Book Review – The Himalayan by Ronald Bagliere

The Himalayan by Ronald Bagliere

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


In April 2014 an avalanche on the Khumbu Icefall, a section located between Everest Base Camp and Camp 1, killed sixteen Sherpas. One of them was Da-wa, Frank Kincaid’s expedition lead guide and friend.

Over the years as an Everest Expedition operator, Frank has made some bad decisions, but this last one cost Da-wa his life. Frank has to live with the guilt, but maybe there’s something he can do to help Da-wa’s family and the others.

When Sarah Madden calls, a woman Frank fell in love with three years earlier, she suggests a fundraiser. And not only does she suggest it, she’s going to come to Nepal and organize the event. While Frank is happy for the help and thinks the fundraiser is a good idea, he also wonders if having Sarah there is such a good idea. When Sarah arrives, Frank is suddenly unsure of their relationship.

The Himalayan is the second book of the The Hearts of Nepal series by Ronald Bagliere.

As with the first book in the series, I very much enjoyed this story. It is well written and the author has a way of making you love his characters. This story made me laugh and cry. If you enjoy books with adventure, amazing detail, wonderful characters, and an emotional journey, you will enjoy this story.




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Book Review – Earthbound (Chronicles of the Maca #1)

Earthbound by Mari Collier

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


3 1/2 stars

Zebadiah L. MacDonald is Irish, and he’s an alien marooned on Earth in 19th Western US just before the Civil War. After a brawl in a frontier town tavern, Zeb befriends a German man named Rolfe. Together the two of them make plans to head to Texas. After all that’s where the spaceship, The Golden One, is buried and Zeb has plans to purchase the land so he can keep the spaceship a secret. But Rolfe tells Zeb that to travel to Texas will be dangerous. And before Zeb can purchase any land, he will need to make money. Rolfe offers him a job helping him trap and trade fur until they have enough money to travel.

Earthbound is the first book of Chronicles of the Maca a sci-fi western series by Mari Collier. The concept of this book is interesting. It is well written and the chapters are short, which makes for a quick pace. While I enjoyed this story, there were dialect issues that pulled me a way. I found the “twill” in Zeb’s Irish accent inaccurate therefore distracting as well as the ‘mitt’ for the German accent for the word with. This would have been better written as ‘vis’ as in “come vis me”. The rest of dialects/accents were well done. The book also fell a bit flat for me in the last few chapters, but I will admit that I had put it down for a number of weeks before resuming the story so this may be because of that.

I will definitely read the second book as I do want to know what will happen next.




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New Release from Author Pete Adams

Author Pete Adams joins me today to discuss his upcoming release Road Kill – The Duchess of Frisian Tun.

SJJ: Thanks for joining me, Pete. Can you tell our readers what genre(s) does your new book fall under?

PA: Crime thriller, but really is:

An au courant, romantic comedy, crime thriller with scary bits. A droll and saucy insight into the Middle Class, Haute Monde and, Geography. Tales of a reclusive England with: The Journalist, The Professor, The Synchronised Swimming Instructor, The Fish Wife, The Dame, The Actress (really Jack Austin), The Geography Teacher, The Gossip Columnist, The Spy, The Police Inspector, The Man from the Council, The Priest, The Knight, The Super-grass (deceased), The Gangster, and, The Lady Blanche.

SJJ: Wow! That’s quite the list of interesting characters and obviously a multi-genres novel.

Are these genres ones you usually write under or are you trying something new?

PA: My books are crime thrillers – The DaDa series is essentially this but with brass knobs on. An idiosyncratic development of the miniseries ‘Kind Hearts and Martinets’ (5 books)

The DaDa Detective Agency is a cosy crime series with amusing notes:

Dadaism was an arts movement that flouted the conventional by producing works marked by incongruity.

The DaDa novels have an idiosyncratic narrative, the intention being to create a DNA spiral of the real and surreal narratives, but there is a rational design with a significant and satisfying, ending.

The central protagonists in the Kind Hearts and Martinets, miniseries, an elderly DCI, Jack (Jane) Austin and Detective Superintendent Amanda Bruce, have a growing following and, it was suggested I develop them into a new series. It has also been said, more than once, that Mandy and Jack are akin to a modern day Jeeves and Wooster; not intentional, but too tempting to ignore. Jack Austin (a cockney Wooster), and the more adroit and decorous and, definitely stronger, Amanda (Jeeves), retire from the police and establish the DaDa Detective Agency.

Picasso said, “Everything you can imagine is real”, and the DaDa Detective Agency books are strangely, real.

SJJ: Who is your target audience for this novel?

PA: It is for readers who enjoy crime stories that have intricate plots with a satisfactory conclusion, but also develop a thread to continues over several books – this is book 1, I have written book 2 (to be published soon) and book 3 is at the editing stage, book 4 – the start is sketched.

I am currently writing my 13th book and although there are various different series, all can be related to each other. In other words, there are familiar characters and plot references so readers will get that ‘Oh yeah’ feeling – an alternative angle on narratives elsewhere, previous support characters now in lead roles etc.

SJJ: When do you expect your new book to be released?

PA: This book is out on 19th August 2020.

SJJ: Please tell us a little about your new book.

PA: Blurb:

Cataclysmic events have occurred in the decorous upper middle class enclave within Southsea, Portsmouth, on the south coast of England.

But what were the circumstances that contributed to this violent clash involving a Sherman tank and a bazooka? The strange occurrence is investigated by Lord Everard Pimple, a naive, upper class twit who not only inadvertently opens a can of worms, but has an introduction into the world of womanly wiles.

Everard’s life is about to blow up like an atom bomb… he just doesn’t know it yet. But after the dust settles, will he still be standing?

—–

Here is a response from a beta reader who has also read and reviewed all 5 books of the Kind Hearts series:

Road Kill marks the first book as we step away from Pete Adams’ ‘Kind Hearts and Martinets’ series. In some ways it is a big step, in other ways small. Imagine a person with long legs taking small steps – that’s the kind of thing!

The first thing you note is a gentle shift in the characters. No longer are we are in the orbit of Jack/Jane/Dick Austin and the Community Policing department in Portsmouth. We are certainly in the same universe, the same city in fact but our points of reference for the majority of this book are new characters. Pimple is as inadvertent a main character as you will ever meet, a court reporter for the local Portsmouth newspaper, given a tip-off about a big story and following it in the hope of his big break.

The one thing that you will not get in this book is travel. The author cleverly sets almost three-quarters of the book in a single house in Frisian Tun; the road Jack and Amanda Austin reside on and saw so much military firepower in the previous series! The story unfolds as the occupants of the house try to explain to Pimple and his glamorous colleague, Cecilia Crumpet what has happened and their part in it. This approach to storytelling is great fun, with the personalities of the different storytellers becoming more pronounced throughout the story.

Everyone will have their own favourite. Whether it’s Aedd, the geography teacher with the wandering accent, the wandering hands of Georgiana Lovebody – the synchronised swimming teacher, the Professor daydreaming about goatherds, or Dame Pimple herself! In truth, the bickering, the personal relationships and slow destruction of the room add a huge amount to the story and make it a fun read.

One other change I would comment on is that Pete Adams has utilised a different writing style for this book compared to the previous books in the ‘Kind Hearts and Martinets’ series. Throughout the book the author makes asides to the reader directly. Whilst this starts as a surprise, it almost becomes its own subplot allowing the author to ponder on characters and their behaviour without interfering with the story’s narrative.

This is the first book of Pete Adams’ DaDa detective agency (Jack/Jane/Dick and Amanda/Duck’s) retirement venture, and it feels like we are in for another fun ride. If you enjoyed the first series then DaDa should be savoured.

Ryan (Debs)

SJJ: This sounds like an interesting read!

Where does the story take place?

PA: Portsmouth – south coast of the UK

SJJ: What inspired you to write this story?

PA: It is a natural sequel the ‘Kind Hearts and Martinets series’. The real and surreal narratives enable me to stretch plots but always with the reader seeing it in ‘reality’ – in other words, it is believable; just. This is what I like to do as an author – to expand comprehension but not to slip into ‘fantasy’ – well, maybe a little bit?

SJJ: What kind of research was involved in writing this story?

PA: None – It comes out of my head – not sure what that says about me?

SJJ: (Smiles) A great imagination.

Was any part of this book particularly difficult to write?

PA: I find all of my writing a challenge / difficult – it requires immense concentration to control complexity of the storylines I create and over many books but, I love it. I am almost obsessed by it.

Alison Baille, author said this “Pete Adams writes clever twisty tales, eccentric characters, crackling dialogue, a talented writer who has complete control of his material”

SJJ: How did you come up with the title? Did you have any other working titles?

PA: I love titles. I more often than not have the title before I start the book. The title inspires me. With ‘Road Kill’ it was the following on from an unlikely (but believable) pitch battle in an upper middle class street. The sub-title: The Duchess of Frisian Tun – is an elusive character, in the ilk of John of Gaunt’s wife, ‘Lady Blanche’ from the Kind Hearts series – for those perceptive enough, you may see that it is also an extrapolation of Chaucer’s Pilgrims Progress, but in a story where the characters do not go anywhere; it is mainly set in one room of one house.

SJJ: Who designed the cover? Did you have much input in the design?

PA: My Publisher uses Mint – I love it

SJJ: What is one of your favourite lines or quotes from the book?

PA: From the Prologue:

Before and After – What follows is before, and then, afterwards, is after. Not afters, as that would be a dessert, say, apple crumble and custard. Suffice to say this is a scary story when you get to the after bits, especially if the custard has gone cold. You, the innocent reader, will be lured into a sense of a secure world of haute-monde and geography and, when you are least aware – Bam!

Warning – What was lovely, could turn ugly. Not Jack Jane Dick Austin, because he was already ugly. However, his wife, Mandy, Duck, Austin, well, she is lovely but, can turn ugly even when Dick had done absolutely nothing wrong, like say, blow up an idyll, kill some gangsters an shit…

SJJ: I can see why that would be one of your favourites

Did you enjoy writing any particular scene? Please tell us a little about it if you can.

PA: I often think about this and it is difficult to select something that was special to me. I do find that with all of my books, scenes and especially the emotions I felt when I wrote them, return and I relive them in my head. For instance in book 12, there is a scene that even now makes me cry.

Road Kill is largely humorous but as Peter Ustinov said, “Comedy is a funny way of being serious.”

However, in Road Kill, I do love the innocent posh junior reporter being lured into taking on a dynamite story by the luscious sex bomb journalist Cecelia. In many ways the story is about the growth of this boy into manhood but in all of my stories, as in all of my life, it is the strong female characters that drive the plot and this scene, and this book, is no different.

SJJ: Does your book have any message or is it purely entertainment?

PA: All of my books have a message of social justice, fairness. This book not so much, because it is tee’ing up for the sequel, where the messages are built into the narrative; I love it when you find a book that you read and know you have to read the next one and the next…

SJJ: How long did it take you to write? To edit?

PA: This is difficult to say. I can never work to a deadline and I am always 2 or 3 books in front of my Publisher. I have 3 books written and submitted and now under contract with my publisher. I have 3 further books completed (I continually return to edit and rewrite sections) and another 2 books that are started and at various stages – again they are linked back to the previous 3 and so, it is a mobile feast.

Whilst writing this book one of the part characters, ‘The Man from the Council’, suggested himself as a lead in the DaDa book 3, just completed and editing, called ‘Wigs on the Green – A Blood Sport’.

If I had to guess, I would say Road Kill took about a year, but during that time I was also pushing on with the sequel ‘Rite Judgement’.

SJJ: During editing, did you have to delete a scene you liked but because it didn’t move the book forward, it had to be removed? Can you describe that scene?

PA: I have done this before and invariably I forget it. In my 3rd book the editor removed a whole chapter and when I objected, she showed me how it didn’t work and suggested I make a short story of it.

I find that nowadays, as I have become more experienced, I edit in a tougher way myself, before the publisher’s editor input, as I am writing and so, I can say, in Road Kill, there are no scenes that were not, in my view, important. I also write a sequel as I am going along and because I am under no deadline pressure, I can go back a book, or even two, and change things so the storyline tee’s up something that happens in latter books and, I have to say, I love it when that happens, when it all starts to hang together.

SJJ: Who is your favourite character? Your least favourite character?

PA: Oh that is tough. I have a male central protagonist, but as I mentioned above, the female characters I use are strong and I love developing those. What is interesting is that not everyone picks up on the fact that the female characters play such a big role in the plotting.

If I had to choose, then Amanda Austin, the wife of Jack Austin.

I do not have a least favourite because even the villains I enjoy writing and, every character plays a part. It is because of this that I commence a new series with previously sidelined characters playing a more central role.

SJJ: Just for fun! If this book became a movie, who would you like to see play the main character and if there’s a villain, who would play that role?

PA: I have been asked this many times and my feelings change, but for the character Jack Austin, I would choose Geoffrey Rush. For Amanda Austin, this is difficult but often I settle for Abigail Thaw.

SJJ: As this book is part of a series, can you please provide a list to the other novels.

PA: Here is the list: as I have mentioned, all the books are interrelated in plot references, even Larkin’s barkin’ which is set in 1966, has references that aficionados of my books would read as an ‘oh yeah’ moment, as something happens that recurs at a later date and in another book

Books by Pete Adams – Published or, written and under contract or, completed and editing or, commenced

The Kind Hearts and Martinets mini-series (5 books): all published

Book 1 – Cause and Effect – Vice Plagues the City

Book 2 – Irony in the Soul – Nobody Listens like the Dying

Book 3 – A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza – In dead Flat major

Book 4 – Ghost and Ragman Roll – Spectre or Spook

Book 5 – Merde and Mandarins

The Dada series:

Book 1 – Road Kill – The Duchess of Frisian Tun – Published 19th August 2020

Book 2 – Rite Judgement – Heads Roll, Corpses Dance – submitted and under contract.

Book 3 – Wigs on the Green – A Blood Sport – written, Publisher aware – editing.

Proposed Book 4 – Hosanna (sub-title to be decided) – commenced

The Rhubarb Papers series:

Book 1 – Dead No More – Rhubarb in the Mammon – submitted and under contract

Proposed book 2 – A Misanthrope’s Toll – Spanish Practices – Sub Rosa to be started.

The Larkin’s Barkin’ series:

Book 1 – Black Rose – A Midsummer Night’s Chutzpah – submitted and under contract.

Proposed book 2: A Deadly Queen, 4 Wars – George George and George are deadLong live Queenie – commenced.

The Avuncular Detective series:

Book 1 – Murder in a Royal Peculiar PART ONE – Seven Fingers – written, publisher aware.

Book 2 – Murder in a Royal Peculiar – PART TWO – A Choir of Assassins – Commenced

PS – I’m loving writing this series and the term ‘an Avuncular’, is used by Agatha Christie – the word avuncular meaning, an advisor or a consigliere in this context

SJJ: Where can your new book be purchased when it’s released?

PA: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Road-Kill-Duchess-Frisian-Detective-ebook/dp/B087Z5QNTZ

SJJ: To learn more about Author Pete Adams and his newest release, you can follow him on his blog tour.

Author Bio

Pete Adams is an architect with a practice in Portsmouth, UK, and from there he has, over forty years, designed and built buildings across England and Wales. Pete took up writing after listening to a radio interview of the writer Michael Connolly whilst driving home from Leeds. A passionate reader, the notion of writing his own novel was compelling, but he had always been told you must have a mind map for the book; Jeez, he could never get that.

Et Voila, Connolly responding to a question, said he never can plan a book and starts with an idea for chapter one and looks forward to seeing where it would lead. Job done, and that evening Pete started writing and the series, Kind Hearts and Martinets, was on the starting blocks. That was some ten years ago and hardly a day has passed where Pete has not worked on his writing, and currently, is halfway through his thirteenth book, has a growing number of short stories, one, critically acclaimed and published by Bloodhound, and has written and illustrated a series of historical nonsense stories called, Whopping Tales (seeking a publisher).

Pete describes himself as an inveterate daydreamer, and escapes into those dreams by writing crime thrillers with a thoughtful dash of social commentary. He has a writing style shaped by his formative years on an estate that re-housed London families after WWII, and his books have been likened to the writing of Tom Sharpe; his most cherished review, “made me laugh, made me cry, and made me think”.

Pete’s Links:

My Facebook book Page:

https://www.facebook.com/Peteadamsauthor/

The Kind Hearts and Martinets series:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kind-Hearts-Martinets-5-Book/dp/B07SBZL6X8

Twitter

@Peteadams8

Beyond the Story – Black Cloud

Black Cloud

How many lives can one incident shatter?

For one Daylesford cop, this will be their last callout. Another may not make it. A third will call it quits.

Black cloud on a winter’s morning signals what nobody could’ve seen coming. An anything-but-routine welfare check by two Daylesford police officers at a farm in Korweinguboora. A fatal house explosion that leaves a rural community reeling.

Local cop John Franklin and Melbourne journalist Georgie Harvey are among the first responders at the property. The crime scene is compromised by fire and tonnes of water, and speculations run rife. Murder–suicide? Accident or sabotage? An isolated incident or just the beginning?

As lives hang in the balance, Franklin seeks answers and someone to hold accountable while Georgie investigates her toughest story yet. But will one of them crack?

http://mybook.to/blackcloud

I am happy to have a visitor today from the crime thriller novel Black Cloud by Sandi Wallace. Let’s find out a little about our guest.

SJJ: Can you please tell us your full name and where you live?

JF: Hi! Most people just call me Franklin, but for the record, I’m Senior Constable John Franklin, thirty-eight years old, and I live in Daylesford in Victoria, Australia. That’s an inland country town in what’s known as the spa or mineral springs region about an hour and a half from Melbourne. We have a permanent population of 2000-odd people, but that number regularly swells with influxes of tourists.

SJJ: It’s nice to meet you, John… Franklin. Thanks for taking the time for this interview.

How would you describe your personality?

JF: Words are more my girlfriend Georgie’s thing—she’s a journo—but I’ll give it a go. I’m a country bloke. A cop. Some people call me maverick because I am inclined to investigate and handle things my way, rather than necessarily toe to bureaucracy. I guess I am loyal, tough and enjoy a beer, but I don’t fit the dysfunctional hard-bitten, hard-drinking stereotype of a cop, though I can be cynical. I’m single dad to my teenage daughter, Kat, which complicates life, and I probably show my softer side mostly to her and Georgie. Like everybody, I’m flawed and make mistakes.

SFF: So, as you’ve already mentioned, you’re a cop, but can you give us a little more detail about your current occupation.

JF: I’m a senior constable with Victoria Police and currently on secondment with the crime investigation unit (CIU) in Bacchus Marsh. Whether or not I’ll ever be offered a permanent gig as a detective remains to be seen. But I’ve been keen to trade the blue uniform for plain clothes for several years now.

SJJ: Well, I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you.

So, what do you think is the biggest obstacle preventing your from achieving your goal?

JF: Last September, some of our local kids went missing from a camp in Mount Dandenong that I’d organised, along with my sarge, Lunny, and our proby officer, Sam. It was a life-and-death situation, and these were our kids and our responsibility. Without disclosing any further details of that case (you can find out more in Into the Fog), it’s been a push me–pull you with my district inspector and his ideas for my future ever since. At the start of the day on Wednesday 13 June, if he offered me a permanent gig with the Ds, I would jump at it. By the end…

SJJ: Tell us, Franklin, are there any defining moments in your life that made you who you are today?

JF: Plenty—good and bad. It’s the worst times that make us or break us. This case is the worst ever, it’s personal, so it’s going to be one of those defining moments you mention.

SJJ: What about regrets? Do you have any?

JF: Marrying young and ending up a divorcee with sole responsibility for our baby and an unrenovated cottage with a huge mortgage wasn’t how I wanted things to turn out with my first wife. But if we hadn’t gone there, Kat wouldn’t be here. Really, I try not to get bogged down with regrets, but aim to avoid the same mistakes and do better. Sometimes easier said than done though, isn’t it?

SJJ: Most definitely.

When you think of all your accomplishments, what is your proudest moment?

JF: Rather than one moment, can I just say the birth of Kat and her achievements, and her intention to follow my footsteps and become a cop, though it also terrifies me?

SJJ: Of course you can say that. Being proud of your child is wonderful and what parent isn’t terrified at times?

What’s your idea of the perfect day?

JF: The opposite to Wednesday 13 June. On that day, two of my old colleagues from Daylesford Police are at a farm in the small town of Korweinguboora when they get caught up in a gas explosion and house fire. Me and Marty Howell, my partner in CIU, are first responders to the callout. It’s a horror day. These two are my mates. And there’s a family of four and a nurse also involved. Worse still, we don’t know what we’re dealing with yet. Murder–suicide? Accident or sabotage? An isolated incident or just the beginning?

SJJ: Wow! I think any day would be better than that.

What do you do for fun?

JF: Time with Kat and Georgie comes first, though the job has a tendency of getting in the way. But among my other interests, I tinker with or take a ride on my Kawasaki Ninja, hit the local boxing studio, down some beers or shoot pool with my mates at the pub, and watch the footy, either local level or Aussie Rules. Throwing a line in at my favourite fishing spot always softens the edges—though catching a fish is a bonus.

SJJ: And finally, Franklin, what are your plans for the future?

JF: I can’t think beyond this case right now. My focus is to find the truth, answers for those left behind, and someone to hold accountable for this tragedy.

Bio Sandi Wallace

Sandi Wallace’s crime-writing apprenticeship comprised devouring as many crime stories as possible, developing her interest in policing, and working stints as banker, paralegal, cabinetmaker, office manager, executive assistant, personal trainer and journalist. She has won a host of prizes for her short crime fiction including several Scarlet Stiletto Awards and her debut novel Tell Me Why won the Davitt Award Readers’ Choice. Sandi is currently at work on a psychological thriller. She is still an avid reader of crime and loves life in the Dandenong Ranges outside of Melbourne with her husband.

Sandi’s Links

Website www.sandiwallace.com

Amazon www.amazon.com/author/sandiwallace

Goodreads www.goodreads.com/author/show/8431978.Sandi_Wallace

Facebook www.facebook.com/sandi.wallace.crimewriter

Instagram www.instagram.com/sandiwallacecrime

Pinterest www.pinterest.com.au/sandiwallace_crimewriter/

Beyond the Story – The Prodigal Son

In the middle of the night, a mysterious phone call from his past, changes his life for ever. Rob MacLaine, seasoned, battle hardened ex Special Forces operative, is summoned back to his family home on Achravie a small island off the west coast of Scotland.

Rob has had no contact with Achravie since his elder brother schemed to blame him for a car accident which killed a young friend. Having been sent away as a gangly, spotty, tousle haired youth by his father at the tender age of eighteen, Rob joins the army and progresses through various war zones such as Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, first as a regular soldier and later as member of an elite group of Special Forces operatives.

But now Rob MacLaine is back on Achravie. Unrecognisable as the innocent young lad who left sixteen years earlier. Back to face his past and encounter friends and enemies alike in an explosive reunion with his elder brother and his “security” people. Rob joins forces with group of National Crime Agency operatives to help them solve the mystery of the dark secrets hidden behind the gates of Hillcrest Estate, Rob’s childhood home, now under the control of his elder brother, Bruce.

My guest this week is stepped out from the pages of The Prodigal Son to answer a few of my questions about himself and his busy life.

SJJ: Can you please tell us your full name and where you live?

RM: Robert (Rob) MacLaine, I live in Bourne End in Buckinghamshire, but my home is the island of Achravie, situated between the island of Arran and the Mull of Kintyre.

SJJ: How would you describe your personality, Rob?

RM: Split. Professionally – confident and competent and outgoing – Personally – Often insecure and lacking in self-esteem but still competitive.

SJJ: I think many of us have split personalities between professional and personal and it’s probably a good thing. 😊

Now this is a two-part question, what do you do for a living? And what is your dream job?

RM: I am the CEO of Harper MacLaine Security. Dream job – Laird of Achravie.

SJJ: What would you say is the biggest obstacle preventing you from achieving your goals?

RM: Time, I will achieve my goals.

SJJ: I suppose time can stand in the way.

Tell us something about you that not everyone knows.

RM: Big music fan, Bruce Springsteen, Joe Cocker and Eric Clapton to name but a few

SJJ: Rob, are there any defining moments in your life that made you who you are today?

RM: A car accident on Achravie, where I was brought up. I was wrongly blamed for the accident by my brother and sent away from my family and friends. – Joining the military made me the man I am today

SJJ: That must have been a difficult time in your life.

Do you have any regrets?

RM: Regrets, I’ve had a few, but yet again, too few to mention, as Frank Sinatra famously sang.

SJJ: Ha, ha, well I guess we’ll just leave it at that.

Is there anyone you look up to, consider to be a mentor, either in the past or right now?

RM: Sir Andrew Savage, a good friend and often father figure.

SJJ: When you think of all your accomplishments, what is your proudest moment?

RM: Taking ownership of Achravie Estate.

SJJ: Perhaps your dream of becoming Laird is around the corner. 😊

What’s your idea of the perfect day?

RM: Tomorrow

SJJ: A chance to start over – perhaps?

What would you say are your strengths and your weaknesses?

RM: Strengths – Professional confidence and competence. Weaknesses – Lack of self-belief.

SJJ: What do you do for fun, Rob?

RM: I remember fun, I think I enjoyed it if I remember rightly.

SJJ: Well, I think you should try it again sometime.

And what do you do to relax?

RM: Close physical contact with my wife.

SJJ: Do you have plans for the future?

RM: Build up Achravie Estate as a profitable enterprise and eventually make the island my permanent home.

SJJ: That sounds lovely!

If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play you?

RM: Douglas Henshaw, he’d get the accent right.

SJJ: And finally, are you happy with the way your story was told?

RM: Reasonably, although it sometimes makes me out to be a violent man. I’m not and I’ll kill anyone who says I am!!

SJJ: Ha, ha, that’s funny! You’re joking – right?

Bio:

I was born in Glasgow, but spent the first three years of my life in London, before moving back to Ayrshire where I stayed for about thirty years before commencing a world tour of Scotland, living in a number of different locations. Over the years I have accumulated four children, nine grandchildren and most recently a great-grandson.

I served an engineering apprenticeship in the aviation industry and at various stages of my working life, I owned a private hire/bridal car business and later, a fifty cover licensed restaurant. However, I spent most of my working life in business development roles, mostly in the Oil & Gas industry. I was lucky enough to travel regularly to very diverse countries including the Middle and Far East, Africa, North and Latin America. Eight years ago, I moved from Aberdeen to Kings Worthy with my wife Val.

I have always enjoyed creative activities. I enjoyed art at school and have been allowed to hang some of my more recent paintings around the house. For as long as I can remember, I have had a yearning to write a novel. Travelling around as I did when I was working full time, I spent hours in airport lounges and hotel rooms where the only television programs were in Portuguese or Arabic, so I started to write “The Prodigal Son.” The rest, as they say, is history!

Links:

Book link – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07VRXQ5KN

E-Mail: les@leshaswell.com

Linked In: www.linkedin.com/in/leshaswell

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Les-Haswell/e/B0861DL151

New Release from Author R. A. Fisher

Last year, you got to know a little about Author R. A. Fisher and his writing.

Robert joins me again this year to discuss his upcoming release, The Black Wall.

SJJ: What genre(s) does this book fall under?

RAF: The Black Wall is technically science fiction, but has a lot of steampunk and fantasy elements as well.

SJJ: Is this a genre you normally write in or are you trying something new?

RAF: It’s the second book in a series, so it’s what I’ve been doing for a while, though it’s evolved over time. When I wrote the now-scrapped first draft of it years ago, it was pure fantasy.

SJJ: Who is your target audience?

RAF: It’s on the mature end of YA, and anyone that’s interested in the “speculative fiction” range of storytelling. It takes place in a post-technology world, so they use cannons, swords and crossbows along with their dirigibles and steam cars, against a backdrop with advanced technology forgotten by the masses millennia before. There are even some romance elements, though that’s not the focus.

SJJ: When do you expect your new book to be released?

RAF: The Black Wall eBook will be released on Amazon July 14, with the paperback expected a few weeks before then.

SJJ: Please tell us a little about your new book.

RAF: When Syrina finds Anna and Pasha, survivors of General Mann’s assault on the valley hidden in the peaks of the Black Wall, she realizes they may be the key to discovering what she is. But after feelings she didn’t think possible well up for Pasha, things grow complicated.

With the help of Ves, pirate-turned-smuggler, they pursue Mann across the continent. However, growing tensions between factions within the Church of N’narad make the trip more perilous than they counted on.

Can Syrina find the key to herself and the voice in her head, and get revenge against her master? And what price would she be willing to pay?

SJJ: Where does the story take place?

RAF: The Tides Trilogy takes place on the world of Eris, which is an earth-sized moon circling a gas giant they call the Eye. The tidal forces from the Eye are extremely destructive, and what’s keeping them in check plays a central role in the series. Since the destruction of their technological advancements that brought them there thousands of years before, factions have formed, including a theocracy based on citizens buying into Heaven with Salvation Taxes, a nation of pirates, and the Merchant’s Syndicate, who are dedicated to controlling everyone else using long-lost technology.

SJJ: What inspired you to write this story?

RAF: The Black Wall was the first book I ever wrote, starting just after high school, and spanning 18 or so years. When I finished it was… awful, so I scrapped it, but I liked the ideas enough that I wrote a prequel, which became The Kalis Experiments. After that, I took the framework and some of the basic plot elements of The Black Wall and rewrote the whole thing. In the original version, Syrina was a one-dimensional killing machine who played a minor role in the story, and Pasha and Anna were werewolves and the central characters, which tells you something on how much it’s changed.

SJJ: What kind of research did you have to do?

RAF: For the series as a whole, the names of different airship parts and generally how steam-driven machines work. Also, which sides of ships are port and starboard, because no matter how many times I look them up, I always forget.

SJJ: I completely understand. Sometimes, information just doesn’t stick.

Was any part of this book particularly difficult to write?

RAF: There’s an escape scene where, when I first wrote it, I had no idea how the characters were going to get out, so in the first draft it was nine pages of them wandering around in the sewer not doing anything. Eventually, something happened, and later I went back and cut about 7 /12 pages of them milling around, talking about nothing like a Seinfeld episode taking place in absolute darkness.

SJJ: Did you enjoy writing any particular scene? Please tell us a little about it.

RAF: Syrina is a master of disguise, and I always enjoy writing her scenes from someone else’s point of view when she’s dressed up as different characters. There’s one where she’s going around as an old, syphilitic prostitute I had a lot of fun creating.

SJJ: Does your book have any message or is it purely entertainment?

RAF: Some themes that keep coming up throughout The Tides Trilogy are about self discovery; how we find out who we are, and what we do with that knowledge. Does there need to be a “point” to life, or is it ok to just live? Another one that comes up in the first two books is, what is love? Is it just a chemical reaction, or is it something more? Does it matter?

SJJ: How long did it take you to write? To edit?

RAF: As I mentioned, it took 18 years to write the first, terrible version. The rewrite took 8 months for the rough draft, and another few years of off and on editing. The third book is on track to be completely done in 8-10 months, so it definitely gets easier the more you write. As a comparison, The Kalis Experiments took about 5 years from concept to final draft, though I did write two novellas and had a baby in that time, too.

SJJ: During editing, did you have to delete a scene you liked but because it didn’t move the book forward, it had to be removed? Can you describe that scene?

RAF: Initially the first 80-100 pages were focused on Anna and Pasha’s lives in the valley before Mann came, which I later cut and summarized in one conversation between Pasha and Syrina. I really liked the complex society I’d come up with for the people in the valley and their beliefs, but on the first edit I was just waiting for the plot to begin for the first four chapters, so I slashed it all and began at Mann’s invasion.

SJJ: Who is your favourite character? Your least favourite character?

RAF: I guess it’s appropriate that Syrina is still my favorite character of The Tides Trilogy. I connect with both her flaws and her growth, and like I said before, her personas for every situation are a blast to write. I think my least favorite needs to be Pasha. He’s very rigid in his thinking. At first, I tried to push him to be more heroic, but it soon became evident that wasn’t his personality, and he’s often more immature than his little sister. That said, he’s central to some of my favorite scenes and events in The Black Wall.

SJJ: Please name the other published works in this series.

RAF: As I mentioned, this is Book Two of The Tides Trilogy, Book One being The Kalis Experiments, which you can buy here: http://mybook.to/kalis, or you can read the prologue first two chapters here: https://r-a-fisher.com/category/tides/the-kalis-experiments/. The third and final book of Tides, The Grace’s War, should be out within the next year or so if all goes well.

SJJ: Where can your new book be purchased when it’s released?

RAF: Book Two of Tides, The Black Wall, can be found on Amazon here: http://mybook.to/theblackwall, and you can read the prologue and first couple of chapters here: https://r-a-fisher.com/category/tides/theblackwall/.

Bio:

Robert Fisher has lived in Hiroshima, Japan with his wife and five-year-old son since 2015, where he occasionally teaches English, writes, and pretends to learn Japanese. Before that he lived in Vancouver, Canada where he worked in the beer industry and mostly just cavorted about, getting into trouble and eating Thai food.

He placed fourth in The Vancouver Courier’s literary contest with his short story The Gift, which appeared in that paper on February 20, 2009. His science fiction novella The God Machine was published by Blue Cubicle Press in 2011 under the name Robert Fisher.

He has been trying to write stories since he was four years old.

Links:

Website: https://r-a-fisher.com

Publisher’s Page: https://www.nextchapter.pub/authors/ra-fisher

Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/R-A-Fisher/e/B07T8PYST9

New Release by Author Ed Duncan

Author Ed Duncan joins me this week to discuss his newest release, Rico Stays. Released this past spring, this final book of the Pigeon-Blood Red Trilogy will be available for kindle download for $0.99 from Amazon.com July 7-11.

I hope you enjoy learning about this fascinating novel and perhaps it will become part of your TBR list.

SJJ: What genre does this book fall under?

ED: The genre of the novel is crime fiction.

SJJ: Is this a genre you normally write in.

ED: This is the only genre I write in.

SJJ: Who is your target audience?

ED: My target audience is anyone who enjoys a good story and is not put off by violence.

SJJ: When was your newest book released?

ED: It was released this Spring.

SJJ: Please tell us a little about your new book.

ED: After enforcer Richard “Rico” Sanders stepped in to protect his girlfriend from a local mob boss’ hot-headed nephew, all hell broke loose.

When the smoke cleared, the nephew had vanished and three goons lay dying where they’d stood. Fighting for his life, Rico was alive but gravely wounded.

Out of the hospital but not fully recovered, he needed a place to crash – a place where he wouldn’t be found. A place like the cabin owned by lawyer Paul Elliott, whose life Rico had saved more than once.

Trouble was, Paul’s girlfriend hadn’t forgotten Rico’s dark history – or Paul’s fascination with him. Vengeful killers would soon be coming for him.

The only question was whether he would be ready to face them.

SJJ: If not mentioned in the above question, where does the story take place?

ED: The story takes place in present day Chicago.

SJJ: What inspired you to write this story?

ED: Rico Stays is the third novel in The Pigeon-Blood Red Trilogy, and The Last Straw is the second. The germ of an idea for the first novel, Pigeon-Blood Red, came to me many years ago when I was still practicing law. I was attending a legal seminar and was taking an evening stroll when in my mind’s eye I saw a beautiful woman traveling alone and carrying something valuable that bad people – dangerous people – wanted to get their hands on. And I saw a lawyer coming to her rescue – or trying to. Over the months and years that followed I filled in details, many of which changed as a result of the multiple drafts and re-drafts. The “something” the woman was carrying became a “pigeon-blood red” ruby necklace.

SJJ: What kind of research did you have to do?

ED: I knew that I wanted what Alfred Hitchcock called the “MacGuffin” – the object that is necessary to the plot – to be something exotic. I settled on a piece of jewelry and stumbled upon the phrase “pigeon-blood red” as a description for the most desirable ruby in the world. I researched the origin of the term and found that it was coined centuries ago by Indian gem dealers. It describes the color of the rarest and most valuable rubies in the world, the same color as the first few drops of blood that trickle from the nostrils of a freshly killed pigeon. I learned that most such rubies originate in Myanmar and that many are smuggled out of that country. I wrote, based on my research, that the highest recorded price paid for a pigeon-blood red ruby was almost a half million dollars per carat. Then, just before the book was published, I learned from a newspaper article that that amount had more than doubled to over a million dollars. Fortunately, I was able to make the change before the book was published.

Not being a gun enthusiast, I also had to research the .45 Sig Sauer 226, the weapon of choice of Rico, my anti-hero. Known in some circles as the Rolls-Royce of pistols, it had been used for years by the Navy Seals (the only part of U.S. Armed Forces that did so) despite its high cost, which permitted me to write, “That was good enough for Rico.” Ironically, the Navy Seals have replaced the Sig Sauer with the Glock 19. Also, the Sig Sauer 226 has been updated, but Rico continues to use his trusty 226.

SJJ: Was any part of this book particularly difficult to write?

ED: No particular part was especially hard to write, but most of the exposition was more difficult to write than the dialogue. That has always been true for me. Dialogue is simply easier for me to write.

SJJ: How did you come up with the title?

ED: I took “Rico Stays” from a line in an old Barbara Stanwyk movie called Baby Face. At one point in the movie a lover of the main character, played by Stanwyk, strongly suggests that she get rid of her maid/friend, who was named “Chico.’ Stanwyk’s defiant reply was “Chico stays!” I liked the line, so just changed “Chico” to “Rico.”

SJJ: Who designed the cover? Did you have much input in the design?

ED: The cover artist is Jacob Arden McClure. Voyage Media in Los Angeles (whom I’m working with to try to convert my novels to a movie or a series) made the arrangements. Jacob has done all of my covers for the trilogy. I outline the stories for him and he gives me three covers (front and back) from which to choose.

SJJ: What is one of your favorite lines or quotes from the book?

ED: “She was a mouth-wateringly gorgeous woman and his mouth watered.”

SJJ: Did you enjoy writing any particular scene?

ED: I especially enjoyed writing the opening scene where Rico is listening intently to a baseball game on the car radio while on his way to a grocery store – soon to be the scene of a bloody shootout – when he becomes so entranced by a baseball game being played on a sandlot by two teams of adolescent boys that he totally tunes out the game on the radio. Later, watching the same game, Rico witnesses one of the boys as he chases a fly ball and collides with a man carrying a bag filled with liquor bottles. That collision starts a chain of events that give rise to the events that form the story in Rico Stays.

SJJ: Does your book have any message or is it purely entertainment?

ED: It is purely entertainment but it does have one message: loyalty is everything.

SJJ: How long did it take you to write? To edit?

ED: It took about a year to write during which there were long periods of inactivity while I awaited the arrival of the muse. My editor (Karen Krombie) did an excellent job. She suggested a schedule which she managed to stick to fairly closely (despite the intervention of Covid-19). I believe the whole process took about one month and three weeks.

SJJ: During editing, did you have to delete a scene you liked but because it didn’t move the book forward, it had to be removed?

ED: Fortunately, I did not encounter this problem.

SJJ: Who is your favorite character? Your least favorite character?

ED: I identify most with Paul who I always intended to be the main character, as he and I are both African American lawyers who were the first minority lawyers to be hired by, and to make partner in, our respective large majority law firms. In short, he is a highly idealized version of myself. However, beginning with the first novel and continuing through Rico Stays, the more I developed Rico’s character, the more he fought to become the central focus of the narrative, because his character is so compelling. Paul also fought hard to hold on to his status as the main character. Alas, while he fought valiantly (and had a subconscious assist from the author), Rico clearly won. Therefore, I suppose I must concede that he became my favorite character.

As to who is my least favorite character, there is no contest. Larry Cosgrove, the hot-headed nephew referenced in the blurb on the back of the book, wins hands down. Lest I spoil the novel, readers will have to read the novel to find out why.

SJJ: Just for fun! If this book became a movie, who would you like to see play the main character and if there’s a villain, who would play that role?

ED: Despite being almost too old (although that never stopped the various incarnations of James Bond), I can see Jon Hamm playing Rico. Unfortunately, no one readily comes to mind to play the villain, Larry Cosgrove. Nor can I think of anyone to play Paul since Denzel Washington aged out of the role several years ago. But I’m working on it!

SJJ: What are the names of the other published works in the series?

ED: As previously mentioned, the other works in the series are Pigeon-Blood Red and The Last Straw.

SJJ: Where can your new book be purchased?

ED: https://www.amazon.com/Rico-Stays-Pigeon-Blood-Red-Book-ebook/dp/B0885HL3LQ

Bio

Ed is a graduate of Oberlin College and Northwestern University Law School. He was a partner at a national law firm in Cleveland, Ohio for many years. He is the original author of a highly regarded legal treatise entitled Ohio Insurance Coverage, for which he provided annual supplements from 2008 through 2012. Ed, originally from Gary, Indiana, lives outside Cleveland.

Ed’s Links

Readers can visit my web page https://www.eduncan.net

Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/author/edduncan

I am also on:

Facebook https://www.fb.com/ed.duncan1210

Twitter (@pigeonbloodred)

Pinterest (www.pinterest.com)

A Pat on the Back Tore my Heart Out

My soon-to-be 23-year-old son decided not to come home for the summer when he finished school. After all, it was his final year of university, and he wanted to be on his own. I totally understood, I had felt the same way many years ago. And when the pandemic hit, he already had a job interview and still planned on living in the city. I was, and still am, proud of his decision. Even our daughter, 4 ½ years older and still living at home, decided to move in with her boyfriend and his family. So, in the middle of March, not only did my husband and I find ourselves in the middle of this pandemic, we also became empty nesters. We see our daughter weekly as she doesn’t live too far away, but not so often with our son.

In early April, we made the hour-and-a-half drive to our son’s Ottawa home to drop off a car. We did not want him taking public transportation. We didn’t see him again until about two-weeks ago, when he and his “bubble” of three friends rented a cabin at a campground down the road from us. He and his friends visited every day over the 2 ½ days they were here. It was nice, but weird. We only visited outside, and maintained physical distancing.

This past Sunday, our son came home again for a couple of days to celebrate his birthday a week early as he was off from work, but this time he was on his own. He stayed in a trailer we borrowed and set up in our yard. He went in the house twice to use the bathroom (there’s a chemical toilet in the trailer). Both times I sanitized before and after and the windows were open. We sat outside and talked, we ate meals outside, he and my husband went fishing on our pontoon boat (my husband at the back driving and our son at the front lots of space in-between), we stayed away from each other.

Before he left tonight, I asked him if it was okay if I patted him on the back.  The last time we’d hugged was in February. I told him to hold his breath, and I would do the same. The second I touched him; my heart broke and tears sprang to my eyes.

The next time I see my daughter, I will do the same with her, knowing that when I do, my heart will tear again.

Author Interview with Helen Goltz

My guest this week is Author Helen Goltz. Helen is an accomplished writer having published 12 novels in varying genres.

Read our interview below to learn more about Helen and her writing.

About Writing/Books/Being an Author

SJJ: Do you remember the first book you read that had an impact on you – in what way and what was the name of that book?

HG:The Secret Garden’ – I loved it. I couldn’t put it down and since then I’ve read so many wonderful books that have stayed with me like ‘Wuthering Heights’ and ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’.

SJJ: What is your favourite thing about writing? What is your least favourite thing about writing?

HG: I love that it is a creative release and a chance to escape. I write every day as I find it a treat. I think everyone has a passion and it is healthy to make time for it whether you are a writer, artist, athlete or wanderer. The thing I like least about writing is the editing process, so laborious.

SJJ: I am with you 100% on your least favourite thing.

If you could jump inside a book for one day (as an observer) what book would it be?

HG:‘Pride and Prejudice’, as long as you were in the wealthy set. Wouldn’t that be fun to don a gown and see Mr Darcy in person?

SJJ: When you create characters are they completely made up or do they resemble or remind you of people you know?

HG: I always create a storyboard using actors or people I know to represent each character. It helps me keep them in character and to envision them as real. I list all their details and relationships. I’ve been known to take name inspiration from headstones while jogging or visiting a cemetery!

SJJ: How do you come up with titles for your books?

HG: I usually have a title before I start writing and I find it hard to write without one. But there were several novels that I changed the title after finishing them. It just felt right.

SJJ: What are you working on now and can you tell us about it?

HG: I’m working on a contemporary romance book under a pen name that I use. It is so much fun writing this genre, but I can’t help myself, I always have to put crime in there somewhere! I’m also working on a nomad road trip fiction book in the mystery genre. Both very different.

SJJ: Have you won any awards for your writing/books and if so what?

HG: I won a place for one of my books in a program called Adaptable, where they look at adapting a book for the screen or TV. I’ve also won a writing grant and short story awards.

A Little More Personal

SJJ: Are you superstitious? Do you have any rituals for good luck?

HG: I won’t indulge in writers’ block. If I’m not feeling the flow, I write something else completely different, even a different scene that I had planned for the book, and I’ll drop it in the appropriate part of the book later when I get that far, if that makes sense? I’ve often got several books on the go so that helps.

SJJ: Do you have a favourite vacation spot? Where?

HG: Haworth in the UK, the home of the Bronte family. It is a long way from Australia but I’ve gone there three times now and walked the moors to Top Withens. I love it.

SJJ: Can you tell us three interesting facts about you?

HG: I jog and do weights six days a week and have done so for decades; I’m a good cook, but I hate cooking and tend to just steam vegetables every night; I’m an introvert and one social outing a week is plenty for me!

Bio:

Helen Goltz is a journalist and producer with a 30-year history of working for newspapers, magazines, in marketing, and producing television and radio programs for clients including News Ltd, the Seven Network and Macquarie Media. She is the author of 12 books, and seven non-fiction titles co-written with Chris Adams. Helen is published by Next Chapter, Atlas Productions and Clan Destine Press. Helen is postgraduate degree qualified with majors in Literature and Communications.

Helen’s Links:

helengoltz.com

https://www.facebook.com/HelenGoltz.Author/

https://twitter.com/HelenGwriter

Author Interview with Les Haswell

My interview guest this week is Author Les Haswell. I hope you enjoy learning about Les as an author and a little of his personal side. Next month, one of Les’ characters from his debut novel, The Prodigal Son, will join my on Beyond the Story Character Interviews.

About Writing/Books/Being an Author

SJJ: Do you remember the first book you read that had an impact on you – in what way and what was the name of that book?

LH: That would be Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson, which I read as a young schoolboy. For years after I wanted to be Alan Breck.

SJJ: When did you first realize you wanted to write?

LH: About 20 years ago I got this urge to write a novel.

SJJ: Who are your favourite authors?

LH: Quintin Jardine, Lee Child, David Baldacci & Simon Kernick are certainly up there

SJJ: What is your favourite thing about writing? What is your least favourite thing about writing?

LH: Favourite – The sense of satisfaction when I see the finished article. Least favourite – I hate other people proof reading and pointing out all my mistakes

SJJ: Where do your ideas come from?

LH: I have a vivid imagination. I can’t remember the last time I punched anyone and have never killed anyone, honestly officer!!

SJJ: I’ve often found that creative people have more than one talent, what is yours?

LH: I enjoy painting and cookery, both in their own way creative

SJJ: If you could jump inside a book for one day (as an observer) what book would it be?

LH: The Prodigal Son. I love the west coast of Scotland and I would love to see Bruce MacLaine get his comeuppance!

SJJ: When you create characters, are they completely made up or do they resemble or remind you of people you know?

LH: Completely fictional, almost!

SJJ: Have you ever created a character “out of thin air” only to run into someone in real life that reminds you of that character either in personality or their features?

LH: Not yet but give me time

SJJ: How do you come up with titles for your books?

LH: I try to reflect some aspect of the plot. The Prodigal Son – the main character goes back to the island of his childhood. Book 2 – The Good Samaritan – the main character does someone a favour, both have slightly biblical connotations.

SJJ: What are you working on now and can you tell us about it?

LH: The Good Samaritan, Rob MacLaine Book 2 and a third, almost stand-alone story, Playa Ricos, based in the Almeria region of Spain.

SJJ: Have you won any awards for your writing/books and if so what?

LH: Not yet

A Little More Personal

SJJ: What is one thing you haven’t done but would like to do?

LH: I would like to spend a few weeks driving from the north of Spain to the south, avoiding motorways where possible, bit of a “Thelma & Les”

SJJ: Can you tell us about an embarrassing/funny moment?

LH: I once told a builder that I was fine with drilling a hole in a bathroom wall tile, started to drill and broke the rather large, very expensive tile as my wife watched me – oops.

SJJ: Have you ever experienced something weird you could not explain?

LH: I had a car at one stage which would just die electrically for no apparent reason. It would sit there for about five minutes then come back to life. I suppose that was as much embarrassing as weird as it very often happened at traffic lights.

SJJ: Are you superstitious? Do you have any rituals for good luck?

LH: Not at all superstitious, although I won’t walk under ladders out of respect for gravity

SJJ: What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten?

LH: Suckling pig brain in a restaurant in Madrid.

SJJ: Do you have a favourite vacation spot? Where?

LH: Caribbean. Did a cruise there and loved the laid back, off the wall attitude of the places we visited

SJJ: Can you tell us about one of your favourite childhood memories?

LH: On holiday, with my parents in Highland Perthshire, boating on Loch Fascally, pony trekking in the hills above Pitlochry and walking up to the Falls of Bruar.

SJJ: What makes you happy?

LH: Good company

SJJ: If you aren’t writing (or doing anything associated with writing), what are you doing?

LH: Working (part time), golfing (badly)

SJJ: Can you tell us three interesting facts about you?

LH: I was adopted as a baby, my birth mother being a single parent. – I am a past President of Winchester Rotary and helped to raise £40,000 to help build a new Hospice in Winchester – I love fast cars.

Author’s Bio

I was born in Glasgow, but spent the first three years of my life in London, before moving back to Ayrshire where I stayed for about thirty years before commencing a world tour of Scotland, living in a number different locations. Over the years I have accumulated four children, nine grandchildren and most recently a great-grandson.

I served an engineering apprenticeship in the aviation industry and at various stages of my working life, I owned a private hire/bridal car business and later, a fifty cover licensed restaurant. However, I spent most of my working life in business development roles, mostly in the Oil & Gas industry. I was lucky enough to travel regularly to very diverse countries including the Middle and Far East, Africa, North and Latin America. Eight years ago, I moved from Aberdeen to Kings Worthy with my wife Val.

I have always enjoyed creative activities. I enjoyed art at school and have been allowed to hang some of my more recent paintings around the house. For as long as I can remember, I have had a yearning to write a novel. Travelling around as I did when I was working full time, I spent hours in airport lounges and hotel rooms where the only television programs were in Portuguese or Arabic, so I started to write “The Prodigal Son.” The rest, as they say, is history!

Author’s Links

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07VRXQ5KN

www.linkedin.com/in/leshaswell