Throwback Thursday: On the Edge of Sunrise by Cynthia Ripley Miller

ThrowbackThursday

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Renee at It’s Book Talk. It’s designed as an opportunity to share old favourites as well as books that we’ve finally got around to reading that were published over a year ago. If you decide to take part, please link back to It’s Book Talk.

This week’s book is On the Edge of Sunrise (The Long Hair Saga #1) by Cynthia Ripley Miller. I recently read and reviewed the second book in the series – The Quest for the Crown of Thorns – for a blog tour, so I thought I’d share my thoughts about the first book. Having now read both books, I would say that either could be read as standalones but, at the end of the first book, you’re probably going to want to find out what the future holds for many of the characters.


OntheEdgeofSunriseAbout the Book

AD 450. The Roman Empire wanes as the Medieval Age awakens. Attila the Hun and his horde conquer their way across Europe into Gaul. Caught between Rome’s tottering empire and Attila’s threat are the Frankish tribes and their ‘Long-Hair’ chiefs, northern pagans in a Roman Christian world, and a people history will call the Merovingians.

A young widow, Arria longs for a purpose and a challenge. She is as well versed in politics and diplomacy as any man but with special skills of her own… The Emperor Valentinian, determined to gain allies to help stop the Huns, sends a remarkable envoy, a woman, to the Assembly of Warriors in Gaul. Arria will persuade the Franks to stand with Rome against Attila! When barbarian raiders abduct Arria, the Frank blue-eyed warrior, Garic, rescues her. Alarmed by the instant and passionate attraction she feels, Arria is torn between duty and desire. Her arranged betrothal to the ambitious tribune, Drusus, her secret enlistment by Valentinian as a courier to Attila the Hun, and a mysterious riddle – threaten their love and propel them into adventure, intrigue, and Attila’s camp. Rebels in a falling empire, Arria and Garic must find the strength to defy tradition and possess the love prophesied as their destiny!

Format: eBook, Paperback (384 pp.)                    Publisher: Knox Robinson Publishing Published: 23 March 2015                                     Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance

Purchase Links*
Amazon.co.uk ǀ Amazon.com
*links provided for convenience, not as part of any affiliate programme

Find On the Edge of Sunrise on Goodreads


My Review

The focus of the book is the battlefields of Gaul as the very existence of the Roman Empire is threatened by the marauding hordes of Attila the Hun.  To oppose them, a fragile alliance of Romans and Franks exists, largely on the principle of ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend.’ Against this backdrop, individual struggles for power are played out, plots are made, alliances formed and broken.

The author introduces us to the key characters in the story, some of whose fortunes we will follow in the second book, The Quest for the Crown of Thorns (click here for my review). There’s Arria – recently widowed, accomplished, resourceful, shrewd – determined to fulfil her mission as envoy but aware of the vulnerability of her position, both as a woman and a potentially valuable hostage. There’s Garic – handsome, passionate, brave – attracted to Arria but conscious of the deep divide separating them. There’s Vodamir, Garic’s cousin – cocky, impetuous, loyal – whose daredevil instincts often threaten to place him in danger. There’s Marcella – beautiful, seductive, manipulative – who is seeking to secure a wealthy and powerful patron and who will use all her charms (and we mean all) to get it. Finally, there’s Drusus – handsome, ambitious, possessive and totally ruthless when challenged or threatened.

Passions run high, both on the battlefield and the bedroom. Readers who crave plenty of spice with their historical fiction will be well served (forgive the pun). The author keeps the action moving along apace with many twists and turns. Whilst some of the characters are imagined, many are not and the book makes reference to actual events giving the story an air of authenticity and credibility. It all adds up to a very enjoyable read for lovers of historical fiction who like an element of romance with their history.

I received a review copy courtesy of the author and Sage’s Blog tours in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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In three words: Compelling, action-packed, passionate

Try something similar…Twilight Empress by Faith L Justice (click here for my review)


Cynthia Ripley MillerAbout the Author

Cynthia Ripley Miller is a first generation Italian-American writer with a love for history, languages and books. She has lived, worked, and travelled in Europe, Africa, North America and the Caribbean. As a girl, she often wondered what it would be like to journey through time (she still does), yet knew it could only be through the imagination and words of writers and their stories. Today, she writes to bring the past to life.

She holds two degrees and has taught history and teaches English. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthology Summer Tapestry, at Orchard Press Mysteries.com and The Scriptor. A Chanticleer International Chatelaine Award finalist for her novel, On the Edge of Sunrise, she has reviewed for UNRV Roman History, and blogs at Historical Happenings and Oddities: A Distant Focus.

Cynthia has four children and lives with her husband, twin cats, Romulus and Remus, and Jessie, a German Shepherd, in a suburb of Chicago.

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Book Review: Monsoon Rising (Nomad #1) by David Lee Corley

Monsoon RisingAbout the Book

Billy Gamble knows how to stay a step ahead of the law. He is a thief on the run, with $4.2 million in his pocket and hiding out in Southeast Asia. But his great escape soon becomes his worst nightmare when his Thai girlfriend is murdered and all clues point to him. If he doesn’t find the real killer soon, he’ll be forced to face the consequences of a murder he didn’t commit and more people may die.

Eve Donoghue is the best skip tracer in the insurance business. Her employer wants his money back and has sent Eve to find and bring back Billy. But no sooner has she found him than he drags her into the search for an enigmatic serial killer known as The Nomad. They know The Nomad has fled Thailand, but where in the world should they start looking? It will take all their skill to track down the killer and find enough evidence to prove Billy’s innocence. How far will Eve go to close her case and collect her finder’s fee? How far will Billy go to avenge his dead lover and keep his freedom? The stakes are high for these unlikely cohorts and even higher for The Nomad’s victims. Can they find the elusive murderer before the Thai police track down Billy and imprison him for life? When will The Nomad kill again, and whom?

Format: ebook , paperback (400 pp.) Publisher: Telos LLC
Published: 24th June 2017                     Genre: Thriller

Purchase Links*
Amazon.co.uk ǀ Amazon.com
*links provided for convenience, not as part of any affiliate programme

Find Monsoon Rising on Goodreads


My Review

This is a well-constructed thriller which features some exotic locations. In fact, one of the things I enjoyed was the detail about the customs and culture of Thailand, Malaysia and Borneo.

In the person of the killer, referred to throughout by the soubriquet ‘The Nomad’, the author has created a memorable character (if not in a good way for those prone to nightmares). The Nomad is a cold, amoral, sadistic psychopath. I found some of his acts of violence, including sexual violence, disturbing (although I will admit to being squeamish). In fact, there was a troubling air of misogyny about the book since the most gruesome acts are perpetrated against women.

Billy, the other main character, although a conman and fraudster on the run, comes across as a positive saint in comparison. In Billy’s travels around South East Asia in pursuit of the nomad, the author is able to display an impressive knowledge of surveillance techniques, how to destroy forensic evidence, how to enter a country illegally and identity theft.  I found the sections of the book where Billy and his partner, Eve, track down The Nomad quite fascinating.

Surprisingly the book blurb reveals a plot development that doesn’t take place until a third of the way through the book. I found the air of suspense grew as the book progressed, although I was surprised by the ending as it seemed to rule out an obvious direction for a future book.

In my opinion, the book would benefit from additional editing/reformatting and proofreading. In the ebook version I read, there were quite a few typo’s and, most annoyingly, chapters where the action switched from one character to another, or even one location to another, between paragraphs (or, in one case, within a paragraph) without any section break indicator.

I received a review copy courtesy of the author and Sage’s Blog Tours in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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In three words: Exotic, suspenseful, chilling

Try something similar…I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes


DavidLeeCorleyAbout the Author

David Lee Corley is a seasoned writer and a successful motion picture screenwriter with four produced screenplay credits from major studios, including ‘Solo’, ‘Executive Power’, ‘Angel’s Dance’ and ‘Second in Command’. His last produced screenplay sold to Sony Pictures for over $300,000 US and he has won awards at San Jose Film Festival, Palm Springs Film Festival and Malibu Film Festival. Monsoon Rising is David’s first novel.

Connect with David

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WWW Wednesdays – 18th October ’17

WWWWednesdays

Hosted by Taking on a World of Words, this meme is all about the three Ws:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Why not join in too? Leave a comment with your link at Taking on a World of Words and then go blog hopping!


Currently reading

HomeisNearby1Home is Nearby by Magdalena McGuire (advance proof copy courtesy of Impress Books)

1980: The beginning of the Polish crisis. Brought up in a small village, country-girl Ania arrives in the university city of Wroclaw to pursue her career as a sculptor. Here she falls in love with Dominik, an enigmatic writer at the centre of a group of Bohemians and avant-garde artists who throw wild parties. When martial law is declared, their lives change overnight: military tanks appear on the street, curfews are introduced and the artists are driven underground. Together, Ania and Dominik fight back, pushing against the boundaries imposed by the authoritarian communist government. But at what cost?

The Last HoursThe Last Hours by Minette Walters (eARC, NetGalley)

For most, the Black Death is the end. For a brave few, it heralds a new beginning.

When the Black Death enters England through the port of Melcombe in Dorseteshire in June 1348, no one knows what manner of sickness it is or how it spreads and kills so quickly. The Church cites God as the cause, and religious fear grips the people as they come to believe that the plague is a punishment for wickedness. But Lady Anne of Develish has her own ideas. Educated by nuns, Anne is a rarity among women, being both literate and knowledgeable. With her brutal husband absent from Develish when news of this pestilence reaches her, she takes the decision to look for more sensible ways to protect her people than daily confessions of sin. Well-versed in the importance of isolating the sick from the well, she withdraws her people inside the moat that surrounds her manor house and refuses entry even to her husband. She makes an enemy of her daughter and her husband’s steward by doing so, but her resolve is strengthened by the support of her leading serfs … until food stocks run low and the nerves of all are tested by continued confinement and ignorance of what is happening in the world outside. The people of Develish are alive. But for how long? And what will they discover when the time comes for them to cross the moat?

TheSummerSpringsteen'sSongsSavedMeThe Summer Springsteen’s Songs Saved Me by Barbara Quinn (eARC, courtesy of Lakewater Press)

Coming home to catch her husband with his face between the long, silky legs of another woman is the last thing Sofia expects – and on today of all days. But, after scratching an expletive into his Porsche and setting the cheating bastard’s clothes on fire, she cranks up her beloved Bruce and flees, vowing to never look back. Finding solace in the peaceful beachside town of Bradley Beach, NJ, Sof is determined to start over. And, with the help of best friends, new acquaintances, a sexy neighbour, and the powerful songs of Springsteen, this may be the place where her wounds can heal. But, as if she hasn’t faced her share of life’s challenges, a final flurry of obstacles awaits. In order to head courageously toward the future, Sofia must first let go of her past, find freedom, and mend her broken soul.


Recently finished

TheQuestfortheCrownofThornsThe Quest for the Crown of Thorns (The Long-Hair Saga #2) by Cynthia Ripley Miller (ebook, review copy courtesy of HF Virtual Book Tours)

AD 454. Three years after the Roman victory over Attila the Hun at Catalaunum, Arria Felix and Garic the Frank are married and enjoying life on Garic’s farm in northern Gaul (France). Their happy life is interrupted, when a cryptic message arrives from Rome, calling Arria home to her father, the esteemed Senator Felix. At Arria’s insistence, but against Garic’s better judgment, they leave at once.  Upon their arrival at Villa Solis, they are confronted with a brutal murder and the dangerous mission that awaits them. The fate of a profound and sacred object – Christ’s Crown of Thorns – rests in their hands. They must carry the holy relic to the safety of Constantinople, away from a corrupt emperor and old enemies determined to steal it for their own gain. But an even greater force arises to derail their quest–a secret cult willing to commit any atrocity to capture the Crown of Thorns. And all the while, the gruesome murder and the conspiracy behind it haunt Arria’s thoughts.

NewBoyNew Boy by Tracy Chevalier (ebook, NetGalley)

Arriving at his fifth school in as many years, a diplomat’s son, Osei Kokote, knows he needs an ally if he is to survive his first day so he’s lucky to hit it off with Dee, the most popular girl in school. But one student can’t stand to witness this budding relationship: Ian decides to destroy the friendship between the black boy and the golden girl. By the end of the day, the school and its key players – teachers and pupils alike – will never be the same again. The tragedy of Othello is transposed to a 1970’s suburban Washington schoolyard, where kids fall in and out of love with each other before lunchtime, and practice a casual racism picked up from their parents and teachers. Peeking over the shoulders of four 11 year olds Osei, Dee, Ian, and his reluctant girlfriend Mimi, Tracy Chevalier’s powerful drama of friends torn apart by jealousy, bullying and betrayal will leave you reeling.

Monsoon RisingMonsoon Rising (The Nomad #1) by David Lee Corley (ebook, review copy courtesy of Sage’s Blog Tours)

The Nomad slaughtered his girlfriend and framed him for murder. Now, Billy Gamble, a drifter turned fugitive, will stop at nothing to find and exact his revenge on the sadistic serial killer travelling the world and sowing chaos wherever he goes. His search for the nomad will take Billy to the exotic islands of Thailand, the old colonial towns of Malaysia and into the darkest jungles of Borneo. But the real question is… who is hunting whom and why? To find the answers, Billy must delve into the mind of a madman and question his own sanity.


What Cathy (will) Read Next

BirdcageWalkBirdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore (ebook, NetGalley)

It is 1792 and Europe is seized by political turmoil and violence. Lizzie Fawkes has grown up in Radical circles where each step of the French Revolution is followed with eager idealism. But she has recently married John Diner Tredevant, a property developer who is heavily invested in Bristol’s housing boom, and he has everything to lose from social upheaval and the prospect of war. Soon his plans for a magnificent terrace built above the two-hundred-foot drop of the Gorge come under threat. Tormented and striving Diner believes that Lizzie’s independent, questioning spirit must be coerced and subdued. She belongs to him: law and custom confirm it, and she must live as he wants—his passion for Lizzie darkening until she finds herself dangerously alone. Weaving a deeply personal and moving story with a historical moment of critical and complex importance, Birdcage Walk is an unsettling and brilliantly tense drama of public and private violence, resistance and terror from one of our greatest storytellers.

ASeaofSorrowA Sea of Sorrow by David Blixt et al (ebook, review copy courtesy of HF Virtual Book Tours)

Odysseus, infamous trickster of Troy, vaunted hero of the Greeks, left behind a wake of chaos and despair during his decade long journey home to Ithaca. Lovers and enemies, witches and monsters—no one who tangled with Odysseus emerged unscathed. Some prayed for his return, others, for his destruction. These are their stories…

A beleaguered queen’s gambit for maintaining power unravels as a son plots vengeance
A tormented siren battles a goddess’s curse and the forces of nature to survive
An exiled sorceress defies a lustful captain and his greedy crew
A blinded shepherd swears revenge on the pirate-king who mutilated him
A beautiful empress binds a shipwrecked sailor to servitude, only to wonder who is serving whom
A young suitor dreams of love while a returned king conceives a savage retribution.

Six authors bring to life the epic tale of The Odyssey seen through the eyes of its shattered victims – the monsters, witches, lovers, and warriors whose lives were upended by the antics of the “man of many faces.” You may never look upon this timeless epic – and its iconic ancient hero – in quite the same way again.


 

Interview: Zenka by Alison Brodie

In advance of the publication of Zenka on 6th November, I’d hoped to bring you an interview with the lady herself, surely now the most famous Hungarian pole-dancer on the planet. Unfortunately, she declined to be interviewed as did gangland boss, Jack Murray. Luckily, Alison Brodie (who has some influence in these matters) was able to intercede and I’m pleased to say Trevor Stockman, Jack’s accountant and right-hand man, has agreed to give us the unvarnished truth about Zenka.

You can read his exclusive interview below.

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Zenka_FinalAbout the Book

Ruthless, stubborn and loyal. Zenka is a Hungarian pole-dancer with a dark past.

When cranky London mob boss, Jack Murray, saves her life she vows to become his guardian angel – whether he likes it or not. Happily, she now has easy access to pistols, knuckle-dusters and shotguns.

Jack learns he has a son, Nicholas, a community nurse with a heart of gold. Problem is, Nicholas is a wimp. Zenka takes charge. Using her feminine wiles and gangland contacts, she aims to turn Nicholas into a son any self-respecting crime boss would be proud of. And she succeeds! Nicholas transforms from pussycat to mad dog, falls in love with Zenka, and finds out where the bodies are buried – because he buries them. He’s learning fast that sometimes you have to kill, or be killed.

As his life becomes more terrifying, questions have to be asked: How do you tell a crime boss you don’t want to be his son? And is Zenka really who she says she is?

Praise for Zenka:
A riveting read. Powerful. Spicy.’ Midwest Book Review
5* ‘To say I loved this story would be a massive understatement’ Bloggers from Down Under
5* ‘Will warm your heart and chill your bones’ Tome Tender BlogSpot
5* ‘Top of my list for best fiction this year’ Lauren Sapala, WriteCity
5* ‘You won’t be able to put this book down’ Laura Reading
5* ‘Brodie nails it again. Intelligent wit and outstanding writing’ Charlie Elliott, author of Life Unbothered

Format: eBook (299 pp.)                Publisher:
Published: 6th November 2017    Genre: Suspense, Crime, Comedy

Pre-order/Purchase Links*
Amazon.co.uk ǀ Amazon.com
*links provided for convenience, not as part of any affiliate programme

Find Zenka on Goodreads


Interview with Trevor Stockman (as told to Alison Brodie)

Welcome, Trevor. How would you describe the relationship between Jack and Zenka?

Explosive.

Could you elaborate?

They are equally hot-headed and tend to whip each other up into a state of Shakespearian melodrama. When they reach boiling point they slip into their native tongue. Luckily Jack cannot understand Hungarian, and Zenka cannot understand Cockney, or there would be tragedy.

I’m surprised that Jack wanted to be in her company if they were always arguing.

He admires the way she stands up to him. There is no-one else in his life who would dare argue with him. He also takes her advice. He wore rainbow-striped ties until she told him he looked like a pimp. But they also laugh together. I have found them in near hysterics, clutching their stomachs with tears streaming down their faces. Jack makes this strange hooting noise; Zenka squeals. Rather amusing to watch.

Jack was a father figure to Zenka, is that right?

Yes. Zenka made sexual overtures but Jack ignored them. He prefers woman closer to his own age.

How did Jack and Zenka meet?

Zenka’s neighbour sold her to the Romanians.   Jack hates the Romanians and the terrible things they do to girls. When he heard there was a new shipment in, he stormed the place and rescued ten girls, including Zenka.   Jack found jobs for the girls in supermarkets and bakeries. Zenka, though, would not leave Jack’s side and told him she would be his guardian angel.

What was Jack’s response?

He laughed and said to her: “You are only five foot two. How can you guard me?” She replied: “I might be small, but a grenade is also small.”

How would you describe Zenka?

She is the typical stereotype of a Slav. Driven to suicide one moment, deliriously happy the next. And, of course, passionate.

Where did Zenka learn to pole-dance?

She didn’t.

She claims she is the star performer in the Gentlemen’s Room?

She isn’t.

She wears wigs on stage, is that correct?

Yes. She has an inexhaustible supply, all in the most bizarre colours.

She plays the violin. That must be wonderful, listening to all those passionate Hungarian folk tunes.

No comment.

Why do you think Jack and Zenka refused to be interviewed today?

I think they must have had a falling out. But I don’t know why.

Well, that’s it from me. Thank you for coming in, Trevor.


AlisonBrodieAbout the Author

Alison Brodie is a Scot, with French Huguenot ancestors on her mother’s side. She is a writer and animal rights activist. Her books have been published in hardback and paperback by Hodder & Stoughton (UK), Heyne (Germany) and Unieboek (Holland). Alison is now a self-publisher.

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Interview: Tom Ward, author of Fires

Today’s guest on What Cathy Read Next is Tom Ward, author of Fires. In advance of the publication of Fires on 2nd November, I’m delighted that Tom has agreed to talk about the book, its inspiration and his writing journey.

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Fires CoverAbout the Book

There’s a fire on the horizon. For Guy, a fireman, it means the death of his wife and daughter. For 19-year-old Nathan and Alexa it means a chance to fight back against austerity and abandonment. While the teenagers turn to arson, Guy searches for meaning behind his family’s deaths, battling corruption and a lost underclass, intent on fiery revolution.

For all three, their actions will lead them to the precipice of disaster.

Format: eBook (263 pp.), Paperback (262 pp.)  Publisher: Crooked Cat Books
Published: 2nd November 2017                            Genre: Fiction

Purchase Links*
Amazon.co.uk ǀ Amazon.com
*links provided for convenience, not as part of any affiliate programme

 

Find Fires on Goodreads


Interview: Tom Ward, author of Fires

Without giving too much away, can you tell us a bit about Fires?

On the face of it, Fires is a thriller about a fireman searching for answers after his family are killed, while, at the same time, a disaffected young man takes his frustrations out on his city through a campaign of arson. Simmering away beneath the surface, it’s about austerity and decline and the anger – often hopeless – this breeds, and the violent ways that people lash out. It’s also about greed, and love. It’s also, I hope, a lot funnier in parts than that description makes out.

What was your inspiration for the book?

I wrote one of the early chapters as a short story about 8 years ago, and it’s always stayed in the back of my mind. I’m from Scunthorpe, an industrial town in the North East of England. There’s a lot of unemployment (I’ve been on benefits there myself, twice) and not much hope for a lot of people. It really grew from my anger at the systems that made it so, and empty promises to change things. Now, more than ever, I think this sort of frustration can be felt across the UK, and the US. But, there’s also a lesson in it, I hope, that lashing out is rarely the best way to solve things, or improve your situation.

You’re a journalist who’s also published a short story collection (Dead Dogs & Splintered Hearts) and now two novels (A Departure and Fires). Do you enjoy experimenting with different writing formats?

That’s right. My first novel came out in 2013 and I was lucky enough to receive a great review from Tony Parsons (author of Man & Boy and the Max Wolfe thrillers) and the short story collection, that came out last year, and I was pretty proud of that too as it collected 19 or so things I’d been working on for a long time.

I think journalism and fiction inform each other to some degree – both are essentially telling stories and I’ve done some great stories for everywhere from Men’s Health to the Guardian on serial killers, taking LSD at work, eating insects, mental health and more.

Fiction, however, is my preference. I’ve two more novels and half a short story collection in the works. And two film scripts I want to have a go at writing simply because I love films. I want to keep experimenting with fiction in various forms, and see how far I can push it.

Australian TV presenter and journalist, Tony Jones, recently stated that, ‘Fiction frees you from the constraints of journalism’ (The Guardian). Is that something you can identify with?

Yes, with journalism you’re writing about real people who’re probably going to read what you write, and you don’t want to misrepresent them, or what they believe in, so there’s a different sort of care you apply when writing, researching and editing journalism.

Literature is more freeing as, obviously, it all comes from your mind. You’re free to turn a few real people into one character, or draw bits from one person or another. The same with places and events. The key difference is with one you’re trying to represent the world as most people see it, but offer a new insight, and with the other you’re trying to get people interested on your take on their very real world.

You won the GQ Norman Mailer Student Writing Award in 2012. What impact has this has had on your career as a writer? (By the way, I understand you can do some serious name-dropping from the Awards dinner…)  

Yes, it did help, I think. This and being shortlisted for two awards for A Departure, and winning a journalism award this year are encouraging more than anything. And I can’t believe I’ve won any of them. If people are interested in me as a writer because of that, then great.

And yeah, there were a few people at the awards ceremony. Joyce Carol Oates accepted an award and gave a great speech. Alec Baldwin was presenting, and I was introduced for about 12.3 seconds. Muhammad Ali was the guest of honour (it was the Norman Mailer Awards 2012, and Mailer famously wrote about Ali in The Fight). I had a picture taken with him, which still doesn’t feel real, even though it’s up on Google, forever. It was spectacular to meet him, and I feel very lucky to have done so. Also, Oliver Stone, the director, asked me to send him some writing, and he gave me feedback in a story in my Dead Dogs collection. I’m waiting to hear if he wants me to write him a film. It has been about 5 years now, though…

Both A Departure and Fires depict the breakdown of society. What is it about this that interests you as a writer?

Because I’m not really happy with the way things are. I’m now a journalist, living in London, so I haven’t really got anything to complain about myself anymore, but generally I think things could be better for a lot of people. And I don’t think that’s likely to change any time soon. I’m potentially quite a miserable person, as you can probably tell. As a result of all of this, A Departure is about wanting to escape and Fires is about the anger that comes from being stuck somewhere. I think everyone can relate to that.

Do you have a favourite scene in Fires and, if so, why?

Ha, I have a lot I like, but the one that comes to mind is the first fire the arsonists light, and it’s like a celebration of what’s about to come, and a positive, hopeful scene, before it all goes wrong.

Which other writers do you admire?

Far too many to list: Angela Carter, J G Ballard, Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh. But more and more I’m trying to read new books. Thirst by Benjamin Warner is great. Septembers by Christopher Prendergast is good, as is Alison Moore at Salt Publishing. Harry Gallon has published some great books with Dead Ink Books in the north of England. And Heinz Helle, a German author is as dry and dark as they come. And Hings by Chris McQueer, from what I’ve read, is one of the funniest and most eye-opening books of the year.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given about writing?

Henry Miller’s 11 commandments are great. Especially “When you can’t create you can work” and “Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.”

What are you working on next?

I’m editing a third novel, then after that I’ll go back over the first draft of my fourth. Then I’ll try and write the two film scripts, then hopefully polish up and publish a second book of short stories. I enjoy it, and I try and write every story as though no one else will ever read it, and just have fun with it myself. If someone else likes it too, that’s amazing.

Thank you, Tom, for those fascinating and insightful answers. I’m really looking forward to reading Fires and sharing my review.


TomWardAbout the Author

Tom Ward is an author and freelance journalist. He has written for Esquire, Men’s Health, GQ, the Guardian and more, and won the PPA New Consumer Magazine Journalist of the Year Award 2017. He is also the recipient of the GQ Norman Mailer Award 2012. His first novel, A Departure, was shortlisted for the People’s Book Prize and the Beryl Bainbridge Award. His short story collection, Dead Dogs And Splintered Hearts is available now. His second novel, Fires, will be released on November 2nd, 2017. Tom has been described as ‘Quite possibly the best young writer in the country’ by best-selling author Tony Parsons. Tom lives in London.

Connect with Tom

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