Q and A session with Adrian Magsons’ Rocco And The Price of Lies

Rocco And The Price of Lies

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1. How did you go about developing the plot for ‘Rocco and the Price of Lies?

If I remember correctly, I’d been reading something about art fraud and decided it might be a good criminal event for Rocco to investigate. The suicide angle came later and seemed a good ‘fit’. Then it was a matter of following my nose the way I always do, rather than outline planning (which I don’t). I did chat with the late artist Jeff Spedding (husband of suspense author Sally Spedding), and got some interesting pointers on detail from him. If the artist in the book (Sebastien Cezard), bears any physical resemblance, it might be coincidental!

2. Whose character did you find most challenging to develop and write?

Oddly enough, Sebastien. I wanted to make him genial, laid-back, lacking in guile… and yet retaining enough suspicion to make him not entirely free of doubt, because maybe he was, maybe he wasn’t…

3. Who is your favourite character and why?

It’s a close-run thing between Madame Denis, Rocco’s neighbour, and Claude Lamotte, the rural cop and, by-default of location, Rocco’s go-to character for local news and assistance. Mme Denis is motherly, watchful, protective of Rocco in the local community and feeds him endless eggs from her chooks. She’s also nobody’s fool and maybe, just maybe she had some sort of role in the resistance during the war.

4. Did you ever base your characters’ traits and personalities on people you know?

Funny you should ask! Mme Denis is very much based on our next-door neighbour in the small village where our family lived in northern France in the 1960s. She was ace and the immediate model for Mme Denis. Others, such as Lamotte and Commissaire are a mix of various people. As to the criminal element… that would be telling.

5. How do you manage to keep the suspense going so well?

Well, I’m pleased you think I do! I try to keep up the pace of the story mixed with something happening. Too much ‘down-time’ and it gets too slow.

6. So many twists and turns, do you think a series or a movie could be developed?

Absolutely. (Not by me, though). But I’d love to see something develop. Find me an author who wouldn’t!

7. Which scene was the most difficult to write?

Probably the scene (which I can’t reveal here) involving Rocco, Dinal and his car. I wanted to get it right without losing the pace or going overboard. It’s too easy to keep something going on too long and getting bogged down with detail. I wanted to avoid that. It happened, it ended.

8. Which 3 words would you use to describe ‘Rocco and the Price of Lies?

Ouch. Not really my place, this, but here goes: Entertaining. Interesting. Compelling.

Thank you, Yasmin, for these interesting questions, and joining this blog tour.

AM

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Adrian Magson for taking time to answer these questions and to Emily Glenister for sending me a review copy of Rocco and The Price of Lies. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this compelling and fast paced exciting book and appreciate the time and effort that has been put in for creating and organising this amazing blog tour. Thank you so much Adrian and Emily for involving me. ☺️

Fallen Angel by Chris Brookmyre book review

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Before becoming a novelist, Chris Brookmyre was a journalist and has grown to become an outstanding author. His award winning debut ‘Quite Ugly One Morning’ received a lot of acclaim and recognition. In the U.K. alone over. 2 million copies of his Jack Parlabane novels have been sold. He received the Mcllvanney Prize and the Theakstons’ Old Peculier Crime Novel of the year for Black Widow. His success and popularity demonstrates that he is one of Britain’s leading crime writers.

The Temple Family seem to have it all: the former actress; the famous professor; their three successful grown-up children. Amanda, new to nannying, is working at a holiday villa neighbouring the Temple’s and is fascinated by them. But like any family, beneath the smiles and hugs there lurks far darker emotions.

Sixteen years earlier, little Niamh Temple died while they were on holiday in Portugal. Now, as Amanda joins the…

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Fallen Angel by Chris Brookmyre book review

36563F18-09B8-4203-962C-25A9FBBD9165.jpeg

Before becoming a novelist, Chris Brookmyre was a journalist and has grown to become an outstanding author. His award winning debut ‘Quite Ugly One Morning’ received a lot of acclaim and recognition. In the U.K. alone over. 2 million copies of his Jack Parlabane novels have been sold. He received the Mcllvanney Prize and the Theakstons’ Old Peculier Crime Novel of the year for Black Widow. His success and popularity demonstrates that he is one of Britain’s leading crime writers.

The Temple Family seem to have it all: the former actress; the famous professor; their three successful grown-up children. Amanda, new to nannying, is working at a holiday villa neighbouring the Temple’s and is fascinated by them. But like any family, beneath the smiles and hugs there lurks far darker emotions.

Sixteen years earlier, little Niamh Temple died while they were on holiday in Portugal. Now, as Amanda joins the family for a reunion at their seaside villa, she begins to suspect one of them might be hiding something terrible…

And suspicion is a dangerous thing…

Amanda is a Canadian vlogger and very passionate about journalism. She lands the job of being the nanny for lawyer Vince and his wife Kirsten’s child Arron. She meets the Temple family whilst looking after Arron at their Portugal Villa. The Temples are a very well known and successful family with Max Temple their dad an esteemed psychology professor and book deal receiving a lot of acclaim. His wife Sylvia is a glamorous former actress and they have 3 children Sylvia, Rory and Marion. With the disappearance of Madeline Mcann still rife in Portugal, the Temples are faced with their own tragedy. Sylvia’s 18 month old daughter Niamh went missing 16 years ago from their seaside villa thought to have drowned. The body was never recovered. Whilst grieving for little Niamh, the Temples have been faced with conspiracies and have always been in the limelight of the media.

As Amanda begins to enfold dark truths and hidden secrets she is faced with shocking revelations and little does she realise what dangers lie ahead. Who can she trust and is danger lying a lot closer than she realises ?
This book will have you gripped and guessing constantly. I could not put it down. I liked how the story goes back In time to 16 years ago and then to the present. Each character was brilliantly explored and portrayed. It will have your heart racing wanting to read more leaving you in suspense throughout. It is very cleverely written and will keep you guessing. I look forward to reading more from Chris Brookmyre.

10 out of 10 and of the best thrillers I have read.

The Lost Man by Jane Harper book review

 

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Jane Harper was born in the UK who now lives in Melbourne, Australia. She is the author of the International bestsellers ‘The Dry’ and ‘Force Of Nature’. Filming is due to start for the adaptation of ‘The Dry’ starring Eric Bana which sold over 350,000 copies.
Her books are sold worldwide and she has won a number of top awards.
The Lost Man is Janes’ 3rd novel which is receiving a lot of acclaim.

The Lost Man is set in the scorching heat of Queensland, Australia. It is at the Scotsman’s grave rumoured to have been buried a century ago where 2 brothers Nathan and Bub find the body of their brother Cameron in the intensifying heat. His appearance tells tales he did not meet an easy death.

His mysterious death has shattered the lives of those close to him. He leaves behind a broken wife Ilse and 2 young daughters who live with his mum Liz, Uncle Harry and 2 British backpackers. They live a 3 hour drive from where death took him. What brought Cameron to be 9km away from his car which is full of essentials necessary to survive the outback?

Divorced Nathan being ostracised from the community for his troubled past which haunts him begins to unravel dark secrets leaving him in uncertainty and anguish.  A painful history unfolds leading Nathan to keep searching further for the truth. What did lead Cameron to be at the Scotsman’s grave where death awaited him ?

This undoubtedly has to be one of the best books I have read. It did not take me long to read and is a real page turner. I did not want the book to end.

It was griping, moving, complex, compelling and thought provoking. Undoubtedly, this will be one of the most talked about books of 2019.

No one writes like Harper and I cannot wait to read her future releases.

A question and answer interview with Theodore Brun, author of ‘A Sacred Storm’

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1. How did you go about developing the plot for ‘A Sacred Storm ?

The broad outline to A Sacred Storm appeared as the second half of a massive tome I’d written as A Mighty Dawn. I first came up with the bare bones of the story that spans the two books way back in March 2012, driving around the woods of Northern Jutland (Denmark) in my cousin’s car. But once I’d split the draft in two, and A Mighty Dawn was out of the way, I could concentrate on making A Sacred Storm as thrilling as possible. I had to rewrite Part One a lot – as a relatively new author, I found it hard to get the balance right between giving enough back story and getting on with the plot, as well as re-introducing several of the characters. Sara O’Keefe at Corvus was brilliant at helping me with this, and pushing me on, so we got there in the end (not without some tantrums on my side). Another key was the sub-plot about Earl Huldir and his sons (the White and the Black). This came quite late – dropping into my mind while I was walking the dog in St Luke’s Garden, if I remember rightly. But the main spine of the story – the relationship between Lilla and Erlan, the friendship between Erlan and Kai, and of course the final outcome of this long-running feud between the two kingdoms, were all there early on.

2. Whose character did you find most challenging to develop and write ?

Lilla. Of the other main characters, Kai and Saldas came most easily (which is probably worrying). I spent a lot of time “interviewing” Lilla to understand her better. Pages and pages and pages. I feel she has a lot of depth to her now, whereas in the first draft (particularly of A Mighty Dawn) she was a bit flat. Now I find her fascinating.

3. Who is your favourite character from ‘ A Mighty Dawn’ and ‘A Sacred Storm’ ?

It has to be Kai. He does and says all the stuff I would do if I was a bit more naughty (and resourceful).

4. Do you ever base your characters’ traits and personalities on people you know ?

Some. Einar, for example, physically began life as a younger version of a rowing coach I had at university, who was rather portly, shall we say, and had the driest sense of humour of anyone I’ve met. Saldas is an amalgamation of two women I once knew – at least physically. I won’t say who!

5. How much of your time do you devote to writing ?

Err. Not enough. On a very good day I’ll get four or five hours done. A bad one, nothing. I’m writing Book Three in the series at the moment and, balancing that with home life in which I am heavily involved, is tricky. I try to get out at least 1,000 words a day. If I know where I’m going with a scene that usually takes a couple of hours.

6. How do you manage to keep the suspense going so well in both ‘A Mighty Dawn’ and ‘A Sacred Storm’ ?

Hmmm. Hard to answer that. There were a few reveals in the first draft which gave away certain things before I needed to. So I suppose cutting those bits helped keep the reader guessing and created a few surprises. The second half of the book came quite intuitively though. Again the spine was always there. But a lot of the finer interweaving of plot with sub-plot took some careful thought. I do remember finally putting all the chapters into one big word document – and reading just the last line of each chapter to check they had all gone in. Even doing that had my adrenaline pumping as the story built to its climax, so I knew I must have done something right.

7. I was on the edge of my seat reading both books, so many twists and turns, do you think a series or a movie could be developed ? I see great potential

That’s great to hear! Oh yes. I’d love that for many reasons! Although as soon as I think that would be good, my next thought is: what if they make it and it’s completely awful? It would obviously require a large budget. But in the right hands, it would be great to see it on screen. My imagination works very visually so I hope it could make the transition fairly easily. Meanwhile, we are chasing down a few leads.

8. Who are your role models?

A hard one, this. As my teenage step-daughter puts it, my wife and I are “raging” Christians. So I’d have to say Jesus. (I think we are contractually obliged to say that.) As far as the writing goes – I’d say GK Chesterton for sheer brilliance of mind; Giles Kristian for his skald-like ability to turn anything into deliciously entertaining prose; JK Rowling for stretching and believing in one’s imagination; Charles Dickens for his fascination with other people. My wife says I have a man-crush on Tom Hardy. I once watched him do the bedtime story on CBeebies (a Brit kiddies TV channel). When Tom Hardy says, “Now it’s time for bed,” you go to bed.

9. What is the worst job you have had?

Undoubtedly working as a sales executive for a software development firm. I can think of nothing more ill-suited to my character. In fact, they called the role “sales anchor” – which even at the time I thought desperately uninspiring. “Corporate dead weight.” It might have helped if I’d understood what on earth we were trying to sell.

10. If you could be any character in any book or movie, who would you be?

I think Eric Liddell in Chariots of Fire is a pretty inspiring character. I’ve seen that film many, many times. Every time the synthesiser kicks in on the home straight of his 400m final I start blubbing, and I don’t really stop until the credits are long gone. Of course, his whole life was very inspiring, too.

11. What best advice would you give to new writers?

Writing is rewriting. Turn up at the page. Don’t listen to the critic in your head. You’re probably mad, but that’s OK.

12. Which scene was most difficult to write ?

The scene with the eagle soaring over the battle at the end. The first draft came out something like a dog-fight seen through the eyes of two different eagles. It was very weird. Happily, I didn’t leave it like that. But it was quite a challenge to get it right. I think I got there in the end.

13. Will there be another instalment ?

Very much so. Corvus has contracted me for two more. I’m currently writing the third which, if I can pull it off, will be even more epic – if that’s possible. Certainly more historic.

14. If so, will we see characters reintroduced from ‘A Mighty Dawn’ ?

No – if you mean, do we return to Erlan’s homeland? Not yet! Instead I’ll be introducing some new characters who are – I hope – even more engaging.

15. Which 3 words would you use to describe ‘A Sacred Storm’?

Epic. Enthralling. Pulse-racing. (is that a word?)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Optimist by Sophie Kipner

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The Optimist is Sophie Kipners’ debut novel. Meet Tabitha Gray, a vibrant, deluded, young optimistic girl from California whose quest for love knows no boundaries.

Tabith’s journey in search for true love begins from a very age young of 9. There are no limits to Tabitha’s mishaps whether it is finding hersef in the back of the gardners’ truck, sat in a hotel room wearing sexy lingerie in wait for Harrison Ford or a Russian bathhouse to declare her love for Al Pacino.

Where most of us would not dream of saying out loud embarrassing thoughts, embarrassing does not exist in Tabitha’s dictinary. She finds herself in very compromising and awkward situations but proceeds to carry out acts and thoughts beyond imagination.

I have not been able to put this book down and have laughed out loud at work or when amongst friends and colleagues. I felt at times I was living Tabith’s life. There’s moments of sadness, humour and cringe worthy scenes 🙈  This book is one that undoubtedly will leave you  hysterical and full of laughter and giggles.  It has been the talk amongst my friends and has had plenty of them in stitches.

Highly recommend and a must read for all 😍

Question and Answer session with Theodore Brun, author of ‘A Mighty Dawn’

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1. What inspired you to write A Mighty Dawn ?

Technically it was a lecture I went to back in 2009 about an obscure English missionary from the early 8th century, called Winfred (later named Saint Boniface). After that I burrowed deeper and discovered a world on the turn – at least so it seemed to me – from the darkest and most obscure days of the mid-1st millennium into the early medieval period. The old, strange world of paganism was retreating under the advance of Christianity and Islam had just exploded in the east, with reverberations as far away as North-West Europe. I wanted to explore this world and before too long a protagonist popped into my head. A warrior from the north. A heathen – who would eventually become embroiled in all the great events of the age. But where did he come from? Where did his story begin? A Mighty Dawn is the answer.

2. Will we hear of what happened to Hakan’s brother ?

Ha! Well noticed. Yes. But not for a while. Possibly in book 3. We shall see.


3 What is your favourite book ?

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

4 How many installments are you planning on writing ?

At least 5 in my mind. We are in discussions with Corvus about signing up for books 3 & 4 in the series so I hope I will get to write them all.

5 What made you study Archaeology and Anthropology?

It was actually my lifeline away from studying the sciences. I had done science and maths for A-Levels at school and had had enough of that. I was desperate to go to Cambridge and managed to get a place to read Archaeology and Anthropology which did involve a bit of science (in the form of human evolution) but also involved more in the way of the humanities/prehistory. At the end of the first year we had to specialise and I chose archaeology because by then I was being drawn further towards an interest in pure history. That was when I studied Scandinavian archaeology (amongst other things) which was the seedbed for this novel: the material culture of the early Norse peoples, their worldviews and beliefs. Then again, I didn’t get to the literary sources and sagas etc. until much later.

6 How did you come up with the character of Kai ?

I think Kai came out as a necessary counterpoint to Hakan/Erlan. He’s the irreverent, clownish foil to Hakan’s more wounded and earnest character. He’s a relief as much for me, the writer, as he must be for the reader. He’s great, though. Basically an outflow of all the naughty thoughts and ridiculous schemes that I will never put into action myself!

7 Who would you cast if A Mighty Dawn was turned into a film ?

Agh! So hard to answer. Years ago I thought a young Michael Fassbender could have done Hakan, but time has moved on and he’s too old now. I’m under pain of divorce to insist my wife, Natasha Alderslade, should play Saldas. (Although my reserve choice might be Eva Green or Oona Chaplin.) For Kai, possibly Tom Holland (with dyed hair). Rufus Sewell as Haldan. Jenna Coleman could have been good as Inga – though maybe she’s too old to play a teen as well now. Who else? Dominic Cooper as Sigurd. Annabelle Wallis would be a fantastic Lilla.


8 What would be your favourite question to ask your favourite author ?

The author who has given me most joy is George MacDonald Fraser, who wrote a historical fiction series called The Flashman Papers. I guess the question I would ask him if he were still alive would be: “Please can I help you research and write another volume of the Flashman Papers?”!

9 Which book have you read that you found unappreciated ?

Hmm. The Everlasting Man by GK Chesterton. He’s gone out of fashion now, but this book is dynamite. It’ll change your life.
10 Please can I have the privilege of reading a and reviewing your next installment ?

Oh, go on then! A Sacred Storm is out in hardback in June.

A Mighty Dawn by Theodore Brun book review

Screenshot_2018-01-10-10-11-07This is my first time taking part in a blog tour and I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and loved seeing how excited and enthusiastic everyone has been surrounding the fabulous debut ‘A Mighty Dawn’ by Theodore Brun.

I tend to read thrillers so this was a brand new experience for me reading a book based on fantasy and history. I have little knowledge of the Vikings and have been intrigued and captured by this history. It is very well written and demonstrates the depth of knowledge Theodore has portrayed.

This story is set in the 8th Century in Scandinavia and is the first installment in the Viking series.

The story begins in Vendlagard where Hakan who is a courageous warrior swears loyalty to his father Haldan, Lord of the Jutes. A grand ceremony takes place where a Vala is allowed to enter who warns of dark events to follow “Yet you will take a wound. A wound so horrible! Pierced through your heart with a blade that cannot be stopped. Your days will be long and bitter. The All Father will never grant you rest”.

A forbidden young love unfolds and leads to catastrophic events. Dark secrets from the past awaken leading to further tribulations. Tragedy unfolds from here beyond belief.

Hakan renounces his birthright as Haldan’s son and embarks on a dark and dangerous journey to escape his painful past and takes on his new identity as Erlan.

On his journey to the land of the Svears, he meets a young Gotar known as Kai who together must face the mysteries and darkness lurking in Svealand. Things are not as they appear in the land of the Svears from demons to kidnappings, blood sacrifices to a painful living hell waiting to erupt. Can they serve their new king and save the Kingdom from destruction ?

I cannot express how much I loved reading this book. I felt I was on an epic adventure from the onset. It did not take me long to get stuck in and I was captured and intrigued throughout. It is a book you will not be able to put down. I loved the relationship between Kai and Erlan, such a strong bond. There are still some very dark, mysterious characters who I hope Theodore will explore further. I await eagerly for the next installment and give this book a big 5/5. You will not be able to put it down and will have constant moments of shock and disbelief. If there is one book you decide to read this year or buy as a gift,  make sure it’s:  “THE MIGHTY DAWN” 👌

I want to say a big thank you to the beautiful Kate at Corvus for giving me this lovely opportunity and everyone who is part of the team and to Theodore for this outstanding book. 👏