How sampling a range of genres can help your writing


Sam boush



Reading it all How

sampling a range of genres can help your writing
By Sam Boush, author of All Systems Down


Most of us have a favorite genre. We read cozy mysteries. Or romance. Or thrillers. We write in these categories also. And we rarely step out of the warm, comfortable embrace of the fiction we know and care about into  other genres.

But we should.

Reading across genres helps us write better in our own. It can help us develop deeper characters, build better suspense, and create a richer, more realistic world to draw in the reader.

Here are four genres you should be reading to improve your writing.



Genre books




When you think “Western” you might think about a lawman who comes in from the East. Or Tumbleweed. Or the Cowboys and Indian tropes.

But the best part about Westerns have nothing to do with those things. Instead, the real meat is in the villains.

We read about wickedness without consequence. Bad guys who do terrible things and make the reader seethe. And when we read a Western, it’s often this despicable antagonist who keeps us flipping page-after- page to reach the conclusion where, inevitably, justice prevails and the villain is driven off or killed.

One publisher called my antagonist “not very scary” and “almost clownish.” So what did I do? I swung by the library for a few Westerns and rewrote the villain. And it worked. After All Systems Down was published, Kirkus called my bad gal, “The most striking character… a terrifying villain.”

If your book has an antagonist who just isn’t bad enough, I strongly recommend reading this genre, to learn how to craft a truly repugnant but- believable bad guy. It worked for me.







Even in non-Romance- genre fiction, readers like to see sparks. Emotion. Steamy love. You don’t have to be writing bodice-ripping scenes to benefit (though if you are writing sex scenes, you absolutely need to avoid ending up on the Telegraph’s list of bad ones.)

The kind of romance that enters your book may just be in how a husband looks at his wife from across the room. Or how a woman’s imagination takes flight when she hears a stranger at the door. But no matter how small, a little bit of romantic energy can charge up your writing. And Romance books can help.







A ticking clock. A racing heart. Intrigue. These attributes of a thriller can give your writing a sense of urgency. Readers will turn pages faster, sweating sometimes, eager for an outcome.

If your work in progress doesn’t quite get your readers feeling like they’re straddling a kicking bull, maybe you should read how some of the great thriller writers build suspense by keeping readers on the edge of their seats as the plot builds to a climax.







A solid foundation in reality will allow you to create believable scenes and circumstances. Whether you’re writing about a character who loves old cars, a conversation with an arborist, or
cyber war, every conversation, thought and action can have more resonance if it’s well

Michael Crichton investigated DNA extensively to write Jurassic Park. Tom Clancy researched submarines. Harper Lee studied the legal system. And you, also, should be poring over non-fiction books so you get the details right, no matter what you’re writing about.

Personally, non-fiction is my favorite genre. Not only does it allow the writer to craft a world that meets expectations, but by learning new and interesting facts in this category we are able to surprise the reader with unexpected information.

No matter what you’re writing, looking outside your genre can add depth and intricacy. And if you’re feeling really adventurous, don’t be afraid to play genre-roulette at your local library. Give yourself five minutes to pick out three random books. Check them out and don’t read them until you’re home. This is a great way to kick writer’s block to the curb and maybe create depth in your secondary characters the reader could never have predicted.



Sam boush



Sam Boush is a novelist and award-winning journalist. He has worked as a wildland firefighter, journalist, and owner of a mid-sized marketing agency. Though he’s lived in France and Spain, his heart belongs to Portland, Oregon, where he lives with his wife, Tehra, two wonderful children, and a messy cat that keeps them from owning anything nice. He is a member of the Center for Internet Security, International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, and Cloud Security Alliance.


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All Systems Down


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Thanks Sam!

Blog Tour: Dark Angel by Helen H. Durrant








Love gripping crime fiction? Discover Detective Stephen Greco, a meticulous policeman with a messy personal life.

Two young men break into an expensive house in Cheshire. They take money and jewellery — and a large amount of heroin. Within twenty-four hours they are found brutally murdered.

The killings have the hallmarks of a local drug baron. The two victims were also “angels” helping in a community project which seems to have been lowering the crime rate in the area.

Meanwhile, Detective Stephen Greco’s colleague and on-off girlfriend Grace is pregnant. He isn’t sure how he feels, and they haven’t told the boss.

This gripping and fast-paced crime mystery ends with a series of shocking twists.

If you like Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott, Mel Sherratt, Ruth Rendell, or Mark Billingham you will enjoy this exciting new crime fiction writer.



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This was a stellar book! Crime fiction just how I like it. Interesting characters weaved into a fascinating plot and crime to solve. The perfect blend of narrative, dialogue, tension, conflict and mystery. I found it to be very engaging and compelling to read. Check it out!



DCI Stephen Greco is a meticulous policeman with a touch of O.C.D. Easy to admire, but difficult to like. He has created a new team after a personal tragedy threatened to end his career, and is struggling to care for his daughter.
DS Grace Harper is an ambitious young policewoman with excellent people skills. Like Greco, she is a single parent and tries to balance work and childcare.




Detective cartoon



The Northern city of Manchester is a place of great diversity, from high-end restaurants and clubs for the moneyed classes to grim housing estates riven by crime and drugs.




Satisfaction guaranteed








Helen Durrant author pic




Helen sets her books in the area she has lived in for many years. The towns and villages that sit in the shelter of the Pennine hills. This is an area between two counties, Lancashire and Yorkshire, and between the city and the hills. It offers a rich mix of the industrial and the countryside and all the character therein.

Helen always planned to write crime novels. But until she retired from full-time work in a local further education college, it had to go on the back burner. Once she did retire – there was no excuse. She now writes full-time. Retirement proper will have to wait!

Currently there are seven books in the ‘Calladine & Bayliss’ series available – Dead Wrong, Dead Silent, Dead List, Dead Lost, Dead & Buried, Dead Nasty – and the latest – Dead Jealous.

Also available are three books in the new ‘DI Greco’ series – Dark Murder, Dark Houses, Dark Trade  and the latest – Dark Angel.



Twitter: @hhdurrant


Jill Burkinshaw

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Join the Ficitonary Finish Your Novel Contest

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Did you make a New Year’s Resolution to finish your novel and get published? Enter Fictionary’s Finish Your Novel Contest and your dream could come true. With FriesenPress.


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Kristina Stanley is the author of the Stone Mountain Mystery Series. Her books have garnered the attention of prestigious crime writing organizations in Canada and England. Crime Writers of Canada nominated her first novel for the Unhanged Arthur award. The Crime Writers’ Association nominated her second novel for the Debut Dagger. Her first short story was published in the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon
















Look the other way






Audiobook Blog Tour: It Is Las Vegas After All by Howard Weiner

It Is Las Vegas After All Banner





Cover Art



About the Audiobook

Author: Howard Weiner

Narrator: Laura Copland

Length: 7 hours 51 minutes

Publisher: Howard D. Weiner⎮20

Genre: Technothriller

Release date: Jun. 38, 2017


Audio Sample




Synopsis: Two physicists are in a race with federal authorities and three former CIA agents to detonate a dirty bomb in Las Vegas. The physicists deploy several explosive devices, hidden in plain sight, that can be detonated at any time. Federal authorities realize too late that their best technologies, people, and staff cannot detect the existence and movement of small bombs. The safety of Las Vegas depends on three former CIA agents brought together by an employer with ill intent and strong ties to venture capitalists funding the latest crop of entrepreneurs. Who will win? Will Las Vegas be saved?

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Book Review - 3d rendered headline



A very informative book with a fascinating plot and form of storytelling. Two remarkable physicists are set to explode a dirty bomb in the City of Las Vegas, but what you’ll discover is what set them off in the first place.  The narrative is the dominate form of storytelling compared to character dialogue which caused more difficulty following the story. The characters were definitely intriguing with their own set of quirks and personalities.



Four golden stars isolated on white background





Las Vegas Teaser




Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?

I recently finished reading John Grisham’s, The Rooster Bar. Grisham relates that he read a news story about for-profit law schools and instantly knew he had a story. It Is Las Vegas After All was born out of a similar set of circumstances. I’d read several news stories about dirty bombs and that became the straw for binding together other professional and personal experiences.






Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.

I started the process of commissioning the audiobook while completing my second novel, Serendipity Opportunity. Working with Amazon’s Kindle publishing program was providing good feedback and results, and so it wasn’t a dramatic leap of faith to investigate Amazon’s audiobook publishing division, Audio Creation Exchange (ACX).

ACX has an efficient process for publishing a sample of the novel and soliciting auditions among interested publishers and narrators. I received a surprising number of submissions and set about listening and evaluating each audio segment.

Laura Copland’s submission was clearly the best of the bunch. We promptly agreed to the terms and conditions facilitated by ACX, and Laura began her work in earnest.

After reading the novel, Laura had a number of questions regarding the characters. I was pleasantly surprised at how well she had managed to climb into the skin of each. Her formal education and training in the theater arts clearly marked her as the consummate professional, and for that reason working with her to complete the book took about six-to-seven weeks.

For my part, working on a novel at some point is less about the story and the characters and more about issues of presentation. Getting the book into print is the point, and very quickly you transform from storyteller to scrivener. Listening to the chapters Laura submitted rekindled my joy and excitement about the story and the characters she so ably brought to life.



Audiobook image




Do you believe certain types of writing translate better into audiobook format?

No one appreciates a good story more than a story writer. Beyond the entertainment value of a good engaging book, listening to an audiobook is like taking a master class in writing from authors you enjoy and even envy.

I’m (an old) computer scientist by formal education and industry training. It’s difficult to imagine any of the many textbooks in computer science, mathematics, or the sciences in general, working well as an audiobook–no matter how written and enlightening they may be.

In the fiction genre, I find it easier to listen to an audiobook where the author provides the context for characters and the situations in which they find themselves rather than straight character dialog.



headphones audiobook Its Las Vegas



Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?

I’d like to say yes, but it isn’t true. It wasn’t until the publishing process came to an end that I started to contemplate turning it into an audiobook.

I’m in the midst of my fourth novel now, One for the Price of Two, and I still do not find myself designing the storyline, mapping out character development, or doing the research my books require with an audiobook in mind. But I have given the matter some thought, and for now I’ve elected to focus on the written word first, middle, and last.



Thought image



How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?

I knew from the moment I listened to Laura’s audition that I’d stumbled on to an extraordinarily talent. I’ve learned throughout my professional career that finding such people can too often be good fortune rather than intent, and it’s important to let someone like Laura “do her thing.” I didn’t always agree with her take on a character’s spoken dialog, but I always found her interpretation to be at least as good as what I intended when putting pen to paper.

We did have a couple, very minor, issues about pronunciation, but again, Laura made those few circumstances a breeze.



Author Howard Weiner



About the Author: Howard Weiner

Howard Weiner was born in Washington, DC, in the distant past when Congress returned home during the summers, new best friends moved in every four years, and old ones never stayed. He attended local public schools and graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a BS in computer science and a spouse.

For the next forty years, he pursued an extensive graduate education, served as a member of the professoriate, an entrepreneur, and leadership positions in information technology in the private and public sectors. He lived during his working years in the Washington DC suburbs and exurbs, Richmond, Virginia, in three locations on Long Island, New York, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and finally, the upper west side of New York City.

Weiner’s first work of published fiction, It Is Las Vegas After All, introduces three unlikely partners who stumble upon two refugees from higher education who abandon their promising academic careers to build and detonate a dirty bomb in Las Vegas. The story takes place in the U.S., U.K., and the former communist east Germany, and ends following a high stakes winter pursuit along the Appalachian Trail.

His second work, Serendipity Opportunity, tells a tale of the dark web meets mayhem, murder, and an international incident involving Russian and U.S. intelligence agencies.

His latest work, Bad Money, takes place in 1993 and features two unlikely heroes trying to escape members of Manuel Noriega’s former intelligence staff in a drugs for money story. The story begins, simply enough, with two suit cases accidentally switched at the Miami Airport. He is also working on two other manuscripts: One for the Price of Two and The Big Lowandowski.








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Book Review: Need to Know by Karen Cleveland

Need to Know Karen Cleveland



In pursuit of a Russian sleeper cell on American soil, a CIA analyst uncovers a dangerous secret that will test her loyalty to the agency—and to her family.

What do you do when everything you trust might be a lie?

Vivian Miller is a dedicated CIA counterintelligence analyst assigned to uncover the leaders of Russian sleeper cells in the United States. On track for a much-needed promotion, she’s developed a system for identifying Russian agents, seemingly normal people living in plain sight.

After accessing the computer of a potential Russian operative, Vivian stumbles on a secret dossier of deep-cover agents within America’s borders. A few clicks later, everything that matters to her—her job, her husband, even her four children—are threatened.

Vivian has vowed to defend her country against all enemies, foreign and domestic. But now she’s facing impossible choices. Torn between loyalty and betrayal, allegiance and treason, love and suspicion, who can she trust?


Releases today! Need to Know is available now.




Book Review - 3d rendered headline




I absolutely loved this book! Karen Cleveland comes out swinging in her debut novel with CIA counterintellligence analyst Vivian Miller. She discovers a secret so deep it rattles her to the core of every aspect of her life. She then struggles to solve a dilemma that seeks to rip her apart limb by limb. 

I really enjoyed the deep point of view for this type of thriller. I felt gripped by the protagonist’s anxiety, fear, love, vulnerability and moral dilemma. It made the story that much richer. 

 The tension is palpable with juicy conflict, and the suspense is off the charts.

Don’t miss it! It’ll be one of the best of 2018!




Karen Cleveland photo


Karen Cleveland spent eight years as a CIA analyst, the last six in counterterrorism. She has master’s degrees from Trinity College Dublin, where she studied as a Fulbright Scholar, and from Harvard University. She lives in northern Virginia with her husband and two young kids.


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Murder in the Meadow Blog Tour with Author Faith Martin

MIM cover jpg





Blog Tour BANNER - Murder in the Meadow





Looking for a brilliant best-selling murder mystery  with a feisty female detective?

Meet DI HILLARY GREENE, a policewoman struggling to save her career and catch criminals.

Wayne Sutton is found dead by a stream in a beautiful meadow. His head has been bashed in and a red paper heart left on his body. The handsome young artist had a reputation as a ladies’ man.

DI Hillary Greene discovers that there were many wealthy married women buying his paintings and taking ‘private’ art lesson from him.  It appears that several of them might have wanted him dead.

Hillary also has a new detective sergeant, Gemma Fordham. Seemingly efficient and pleasant, she harbours a secret agenda.

Can Hillary get to the bottom of a complex case involving jealousy, love, and cold-blooded murder?

This is a crime mystery full of well-observed characters, which will have you gripped from start to finish.

MURDER IN THE MEADOW  is the seventh in a series of page-turning crime thrillers set in Oxfordshire.
Perfect for fans of  Agatha Christie, Colin Dexter, or Ruth Rendell.




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If you haven’t started the DI Hillary Green series then you’re missing out. I always find it fascinating to peer into the point of view of protagonist Hillary. She investigates the mysterious death of a young Casanova who’s left by the river with red heart pinned to his chest. Who had the motivation to kill him? A former lover? A jealous one?

Faith Martin is having such great success by re-releasing this series with Joffe books. Her writing is really entertaining, witty, with great characters and well thought out plots. I recommend Murder in the Meadow and the rest of the series to anyone.



Review image Faith martin



The pretty iron stone village of Deddington.  Not far from the market town of Banbury (noted for its famous Banbury Cross of the nursery rhyme “Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross, to see a fine lady upon a white horse, with rings on her fingers and bells on her toes, she shall have music wherever she goes.”)  It has an attractive and unusual church, antique shop and hotel, and several pubs known locally for their cuisine.  Although not a tourist spot as such, it is a picturesque spot.  Water meadows, such as the one where the body is found, are a feature of valleys in the area, and regularly flood in the winter time, adding  nutrients to the soil, making them especially lovely in the spring and summer, when they can flower quite spectacularly.




meadow faith martin





DI Hillary Greene
An attractive woman in her forties, Hillary Greene is a police officer of many years’ experience, and came up through the ranks. Consequently, she knows how the system works, and is fiercely loyal to the force without being blinkered to its faults. She is a long-standing friend of her immediate superior officer, ‘Mellow’ Mallow and enjoys a rather enigmatic relationship with the steely Superintendent Marcus Donleavy. Popular with the rank and file for her no-nonsense attitude and competence.

DCI Philip ‘Mellow’ Mallow
Mel appreciates Hillary’s first-rate ability to solve her cases, and isn’t happy about her harassment by the officers from York. Known for his sartorial elegance and laid-back manners, he has a sharp mind, and an eye for the ladies. A good friend and ally for Hillary in her recent tribulations, he’s determined to keep his best investigator focused on the problems at hand.




Investigation image faith martin




Books 8-11 coming soon!


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Faith Martin has been writing for over 25 years, in four genres and under four different pen names. She was born in Oxford and sets most of her crime novels within sight of the city of dreaming spires. A real nature lover and afficionado of the countryside, descriptions of wildlife and native flora often find their way into her manuscripts. Right now, JOFFE BOOKS are re-issuing the first eleven of the DI Hillary Greene novels in new updated editions! And the first of these, MURDER ON THE OXFORD CANAL. MURDER AT THE UNIVERSITY, MURDER OF THE BRIDE, MURDER IN THE VILLAGE, MURDER IN THE FAMILY and MURDER AT HOME are available now. Books 8-11 coming soon!

Her romance novels, written under the name of Maxine Barry, are now available from Corazon Books. IMPOSTERS In PARADISE, and HEART OF FIRE are both out, and others will very quickly become available in the future.

Her first foray into writing ‘spooky’ crime, (and written under the pen name of Jessie Daniels) comes out in November 2017. THE LAVENDER LADY CASEFILE is published by Robert Hale, an imprint of Crowood Press.

As Joyce Cato, she writes more classically-inspired ‘proper’ whodunits. So if you like an amateur sleuth, plenty of clues and red herrings, plus a baffling murder mystery to solve, these are the books for you.




Check out Jill’s Books n All Book Promotions! Crime books, book reviews, blog tours and more.


Don’t miss Mystery Thriller Week 2018. The new dates for this year are April 12th-22nd. Don’t miss out!




Blog Tour: Truth or Dead by T.J. Brearton







How far would you go to protect your kids?









About Tom Lange

Tom Lange is like a Wild West cowboy who’s been dropped into the modern world. He has to deal with his impulsiveness and anger in ways men never had to reckon with before. If he wants to keep a relationship, he has to open up. If he wants to keep his job, he has to face his past.

Tom isn’t a West Point graduate or a former special ops. He’s a kid from the streets; he grew up in some of the tougher neighborhoods just outside of New York City as a foster kid with his brother Nick. He applies what he learned growing up –how people survive, how they take advantage– to his investigations for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Truth or Dead takes Tom into a world he knows well – the world of gambling and drugs, run by notorious gangster Mario Palumbo. Tom must help protect the life of a woman Palumbo seems to have targeted, though no one can figure out quite why… Heather Moss, it seems, has a past to face, too… 





gambling chips and aces




TRUTH OR DEAD by T.J. Brearton

How far would you go to protect your kids?

On her drive to work, Heather Moss gets a phone call which will turn her life upside-down. If she doesn’t do what the caller wants, they will kill her two little girls.

An inmate dies in the county jail. He was a witness who could have brought down notorious criminal Mario Palumbo.

Special Agent Tom Lange is trying to get his life back together after losing his brother Nick. And he thinks Palumbo was responsible for Nick’s death.

Tom desperately wants the evidence to point to Palumbo, but it doesn’t all add up.

Can Tom protect Heather and bring down crime boss Palumbo? He faces a choice between the truth and getting the result he wants.

Set in Florida, this atmospheric thriller will keep you turning the pages till the tension-packed conclusion.




TJ Brearton Author photo png




Brearton’s fiction first appeared in Third Rail, an underground magazine in New York City. His short stories have been published with The Rusty Nail MagazineOrange Quarterly, Enhance Magazine, Nonsense Society, and Atticus Review, with non-fiction appearing in The Lake Champlain Weekly and Adirondack Almanack. A previous novel, “Rehabilitation,” was published independently in 2009. He attended the New York Film Academy and has worked in film, broadcast television, and freelance journalism. He lives in the Adirondacks with his wife and two children.

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Steve Regan Undercover Cop Series by Stephen Bentley

Who the F am I








Crime Fiction About An Undercover Cop By a Former Undercover Cop

‘Crime Fiction About An Undercover Cop By a Former Undercover Cop’ is roughly how the blurb goes on the Amazon listing for my latest book ‘Who The F*ck Am I?’

The title may be a tad controversial to some, but it is part of the very fabric of an infiltrator. Identity confusion among undercover agents is a medically recognised condition.

It is Book One in a trilogy featuring Steve Regan, a fictional British undercover cop. The action takes place mainly in the United Kingdom but also takes the reader to Miami and Boston in the United States.

The book is available from October 31, 2017 in both Kindle and paperback through Amazon. It will also be available in other eBook formats through Smashwords and at most other online book stores.

The blurb also makes the claim, “This surely has to be a first! Crime fiction about an undercover cop written by a former undercover cop!









From author, Stephen Bentley, comes a fictional undercover cop, Steve Regan, following on the success of his true crime undercover cop memoir ‘Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story.’

Steve Regan, undercover detective, is tempted by the riches of drug smuggling so he can be free of debt, police bureaucracy, and help a loved one. He wonders whether he can go ‘rogue’ and cross the line.

Regan gets involved in one deal with a Miami-based drug lord. But is everyone who they say they are?

Short, fast-paced, high-impact entertainment, from an author who knows  how to suck you into a story.”

This novella was inspired by two gangsters I met in real life while undercover. I harboured thoughts about them for many years and felt obliged to deal with those thoughts in this fictional work. I believe I can safely say that is a first!






Gangster cartoon







As the author and a former undercover cop, I do not profess to know with certainty if my claim about it being a “first” is fact. I mean the claim: This surely has to be a first! Crime fiction about an undercover cop written by a former undercover cop!

I could argue, in line with another former profession of mine (lawyer), that it isn’t a claim at all – merely a hypothesis. Pedants may argue there ought to be a question mark following “has to be first.” Possibly, they are correct.

But in any event, whether claim or hypothesis, it intrigues me. So, a challenge to all readers of this blog post – tell me if I am right or wrong about it being the first fictional work about an undercover cop written by a former undercover cop. At least I ask you to leave a comment letting us know your thoughts.

There is a reward for the best comment left – one free copy of the book featured here and a free copy of my bestselling memoir ‘Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story.’

Please note there can only be one winner and the prizes will be provided in any eBook format of the winner’s choice.

The winner will be judged by the author on the basis of the insight provided by the commentator, the originality of the comment, and any tendency to humour gains extra marks 





Stephen Bentley



Notes For The Blog Owner

Stephen Bentley BIO

Former UK Detective Sergeant, undercover cop, barrister (trial counsel). Now a writer, author, and blogs at HuffPost UK.

Author of ‘Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story’ – an Amazon UK bestselling book about his undercover days on one of the world’s largest drug busts.

Lives in the Philippines, enjoys the beaches and a cold beer and follows “his team”, Liverpool Football Club from afar.

Amazon link: Who The F*uck Am I?







Interview with Author Ben Hammott




Concealed in a remote area of the Amazon jungle is something the Mayans thought so dangerous they built a secret prison to entomb it. It remained undiscovered for centuries.  When a maverick archaeologist hears rumours of a mysterious lost city, he heads into the Amazon jungle, determined to find it.  He soon learns that some things are best left unfound.  The dangerous past the Mayans tried so hard to bury, is about to become our terrifying future.



Ben Hammott


Ben Hammott


Author Bio




What part of England did you grow up in?

Hertfordshire, the land of rolling fields, farms and markets.


What’s it like going from Germany to Spain?

A lot warmer. Germany is a nice place to live, but its winters are long and cold, or were when I was there, which is why I decided to head for warmer climates. I packed up my motor home, headed for Spain and didn’t stop until I reached Malaga.




Three-dimensional map of Spain. 3d




Who do you get your love of traveling from?

I’ve no idea as no one else in my family has the travelling bug. I guess it’s from reading adventure books and watching documentaries about amazing places.



Name your favorite destinations.

Spain, I love it here. It is warm, people are friendly and the way of life here is so much more relaxed and stress free. Also I have a place in the hills, looking down a valley to the sea. Peaceful and an ideal place to write. However, now doubt I will get the traveling bug again in a year or two and move to another country.




Spain button




Did you travel to the Amazon for Sacrophagus?

I wish. It wasn’t possible at this time, but one day, hopefully.



What sources did you use for your research?

For Sarcophagus I already had enough information on the Amazon jungle from my research when I wrote my El Dorado books. I talked to people who have been there, watched documentaries and read non-fiction books about the Amazon jungle. I also used the Internet, which, if you are selective and double check everything, is a very handy and a rich source of information.








Do you have a certain approach when researching?

Not really, as I use different methods for different books, depending on the level of research needed. Sarcophagus was relatively easy compared to my books like El Dorado, which featured details of Colonel Fawcett’s ill fated 1925 expedition, and my novel about America’s first serial killer, H. H. Holmes, which required extensive research. (Some of the research I had gathered about Colonel Fawcett was used in a PBS TV documentary aired in America.)

It is important when involving historical people or events in your writing, to get your facts right. Researching Holmes was particular difficult, as there were a lot of conflicting information of when and where he did certain things. It took me almost two years as I had to construct a timeline of his life before I could even begin writing An Insatiable Thirst for Murder.




How do you know when you have *enough* research?

When the migraine clicks in. Again, it depends on the story. I usually have an idea of what I want to include and the plot, so as soon as I sense I have enough information to achieve those goals, I stop. If something else crops up during writing I will do more research.

As an example, If, like Sarcophagus, the story is set in a time period, then I have to ensure everything I mention or is used by the characters was actually available at that time. As an example, I wanted to use flashlights in the story, but wasn’t sure if they were invented so I did some research and discovered the first dry cell batteries were invented in 1896 and in 1899 English inventor David Missel invented the first flashlight that was powered by three D batteries.








What impresses you about the Mayans?

I am impressed by all the Mesoamerican civilisations, Maya, Aztec, Inca, etc.. Their ability to build massive stone constructions and cities without the aid of any mechanical devices, even the wheel, and usually in inaccessible locations, and survive. Not so impressed with their tradition of cruel human sacrifices though. “Interestingly, the Maya used the wheel on children’s toys but not for transportation, preferring to use drag carts on.



What are some fascinating facts about the Amazon Jungle?

Even today there are areas of the Amazon rainforest that have not been explored. As little as a few years ago, a new tribe was discovered in the Amazon by an airplane flying directly over their village. If it had flown a route a few hundred yards either side, the tribe might still remain a mystery.

Over a quarter of the medicines we use today have their origins in the rainforests – and that’s after only about 1% of rainforest plants have been examined for their medicinal properties. Imagine what else could be there?




sunset in the brazilian rainforest of Amazonas





What can you tell us about the archaeologist? What drives him?

Kramer is driven by the unknown and the undiscovered. Fame and recognition for his discoveries mean little to him. If he has funding to finance his archaeological expeditions, he is satisfied.

The other archaeologist in Sarcophagus, Greyson Bradshaw, is the opposite of Kramer. Fame and to be acknowledged and admired by his peers is what drives him.



Is the Lost City truth or fiction?

That is the question.

Machu Picchu was a lost city before it was re-discovered on July 24th , 1911 by Hiram Bingham. Bingham was searching for lost Inca cities when he came across a prospector who informed there were numerous ruins on some nearby mountains. Bingham traveled there and found what we know today as macho Picchu.

My character Kramer is loosely based on Hiram Bingham and his discovery of Machu Picchu.



Search binoculars




Name the most challenging aspects of writing this book.

If I had to pick something, I would say linking the Amazon Lost City section to the London museum section. A first draft had Greyson leaving the lost city with the sarcophagus and artefacts and then the following chapter was the Maya exhibition opening night.

I wanted something linking the two continents, so I shortened the first and last sections and added a middle section about what happened on the cargo ship transporting the artifacts.


What are some interesting things you learned that aren’t in the book.

Never, ever, open a sarcophagus discovered in the bowels of a long-lost city deep in the Amazon jungle.