Monday 25 February 2019
In The BlogCave today I am happy to have an interview with Stewart Hotston and a cover reveal and blurb for his new book, due out in a few months time.
So, getting things started, Welcome to The BlogCave Stewart...
1. Tell us a bit about you .
This is the bit I hate! First and foremost I'm a dad. I work for a bank mucking around with what some people have euphemistically called financial weapons of mass destruction. I'm also a physicist by training - my PhD involved programming super computers and reading papers on quantum mechanics and molecular dynamics. When I'm not writing or working I'm also a swordsman - focusing on 16 and 17th century rapier and dagger and sidesword and buckler, although I love tomahawks and pole arms as well! If you were to catch me when no one was looking I'd probably be eating chocolate and watching a movie with my feet on the table.
2. Tell us a bit about the book
At heart, Tangle's Game is a thriller set just a little bit beyond where we are today. It's about a very successful business woman who gets back to the UK after a business trip only to be stopped at immigration and denied entry. It turns out an ex-boyfriend of hers (who she's not seen for a decade and would probably set on fire if they did meet again) is a person of interest to national security and they think she's involved. She's eventually set free but when she gets home discovers a package from him on her doorstep. The story follows what happens when she opens that package. The novel explores themes of freedom, social media, democracy and how ordinary people like you and me can change the world through small decisions.
3. Do you have a set writing regime?
Absolutely. I have a fairly long commute each day and it's my golden time for writing. It's not too long that I run out of steam and I get to sit down twice a day without interruption and write for about half an hour. I couldn't recommend it more to people looking for space to write.
4. Any writing rituals/habits?
I want the right music. I want to have uninterrupted time. The former is more important than the latter although I find interruptions lead to rubbish progress. I've written more stories to #65daysofstatic than I care to admit. Recently I've been all over Nothing But Thieves and X Ambassadors. I find having the right music elevates my imagination and also helps me get into that flow when the rest of the world just fades away.
And I don't write too much in one go - for me I find the quality diminishes, becomes bland and boring and if I think that and I'm the writer I can't possibly put that in front of other people. So I stick to about 1,500 words a day even if I feel I've got more in the tank.
5. What was the inspiration for this novel?
Working in finance I've been following the evolution of blockchain currencies like Bitcoin since about 2012. Late in 2017/early 2018 there was a bubble in the value of most of them that has since burst. I was really interested in exploring what these and other new technologies might be used for socially. I am horrified by the idea of social credit scores (already a feature of life in China) and who gets to decide what's good and bad. I am equally horrified at how machine learning appears to be learning all our prevalent racist and sexist prejudices but codifying them and putting them beyond challenge - not out of some secret conspiracy but because they're reflecting back to us, unvarnished, how our societies really work. I wanted to explore the
experience of someone who totally benefits from everything good these systems can bring when it all goes horribly wrong.
6. What would be your choice of genre if you were not writing in this one?
7. Where is your favourite place to write?
8. Who does your covers and do you have any input into the design?
The amazing Sam Gretton did the cover. I had some input but really only on themes and I especially wanted the colour gold to be a prominent part because...well the working title had the word Byzantine in it and when I was playing around with a pinterest the really outstanding note for Byzantium was gold! So I'm really glad we managed to get that in.
9. Who would be your ideal three dinner guests, alive or dead (and what would you serve)?
Dietrich Bonhoeffer - the priest who moved away from pacifism to be involved in the plot to assassinate Hitler.
Mary Douglas - the ground breaking anthropologist from Strauss' school of thought.
My late Anglo-Indian grandmother, Barbara. She was a proper genius and a force of nature and I'd love to have these three around the table to put the world to rights.
We would obviously eat some white asparagus for starter for Bonhoeffer followed by curried king prawns cooked by my nan.
Thank you for that Stewart, very interesting. And now...on to the Cover Reveal and the Blurb
Nowhere to run.
Nowhere to hide.
Yesterday, Amanda Back’s life was flawless: the perfect
social credit score, the perfect job, the perfect home.
Today, Amanda is a target, an enemy of the system
holding information dangerous enough to disrupt the
world’s all-consuming tech – a fugitive on the run.
But in a world where an un-hackable blockchain links
everyone and everything, there is nowhere to run…
About the Author
Stewart Hotston lives in Reading, UK. He loves pretty
much all fiction. Stewart spends his days working in
high finance and, in a completely unrelated subject,
he read for a PhD in Theoretical Physics, taking
great interest in philosophy, theology and economics
(some of those even involving additional academic
qualifications). He has previously been published
across more than a dozen different publishers of short
stories and his first two novels were published by
Alternative Realities. When Stewart is not writing or
working he’s also a world ranked swordsman in both
Rapier and Sidesword - for his troubles, he’s a senior
instructor at The School of the Sword.
For review copies and author interviews, please contact
Remy Njambi, PR & Marketing Coordinator
+44 (0)1865 792201 (ext. 320)
UK: 9781781087152 • May 2019 • £8.99
US: 9781781087169 • May 2019 • $11.99
Many thanks to Remy Njambi for giving me this opportunity
Monday 11 February 2019
|This was a strange one that I'm still trying to get my head around. The general idea is that the book is written by Richard Castle, who is one of the leads in the tv cop show Castle. In the show Castle is an author who is shadowing a police officer (Kate Becket) to see how she works and to use her for the basis of the cop in his novels (Nikki Heat). Together they solve crimes and eventually become an item.|
So, this story follows the same format only here the guy following Nikki Heat is Jameson Rook (and I'm slightly ashamed to say it took me too long to put Castle/Took together for the pun that it is). And there in lies the problem for me, although the story was enjoyable enough it felt like an episode of Castle but with everyone having different names.
As for the story itself, well, as I say, I quite enjoyed it. A gossip columnist is found murdered just as she was about to hand over her 'block buster' manuscript (that will put someone in a whole heap of trouble). There are a whole heap of celebrity types who could be tied in to the case and it's up to Heat and Castle, sorry Rook, and co. to solve the case and try not to get in too many scrapes.
Well enough written and keeps you guessing for a good while.
One thing I did like (just because it made me chuckle) - in the series, Castle, the character of Castle is played by Nathan Fillon and in this story there is a passing mention of two police officers called Malcolm and Reynolds. In Fillon's other Big Show, Firefly, he plays the character of...
Wait for it...
Thursday 7 February 2019
This time around it is the story of Djaga, an awesome pit fighter on the edge of retirement and looking forward to a life with her partner. Nothing is straightforward though and when a face from Djaga's past appears the story of how she became the person she is now is revealed.
This is a tale of love and loss, Gods and mortals and, ultimately, how far will you go when all you love is threatened.
To say this is only a novella it feels like there is a hell of a lot of story here. As always Beaulieu paints a wonderful world with his words. The desert city of Sharakai is almost a character in itself while the actual characters feel really alive, each with their own accents and ways.
And then there's the action sequences...and man does this guy know how to write 'em. Both the fighting in The Pits and the scenes in the desert (I'm really trying to avoid spoilers here so sorry if this is a bit vague) are about as visual as you can get on the written page.
Of you haven't read the Shattered Sands books yet I strongly advise you look them up and if you have then you probably don't need me to tell you to go pick up this one when it is published (not long now)
Tuesday 5 February 2019
As a general rule I usually enjoy this type of thriller but, of late I've found them to be a bit 'samey' - problem needs solving, along comes ex marine/special forces/super soldier to save the day and skunk off into the night after overcoming insurmountable odds. I enjoy them but am always hoping for that little 'thing' that might just make it stand out from the rest...They seldom do.
So, to the press release blurb that came with the book...
A missing troubled genius ✔
A disillusioned cop✔
Ruthless mercenaries ✔
A billion-dollar business that wants the world in its grip✔
A champion fighter. Betrayed and searching for the truth. ✔
CAMERON KING IS THE HUNTER
Ok, so far it seemed promising, time to open the book and see what the latest Jack Reacher clone was getting up to...
Well, was I in for a surprise. I never really thought about the hero, just read the name, made my conclusions and...was thrown a huge curveball. It turns out that this was the 'something different' I'd been looking for. As it turns out our hero, Cameron King...
I honestly never saw that coming. And what a hero she is too. She can kick ass with the best, is a full on action, no-holds-barred, pedal to the metal character who drags you right into the story and doesn't let go.
As for the story itself, well you get the drift from the blurb so I'll not dwell on that but I will say it is a powerhouse of a tale. The action kicks off more or less from the off and doesn't relent as the (cliché alert) pages fly by.
I got through this in two days (and a couple of late nights) then went back to it a couple of weeks later and took my time - both reads were extremely satisfying.
Andrew Reid is very good at what he does and that this is his debut thriller is quite a remarkable achievement. I will be eagerly awaiting further books by this author.
Also I rather hope someone will pick this up to turn it into a movie, it deserves it