Anchor Leg by Jack Croxall

Ok, so I know it’s been a while, but I never could resist a Q&A with one of my fave authors, the lovely Mr Croxall.  His new book, Anchor Leg, is brilliant and has all the makings of a classic sci-fi novel. Naturally, I wanted to know more about what had inspired him to write it and where he thinks the story might go next. anchor%20leg%20cover

Where did the character of Seren come from? Is she based on anyone you know?

Oh, good question! I wonder if you agree that every character we write has a little bit of ourselves in them? However, beyond that tiny bit of me, I think Seren is very much her own beast. I had a few scenes in mind when I started writing the book and Seren just sort of grew from what I pictured her doing. My thought process was something like: if she acts like this she must have this kind of personality. Does that make sense?!

Why did you decide to make Seren a trainee?

As an apprentice I thought Seren could learn about the Relay (the fictional succession of habitable space stations that make up the book’s setting) as the reader did. I also started the book off with the idea that it might end up as a young-adult title, but eventually I realised I was writing something that was really pure sci-fi. By then Seren’s character was fully formed and I didn’t want to change/age her. Despite being seventeen (maybe that was always more new-adult than young-adult anyway) I think she works as she is. I just hope readers agree!

What is your favourite sci-fi film/book franchise? Did it have an influence on Anchor Leg?

Star Trek. Specifically, Star Trek: The Next Generation. I absolutely loved that show when I was growing up and, during my time at university, I re-watched every episode from all seven series in order – that was my proper education! I love the idea of space exploration and all the moral dilemmas it seems to throw up. In terms of influence, I definitely placed Seren into some morally dubious situations and had her (and other characters) question her actions. On  top of that, there are endless little references and winks to all of my favourite sci-fi shows and films buried within the book. I hope readers have fun spotting them!

The prose of Anchor Leg feels so cinematic that I can imagine it easily as a movie. I know you sometimes write screenplays – would you perhaps adapt this one day as a screenplay?

I take that as a huge compliment, thank you! I also agree that Anchor Leg would make a decent screenplay; a lot of cutting/streamlining as a given of course. Alas, the zero-G stuff and special effects would cost a lot of money to film and, as an unknown writer, I would be very unlikely to get it made. You never know though, maybe one day!

How much did your degree studies/ interest in science influence this book?

I studied environmental science at university and some of that came into play in surprising ways towards the end of the book. My knowledge of space was actually not that strong (although the solar system obviously fascinates me) but I was lucky in that Steve Caddy – sci-fi author of the fabby In Exchange – was on hand to help me with all the technical detail. He set me straight where I got things horrifically wrong in early drafts.

If Anchor Leg was made into a film, who would you love to see in the main roles? Perhaps you’d even like to see it drawn as an anime! 

Definitely unknowns for Seren and Abril, maybe established actors for some of the more senior crew. As for your anime idea, perfect! You’ve singlehandedly solved my budgetary constraint problems! If any animators are reading this, drop me a line!

circle%20author%20photoOriginally trained as an environmental scientist, Jack Croxall soon realised a life in the lab wasn’t for him. After discovering a passion for writing he’s now an award-winning author, scriptwriter and blogger. He tweets via @JackCroxall and blogs at http://www.jackcroxall.co.uk

Anchor Leg is available from Amazon now!

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Wye by Jack Croxall – blog tour

Hello peeps! It’s my turn on the blog tour organised by book blog queen Liz Wilkins for Jack Croxall’s much anticipated new YA dystopian novel, Wye. In the coming weeks, Jack will be visiting again to answer some of my dastardly questions (he clearly didn’t learn his lesson last time) but for today I’m going to share my thoughts on the novel and give you some info on where to get your hands on a copy.

In Wye, Jack takes the traditional zombie tale and turns it on its head. The wonderful thing about Wye is that the twist is hiding in plain sight, and you don’t see it coming until it’s already snuck up on you; you’re simply left scratching your head, wondering at its brilliance.

Set in a landscape we now know well, everyone in the world has succumbed to a deadly virus that strips them of not only their lives, but any shred of humanity they might have possessed beforehand, and leaves them as a lumbering, slobbering, blood-thirsty freak. So far, so traditional zombie tale, but if you think you know where it’s going, think again. Few have survived, and for teenage girl – codenamed Wye – there is only her and a ragged band of friends picked up on the road, and her chances of survival, as we are told straight away by means of her journal, are very slim indeed. It feels as though we are reading the dying words of the young girl already and this sense of inevitability is what provides much of the tension. There is a monster… or is there? There is violence… or is there? There is genuine fear for the main character delivered through some brilliant unreliable narration. It’s hard to know what’s real, but this is what makes the story so gripping.Wye Cover Small

Wye is a satisfying, tension-filled read with a flawed but ultimately sympathetic main character. You might find yourself appalled by the actions she takes, but in the end, would you do any differently? It was a book that I couldn’t get out of my head for some time afterwards, and I can’t help but love the very new approach it takes to the traditional apocalypse/zombie/dystopian fare that has been in vogue for some time now; it’s like a breath of fresh air. There’s a literary bent to it too, so if you prefer your reads with a little more existential substance, then you won’t be disappointed by that aspect either.

So…. what are you waiting for? You can find Wye on Amazon and you can find out more about Jack on his website. While you’re at it, why not look him up on Twitter?

A chat with charming crime author Neil White

812qH1H8dJL__SL1500_As part of the blog tour for his new book (actually two, because he’s that awesome – The Domino Killer and The Death Collector) I’ve been lucky enough to interview Neil White.  I have to admit that Neil is a new discovery for me, and I was introduced by a lovely lady I’ve recently heard referred to as ‘blogging royalty’ (so true!) Liz Wilkins.  If his books are anything like as entertaining and intelligent as his Q&A answers I can’t wait to get stuck into my first one!  So, as they say, without further ado…

  • Which of your characters is most like you?

I would say that Joe Parker is the most like me. He is one of the brothers in my current trilogy; one a detective, one a defence lawyer. I’m a criminal lawyer in my day job, which I still do three days a week. It gets me out of the house, or else I would become a hermit.

He is the one I see as me, albeit a younger version. I like the “being younger” part.

  • If you could be friends in real life with any of your characters, who would it be and why?

Probably Laura McGanity, the female co-lead in my first five books. She had a certain weariness about her that would make for a good old whingeing session. She’d tell me straight when I’m being a silly arse.

  • Have you ever written a character that you’ve disliked so much you’ve scrapped them from a work?

More changed than scrapped. I can’t recall a specific one, but there have been characters that I thought didn’t work so changed them to make them different in some way, so as to make the story work better.

I’m not one of those writers who will say that the characters exist outside of the books. I’ll never say that I “discovered” the character. They are entirely mine. So characters don’t surprise me when I write. I just find myself writing something different from what I first intended. In other words, I changed my mind.

A character I dislike is just one I’ve written badly or is a bad idea. Or perhaps I’m just a curmudgeon.

  • Which of your characters would frighten you if you met them in real life?

Probably the villain in Cold Kill, my fifth book. He was based on Dennis Rader, a serial killer from Wichita in Kansas, and it was his utter ordinariness that attracted me to using him as a template. The biggest threats are the ones you don’t see coming.

  • Describe your latest book in one word.

Pacy.

  • Describe yourself in 5 words.

Tall. Grey. Noisy. Cumbersome. Oafish.

  • Do you ever consult friends when you’re stuck with a plot?

No. I don’t like discussing plots because I worry that away from the books they sound a bit lame. Books are about how a plot is written, not necessarily the plot itself. If I get stuck, I take some time out and think about it, sketch out some ideas. I get there in the end.

  • What’s your personal kryptonite?

Rice pudding. Foul stuff.

  • If you could converse, a la Dr Dolittle, with one type of animal, which would it be and why?

I would ordinarily say a cat, because I like cats, but I can’t help thinking it would just respond, “feed me or sod off”. A chat with a sheep would be okay. Laidback. I’d ask how it was, and it would chew some grass and respond, “not so bad”, then go back to chewing.

  • Tea or coffee?

I start the day with tea but usually move onto coffee to get myself going. Coffee is too harsh first thing, but at some point I need a kick.

  • Describe a typical writing day – where does it fit for you? Are you an owl or a lark? Do you write in short bursts or intense sessions? Do you write quickly and edit to death afterwards or write with more care in the first place

Sitting at a computer and then just generally messing around, and at some point I decide to write some words. I’m best in the morning, more efficient, but I tell myself that I’m a night owl, so I put it off until later, missing my best time.

For me, it is all about getting something down, moving the plot forward. Once I’m there, I like to really strip it down, try to make it something I like. Getting the plot down is like taking the limestone from the quarry. The editing is making the sculpture.

  • Which genre are you most comfortable writing? Is there any genre you haven’t yet written that you’d like to try? What’s your favourite age group to write for?

I’ve only ever written crime, but horror would interest me. I like the idea of frightening people, because I remember fondly the fear when reading the likes of Stephen King.

As for reading group age, adult. I suppose this is because I write for myself.

  • Can you tell us a little about your next project?

I’m starting a new series about a criminal lawyer and a private investigator. I like the idea I’ve come up and I can only hope other people do when it’s finished.

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Neil White was born and brought up around West Yorkshire. He left school at sixteen but studied for a law degree in his twenties, then started writing in 1994. He is now a lawyer by day, crime fiction writer by night. He lives with his wife and three children in Preston.  If you’re new to his work, perhaps you could start with his first book in the Parker brothers series, Next to Die. Check it out on Amazon here…

Summer Lovin’: Bad boy charm

Whenever I get down about writing something that feels like it isn’t working, I just remind myself of why I do it by reading wonderful posts like this…

Anahera Reads: MOVED!

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Today’s topic:

It’s good to be bad…boys that is! List those bad boys that make your heart go pitter patter. Got a picture to share so we can all drool (please)? You could do a character interview or create a bio for your favorite character. Or tell us where you would go if he were to ask you out on a date?

I don’t know if the boys on my list are sufficiently “bad” enough. I suppose they’re of varying degrees of “badness” and I have varying degrees of affection for them, ranging from “Oh yes, let us go out and have silly dates.” to “Oh you little cutie, let me hug you!” 😛 Just three for my list. I guess I’m not good at liking those bad boys. 🙂 I also tried to come up with pictures of some actors that I think would work well for these boys.

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Two years of head-desking…

dead girl walking finalIt’s been a long two years since I began writing Dead Girl Walking. In between beginning this book and where we are now (not quite but almost ready to publish) I’ve been through two day jobs and published three books under my pen name.  But this book has been one of those that I have had a love-hate relationship with. While I have loved the characters, I don’t mind admitting that the story has been incredibly difficult to get right. I’ve had the help of my fantastic agent, Peta Nightingale, who must be absolutely sick of seeing rewrites from me by now (I think we’re on about eight but I’ve lost count)  and her colleague at LAW, Philippa Milnes-Smith, who kindly carted one of the first drafts around Bologna book fair for me to gain lots of publisher feedback, along with one of my best friends, Louise, who read the crap drafts even when she had much better things to do.  Writer friends have also waded in, and I have to thank Mel Sherratt in particular for championing the book right from the start, Rebecca Bradley for offering her know-how and expertise on getting the details right, and Jack Croxall for braving the early drafts.  Without all these people Dead Girl Walking would have been something very different, and not nearly as good, I’m sure. It’s taken two years but think I finally like it and I hope that you all like it too.  So I’m thrilled to share the new blurb and cover  with you all. I don’t have an exact release date yet, but it’s soon, so I guess, as they say, watch this space…

Cassie Brown doesn’t see dead people, she becomes them. The slightest touch forces her to relive their final moments in breath-sapping detail. She herself was dead, killed in the accident that took the rest of her family. But whatever strange power governs the universe, has plans for her that don’t involve her death… yet.

Dante has a recurring dream.  Every time he sleeps he sees the exact moment of his own demise. But where did the nightmare come from?  If it is a premonition, how long has he got?

A girl and a boy, two damaged souls drawn together. Add a serial killer stalking the streets, a desperate cop and a newspaper reporter with an unhealthy interest in her story, and Cassie is soon caught in a lethal game. She may have cheated Death once, but this time he’s keeping a much closer eye on his prize…

Dead Girl Walking is an unpredictable mix of romance, paranormal and crime thriller that will keep you gripped until the very last page.

Guest post – Cover reveal for The Prophecies by Holly Martin

Today I’m thrilled to have Holly back on the blog. This lady is fast building an army of fans and, having had a sneaky preview of her new book, I can safely say that they won’t be disappointed with her latest offering.  The Prophecies, Book 2 of The Sentinel Series, will be published on October 1st, a week today and here is the stunning cover.

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The world is a big place, will Eve really be the one to save it?
Eve grows stronger and more powerful every day as she strives to ensure she is ready to face her destiny. But some of her gifts are unwelcome. Eve’s visions of the future become darker and those she loves are in terrible danger. But when her actions result in tragedy, Eve is called before The Oraculum, the council that created her
When she is summoned to their castle she becomes aware of a rift between the council members that not only could endanger her life, but could put the whole planet at risk. Would The Oraculum really turn against her and risk everything?
But in the darkness, a light burns bright. Her love for Seth is stronger than any of her powers.
But as she battles against a new threat, can she really forsake those closest to her in order to save the world? Will everyone Eve loves survive?

The Sentinel, Book 1 of the series is only 77p/99c so if you haven’t read it yet you can download it here… 20131002-1-1-1

Fallen on Good Times blog tour – A guest post by Rewan Tremethick

Fallen on Good Times Front Cover 600x375As part of the blog tour for Fallen on Good Times, I’d like to introduce you to Rewan Tremethick. I’ve followed him on Twitter for a while and was very lucky to see an early draft of this book. Since then I’ve followed his progress with great interest and here we are, finally, with a release date. Rewan has kindly put a guest post together with some info about the book, so, without further ado…

From hobbyist to professional: a reader’s guide to a writer’s plight

In her 2013 Roundup Sharon talks about how releasing her novels finally gave her the validation she required as a writer. You see, writers may like to put on a facade of a deeply thoughtful creative with their heads lost in the clouds, but the truth is we’re a needy bunch. We spend less time staring forlornly out windows in big white puffy shirts, or reading large leather-bound books under the shade of a giant tree than we would like, and more time sitting in a chair at four o’clock in the morning doing a little dance every time someone views our latest blog post.

This writing game is an odd thing to pursue as a career, because it’s just a hobby really. There is no middle ground: you are either a hobbyist, or a professional. Every writer you have ever read started out as some quiet little person scribbling away for hours on end, possibly while their families tried to convince them to do something a bit more useful, or trick them into the back of a van using cookies in order to go for a trip down to the psychiatrist.

For us as readers it seems strange that Sharon could doubt her own talent. There is one fundamental thing about writing which makes it so hard to master and so hard to measure. With a lot of other hobbies it is very easy to see when you are getting better. I’m also a drummer, so I know I’m improving when I finally master a new groove, or increase the speed of one of my rolls. Take the marathon runner, who can accurately measure her progress using a simple stopwatch. With writing it isn’t that easy.

I suspect a lot of writers, upon being published, have felt like they were frauds. I’m a copywriter during the day, which means I write a lot of business texts such as websites and brochures. Every now and then I still sit there and think ‘I’m getting paid to do this. Someone is paying me money just to sit here and write’. It’s probably the same with fiction. Creating novels is a very intense and draining process, but it’s still something fun and rewarding. It doesn’t involve assembling pigs, or grinding down mountains, or whatever is proper people actually do for a living.

In a few weeks when Fallen on Good Times actually comes out on 31st May I will legitimately be able to call myself an author. (Incidentally my dictation software changed ‘author’ to ‘awful’. Considering a lot of my writing goes through it, perhaps I should be concerned that it’s trying to tell me something). But I’ve been writing books for years. Doesn’t that make me an author? You can probably start to tell why we’re all so neurotic.

Having to treat your hobby like a profession is a very weird change. Luckily I happen to like marketing, and tracking things with spreadsheets, and all that business Malarkey. But it is still odd, to suddenly ask for money for something which you’ve been doing for free. Of course it’s a perfectly logical and rewarding relationship that writers have with readers. You pay us a little bit of money for our time, so that we can afford Jaffa cakes and Pepsi and huge tubes of Smarties, or whatever else it takes to keep as writing when it’s two in the morning, and in return we introduce you to some amazing people in some incredible situations with whom you can become friends, comrades, or even fall madly in love with. But it still seems as odd as standing up in a crowded room and saying “Would anyone like to pay me to draw a moustache on this duck?”

So be patient with us. We may seem overly eager for attention sometimes, but it’s because deep inside we’re all afraid that at some point the police are going to drop down through the ceiling and crash through the door, take away our laptops, and force us to get an actual job.

Fallen on Good Times – Released May 31st on Kindle and in Paperback

Fairy tales are warnings. Legend is history. Monsters are real.

America, 1920. The city of Pilgrim’s Wane. The people on the street can be dangerous, the ones in the shadows even more so.

Private Detective Laslo Kane is giving up. But then a brutal murder drives a terrified investor to offer Laslo a life-changing sum of money to solve the case. The fee could set Laslo up for the rest of his life, assuming he still has one when he’s finished going up against the most dangerous crime family in the city.

Find out more about the novel and sign up to get the first chapter free here.

About the author:
Rewan (not pronounced ‘Rowan’) Tremethick is a British author who was named after a saint. St Ruan was invulnerable to wolves; Rewan isn’t. His paranormal detective noir, Fallen on Good Times, is being released towards the end of May. Rewan has already had two murder mystery novellas published.
When not writing, he can be found drumming, reading, and pondering. He works as a freelance copywriter, so it’s hard to find a time where he’s not writing anything. Rewan is a fan of clever plots, strong woman who don’t have to be described using words like ‘feisty’, and epic music. He has dabbled in stand-up comedy, radio presenting, and writing sentences without trying to make a joke.
He balances his desire to write something meaningful by wearing extremely tight jeans.Rewan 200
Other links:
Website
Twitter
 Paddy’s Daddy Publishing