Author Interview With Mystery Writer Brian L. Porter

Breathe… if you dare.

English countryside, 1958. The idyllic village of Olney St. Mary has stood in its peaceful location for over 900 years.

Until one day, when two teenage boys are struck by a mysterious illness. The newly arrived Doctor Hilary Newton suspects a common flu to be the cause of their malady. Before long, the doctor and residents of Olney St. Mary are plunged into a nightmare, as the disease ravages the local population. Despite the doctors employing the latest medicine available, the death toll keeps rising.

Someone in the village knows the reason behind the pestilence that has struck at the heart of the village, but can the medics learn the truth before it’s too late, or will they join the growing list of names that appear on the death roll in Olney St. Mary?

Amazon | Goodreads

  1. Describe your experience dreaming fueling an idea for a story. 

This began a few years ago. I simply woke up one morning and turned to my wife Juliet, and said, “I just dreamed a great plot for my next book.” I dreamed about the story in general, the opening, and how it would end. I decided to give it a go and once I started working on the book, the characters kind of developed a life of their own and they drove the story forward as I typed each chapter. I made a few changes to the original dream version of the story simply to add areas of drama and tension to the basic premise. When I completed the book, and read it through before went to my editor I was surprised at how closely the finished article coincided with something that came to me in my sleep. That book was A Mersey Killing, http://getbook.at/Mersey Killing which went on to become an Amazon #1 bestseller and my publisher loved it so much they asked me if I could develop the book into a series. That was the birth of my successful Mersey Mystery series and I’m currently working on the 9th book in the series. 

 

  1. Which of your books/series have been done this way?

Once I learned to trust my ability to dream storylines and more importantly to retain them when I woke up, (sometimes in the early hours of the morning), I can honestly say that at least four more of the books in the series, A Mersey Maiden, A Mersey Mariner, A Very Mersey Murder, and The Mersey Monastery Murders can be attributed in some way to my dreams. 

 

  1. How do you determine if the idea is viable enough to commit an entire novel?

Good question. The only way I can make that determination is by starting the process of writing the book. If I manage to get the first three or four chapters written and I’m confident that I can go forward with the concept, I will keep going until the book is completed. If I begin a book and immediately find myself struggling with the story or the continuity of the tale, I will stop writing put it into my pending file and leave it for another time, in case it eventually adds up in my mind and I’m able to return to it and complete the project. 

 

  1. How long does it typically take for you to write a book?

One of my Mersey Mystery series will typically take between 6 months to a year to complete. The includes the research, writing and all checks and edits prior to submitting to my publisher. 

 

  1. Describe your creative process for fleshing out an idea once it’s there. 

As I said earlier my books are heavily character-driven, and the central characters of my series have grown and developed as the series has progressed, so I find those characters almost have a life of their own in my mind. So, I can create, a storyline and situations within that story, and ‘allow’ my characters to direct the way they will react to any given circumstances. It’s really a lot of fun, letting those fictional characters take over my thoughts so far, I haven’t been disappointed with the results. 

 

  1. Do you have a routine when it comes to editing your books?

I have a great editor, and together we make a good team. Over the years we’ve developed a routine where, as I write, I will send one or two chapters at a time to her and she immediately checks and edits the work. Once I have agreed and made any changes those chapters go into a separate document which will form the final book. When completed, the finished book then undergoes a final edit which includes a line by line spelling and grammar check. 

 

  1. Do you utilize beta readers?

Before I found my editor I used to have a small team of Beta readers but nowadays I find them unnecessary and generally just use one of them who I retained as a final ‘fail safe’ for checking the manuscript. 

 

  1. How much are you influenced by feedback by others during the process?

My wife is one of my fiercest critics and she reads and comments on my work as the book progresses. The only other feedback I take notice of is that of my editor, researcher and sole Beta reader. 

 

  1. How do you perform research for your books?

Most of my books contain some references to real events in the past so I spend a lot of time involved in historical research to ensure that any references to true events in the past are as accurate as possible. 

I also have a terrific researcher, a lady called Debbie Poole, who lives in Liverpool. As my Mersey Mystery books are set in and around that city, it’s important that any and all references to places on the city are accurate and reliable. Nowadays, I live in Yorkshire and the Liverpool of my youth really has changed so much that my own memories of streets, buildings and roads are just not up to date, so Debbie’s knowledge is of vital importance to the books. 

I can give you a good example of her contributions to the books. When I was working on Last Train to Lime Street, I needed to find a suitable piece of railway track, close to a road bridge, which could be used as a ‘body dump’ site. Debbie spent days driving around Liverpool, stopping the car, peering over the edges of various Bridges, looking for a suitable site, one which had to have hedges and trees close to the tracks. She found the perfect location which I used in the book. We had a laugh at the time wondering how she would reply if a police officer followed and approached her and asked her why she was looking over the parapets of various bridges. We could just imagine his reaction if she replied in all honesty, “Oh, I’m just driving around looking for a suitable body dump site!” She’s so committed to the books, that I simply couldn’t manage without her expertise. 

 

  1. What kind of advice would give to new aspiring authors?

I’ve been asked that question many times. I think the best advice I can give is first of all, read, read and read some more. When asked how to be a good writer that was exactly what Charles Dickens replied. So yes, read as much as possible, your favourite authors if possible and try to learn from them in terms of writing styles, sentence construction etc. 

When you’ve actually written a book, if it’s good enough a publisher will eventually show an interest, but expect to receive a few rejections once you start submitting the work to publishers. It happens to the best authors, treat rejections as an occupational hazard. It might take a while but if you’re confident you have a good product, don’t lose faith and maintain your self-belief. If it’s good enough, you will eventually find a publisher. Don’t give up and don’t be afraid of occasional harsh criticism. If it’s constructive then it can be helpful. 

 

  1. What are you currently working on? 

I’m currently working on the ninth book in my Mersey Mystery series, The Mersey Ferry Murders.  Convicted rapist/murderer Howard Blake has died in prison. Now someone appears to be viciously killing the members of the jury that convicted him of the crimes, to which he always pleaded he was innocent of committing. Detective Inspector Andy Ross leads his Specialist Murder Investigation Team in search of the unknown killer, as the body count grows!

 

A Short Biography 

To introduce myself, I’m best known as Brian L Porter, the author of many novels and nonfiction books including the bestselling Mersey Mystery series, set in and around the city of Liverpool and the bestelling Family of Rescue Dogs series. I also write children’s books as Harry Porter and romantic poetry as Juan Pablo Jalisco. My most recent releases are my Cold War Thriller, Pestilence and my Study in Red Trilogy based on the Jack the Ripper murders in 1888, in Whitechapel, London.
 
My books have won numerous awards over the years. Most recently, Pestilence, won the Best Mystery Award in the Critters Readers Choice Awards 2020, and Dylan the flying Bedlington and A Liverpool Lullaby finished 2nd and 5th respectively in the Read free. Ly 50 Best Indie Books of 2020. 

 
 I’ve been fortunate to have penned almost 30 Amazon bestsellers, at home and internationally, and my books have been the winners of many literary awards.
 
I live with my wife, Juliet in the North of England, who shares my passion for dogs and we currently share our home with nine beautiful rescued dogs.
 
Readers can find my books at Amazon.
Or see my author page at Next Chapter Publishing.

Death Is An Illusion: A Luci De Foix Mystery by L. Lee Kane

Luci de Foix is an archeologist and artifact expert who travels extensively to country’s attempt to save their priceless treasures. On a trip to Greece, she discovers a clay shard with writings from an ancient society that disappeared during an earthquake on their island of Helike. When her best friend and adopted sister, Sarah, is kidnapped by a ruthless Russian oligarch determined to find the legendary treasure of Helike, they struggle to survive against terrifying odds, only to discover a secret that governments will kill for…even her own.

 

AmazonGoodreadsTSL Publications

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Linda L. Kane


What was your path to becoming a writer? 

As a kid, I grew up in Inglewood, California, my mom worked as a waitress, my dad had left and we were very poor, so poor that the leftovers from others at the restaurant were given to us for food. It was a nice restaurant so we really did get pretty terrific food. This left me with my mom gone, hours to write. I was left alone most nights and for me, writing became an escape. I could be anyone, a wealthy person, an artist, or an actress. It was all in my imagination and I had big dreams.

 

Who has informed your writing the most over the years?

As a child, I read everything that my school library had in biographies. Women that were courageous, women of science, women who made a difference in other’s lives.

 

 Can you tell us a little about archeologist Luci De Foix? 

Luci de Foix was placed in an orphanage after her parent’s death. Little did she know that there was a group of men, The Order, that had been watching her family for hundreds of years, waiting for the opportunity to acquire a very important codex. 

 

What is the relationship like between Luci and Sarah? 

Luci met Sarah at the orphanage, two lonely little girls who found one another, helped each other, protected one another. Luci’s grandparents who lived in France, finally found Luci and came to take her home. They saw the friendship between Luci and Sarah and didn’t want to tear them away from each other, after many months, Sarah was adopted and came to live with Luci and her grandparents

 

What are they up against in Death Is an Illusion? 

Sarah became an expert in computer science and was on a scientific expedition in Greece where the group came across evidence of an island that had long been forgotten, Helike. Some of the people survived and made they’re way across oceans to South America carrying with them a very special plant that could heal the sick forever. Many people that were on that expedition told others, namely the Russians who were out to acquire that plant. Sarah flew home to have Luci come with her to Greece and read shards of pottery pinpointing the location of the lost tribe of the Helike’s.

 

What are some interesting facts you discovered in your research? 

Something I discovered in a BBC magazine was that there was an island, Helike that was destroyed by a volcano and a tsunami. Aristotle believed that this was Atlantis. Something that all of us know is that there are many plants in S America with healing properties, the land is being destroyed by loggers and others. Soon there will be no plants to help us as a people.

 

Have you ever been to Greece? 

I’ve never been to Greece, had a missed opportunity on a sailboat. Maybe one day, I’d like to see what they’ve found of Helike.

 

What’s next for you?

A continuation of the adventures of Luci de Foix. I wrote her first book, The Black Madonna: A Popes Deadly Obsession, and I would like her and her friends to find the book John Dees was writing about Angels. His delving into alchemy and gold. That should be a fun mix.


About L Lee Kane

Linda L. Kane MA in Education, PPS, School Psychologist, and Learning Disability Specialist, is the author of Death on the Vine, Chilled to the Bones, Death Among Us, Non-Fiction with Nina Amir, The Black Madonna, A Popes Deadly Obsession, The Sorceress, and Death is Only An Illusion. She has written several children’s books, including Clyde to the Rescue, Matty’s Adventures in Numberland, Cowboy Jack and Buddy Save Santa, Katerina Ballerina, and Witch Number is Which. She lives with her husband, two dogs, and eight horses in California.
Writers’ Associations: Sisters in Crime. The Open Book, A Novel Idea, 2nd Chance Romance, Make Mine Mystery, The Mystery Reader, Romance Writers, and Writer Unboxed.
Articles written: Kings River Life, Make Mine Mystery, Woodward Lake Magazine, Audere, Master University with Nina Amir, and Dark Rose.
Social Media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, and Youtube.

www.lindaleekane.com

Book Review: The Coast To Coast Murders by James Patterson & J.D. Barker

A detective and FBI agent join forces on what seems like an open-and-shut case—but a new rash of killings sends them on a pulse-pounding race against time in this intense thriller.

Michael and Megan Fitzgerald are siblings who share a terrifying past. Both adopted, and now grown—Michael is a long-haul truck driver, Megan a college student majoring in psychology—they trust each other before anyone else. They’ve had to. Their parents are public intellectuals, an Ivy League clinical psychologist and a renowned psychiatrist, and they brought up their adopted children in a rarefied, experimental environment. It sheltered them from the world’s harsh realities, but it also forced secrets upon them, secrets they keep at all costs.

In Los Angeles, Detective Garrett Dobbs and FBI Agent Jessica Gimble have joined forces to work a murder that seems like a dead cinch. Their chief suspect is quickly identified and apprehended –but then there’s another killing just like the one they’ve been investigating. And another. And not just in Los Angeles—the spree spreads across the country. The Fitzgerald family comes to the investigators’ attention, but Dobbs and Gimble are at a loss—if one of the four is involved, which Fitzgerald might it be?

From coastal California to upstate New York, Dobbs and Gimble race against time and across state lines to stop an ingenious and deeply deranged killer—one whose dark and twisted appetites put them outside the range of logic or experience.

 

Amazon|Audible |B&N

This was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time! I mean, it begins with a BANG. And. Does. Not. Let. Up. The Coast to Coast Murders has a great hook to suck the reader deeply into the story. Michael Fitzgerald, has quite a surprise when he returns home from work, when he discovers an unknown woman in his bathtub. Dead. Except he has no idea how she got there! I loved the story concept behind this, plot, characters, villains, detectives and F.B.I. law enforcement officials. What a wild goose chase. James Patterson and J.D. Barker form quite a duo! Highly recommended.


James Patterson is the world’s bestselling author and most trusted storyteller. He has created more enduring fictional characters than any other novelist writing today, with his Alex Cross, Michael Bennett, Women’s Murder Club, Private, NYPD Red, Daniel X, Maximum Ride, and Middle School series. He has sold over 380 million books worldwide and currently holds the Guinness World Record for the most #1 New York Times bestsellers. In addition to writing the thriller novels for which he is best known, among them The President Is Missing with President Bill Clinton, Patterson also writes fiction for young readers of all ages, including the Max Einstein series, produced in partnership with the Albert Einstein Estate. He is also the first author to have #1 new titles simultaneously on the New York Times adult and children’s bestseller lists.

 

www.jamespatterson.com


J.D. Barker is the New York Times and international best-selling author of numerous novels, including DRACUL and THE FOURTH MONKEY. His latest, SHE HAS A BROKEN THING WHERE HER HEART SHOULD BE, released March 31. He is currently collaborating with James Patterson. His books have been translated into two dozen languages, sold in more than 150 countries, and optioned for both film and television. Barker resides in coastal New Hampshire with his wife, Dayna, and their daughter, Ember.

 

www.jdbarker.com

Interview with Heather Martin Author of The Reacher Guy: A Biography of Lee Child

An exquisitely written and nuanced biography of an exceptional individual and writer who has created the # 1 international bestselling hero Jack Reacher, revered by dedicated and loyal readers worldwide. 

Lee Child has a great public persona: he is gracious and generous with readers and fans. But Jim Grant is a reticent and very private man. 

This rags-to-riches literary and social biography is based principally on disarmingly frank personal conversations and correspondence with the author since 2016 and privileged access to archival materials. It consists almost entirely of original material, and is the nearest thing the world is likely to get to the autobiography he does not intend to write. 

There are a handful of great Lee Child/Reacher stories that have been recycled over and over again. They are so good that no one has bothered to look beyond them. This book revisits (and sometimes revises) those irresistible stories, but goes back further and digs deeper. The emphasis on chronology, accuracy and specificity is unprecedented.  

The Lee Child origin myth is much loved. But mostly it sees him springing fully formed from the brow of Granada Television. There are glancing references to Aston Villa and the schoolyard, but no one has examined the social and historical detail or looked closely at where Lee really came from: the people, places and period.

This is the first time someone has described the Lee Child arc: from peaceful obscurity in the Yorkshire Dales and Upstate New York to cult figure, no. 1 in America, rock star, celebrity and publishing institution through to backlash, the changing zeitgeist, and intimations of retirement. The analysis of the emotional power and significance of Lee’s work in the final chapters—the themes of happiness, addiction, dependency, loneliness, and existential absurdity—and the first-hand retrospective accounts of his life and second-act career are all exclusive to this definitive biography
.

 

AmazonGoodreads |B&N | Audible

Mystery Thriller Week – Benjamin Thomas

 

Heather Martin – The Reacher Guy

 

  1. How did you develop a love for reading?

 

Family. I was lucky. I clearly remember my father reading aloud to me at bedtime: The Wind in the Willows, The Magic Pudding, The Way of the Whirlwind, the highly coloured bush poetry of Henry Lawson. He sang a lot of songs to me, too, which are little stories in themselves. His parents had a houseful of books, including all the popular series of the day: the Famous Five, the Secret Seven, My Naughty Little Sister, What Katy Did, Anne of Green Gables. I would sit on the floor with our dog, reading, or take a book and disappear up the mulberry tree. This was in West Australia, not England where I live now!



  1. What was your first impression of Lee Child after reading his books for the first time?

 

I had no impression of Lee Child after reading his books for the first time. I gave the writer no thought at all. It was Reacher who filled my mind. When I finished one Reacher book, all I thought about was where I was going to find the next one. Which Lee would entirely approve of. I only really started to think about the writer after I met the man. It was only then that my attention was drawn explicitly to the skill of his writing. But I suspect my willingness to submit to the power of the story without stopping to think where it came from (this despite my professional background in literary criticism) is itself testament to that skill. Very quickly, however, the writer became even more interesting to me than his creation – as the origin of Reacher, because he contained Reacher within him, but also in many ways exceeded him.



  1. What fascinates you about why people love telling and hearing stories?

 

I notice you’ve adopted Lee’s preferred terminology, of ‘telling’ and ‘hearing’, which emphasises the aural, which reminds us that in one form or other storytelling goes right back to the beginning of human history, back before the invention of writing. I find his view compelling: that stories were, and remain, important because they encourage, embolden and empower us, by allowing us to see the world in new ways and glimpse new possibilities – different plot lines and alternative endings, if you like. An effective story takes us out of ourselves for the duration of our reading – like a song does, but for longer – while also inviting an intense connection, through empathy or identification, with the characters, and beyond them, even if we don’t realise it, the writer. For better or worse, we escape our own lives and live instead in the world of the book. 

  1. What do you appreciate about the way Lee Child tells a story?

 

Another big question! Presumably the fact that it feels like someone’s ‘telling’ me the story! What is commonly referred to as narrative ‘voice’. His voice has an effortless quality to it, which is down to his acute sense of rhythm and timing. But the appearance of effortlessness tends to be an effect of great artistry – the accomplishment of someone who is master of his craft. And mixed in with those musical qualities you have the sweeping historical vision, the unique mix of humour and pathos, and plenty of painterly and poetic touches too, especially in the depiction of weather and the evocation of landscape. I’m always surprised by the range and rhetoric of Lee’s discourse, and his idiosyncratic turn of phrase in both speech and writing. Contrary to popular opinion, I think his voice, while very distinctive, is almost impossible to imitate without lapsing into parody. 



  1. What was your initial reaction when Lee Child asked you to write his biography?

 

It wasn’t really like that. He never outright asked me. It was more an agreement we reached over the course of a long conversation. Whenever we met, which at first was a purely social thing, he would tell me stories about his life growing up in the Midlands, which was very different to mine growing up on the west coast of Australia. It was the same when we corresponded. I loved those stories in miniature, that teased and tantalised and left me wanting more. I guess I was always asking questions, with one question leading inexorably to the next, a form of research that was entirely organic, but when the idea of a biography took hold it proved impossible to shake off. It felt to me like the book I was meant to write, and I think Lee, in his empathetic way, sensed that too. But to be given formal permission to go ahead? That was a thrilling moment, and that’s for damn sure! 



  1. What was it like working with him?

 

Pure unalloyed pleasure. Because of the situation I’ve just described – the ongoing conversation. And we got to meet up in all sorts of places, many of them new to me. I’d try to catch him on the wing in the UK whenever I could, and then I had the great good fortune of spending a year in New York, which made it easier to fit in with his crazy schedule. It was there I did most of the writing, and had the chance to look through family photos, which was so illuminating. He was very generous with his time, and remarkably non-interventionist. Maybe I was just good at self-censorship, but despite this being an authorised biography there were very few things he asked me not to write. He never tried to tell me how to do things, but simply encouraged me to follow my own storytelling instinct. So yes, emboldening and empowering, without a doubt!

 

  1. What were some of the challenges of writing?

 

The biggest challenge was structure. I wanted to tell the story in a broadly chronological way (and I did), but there was no escaping Reacher from page one. It was immediately obvious that anyone reading the book would already know that Lee Child was the author of a bestselling series, so to wait until his thirty-ninth year before introducing Reacher would be absurd. Instead I found myself telling the stories of Lee Child, Jack Reacher and Jim Grant (who created them both) all at once. But I tried not to overthink it. I just let Reacher pop up where the narrative journey took him, as is the case in the novels. And I conceived of each chapter as a self-contained story, governed by a single moment or idea or image, which I think helps the reader too. It’s a big book, but that approach makes it easy to dip in and out. If you were to ask Lee the same question, he would say the biggest problem was that of memory – how individual it is, and how different people often have differing recollections of the same event. 



  1. After writing his biography, how has your view of storytelling, the works of Lee Child, and his craft changed? 


Though all the words remain exactly the same, his books resonate with me now on a more personal level. And even as he has so spectacularly escaped his origins, as was always his wish, I see that his loyalty to the Midlands remains as fierce as ever. We’ve had some fascinating conversations since The Reacher Guy was published at the end of September, mostly in the context of all the brilliant digital festivals we’ve done in lieu of our planned live events (postponed, circumstances permitting, to next year). Reading the story of his own life has given even Lee new perspective on it, and brought certain moments and experiences more sharply into focus. At the same time, we’ve both become more conscious of the overlap between fiction and creative non-fiction – two variations on the storytelling theme.


About Heather Martin

Heather Martin (author photo © Brian Aris) was born in West Australia. She grew up in Aix-en-Provence, Paris, and Perth, where she would fall asleep to the sound of the Indian Ocean. She left Australia for England to become a classical guitarist but found herself singing with a Venezuelan folk group and learning to speak Spanish instead. She read Languages at Cambridge, where she also did a PhD in comparative literature, and has held teaching and research positions at Cambridge, Hull, King’s College London, and most recently, the Graduate Center, City University New York. Heather is a long-time Reacher fan. While waiting to get her hands on the next in the series, she once read a Lee Child book in Spanish and wound up writing to the author about the fate of his character in translation. ‘The Reacher Guy’ is her first biography.

Lee Child comments: “I met Heather Martin some years ago, and we started talking about why people love telling and hearing stories. To get more depth and detail we started talking about why I do. Eventually I said, ‘If you want to really get to the bottom of it, you’re going to have to write my biography.’ So she did. It was a fun and illuminating process. I had forgotten a lot, and it was fascinating to be reminded. Now it all makes sense.”

Percivious Insomnia by J.J. Cook & A.J. Cook MD

An insomnia pandemic is sweeping the globe, leaving people unable to function and society on the brink of collapse…

Dr. Cooper Delaney believes he has the answer: Noctural, a new sleep-aid—one with absolutely no side-effects—which in early testing shows 100% effectiveness.

The only problem is, it doesn’t work. With no warning. No explanation.

Unable to accept the drug’s inexplicable failure and unwilling to concede to the competition, lines are crossed, ethical boundaries are pushed to the breaking point, and disturbing realizations come to light that could completely unravel civilization as we know it… and throw into question humanity’s place in the universe.

A jetset medical thriller meets sci-fi adventure with an unforgettable cast of characters, Percivious Insomnia presents an alternate history so compelling that it could possibly be true. The first book in the Percivious Trilogy from husband-wife author duo JJ Cook & AJ Cook, MD, Percivious Insomnia sets a unique and original course for fiction of the future, and paints a timely, prescient portrait of today’s globalized society… and what may exist beyond the realm of our current understanding.

 

B&N |Amazon |Goodreads | Bookshop

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

J.J. Cook & A.J. Cook

 

Behind the plot of Percivious Insomnia was a singular idea or more specifically a question. What would happen if someone or something could exploit your sleep hours for their own benefit? This question blossomed in a separate direction for each of us, likely from the beginning. For AJ Cook, the story was based in science fiction and for JJ Cook it involved exploring an idea never considered before and how it would impact people individually and society as a whole. In the first chapter the reader meets Dr. Cooper Delaney, a talented star at a leading pharmaceutical company. His place at the beginning of the novel is critical and his role is what fostered our first discussions about the storyline. What was at first a collection of ideas captured on paper, eventually became sentences, which were then fashioned into paragraphs, chapters and finally the novel itself.

 

Medical research is at the heart of the novel. AJ Cook’s expertise brought plausible medical science to life in what would otherwise be a story of strictly fiction. Both of us are life-long learners, always curious about the why behind the what, and the depth of the characters echoes this sentiment throughout this first book in the trilogy. Elements of science were added specifically to provide believable explanations for key elements such as the description of our ancient humanoid cousins as well as the plateau of our own evolution referred to as human pinnacle theory in the novel. As the story unfolded, the science gathered through our research continually lead and supported the story to the point where it became eerie as we found ourselves launching a novel about a pandemic in the midst of a real one.

 

Writing with a spouse, quite literally, is a double-edged sword; pushing for the very best from each other and simultaneously disagreeing about major facets of the plot certainly make for an interesting dialogue on many nights. What keeps us balanced is a genuine love for this story, the anticipation of where it will lead next and the exhilaration we both experience when making breakthroughs with the plot, the characters and the marriage of science and fiction. Nothing is more rewarding than creating paragraphs that scream to be believed despite not being true. Authoring something that could be possible is second only to writing those few sentences that refuse to be forgotten. The ones that stay in your head long after you have finished reading them, or writing them in our case. It is important to us both that we keep up the momentum in this next novel, the second in the trilogy, Percivious Origins. We want the reader to fall in love with a new cast of characters, a new setting and quite literally a new world that will be required to reach the depths of this story. The base line of the first novel was that question we mentioned – what if someone or something could exploit our sleep hours? In the second novel, the entire premise revolves around the exploitation of a prehistoric plant and how it changed the course history and the destiny of our ancient humanoid cousins. Percivious Origins will amplify our place within the environment and the importance of respect and stability between Homosapiens and nature.

The overarching theme of the trilogy remains intact, the definition of Percivious – the ultimate in altruism. Self-sacrifice in order to benefit others with no regard to reward or reciprocity. This is the soul of all three novels and is the true reason we as a couple are so dedicated and passionate about this adventure – about writing together. We quite literally could not have penned this novel without one another. Finishing each other’s thoughts and sentences have quite literally become, in our case – not only possible…but a dream come true.

 

www.perciviousinsomnia.com

How Do I Kill Thee? By Daniella Bernett

 How Do I Kill Thee?

By Daniella Bernett

 

Murder is a shocking and terrifying taboo. The very word sends an icy frisson slithering down one’s spine. And yet, it is an occupational hazard for a crime writer. On a cerebral level, the taking of a human life is fascinating. It is a serious business, requiring cunning and sangfroid mingled with passion, anger or fear. A certain degree of luck is necessary to pull off a murder without getting caught. The faint of heart would be riddled with remorse and horror at this deadly transgression.  

 

Setting aside the moral considerations, I find it deliciously thrilling to plot a murder. The omnipotent power to kill is a dizzying prospect. Murder is an art form, if one thinks about it. The killer must be creative. But how does an author choose from the plethora of methods available? Your character is the key to unlocking this mystery. Therefore, an author must first delve into the murderer’s psyche to thoroughly understand why he or she came to make the fatal decision. Is he or she an assassin, a spurned lover, a business partner who has been swindled, or an average individual pushed to the brink in an extraordinary situation? Once the author has sketched this character profile, the pieces will fall into place and the story will begin to flow. The author must have absolute trust in the murderer. He or she will guide you down the evil path and determine if the victim expires quickly or suffers a slow, lingering death.

 

In most cases, murder stems from a rupture in an intimate relationship. This personal animus is likely fueled by emotion and an overwhelming thirst for revenge. Consequently, this means inflicting pain. The thrust of a knife into the heart, stomach or between the ribs would do the job nicely. With stabbing, the murderer and victim must be at close range. Generally, stabbing ensures that the killer’s face is the last thing the victim sees in this world, satisfying a desire to mete out punishment. For this reason, the murderer in one of the books in my series featuring journalist Emmeline Kirby and jewel thief/insurance investigator Gregory Longdon slashed the throat of an unscrupulous man, who had derived malicious glee from ruining other people’s lives. 

 

Meanwhile, shooting also would induce pain. With this method, the author has the option of killing someone instantly, forcing the culprit to hastily cover his or her tracks. This provides an opportunity to sprinkle red herrings through the story. Conversely, the dark deed can rattle the murderer to the point that he or she is no longer thinking clearly and makes mistakes. Another possibility is that the gunshot does not kill the victim outright. It may cause a grave wound, presenting the murderer with a chance to finish off the victim another way. Let’s say by poison, for example.

 

Ah, poison. To me, it’s so sinister and tantalizing. I believe I share this view with my hero Agatha Christie, who masterfully eliminated dozens with a soupçon of poison. Some poisons are tasteless and odorless. Then there is cyanide, which smells like bitter almonds, while arsenic, when heated, gives off an odor resembling garlic. Depending on what your story dictates, poison can work instantaneously or the victim can waste away little by little. Russian spies, and Putin in particular as a former head of the KGB, have a penchant for using poison to dispatch enemies, defectors and anyone who dares to oppose them. As a result, poison was my weapon of choice in another novel. The story dealt with a defector who recklessly pitted Putin against Russian mafia boss Igor Bronowski. At the same time, both had unsavory entanglements with a ruthless British entrepreneur. All were obsessed with a flawless blue diamond. I will confess that two victims succumbed to poison in the book. However, poison is not the exclusive domain of the assassin. An author can wield it perfectly well among those who have a personal score to settle. On this point of the professional versus the amateur (for want of a better word) killer, an assassin can employ stabbing or shooting in a pinch for expediency’s sake.

 

A lethal arsenal would not be complete without strangulation, drowning and smothering. But all three may prove troublesome because they require a degree of strength and the victim will most certainly put up a struggle. A murderer wants death to come swiftly with a minimum of fuss to have time to disappear before the body is discovered. On the same token, bludgeoning someone to death with a heavy object could prove messy, since several blows would likely be needed thus causing a good deal of blood to be shed. Of course, an author may want to employ bludgeoning for precisely this reason to set the stage for the murderer’s ultimate undoing. For in the haste to flee, he or she may miss a trace of blood. 

 

Allow these diabolical musings to steep in your mind. After a while, you’ll come to realize that it’s criminally good fun to acquire a literary taste for murder. 

 


Daniella Bernett is a member of the Mystery Writers of America NY Chapter and the International Thriller Writers. She graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Journalism from St. John’s University. Lead Me Into Danger, Deadly Legacy, From Beyond The Grave, A Checkered Past and When Blood Runs Cold are the books in the Emmeline Kirby-Gregory Longdon mystery series. She also is the author of two poetry collections, Timeless Allure and Silken Reflections. In her professional life, she is the research manager for a nationally prominent engineering, architectural and construction management firm. Daniella is currently working on Emmeline and Gregory’s next adventure. Visit www.daniellabernett.com or follow her on Facebook or on Goodreads. Old Sins Never Die, the sixth book in her series, was released in September.

Book Review: House Arrest by Mike Lawson Joe DeMarco book 13


In the thirteenth book in Mike Lawson’s celebrated series, Joe DeMarco finds himself on the wrong side of an investigation—in the wake of a political assassination, he’s been framed as the killer.

As the fixer for Congressman John Mahoney in Washington, D.C., Joe DeMarco has had to bend and break the law more than a few times. But when Representative Lyle Canton, House Majority Whip, is found shot dead in his office in the U.S. Capitol and DeMarco is arrested for the murder, DeMarco knows he’s been framed. Locked up in the Alexandria Jail awaiting trial, he calls on his enigmatic friend Emma, an ex-DIA agent, to search for the true killer.

Emma’s investigation leads her to Sebastian Spear, the ruthless and competitive CEO of the multi-billion-dollar Spear Industries. Spear had a motive for killing Lyle Canton: Canton’s wife, Jean, had once been Spear’s high school sweetheart and the one true love of his life—until Canton won her over. Now Jean was dead, killed in a car crash while driving drunk, and Spear blamed Canton for the accident. But the case the F.B.I. has built against DeMarco is airtight, and not a single piece of evidence points to the grieving CEO. Using her cunning and her D.C. connections, Emma sets out to prove that Spear has been using some fixers of his own.

Featuring crimes of passion, corporate corruption, and partisan feuds, House Arrest is a gripping, timely political thriller, and one of Lawson’s best books yet.

BOOK REVIEW

This book was utterly amazing. What took me so long to read a Joe DeMarco thriller! Yes I know, I jumped in at book #13, but it still was amazing. Mike Lawson stands out among the crowded field of thriller writers. His brand of storytelling puts you right into the heart of D.C. political intrigue, corruption, and backdoor maneuvering. This time Joe DeMarco, the fixer for Congressman John Mahoney is completely vulnerable when he’s framed for the murder of U.S. Representative Lyle Canton. The way this book unravels is just a masterpiece. There’s good writing, and then there’s great storytelling that goes above and beyond your expectations. You get hopelessly lost into the story. Exceptional! I’m moving on to Joe DeMarco book #14, House Privilege.


Pen name: M.A Lawson

Michael Lawson was raised in Pueblo, Colorado and attended college at Seattle University, receiving a degree in engineering. On leaving college he went to work for the US Navy as a nuclear engineer, spending approximately thirty years working for the Navy’s nuclear power program. Some of this time was spent in Washington D.C. but most was spent at a large naval shipyard in Bremerton, Washington.

At the shipyard he managed a number of different organizations related to overhauling nuclear powered submarines, cruisers, and aircraft carriers, ending up as a member of the government’s Senior Executive Service

To date he has published 12 books starring Joe DeMarco, a fixer for a corrupt politician and three books in his Kay Hamilton series under the name of M. A. Lawson: He has won the Friend of Mystery Award twice and is a five time nominee for the Barry Award.

He lives in the Pacific Northwest.

MikeLawsonbooks.com

Night Of A Thousand Authors: With Thriller Talk Hosts Ryan Steck & K.J. Howe

Get ready for an event unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

 

All your favorite authors, one night, five-plus hours of LIVE streaming . . . and it’s all free!

Join us on November 3 for Night of a Thousand Authors, an evening of endless interviews and appearances from some of the biggest names on the thriller and mystery scene today. Co-hosting will be author K.J. Howe (ITW Executive Director) and The Real Book Spy’s Ryan Steck, with special help from The Crew Reviews‘ Michael Houtz, Sean Cameron, and Christopher Albanese.

David Brown, Deputy Director of Publicity at Atria Books and “driver” of the @AtriaMysteryBus twitter feed, has teamed up with the Executive Director of ITW and ThrillerFest, Kimberley Howe and influential book blogger Ryan “The Real Book Spy” Steck to create NIGHT OF A THOUSAND AUTHORS,election day counterprogramming for mystery, thriller and suspense fans to escape from the stress and anxiety of that day.

 

BEGINNING AT 3 PM ET ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 3 — STREAMING LIVE BELOW

 

 

 

 

NIGHT OF A THOUSAND AUTHORS is being described as The Jerry Lewis Telethon meets Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve with the biggest names in crime fiction and NO TALK OF POLITICS.

NIGHT OF A THOUSAND AUTHORS is a marathon of 10 minutes interviews hosted by Howe and Steck—the “special sauce” is that each author will share the first two minutes of their interview on the screen with the previous guest and the last two minutes of their interview with the next guest.

“How often do you get to see this many big name authors in one place over a short period of time?” Howe asked, “The magnitude of star power makes this program unique.”

“This is going to be wild!” Steck said, “Wall to wall and back to back, rapid fire interviews complete with potential odd pairings overlapping and doing it live? It can only go right!”

Bookstores, libraries and review websites will be contacted and encouraged to stream the program from their websites.

Janet Evanovich

Brad Thor

Brad Meltzer

John Connolly

Kyle Mills

Jack Carr

Kathy Reichs

Steve Berry

Karin Slaughter

Peter James

Liv Constantine

Jesse and Jonathan Kellerman

David Morrell

Gregg Hurwitz

J.D. Barker

R.L. Stine

Megan Miranda

Rachel Howzell Hall

Jennifer Hillier

William Kent Krueger

Joel C. Rosenberg

Andrews & Wilson

Christopher Rosow

Gayle Lynds

Anthony Horowitz

James Rollins

 

Mark Greaney

Chris Hauty

Brad Taylor

Mindy Mejia

Ragnar Jonasson

Linwood Barclay

Shari Lapena

Robert Dugoni

Alafair Burke

Tosca Lee

Lisa Scottoline/Francesca Serritella

Megan Collins

Alex Segura

Ruth Ware

 

The star-studded event—which will live stream across a number of platforms—will serve as the show launch for THRILLER TALK, a brand new podcast from Howe and Steck, who’ve teamed up to bring fans of the genre a fresh, innovative new show that’ll cover the thriller genre in a way that’s unlike anything else available on the web.

Night of a Thousand Authors, produced by Jeff Ayers, will feature a pre and post-game show hosted by Mr. Atria Mystery Bus himself, David Brown. The full lineup of writers who’ll appear can be viewed below, though fans will have to tune in live on November 3 to find out more about author pairings and who will appear when.

While additional details (including more participating authors) will be made in the coming days, fans excited to tune in can now go “subscribe” to the THRILLER TALK  YouTube channel here.

Book Review: The Hollow Ones by Guillermo Del Toro

A horrific crime that defies ordinary explanation. A rookie FBI agent in dangerous, uncharted territory. An extraordinary hero for the ages.



Odessa Hardwicke’s life is derailed when she’s forced to turn her gun on her partner, Walt Leppo, a decorated FBI agent who turns suddenly, inexplicably violent while apprehending a rampaging murderer. The shooting, justified by self-defense, shakes the young FBI agent to her core. Devastated, Odessa is placed on desk leave pending a full investigation. But what most troubles Odessa isn’t the tragedy itself-it’s the shadowy presence she thought she saw fleeing the deceased agent’s body after his death. Questioning her future with the FBI and her sanity, Hardwicke accepts a low-level assignment to clear out the belongings of a retired agent in the New York office. What she finds there will put her on the trail of a mysterious figure named John Silence, a man of enormous means who claims to have been alive for centuries, and who is either an unhinged lunatic, or humanity’s best and only defense against unspeakable evil.

 

Amazon |B&N |Audible

**Thanks to Netgalley for the advanced reader copy**

 

This books absolutely begins with a BANG.  A horrific scene that defies all explanation and logic leads you into the basis for the entire story. Admittedly, I was hooked from page one onward until the second act of the book. The basic premise for the story is very intriguing, but I almost lost interest two thirds into it. The last part picks up steam and matching the beginning with aspects of foreshadowing fufilled, climax, etc. Besides that, I thought this book could’ve been much better given the shocking premise. Perhaps, a deepening of the main character Odessa Hardwicke, or tweeking the pacing would’ve helped.

Guillermo del Toro is a Mexican director mostly known for his acclaimed films Pan’s Labyrinth, The Devils Backbone, Crimson Peak and the Hellboy film franchise. His films draw heavily on sources as diverse as weird fiction, fantasy, horror, and war. In 2009, Del Toro released his debut novel, The Strain, co-authored with Chuck Hogan, as the first part of The Strain Trilogy, an apocalyptic horror series featuring vampires. The series continued with The Fall in 2010 and concluded with The Night Eternal in 2011.

Audiobook Blog Tour: Emma Griffin #1: The Girl In Cabin 13 by A.J. Rivers



About Audiobook #1

Author: A.J. Rivers

Narrator: Claire Duncan

Length: 7 hours 32 minutes

Publisher: Altered Path⎮2020

Genre:  Thriller

Series: Emma Griffin FBI, Book 1

Release date: Aug. 15, 2020

Synopsis: Knock…knock…

 

 

When Emma finds a dead body on her porch with her name written on the dead man’s hand, she uncovers a sinister clue to the mystery that has haunted her since childhood.

FBI Agent Emma Griffin is sent undercover to the small sleepy town of Feathered Nest to uncover the truth behind the strings of disappearances that has left the town terrified.

To Emma, there is nothing that can lay buried forever. Even though her own childhood has been plagued by deaths and disappearances. Her mother’s death, her father’s disappearance, and her boyfriend’s disappearance. The only cases that she hasn’t solved. Her obsession with finding out the truth behind her past was what led her to join the FBI.

Now, she must face what may be her biggest case. In cabin 13, there lies an uneasy feeling. The feeling of her movements being watched. When a knock on her door revealed a body on her porch and her name written on a piece of paper in the dead man’s hand. Suddenly, her worlds collide.

With the past still haunting her, Emma must fight past her own demons to stop the body count from rising.

The woods have secrets. And this idyllic town has dark and murderous ones. Either, she reveals them or risk them claiming her, too.

In Feathered Nest, nothing is what it seems. 

The girl in cabin 13 is about to find out that the dead may have secrets of their own.

 

Buy Links for Audiobook #1

Buy on Audible

I’m always a sucker for FBI books. Insert The Girl in Cabin 13! It’s a good mystery with great suspense that’ll keep you turning the pages to find out what happens next. Told in first person point of view, author A.J. Rivers takes you deep into the mindset of embattled FBI Agent Emma Griffin. Good plot, characters that jump off the page, and a narrator that delivers a solid audiobook. Recommended! 

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

 

How did you celebrate after finishing this novel? 

I am a major coffee lover, so I really enjoy celebrating wrapping up a book by getting out of my writing room and relaxing with a good cup of flavored coffee. I drink my coffee black all the time, and I’m usually drinking very dark, robust blends. My favorite is actually called Death Wish. So when it’s time to relax and “indulge” a little, it’s with a cup of still black, but flavored coffee. My current choice is S’mores, but we’re getting close to pumpkin season. Since the end of books is always the most intense when it comes to writing, I also love to let off steam when I’m done by bringing my dog Daisy out for a long walk and enjoying the fresh air. 

 

In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series? 

There is definitely a time and place for both. A stand-alone novel is a great opportunity to tell one focused, explosive story that doesn’t have to rely on any previous world-building or leave room for other books. It’s a shooting star situation. One bright moment that is contained within itself. Stand-alone is also great for much longer works. A series is all about creating a world for readers to live in. They get to know the characters like friends and family, and go on these adventures with them. It’s a blast to be able to revisit the same places, get to know the people, businesses, and little quirks, and keep up with them as time passes. It makes you want to keep coming back, so you keep reading the books. A series lets you explore big story arcs and delve deeper into the characters. But it also requires organization and attention to detail. You have to be able to come up with layered people and realistic places that readers will care about, as well as complex stories that can unfold a little at a time. 

 

What’s your favorite:

  • Food

I don’t have one set favorite, but I love Indian food. Chana masala is my go-to. I am always in the mood for raw vegetables or fruit salad.

  •  Song

Thriller, by Michael Jackson. 

  •  Book

Dream Boy, by Jim Grimsley 

  • Television show 

Murder investigation shows, Matlock, Murder, She Wrote, Golden Girls, and in the spirit of full disclosure, my guilty pleasure shows include Catfish and anything having to do with Halloween through holiday cooking or baking

  • Movie

The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, Dirty Dancing, Ghostbusters, Nightmare Before Christmas

  •  Band

Beatles. Michael Jackson is my favorite musician, I love girl groups from the 50s and 60s, disco, and 80s music

  •  Sports team

Chicago Cubs

  • City

Richmond, Virginia

 

Are any of those things referenced in appearance in your work? 

All the time. Because I have some pretty obscure tastes in some ways, I sometimes find myself having my characters reference things or make jokes and cultural references I then wonder if the readers will even get, so I have to go back and replace them with something easier to recognize. Especially when it comes to music and movies. I’m not a huge movie person and the ones I particularly love are pretty old school, so when I whip out references to Luther Heggs, I have to remind myself that probably isn’t going to ring a ton of bells. 

 

What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?

I’ll repeat the same thing that’s been said over and over, but that is so true. Write. Write. Write. Write all the time. Don’t just rely on your computer. Bring a notebook and pen around with you and write things down. You never know when you’re going to hear a phrase that inspires you, or get an idea, or even just hear a name that you like. Write it down. I also highly recommend talking through dialogue out loud. It can feel awkward at first, but the natural, believable conversations and thoughts are key to really enjoyable books. They make the characters more relatable and the action smoother. The best way to make that happen is to carry on the conversation. If you have a voice-to-text program on your computer, put it on and just talk through the conversation like you are the characters. Don’t worry about the spelling, punctuation, or accuracy at this point. Just talk it through as naturally as you can and let it come out. You can then take what you said and write it out in your draft with proper tags and action. 

I’d also tell aspiring authors to take their writing seriously. There can be a lot of pressure to only seeing writing as art and something that can only be done in the right mood or situation. There is definitely art to good writing and crafting a book, and it’s always easier when the mood and inspiration are right, but if you are going to consistently create strong, enjoyable books, you have to see it as work. You have to work hard, get the words out even when they aren’t flowing smoothly, and be willing to edit mercilessly. The best advice I ever got was from my college professor who told me to kill my darlings. You have to be willing to not see every word you write as precious, but also fight for your voice and your vision when it’s important. 

 

 

About the Author: A.J. Rivers

 

A.J. Rivers loves all things mystery and thriller. Growing up in a sleepy small town, A.J. spent her days enthralled in crime solving novels and movies. She started creating stories at a young age to escape and create adventures for herself. As a child she dreamed of solving crimes and becoming a crime fighter. She dreamed of being as great as her favorite crime solving character Sherlock Holmes. While in college she realized that leading a crime fighting life might be more gruesome than she could stomach. She decided that the best course of action would be to fuse her love of writing with her love of thrilling mysteries together.

She finds inspiration from researching true crimes and is passionate about writing suspenseful novels with crazy twists. Twists that you’ll never see coming. The inspiration for her first novel came when she read a news article about a missing young woman in a small town that was never found. Her question on who, what, and why brought her to her journal to discovering the dark twisted story behind the disappearance and to seek justice for the victim through her writing.

Her thriller novels have elements of mystery, suspense, and romance.

When she’s not absorbed in a novel or working on her next thriller mystery, her favorite past time is spent with her husky. She finds great inspiration while going on hikes with her dog.

 

FacebookGoodreadsAmazonInstagram

About the Narrator: Claire Duncan

 

Claire Duncan is a multi-award winning actress living in NYC.  She has performed Off-Broadway, regionally, and in national tours, and appeared in the Drama Desk nominated revival of The Threepenny Opera. She has played the lead in a dozen films, and received a Best Actress Award for her work as Rosetta in the dark comedy Rosetta’s Blues, which debuted at Cannes. As a singer, she had the honor of performing at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, and toured the country as a travel host with Visit The USA.

Claire’s broad career has shaped her into an exceptional and flexible voice artist. You can hear her on Nickelodeon and Comedy Central, in hundreds of national commercials, and in over thirty audiobooks. 

“Claire Duncan was a dynamo”  – New York Stage Review

 “Simply side-splitting… a terrific comedic actress” – Show Business Weekly

Proud member of SAG-AFTRA and AEA.

 

WebsiteTwitterInstagram