Meet the Author: Flashpoint by Derek Thompson

Today we travel to the UK’s West Country to chat with British writer, Derek Thompson. We’ll talk about how writing in two distinct voices, badgers, Film Noir, Verity Lambert, journal writing, The Beatles, and Top Cat come together as part of Derek’s writing and his life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a British writer and I’m fortunate to live in the UK’s West Country, not far from the sea. I write novels, short fiction and some comedy material. I think humour is a dance between content and context, and I try to include it in both my creative writing and freelance work.

I believe passionately in the power of the written (and spoken word) to conjure up inner and outer worlds that enchant us with possibilities. Good fiction takes us on a journey that engages the senses and makes us invested in the ride!

In which genre do you write?

Mostly thrillers, but I’ve also penned a magical fantasy and a mid-grade tale about bullying and transformation. In addition, I penned a standalone transatlantic dark comedy that’s currently doing the rounds with agents and publishers.

How many published books do you have?

Eight altogether: five British spy thrillers (the Spy Chaser series) plus books 1 to 3 as a single volume, a magical fantasy (Covenant) and my mid-grade book (superhero club).

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

I learned to read before I started school and books were doorways to other worlds, other times, other lives. Story time in class fired up my imagination – that power to hold a room’s attention and transport eager minds somewhere else. I became serious about writing in my teens (although I had to go through the terrible poetry stage first!).

What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

I write in two distinct voices – one British and one from the US. When I finally get around to putting a collection of short fiction together. some stories will be distinctly American. The book will be called Into the Void and I already have the cover design ready,

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?

I’m fond of badgers (but not honey badgers!), hares, crows, rooks, and ravens.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

A cabin in the woods, overlooking a lake. But I’m pretty happy writing in my attic or on long train journeys.

What are you currently reading?

A collection of Raymond Chandler stories, some of which are embryonic Philip Marlowe tales. Also a brilliant subscription magazine called The Idler.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

I attempt yoga, or find woods and beaches to explore. I love Film Noir and other black & white movies (check out Rafifi!), and I enjoy listen to a wide range of music. I’m an average backgammon player!

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

The late and wonderful British TV producer, Verity Lambert, would be my perfect tea date. I’d ask her how I could improve the chances of my spy series making it to the small screen.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

How much ‘stuff’ I’ve squirreled in the recesses of my mind – past situations, dialogue, ideas from childhood, dreams, etc. Allied to that would be the uses I can put that material to, including the feelings that went along with it all.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve done or experienced to help create a scene or plot?

I don’t know if this counts but I still have an audio letter home to my family from my early 20s – on a cassette tape! Playing that helped me reconnect with scenes and situations for one of my novels.

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? Has this helped with your published writings? If so, how?

I’ve written a journal, fairly regularly, for a long time. Sometimes I’ll jot down short story ideas or plot elements of novels while I’m working on them. Journals are great ways to ‘go deeper’ but only if you’re prepared to tell yourself the truth! I have burned old journals for breaking that cardinal rule.

What is the most amusing, crazy or inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?

This is probably one for a niche audience. When I attended my brother’s funeral the officiant turned to his coffin and used my name instead. Despite the tragic circumstances, genuinely one of the funniest things I’ve ever witnessed and my brother would have loved it.

You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What song do you listen to before speaking? Or, what do you do to prepare yourself?

If I wanted to feel mellow I’d listen to Chet Baker, but my uplifting song of choice would probably be Rain by The Beatles or My World by Secret Affair. My best preparation would probably be to sit with the audience first.

What do you miss about being a kid?

In a word: innocence and wonder. The feeling that, given the right opportunity, you’re only a few steps away from adventure. I still have the wonder now, of course, but it’s tempered by experience.

If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?

Top Cat, assuming I’d be part of the gang! They were funny and always getting in and out of scrapes.

If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do? If you write non-fiction or memories, what fictional character would you invite into your story and why?

I’d enjoy being Thomas Bladen, my working-class spy. He has a complicated life but a straightforward way of looking at the world. Plus, I could learn more about his secrets for further books in the series!

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

A Woman at War, which is an Icelandic comedy drama about a woman who takes environmentalism to another level! It was recommended by a friend and has the same ‘heart’ as Amelie with humour and a focus on characters and their quirks. But it also has a message about the difference one person can make and in ways they never expected.

A penguin knocks on your door and is wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he there?

He asks me if I have any suntan lotion to spare because he’s lost his wallet.

Do you believe things happen for a reason? 

Yes, but not always for the reason we think when they’re happening. Time can shift our perspective and change our understanding. I think that something momentous can even happen in an instant that then affects us long afterwards, down the years. We tend to think that of experiences in terms of success or failure – we get fired or relationships end, or promises are broken, or opportunities evaporate – but sometimes there’s a seed of ‘something’ in that loss that bears fruit elsewhere and in another form. Writing is a way of making sense out of what has happened to us and giving new life to that seed.

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

The ability to live in my own head!

Tell us about your most recent book.

My most recent book was Flashpoint, the fifth book in the Thomas Bladen Spy Chaser series. It takes place at the time of the 2005 London Bombing, when the capital suffered a series of coordinated terror attacks. It was a tough book to write because what happened in London that day affected so many people. My story follows on from those terrible events and develops plot lines from the previous four novels (they can be read as standalone books but there are overarching plot lines).

We love black and white movies too Derek! It was great to learn more about you and your writing style. Thank you for being a part of MTA! – Camilla

Where to find the book:

UK Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Derek-Thompson/e/B0034ORY08

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/35Jlk3R

Connect with Derek:

Twitter @DerekWriteLines

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Meet the Author: Last Orders by Bill Todd

Today we welcome Bill Todd as we travel to Brighton, on England’s south coast, to learn how being a journalist, travel writing, Solitaire, birdsong, Shakespeare, and Superman come together as part of Bill’s learning experiences and writer’s life. Pack your travel gear, let’s board this Bill Todd interview …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live in Brighton on England’s south coast and have a daughter and a magic grandson who celebrated his first birthday in June. I’ve been a journalist on local and national newspapers for most of my working life apart from brief bursts doing house removals, teaching and freelance photography. Travel writing has taken me to more than 40 countries and has been a fantastic learning experience.

In which genre do you write?

Mainly crime thrillers but I’ve also written three short military histories based on family papers.

How many published books do you have?

My Danny Lancaster crime thriller series about a wounded ex-soldier is currently seven titles with the latest, a novella called LAST ORDERS-Trapped in a pub with a killer, published in August. I have a full-length novel as a work-in-progress, possibly a standalone, and keep tinkering with a book based on my travelling experiences.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

I don’t know when it began. I was making up stories in my head long before I started writing them down. My grandfather was an inspiration. He wrote stories for my brother and I about the country adventures of two cave boys. The pages are yellow and fragile now but I still treasure them.

What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

I play a few games of Solitaire as fast as possible as a litmus of alertness before I start writing.

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?

I find birdsong very calming and often take a keyboard break to listen so a bird with a good voice would be my choice.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

I used to spend long hours in a rather gloomy upstairs back room with a PC, keyboard and two big monitors. Now I’ve gone miniature and mobile with my Samsung S8 phone and trifold Bluetooth keyboard so my office is everywhere.

What are you currently reading?

I’m working on several other projects and tend not to read when writing in case I unconsciously soak up someone else’s ideas.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

I enjoy walking, nothing too vigorous as I like to stand and stare at interesting things along the way.

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

Shakespeare, I’d love to know how he came up with all that cracking dialogue. I’m with Hamlet, words words words.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

Sleep is optional, up to a point.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve done or experienced to help create a scene or plot?

I try to be as accurate as possible without risking life and limb too much. One Danny Lancaster scene came from a travel writing trip. We were rocketing along a deserted African beach in a twin-engined aircraft. When I asked the pilot our altitude he said, ‘8 to 12 feet’. Crime thriller research can be very wide-ranging. My internet browser history would be a psychiatrist’s treasure trove.

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? Has this helped with your published writings? If so, how?

I kept a very intimate diary as a teenager. Still have it, locked safely away. Over my travel writing career I’ve written a detailed account of people and places and have drawn on this in my novels for scenes set outside the UK including Florida, Africa, Berlin and Gibraltar.

What is the most inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?

Impossible to choose between the birth of daughter Zoe and the birth of grandson Theo.

You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What do you do to prepare yourself?

I’m not a natural speaker and struggle with public events. My usual technique is to stare, unseeing, at some distant point till someone calling my name snaps me back to the now.

What do you miss about being a kid?

Not sure I’ve matured enough yet to miss anything.

If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?

Has to be Superman. I’ve always been fascinated by flying and super powers would avoid all that queuing.

If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do?

I rather fancy an ordinary day in Brighton as my lead character, Danny Lancaster. We’re similar in many ways but Danny lacks my insecurities.

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

Bruce Willis in Tears Of The Sun. I have quite a few movies I watch regularly, often in the morning while I’m doing my digital paperwork and drinking coffee. They’re entertaining but don’t need my undivided attention as I know them so well.

A penguin knocks on your door and is wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he there?

He or she is recently returned from a vacation in a hot climate, has no food at home and would like to borrow from my well-stocked tinned fish cupboard.

Do you believe things happen for a reason? 

Back to Shakespeare for this one. Hamlet: ‘There’s a divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we will’.

If you could ask your pet three questions, what would they be?

What’s your real name? Do you actually like that tinned stuff? Where are my socks?

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

Sticking at it regardless although some family members think it sometimes Borders on obsession.

What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?

South Shields at the mouth of the River Tyne in the north east of England. My father’s family came from there. The locals are known as Sanddancers and the fish and chips are the absolute best.

Describe the perfect solo date you’d take yourself on … where, time of day, weather, place, etc.

Sossusvlei in Namibia’s Namib Desert, dawn as the rising sun turns the cloudless sky a brilliant blue and the giant sand dunes glow brilliant orange.

Thank you Bill for joining us on MTA. It was incredibly interesting to learn more about your history and writer’s life. –Camilla

Where to find Last Orders:

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/32Qgtf7

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Q9QihQ

Godlefe’s Cuckoo is Bill Todd’s sixth Danny Lancaster crime thriller. Here’s the
blurb:

Danny Lancaster has been missing since the fishing boat exploded. Police are closing their inquiry but Wanda Lovejoy continues her campaign to find the truth. An evil man kept alive by machines nurses a corrosive hate. As drugs and disease pull his dying mind apart he throws his crime empire into a scorched earth quest to find one man. If Danny Lancaster isn’t dead he soon will be.

DANNY LANCASTER crime thrillers on Amazon:

THE WRECK OF THE MARGHERITA –https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007OVUG6Q

DEATH SQUAD – www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0085V9HL4/

ROUGH DIAMOND – www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00DK7F6I6

ROCK HARD – www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00GXDU5DA

GARGOYLE PIXIE DOG –  www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B010T2CHK4

GODLEFE’S CUCKOO – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B079Z7Z4MW

MILITARY BIOGRAPHY

GUNNER, a soldier in WW2 Europe, 1944-45: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00LGSZQTU

A CROCUS FROM JERUSALEM, Fighting in Palestine, 1917:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B077P9DR7T

PIGTAIL PILOT, a young woman who almost became the RAF’s first female pilot: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B019H916OI

Connect with Bill:

Website: www.billtodd.co.uk

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreadscom/author/show/5804102.Bill_Todd

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/williamjtodd – @williamjtodd

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/@DannyLancaster3 – @DannyLancaster3

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/billtodd_writer/ – @billtodd_writer

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

Buy Me A Coffee

Meet the Authors: Blood List by Ali Carter

Today we welcome Ali Carter to Meeting the Authors as we travel to King’s Lynn and uncover how owls, poetry, crime, and two handfuls of dogs and cats add to the list that make up Ali’s crime thriller writer’s life. Let’s hope you’re not on the list …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I was born in Surrey (UK) in 1958, and moved to East Anglia in 2003 spending a few years in Cambridgeshire, but am now settled just outside King’s Lynn with my husband Bruce, 5 dogs and 6 cats. (Yes I know the dog/cat thing is a bit mad!)

I originally found some success in writing poetry in the 80’s and 90’s, but inspiration for my debut thriller came after the Shipman case hit the headlines in 1999/2000, and after a few years pondering, 2006 saw the beginnings of ‘Blood List’ when the dark and deeply psychotic G.P. ‘Charlotte’ was born.

The full story took its time to complete though, as three quarters of the way through there was a very long period of writer’s block between 2008 and 2018. It was an author friend who finally persuaded me to pull it out of the laptop and finish it, for which I’ll be eternally grateful. At the time of writing, the sequel is about a third of the way through, and I sincerely hope it won’t take another twelve years for this one to come to fruition!

Aside from my writing I am a proud mum to two grown up sons, and also a mega proud nanny to an adorable granddaughter – although at only 5 she won’t be reading ‘Blood List’ anytime soon!

My favourite places are Norfolk, Cornwall and Cumbria, I have a major aversion to flying and a bit of an addiction to cake – oh and plotting murder!

In which genre do you write?

Definitely psychological crime thriller. I’ve always had a deep fascination for this area so it felt natural to write in the same genre as the books I love to read. The only problem with this is I tend to constantly compare my work to other more experienced writers, especially my favourite authors, and then the doubting gremlins start rabbiting away inside my head!!

How many published books do you have?

Just the one at the moment – ‘Blood List‘ is my debut thriller which was published by Matador in October 2018.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

I’ve always loved writing, even as a child at school I enjoyed writing stories. As a teenager I dabbled a bit with poetry, and in the late 80’s and 90’s had some success with this. Some were published, I won a few competitions and even came runner up in an ITV breakfast show competition back then.

However the book came about after the serial murderer Harold Shipman came to light in 1999/2000 – it shocked me to the core and fascinated me at the same time. I couldn’t get my head around the fact he was a regular G.P., (M.D. for overseas readers), someone you should be able to trust. He murdered over two hundred of his elderly patients. I then wondered ‘What if?’ What if a female G.P. was to be a serial killer, why would she be one and who would her victims be…?

I wanted to flip the gender. The bookshelves are full of aggressive male antagonists, I wanted to write about a mad, bad and dangerous to know anti-heroine, one that was of the coldest and hardest variety. My inspiration was further ignited when I spent a few days in Cumbria’s Lake District in 2003, it’s one of the most beautiful, peaceful places on earth, and I knew it was the perfect setting for my character to wreak havoc!

What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

Judging by what I read of other authors on social media, I honestly think I’m the only writer who edits as she goes along, I simply can’t do it any other way and wouldn’t even try. I still do edits at the end of course and proof read like crazy, (I also have a professional editor), but I still have to do it as the story unfolds or I’d lose all my plots, timelines and continuity. (All the authors I know think I’m crazy to work like this by the way!)

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?

Oh definitely the owl, the Tawny owl especially – I absolutely adore them. I’m also a night person so they really fit my personality. You’ll often find me tapping away at ridiculous hours because that’s when the house is at it’s most quiet. With five dogs and six cats it can be quite noisy and hectic during the day!

What does your ideal writing space look like?

Well in theory a lovely old fashioned study full of books, a big old oak desk and huge chair, with owls statues everywhere and one or two (sleeping) dogs at my feet. (I do actually have an abundance of varying sized owl statues all over the house!) In reality I tend to sit on the sofa with legs up and my laptop on a cushion across my thighs, although I have treated myself to a new laptop holder thingy which I’m waiting to be delivered.

What are you currently reading?

At the time of writing this I’m just about to start ‘The Killer You Know‘ by S.R. Masters. Looks excellent and has jumped to the top of my TBR list after reading a very exciting blog review.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

Well there’s a lot of grooming going on in our house with all the dogs and cats to keep tidy, plus reading of course. I also like to get together with local author friends. We meet for coffee, cake and booky chat, talk over our current W.I.P., events, marketing and promotion, and of course what we’re reading. I love to see my granddaughter as often as I can as well, and of course her mum and dad!

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

​Hermione Norris (actress) – she’s amazing! If in my wildest dreams ‘Blood List‘ could ever be dramatised on T.V., my question would be;- “Hermione will you please play Charlotte?!”

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

​I’ve learnt to let go of the plot reins, or maybe just not hold them so tightly. No matter how diligent I am about planning out the story, my characters will always take control and change it! Usually at 3.00 a.m.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve done or experienced to help create a scene or plot or to help you remember something if writing a memoir?

I laid on the floor with my shoulders up against the shower glass in our en suite. I needed to see where my eye line fell in order to create a realistic scene description in the sequel to ‘Blood List.’

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary?

No not now. I used to as a teenager.

What is the most amusing, crazy or inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?

​About thirty five years ago when I was writing poetry I was standing at the sink washing up and looking out of the window at the back garden. My mind was empty, (let’s face it I was bored rigid washing up), and suddenly I saw typewritten words appearing in my head sentence after sentence typed on a traditional typewriter.

These weren’t ‘thoughts’ and the words were nothing like the poetry I was writing at the time, it was much more old fashioned. Virtually a whole poem appeared and I had to dry my hands really quickly to get down on paper what I’d ‘seen,’ and then finish it off in the same period style. It was the quickest poem I’d ‘written’ . . . and it never happened again.

You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What do you do to prepare yourself?

A lot of deep breathing and walking about.

What do you miss about being a kid?

No responsibilities and lots of free time.

If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?

Not a cartoon but if I can change the question slightly . . . I would absolutely love to be trapped in the ‘Lion The Witch & The Wardrobe‘ book by C.S. Lewis. I actually did climb into my mother’s wardrobe and push her fur coats out of the way after watching the T.V. series in 1967. Sadly there was a back to that wardrobe and not one snowflake.

If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do?

D.I. Fran Taylor from the sequel I’m working on right now. She gets to work with D.C.I. Harry Longbridge again, (from ‘Blood List‘), when she arrives in Kirikdale two years after Harry retires. Their working partnership at Canon Row, (London police station), ended suddenly seven years previously when Harry was transferred to Kirkdale for his last five years of service.

Fran and Harry ‘have history,’ and she calls him back in because the original case was his – but she also wants to see him again. I wanted to be a police officer in my teens, but in the 70’s being 5′ ft 1″ wasn’t acceptable. It would be like a second chance to do some detective work, just a small snapshot – (plus I love Harry!!)

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

​I honestly can’t remember the last movie I saw, but recently binge watched all five series of ‘Line of Duty‘ and am now a hopeless addict like millions of other LODites!!

A penguin knocks on your door and is wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he there?

“Time for some fun lady you’ve been working too hard – let’s party!”

Do you believe things happen for a reason? Do you have an example from your own life to share why you believe this?

Yes I definitely do but can’t think of an example right now, maybe invite me back another time?!

If you could ask your pet three questions, what would they be?

Well as you know I have 11 so I’ll choose one question each for three of them!

Keelan (Golden Retriever) “Why do you howl all through any T.V. programme’s theme music?”

Lissa (Persian cat) “Why do you insist on sitting on top of the water filter jug?”

Shumi (Shih Tzu) “Why do you ask to go out but when I open the door, run away from it into the lounge and sit in front of the treat tin?”

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

Being very detail orientated. I’m a bit of a perfectionist which is probably why I have to edit as I go along. If I’m going to do something it’s got to be to the best of my ability or I won’t do it, and I need to see that all the time in my writing. I think it’s useful because it means my characters and plot are believable, and I won’t skimp on the research. If I can’t find the info, I’ll wait till I can rather than make it up or leave it out which would ruin the book.

This is why ‘Blood List‘ had a ten year delay – and there’s an interesting story here. Some information I needed centred around the detailed abilities of a Cessna light aircraft and an exceptionally long flight. I simply couldn’t find out the nitty gritty detail I needed in 2008 to push on with the story, and had to stop until last year when I was persuaded to dig out the MS and research for weeks until I found the information.

It was only for a couple of paragraphs but it was crucial to the story, and crucial (to me) to get it right. It was a good job I hadn’t been tempted to wing it, (pun intended – haha!!), because at a W.H. Smith book signing, a lady who bought a copy, (and was also an author), asked me if I ever got writer’s block. I told her about the Cessna and she said… “Well I’m very glad you waited until you could find out that specific information.” I said;- “Oh no don’t tell me you’re a pilot?!” She replied;- “No – but my husband is and he’ll probably read it too. He would rubbish your book if it was badly researched or just plain wrong!” You can imagine my relief!

What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?

Anywhere with lakes or rivers, trees, hills and valleys. The Broadland area in Norfolk and the Lake District in Cumbria where ‘Blood List‘ is set, are my two favourites.

Describe the perfect solo date you’d take yourself on … where, time of day, weather, place, etc.

A luxury river boat trip on a beautiful sunny day, with a butler seeing to lunch, drinks etc. and my current read (plus one spare).

Tell us about your most recent book.

Blood List‘ is a psychological crime thriller where you know from the start who the killer is. It’s not a police procedural or a ‘who dunnit?’ It’s a why, where and a how ‘dunnit.’ There’s still a great deal of mystery however as well as plot twists and shocks. The antagonist is the star as opposed to the hero(es), yet my readers tell me they love her character despite how evil she is! Although having said that, maybe some people will feel sorry for her past history, present dilemma and mental health issues. Charlotte is self medicating, ruthless and on a mission – if you’re female, young and attractive you’d better watch out! ​

I love to keep in touch with my readers, so if you’d like to drop me a line I’ll look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you Ali for being a part of Meeting the Authors. It was interesting to learn about the varied aspects of your writer’s life! –Camilla

About the book:

Think the Lake District is a lovely place to visit? Think again. A Psychological & Chilling Thriller set in and around the fictional town of Kirkdale in Cumbria. One by one the young women of Kirkdale are being found grotesquely murdered, with no clues as to why.

Lying between the great lake Kirkwater and the base of Kirkby Pike, although beautiful, Kirkdale isn’t exactly the most exciting place on the planet. But after young reporter Jenny Flood moves into the relaxed Cumbrian town, it sets a catalogue of events in motion that brings this comfortable community to its knees.

When middle aged G.P. Charlotte Peterson discovers Jenny has followed her from Bradenthorpe, six years after a fling with her philandering doctor husband Miles, it stirs deeply buried mental health issues from her youth. In the run up to the Kirkdale country show, the arrival of this third and most recent adversary triggers the already edgy and emotionally scarred Charlotte into finally stepping over the edge. Her longing to destroy Jenny has been on a slow and very resentful burn for years, now the reality of achieving that presents itself as a genuine possibility.

Can journalist Andrew Gale protect new colleague Jenny, girlfriend Gina and her best friend Molly from the psychotic GP’s insane agenda? How will sarcastic ex Met. Officer Harry Longbridge deal with Andrew’s continued interference?

Then there’s the unexpected arrival of an American mystery woman. And just who is on the Blood List?

Find our more about Ali and her book:

Blood List is available in paperback from all good high street stores and the following websites.

Troubador Publishing: https://www.troubador.co.uk/bookshop/crime-and-thrillers/blood-list/

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2IKuYJ2

If you’d like to keep up with all things ‘Blood List‘ including joining Ali Carter’s book club and advance notification of signing events, visit the website: https://www.alicarterauthor.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/alicrimewriter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alicarterauthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thevizionista/

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

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Meet the Author: Dropzone by Stewart Giles

Today we welcome Stewart Giles to Meet the Author. We’re headed to Vaal Dam in South Africa to talk about what an armadillo, skydiving, and playing a guitar mean for author Stewart Giles! Let’s go!

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a 46-year-old writer, guitar collector, sailor and skydiver, in that order. I’ve been living on the Vaal Dam in South Africa for 16 years now, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

In which genre do you write?

Crime Thrillers.

How many published books do you have?

Fifteen. Thirteen of which are self-published and two have been published through Joffe Books.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

I always wrote when I was a kid, but one night my wife dropped a rather large speaker on my head, and when the feeling came back in my legs and the concussion subsided, I came up with the idea for my detective Smith books. Whether she dropped it on purpose still remains a mystery.

What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

Initially, I write my books free-hand in block capitals. With whatever writing implement I can find.

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?

An armadillo. My favourite animal – they’re tough as nails on the outside, and soft inside.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

My writing space is full of books, guitars and good old-fashioned CD’s.

What are you currently reading?

I’m doing the Jo Nesbo marathon for the tenth time. Harry Hole is one of the reasons I picked up a pen again and I haven’t put it down since. Very inspiring.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

I’m lucky to stay a stone’s throw away from a huge expanse of water, so I race sailing boats at least once a month. I’m also lucky to have one of the best dropzones on my doorstep and I love to jump out of perfectly good planes. It really is quite addictive. When I’m on terra firma, I play one of my 45 guitars.

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

It would have to be Jo Nesbo. We’d have a jam (he plays the guitar too.) And we’d drink beer.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

I’ve always considered myself to be very good at keeping my feelings hidden, yet I bare my heart and soul to all and sundry through writing.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve done or experienced to help create a scene or plot?

For research on my latest book, my amazing friend at the skydiving club asked me if I wanted to co-pilot as they had a light load. Going up to thirteen-thousand feet and watching the guys jump was much worse than jumping myself, and the rapid descent in the empty single turbo-prop plane meant I couldn’t hear much for a while. All in the name of research.

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? Has this helped with your published writings? If so, how?

I don’t keep a diary, no.

What is the most amusing, crazy or inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?

I’ve been struck by lightning, bitten by a snake and been bitten by a recluse spider. The latter resulting in a lovely weekend in hospital.

But the most inspiring, with regards to my latest book was when I did my first static-line sky dive. My instructor was on hand to guide me down, and his wife was in radio contact via a VHF in my helmet. It started off well, then my instructor experienced a one in a 1000 malfunction. His main failed and I watched as he spiraled down to earth.

His wife also spotted this, and her priorities suddenly changed from guiding a bloke safely down to the drop zone to praying her husband wasn’t going to hit the ground at 120 miles an hour. I landed in a field some distance from the drop zone, had to be rescued, and I couldn’t walk properly for a while. The instructor had activated the reserve parachute and later told me it was the most fun he’d had in ages.

You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What song do you listen to before speaking? Or, what do you do to prepare yourself?

I’d listen to ‘Shine on you Crazy Diamond’ by Pink Floyd. Very inspiring.

What do you miss about being a kid?

Nothing. I don’t think I’ve actually grown up yet.

If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?

I used to love Mr. Benn – he could be a different person every day then return to his normal life. I think that’s why all of us write, isn’t it?

If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do?

It would definitely be DS Jason Smith, and I doubt my wife would even notice the difference.

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

Mama Mia. Because my wife and 14 year-old daughter can be quite insistent. I read a book all the way through.

A penguin knocks on your door and is wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he there?

“Hey, Gringo. You wanna hear a joke?”

Do you believe things happen for a reason? Do you have an example from your own life to share why you believe this?

Everything happens for a reason. I owned a boat shop here in South Africa – in the quiet times I wrote, and the down turn in the economy meant there were plenty of quiet times.

I begged and pleaded agents and publishers and collected rejection letters by the bus-load. Then Jasper from Joffe Books contacted me. They wanted to publish my DS Smith series. I was over the moon, but of course it turned into another rejection. They told me the books had already had too much exposure, but would love to see something new.

I’d been in talks with an agent who told me something similar, so I wrote The Beekeeper. I sent it to Joffe Books, they published it and it hit the number 1 bestseller spot in Australia twice. Everything definitely happens for a reason.

If you could ask your pet three questions, what would they be?

Why do you dislike cats so much? Why do you turn into a hooligan when we leave the house? Can you actually see in colour?

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

Stubbornness. I never give up. It helps to have a thick skin in this industry.

What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?

The South Coast. 100 miles south of Durban. In the winter, it get’s rather chilly here on the Highveld, and the south coast is warm, the Indian Ocean air is invigorating and it’s just serene to hear the waves crashing at night.

Describe the perfect solo date you’d take yourself on … where, time of day, weather, place, etc.

A Blues festival. Outside during the Vaal dam spring. Great music, great beer and amazing people.

Tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it.

Dropzone” will be released 3 June 2019. It’ll be on Amazon.

Miranda“, my first standalone Thriller has been out since March 2019.

This was fun interview to host! I laughed more than once and genuinely loved learning more about Stewart’s world. And now I’m left wondering what type of pet he has! Thank you Stewart for stopping by! –Camilla

Where to purchase “Miranda“, with “Dropzone” to be available beginning June 3 2019:

UK Kindle: https://amzn.to/2Vy0n5G

US Kindle: https://amzn.to/2Wdia6K

UK Paperback: https://amzn.to/2VCrMTS

US Paperback: https://amzn.to/2w6Cvfg

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