Quantrill talks: St Andrew’s Quay and abandoned buildings

TDCT - Final cover

To celebrate the release of “The Dead Can’t Talk”, author Nick Quantrill has been talking to various bloggers about various things. Today I’m delighted to be one of the various bloggers! Nick stopped by to talk about St Andrew’s Quay and other abandoned buildings in Hull.

Without further ado, over to Nick.

As you drive east towards Hull city centre, and after passing the Humber Bridge, you’ll see a retail park to your right on St Andrew’s Quay. You’ll see a B&Q, a Pizza Hut, a McDonald’s and countless furniture stores. Slightly further on, the development thins out, a lone Chinese restaurant which has the dubious honour of being John Prescott’s favourite place to eat.

Then you see an abandoned office block, unloved and seemingly unwanted, the once proud Lord Line company name at the top of it slowly weathering away. In front it, you’ll see a dredged and overgrown dock. It’s hard to believe this is pretty much the city’s only remaining link to its deep sea trawling past.

Built shortly after World War Two, the office block and associated buildings serviced the industry until its demise in the mid-1970’s. Other buildings have been demolished and those which remain slowly rot away. Standing in front of them, away from the shops and the dual carriageway, you can’t help but imagine the stories the area could tell. It was a city within a city.

Plenty of people have called for the Lord Line building to be refurbished, possibly as a museum documenting just how important the sea has always been to Hull. Others have called for it to be used as an arts venue, Hull’s version of Newcastle’s Baltic. Unfortunately, it’s in the hands of developers few have any confidence in. The current plan is to turn it into student accommodation, despite being nowhere near the university.

Like with crime fiction, there’s more to the story, though. As much as the derelict building stands as a monument to the city’s past, it’s contested. Talk to people who worked on the trawlers, and for some, the building is a symbol of their economic slavery. Deep sea trawling was a hugely dangerous profession. It took the loss of three trawlers within the space of a month in 1968 to start changing the industry’s safety standards, an episode vividly detailed in Brian Lavery’s, “The Headscarf Revolutionaries”.

I couldn’t resist using the Lord Line building in “The Dead Can’t Talk”. It sees disillusioned police officer, Anna Stone, work with Luke Carver, an ex-Army drifter she’d once arrested. In the background of the story, a by-election is raging with the development of St Andrew’s Quay a key issue and a central debate.

More than that, it’s a great location for a crime writer. Having stood empty and unloved for decades, the inside is covered by stones, glass and bricks. Vegetation has overtaken much of it, the building crumbling underfoot. I won’t say who finds themselves inside the building, or who gets out of it alive, but I was happy to give it some kind of purpose again and briefly place it centre-stage once more. Who could resist such an opportunity?

The Dead Can’t Talk” by Nick Quantrill is available now in ebook and paperback. You can find Nick at nickquantrill.co.uk and on twitter @NickQuantrill

How far will Anna Stone, a disillusioned police officer on the brink of leaving her job, go to uncover the truth about her sister’s disappearance?Approached by Luke Carver, an ex-Army drifter she’s previously sent to prison, he claims to have information which will help her. As the trail leads from Hull and the Humber’s desperate and downtrodden to its great and good, an unsolved murder twenty-five years ago places their lives in danger, leaving Stone to decide if she can really trust a man who has his own reasons for helping.

NQ photo

Author Q&A – RJ Tomlin

Today on the blog I’m delighted to be talking to author Ryan Tomlin. Now, if you’re out and about in Leeds, you might have seen him promoting his book

DAY 6 Rainy times ☔

A photo posted by R J Tomlin (@rjtomlin) on

Definitely a novel (sorry) approach to book marketing! I dropped Ryan an email and he kindly agreed to take part in a Q&A here on the blog.

1. Thanks for agreeing to this Q&A. Tell us a bit about yourself and your background. How did you come to write a book?
I’m Ryan, I’m from Nottingham and I’m 21-years-old. I moved to Leeds almost three years ago now to do my degree – I studied Filmmaking at Leeds Beckett – and last week I finally finished it. I’ve always been a huge fan of movies. I love the escapism you get when watching a film, like nothing else exists but what’s on screen, and I found it fascinating how much I cared about the characters and settings, even though I knew none of them were real. I guess I wanted to create a story of my own, to make something that other people can get drawn into and care about, and another world I can escape to myself. The first book I ever wrote (which I haven’t let anyone read) was about a teenage spy/computer hacker. I’m a big fan of spy films like James Bond and Jason Bourne, and thought it would be cool to make my own version of that, but with a younger, cooler character.

2. What’s the book about?
The book I’m promoting at the moment is called “The Transition” and is a sci-fi, dystopian story about an alternate society where children are raised separately from adults, in order to form their own beliefs and identities. They’re raised in a facility until their late teens, and on their eighteenth birthday they meet their parents for the first time.

3. What drew you to the genre?
I’d read books like The Maze Runner, and also seen various films like The Hunger Games and The Island. I liked the mixture between slick, futuristic technology and bare, rustic environments, and thought creating an alternate society would also be something cool and exciting to explore.

4. Did you always know you would self-publish, instead of seek a traditional contract?
I’d written five books before this one and sent all of them to various publishers, all of which got rejected. After writing this book, I believed in it so much that I didn’t want to send it off just to get rejected again, I wanted to share it with the world and show people what I’d made, so I self-published and went about marketing it myself.

5. Do you proofread / edit your own books or hire someone? Do you do your own covers?
I occasionally get friends and family to look over my work to check for grammatical errors, but the vast majority of the proofreading is done by myself. All the editing I do myself too, which is something I’m very proud of! I design my own covers as well – the artwork for this one is actually something I found online. I contacted that artists and he let me use it for the cover.

6. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen anyone promote their book like this! How successful would you rate your marketing techniques? What’s the response been like from the public? What types of people have come forward or spoken to you about your book?
So far the success has been a mix. Some days I go out for 3-4 hours and don’t sell a single copy whereas other days I can sell up to 5 or 6, which is a good day for me! I was featured on a few Facebook pages last year too such as Humans of Leeds and LeedsFace which helped – the days I got featured on those pages are the most sales I’ve ever had. The response from the public is fantastic, whether people choose to buy the book or not, I have loads of encouragement every time I go out. I meet a lot of other writers too, I feel like a lot of them can relate to me in the struggle of trying to get somewhere in the industry. It’s refreshing to see other people in the same situation as me; just trying to make it (and it reminds me that I’m not alone!)

7. Who would you say are your favourite authors? Any literary heroes?
My favourite author of all time is Anthony Horowitz. I don’t often tell people, but I used to absolutely hate reading as a kid, I thought it was boring. But one day in the library I picked up an Anthony Horowitz book and, as soon as I had started reading it, I couldn’t stop. I realised it wasn’t reading I hated, but rather the books I had been reading. I’ve read about 20 of his books so far and they’ve all been fantastic.

8. I love your sign – hoping to be the next J.K. Rowling – if you could ask her one question, what would it be?
I’d like to think I’d ask her something deep and mystical about writing, but in all honesty I’d probably ask her what her favourite book is and why. It would be great to know what inspired someone who’s so inspiring themselves!

Thanks Ryan, and good luck with the book! If you do become as famous as JK Rowling, don’t forget us!

The Transition is out in ebook now and has had some fantastic reviews! You can follow Ryan on Twitter @rjtomlin or on Instagram.

Transiton Front Cover

Transition Promo
Transition Promo - REAR COVER

Steve Cavanagh – reading groups

Hello, dear reader,

Today’s post is all about you. Well, not you personally, but about readers and reading groups.

I’ve been asked if I would host a stop on Steve Cavanagh’s blog tour. Steve’s first book, The Defence, is the first in a series of novels set in New York featuring former con artist and gifted trial attorney, Eddie Flynn.
Steve Cavanagh - The Defence

Steve’s new book, The Plea, is published on 19th May.

Steve Cavanagh - The Plea

Various reading groups around the country got stuck into The Defence – here’s a sample of their feedback.

Let’s start with the wonderfully named Novel Ideas Book Club at St Bede’s School, Durham. Here they are!

dav
‘This book is a great escape – Eddie Flynn is a clever guy, sharp and observational – I particularly enjoyed his observations regarding the jury. It made me question the credibility of the jury – are they so open to manipulation? Overall it kept me entertained on a daily basis. I would certainly read more Steve Cavanagh.’

As you’d expect, not every review is glowing! One reader commented, ‘Surely his knees would have been dirtier than they seemed after crawling along filthy ledges, but I’m nitpicking.’

I’m intrigued by that comment – what exactly was Eddie Flynn up to?
They also said that The Defence had a ‘fast-paced and clever plot. I very much enjoyed this book and would certainly read the next one. Short, sharp and to the point … would easily be made into a movie!’

‘… the story kept you guessing all the way through … I would recommend this to everyone’

Caerphilly Bookworms (@CaerphillyLib) thought it was ‘A gripping tale with great detail of the judicial process’, and ‘A real hit from beginning to end. The plot grabs you and takes you on a real adventure. A good plot, great characters and a satisfying conclusion.’

Then we’ve got Houghton Book Club (and what a lot of them there are!). They can be found at www.houghtonbookclub.org.uk/ and on twitter @buactivecumbria.

The Defence @ Houghton Book Club

‘More twists and turns than a rollercoaster’, and ‘A gripping fast paced action packed page turner, reeling you in from the start with more twists and turns than a coiled spring’.

So, pretty twisty then.:-)

On to the Macclesfield Speedy Readers. I spy wine and Pringles…

Speedy Readers‘Suspenseful and entertaining, right up to the final line’, and ‘There were plenty of twists and turns in the plot to keep me entertained.’

Last, but by no means least, we heard from the Pendleford Library Hub Readers.

Pendford Library Reader's Hub

‘Phew, I had my own breathless 45 hours reading this exhilarating book! I was certainly on the edge of my seat in anticipation of the next move.’

‘An engaging thriller with very well-researched twists and suspense, showing a thorough knowledge of both the criminal and justice worlds.’

Thanks to everyone who sent in feedback. It was fascinating to see what you all thought!

Are you part of a reading group or looking to join one? Visit www.readinggroups.org a place to discover a reading group near you, new books, prizes and exclusive offers.

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Reading Groups for Everyone is run by national charity The Reading Agency, who organised this reading group project in partnership with Orion Books.

Schrödinger’s train

Hello dear reader

I trust today finds you hale and hearty and full of the joys[1] of spring.

tracks

Today’s post is brought to you by what we laughingly refer to as the train service[2] which meant that the 08.08 train (my usual mode of transport into the office) was delayed until 08.18 and comprised of not five but TWO carriages.

And I had positioned myself in such a spot that, had the usual 5 carriage train arrived, I would have been stood directly in front of the door[3], but as it was a two carriage train, I was at precisely the last point you’d want to be if you wanted to, I dunno, get on the train.[4]

The train was full. So very, very full.

So full that I gave up. No manner of tapping on windows and encouraging people to move down (not that there was much room to move down into) meant that I found myself at the opposite end of the platform to the guard. We exchanged a meaningful look, I shrugged a shrug of defeat, and he hopped back aboard and the train set off.

Then the 08.20 train was cancelled[5].

And the 08.50 train was delayed. As was the 09.04.

So I set off for the bus. Which took so long to arrive that I was exactly at the point of deciding whether to give up and go back for the delayed train when it hove into view.
I was conflicted. Should I:

a.   get on this actual bus which was actually here and actually heading into Leeds, or
b.   head back to the station to catch the delayed potential 08.50 train which may (or may not) arrive, but if it did, would get me to work about 15 minutes earlier than this actually here, actual bus.

Schrödinger’s transport. You never know what will actually happen until the train actually arrives.

I got the bus.

[1] actual levels of joy may vary and may, in some cases, be entirely absent.
[2] actual levels of service may vary, and may…. oh, you get the idea.
[3] years of practice mean I’m *really* good at this game. To the point where if I’m a foot out, I get cross.
[4] you can tell where this is going, can’t you?
[5] of course

My A-Z of books

I’ve seen a few of these posts now so thought I would have a go at my own A-Z of books.

I have pinched the questions from my blogger friends Gordon at Grab This Book and Kate at Bibliophile Book Club. Join in!

We’ve already talked about my love affair with books, so I’ve got form here. Get yourself a brew, this could take a while.

*flexes writing muscles*

*something goes PING*

Ouch…

Author you’ve read the most books from:

Ah, an easy one to kick us off. That would definitely be Sir Terry Pratchett. I’ve got all of his Discworld books, most of them in hardback, and some of them are even unsigned! (long-running joke)

Best Sequel Ever:
Oh, I see how this is. An easy one to warm you up, the BOOM. In with the tricky ones. Errrm. Ignoring Sir Pterry’s books…

Oh! Of course. Has to be Pierce Brown’s Golden Son. Though Rob Boffard’s Zero-G is a worthy mention here. Both follow first books which just rock, and rock mightily, to the point where you worry that the ‘difficult second album syndrome might kick in. Both authors knocked it out of the park for the sequel. And they’re both top blokes too and I’m glad to say I’ve met them both in person.
Rob Boffard

Currently reading:
Where do I start? OK, here goes:
Black Night Falling, by Rod Reynolds (@Rod_WR)
The Evolution of Fear, by Paul E. Hardisty (@Hardisty_Paul)
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff (@misterkristoff)
The Fireman, by Joe Hill (@Joe_Hill)
Epiphany Jones, by Michael Grothaus (@michaelgrothaus

Drink of choice while reading:
Depends on the time of day. Coffee at lunchtime, tea in the evening, perhaps a nice glass of red wine later on.

E-reader or physical book:

Yes.

OK, slightly facetious answer there. Both have their place, and I have a large collection of both physical and ebooks. I’ll buy hardbacks for authors whose books I love, paperbacks when I’m catching up, and ebooks all the time (someone hide my credit card, please!)

Sometimes I’ll buy the hardback of a book to complete a series I’ve been collecting, but will also pick up the ebook so I’ve got it on my Kindle, and by extension, my phone. Having a library of books on my phone has been a wonderful thing. Five minutes reading here and there, always got a book with you.

Fictional character you probably would have actually dated in high school:

Based on books I’d have read then, or books I’ve read now, thinking back to what I was like then?
(yes, I’m stalling for time).

Erm. Thursday Next, from Jasper Fforde’s The Eyre Affair. Love of books and stuff. Probably.

Glad you gave this book a chance:

The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. Picked it up at a friend’s house and got lost in it. Wonderful book.

Hidden Gem book:

Breath, by Tim Winton. An Australian colleague had said that Tim was his favourite author and one day I happened across Breath in a bookstore. It’s astonishingly beautifully written, an evocative exploration of adolescence and surfing. Gorgeous book. Go read it.

Important moment in your reading life:

Working in a public library in Newcastle as a saturday/holiday job. Saturdays were my favourite as the library closed for lunch, so you’d get this hour where you’d have the whole library to yourself and could just wander the shelves in peace and quiet.

Just finished:
Paul Crilley’s Poison City. Kind of a mix between Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London, Paul Cornell’s Shadow Police with a dash of Lauren Beukes thrown in for good measure. If that doesn’t make you want to read it, I don’t know what will. It’s dark, funny, and has an alcoholic dog as a spirit guide. A bad-tempered one. Out in August, add it to your lists now.

Kind of books you won’t read:

I’m sorry, I don’t understand the question. Next.

Longest book you’ve ever read:

Dunno. Dune? It’s pretty long. Good though. The first one at least. Probably best to stop there though, they go downhill after Dune Messiah/Children of Dune. Does Lord of the Rings count as one book? Currently reading Joe Hill’s The Fireman, which is HUGE.

Major book hangover:

The Red Rising Trilogy. Emerge blinking into the daylight after mainlining each book. And each book was better than the one before. And the one before was brilliant in each case. Omnis vir Lupis!

Number of bookcases you own:

Not enough.

One book you’ve read multiple times:

Harry Harrison’s The Stainless Steel Rat. My dad had a copy of this on his bookshelf at work, and I was drawn to it by the fabulous spaceship on the front. It’s a corking read which zips along without pausing for breath. The thing I love about old sci-fi books is that they’re short, skinny little paperbacks that you can get through in a couple of hours, but packed with excitement, adventure and really wild stuff. This is the story of Slippery Jim DiGriz, ace con-man, and titular Stainless Steel Rat, and his recruitment into the Special Corps, run by criminals to catch criminals. Who better to catch a thief than another thief? Brilliant. I’m not ashamed to say that Monty (the main character in my own writing dabblings) owes a lot of his heritage to the Rat.

Preferred place to read:

Right. Again this really depends on the time of day/month/year, but one place I like to read is in a particular Starbucks in Leeds. Before the coffee mafia pipe up, I like it here because a large mug of coffee is fairly cheap, they don’t mind you sitting for an hour reading a book, and there’s a nice bench by a large window where I can sit and read in peace and quiet or watch the world go by.

Quote that inspired you/ Gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:

“It was the day my grandmother exploded.” – Iain Banks, The Crow Road. Best opening line to a novel, ever. Bar none. Yes, I’ve heard the others. No, you’re wrong.

Reading regret:

That there aren’t more hours in the day? That I can’t spend all day reading and getting paid for it?

Series you started and need to finish:

I’ve still got book 3 of Liz de Jager’s excellent YA Blackhart trilogy to read. Ashamed to say it’s been on my shelf since January, when it came out. The first two books were ace!

Three of your all time favourite books:

This list is subject to change at a moment’s notice, but these three crop up fairly regularly, so…
1. Only Forward ~ Michael Marshall Smith (@ememess)

This was Mike’s debut novel, billed as a cross between Blade Runner and The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It’s neither, but an entirely original blend of smart-talking protagonist, weird & wonderful situations and locations, holding together a dark, funny, unforgettable story. This is the book I’m most likely to recommend to you on any given day.

2. The Red Rising trilogy, by Pierce Brown (yes, I’m cheating)
Red Rising is good. Golden Son is better. Morning Star lifts the story to an entirely new level. I will have rambled on at you to read these books if I’ve seen you in the past couple of years. If you haven’t, what are you waiting for? GO.

3. Pyramids, by Terry Pratchett
Pyramids is my favourite and most-read of my Pratchett collection. The opening scenes where young Pteppic joins the Assassin’s Guild are a joy to behold, and Arthur’s line

‘This is a No.2 throwing knife. I got ninety-six percent for throwing knives. Which eyeball don’t you need?’

cracks me up every time I read it.

Unapologetic fanboy for:
Pierce Brown. He’s a brilliant writer, and is astonishingly nice in person.
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Very excited for this release more than all others:

I get excited for lots of books. The one I’m currently looking forward to most is Rob Boffard’s third book in his Outer Earth series, Impact. Oh, and Becky Chamber’s A Closed and Common Orbit, follow up to her utterly brilliant The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet.

Worst bookish habit:
Trying to read ALL THE BOOKS at once. Not giving up on a book I’m not enjoying – there are far too many brilliant books out there waiting to be read.

X marks the spot- start on the top left of your bookshelf and pick the 27th book:

City of Stairs, by Robert Jackson Bennett. Been on the TBR pile for quite a while!

Your latest purchase:
Morning Star, by Pierce Brown in hardback. Ebook it was Way Down Dark by James Smythe. He’s another author you should add to your list.

Zzzzz Snatcher book (the book that kept you up way too late):
Ruth Ware’s The Woman in Cabin 10, which I was lucky enough to get an early copy of. It was (and indeed is) brilliant – a deliciously taut thriller set aboard a luxury yacht. One of those ‘just one more chapter, honest…’ books.

Right, that was my A-Z. What’s yours?

The Evolution of Fear : Q&A with Paul E. Hardisty

Today I’m delighted to welcome Paul Hardisty to my blog. Paul is the author of the fantastic thriller The Abrupt Physics of Dying, and has just published a follow-up, The Evolution of Fear.

Evelution of Fear Vis 1

Paul has very kindly answered some questions for me. Over to Paul.
1. Claymore Straker is a wonderfully complex character. How did you come up with the inspiration for him?

Over the past 30 years I have been lucky to work all over the word, and much of that has been in some pretty remote places. Perhaps because of the nature of my work – water and environmental engineering, often associated with severe problems of pollution, over-extraction, and resource exploitation – many of those places have been characterised by corruption and conflict. Sometimes that conflict has been local, and has been played out through peaceful community protest, but all too often that conflict has led to violence, and in some cases (as depicted in The Abrupt Physics of Dying), full blown civil war. Working and living in these places, sometimes completely isolated and often alone, these experiences have shaped me more than I probably realise, and it is only through my writing that I have come to realise just how much. Claymore Straker is, then, a character born of conflict. His life is punctuated by three significant but little know civil wars: in Yemen in 1994 (The Abrupt Physics of Dying), in Cyprus (The Evolution of Fear), and as a young man, on the front lines of the Apartheid-era Border War in Angola (1980’s) – the subject of the upcoming prequel, tentatively entitled Reconciliation for the Dead, out in 2017. These are all places that I know well, and in the case of Yemen and Cyprus, conflicts of which I have had first-hand experience.

2. In The Evolution of Fear I learned a *lot* about boats especially during one particularly tense sequence near the start. Clearly you know your stuff – is this experience or just research?

I have been sailing all my life, starting when I was a boy and my dad got us a little wooden Sabot dinghy. My godfather was ex Royal Navy and a keen ocean sailor, so I learned as a boy and a teenager sailing with him on the West Coast of Canada. When we were first married, my wife and I had a 27 foot Folkboat which we sailed all over the West Coast. I’m not a racer, more a cruiser – I like exploring, getting places. There is something hugely satisfying about getting yourself somewhere using the winds and the tides and currents, about finding that little island and the perfect anchorage. Over the years I’ve also read some great books by ocean voyagers such as Joshua Slocum, and those tales have stuck with me. So no research for this, pretty much just wrote it from what I know.

3. There’s a lot of globe-trotting in the book. How do you choose where your characters end up?

I basically use places I know well, places I’ve worked in or lived in, or spent enough time in to know really well. In The Evolution of Fear, the action starts in Cornwall – a place I love. We lived in the West Country for three years, and did a lot of walking in the countryside. The north coast is so wild, it was the perfect place for the safehouse Clay is hiding in at the start of the book. When I was working in Eastern Turkey in the 1980’s I used to spend all my spare time in Istanbul. I always stayed at the Pera Palas hotel, and loved everything about that amazing city. Given the storyline in the book, it was a perfect place to set some of the key events. And finally, Cyprus, a place I lived for almost a decade, a most beguiling island. I love bringing a place alive on the page, allowing the reader to feel as if he or she is right there, seeing it, hearing its sounds, smelling its aromas, feeling its winds and changes.

4. What is your writing process like?

I can only write in the morning. By mid-day it’s gone – I have no idea where to. So starting early and working through till lunch is good. The things is, I still work full time, so finding those mornings and blocking them out is tough. Those mornings are gold and I have to use them as efficiently as I can. To do that I use whatever other time I have when I am not working or training (triathlon and martial arts) or spending time with my family, doing the plot and narrative engineering. I start a novel with a core theme I want to explore. Then I build an entire basic plot structure, the full arc. First I write that. Then I come back and start adding in the details, the impressions, the twists and turns, and the
exploration of theme, hanging all of that onto the structure, like muscle on the bones. I need to find more time to write, so I’m in the midst of changing my life a bit, trying to move away from the science and engineering a little, to free up more time. Problem is, when you work in the environmental area, there is so much work to do that it could take up your whole lifetime and more.

5. How was your book launch?

It was fantastic. Goldsboro Books in London hosted and did a great job. My fabulous publisher Karen Sullivan of Orenda Books made amazing cupcakes with edible book cover toppings, and old friends I hadn’t seen in years made the journey into London to attend. Just wished Heidi, my wife of 28 years, could’ve been there too.

I wish I could have made it too! Thanks Paul. The Evolution of Fear is published by Orenda Books and is available in paperback and ebook now. Don’t forget to read The Abrupt Physics of Dying first!

The blog tour continues tomorrow at livemanylives.wordpress.com

Evolution of Fear Blog tour

 

A slice of Carver: Meet the author

I’m delighted to welcome CJ Carver, author of the fantastic Spare Me The Truth (review up soon!), to my blog today.

CJCarver

Without further ado, over to CJ!

1. Tell me about ‘Spare Me The Truth’.

I was inspired by an article by the Telegraph’s science correspondent Richard Gray, who stated, ‘Researchers have found they can use drugs to wipe away single, specific memories while leaving other memories intact.’
Great, I thought. A memory-erasing drug! But when I looked closer things weren’t quite as clear cut, but who am I to split hairs when creating a
story.
I’ve always liked looking into the future and seeing what science is up to, because a lot of what seems like sci-fi today can be reality tomorrow, like test-tube babies, cloning, and growing potatoes on Mars which NASA really are trying to do. I like writing high-concept thrillers where the stakes are high as well as thought provoking.

2. What made you decide to want to explore the delicious world of espionage? Have you been a top secret spy? (We won’t tell!)

I think it’s the word “secret” that drew me to write about the spying world. Anything undercover or hidden to me is immediately fascinating. As a child I’d pretend I was a spy. I found the idea of knowing something while everyone around me was oblivious, incredibly powerful.
Writing about espionage means I’m telling a story with high stakes, because the consequences if you get caught ranges from being fired from your job to being executed. It’s a terrifying place.
Also, I’m a very open, straight-talking person and I find writing about people who are nothing like me – wily, shrewd and duplicitous – very stimulating.

3. Which was your favourite character to write?

What a question! I love Dan as he’s nothing like me, and I also love Lucy for the same reason. Dan is taciturn and aloof while I’m neither. Lucy has a terrific temper on her that I admire immensely – I wish I had the courage to let rip like she does. If I had to choose between them . . . argh! I couldn’t! I seriously loved writing them both.

4. Do you have any more adventures planned for Dan Forrester? You know how much we all love him.

Dan definitely has another exploit or two to undertake. He’s got to sort out his love life! And when he’s approached by a “dead” agent he recruited in Moscow years ago – a beautiful woman he can’t remember – he gets a lot more than he bargained for.

5. Are you a reader? Can you recommend any good books?

I am a voracious reader. I’ve just finished The Pale House by Luke McCallin, an incredible war-time thriller with one of the best protagonist’s I’ve met in a long time. I loved Stasi Child by David Young (his first novel) and got blown away by Reginal Hill’s latest The Wood Cutter (his 37th novel).

6. Are you planning on going on a book tour or visiting any of the crime festivals this year?

You bet! I’m at CrimeFest in May and Harrogate in July and can’t wait to meet some readers – the whole reason for my existence.

7. Cats or dogs?

Dogs. Just look at the Rottweiler’s in Spare Me The Truth. Cats just couldn’t do the same job.

8. What were you afraid I was going to ask you?

As long as you don’t ask me to lie in a box filled with tarantulas, you can ask me pretty much anything!

Thanks CJ!. Spare Me The Truth is out now and is published by Zaffre Publishing. Don’t forget to check out yesterday’s post with Lisa over at Reading Room with a View