Same Book, Different Countries…

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People often ask me if I’m published in other languages. The answer is yes – but I often don’t see the finished books. There was a time when I didn’t even see some of the different English language versions. Some from Eastern Europe had covers that were hotchpotches of old pirated film posters. One looked […]

Politics And Mr Bryant

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Like all authors, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I read some of my Amazon reviews, and the other day one surprised me. A reader said she was going to stop reading the books because Arthur Bryant was ‘a mouthpiece for (my) politics’. It’s surprising for three reasons; first, nobody really knows what […]

Location: London

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I was walking through Bloomsbury a few months back and thought I’d gone mad. As a hackney carriage clip-clopped past and some rhubarbing coachmen in brown bowlers crossed the road I looked at my watch and thought ‘Oh no, I’ve accidentally gone back 100 years again. I hate it when that happens.’ It turned out […]

That Mystery Book Explained

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Some while back I set out to write the kind of book that’s fairly alien to me in its construction; a psychological thriller. While I love them (especially those by Margaret Millar, a forgotten author just coming back into print), I don’t usually write them. I tend to construct matrices of facts rather than delving […]

Don’t Lose Your Readers!

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A friend wants to write fiction. She has an idea, but I pointed out to her that this is just the start of the process, and next you need a story. I used the example of Stephen King’s ‘The Shining’, in which Danny has a paranormal gift – the idea – which comes to the […]

A Very English Way Of Doing Things

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So Britain is to have another election – hardly any surprise there, as the current leader of the opposition is a phantom who has all but destroyed Labour’s core voter base. Jeremy Corbyn is a career politician with the magnetic presence of a retired postman and is unable to make a stand for or against […]

Why Don’t Undead Tales Die?

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There were only ever a handful of monsters in movies and books. In the 1930s Universal Pictures cemented the main ones into place, although mummies and werewolves proved harder to make scary than vampires and hand-stitched creations. Zombies were left out on a limb after ‘White Zombie’ and ‘I Walked With A Zombie’, until George […]

Withnail’s 30th Birthday

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Whenever a low-budget British film screened at our office, we virtually had to hold a lottery to find anyone who’d sit through it. Most of them were so astoundingly bad that we gave them to the junior staffers to handle. Anyone remember ‘Car Trouble’, in which  air traffic controller Ian Charleson is so annoyed with […]

The Walled City Of London

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I’m plotting a fantasy novel – don’t laugh, it’ll be another of my ‘One Off’ books to sit beside my crime novels – and was reminding myself about the early days of London. It’s easy to forget that our 2000 year+ city was as much of a walled city as any in Spain, Tunisia or […]

Ambler & The Pink Thief

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The talents of many 20th century writers were tempered in the heat of conflict. Aldiss, Asimov, Ballard, Heinlein, Heller, Vonnegut, Mailer and Nevil Shute were just a few of the novelists shaped by wartime experiences. Many were not adversely affected and produced fiction that was almost nostalgic for combat. Eric Ambler came from a London […]