Thursday, 27 June 2013

I bumped into good friend Michael Malone the other day. We got talking about his wonderful new release A Taste for Malice, and the conversation was so stimulating I thought I'd share it.
So, after the events of Blood Tears, D.I. Ray McBain is back on the mean streets of Glasgow with A Taste for Malice. Tell us what this is all about then?
McBain is back at work - in the professional doghouse - and on filing duty. Desperate for something to do, a pair of old files intrigue him. A woman worms her way into a position of trust with a vulnerable family. The children adore her. At first. Then she has some 'fun', which soon becomes torture and mental cruelty. Then she disappears. Another case tells a similar story. The families are complaining, frustrated that no-one is doing anything and worried that more children will get hurt. But the disgraced detective, McBain is the only one who is listening. Meanwhile, in Ayrshire, another young family is relieved when a stranger comes into their lives to help them through a difficult time. The stories of McBain’s unofficial investigation and the situation this Ayrshire family finds itself in are told in tandem.
That’s an interesting set up. Lots of crime novels start off with the dead body. A Taste for Malice starts with a young woman coming out of a coma. What was going through your head when you came up with that?
Most crime novels concern themselves with the aftermath of a crime. I thought it would be interesting to give the “victim” more of a presence. I wanted this novel to be about the anticipation of a crime and the tension to come from the investigator finding the perp and saving another potential victim before the crime was actually committed.
And after the not too shabby body count in Blood Tears I wanted to try and write a crime novel without killing anyone. But, you won’t know if I’ve been successful in that regard until you read the book.
What a tease. What were the pleasures and challenges of writing the second book in a series? And did you suffer from Second Book Syndrome?
It was a real joy stepping in to a world where I knew the main characters. The team were all ready there in my head waiting to spring into action. And it was great fun being with them all again. So to speak. I have a great time writing with these guys and I hope that comes across in the book. McBain is a hoot to write. I enjoy his extremes – gives me scope to play with his dark and light side - and his willingness to say exactly what is on his mind. I often wish I was more like that. I’m a wuss. Mind you, I could do without his ups and downs.
The challenge is keeping them all fresh. Making sure they are not re-treading old ground. Displaying a little character development – but doing that in a measured way, cos ultimately I’m writing a crime novel. Readers want all that that entails.
As for SBS, that wasn’t an issue. Given that I’d written two books before I wrote Blood Tears. And also given that I wrote the book a few years back when I wasn’t aware of my audience. I think it must be worse for writers who write their first book to huge acclaim – and have all that in their heads when they are writing the next one. Anonymity sheltered me from that nonsense.
Having said that, I might have a new syndrome, TBS. Problems with the third book. I write by the seat of my pants. With no clue where I’m headed. And I’m 25,000 words in and it’s like mentally wading through treacle. I kinda know where I want to go, but as yet, the boys in the boiler room (how Stephen King refers to his sub-conscious) haven’t given me a route.
What can you tell us about McBain 3?
Nuffink. Except that it’s pencilled in for a November ’14 release. We’re going later with this one because I have another book out in February and we need to give that one some air before releasing another MJM novel. You can get too much of a good thing you know.
My thanks to Michael for allowing me to share this conversation. If anyone wants to buy a copy of A Taste for Malice or Blood Tears the links to Michael's Amazon Author Pages are below
Coming in July, I have Tom Cain / David Thomas talking about the inspiration for his excellent novel Ostland.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Promoting Other Peeps' Books

This week I’m taking a wee moment to promo a couple of friends and their new releases. Being honest, I haven’t read either of these books but I have read other stuff by both of these guys and can vouch for their writely skill.

First up is B.R. Stateham and he’s followed later on by Darren Sant.

Turner Hahn and Frank Morales Are Back

Homicide detectives Turner Hahn and Frank Morales are back on duty in their new novel, Guilt of Innocence.

The two are investigating a couple of murders which pushes them to the limits of their wits. One case involves the death of a very successful corporate lawyer. A high priced corporate lawyer who happens to be married to a woman who heads the largest cosmetics firm in the country. How the murder took place is perplexing enough. But as more bodies begin to drop Turner and Frank soon realize they are facing a maniacal mastermind who may very well be smarter than both of them combined.

Twists and turns, dead ends and red herrings . . . with an ending that will truly be surprising. This case has it all. And this is only case number one!

Case number two involves the disappearance of a young girl fifteen years earlier. A Cold Case File. Except it is not a cold case any longer. The girl has returned. And now lies on a cold metal table in the morgue. Someone has gone out of their way to make the homicide look like a suicide. Apparently a crime syndicate is frantic to make sure neither Turner nor Frank find out the facts surrounding the girl's disappearance fifteen years earlier. A hit man is in town grimly eliminating everyone who may have known the girl. A hit man with orders to possibly rub out Turner and Frank as well.

And again the real killer is someone whom no one would have ever suspected.

B.R. Stateham is a sixty-four year old curmudgeon who writes genre fiction. With an antiquarian's body yet with the mind of a fourteen year old boy, the author's imagination still wanders down dark alleys and mean streets looking for a dangerous rendezvous or dons a Federation uniform and straps on his waist a 20 megawatt laser blaster to go out and hunt Martian grave robbers.

Darren Sant

When branch manager Giles Macintosh arrives to open up one morning and finds an injured bum and his battered dog lying in the doorway of the bank, he little suspects what lies in store for them all.

Giles does the decent thing and calls for help, then puts the incident out of his mind. However, having been witness to things he cannot explain, he feels drawn to the man and tries to track him down … only to find he has vanished.

But who is the enigmatic, homeless Frank? Why are two very nasty men trying to find him? Why has a prostitute been abducted? And what does the future hold for Giles’s seriously ill son, Jake?

As the story unfolds, the tension increases and the true nature of Frank’s amazing secret begins to be revealed. The stakes are high as the criminal and the supernatural come together for a final, inevitable showdown.

Darren Sant was born in 1970 and raised in Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire which is in the United Kingdom. He moved to Hull in East Yorkshire in 2001.

A life long avid reader he always wanted to be a writer. However, teenage years, girls, work, pubs and football provided adequate distraction until his late twenties. After attending a few creative writing classes he started writing poetry. After moving to Hull he joined a writing group called the Renegade Writers who gained infamy by doing performance poetry with a Rock N Roll ethos. Following the split of the Renegade Writers he settled down a little and didn't write for a while.

He became interested in writing again when his friend, Nick Boldock, introduced him to the Radgepacket series by Byker Books. These anthologies had a gritty urban feel to them and prided themselves on being "Industrial Strength" fiction. He has now contributed to three of the Radgepacket anthologies:

Coming soon I have Daid Thomas / Tom Cain
Next week the usual witterings, half-baked theories and rants