’s brilliant spy thriller series. Perfect for fans of Charles Cumming, Mark Dawson and Adam Brookes.

About the Author:

KIRWAN Barry 01 ret 6x8J.F. Kirwan is the author of the Nadia Laksheva thriller series for HarperCollins. Having worked in accident investigation and prevention in nuclear, offshore oil and gas and aviation sectors, he uses his experience of how accidents initially build slowly, then race towards a climax, to plot his novels. An instructor in both scuba diving and martial arts, he travels extensively all over the world, and loves to set his novels in exotic locations. He is also an insomniac who writes in the dead of night. His favourite authors include Lee Child, David Baldacci and Andy McNab.

Website: www.jfkirwan.com 

Blog: www.jfkirwan.com/blog 

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/kirwanjf/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/kirwanjf

88 North by J.F. Kirwan is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.