Author Interview: Olly Jarvis on Death By Dangerous.

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Very happy to welcome Olly Jarvis to the blog today talking about his Crime Thriller “Death by Dangerous”.

Tell us a little bit about the original inspiration behind “Death by Dangerous”

I specialise in defending people who have killed whilst driving their car – otherwise law-abiding citizens facing the emotional and mental pressures of a criminal trial, let alone the prospect of prison. Often, trying to come to terms with what they have done, destroys them. I had to write about this. But there are also other issues I wanted to explore, in particular the way in which so many of us live busy, exhausting lives, working virtually all the time, constantly worrying about paying the bills. Feeling guilty for spending so little quality time with our children. Death by dangerous is about realising what really matters before its too late.

Your background means you have a great knowledge base to draw from in the writing of a legal thriller – Can this also be a hindrance in wanting to keep it authentic but still writing a page-turner?

Yes – this is a fundamental consideration in my writing. It must be authentic – my colleagues at the Criminal Bar would expect nothing less! There is a fine balance between weaving in enough legal detail for the story to make sense and yet still maintaining the flow. I wrote several drafts and repeatedly edited until I felt I had a believable novel that moved at break-neck speed. I ‘m sure the success of American legal thriller writers is due in large part to their ability to strike the right balance.

What made you want to write? Who are your reading influences?

I always wanted to write but believed the demands of my job were so all engulfing that it would never happen. One day, after just finishing a multiple fatality death by dangerous trial, I decided that it was now or never – and I couldn’t continue to defend people, week after week, without any down time. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.

John Grisham, particularly his earlier books. I am also a big fan of screenwriter Aaron Sorkin who wrote the movie A Few Good Men. I love films which is probably why I write in a filmic style with short chapters.

Can you tell us anything about your next project?

My next novel, Cutthroat Defence, out next year, is an underdog story. The main character is straight out of pupillage. Totally out of his depth, he gets caught up in a very high profile trial. Another fast-paced, twisting legal thriller, but also a coming of age story, which I hope will show the reader how difficult it is to make it at the Criminal Bar.

Favourite thing to do on a lazy Sunday.

Going to the movies with my kids and my partner – if I don’t have a brief to prep for Monday!

One book you recommend to everyone.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

3 people alive or dead you would like to have a drink with.

Martin Luther King

Mao Tse Tung

Richard III (I am fascinated by quirky, driven people).

Thank you Olly!

My Review:

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John Anderson is one of the North West’s most dedicated and successful prosecution barristers. His career is going from strength to strength and he is on the verge of becoming Queen’s Counsel. But the life he once knew suddenly comes crashing down following a fatal road traffic accident…

“They’re saying it was your fault. Someone died.”

Recovering from his injuries, he has no memory of the collision. Was he responsible for the death of a child? Who was his female passenger?

Clever book this, I do like a clever book.

So anyway, John is a barrister who is in a car accident in which people die. Trouble is he can’t remember a darned thing and has no idea who was with him in the car and why or, well, anything. Criminally charged, a fight to prove his innocence begins.

Really enjoyed this – fast paced and intriguing – I was particularly fond of main protagonist John who had a great authenticity about him, becoming more likeable as the book moves along, I really did get involved with all his problems.

Wider characterisation is great as well, this pops along, I was utterly engaged throughout. Not saying much about the plot beyond the blurb because in this case its seriously hard to do without spoilers I WILL say that it is very cleverly constructed and addictive throughout.

The author obviously has a wide knowledge base and brings that to this tale of woe, giving it a great layered feel and a great perceptive depth to the nuances.

Overall a really great read. Looking forward to more from Mr Jarvis.

Find out more here: http://ollyjarvis.co.uk/

Follow the author on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/OllyJarviso

Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/search/ref=x_gr_w_bb?keywords=9781784623494&index=books&linkCode=qs&tag=x_gr_w_bb_uk-21

Happy Reading Folks!

Sarah Lotz on Why She Writes – And Pompidou Posse

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The first novel that Sarah Lotz wrote – Pompidou Posse – is being re-released in the UK – I asked Sarah about why she writes (love this answer) and about the book – here is what she had to say.

Why we Write

Sarah Lotz

 

I wish I had a clear-cut answer for why I write. It’s not for money (there are far easier and more reliable ways of making a living), or fame (I can’t even do twitter properly – thank god for book bloggers!), so I suppose the reason I write is because I am as mad as a snake, and because I love it – I’m addicted to it, in fact. Life-style wise, it suits my personality. I like being alone in a room in my pjs for days – and sometimes weeks – at a time. There’s something deliciously terrifying about starting a novel and having absolutely no idea where it’s going to end up or if it’s going to work. And I only ever know if a novel is any good or not after it’s been out for a while.

For example, my first novel, Pompidou Posse has just been re-released in the UK. Based on a year I spent living rough on the streets of Paris when I was a teenager in the 1980s, I wrote it almost ten years ago, and it was first published in South Africa where it received good reviews but only three or four readers (most of whom were related to me). Thanks to Jared Shurin of Pornokitsch.com – who is a great supporter of South African fiction – my brilliant Hodder editor Anne Perry read it and decided to re-publish it, and I was given the chance to go over it again and edit it out the crappy bits. I’m not sure that writers should ever be allowed to go back and edit their earlier work, as part of me thinks that this is cheating, but I did it anyway. Some appalling writing slipped through the net the first time around (my favourite bad line is ‘sorry, she said apologetically’ – cringe cringe). But it was fascinating, if painful, to revisit the novel and see how I’ve hopefully improved as a writer. So I suppose that’s another reason why I write: to get better at doing something I love. And because it keeps me out of trouble.

Thank you Sarah – although I’m not sure on the out of trouble thing! I’m intrigued to read the novel now and I’m sure everyone else is too so here are the details:

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Paris is eternal. Art is love. Friendship is forever. Except when it isn’t.

You’re seventeen. One night, more or less by accident, you set fire to a garden shed.

Naturally, you pack up and run off to Paris, certain you can make enough money off your art to get by. You’re young, you’re talented, you’re full of life, and you have your best friend in all the world by your side.

What could possibly go wrong?

Down and Out in Paris and London for the internet era, POMPIDOU POSSE is the hilarious, heartbreaking first novel by Sarah Lotz, author of THE THREE.

Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/search/ref=x_gr_w_bb?keywords=9781473613980&index=books&linkCode=qs&tag=x_gr_w_bb_uk-21

Find out more about all Sarah’s novels here: http://sarahlotz.com/home/

Follow Sarah on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/SarahLotz1

Happy Reading  Folks!

Dead Star Island Blog Tour

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Today I am very happy to welcome Andrew Shantos to the blog – telling us about the “why” when it came to his idea to write Dead Star Island.

Dead Star Island: the psychology of an idea

Andrew Shantos on not how, but why, he had the idea for his book.

I remember very well from a young age my dearest hope. An impossible dream, my first (and very innocent I should add) fantasy.

It was this:

I already played in a football team from the age of eight, and I used to dream about me and my friends – eleven or twelve of us – living together in an articulated lorry. A luxurious lorry, with arcade machines, table football and a snooker table; and each of us had a single bed with a Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club duvet (or whatever club each person wanted; it was a very tolerant fantasy). We’d travel round the country, stopping at various places, playing football matches (against Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal or whoever), then back on the luxury lorry to have dinner and play computer games.

It was a simple, innocent dream, perhaps born of a rather solitary disposition, of someone who always found himself in with the out-crowd and wanted to be part of a select gang.

There’s something really quite compelling about exclusive clubs. You often find them in books. Take Donna Tartt’s The Secret History: millions of readers (including me) were bewitched, gripped by the desire to join an intimate group of students and find out their secrets. Or Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five, or her Secret Seven. We read on because we want to be one of them, find ourselves becoming one of them.

As I got into my teens, football morphed into music. But the dream followed the same pattern. Now the lorry was simply my bedroom, my private refuge, which I shared with my heroes. A life-size poster of Jim Morrison gazed, Christ-like, from my bedroom wall. On the opposite side was Jimi Hendrix, looking cool and stoned and just really pleased to be there. I would play computer games late into the night while listening to The Stones, Elvis, Marc Bolan – someone young, beautiful, and almost always dead, martyred to rock and roll.

In my twenties I lost my way. I joined a real gang, an actual top-secret elite. I found myself part of a religious cult. (I really did by the way, I’m not making this up!) I don’t really know how it happened. But I think I know why.

Partly it was spiritual quest: being a seeker, as so many are in their lost and confused early twenties, fresh out of university, trying to make meaning of the world. Partly it was finding something else to tell me what to do, after sixteen years of passive comfort, each day directed by parents and teachers.

But above all, this cult (a rather nice one actually, nothing too nasty, only a very gentle forty degree brainwash) allowed me to become part of an exclusive club. It was another iteration of the fantasy. Quite a full-on iteration admittedly. I’m glad I saw through it, lightened up and started having fun again.

All this time – before, even, that early age when in my mind I was living in a lorry – above all things I loved books. Even more than the heroes on my bedroom wall. I knew I wanted to write a book, or two, or more. And now, having written Dead Star Island, and at the time having just had an idea and writing it, now I’ve been thinking quite deeply about the idea behind it. And not on how I had the idea, but rather why I had the idea.

I’m very much with Stephen King, who describes writing a novel as akin to excavating a fossil: uncovering it little by little, until it is fully exposed, and you lovingly restore it to its full glory. But it was always there to begin with, or, at least, formed over many, many years.

What I did in my book was create yet another exclusive club (unwittingly, there was nothing in my conscious mind that brought this about). I restored the heroes from my bedroom walls, and from my record deck, back to life. Not just some of them. All of them. Together, living on a secret tropical island. Not dead at all, but very much alive, having staged their deaths to come here.

But regardless of this concept, and how it forms the background for a detective novel, I see now there was an irresistible compulsion for doing this, one single reason my mind created this top secret gang.

It was so I could go there. So I could be on the island, live with them and be part of it.

About the Book:

Dead Star Island, a remote tropical paradise, home to sixteen rock and movie superstars the world thinks are dead.

Elvis is there, so are Jimi, Marilyn and others. They’ve all lived for decades in luxurious, isolated anonymity. But someone is murdering them one by one in bizarre reconstructions of the deaths they staged to leave the real world.

Christian Adhis, the island’s mysterious Director, is worried. Brian and John have been murdered in copycat killings, and that’s bad for business. The remaining residents are living in fear, and demanding the killer is caught before he strikes again. So Christian calls in his old school friend Mario Gunzabo.

Dead Star Island, published by APP, can be ordered through Amazon priced £4.99 for Kindle and £8.99 paperback: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dead-Star-Island-Andrew-Shantos/dp/0992811627

 

To get in touch visit him here….

 

w:  http://andrewshantos.com/

 

t: @andrewshantos

 

#deadstarisland

 

New Release Spotlight: The Watchers by Neil Spring.

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Publication Date: Available Now from Quercus

Source: Review Copy

1977
The Havens, Wales

My Name is Robert Wilding.

Since childhood I have been running from my parents’ deaths. From my grandfather Randall Llewellyn Pritchard – his fanatical omens about fires in the sky. From what happened at Broad Haven.

But now my memories have returned to haunt me.

The Watchers is an utterly gripping, brilliantly imaginative and often rock on scary tale of weird and wonderful (?) happenings in Wales.

Set around actual events that took place in the 70’s, Neil Spring constructs an eerie and atmospheric tale of lights in the sky, nervous inhabitants of a small community, all seen through the eyes of Robert Wilding – a character on the edge who may not necessarily be relied upon.

It’s an interesting twist on the genre, bringing in a touch of folklore to proceedings and all told with a very spooky underlying feel, the prose is tight and compelling with a nerve wracking edge to it that really speaks to the darker fears that lie in all of us. Very clever, very readable and very intense.

A beautifully layered tale, you have your conspiracy stuff and your usual government shenanigans, a hotchpotch of characters all filtered through Robert’s eyes – this makes for some intriguing moments, as you try to work out what is actually going on. Superbly atmospheric, The Watchers had me sleeping with the lights on.

A really really great book with hints of horror, mystery and a definitive sprinkling of suspense, the author having a real eye for his subject matter in an authentic case that obviously captured his imagination. It certainly captured mine and with the absolute genius storytelling on display here, this is a novel that will stay with me and certainly encourages speculation and more than a few shivers in the soul.

Excellent stuff. Highly Recommended.

Find out more here: http://www.neilspring.com/

You can follow Neil on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/NeilSpring

Purchase Informationhttp://www.amazon.co.uk/Neil-Spring/e/B00EGKE088/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Also Available:

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Welcome to Borley Rectory, the most haunted house in England.

The year is 1926 and Sarah Grey has landed herself an unlikely new job – personal assistant to Harry Price, London’s most infamous ghost hunter. Equal parts brilliant and charming, neurotic and manipulative, Harry has devoted his life to exposing the truth behind England’s many ‘false hauntings’, and never has he left a case unsolved, nor a fraud unexposed.

So when Harry and Sarah are invited to Borley Rectory – a house so haunted that objects frequently fly through the air unbidden, and locals avoid the grounds for fear of facing the spectral nun that walks there – they’re sure that this case will be just like any other. But when night falls and still no artifice can be found, the ghost hunters are forced to confront an uncomfortable possibility: the ghost of Borley Rectory may be real. And, if so, they’re about to make its most intimate acquaintance.

Happy Reading Folks!

Liz Currently Loves…A Taste of Ashes by Tony Black.

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Publication Date: Available Now from Black and White

Source: Publisher Review Copy

When DI Bob Valentine returns to duty after a narrow escape with death, he is faced with the discovery of a corpse on a kitchen table with a horrific neck wound and a mystery surrounding the victim’s missing partner and her daughter. It’s all too close to his own near-fatal stabbing.

When the murder investigation begins to reveal a tragic family drama, Bob Valentine struggles to deal with the rapidly unfolding events and the terrifying visions that haunt him. As he starts to uncover the illicit secrets of the family’s past, can he keep a grip on the case and on his own sanity before the body count starts to rise?

Really enjoyed this one again – the second in the Valentine series (you do not need to have read the first) – Tony Black writes really superb crime fiction, often it seems a little below the radar. He also, incidentally, writes great fiction – so if you haven’t come across his novels yet I’d advise going and taking a little look.

The Valentine novels are something a little different again – with a short sharp supernatural edge added to the mix with the visions that Valentine suffers, this is extraordinarily addictive reading.

In this case Bob is faced with a dead man and a missing family – a family full of the kind of secrets that can kill – and things twist and turn and generally mess with your head (and Bob’s) as we head towards the final solution.

The writing is gritty and realistic, descriptively speaking Tony Black manages to put the reader right in the moment. Bob as a character is endlessly fascinating – I like his rather grumpy outlook on life and his struggles to work out what is going on inside his own head. The mystery of Bob Valentine is just as intriguing, if not more so, than the mystery of the dead man in the kitchen…

Clever intuitive prose and a great deal of storytelling art makes “A Taste of Ashes” rather more delicious than the title would suggest. Black is indeed back. Highly Recommended.

Find out more here:  http://www.tonyblack.net/

Follow Tony on Twitter here:  https://twitter.com/TonyblackUk

Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Taste-Ashes-DI-Bob-Valentine/dp/184502964X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1443161334&sr=1-1&keywords=a+taste+of+ashes+tony+black

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

How To Be Brave. Or how to make readers cry great big buckets of tears….

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Publication Date: Available Now from Orenda

Source: Via the publisher and several reads later….

All the stories died that morning … until we found the one we’d always known.

When nine-year-old Rose is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, Natalie must use her imagination to keep her daughter alive. They begin dreaming about and seeing a man in a brown suit who feels hauntingly familiar, a man who has something for them. Through the magic of storytelling, Natalie and Rose are transported to the Atlantic Ocean in 1943, to a lifeboat, where an ancestor survived for fifty days before being rescued. Poignant, beautifully written and tenderly told, How To Be Brave weaves together the contemporary story of a mother battling to save her child’s life with an extraordinary true account of bravery and a fight for survival in the Second World War. A simply unforgettable debut that celebrates the power of words, the redemptive energy of a mother’s love … and what it really means to be brave.

It’s difficult to know where to begin with “How to be Brave”..there’s a whole history behind my love of this novel and a little bit of a thing. There was a time in my life recently and ongoing where I’ve had to be brave…during that time one of the things I did was some reading for my very good friend and the loveliest lady in the whole wide world, Karen Sullivan of Orenda books fame. She kept me busy in order to keep me sane – one of the things that landed was this. How to Be Brave, a debut from equally lovely lady Louise Beech. And I was in awe. And should probably thank Nick Quantrill too he knows what for.

I read it start to finish. Couldn’t put it down, couldn’t stop, was immersed in the gorgeous power  of the prose and the sheer imaginative and emotional pull of the whole thing. This is a novel about life. A novel about love. A novel about the things that haunt us and the things that save us. It had a particularly  beautiful quality I’ve not seen captured in any other book I’ve read ever.  And this was quite an early read. The finished product is a thing of pure joy – I have indeed devoured it twice since then and probably will again.

The author’s background and family experiences play into “How to be Brave” and make it authentic, immersive and an unforgettable reading experience. It reminds us of the frailty of the human condition and speaks to the deeper maternal love that exists between mother and child – parents everywhere will simply exist within the pages.

The two threads of the story are cleverly interwoven, the historical aspects are stunningly intuitive and with a highly engaging sense of place and time – a novel of two intensely emotional halves creating an incredible whole. Yes it is emotionally resonant, you will cry but it is also brave, true and utterly compelling, a cliffs edge read where you are waiting for that moment then realise that the whole darn thing is THAT moment.

What else can I say? I think that will have to do you.

Don’t wait another minute for this one. There’s a time to read and this is it.

Purchase Information:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1910633194/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_uk-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=6738

#HowToBeBrave

Louise is on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/LouiseWriter

I’m not alone. Follow the tour:

How To Be Brave blog tour-2

Finally keep an eye on Orenda here: http://orendabooks.co.uk/

Or by following Karen here: https://twitter.com/OrendaBooks

Some very special reads coming up soon. I guarantee it.

Happy Reading Folks!

The Starlings and other stories….

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Publication Date: Available Now from Graffeg

Source: Publisher Review Copy

Pictures shown during review belong to extraordinary photographer David Wilson

Twelve pictures, twelve tales of crime and mystery. Written by Murder Squad and their accomplices, these page-turning short stories open up a world of intrigue, suspense and fear. With contributions from celebrated crime writers including Ann Cleeves, Cath Staincliffe and Martin Edwards, each tale has been inspired by the atmospheric and evocative work of Pembrokeshire-based photographer David Wilson.

The stories, all illustrated with the images that inspired their authors, include modern day love and betrayal, historical murder mysteries, and crime in the Welsh countryside.

First of all it has to be said that “The Starlings and other stories” is really a most beautiful book – in every way. The starting point for each short story is a picture – and that picture then inspired the author who follows it to write a tale – and boy were there some GREAT tales to be had here alongside the hauntingly evocative images.

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I loved every story – from those that made me shiver to those that made me tearful, every single one was purely brilliant in it’s own way. The photograph at the start of each tale just gave them so much more depth – setting a visual image in your head as a reader, then leading you into some dark and twisty tales that will engage and enthrall you.

There is an immense amount of talent on display here (not only from Mr Wilson either) each author  adding their own indomitable style to things and giving us a varied and utterly compelling set of stories that will stay with you a long time. This is one of those times where I won’t tell you much else – I won’t review each individual one because the point here, very much so, is to have an immersive experience with the imagery and the storytelling.

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I will perhaps tell you my favourite – that was Mountains out of Molehills by Valerie Laws – but that’s it. The rest you’ll have to discover for yourself – including the tale of the title “The Starlings” from Editor of the book Ann Cleeves.

Other authors you will find here: Cath Staincliffe, Mary Sharratt,Chris Simms, Jim Kelly, Margaret Murphy, Toby Forward, Martin Edwards, Helena Edwards,Kate Ellis and Christine Poulson.

All in all fantastic. A book lover’s dream – if you are a collector you need this for your shelf.

Highly Recommended.

Find out about The Murder Squad authors here: http://www.murdersquad.co.uk/

Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Starlings-Other-Stories-Murder-Accomplices/dp/1909823740/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1442823452&sr=1-1&keywords=the+starlings+and+other+stories

David Wilson Photography can be found here: http://www.davidwilsonphotography.co.uk/

And you can follow on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/d_wilson_photo

 

 

Please Don’t Leave Me Here by Tania Chandler. Author Interview. Blog Tour

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Publication Date: 24th September from Scribe.

Today I am pleased to welcome Tania Chandler to the blog answering a few questions about her terrific novel “Please Don’t Leave Me Here” as part of the official blog tour. My review will also follow. Thanks Tania!

Can you tell us a little about the inspiration behind the story?

It’s hard to pinpoint where the story idea came from. I kept journals when I was young and, for some reason, one day I was looking back through them and I came across an entry from the day Kurt Cobain was found dead. I was surprised by how different my memory of that time was compared to what I had written on the actual day in my journal. It made me think about the memories we hold and how they become skewed over time.

Initially, I was interested in exploring the way people change — or whether they ever really do — over time, with age, circumstances, relationships. What remains constant and what shifts?

Brigitte really does not have a happy time of it – how do you get into the mindset of a character with her deep seated issues?

Brigitte is a character full of contradictions — she’s deeply flawed, awkward and vulnerable, but also gritty and capable. She tries to do what she thinks is right, but invariably makes bad decisions. I think she’s very human.

I studied drama when I was young and I think writing is a bit like acting when it comes to getting into a character’s head. You have to put yourself into their shoes somehow, imagine how they would feel. We’ve all made wrong choices. And we’ve all experienced love, pain and fear to some degree. As a writer, you can take these feelings and manipulate or amplify them.

My writing buddy, Graeme Simsion, says characters are a third the author, a third somebody the author knows, and a third made up. I can relate to Brigitte’s awkwardness as a young woman, and to her later difficulties that come with being a mother. I’ve known people like Brigitte: somebody that others seem drawn too, and want to love and protect. But she is also one of those people who – through deep emotional need, or lack of love as a child – never believe they are good enough and settle for less than they deserve. The rest is invention.

The relationship between Brigitte and her brother is a fascinating one – they seem to feed off each other sometimes in a negative way – it has always fascinated me how writers develop the character interactions. Is it all planned, as in you know how you want them to come across?

The character of Ryan, and the relationship he has with Brigitte, was one of the easiest parts of the novel to write. I pulled out my hair planning some character interactions, but when I put Brigitte and Ryan together in a scene, the writing seemed to flow and I always knew what they would do without having to think too much about it. They were reckless enough on their own, but together: disaster. However, they were always there for one another when the chips were down. Their troubled childhood would account for much of their behaviour, and their closeness. They were fun to write, even though at times I felt like shaking them!

The mystery element is very well developed – unlike a lot of novels you’ve chosen to do blocks of time rather than alternating throughout which works well – was the ultimate resolution always the one you had in mind?

No! Please Don’t Leave Me Here was always structured in two blocks of time, but I wrote four different endings before I came up with the final one. A lot of writers say you should know the ending before you begin. I learnt this the hard way. I thought I was being clever because even I didn’t know how it was going to end! But apparently nobody likes a deus ex machina resolution. I had to go back and plant clues retrospectively. This was a painstaking process, with my editor encouraging me to add more foreshadowing, and me worrying about being too obvious and giving it away. I think, after all, there’s just enough foreshadowing for attentive readers.

When not writing, what type of novels do you enjoy – any recommendations?

I’ve just finished reading The Girl on the Train. I think I was the only person in the world who hadn’t read it, plus my book has the ‘If you liked The Girl on the Train, you’ll love this’ sticker, so I thought I should get onto it. I’m a sucker for a well-written thriller or crime story, but I also enjoy more literary books. I’m currently reading two excellent new releases by fellow Australian authors: Resurrection Bay by Emma Visckic (crime) and Fever of Animals by Miles Allinson (literary fiction).

I also recently reread The Great Gatsby (I’m sure I read it at high school, but I think maybe I just read the blurb at the time because I couldn’t remember anything about it!) I was blown away by the compelling story, and the elegant descriptive prose. Hard to believe it was written almost a hundred years ago.

Can you tell us anything about your next project?

My second novel (provisionally titled: Dead in the Water) is the sequel to Please Don’t Leave Me Here. It’s about the darkness that lies beneath the surface: a corpse found in the lake; a loving wife and mother with a shady past and unfulfilled desires; and a brave, in-control detective who is scared and losing control.

It’s more crime fiction than psychological thriller, although, like in PDLMH, the characters are more important than the crime. It’s set five years later, on an island in the middle of an inland lakes system where there is no way off after the last ferry leaves for the night. Brigitte and several of the original characters return.

Thank you so much!

Thank you!

My Review:

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Is Brigitte a loving wife and mother, or a cold-blooded killer?

Nobody knows why she was in the east of the city so early on the morning she was left for dead by a hit-and-run driver. It was the Friday before Christmas 1994 — the same day police discovered the body of a man beaten to death in her apartment.

Fourteen years later, Brigitte is married to the detective who investigated the murder, which she claims to have lost her memory of in the car accident. They have young twins, and seem to be a happy family. Until the reopening of the cold case.

A really excellent psychological thriller this – which has a lot going for it, the fact that it doesnt have the word Girl in the title, even though this is the story of a girl – and whether or not she is a killer – is just an aside that I thought I’d throw out there!

That’s not the reason it’s so good though,obviously. There is some really excellent writing here, beautiful descriptive prose that gets you right into the head of the main protagonist and a really really intriguing and enthralling story. Whilst there are two timelines to be had here as well, Tania Chandler has chosen to be a lot more straighforward about it, which really helped – and she brings a deep pyschological depth to all the characters that is definitely above and beyond a lot of the similar seeming tales around this year.

Whether or not Brigitte really is a killer or simply a victim that got away may be the anchor to the story as a whole, but this is not so much about THAT as it is about HER. Her life, the relationships she develops, her upbringing and attitude. I really found her to be intensely fascinating and she does have a very hard time of it and although it’s possible she once murdered somebody you will root for her all the way.

The resolution is not immediately obvious which is always a huge plus – and this is one of those novels where you are caught up in events from first page to last rather than hoppity skipping through to find out “whodunnit” – in a sense it doesnt really matter, for me this was more about how Brigitte would end up, whether she would face her inner demons and win or lose.

Overall really great stuff. And in answer to a question I saw on Twitter recently – is the Psychological thriller dead – my answer is a resounding NO. That genre lives and breathes in novels like this one.

Highly Recommended.

Follow Tania on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/Tania_Chandler

Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Please-Dont-Leave-Me-Here/dp/1925228258/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1442699286&sr=1-1&keywords=please+don%27t+leave+me+here

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Happy Reading Folks!

Bloody Scotland, Bloody Marvellous. Part Two. Killer Women.

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So welcome to part two of my little soundbite pieces on my trip to the Bloody Scotland Festival – and early on Saturday morning (it felt early after the night before!) I attended my first panel which involved some of those wonderful Killer Women – a lady I feel lucky to count as a friend, Helen Giltrow – alongside M J McGrath and Louise Millar – discussing amongst themselves (and us, the audience) women’s relationship towards violence in Crime Fiction.

I do have a couple of pictures – these are from my phone not from the talented Eoin, so please excuse the quality – but I had a great view and as I said yesterday the whole thing was very inclusive and despite the size of the room and the packed house, it still felt like an intimate setting where you could really get involved in the ongoing discussion

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The talk itself was absolutely fascinating – from the differences in how men and women read violence in crime fiction to the differences in how they WRITE violence in crime fiction, the debate was open, honest and gave you a great deal to think about. We all read and love Crime fiction but there are lines drawn there as in everything – one of the most interesting parts for me was hearing the lines these authors set for themselves and where, both in reading and writing, things may go too far.

They were brilliant to listen to as they went back and forth, some differences in opinion kept things interesting and there were some more light hearted moments in there too. The audience was enthralled (as was I) and the hour simply flew past. We all got involved with questions at the end and by the time the whole thing was over I had a much deeper insight into not only the writing processes of these three authors but also into them as people. A really terrific panel.

Now I’m not one of the “press” people who took copious notes so I can tell you about each nuance of discussion – for me these posts are all about telling you guys out there about the feelings, sense and emotional responses of being able to attend events such as Bloody Scotland – and this being my first panel I can tell you that it was SUCH great fun but also informative, insightful and worth travelling for. As more of these posts appear I hope to get that across more and get you all desperate to come next time. You really should.

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After each panel the authors headed to the signing room where you could say hello and get your book signed – they were all so welcoming, really pleased to be there and if you are a book lover like me there is nothing you would rather be doing with your weekend, trust me!

There will be more coming soon (wait until you see the Slice girls!) and for anyone who is interested in reading some of the authors they may not have come across before right at the end of this series of posts there will be one that gives you links and information on the books and writers who were part of Bloody Scotland and you can all have a lovely time discovering some new reading experiences.

For now here are a couple of links you may want to bookmark. Killer Women are a wider organisation of women crime writers and do some very interesting stuff so keep an eye out for where and when they will be. And a link to the Bloody Scotland website where you can sign up for the newsletter and stay informed about whatever is next. Whatever IS next you can bet your bottom dollar that I will be there..

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http://www.bloodyscotland.com/

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http://www.killerwomen.org/

Happy Reading!

Bloody Scotland, Bloody Marvellous. Part One.

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So this last weekend I attended the Bloody Scotland festival in Stirling, had a brilliant time, saw some great panels with some great authors – met up with good friends and found some new ones. The whole thing was relaxed, inclusive and for a bookish person the very definition of heaven. Over the next few days and onward I’ll be talking more specifically about the experience – and I have dragged a few of the participants kicking and screaming into doing some guest bits for me – so keep an eye out. I’d also HIGHLY recommend thinking about coming along next year. Nothing like plenty of notice.

Today’s post serves as a “Watch this Space” teaser – but to wet the appetite, and as I did not arrive until late Friday and missed the opening events, here are some pictures for you of how it all began, with Whose Crime is it Anyway and Val McDermid with Peter May.

All images thanks to the fantastic Bloody Scotland press photographer Eoin Carey. 

Whose Crime is it Anyway – with Hardeep Singh Kohli, comedian and TV presenter and authors Christopher Brookmyre, Kevin Wignall and Caro Ramsay improvising a new novel on the spot. Looks like a lot of fun was had by all…

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Val McDermid and Peter May trade stories of murder and mayhem.

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See? Looks like fun already right? LOTS more to come later this week – tomorrow I’ll be talking Killer Women- Deadlier than the Male a brilliant panel I attended on Saturday morning where Helen Giltrow, MJ McGrath and Louise Millar discussed womens relationship to violence in crime fiction and whether men and women write and read crime fiction differently. It was fascinating trust me.

 

Happy Reading!