Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Blog Tour – ‘Nowhere To Hide’ by Alex Walters

Welcome to the ‘Nowhere To Hide’ blog tour, in which you’ll get to read exclusive interviews with the characters from the book. In this fifth, and final, post we’re talking to Keith Welsby, who’s got himself into a spot of bother.

Name: Keith Welsby

Rank/Job title/Occupation: Principal Officer, Investigations - currently suspended

Why are you so important to the story of ‘Nowhere To Hide’?

I’m always in the centre of the story, love, didn’t you know that? No show without Punch and all that. No, actually, this one’s a bit odd. I spend most of the story laid up in hospital. In a bad way. Attempted suicide is what they’re saying. I ask you, love, do I look like the suicidal type? No, don’t answer that. The only way I’m going to kill myself is slowly, through booze and cigarettes. But, anyway, that’s where I am. Out of harm’s way, you might think. Just shows how wrong you can be.

What do you regret most about your life?

Life’s too short for regrets. Well, it is when you live like I do. But, no, I’ve not always been as smart as I thought I was being. Got myself caught up with a few of the wrong people. And then it’s hard to extricate yourself, isn’t it? You just find yourself being sucked in, inch by inch. We were all at it in those days, of course. But most of the others are retired or dead now. No excuses, but it was what you had to do to oil the wheels. Get the job done. Now, they reckon it’s all different and I’m just the last of the dinosaurs, the last bent copper. Oh yeah? Pull the other one. You just have to look around you.

What was the highlight of your policing career?

It’ll be the day they finally pension me off, assuming I live that long. And assuming they still allow me the pension, which they probably won’t. No, there’ve been a few highlights. We put some of the right people away, even when we had to bend the rules to do it. And even if we had to let some of the bigger fish slip through the net. You play the numbers game. Get as many as you can. Don’t have sleepless nights about the ones that get away. That’s life, isn’t it, love?

Which other character from the book would you most enjoy going to the pub for a pint with?

I dunno. Anyone but Hugh Salter, probably. He’s a lager-boy, and he only drinks a pint of that so people don’t think he’s a complete wuss. Not my idea of a party companion. Actually, that Marie Donovan’s all right. She can knock it back a bit, tell a few off-colour jokes. One of the lads, when she wants to be. And she buys her round, which is more than Salter ever does.

Who would you like to play you in the screen adaptation of ‘Nowhere To Hide’?

Oh, I don’t know. Tom Cruise is too short, isn’t he? You’d probably need someone like Timothy Spall to capture my finely-honed athletic figure.

What music do you like to listen to when you’re not on duty/at work?

It’s Old Blue Eyes for me, all the way. It’s Frank’s world, we just live here, all that. My way. I’m always at home with the Rat Pack, everyone knows that.

What is your favourite film?

Get Carter. I used to see myself as Michael Caine in that. You know, tough, doesn’t give a damn, love ‘em and leave ‘em, always comes out on top. Except, of course, he doesn’t in the end. But that was me in the young days. Now - well, I’m a big man, but I’m out of shape. So far out of shape you wouldn’t recognise me. But don’t write me off. Not just yet.

About the book:

‘On the North Wales coast two people traffickers are brutally murdered; a drug dealer is mown down in inner-city Stockport and in a remote Pennine cottage a police informant is shot dead. Seemingly random, these murders are the work of one professional hitman.

Reluctantly, Marie Donovan takes on another undercover role and finds herself working with DI Jack Brennan, a high-flying detective with a tarnished career. Soon, mistrustful of each other and their superiors, both begin to suspect that they are mere pawns in a complex game of criminal rivalry and police corruption.

As Marie struggles to uncover the truth, she realises that nothing is as it seems. With every move, she draws the threat ever closer until ultimately the killer is watching Marie herself. Out on her own, she finds herself with no friends, no-one to trust and nowhere to hide.’

‘Nowhere To Hide’ is published by Avon HarperCollins, and you can buy it here.

The first post in the blog tour, an interview with Marie Donovan, can be found here.

The second post in the blog tour, an interview with Jack Brennan, can be found here.

The third post in the blog tour, an interview with Lizzie Carter, can be found here.

The fourth post in the blog tour, an interview with Hugh Salter, can be found here.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Writing the Dark Side of Chick-Lit

A Guest Post by Anna Bell
I think that a lot of non chick-lit readers think that everything between those bright pink covers are fluffy and light-hearted, but so many chick-lit books have a darker topic within. My new novel, Don’t Tell the Groom, does too. Penny, the main character, has gambled away £10,000 on internet bingo. The challenge for me when writing the book became: how do you write a laugh-out-loud comedy centred around such a serious topic.

I picked online gambling as a theme for Don’t Tell the Groom as I’m always fascinated by the bingo adverts on TV. Bingo ads are often an assault on the eyes with all the bright colours, and the people in them are always having ridiculous amounts of fun playing it. The adverts always got me wondering - behind all the flashing lights and jollity, surely there has to be a darker side to it? A quick search on the internet soon revealed that gambling addiction amongst women was on the rise, and online gambling was one of the main causes.

I knew then that if I was going to tackle gambling, I had to do it both sensitively but also as accurately as I could (without becoming a bingo addict myself). I asked a friend to introduce me to one of their friends who I knew had had an online gambling addiction. The friend was amazing, they told me all about their motivations, the ramifications of the gambling, and their treatment. I think what hit me the most about the addiction was how secret it could be. Unlike alcohol, drugs or smoking, there are no physical signs that a person has a gambling addiction. And especially with online gambling no one needs to see you do it, and with mobile apps, it can be done anywhere.

After realising just how serious the consequences were, I had to create a balance between portraying the addiction well and remembering that I was writing a romantic comedy, not a tragedy. I tried to keep the humour to a minimum in the scenes where Penny got help with her addiction. But I couldn’t lose the humour entirely or else it wouldn’t have fit with the rest of the tone of the novel.

It is the first time I’ve challenged myself as a writer to tackle such a difficult topic. I guess now, it’s over to the readers to judge whether I got that the balance between sensitivity and humour right!

Here's the Amazon link for Don't Tell the Groom

Anna's website: