#BlogBlitz | #AuthorInterview: All Down the Line by Andrew Field @BoomslangBooks #AllDownTheLine #damppebbles

“MANCHESTER: Cain Bell thought he had closure over the hit and run death of his daughter. Ted Blake had confessed he was the behind the wheel just before he died.

Twenty years on and Cain’s world is thrown upside down when his fiancé claims the driver was lying. Before she says more, a savage attack leaves her in a coma fighting for her life.

To find out why Cain must uncover why four friends swore blind to never tell the truth about his daughter’s death.

Now, he must persuade Manchester’s most terrifying gangster to reveal the secrets that kept hidden for two decades.

And Billy McGinty is in no mood to break his own wall of silence.
Unless Cain can persuade him to talk, even if it means putting his own life on the line.”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to be taking part in the All Down the Line blog blitz. All Down the Line is a gripping crime thriller set in Manchester from the pen of Andrew Field, and will be published by Boomslang Books on Monday 7th December 2020.

I’m putting Andrew Field under the spotlight today and asking some (hopefully!) tricky questions…

Q: First of all, can you please tell us about All Down The Line?

 All Down The Line is an interrupted love story set in Manchester. A bereaved father must convince Manchester’s nastiest and most ruthless gangster to spill the beans about the death of his daughter and an attack on his fiancée that has left her fighting for her life?  If he succeeds, his dilemma is to decide what his revenge looks like?

Q: What three words would you use to describe your novel?

Mancunian, intimidating, stark …

Q: Where do you find inspiration for your books?

I think good crime fiction always needs a moral dilemma. If you were Jak why wouldn’t you help China in Without Rules? If you were Cain in All Down The Line what would revenge look like once you knew the truth behind the crimes? 

Q: Do you have any rules for writing you would like to share with us?

Screenwriting lecturer Robert McKee once told me that if he wanted to learn to play golf, he’d find a golf coach with the exact same build, height and weight and ask him to teach him to copy his swing. Great advice — until you decide you want to be the next James Ellroy. The self-confessed demon dog of American crime fiction and author of the brilliant American Tabloid, bragged about how, as a young man, he broke into the houses of girls he admired so he could sniff their knickers. Great for generating column inches, but a conversation killer when you’re introduced to the in-laws!

Q: What characteristics/personality traits do you and your lead character in All Down The Line have in common?

When I was much younger everything was black and white. Nuance and context interrupted my worldview. As you get older, you realise it is never white hat versus black hat.

Q: If your All Down The Line was made into a movie, which famous actor/s would play the lead characters?

As All Down The Line is set in Manchester, they would have to be Mancunians or Salfordians. No cultural appropriation allowed in my books. Christopher Eccleston is a born natural for Cain Bell. Bernard Hill (Yosser in Boys in the Black Stuff ) or Ben Kingsley would fight it out to play Bob Ord. Lesley Sharp, Anna Friel or Maxine Peake would box each other in the ring for the role of Violet McGinty. My money would be on Anna. Suranne Jones would be equally brilliant as April Sands. Nigel Pivaro would be a threatening Two Smiles.  Ryan and Summer would have to be young unknowns. And Nick would be Nick!

Q: Who is your writing hero?

Elmore Leonard for the sheer skill of his apparently effortless writing … and he appeared to be a good egg! 

Q: Which book do you wish you had written?

At thirty it would have been James Ellroy’s American Tabloid. Now it is Jonathan Ames’ You Were Never Really Here (as long as film rights were attached) or Cormac’s No Country For Old Men.

Q: What advice would you give to someone considering taking the plunge and attempting to write their first novel?

Write it for the right reasons and enjoy yourself. Treat the process like a job with a finish date clearly identified. Only day dream about getting rich quick if you enjoy dreaming about making lots of money and being adored and taking your personal assistant to court for credit card theft. 

Q: If you could have a dinner party and invite three other writers (living or dead), who would you invite?

Elmore Leonard, James Cain and Jim Thompson … 

Q: Whats the one question you wish I had asked and whats the answer?

How should Covid 19 influence authors producing contemporary crime fiction today?

The answer is it’s impossible to ignore and certainly makes crime a lot harder to commit in lock down and with social distancing restrictions.

I got around it in All Down The Line by clear the novel takes place in 2017. Before Covid, I’d have not mentioned the year. I am drafting a novella called American Conscience and Covid is central to the way characters interact.

Thank you so much for joining me today, Andrew.

All Down the Line by Andrew Field was published in the UK on 7th December 2020 and is available in paperback and digital formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukamazon.com | Goodreads |

Andrew Field has spent most of his working life as a PR consultant raising the profiles of others. Now the roles are reversed as he steps into the spotlight with All Down The Line (published in 2020).

He handled Boddingtons Bitter during its “Cream of Manchester” heyday, developing innovative sports and cultural partnerships with TV and media platforms. Clients have also included a convicted armed bank robber and another who did eighteen months prison time for blackmail, although he didn’t know about their colourful backstories at the time. “I’d quizzed them more about their experiences. After all, hard-boiled grimness all adds to the mix, even if it is anecdotal.”

“Authors are by definition are relatively introverted. They work in isolation and inhabit imaginary world of their own creation. They can spend years staring at a computer screen bringing their characters to life. Then they have to become a different person to promote their work and market themselves.”

“Fiction is a great way to write about how you feel personally about this great thing we do called living. We disguise it by calling it crime fiction, but behind the genre there is a world view being expressed. In my eyes, the memorable books, films and music, good or bad, are the ones you’re still thinking about 24 or 48 hours after you finished reading, watching or listening.”

What can readers expect from Andrew’s work? “If you’re into noir from the likes of James Lee Burke, James Cain, James Ellroy, Dennis Lehane, Elmore Leonard, Ted Lewis, Ed McBain and Jim Thompson, you’ll see where I am coming from.”

Andrew lives, works and plays in Northumberland, England, Europe, with his wife Catherine. A novella, Wicked Games was published in 2014. Without Rules in 2018 by Boomslang. All Down The Line will be published in December 2020.

#QandA with J. S. Carol (@JamesCarolBooks) author of #KissMeKillMe @BonnierZaffre

kiss me kill me“When Zoe meets Dan, he’s everything she is looking for in a man – intelligent, charming, supportive.

It’s only after they’re married that she realises that he’s controlling, aggressive, paranoid.

And there’s no way out.

Or is there?

Zoe knows she has to escape, but Dan’s found her once before, and she knows he can find her again.

But Dan has plans of his own. Plans that don’t necessarily include Zoe.

Be careful who you trust . . .

I am delighted to welcome you to damppebbles today as I have something quite special to share.  I don’t do many interviews or Q&As on the blog but when I do, it’s always with an author whose books mean a lot to me.  Today I have a Q&A with J.S. Carol, who writes the awesome Jefferson Winter books (as James Carol) and today publishes his utterly brilliant standalone psychological thriller Kiss Me Kill Me in paperback.  A very happy publication day to James and the team at Bonnier Zaffre!  If you missed my review of Kiss Me Kill Me when it was released in eBook earlier this year then please click HERE.  I rather liked it!

But let’s not dither about any more than we need to.  Here’s my Q&A with James…

DP: Welcome to damppebbles.com, James and thank you so much for joining me today.

I have read and loved KISS ME KILL ME (along with all of your other books!).  Could you tell us a little about where the inspiration behind the book came from?

JSC: Thank you so much and I’m glad you enjoyed it. Like all my books KISS ME KILL ME started off with a question. I was sitting around one day and an image popped into my head of a woman staring at the pink cross on a pregnancy test and being totally devastated. To start with I thought she didn’t want the baby, but that wasn’t the case. That’s when the questions started. Why had this upset her so much? Why was she hiding away in the bathroom doing the test in secret? What was she worried might happen? The big question though was why didn’t she want her husband to know…?

DP: I am an avid reader of the crime and thriller genre so I’ve learnt over the years to look for clues whilst reading and try and guess where the story is going.  One of the things I love most about your books is how you always manage to surprise me.  How do you ensure you stay one step ahead of other authors in the same genre and keep us readers on our toes?

JSC: That’s a tough one, and it’s getting tougher. Like you pointed out, crime and thriller readers want to solve the crime. What’s more, they’re getting better at doing it too. If you keep them guessing until the end then you win. However, if they work it out then they feel cheated. It’s a real high-wire act. Get it wrong and that’s it, game over.

I think the way I write helps me to stay one step ahead. Rather than plot things out, I get an idea and then run with it. What this means is that my stories often go off in directions that I wasn’t expecting. The theory I subscribe to is that if things are taking me by surprise then hopefully they’ll take the reader by surprise too.

DP: The characters in KISS ME KILL ME are a fascinating bunch.  What do you like most about Zoe? About Daniel?  And what’s your least favourite thing about them?

JSC: What I like most about Zoe is the fact that even though life has dragged her all the way down to rock bottom, she manages to find the strength to try to escape. Daniel might be controlling every aspect of her life, but he hasn’t totally broken her. The thing I don’t like is her lack of confidence. This is a trait that I share with her, and one that I find annoying in myself.

With Daniel there’s not much I like, to be honest. I can see why Zoe fell for him. At the start he was charming and seemed genuine – there was nothing to suggest that he was the monster he turned out to be. The one thing I did like was writing him. The evil characters are always so much more fun to write than the good ones!

DP: If KISS ME KILL ME was made into a movie, who would you want to play Zoe and Daniel? Who would you choose to play Gabriel?

JSC: Jennifer Lawrence would make a great Zoe. She’s the right age and she would be able to project the combination of toughness and vulnerability the role would require. Patrick J Adams from Suits would be great as Gabriel. I could imagine Zoe trusting him. For Daniel I’d go for Daniel Radcliffe. He seems to be trying to shake off the Harry Potter tag so I can imagine him getting his teeth into a bad guy role. [DP: I LOVE the idea of Daniel Radcliffe playing Daniel.  What a perfect choice!]

DP: Do you have any plans to write a sequel to KISS ME KILL ME.  I had the feeling that should you want to, the opportunity was there to continue the story…?

JSC: KISS ME KILL ME was conceived as a standalone so at this stage there are no plans for a follow up.  That said, if a suitable story presented itself then I would definitely consider writing it. One thing I love about writing is the way that the characters take on a life of their own. This was especially true with Zoe. There was a whole bunch of things she did that surprised me, so who knows, maybe her story isn’t quite finished yet.

DP: And finally, what question do you wish I had asked but didn’t (and what’s the answer!)?

JSC: What’s your favourite flavour of muffin? I’ve got to say muffins are a bit of a weakness. Most days I’ll have one while I’m writing. And blueberry is my favourite … except on the days when it’s chocolate chip… then there are these amazing salted caramel ones that you sometimes get … so many to choose from!

Thank you so much for joining me today, James.  

Kiss Me Kill Me by J.S. Carol was published in the UK by Bonnier Zaffre on 31st May 2018 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Book Depository | Goodreads |

about the author3

James+Carol+(head+and+shoulders)J. S. Carol is the author of The Killing Game, which has been shortlisted for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award. As James Carol, he has also written the bestselling Jefferson Winter series. Broken Dolls, the first of these, was published in 2014 to rave reviews and reached #1 on the Amazon fiction and thriller charts. In addition James is writing a series of eBooks set during Winter’s FBI days. Presumed Guilty is the first of these.

James lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and two children. When he’s not writing he can usually be found in a pair of headphones, recording and producing music.

Author Links: | Website | Twitter | Facebook |

#BlogTour: The Exiled by Kati Hiekkapelto (@HiekkapeltoKati) @OrendaBooks #TheFinnishInvasion

41mxo4kt01l-_sx322_bo1204203200_“Murder. Corruption. Dark secrets. A titanic wave of refugees. Can Anna solve a terrifying case that’s become personal?

Anna Fekete returns to the Balkan village of her birth for a relaxing summer holiday. But when her purse is stolen and the thief is found dead on the banks of the river, Anna is pulled into a murder case. Her investigation leads straight to her own family, to closely guarded secrets concealing a horrendous travesty of justice that threatens them all. As layer after layer of corruption, deceit and guilt are revealed, Anna is caught up in the refugee crisis spreading like wildfire across Europe. How long will it take before everything explodes?”

I am absolutely thrilled to welcome you to my weekend long stop on Orenda Books’ Finnish Invasion blog tour.  I am delighted to welcome Kati Hiekkapelto, author of The Exiled to damppebbles today with a fabulous Q&A.  Tomorrow I have fellow Finnish author, Antti Tuomainen joining me on the blog with a brilliant guest post.  So pop back tomorrow for the Finnish Invasion blog tour part two!  Without further ado, on with the questions…

The Exiled sees Anna return home to Serbia, where she finds that the people there aren’t quite as she remembered, and she’s often shocked by the behaviour of the locals to ‘outsiders’. Was that your experience?

Serbia is very multicultural place and they still have their own war times fresh in their memory, so many people are actually very tolerant and open to ‘outsiders’. In fact, Hungary behaved much worse during last year’s refugee crisis than Serbia. Racism and xenophobia are much more deeper in every-day politics in Hungary. But of course there are problems in Serbia, too. There are politicians, parties and also common individuals who don’t accept immigrants or Romanys – the latter in particular are very badly treated. This concerns the whole of Eastern Europe and unfortunately the whole world. My own experiences in Serbia were only good. I come from ‘West’ and therefore I was something rather to admire to than dislike. Of course I hope that everyone would be liked just because he or she is a good person, not because of the origins. I never understood why on earth would it matter where I happened to be born or where my parents were born. Our nationality in birth is something we really cannot change.

And paradoxically, across the first two books (The Hummingbird and The Defenceless), Anna is an outsider in Finland, yet when she returns home to Serbia in this book, she feels somewhat the same – the people and their treatment of others alien to her – and she discovers a shocking secret that makes her question everything. What was your message here?

I don’t want to deliver any messages. I am just a storyteller. Although, in my experience, many immigrants share the feeling of being an outsider in both their old and new homelands. Research into the immigrant experience also confirm this. So, Anna’s feelings have a big basis in reality, however, not every immigrant would feel the same.

How Anna could feel home in Serbia, when she fled there as a small child? How could she feel home in Finland, where she don’t have her roots and family and can’t really use her mother tongue. These are fundamental questions in Anna’s fragile identity and the worst thing is that she is incapable of talking about them. She believes that opening her inner self to someone is worthless mumbo jumbo and psychology is nothing but bullshit, but I think she doesn’t have words for the feelings she experiences and therefore she overlooks (or suppresses) the whole thing. This is one of the tragedies of losing your mother tongue. Describing your emotions is very deeply rooted in your mother tongue and if you don’t have opportunity to use it often or it doesn’t  develop enough (for example, moving to an other country as a child), you can experience such problems and not even be aware of it. I think to understand Anna, we need to try to understand the fundamental, essential combination of language and identity.

Family secrets are a theme that runs throughout the book. What was your inspiration for this thread of the story?

In The Hummingbird I wrote one sentence in which Anna told her new colleagues that her police-officer father died in the line of duty. I did not know then what had happened, to be honest; in fact, I did not think about it at all, but I knew immediately that I want to find it out. The Exiled was kind of born in that moment, years before I actually wrote it.

Can you tell us a secret of your own?

No. It would not be a secret anymore. Ha ha!  (Good answer, Kati!)

You have been shortlisted for or won most of the big Scandinavian fiction awards (The Glass Key, the Petrona Award, the Ice Pick, Finnish Crime Novel of the Year, Dead Good Reads Most Captivating Crime in Translation …). When you started writing, did you ever expect this?

OMG, no! I still don’t believe this! When I wrote The Hummingbird, I had only one goal: to finish a whole novel. When it was done I almost deleted it, because it felt so shit. But fortunately I sent it to couple of publishing houses in Finland and amazingly Otava picked it up very quickly. Everything has been a huge surprise to me. Huge, huge surprise. I still think sometimes that this is just a gigantic joke and one day everybody is going to laugh at me and say: Ha! We got you! Your books are bad as you thought, you fool!

It is crazy how artists can be unsure about their work! I’ve talked with many writers and painters and composers and almost all of them report feeling the same way. It is horrible to struggle with feelings of uncertainty and self-doubt. I could never expect anything ‘glorious’ from outside, I could not write thinking: this is so brilliant, it’s going to be a huge success. Of course I have moments when text is rolling and it looks good even to my own eyes. Thank God for those moments, or I could not bear to be in this profession without them. And I am ambitious, too. I want to achieve a lot, not because achieving it would be something interesting or desirable, but because I want to become a bloody good writer. I want to learn and get better all the time.

Your writing is evocative and beautiful – very literary. Did you find it difficult to marry this with a page-turning, gripping plot?

It is my style, and it comes quite naturally to me, without any particular effort. Writing in the whole is difficult, though. Plot, characters, narrative, setting, themes, language, rhythm of words and sentences, it all has to be as perfect as possible. That is the reason I experience so much pain when I write. It is never good enough! It is so hard to make all those elements work together as complete, readable, enjoyable and thought-provoking prose. And yet it is so fun, interesting and exciting. I love writing! (And hate too!)

Equally, Kati, you are a political writer – exposing wrongs in society and pointing the finger at wrongdoers. You root for the little people, the underdogs. And yet, as above, at no point is the tension lost, or is the story compromised. How do you go about writing enthralling books while giving a voice to others?

I think this is another thing that comes naturally. I’ve always been on the side of the poor and discriminated. I come from working-class family where social awareness and equality was always something considered to be self-evident. My parents were not activists or anything like that; they are very ordinary people, but in my home all forms of bullying or underrating others was despised. I became a punk when I was young and I still am. Punk shaped my identity very much. I hope I will never be too old to abandon my ideology, my anger at the establishment and my support for the oppressed. However, in my writing I try to avoid preaching. No one likes to be taught or pushed in a certain direction. I hate preaching! I tell stories that definitely have a certain level of social consciousness. It is my style and I also like to read this type of book myself. But conclusions I leave to the reader.

In your personal life, you’ve been very involved in helping writers and artists in danger. Can you tell us a bit about this?

At the moment the project is ‘in ice’ because we don’t have money nor anyone to do it full time. We got a grant for a year (last year) and we had one ‘customer’ from Iraq on our island Hailuoto. There are so-called Safe Haven cities in every Nordic country except Finland (I think Helsinki is soon going to be one, at least there are active people working towards this) and all over the world, too. They offer a period of asylum for artists in danger. I had a dream of creating such a residency to Hailuoto. With the grant we hired one person to do all the paperwork, etc., for the project, but unfortunately he did not do very good job. But we got great experience, good contacts and lots of knowledge. I really hope one day we can continue the project. There are so many writers and other artists who are persecuted for their work and that is a shame.

Are you affected by the cold, dark winters in your home village? Tell us a little about what it’s like to live in 24-hour darkness, on an island, during a Finnish winter.

I am very affected indeed. I am writing this in Tenerife. I escaped the darkness and love the sunshine here. Darkness can be very depressing. The older I get the harder it feels. Luckily my work allows me to go out during the hours of grey light we have around midday. When I was working in school it was much more difficult during the ‘kaamos’ (the period when the sun doesn’t rise in winter). And luckily I live 230 km south of the Arctic Circle, so it is possible to see a blink of sun sometimes. I would say it is 20-hour darkness and couple of hours of greyness. Beyond the circle you can not see light at all for months. And then in summer we have nothing but light. I can go out and read a book in the middle of a night. It is great!

There is much beauty in darkness ,too. It feels cosy and safe, like a blanket. And it is easier to bear in the countryside, rathe than in cities, I think. You can see the light of stars and snow better without artificial illumination. The Milky Way is fully visible from my yard and Aurora Borealis dance above my house very often. I don’t mind cold. It is only question of dressing properly. Finnish houses are well isolated and warm. Well, my house is almost 200 years old and not perhaps so warm… Winter means wood chopping and heating to me. And cross-country skiing. It is something I’m used to, nothing special or exotic really.  But I think I will come back to Tenerife next winter too…

What’s next for Anna Fekete? 

I’m writing it here. She is back in Finland, that much I can reveal. I don’t feel comfortable speaking about work that is not done yet.

Is this a series that you think you can sustain indefinitely, or will you need to take a break to write a standalone or something different? Do you have any ideas for that ‘something different’?

I could write short stories in the ‘Finnish Weird’ genre. Actually, I already have. I also write lyrics for my band, and columns for a couple of newspapers. I have a forever-project called a theater piece. But as long as I feel that I have something to say through Anna’s character and I don’t get bored with her, this series will be my main work.

You’ve travelled to the UK three or four times a year since the publication of The Hummingbird. Is the culture what you imagined it would be and are you surprised by the huge enthusiasm for your books here and around the world?

Do you mean British culture in general or culture among crime fiction scene? Well, it does not matter, because I did not imagine either of them. And yes, as I mentioned earlier, I am totally surprised. One of the greatest things I’ve discovered is that crime writers in UK are like one big, happy family, a wonderful community of amazing people. I have felt very welcome and part of the gang from the beginning. It is fantastic! This, of course, applies to crime writers from all around the globe, but since I have met most of them in UK, I count them as part of the UK gang. I have travelled to many other countries, too, since The Hummingbird. At the moment I have 12 foreign translations. Unless I wake up tomorrow and get a call from my agent to say: we were all just kidding…

What are you reading now, and what has been your best ‘crime’ read of the year?

Luis Ruffato’s There Were Many Horses. The best crime was re-reading The Red Dragon. It was even better than the first time. I often read two or three books at a time, and my third one is Cormac McCarthy’s Cities of the Plain.

***

Thank you so much for answering these questions for us, Kati.  My review of The Exiled will image001be coming to damppebbles soon.

The Exiled by Kati Hiekkapelto was published in the UK by Orenda Books on 10th October
2o16 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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Kati Hiekkapelto is a bestselling author, punk singer, performance artist and special-needs teacher. She lives on an old farm on the island of Hailuoto in Northern Finland with her children and sizable menagerie. Hiekkapelto has taught immigrants and lived in the Hungarian region of Serbia, which inspired her to write her highly regarded debut crime novel, The Hummingbird.