Archive for the News & Announcements Category

The Story of M

OK, so this blog is WAY overdue an update. What can I say? I’ve been busy.

Today, July 13 2021, sees the release of ‘M, King’s Bodyguard,’ an historical thriller based on actual characters and events that I have been working on for over ten years, since I came across William Melville in a website article headed ‘Ten Amazing Irishmen You’ve Never Heard Of’. I am not the first to try and tell his story in fiction, but to the best of my knowledge I’m the first to get to publication.

William Melville left Ireland at fourteen, joined the London Metropolitan Police in 1872, and rose to become head of Special Branch and occasional bodyguard to British royals. In 1901, in the leadup to the funeral of Queen Victoria, he received a tipoff that a gang of European anarchists planned to attack the cortege and assassinate Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany. With the Kaiser’s bodyguard Gustav Steinhauer in tow, Melville set out to see off the plotters – but nothing went according to plan…

Last time I blogged here the term CoVid would have sounded like some sketchy phone app that allowed you to watch movies with mates. In 2021 we know Covid all too well, and it’s a lot less fun. What it means for us authors (Us Authors! Sounds so cool!) is that book tours remain firmly virtual and I don’t get to sneeze on any would-be readers. Instead we have Zoom and YouTube, and if anyone reading this today is interested in watching/joining my launch event – 1pm in Texas, 7pm UK time – here’s the link:

King’s Bodyguard is intended to be the pilot for a series. Steinhauer, who in 1901 stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Melville when the bullets were flying, went on to head the German spy network that infiltrated Britain during the years preceding the First World War. Melville was recruited by what was to become MI5 to counter him, and the two men played a lethal game of cat-and-mouse across Europe for over a decade. I have to say historical novels are bloody hard work – did you know that the ‘crossword’ as such was not invented until 1913? So why does this character mention it in 1901? And there’s a dozen of those on every page.

It is an epic yarn though. Watch this space. (Not this space, obviously. I’m hardly ever here. Maybe try Twitter, where I’m @Noghar…)

Roll Up Roll Up… But Mind the Wet Paint

Look at the state of this website! The Crusher trilogy is complete, and the home page still says Parts 2 and 3 ‘coming soon’? Bear with us – (Here imagine frantic sounds of sawing, hammering and cursing behind the scenery…)

Ladies and Gents, the third and final part of the Crusher trilogy, Shredder, is out this month, June 2014. The official launch is Thursday 3rd July (which is next month, I know, shut up at the back) and to mark it I am going to raffle off three sets of the novels in the paperbacks with the cool matching covers, autographed of course (so you can’t send ’em back.) The draw will take place on Sunday 6 July and a link to the entry widget is on the front page of this website… or will be very shortly…  (Hoot! Let’s stink a link to the comp on the home page!) I will mail the signed sets to winners anywhere in the world.

What can I say about Shredder […] Continue Reading

Who Put My Light Under This Bushel?

(And what the hell is a bushel?*)

Dear me.  Look at the dust in this place .  I can’t remember how long ago I first encountered the term ‘cobwebsite’ but I rather think it fits this one.  Time to take down the old yellowing posters and nail up some fresh ones…  Crusher was up for an 2013 Edgar award in New York, need to bang the drum about that.  (It didn’t actually win, but that minor detail can go in the small print.) And what about a link to Kebabbed, that jolly short story I did at Christmas for Random House’s Dead Good series?  Let’s stick that up somewhere.  In the spirit of ecological soundness I could recycle some of the newspaper articles I wrote last year about living with a famous author (who isn’t me.) As for that movie I scripted… maybe we should wait till it looks like coming out before we boast about it.

My last blog post, Social Notworking, was a rant about how writers today are expected to market themselves by tweeting about their work and endlessly updating their Facebook status.  I do tweet (as @Noghar) but more about my dog than my work; I believe a novel should speak for itself.  Novels, like movies, rely on the conceit that they are real.  The reader lets himself or herself believe the story the author is telling you actually happened; movie watchers let themselves believe the handsome couple robbing a bank onscreen aren’t really being filmed by a massive team of technicians just out of sight.  Talking too much about a work before the audience has seen it is the equivalent of screening a behind-the-scenes featurette before the movie’s even been released; it dissipates the thrill and spoils the illusion.

That said, it is a busy and competitive market out there, and it’s all very well being pure in motive and above the demeaning bustle of mere commerce; but a novelist without an audience isn’t a novelist, merely a person with a self-indulgent hobby.  If you don’t love your story and want it to be widely read you shouldn’t have let it get published, and if you do, you mustn’t be shy about saying so, to as many people as possible. Especially if it helps those lovely people at your publishers get back some of the money they spent buying you dinner, getting you drunk and telling you how talented you are.

So, to bring everyone up to date, the paperback of Crusher is coming out in July 2013.  It has a new cover, soon to be proudly displayed on the home page (Hoot! Where’s that new cover?)  The Mystery Writers of America nominated it for an Edgar Award, which was a great honour (the prize went to Code Name Verity, a book I am extremely keen to read) and the International Thriller Writers organisation have also lined it up for an award, which sounds like a great excuse for a beano in New York.

The manuscript of Crusher Part Two – Incinerator – is with those aforementioned lovely publishing people at Random House, who as I write this are doubtless weeping over its countless typos and continuity errors. It should be appearing in bookshops towards the end of this year (unless the typos really are countless.)

Part Three is… in development.  Watch this space. Just don’t stand over there, we’re going to be shifting furniture.

*A bushel is a bowl or a basket, depending on what translation you read.  In the same way  ‘thou shalt not kill’ has also been translated as ‘thou shalt not murder’, which  some people consider a loophole.  But that’s enough about Northern Ireland.