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Posts Tagged ‘Dead Lands’

Hello, it’s Friday and that means it’s time for a post to “Celebrate Indie Publishing”, the publisher this week is Urbane Publications, the book being featured is All The Colours In Between by Eva Jordan, a thoroughly moving and wonderful book that deserves to be loved and read by all.

I also have the lovely Lloyd Otis in the hot seat for the author feature, his debut Dead Lands was published in October 2017.


Book Feature:

Description:

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Eva Jordan’s much-anticipated follow up to the bestselling 183 Times a Year It’s not a life, it’s an adventure!

Lizzie is fast approaching 50. Her once angst ridden teenage daughters, now grown and in their twenties, have flown the nest, Cassie to London and Maisy to Australia. And, although Connor, Lizzie’s sulky, surly teenage son,is now on his own tormented passage to adulthood, his quest to get there, for the most part, is a far quieter journey than that of his sisters. The hard years, Lizzie believes, are behind her.

Embracing her new career as a writer; divorce, money worries and the constant battle to weather the stormy complexities of the blended family, are all but a distant memory. It’s time for Lizzie to focus on herself for a change. Stepdaughter Maisy is embracing life down under and daughter Cassie is working for a famous record producer in London. Lizzie’s only concern, albeit a mild one, is for the arrested development of her Facebook-Tweeting, Snapchatting, music and mobile phone obsessed, teenage son. With communication skills, more akin to an intermittent series of unintelligible grunts, conversation is futile. However, Lizzie is not particularly perturbed. With deadlines to meet and book tours to attend, Lizzie has other distractions to concentrate on. But all in all, life is good. Life is very good.

Only, things are never quite as black and white as they seem…

A visit to her daughter in London leaves Lizzie troubled. Cassie is still the same incessant chattering Queen of malaprops and spoonerisms she ever was, however something is clouding her normally cheery disposition. Not to mention her extreme weight loss. And that is just the start. Add to that an unexpected visitor, a disturbing phone call, a son acting suspiciously, a run in with her ex husband and a new man in her life who quite simply takes her breath away; Lizzie quickly realises life is something that happens while plans are being made.

Harsh but tender, thought provoking but light-hearted, dark but brilliantly funny, this is a story of contemporary family life in all its 21st century glory. A story of mothers and sons, of fathers and daughters, of brothers and sisters, and friends. A tale of love and loss, of friendships and betrayals and a tale of coming of age and end of life. Nobody said it would be easy and as Lizzie knows only too well, life is never straightforward when you see all the colours in between.

My Thoughts & Review:

After falling in love with Eva Jordan’s writing with her debut novel 183 Times a Year, I was ecstatic to learn she had penned a follow up that would see me catching up with Lizzie and Cassie again, but I wasn’t prepared for the raft of emotions I would feel reading this and a huge hat tip to Eva for her superb writing for turning me into a blubbering wreck.

So where to begin…..even just thinking back to this book catches my breath and reminds me of some of the most inspired and moving narrative I’d read lately.
Right, so, time has moved on from where we left Lizzie in the previous book, she’s now concentrating on her writing career and careering towards the big Five Oh, her daughter Cassie is off to London, her son Connor is exactly what you would expect from a teenager and Maisy, her stepdaughter is in Australia with her partner.  For once, life seems to be settled and everyone knows what they’re doing…..or so it would seem.  Poor Lizzie is never one for a quiet and easy life, and sure enough life finds a way to complicate itself.

Poor Lizzie, my heart goes out to her, she is a parent who wants the best for her kids.  And as most parents will agree, no matter the age of your children, they are still your babies and you will care about them and want the best for them whether they are 5 or 45.  And this applies to Lizzie and Cassie.
Cassie has a secret and despite wanting to give her her independence, Lizzie also wants to help her daughter with whatever it is that’s bothering her.
Connor is a character I could not help but like, despite his moody teenage ways he’s lovely.  All too often we forget what it’s like to be on the brink of growing up, shaking off the shell of childhood and stepping into the new adult world and I think that Eva Jordan has written Conner perfectly.  The narration from his perspective felt authentic.

When it comes to the plot, I will say that this is a book to read with a box of tissues near by.  As I mentioned above, I ended up a blubbering mess reading parts of this book.  At points I didn’t even realise there were tears streaming down my face, so strong was the emotional pull of the story and the characters.  That said, there were also bits in the book where I laughed and smiled, it’s a book that really has the whole gamut of emotion woven throughout.

If you’ve not read either of Eva’s books then I wholeheartedly recommend you do, and whilst I think that All The Colours In Between can be read as a stand alone, why deprive yourself?  Go on, spoil yourself to two new books and get lost in some exquisite writing.

 

You can buy your copy of All The Colours In Between via:

Amazon UK
Urbane Publications
Wordery
Book Depository


Author Feature:

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Lloyd was born in London and graduated in Media and Communication. An avid movie fan, he wrote film reviews for his university magazine and enjoyed a stint in a television production company where he helped with props and scripts. He went on to write reviews for music sites, including ilikemusic, and after gaining several years of valuable experience within the finance and digital sectors, completed a course in journalism.

Under the pen name of ‘Paige’ he has interviewed a host of bestselling authors, such as Mark Billingham, Hugh Howey, Kerry Hudson, and Lawrence Block, and has blogged for The Bookseller, and The Huffington Post. He also wrote a regular book review column for WUWO Magazine and two of his short stories were selected for publication in the ‘Out of My Window’ anthology. He has also had articles appear on the Crime Readers’ Association website, and in the Writers’ Forum magazine. He currently works as an Editor.

 

 

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

For me, there are many favourite things about being an author such as publication day and seeing my book in a bookstore, but most of all it’s feeling like one. That’s awesome.

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?

Having to do rewrites and edits with only a short time to implement them.

If you could have written any book what would it be and why?

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger for its observations of a particular place and time, and Orwell’s 1984 for its amazing futuristic foresight.

How do you spend your time when you’re not wrapped up plotting your next book?

I strum a few chords on the guitar when I can so that I’ll be able to solo like Slash one day and I also read a lot too. Fiction and non-fiction.

Do you have a set routine for writing?  Rituals you have to observe? I.e. specific pen, silence, day or night etc.

I tend to keep my stationary environment linear without too many distractions so that I can immerse myself fully into the story. Getting a consistent writing pattern is key for me and I can’t bear the thought of missing out on writing time if I am out and about, so I write on-the-move. On the bus or on the train.

 

A huge thank you to Lloyd for taking part and for sharing some more about himself, it’s always nice to get to know the person behind a book.  Especially when they’re a guitar playing rockstar – the book world’s answer to Slash perhaps?!  Love the idea that if you see Lloyd whilst he’s out he might be writing furiously on the train as an idea hits him for his next book!
If you would like to know more about Lloyd and his work, check out the following link:

Website: https://lloydotis.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/lloydotiswriter
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LloydOtisWriter

 

** My thanks to the ever wonderful Matthew Smith at Urbane Publications for my copy of this wonderful book and for taking part in Celebrating Indie Publishing **

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Hello and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Dead Lands, a trilling crime story set in the 1970s.  I am delighted to be able to share a guest post with you about the research behind the book so grab your cuppa and read on…..

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Description:

Dead Lands is a thrilling crime story set in the 1970s. When a woman’s body is found a special team is called in to investigate and prime suspect Alexander Troy is arrested for the murder. Desperate to remain a free man, Troy protests his innocence, but refuses to use his alibi. Trying to protect the woman he loves becomes a dangerous game – questions are asked and suspicions deepen. When the prime suspect completes a daring escape from custody, DI Breck and DS Kearns begin the hunt. Breck wants out of the force while Kearns has her own agenda and seeks revenge. Breck has his suspicions and she wants to keep it from him, and a right-wing march provides an explosive backdrop to their hunt for Troy. Dead Lands is the thrilling debut of award winning short story writer Lloyd Otis, and intelligently covers issues of race, discrimination and violence in a changing 70s landscape. 

You can buy a copy of Dead Lands via:

Urbane Publications (Publisher)
Amazon UK
Wordery
Book Depository

** My thanks to Matthew Smith at Urbane Books  for my copy of this book and to Abby Fairbrother (the immensely awesome Anne Bonny Book Reviews) for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **


Guest Post:

Dead Lands – building the story

A tremendous amount of research had to be conducted for Dead Lands and this was mainly for two reasons. The first reason:  the story is set a few decades ago and the second reason: a real-life event serves as its backdrop. I had to find out what the climate was like back then. I needed to feel it to some extent, to smell it, and to understand what the attitudes were like towards migrants, towards the police, and women. An author has to approach this sort of research carefully, which can be highly rewarding. To learn something new that will affect your story, or that you could insert into it for more realism, is an amazing feeling and I felt grateful to know what that was like.

Language and attitudes definitely change over time and I had to make a decision on how to approach that. For this story, I tried to strike a balance. With Dead Lands being set in the latter part of the 70s, it made sense that the attitudes of the times were reflected as much as possible without being an obstacle to the main story – although I gave myself more flexibility with the language. I spoke to people who were around at the time which was very important, because sometimes there is no substitute for speaking to someone who lived during a particular period. Of course you have to find those people, but when you do and you hear what they have to say, well it’s worth it. It really is.

With that part in place, I had to think about the other layers of the story and how they would interlace with each other as seamlessly as possible. Which character would have their identity pulled apart and questioned, which character would be telling the lies, and who would be hiding the biggest secrets? Setting Dead Lands in the past enabled me to highlight the complexities of proving guilt – DNA procedures as we know them today weren’t in place back then, so you really needed a good detective at the helm. Therefore, in terms of the people leading the charge, I needed strong characters.  I liked the polar opposites of a male and female investigators, and especially in that period of time, so Breck and Kearns fitted the bill perfectly. Having them operate within a fictional unit offered some flexibility with regards to what that unit was allowed to do, and in Breck, we have a bit of a maverick. A different kind of officer operating in a turbulent part of South East London. Amongst the temptations and whispers of corruption, he’ll do his job and he wants to do it the right way. That’s what he signed up for and why he joined the force. But ultimately, as the investigation progresses, he feels something is up, he’ll follow his nose and see it through to the end.

There’s a gritty underbelly to the story and life in the force is not sugar-coated in Dead Lands. Work for Breck provides a temporary escape from his feelings of discontentment and relationships are particularly important in this story. We even see this with Troy. From being a city high-flier to a man on the run, he is forced to turn to a small net of trusted people that may or may not be able to help him.

That is the landscape which I set out to create. There is no internet, no mobile phones, just a man and his limited resources, with an alibi that he can’t use and time running out.


Now I don’t know about you, but that has got me really keen to get reading and find out more!!  Perhaps I may just sneak this one up the reading pile and get lost in the world of Breck.  My review will be posted in November (sometime….)

 

Follow the blog tour:

BANNER

 

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