thriller

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An Interview with Stephen Leather

Published November 3, 2016 by MommaCat

stephenleather

Please tell us about your upcoming books and their production schedule.

I have a new book coming out in a few weeks – TAKEDOWN – which features two characters from my Spider Shepherd series. I have taken his former boss – Charlotte Button – and his friend – Lex Harper – and spun a standalone thriller around them, basically a home-grown jihadist plot. It might well end up being the first in a new series, we’ll see!

Writing-wise, I’m midway through a book provisionally titled THE GIRL WHO GOT BURNED about a female firefighter who is badly injured in a fire and is reassigned as an arson investigator. Years ago I wrote two episodes of a TV show about firemen called London’s Burning but a lot has changed since then so I’m doing a lot of research. I’ve visited a fire station and hope to be taken into a training fire soon. Once that’s done and dusted I’ll be starting work on the new Spider Shepherd novel, which will be titled LIGHT TOUCH. It’s got several plotlines including an undercover cop who has gone bad and an evil jihadist who is being protected by MI5.

 

Who are the authors that have influenced your writing the most?

I’ve always been a huge fan of John Le Carre, Jack Higgins, and Gerald Seymour. I read most of their books before I started writing my own thrillers. I also loved the black magic books of Dennis Wheatley and it was those that led me to writing my Jack Nightingale supernatural detective series. I’m also a huge fan of self-published authors Joe Konrath and Mark Dawson, who offer lots of advice on publishing your own work. I’m one of Amazon’s Top 10 UK self-publishers and I’ve learned a lot from Joe and Mark.

 

If you had the ability to bring one author back from the dead to write one more book, who would it be and why?

I love the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams and he died way too young. I’d bring him back to write one more book. Everything he has ever written has had me in fits of laughter.

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If you could live in (or just visit) any world, real or imaginary, where would it be and why?

I’d happily visit any world where I can fly. I already have a pilot’s licence but that’s not the same, I want to really fly. I do have vivid dreams where I actually can fly and it’s always a big disappointment when I wake up.

 

If you were able to trade bodies with one person for one day who would it be and why?

I always wished I could sing or play a music instrument but I’m not musical at all. I’d like to be Kenny G for the day, just so I could play the saxophone.

sax

 

What are the next three books you’re planning to read?

On my desk next to me are RED WATCH by Gordon Honeycombe, about a hotel fire not far from where I live in Maida Vale, London, SOLDIER SPY by Tom Marcus, an MI5 officer’s autobiography, and NOMAD by Alan Partridge alias Steve Coogan. I’m reading that for fun.

 

Do you have any guilty pleasure books/authors? You know the ones…stuff you don’t let your friends see you reading.

I reread my old Enid Blyton books from time to time, especially the Adventure series (River of Adventure etc). I know that world never really existed but I always wish it did.

enid-blyton

 

If you were to give just one piece of advice aspiring writers, what would it be?

Write every day. Even if it’s just a few paragraphs, write something.

 

What five people living or dead would you invite to a dinner party?

I love the idea of a dinner party with dead people – I’m sure there’s a serial killer story in there somewhere! I think if I am bringing people back to life I’d go for the real villains of history, just to see if they were really evil or if they just got a bad press. I’d got for Genghis Kahn, Hitler, Stalin, Chairman Mao, and Tony Blair. (I know Tony Blair’s still alive, but I live in hope).

 

How do you want the world to remember you?

I don’t really care whether the world remembers me or not. So long as my family and friends remember me, that’s good enough for me. Hopefully they’ll remember the fun times we had.

 

When  I asked Stephen about Social Media he had the following to say (and I couldn’t agree more!)

I’ve stopped using Twitter. Often it’s a nasty place, and even though it’s often great fun and supportive, the nasty bits have spoiled it for me. I left at the same time as Stephen Fry – he went back, I didn’t. I love Facebook, it’s much more supportive and helpful and I enjoy interacting with fans there. My Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/stephenleatherofficial/

I have a website at www.stephenleather.com and Jack Nightingale has his own website at www.jacknightingale.com

Stephen’s newest book PENALTIES came out October 31 wherever books are sold.  It’s a nail-biting thriller bringing together the British and Chinese underworld and the game game of football.- soccer to us Americans.
Gabe is a soccer star on his way to breaking a record for penalties scored. Ray is his brother that he hasn’t seen in years due to his choice of profession. Gabe is happily married with a wife and son. His life comes crashing down around him when the Chinese kidnap his wife and son. He is told to throw the game he is just about to play or his family will be killed. But will they be spared if they lose?

Buy it today at Amazon.com

penalties

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An Interview with F. Paul Wilson

Published July 1, 2016 by MommaCat

FPaulWilson

 

Please tell us about your upcoming books and their production schedule.

Panacea is out July 5. I’m writing a sequel of sorts, The God Gene, now. Not really a sequel, simply another mystery-adventure with the same two lead characters. Lemme tell you, it was with no little trepidation that handed in Panacea — my first non-Repairman Jack novel in many years. It’s a significant departure, since the Jack books are noirish crime stories with a fantastic back story. Panacea is a continent-hopping mystery adventure in search of the legendary cure-all. But the publisher loved it and even wanted another like it. Thus, The God Gene.

And sometime this year Tom Monteleone and I will finish The Silent Ones, third and last in our YA series, Nocturnia.

Who are the authors that have influenced your writing the most?

Tons. In no particular order: H.P. Lovecraft, Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury, Sax Rohmer, Bill Blatty, Robert Heinlein, Victor Hugo, Robert B. Parker, Poul Anderson, Raymond Chandler, Larry Niven, Dashiell Hammett, Charles Dickens, Fred Pohl, C.M. Kornbluth, Henry Kuttner, Charles Fort, and lots of others whose names escape me at the moment. And I suppose I shouldn’t leave out EC Comics, Captain Video, The Shadow, King Kong, the old Flash Gordon serials. Anyone and anything that grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let go.

I’m standing on the shoulders of all of the above, but the one still influencing me thematically (not stylistically), is H. P. Lovecraft. His cosmic horror, his materialistic take on the universe as indifferent at best, but most often malign, shook up my worldview when I was in my teens and has stayed with me since. It echoes all through the Adversary Cycle and Repairman Jack novels, and even into Panacea.

If you had the ability to bring one author back from the dead to write one more book, who would it be and why?

I wish Henry Kuttner were around to write more Gallagher stories, and I could do with a couple more Hogben tales.

If you could live in any world, real or imaginary, where would it be and why?

I’d very much like to live in Barry Schenck’s Retropolis. You can find it at http://thrilling-tales.webomator.com/ It’s sort of the way the present was supposed to look from the perspective of the 1930s (if that makes any sense). Check out the website or check out the 1930 film Just Imagine. (Full feature at http://tinyurl.com/h4bomxf – it’s awful in the way only early talkies can be, but visually it’s a jewel. Watch the first 3 minutes to get an idea of the retrofuture I’m talking about.)

This wouldn’t be an interview with you if we didn’t talk about Repairman Jack and The Secret History of the World. How far into writing your books did you realize you could convert your stories into one epic world? Were you influenced by anyone? Is there a story behind the story?

Well, the Secret History sort of grew. It starts with Lovecraft’s materialist, mechanistic universe – his so-called cosmic horror – amplified by the Fermi Paradox which boils down to: Where is everyone?  With billions of Earth-type planets in our galaxy with the potential for supporting life – many of them much older than ours – why haven’t we been contacted?  The answer could be that sentience and sapience don’t occur very often in the universe. What if the human level of sapience is so rare that when it occurs it attracts… attention? What if we are under the scrutiny of (to quote Wells) “intellects vast, cool and unsympathetic”?  Lovecraft and Charles Fort (who declared “We are property”) mined that vein, and I’m following in their footsteps. Those unsympathetic intellects have shaped human history from behind the scenes, that’s why it’s called the Secret History.

Humanity being the plaything of vast, unknowable forces percolates through The Keep, The Tomb, and The Touch even though they were all intended as stand-alones. I started another completely unrelated novel with the working title The Chadham Clone. I meant for it to look like Rosemary’s Baby or The Omen on the surface but actually be something different (just as The Keep looks like a vampire novel for a while, but it’s not). I wanted to use an evil entity other than the tired old Antichrist, but who? Then I realized I already had that entity in Rasalom from The Keep. I needed a suburban setting convenient to Manhattan, and realized I already had one in Monroe where The Touch took place. I became intrigued by the challenge of tying those two novels, and The Tomb as well, into Rasalom’s reincarnation, bringing the books full circle. It worked so well that I suspect my subconscious might have been linking them all along.

Things grew from there. The result was an outline for a 1,000+ page novel. Nobody was going to publish that, so I broke it down into a trilogy that became Reborn, Reprisal, and Nightworld. When I was done I called all 6 novels The Adversary Cycle, and that formed the foundation of the Secret History. When I brought Jack back in 1998, he was already part of the Secret History, so I used him to expand on the story.

We also know that you are a medical doctor specializing in family practice. But like Repairman Jack, do you have plans to retire? What will you do when that time comes?

I’ve been a part-time physician working 2 days a week for quite some time now (I’d never have been able to write all those books had I been full time). I’ve got a few more practice years left in me. I love my patients, but the government and the insurance companies are conspiring to drive me insane. As for writing, I’ll probably keep that up till I die or develop full-blown dementia.

And Jack? He’ll be back. I have no doubt that a suitable novel will come along and I’ll bring him in from the pasture and put him to work. Can’t say just when, though.

If you were able to trade bodies with one person for one day who would it be and why?

Willie Dixon in the late 1950s. I’m writing “Little Red Rooster,” “Hoochie Coochie Man,” “I Just Wanna Make Love to You,” “Spoonful” and other blues classics. I’m doing session work for Chess Records, I’m playing upright bass in Chuck Berry’s band. I’m not a household name, but I’m defining the Chicago Blues sound. (Later on, in the 60s, my songs will be covered by the Stones, Led Zep, Cream, the Doors, Hendrix, even Dylan.)

Willie Dixon

Then again, maybe Kim Kardashian – pre-Kanye, of course. I mean, what’s it like to sit on that butt?

Kim Kardashian Paper magazine cover

What are the next three books you’re planning to read?

Just started Watched Too Long by Ann Voss Peterson and J.A. Konrath. The books ahead haven’t been published yet – ARCs by Norman Spinrad and Charles Stross.

Do you have any guilty pleasure books/authors? You know the ones…stuff you don’t let your friends see you reading.

I’ll read old pulp novels from time to time, but I’m not guilty about them. The snoots turn up their noses but, y’know, who cares? It’s my comfort food. That’s why I wrote “Sex Slaves of the Dragon Tong.”

I do have guilty music, though. I’m a blues guy, but I have a weakness for good harmony and a catchy tune. My iPod hides an occasional song by the Partridge Family, the Carpenters, Air Supply, and others too uncool to cop to. (“Easy Come, Easy Go” by Bobby Sherman – yoiks!)

If you were to give just one piece of advice aspiring writers, what would it be?

The obvious one is keep writing…write every day. When I started out, writing part time, I found a minimum of 3 first-draft double-spaced pages per day did the trick. That’s 21/week. At that rate you’ve got over 540 pages in 6 months. That’s a decent-sized novel.

In writing those 3 pages per day, avoid tinkering with them. This stalls you by fooling you into thinking you’re still writing. You’re not. And you’re losing momentum. Get those 3 pages down and then leave them alone and go on to the next 3. The time to fix and hone them is after you’ve finished that all-important first draft – what I call the vomit draft. You’ll know your characters better then and can go back and make meaningful edits and additions.

The other is less obvious: Avoid envy. Other writers are going to be more successful than you. Applaud their success rather than begrudge it. Just remember, there’s objective success and subjective success. Objective is counted on bestseller lists and dollar signs. Subjective is defined by you: what are your goals in putting those words on paper? Don’t lose sight of that.

What five people living or dead would you invite to a dinner party?

Dorothy Parker, Ambrose Bierce, Ogden Nash, Oscar Wilde, and H. L. Mencken. A veritable torrent of wit. Can you imagine the laughs? The unbridled cynicism?

How do you want the world to remember you?

A stand-up guy who poured a mean gimlet and told lots of good stories.

 

You can find Paul on Twitter and follow him, look for @fpaulwilson.  Check out his Facebook page too!  Thank you so much for the interview, Paul.  And thank you for letting me read Panacea.

This is an exciting book! Think Dan Brown meets Michael Crichton. Then, boom! You’re off off on an around the world (Paul’s World – it fits into the Secret History) whirlwind thriller as competing forces attempt to find a cure-all. Can it truly exist? Dead bodies are turning up that were otherwise perfectly healthy…and they shouldn’t have been.  Have fun reading this – I sure did!

Find PANACEA at Amazon.com

panacea

An Interview with David Bell

Published June 1, 2016 by MommaCat

david_j_bell

 

Would you talk about your upcoming books and their production schedule?

My next thriller, SINCE SHE WENT AWAY, will be released on June 21st. It’s about a single mother and her teenage son and their involvement in a missing persons case.

Have you ever devised a character and then written a plot around them?

I think good stories start with characters. Character drives plot not the other way around. So the short answer is—“Yes!”

Who are the authors that have influenced your writing the most?

So, so many. But to name a few: Harlan Coben, Raymond Carver, Jhumpa Lahiri, Rosemary Sutcliff, Elmore Leonard, Ed Gorman. The list could go on and on.

Your publisher must love to see your manuscripts come in. Being an English professor, you have must have the ability to self edit, true? Would you talk about the importance of editing one’s work?

Over time, I think writers learn to step back from their own work and see it critically. But no one can be completely objective about their own work, which is why it’s essential to have good readers to help. My editor, agent, and my wife all read my work carefully and give me a lot of feedback. It takes a village to write a novel…

If you were able to trade bodies with one person for one day who would it be and why?

I’d like to hit a baseball like Joey Votto.

What are the next three books you’re planning to read?

Who knows? Maybe NO ONE KNOWS by JT Ellison, SEE ALSO DECEPTION by Larry Sweazy, and COMMAND AND CONTROL by Eric Schlosser

What five people living or dead would you invite to a dinner party?

Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Alexander the Great, Shakespeare, and Rosemary Sutcliff

What if you were given a million dollars with the restriction that every penny must be spent to benefit others. If you got rid of the entire amount within one week, you would receive two million dollars for yourself or lose it all. How would you spend the money to benefit the most people? Limit $1000 per person.

I’d buy them books!

How do you want the world to remember you?

A hard working writer…who lived long enough to see the Reds win the World Series one more time.

Look for David Bell on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter @davidbellnovels and on his website.

Look for his newest novel SINCE SHE WENT AWAY everywhere books are sold!. It promises to be a chiller of a thriller! All of Bell’s novels are thoughtfully plotted and character driven. This promises to be more of the same. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

SinceSheWentAway

 

After Midnight by Allan Leverone

Published February 15, 2015 by MommaCat

AFTER MIDNIGHT is the gripping sequel to MR. MIDNIGHT.  While the sequence of events begins a few months later, for this reader it’s as if no time has passed and the action is off and running.  The plot thickens and Allan Leverone is at his devious best. Cait has a relationship now with her birth mother and Milo is again wreaking havoc.  No one has a clue that he is behind the deaths that are occurring.

Use the “I want” box on your wish list to remind you to pre-order this the second it’s available!  Don’t miss this.

AFTER MIDNIGHT is available for pre-order at Amazon.com now!

AfterMidmight

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