Meet the Author: The Reach of Shadows by Tony J. Forder

Today we welcome Tony J. Forder as we travel to Peterborough, UK and we learn how a slug, a guitar, patience, and a taxidermist  are all clues that come together to form Tony’s full time writer life. Grab your guitar and let’s get comfortably numb ….

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am married, live in Peterborough, UK, where my main series character DI Jimmy Bliss works and lives. I now write full time.

In which genre do you write?

Crime/Mystery/Action-Adventure Thrillers

How many published books do you have?

Seven to date – with number eight due in September. Four of the seven form the DI Bliss series, there are two from another series, and one stand-alone.

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

When I was ten or so I read The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner. Although I had no idea at the time – because I’d never read Lord of the Rings – I guess it could be described as a fat free version of Tolkien’s masterpiece. A sort of LoTR-Lite, if you will. This journey into another world within my own made me realise that you could write about anything, and all it required was imagination.

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

I’d love my spirit animal to be an eagle or a bear, possibly even a penguin, but you don’t get to choose them – they choose you – and I strongly suspect mine would end up being a slug.

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

Play music – I play guitar. Listen to music. Go for the occasional walk. I like a nice pint, enjoy some sports and like a TV show binge watch – especially Bosch. Somehow, though, I’m always writing, if only inside my head.

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?

I would love to have a chat with James Herbert. He and I grew up in pretty much the same area of London, had similar interests – like me he played music and was a decent artist. I’d like to ask him when he realised that someone from our kind of background could become a writer, because I think it took me far too long to take my writing seriously.

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

That I am more patient than I could ever have imagined. I take a great deal of time with my characters and research, even though most of what you learn never reaches the page. My impatience is one of my worst traits, but even though I still don’t have enough of it to be a genuine plotter, there’s enough to allow me to do the things I need to do.

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

I had to spend two hours on the phone with a taxidermist explaining to me how one might perform taxidermy on a human. His excitement over the subject increased so much I started to worry that he was going to hunt down a subject to practice on. It was fascinating hearing him expand his thought process to include the human form.

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 love to say it was something like Eye of the Tiger by Survivor, Don’t Stop Believing by Journey, Search for a Hero by M People, or Lifted by the Lighthouse Family, but in reality it would probably be something more like Comfortably Numb, by Pink Floyd.

What do you miss about being a kid?

The lack of inhibition, the lack of fear, the absolute wonder with which I approached life, having just enough knowledge that I could enjoy what life has to offer, but not so much that it becomes a burden, the sense of adventure, and Spangles.

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

Roadrunner and Wile E Coyote. I love the thought of having anvils from Acme dropped on my head (I actually referred to this in my book Cold Winter Sun), falling off cliffs, being blown up by Acme dynamite, and running into fake tunnels only to confront real trains, and surviving it to do it all again the next day.

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

I would be DS Penny Chandler, because I would love to know what she really thinks of her boss, DI Bliss.

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

Sadly, it was John Wick 2 – on the advice of others whose opinions I will discount in the future.

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

He is there to canvas support for a brand new Lantern Fish-based Mexican cuisine restaurant opening up in the area, and is looking for my views on the subject and whether I’d be interested in a takeaway service.

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

Probably my ability to bounce back – there are many difficulties to overcome in life, but writing tends to throw up a whole new set of them and you have to pick yourself up sometimes and move forward.

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

The Pure Land Meditation Centre and Japanese Garden is just about the most relaxing and beautiful place I’ve been to here in England. It’s a privately-owned house in Lincolnshire, whose owner has developed a stunning Zen garden which you never want to leave. That and Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea Football Club.

Tell us about your most recent book.

My current book is The Reach of Shadows and is book #4 in my DI Bliss series.

The Reach of Shadows

Recovering from injuries sustained in a road collision, DI Bliss is taken directly from hospital to a fresh crime scene and ordered to investigate the vicious stabbing and murder of Jade Coleman.

When Bliss realises the victim had reported being stalked, and that two of his own team members had been drafted in to take her statement, he is then given the unenviable task of interviewing both of his detectives.

Increasingly it appears that the stalker may be their killer. However, several other people soon become part of the team’s suspect list.

Bliss also finds himself being questioned about his own past, and has to battle to defend himself whilst continuing to investigate the vicious murder.

Soon more questions arise.

Why would anybody target the victim, Jade Coleman?

Why are the team unable to identify her close female friend?

And why did Jade recently leave her job without any explanation?

With his work cut out, and his team under tremendous pressure, can Bliss solve the case before more victims show up? Or will the shadows of his own past reach out to drag him under before he can succeed?

Thanks Tony for stopping by Meeting the Authors. It was great to learn more about your writer’s life! –Camilla

Where can we find it?

It can be ordered from all online retailers, and can also be found in many branches of Waterstones. Book #5, The Death of Justice will be released in September. Thank you!

US Amazon:

UK Amazon:

More About Tony and Where to Connect:

Tony J Forder is the author of the critically acclaimed, international best-selling crime thriller series featuring detectives Jimmy Bliss and Penny Chandler. The first three books, Bad to the Bone, The Scent of Guilt, and If Fear Wins, are now joined by The Reach of Shadows, published in January 2019. The fifth book in the series, The Death of Justice, has now been commissioned and will be published on 9 September.

Tony’s dark, psychological crime thriller, Degrees of Darkness, featuring ex-detective Frank Rogers, was also published by Bloodhound Books. This is a stand-alone serial-killer novel. Another book that was written as a stand-alone was Scream Blue Murder. This was published in November 2017, and received praise from many, including fellow authors Mason Cross, Matt Hilton and Anita Waller. Before it had even been published, Tony had decided to write a sequel, and Cold Winter Sun was published in November 2018.

Tony lives with his wife in Peterborough, UK, and is now a full-time author. He is currently editing a new novel, and has also started on Bliss #6.



Twitter: @TonyJForder

Amazon Author:


Bloodhound Books:

Tony can also be found on Instagram

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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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