Jill Barry – The House Sitter

Today Jill Barry answers a few questions and tells us about her psychological thriller The House Sitter.

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If you could only read one more book before reading became illegal what would it be and why?

I thought I would struggle with this question and I certainly have! But I’m a huge fan of Rosie Thomas and have all her novels on my bookshelves. ‘Constance’ lives up to what it says on the tin and is truly ‘A lush and sweeping voyage of self-discovery’

If you could be a character in any book, who would it be?

I used to dress up as Mary Mouse, complete with lipstick and my mum’s high heels, when I was a small child. Later on, Little Women became a favourite and I always admired Jo March. Professor Bauer always seemed delightful, too. Having revisited the book over the years and particularly now there’s a recent new movie adaptation, I realise how ahead of her time Jo was.

What is the title of the book that you are going to tell us about?

The House Sitter – my first psychological suspense

How did you come up with the title?

The couple featured in my novel live at The Sugar House, but I didn’t want the name of their residence to be the book’s title. My scheming protagonist needed to be more than merely a neighbour and friend, and suddenly she became the house sitter.

Where did the idea for this book come from?

I spent several years living in a rural Welsh village in the heart of idyllic countryside so that area was what I saw when writing village scenes. Also, a friend had recently put her house on the market and I began to wonder what might happen if one of my friend’s neighbours decided to try and prevent the sale. Needless to say, I didn’t employ any of the tactics my manipulative protagonist uses.

Which character in this book is your favourite and why?

I can imagine becoming friendly with Bethan Harley who is the estate agent trying to sell The Sugar House. She’s attractive, good at her job and a loving mum. Sadly, she and her husband are struggling to maintain their relationship. Although Bethan becomes attracted to the man who wants to buy The Sugar House, she doesn’t attempt to take this any further in order to ‘get her own back’ on her husband. My Bethan character flatly refused to allow me to put her on the path to infidelity and she’s to be admired for this. I’d like to say here that my local book club members all decided Ray Kirby, prospective purchaser, made them think of actor Hugh Jackman, albeit a little younger.

Where can we buy the book?

The House Sitter is available as paperback or eBook via this link https://www.amazon.co.uk/House-Sitter-Jill-Barry/dp/1786157268

OR from your local independent bookshop, also from waterstones.com in paperback.

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How can your readers keep in touch with you?

Readers can check out my website: www.jillbarry.com and use my contact form

Or, via Twitter @barry_jill

Or on Facebook   https://www.facebook.com/JillBarryBooks/

 

Thank you so much for stopping by, come back again soon.

It’s been great to respond to your interesting questions, Colette. Thank you so much for inviting me on to your blog.

Wishing you well with your writing,

 

Jill Barry

Me – An Uncomplicated Man

I thought that today I’d take a stab at answering the questions I’ve been asking other people recently.

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If you could only read one more book before reading became illegal what would it be and why?

My first instinct is to say Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles because as I have said a thousand times it is my favourite book EVER. That said, maybe I should go for something different. Should I go for one of those books that appears on the lists of books that everyone should read before they die? Should I try a new genre or a new author? Then I think about it and realise that if it’s the last thing that I am going to read, I want to make sure that I’m going to enjoy it. If I had to choose my last meal, would I try something that I’ve never had before on the off chance that I might like it? Absolutely not. So, if I could only read one more book, it would definitely be Tess of the d’Urbervilles.

 

If you could be a character in any book, who would it be?

I have only just realised what a difficult question that is to answer. However, on reflection I think that given I quite often prefer animals to people I’d quite like to be Dr. Dolittle. I would be able to help animals which would be great and I’m sure I’d have lots of interesting conversations.

 

What is the title of the book that you are going to tell us about?

An Uncomplicated Man

 

How did you come up with the title?

Until shortly before publication it was called something else. The cover had been mocked up and it had been advertised with that title but then the original publisher decided the title wasn’t strong enough and asked me to come up with another one. “An uncomplicated man” is what someone calls the main character so it seemed to work.

Where did the idea for this book come from?

The first nuggets of the idea came to me when I was on dialysis one night and I was thinking about my dad. His favourite song was Danny Boy and I wanted to write a book with that as a title. Danny Boy was the original title by the way, the one that the publisher decided wasn’t strong enough. Anyway, all I had to start with was the name of the main character. But he was a Daniel rather than a Danny, in fact he hated being called Danny, it was a weakness. And, the thing is about weaknesses is that people exploit them. Daniel has another weakness too and her name is Lucy. An Uncomplicated Man is their story.

 

Which character in this book is your favourite and why?

To be honest most of the characters are pretty awful but the one that I like the most is Isobel Laither. She appears weak but she isn’t.

 

Where can we buy the book?

You can buy it on Amazon as well as Waterstone’s and WH Smith’s. You might even find it in the odd independent book store.

 

How can your readers keep in touch with you?

Facebook

Twitter

Colette McCormick on Books and Life in General

Jon Hartless – Full Throttle

Today John Hartless is here to answer a few questions about his novel Full Throttle amongst other things.

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If you could only read one more book before reading became illegal what would it be and why?

That’s difficult; maybe I should read something I don’t like, to lessen the pain of never being able to read again except in illicit underground clubs? So, maybe The Churchill Factor by Boris Johnson or The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah? Both represent appalling works of literature…

If you could be a character in any book, who would it be?

James Bond, but only because he seems able to drink and eat what he wants, and in the quantity he wants, without ever getting fat, high blood pressure, indigestion or galloping diabetes. Git!

What is the title of the book that you are going to tell us about?

Full Throttle.

How did you come up with the title?

The editor at Accent Press, Joe, quite rightly rejected my first title as being awful. (Poppy Orpington and Thunderbus). Unfortunately, he also disliked my second idea, Birth of the Petrol Queen, as Accent Press had a policy at that time for books with only one or two word titles.

The book was inspired by the 1920s racing scene, especially the Bentley Boys, famous drivers who had a reputation for driving all day and partying all night. Their most famous member was Henry ‘Tim’ Birkin, who gave his autobiography the title Full Throttle, so that seemed apt.

Rather annoyingly, Accent then seemed to abandon the title policy and I was able to name the sequel Rise of the Petrol Queen, which would have tied in nicely with the ‘lost’ title of book one and the provisional title of book three, Fall of the Petrol Queen.

Where did the idea for this book come from?

It was inspired by a few things floating around in my head; the Bentley Boys, as mentioned above, hearing about a Steampunk pantomime version of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and finally seeing a car on television called Brutus, a massive home-made affair with the engine from a fighter plane dropped into a huge chassis. Add on to that my perennial musings on the unfair nature of society, with those at the top being given everything while those at the bottom get – at best – table scraps, mix the whole lot together, and bang! You have a Steampunk motor racing adventure which looks at the discrepancy between rich and poor, and how this unfair system is maintained…

Which character in this book is your favourite and why?

Poppy Orpington; she’s intelligent, funny, angry and a misfit in a small-minded world which demands conformity and obedience to the status quo. Also, she can’t hold her drink. At all…

Where can we buy the book?

The first way is in person, if you ever see me at an event. I’m scheduled to be at the Burton Sci-Fi and Fantasy Con, Burton Upon Trent library, all day Saturday 15th February 2020, and the Tamworth Literary Festival on the evening of Friday March 6th 2020.

Alternatively, of course, there is always Amazon:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jon-Hartless/e/B002DEQ8EI?ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vu00_taft_p1_i0

How can your readers keep in touch with you?

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I’m to be found lurking on Twitter, https://twitter.com/JHartlessauthor, and Facebook, https://en-gb.facebook.com/jonhartlessauthor/

Thank you so much for stopping by, come back again soon.

Thank you, I will!

Anna Legat – Sandman

Today, Anna Legat visits to answer a few questions and tell us about her book Sandman.

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If you could only read one more book before reading became illegal what would it be and why?

A chilling prospect! I have this image of Nazis burning books in the 1930s.

A world without books would be a travesty and crime against humanity.

Before I answer your question, Colette, I must stress that I wouldn’t take the ban on books lying down. I would put up a fight. I would march for books. I would take up arms. I would raise hell on social media. I would start a mass book-liberation movement, just like the feminists once did, but mine would be called bookinism. Move over, Greta.

But just in case the forces of evil were to prevail and reading was truly to become extinct, I would prepare myself and stash away whole libraries in every nook and cranny of my house. Hang on, I’ve already done that! Well, I’d go further afield – bury a few precious collections in my garden.

That said, I still have to answer your question. So, one more book. Only one. It would have to be one of those books that don’t age. It would have to be a book that gave me hope, one that would carry me through the ban until it was overthrown. A book about the triumph of good over evil. A book that had the power to take me out of the bookless world and transport me to some better place. It would have to be The Hobbit.

If you could be a character in any book, who would it be?

Thinking of all the books that I love, I realise that most of their heroes are tragic. As a book character, I would want to lead a happy and adventurous life, and I wouldn’t mind being loveable. So, following on from my previous answer, I would love to be Bilbo Baggins.

What is the title of the book that you are going to tell us about?

Sandman, the latest title in my DI Gillian Marsh series.

How did you come up with the title?

Haji, the anti-hero of this book, is an old Afghan guerilla fighter, a veteran of two wars, one against the Soviets and the other against the Coalition forces in Afghanistan. He is known as Sandman because of his elusive abilities: when pursued, he can blend with the background or slip through your fingers as if he is made of sand.

Where did the idea for this book come from?

I often react to what goes on in the world at the time of writing. When I came up with the plot for Sandman the refugee crisis raged across Europe. It seemed inescapable that sooner or later a terrorist incident just like the one in my book would take place on British soil.

Which character in this book is your favourite and why?

Every character in that book became very close to me as I was writing it – perhaps because each of them was in their own way condemned to suffer. And they were ordinary, good people who didn’t deserve their fate. It was heartbreaking to see them die or lose their loved ones. I wept for Pippa, the wife of a Zimbabwean farmer living in exile after a tragic loss she suffered in Africa, only to experience an even tougher blow in the supposedly safe haven of Britain. There are many sympathetic characters in Sandman, but my favourite must be Izzie, a young homeless woman who is possessed of great integrity and courage.

Where can we buy the book?

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sandman-Anna-Legat/dp/1786154951/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1579985917&sr=8-4

https://www.waterstones.com/book/sandman/anna-legat/9781786154958

https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/sandman-21

https://www.whsmith.co.uk/products/sandman-di-gillian-marsh-series-digital-original/anna-legat/paperback/9781786154958.html

How can your readers keep in touch with you?

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www.annalegatblog.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/LegatWriter

https://www.facebook.com/AnnaLegatAuthor/

Thank you so much for stopping by, come back again soon.

Thanks a million for having me, Colette. Pop over to mine when you have a minute!

 

Trish Moran – Mirror Image

Today Trish Moran answers a few questions and tells us about her book Mirror Image.

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If you could only read one more book before reading became illegal what would it be and why?

What a difficult decision! I’d have to choose one to make me laugh to try to cheer myself up about a bookless world! I’d choose Nick Hornby’s How to be Good. It’s funny and tragic at the same time. What exactly makes a good person, or a bad person? But I would not settle for a bookless world; I’d either join or set up an illegal reading group!

 

If you could be a character in any book, who would it be?

David Walliam’s Gangsta Granny! Looking so sweet and boring while she’s actually a successful international jewel thief!

 

What is the title of the book that you are going to tell us about?

Mirror Image.

 

How did you come up with the title?

It’s the first book in the Clones series. A clone is a Mirror Image of someone. A singer that supports the self-named Labs in the story, people created in a laboratory as opposed to the Non-Labs, composes a song called Mirror Image to promote their quest for equality with ‘Non-Labs’.

 

Where did the idea for this book come from?

I wanted to create a group of people who felt isolated from others and decided on a group of young clones who escape from a medical centre where they have been created as spare body parts for those who could afford it. I wanted to explore the issues that would arise, the mistrust and suspicions that would arise on both sides as the Labs sought equality and later to integrate into ‘normal’ society.

 

Which character in this book is your favourite and why?

Stella, later named Ruby. Coming from a poor background, she is bullied at school. When her grandmother dies, she is left with no-one who cares for her. She meets up with the Labs and identifies with their feeling of isolation. As she helps them to fit into normal life and supports them in their quest, she slowly becomes much more confident in herself. There is always a vulnerable side to her which makes it easy for her to empathise with others who are struggling to find their own worth.

 

Where can we buy the book?

Amazon and all good bookshops.

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How can your readers keep in touch with you?

I have a blog at www.trishmoranblog.com where I interview readers and writers of YA and other fiction.

 

Thank you so much for stopping by, come back again soon.

Great to talk to you; thank you for having me!

 

Lynne Shelby – There She Goes

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If you could only read one more book before reading became illegal what would it be and why?

It would be a very hard choice to make, but I’d go for a book I’ve read before, The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald, because it’s my all-time favourite book since I first read it as a teenager. It’s beautifully written, the characters are so well portrayed, and the strands of the plot are very cleverly drawn together. I wish I’d written it!

 

If you could be a character in any book, who would it be?

I’d choose to be Elizabeth Bennet from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Who wouldn’t want to be the heroine of the quintessential romantic novel and marry Mr Darcy?

 

What is the title of the book that you are going to tell us about?

The title of the book is There She Goes.

 

How did you come up with the title?

I’d thought of several titles for the book, but none of them seemed quite right. I was editing the book, when I overheard the lyric ‘there she goes’ in a song playing on the radio in the next room, and knew at once that these three words made a title that fitted my story.

 

Where did the idea for this book come from?

I love visiting the theatre, especially to see a West End musical, and while I’ve never wanted to act professionally, I seem to be surrounded by relatives and friends who work as musical theatre actors. I know from their experiences that while acting is seen as a glamorous profession, it can also be an extremely tough way to earn a living, both physically demanding and competitive, with literally hundreds of girls auditioning for one role when an actress leaves a long-running show. There She Goes is a love story about an aspiring actress and an actor who meet at an audition, but it also shows the reality of the hard work that lies behind the seemingly effortless performances that theatre audiences see on stage.

 

Which character in this book is your favourite and why?

My favourite character in There She Goes is the heroine, Julie Farrell. An aspiring musical theatre actress, Julie has yet to land her first professional acting role, and has to cope with rejection at auditions while doing a tedious ‘day job’ so that she can eat and keep a roof over her head. I admire Julie’s grit and determination to never give up her dream of becoming an actress – and I can quite understand why there are times she can’t help wishing that her life was more like a musical and she’d meet a handsome man who would tap-dance her along the street.

 

Where can we buy the book?

There She Goes is available on Amazon and via bookshops.

This is the Amazon link:

 

How can your readers keep in touch with you?

I have a website: www.lynneshelby.com where readers can sign up to follow my blog.

I’m also on Facebook: www.facebook.com/LynneShelbyWriter

Twitter: @LynneB1

Instagram: lynneshelbywriter

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Thank you so much for stopping by, come back again soon.

 

 

 

 

Jane Risdon – Ms Birdsong Investigates

Today, Jane Risdon tells us about a book we will hopefully be able to read in the near future.

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If you could only read one more book before reading became illegal what would it be and why?

Gosh, this is a difficult one. I really cannot think of just one book off the top of my head. I don’t have a favourite book as such. I have been reading many years and have read countless of thousands of books during that time. I suppose if I was being really pushed, and if there was a collection (possibly a boxed set) of all the Agatha Christie novels, I’d probably go for that. Sorry to be a pain, but I can never answer this question in relation to a favourite song or food either.

 

If you could be a character in any book, who would it be?

I think I’d love to be Miss Marple from Agatha Christie’s books. She has such a wonderful life living in St. Mary Mead with its beautiful houses, she has a lovely cottage and garden and her stories are set during one of my favourite periods of time for fashion especially. I adore the way of life (for the middle and upper classes of course), and I would just drift around staying at great houses for weekend parties and solving crimes over cups of tea served in bone china cups and eating dainty finger sandwiches whilst surveying the other guests and mulling over clues. It would be heaven for me.

 

What is the title of the book that you are going to tell us about?

I’d like to tell you about a book I have not had published at time of writing. It had been in with my publisher when the company was sold to Headline Accent and I am not sure if they will take it or not. I hope they will, but in any case I plan to get it out this year by hook or by crook. I’ve written three books (so far) in a series I’m writing called, ‘Ms. Birdsong Investigates and book one is called: Ms. Birdsong Investigates Murder in Ampney Parva – Operation Matryoshka.

 

How did you come up with the title?

I was watching an episode of Midsomer Murders and it featured a character called Mrs. Songbird and the name Lavinia Birdsong popped into my head. I knew I wanted to use it.

 

Where did the idea for this book come from?

The name Lavinia Birdsong triggered an idea for a novel about a former MI5 Intelligence Officer who was hoping to one day to become (at the time the story is set) the second only ever female Director General of MI5, but this is all thrown aside when she is ‘voluntarily’ retired. The whole story came to me with her name. I’d wanted to write a story set in the British Security Services for a long time and she was perfect.

Which character in this book is your favourite and why?

I love Lavinia. She has attitude, she’s feisty and she kicks ass – she is a black belt in several Martial Arts and a crack shot with all sorts of guns. She speaks several languages, is highly intelligent and has a wicked sense of humour. She loves her food and a ‘very decent’ wine, but she has to watch her weight and is constantly starting and stopping a diet. She wears expensive clothes and has a thing about shoes, loves rock music and men. Well, she loves one man, her former colleague at MI6, Michael Dante. They were on a joint MI5/MI6 operation when things went belly-up and she was retired and he was sent to Moscow. They’d lived together and split up when she was forced out of the Security Services. But, as I said, she loves men and being in love with Michael does not hinder her in the least, she loves to flirt.

 

Where can we buy the book?

I hope to have it published this year so do keep in touch with me to track progress. Meantime you can read an excerpt from Ms. Birdsong Investigates in my recently published collection of short stories, ‘Undercover: Crime Shorts,’ where I’ve included a chapter from the first Birdsong novel and I’ve called it ‘Undercover,’ for reasons which will become obvious when you read it.

Undercover: Crime Shorts is published by Plaisted Publishing House and is available in paperback from Waterstones branches (order it) and in paperback and eBook on Amazon and various digital platforms.

ISBN: 978 0 359 39783 9    ASIN: BO7RFRVL4P

https://books2read.com/b/4jD0wo

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/under-cover-crime-shorts-jane-risdon/1130007355

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07RFRVL4P

http://www.lulu.com/…/under…/paperback/product-24082039.html

How can your readers keep in touch with you?

I am on social media.

Author page on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jane-Risdon/e/B00I3GJ2Y8

Website: https://janerisdon.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JaneRisdon2/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jane_Risdon

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5831801.Jane_Risdon

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/janerisdonwriter/

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/jane-risdon-07261320

MeWe: https://mewe.com/i/janerisdon

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/janerisdon2/

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/jane-risdon

Colette, thanks so much for having me on your blog. It has been so interesting and I loved your questions. Happy New Year to you and your readers. Jane xx

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Thank you so much for stopping by, come back again soon.

Jennifer Macaire – A Crown in Time

Today Jennifer is here to answer a few questions and tell us about her book that is published on January 16th.

If you could only read one more book before reading became illegal what would it be and why?

Shades of the Handmaid’s Tale, where women are forbidden to read! Perhaps if I could only read one book, it would be that one – to remind me that change can be brought about by just one person resisting.

If you could be a character in any book, who would it be?

I’d be Hermione Granger – a muggle-born magician with a magic wand, and cool friends in a cool school!

What is the title of the book that you are going to tell us about?

A Crown in Time

How did you come up with the title?

It is a time travel, the heroine must save the crown of France, so in the end it was an easy call.

Where did the idea for this book come from?

I went to the St Chapel one day in Paris and heard that it had been built to hold the crown of thorns, brought back from a Crusade. I started researching the Crusades. They were pretty awful, and so the idea of writing about a time traveler going back and taking part in one just grew on me.

Which character in this book is your favourite and why?

I like my heroine best – she’s one of my strongest heroines. She’s going back in time as a punishment, she knows she’s fated to be stranded there, that she can never return, but she has a job to do and she does her best to fulfill her mission.

Where can we buy the book?

Amazon (UK, US, AU), Waterstones, etc.

Kindle on Amazon

Paperback on Amazon

How can your readers keep in touch with you?

my Face book page: https://www.facebook.com/TempusU/

twitter @jennifermacaire

my blog: https://jennifermacaire.wordpress.com/

Macaire_author pic

Thank you so much for stopping by, come back again soon – the kettle’s always on.

Eric McFarlane – A Clear Solution

Today my fellow Headline Accent writer Eric McFarlane is visiting to answer a few questions and tell us about his book.

Clear Solution

If you could only read one more book before reading became illegal what would it be and why?

Now that’s a difficult question. Only one more book – but what if the book proves to be a huge disappointment? I’m going to cheat and say I would re-read a book. A big step for me because in all my (clears throat noisily) years I’ve never re-read a book. I would choose The Fate of Katherine Carr by Thomas H Cook.

I’ve been an admirer of Cook’s writing since my introduction to him with the chilling Instruments of Night, and I’ve read most of his novels. For me, The Fate is one of his best. The unlikely duo of a failed travel journalist and a young girl suffering from the terrible early ageing disease progeria attempt to solve the mystery of Katherine’s disappearance. From its enigmatic prologue to its seemingly downbeat, puzzling ending it is a constant delight. A multi-layered story within a story within a story, it’s not his easiest read but rewards perseverance a hundred times over.

If you are mystified by the ending turn back to the prologue and read it again. Hopefully, like me, you’ll find the novel wasn’t about what you thought at all, and those mysterious, seemingly unimportant, few paragraphs turn into the beautifully written key to the novel.

 

If you could be a character in any book, who would it be?

I’d be William Brown in Richmal Crompton’s Just William stories. Brave, resourceful, loyal – all the things I never was! And naturally I would have to re-read all those wonderful comic tales.

 

What is the title of the book that you are going to tell us about?

It’s A Clear Solution, a comic crime novel published by Headline Accent. When the fates conspire to piss on him, Daniel Dreghorn must find a way to move on from his boring job, his missing sex-life and his villainous colleagues, little knowing that he will end up with several dead bodies, a talking coffin, a mad professor and a bottle of poison. Perhaps there is something to be said for boring jobs.

 

How did you come up with the title?

I’ve completed several novels and usually struggle to find a title even after typing ‘the end’. In this case it came to me early on. Daniel works in a laboratory and a clear solution (of cyanide) is in reality the answer to one of his problems!

 

Where did the idea for this book come from?

I’ll confess that in a past life I did work in a university laboratory but rest assured Daniel is not me. I love humorous writing so a comic novel with an unusual background seemed the right thing to try. I do little planning so as the novel progressed it morphed into crime and developed from there. Three of the craziest incidents in the novel are much-embroidered versions of my own experiences, and if anyone can correctly guess two out of the three, I’ll post them a signed copy of the paperback.

 

Which character in this book is your favourite and why?

Although the main character is the hapless Daniel Dreghorn, it’s his boss Professor Quentin Farquharson that came to be my favourite. Described as an elderly academic with the morals of a stoat on steroids, he’s certainly an anti-hero and with his low cunning, rampant libido and complete lack of moral compass he was deliciously enjoyable to write.

Where can we buy the book?

The book is available from Amazon as a paperback or e-book https://amzn.to/2QxRdHg

Eric Mcfarlane

How can your readers keep in touch with you?

You can check out my website https://www.ericmcfarlane.co.uk/

Or follow me on twitter https://twitter.com/Eric_McF

Or on facebook https://www.facebook.com/eric.mcfarlane

Thanks for the opportunity to take part in this Q&A, Colette.

 

It’s my absolute pleasure Eric, I hope you’ll pop back another time.