A second Crime Cymru blog post, and other bits and bobs

Full disclosure: this is a rewrite of the original posting, as I - fool of a Took that I am - managed to close the browser without saving the first version. Ah, well.

First things first. There’s a new blog post by me over at Crime Cymru; the post discusses using Welsh locations in fiction a little, and includes a tiny bit of a tease about a forthcoming Dan Matlock book following on from East of England.

Second, the crowdfunding for an East of England sequel - Canine Jubilee - continues over at Unbound Publishing. Please consider supporting the project if you can! In all fairness it’s going a little slower than East of England’s crowdfunding did, though that’s only to be expected. We’ll get there, one way or another. This is the last time I’ll crowdfund a book, so make the most of that alluring opportunity.

Third, blogging over at Benches of Llangollen is on hiatus until the beginning of June. Day-jobbery is taking up all the time and brain space at present, but there’ll be public seating shenanigans galore on a weekly basis from the first Tuesday in June onwards. Oh, and Benches of Louth is eminently available if you want a copy; those local to Louth in Lincolnshire should find paperback stock in at Mark Merrifield’s Off The Beaten Tracks record store.

Benches of Louth Ebook Cover DIGITAL.jpg

Fourth, micro-blogging on my ongoing reading and movie-watching continues at 255BookReview and 255Review respectively. Note that all the book reviews are mine, but only the movie reviews tagged with my name (that’s most of ‘em, to be fair) are mine, as this site is a collaborative effort.

Fifth, East of England is on offer on Kindle/ebook for 99p or thereabouts pretty much everywhere that sells electronic books, so avail yourself of bargainage while you can. The cheapest paperback option that I’m aware of is over at BooksEtc, where it’s less than £6 including delivery. The book’s been generally well-received, which is gratifying; if you’re able to leave a review or a star rating on the likes of Goodreads or at your book-buying site of choice, then that’d be most appreciated too!

East of England cover.jpg

Sixth, and slightly teasingly, there’ll be another Dan Matlock book sooner rather than later. This’ll fit between East of England and the crowdfunding Canine Jubilee and will hopefully fill the time nicely while the latter’s funding. I’ll say more about this in a few weeks’ time, but the intention is to deliver a novella-length Dan Matlock story that’ll be available towards the end of the year. In all probability this’ll be a self-publishing effort via Amazon. It’s got the working title Piece of Work.

That’s all for now

Thanks for reading

Eamonn

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Crime Cymru blog post: Canine Jubilee: crowdfunding and what it entails for the crime writer

I’ve contributed a blog post on the website for the Welsh crime writers’ collective Crime Cymru. The post talks through crowdfunding from a writer’s perspective. The post’s here.

Naturally, there’s mention of both East of England and its now-crowdfunding sequel Canine Jubilee!

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East of England blog tour round-up

Over the last two weeks, East of England’s been on a bit of a blog tour, and so it only makes sense to both thank all of those involved and to round up the various posts and reviews into a single posting. As you might imagine, it’s not easy for plucky underdogs like me to get reviews in the press, so every little helps, and that’s where the dedication of book bloggers comes into play.

So, thanks first and foremost both to my publishers Unbound and to book tour organiser extraordinaire Anne Cater. Thanks to each of the bloggers who took part too! In no particular order:

Cheryl MM - who said that East of England is “a clever tongue in cheek nod to the old gangster regimes, but with a small countryside flair to it”.

Novel DeeLights - who hosted a guest post by me; “10 Things You Didn’t Know About Me”.

Hayley’s Book Blog - Hayley reckoned that East of England was “near impossible to put down”.

Reflections Of A Reader - who said the book was “great” as well as “dark and brutal”.

Don Jimmy Reviews - who was good enough to host an excerpt from the novel.

Beady Jan’s Books - Jan was kind enough to host a second guest blog post from me, this time on writer characters in movies.

Over The Rainbow Book Blog - who said that East of England was a “gritty, gripping read”.

Anne Cater’s own Random Things Through My Letter Box - Anne kindly hosted a second excerpt from the novel.

The Writing Garnet - who said that East of England was “an impressive roller coaster ride of a novel that left me breathless”.

Check out the links above for the full reviews/posts. Huge thanks again to all who took part!

East of England is available here in paperback and ebook, and from all good online and real-world bookshops. Also, its forthcoming sequel Canine Jubilee is crowdfunding now, and can be supported here.

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Canine Jubilee - the sequel to East of England - now crowdfunding

The crowdfunding for Canine Jubilee, the sequel to my recent noir thriller East of England, is now up and running.

If anyone's interested in the book, then there's an offer code ENDOFFEB10 that'll get you 10% off, plus if you've got a copy of East of England, there's a further offer code that gives you £5 off this book. Go for it! Here’s a short video that explains a little more:

More details about the new book, including how to pledge to the project, can be found here.

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Blog tours and reviews

Hi all

Here’s the text of an update I posted over on Unbound’s site for East of England, though it makes sense to have it copied here too.

East of England has been out for a fortnight now, and most folk seem to like it, which is gratifying. If you've been able to leave a review already then thanks very much! If you haven't (or plain haven't got around to reading the book yet), then please consider leaving your thoughts - however brief - on Amazon, on Goodreads, and/or elsewhere on social media. For smaller publishers like Unbound, and for little fish in the writing pond like me, these things really matter, and can help get word of the book out to wider potential readerships. 

If you've not picked up a copy yet, then here's a chance for you!

The publishers have organised a blog tour - basically a sequenced run of interviews, extracts and reviews from crime fiction-oriented book bloggers - which starts tomorrow (Monday 11th Feb, as I'm writing this up on Sunday morning). I'll do what I can to promote this through the ten day run of this tour, but again, anything you can do support-wise (as well as reading what the different bloggers have got to say on the book) is both valuable and appreciated. 

East of England blog tour details

East of England blog tour details

Third, those who've read East of England will have seen (and maybe even read) the opening pages of a continuation novel - the second in a potential series - titled Canine Jubilee. That book again will be crowdfunded via Unbound, and there'll be some stuff coming out about that hopefully in the next few days. 

Fourth and finally, check out my brother Max's page for Field Notes - also being crowdfunded by Unbound - and consider backing the book. Details on that are here

That's everything for now. Thanks for the continued support!

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East of England hits the streets!

The book’s out. You know what to do. Read, review, repeat.

Buy for Valentine’s Day, Pancake Day, Easter, Mother’s and Father’s Day and so on and so forth.

Massive thanks to all who’ve helped with the crowdfunding, and with the book’s production. East of England is yours now. Have fun with it! And if you yet haven’t got a copy, try here for starters.

All sizes catered for.

All sizes catered for.


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East of England blog tour details

We’re going on a blog tour. My first, so hold my hand.

Thanks to Unbound for sorting this out in collaboration with Anne Cater of Random Things Through My Letter Box, whose organised the tour. The graphic is by Go Book Yourself. Thanks also to the book bloggers who’ve invited my into their corner of web-space!

East of England blog tour. Anne Cater/GoBookYourself

East of England blog tour. Anne Cater/GoBookYourself

There’ll be a mix of the bloggers’ reviews, some fresh material from me, and a couple of excerpts from East of England. The book’s out in paperback and ebook from January 24th. If you’re minded, you can read sample reviews from folk who’ve read the book before publication at Amazon and at Goodreads.

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New year, new thing: 255bookreview.com

For the last couple of years I’ve been collating capsule film reviews of every movie I’ve watched (since Feb 2017). It’s a collaborative exercise with a couple of former work colleagues that you can find over at 255review.com (my reviews are tagged “Eamonn”, straightforwardly enough).

It only takes a few minutes to put some brief thoughts together, plus it acts as a personal diary/reminder of what I’ve seen and not seen.

So I’ve decided to branch out from this and do the same for books. In the past I’ve played with the likes of Goodreads and book blogging. I did this a lot when immersed in post-grad study and had to keep tabs on my reading, but the 255 character format I’ve shifted into has the benefit of brevity, being able to fit into a single tweet, plus there’s something of a challenge to get capsule thoughts and a one-line book description together.

I’m also reminded of the value of reviews to other writers, so part of my thinking is that I can cross-post these to Amazon or wherever and pay a little back to the author that way.

I’ve made the decision not to use star ratings or grades out of ten, or anything like that. I’ll work also not to be negative where at all possible; a straightforward “Not for me” will suffice in pretty much most cases I’d have thought. These are, after all, opinions, not reviews as such.

Anyway. Here we go. The new site’s at 255bookreview.com. It’ll take time to get much in the way of content up there, but I’ll try to remember to cross-post links back here too.

In the meantime, East of England is out on 24th January, and can be bought in ebook and paperback here and from all good bookshops, real and virtual.

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East of England festive update

Hi all

Here's where we are with East of England. The book's done, I've approved the final artwork for the back cover, and the project's being sent to print. It'll be rolling through the presses shortly after the Christmas break.

That means that subscriber copies will be posted out mid-January in advance of the official launch of the book on the 24th, for those of you that have gone for paperback options. If you've got an ebook coming your way, then you'll also get an email from Unbound with instructions on how to download your copy. 

I'd hoped to have included a pic of the full back cover, not least because there's a couple of lovely quotes on there from two writers who have read East of England and claimed to have liked it very much indeed! When I've got something to show you, I'll let you have a sneak preview. 

For everyone else, the book’s out on 24th January.

If you want to read East of England before its release, then you can do that by subscribing (it's free) to the bookclub app The Pigeonhole, and signing up to their serialisation of the book; East of England will be released in 10 daily episodes starting 4th January. There's more details on that here

On the assumption that I don't darken your inbox again this side of 2019, then have a fine Christmas and New Year, and I'll see you on the other side of the festivities. 

Thanks!

Eamonn

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East of England is being serialised for free on The Pigeonhole

East of England is being serialised for free on the reading app and “global book club in your pocket” The Pigeonhole, starting on 4th January 2019.

If you’ve not heard of The Pigeonhole, this is what all of that means.

pigeonhole logo.jpg

The Pigeonhole is an app that you download to your phone (Android and Apple versions are available). Via the app you get access to a range of books to read for free. There are two main categories of books: new releases/premieres which are being previewed via The Pigeonhole, and which are available for a limited time only, and classics, which are available permanently.

The app releases a portion of the book in question every day (the app calls them “staves”, as a nod to Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, which uses the same word to divide its events). So, East of England will be made available in ten daily staves beginning January 4th. This gives the reader a handy daily chunk of the book ideal for commuting, lunch breaks, whiling away a spare half hour in a coffee shop, as a bedtime read and so on.

The app’s interactive, so readers are encouraged to comment on their reading as they go, chat with other app users, and generally make the book a social experience. All of this is entirely optional, by the way; you can either just read the book, or chat with others about it, or go on and write reviews and post them online. It’s up to you.

What’s in it for me as the writer? Well, it’s all about word of mouth, and about hopefully getting folk interested in East of England, having some reviews generated, and most importantly, getting reader feedback in more-or-less real time. I’ll be reading the book along with everyone who’s signed up to sample the book, and will do my best to answer questions along the way!

You can sign up at any time (the sooner the better really, as spaces will be limited to some degree) and the book will be on the site for a month after its release, so don’t think you have to keep up with the daily chunks if life gets in the way.

Here’s The Pigeonhole’s own explanation of who they are and what they do.

Here’s the sign-up page for East of England.

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East of England: cover reveal

Hi all

Here’s the cover for East of England:

East of England cover

East of England cover

Not bad, is it?


As I've mentioned before, the book's released on 24th January. At the time of writing, there's still a last-minute change to be a patron of the book via pledging to the project at the publisher's website. This closes on Monday 3rd December and is the absolute last opportunity to have your name immortalised in the book's credits. Get in while you can! 

East of England can be pre-ordered at all of the places that you can buy books from, both in ebook and in paperback. There's a list of links to East of England's page with a range of booksellers here

If you've already pledged to support the book, then your copy will arrive shortly before the 24th January. 

In a few days, I should be able to give details of a handful of book signings and the like...

Thanks for your support!

Eamonn

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East of England: a brief update

Hi all

Here's where we are with East of England

First, I've had a few proof copies printed up. These are for review and advance promotional purposes only, so that folk can sample the book in advance of publication (and hopefully garner a few supportive quotes for publicity use along the way). They turned up today, and I've posted the first few out, so hopefully, they'll get a positive response!

Second, East of England is now available to pre-order from all of the places that sell books and ebooks: 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/East-England-Eamonn-Griffin/dp/1789650143  
Books Etc: http://www.booksetc.co.uk/books/view/-9781789650143
Foyles: https://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/fiction-poetry/east-of-england,eamonn-griffin-9781789650143
Hive: https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Eamonn-Griffin/East-of-England/23300459
Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/east-of-england/eamonn-griffin/9781789650143
Wordery: https://wordery.com/eamonn-griffin-author

Plus your friendly neighbourhood independent bookshop too. Incidentally, buying through Hive - currently, the cheapest as they've got a pre-order offer on - supports your local bookshop, as a percentage of the sale goes to them.
  
That's it for now. Next stop, the cover (mid-December maybe). The book goes on sale on 24th January!
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East of England's publication date is ...

… 24th January 2019!

A few details here, plus another nudge to pre-order yourselves a copy or two, or even to get in on the pledging and be listed in the book as a patron while that’s still an option.

More information as it emerges, but book-wise, there’s now officially something to look forwards to in the doldrums of late January…

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East of England - update 17th July

Hi all!

Here's where we are with East of England. Those of you fine folk who have already pledged to the support the book should have received an email spelling out some of this, so apologies for any duplication. As noted in that email, Unbound break down their route to publication into ten stages:

  1. Funding target reached

  2. The final draft of the manuscript is delivered.

  3. The editor edits. And edits.

  4. Cover and artwork design begins.

  5. The copy editor reviews the manuscript for consistency.

  6. Typesetter formats manuscript for printing

  7. First proofs come back and are sent to the proofreader

  8. Final edits are made

  9. Artwork finalised

  10. Final proofs go to press

Where are we? We're at stage 3 of that process. I delivered the manuscript of the novel at the weekend (after two full drafts and what felt at the time like a thorough tidy-up), and it's now in the wildly-capable hands of its editor. Those who pledged to have their (or a loved one's) name featured in the novel have had the appropriate name included... 

There'll now be a period of to-and-fro between the editor and me, first on the overall structure of the book, and then on the writing at the level of paragraph, sentence and word. Basically, the editor acts as a critical friend / constructive critic to help ensure that East of England a) makes sense b) is great c) doesn't have any errors / mistakes / unwarranted weirdness in it.

This part of the process will take a few weeks, not least as it's summer and we'd all rather be outside making sandcastles and flicking towels at each other than being hunched over a laptop, grumbling at a manuscript.  

There'll be update emails from Unbound throughout the process to publication, and I'll do the same, hopefully explaining stuff along the way. 

In the meantime, writing on other stuff continues apace. I'd tell you more, but I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise. 

The pledges / pre-orders will remain open to let other fine folk get on board to receive the acclaim and glory that being a crowd-funder and an arts patron brings. So, if you either want to get copies for others, or simply like having multiple copies o the same book on your shelves, you can make those pre-orders here

Also, if you're so minded I thoroughly recommend pre-ordering (also from Unbound) my brother Maxim's book Field Notes

Thanks!

Eamonn

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East of England: now funded, thanks to you!

A catch-up post from the other day, as I've only now come to realise that I've not actually mentioned on here that East of England has reached its funding total, and is beginning its journey from manuscript to printed/digital book! Huge thanks to those who've supported its crowdfunding journey thus far. The actual crowdfunding page remains open for people to pre-order their preferred version of the book. You can find that link, inevitably, here. Pre-orders in this way will ensure that those who've supported the novel will have their names listed as patrons of the project in the book. So, if you wish to be immortalised in print in this way, get on board sooner rather than later. 

I'll keep folk updated through this blog and via emails both from Unbound's website and via my own mailing list (you can sign up to that here). In the meantime, I've got a quick redraft to do. This'll include adding in the names of those who very kindly selected higher-level pledges that bought their (or a loved one's) name to be added into the book, plus a general tidy-up and a clarification of a few plot points. Then, as they say, the hard work begins. Structural and line editing, typesetting and proofing, working towards agreeing on cover art and so on. The slow churn towards publication day. 

In the meantime, writing continues apace. There's every chance that East of England will be beaten into print by another book of mine, but I'll give details on that closer to the time, For now, though, thanks again! 

10 questions: Ivy Ngeow, author of Heart of Glass

As you are hopefully aware, I'm currently crowdfunding my new Lincolnshire-set thriller East of England through Unbound Publishing. And I'm not alone! So, I've asked a few fellow writers on Unbound's current roster to give a quick overview of their writing work, and the book they're crowdfunding themselves in a ten questions format. 

Today's guest is Ivy Ngeow, the author of Heart of Glass:

Ivy Ngeow.JPG

1.      Who are you and what’s your book about?

I am award-winning author Ivy Ngeow and my book Heart of Glass is a dark pacy tale about obsession, greed and music in 1980s Chicago and Macau.

2.      Why should folk read your book?

My book addresses the themes of the Reagan era which are greed and success. The protagonist is an American girl of Chinese origin. She is a young, uneducated, pretty, and naive musical genius who happens to be an immigrant to the USA. She is blinded by her desire for fame, success, love, everything. She is an antihero and this is a story of an underdog and underachiever with hopes, dreams and fantasies usually squashed by mainstream society and realities of life as an immigrant.

3.      What’s the appeal of your book?

Firstly, my book’s settings in the thrilling cities of Chicago and Macau in the 1980s, glittery towers of success held together by the economics at the time. Secondly, the hedonistic aspect of a lifestyle only driven by and for music and disco and thirdly, the characters who are all emigres eking out their living and their versions of success.

4.      Sounds great. Where/when can I get hold of a copy?

You can get pre-order a copy on Amazon for a discounted price now and it will be launched on 30 June 2018. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Heart-Glass-Ivy-Ngeow/dp/1911586645/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1529315722&sr=1-1&keywords=HEart+of+Glass+Ivy+Ngeow

5.      A typical writing day

I write in the morning for 40 minutes until no more words drip out. If more come, I do another 40 minutes. I am a slow writer. I cannot bang out 20,000 words in 20 hours.

6.      Pick one book about writing. What is it and why have you chosen it?

I pick Creative Writing – A Practical Guide by Julia Casterton. (MacMillan, 1986). This is quite an old book but still very relevant. From time to time I have to refer to it. This book is written like a manual and for those who already suspect they cannot live without writing. It is so slim and yet it goes through all the tenets of writing – why we need to do it, what is a short story, what is an adjective or abstract noun. Everything is covered in its 96 pages. It has no beating about the bush fantasy or quotes to inspire you. There is nothing inspiring. You’re supposed to be inspired already because you fancy yourself as a writer. This is just about writing. The reason why it is so thin is because you should not really be reading it, you should be writing.

7.      Pick three books that have influenced or inspired you as a writer.

I pick Lolita by Nabokov, The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter and Wild Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys.

8.      Pick three desert island books – works you couldn’t live without

I have to pick things I love rather than need or want, because on a desert island you could die any minute anyway.

All that Man is by David Szalay

Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan

Therese Raquin by Emile Zola

Yes, they are all European. I do prefer misery lit, where everybody’s mad, bad, sad or all three).

9.      Any words of writing wisdom?

Read, read, read. Write, write, write. Do all six. No shortcuts.

10.  Let’s make a movie of your book. Give me the high-concept pitch.

Watch the book trailer here: https://youtu.be/nRDowKLhuW0

Everything is in the 58 seconds. It is the thrilling evil four Ds: dark, disturbing, drugs, dance music. It’s a heist gone wrong, it’s Chinatown, it’s immigrants, greed and guilt. It’s the 1980s.

HOG_FRONT_preview.jpeg

Social media links:

Website/blog: writengeow.com

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Heart-Glass-Ivy-Ngeow/dp/1911586645/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1529315722&sr=1-1&keywords=HEart+of+Glass+Ivy+Ngeow

YouTube: https://youtu.be/nRDowKLhuW0

Twitter: @ivyngeow

Instagram: @ivyngeow

Tags and keywords: #HeartofGlass #1980s #Chicago #Macau #Chinatown #heist #thriller #disco #music #culture #diversity

Email: ivy_ngeow at yahoo dot com

Thanks very much to Ivy for joining in. Hopefully you're intrigued by Heart of Glass and you'll pick up a copy soon!

In the meantime, check out my own East of England, which shares some similarities with Heart of Glass.  

10 questions: Eamonn Griffin, author of East of England

It only occurred some time after knocking up this questionnaire format for fellow Unbound authors to maybe apply it to myself. Trust me, this website isn't a brains type of operation. Anyway, for good or ill, here's the skinny on me and my forthcoming noir-ish thriller East of England.

The artwork shown here isn't official material for the book, but was done as a favour by my younger brother Maxim - information about his own crowdfunding project Field Notes may be found here

EoE cover concept 1.jpg

1. Who are you and what’s your book about?

Strangely enough, I’m Eamonn Griffin, and my novel East of England is a noir-ish thriller set over five consecutive days in Lincolnshire. Dan Matlock is released from prison after serving a couple of years inside. He’d like to go away and to start a new life somewhere else, but when his elderly father isn’t there to greet him on the outside as promised, he knows that there’s something wrong, so he’s compelled to return to his hometown to find out what’s gone awry.

2. Why should folk read your book?

Because it’s great! Because it’s fast and dark and violent in places, and about family and honour and revenge and inevitability. About immovable objects and irresistible forces, and about the weirdness that lurks under the surface of rural communities.

3. What’s the appeal of your book?

Well, East of England is very influenced by US pulp writers of noir crime fiction. I like writers such as Joe R Lansdale, Michael Connelly, and Lawrence Block, each of whom have been something of an influence. So there’s something of the American noir thriller but displaced into eastern England – the book’s set in a slightly-fictionalised version of Lincolnshire – and there’s also something of the kinds of books that people like Ted Lewis, who wrote Jack’s Return Home, the basis of the Michael Caine movie Get Carter (and the two other film versions that are out there) used to write. It’s very much a British take on an American model, and hopefully, there’s some appeal in that for readers.   
 

4. Sounds great! Where/when can I get hold of a copy? 

Well, as of the time of writing – late June 2018 – the project is coming to the end of its crowdfunding journey, so there’s still time to back the book and to become a patron of the project. Folk can do that here: unbound.com/books/east-of-england/ - the book should be funded by 4th July 2018, after which there’ll be the chance to pre-order through the same link. It’s up to the publishers quite when the book will hit the shelves and people’s e-readers of choice, but a best guess right now would be very early 2019.   

5. Describe a typical writing day, or at least a typical day with some writing in it:

When I’m first-drafting, I aim for 1000 words per writing day. I like to write fairly quickly, as I think the speed of getting ideas and action onto the page communicates to the reader. As I’m a freelance writer full-time, the creative work has to fold around the other paid work that I do. Ideally, I’ll do other work from 8am to 2pm, then work on the current novel from 2pm till 4pm.   

6. Pick one book about writing. What it is and why have you chosen it?

I’m going to cheat slightly and opt for two. The first is Writing A Novel by Nigel Watts. This is something of a classic of the writing advice genre, and perhaps the best pound-for-pound how-to book there is. If you can, get an older copy as the book's been reissued several times with additions by others after Watts’ death, and for my money these editions aren't as effective as supports for beginning writers. It’s very much about the mechanics of story, rather than the inspirational kind of writing book, such as Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, so bear that in mind, but it’s a very useful book to have.

The second book is On Writing by Stephen King. It’s part autobiography, and part writing advice non-fiction; the former is absolutely necessary to understand the latter half. I’m recommending this because of the audio-book, narrated by King; the personal connection that this gives is very effective. It’s well worth your time.    

If I had to pick a third (I'm a bit nerdy about this sort of thing) I'd go for Into The Woods by John Yorke, which is a great book about story structure, and which contains pretty much everything you need to know on the subject. Then again, you could pay due respect to the classics and pick up a copy of Poetics by Aristotle, which covers the same territory. And so on. I've read an awful lot of these kinds of books, and while there are loads that say good things, there's no one perfect book out there. You have to synthesise your own from your reading and your writing experiences.  

7. Pick three books that have influenced or inspired you as a writer:

Blimey. It’s times like this that I wish I’d thought in more detail about the questions that I’d set for other people to answer! There’s a hundred or more, I’m sure, but here’s three to be going on with:

Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel – Wolf Hall is great, but the sequel is better. A storming thriller, a fine slice of whatever “literary fiction” is, and a marvellous dramatization of well-known history. An object lesson in the old saying that it's not the story, but the storyteller...

The Emperor’s Spy by MC (Manda) Scott – the first of Scott’s Rome series is a wonderful historical thriller as well as a sly commentary on contemporary politics and the follies of organised religion and fundamentalism. 

Freezer Burn by Joe R Lansdale – Lansdale is the real deal, a great writer of Texas-set westerns, horror, SF, semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novels, and thrillers, with a fine ear for dialogue and a knack for the absurd. This is one of his weirder creations, the story of a criminal on the run who hides out in a travelling fair because of bee-stings so bad he can pass for a sideshow attraction, and who gets into way more trouble than he could have ever done if he’d just surrendered himself to the law.  

8. Pick three desert island books - works you couldn’t live without:

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco – my favourite book of all time, and one I re-read every couple of years.

Fletch by Gregory McDonald – perhaps the funniest thriller ever written.

Red Dragon by Thomas Harris – forget the movie versions, this is the real thing. Perhaps the most influential thriller of the last 40 years. Absolutely indispensable.

9. Any words of writing wisdom?

In a previous life I taught creative writing in a college context, so in some ways I’ve already covered this to my heart’s content. However, there’s three things I will say:

a) Learn how your word-processing software works. Your laptop is your primary tool, so be comfortable with it. Writers’ needs here are few, so learn how to use the tool you’re using. It doesn’t take long, but it’ll save so much time in the long run. It's bewildering how many people who profess to want to write don't consider the tool they use.

b) Recognise your mistakes, and learn from them. Many’s the student who made themselves willfully blind to easily-rectifiable errors, through a combination of arrogance and ignorance. Try not to be that person.

c) Don’t have any expectations. If you’re going to write, do so because you like the activity for its own pleasures. No-one owes you anything.    

10. Let’s make a movie of your book. Give me the high-concept pitch:

A man missing. A debt due. Dan Matlock has had two years to plan revenge, but so have the forces being levelled against him. This won’t end well.

Social media contacts:

Twitter: twitter.com/eamonngriffin (@eamonngriffin)

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eamonngriffinwriting/

Unbound URL: unbound.com/books/east-of-england/

Previous publications:

Juggernaut: A Sequel to Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Torc

The Prospect of This City

So, big thanks to me for contributing these answers to my own questionnaire! Hopefully East of England sounds of interest to you, and you'll consider backing the book if you haven't already done so.   

10 questions: Maxim Peter Griffin, author/artist of Field Notes

As you know, I'm currently crowdfunding my new novel East of England through Unbound Publishing. And I'm not alone! So, I've asked a few fellow writers on Unbound's current roster to give a quick overview of their writing work, and the book they're crowdfunding themselves in a ten questions format. 

Today's 10 questions is a little different, if only that the subject is a brother of mine who's also currently crowdfunding via Unbound. Here's Maxim to explain a little more: 

1. Who are you and what’s your book about?

My name is Maxim Peter Griffin. I draw.

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What the book is about is a tricky one – on one level it’s a nice book of drawings of Lincolnshire with some bits of writing about the countryside. On another it’s about the ghost mammoths and Brexit and stellar death and Doggerland.

Half-haikus about flint – big stuff across a landmass – being simultaneously huge and tiny in the face of cosmic indifference and the Jolly Fisherman

Field Notes is sometimes really mournful ( there’s a lot to mourn ), sometimes full of idiot glee –

2. Why should folk read your book?

It doesn’t matter if they do or don’t, really –

Field Notes is beyond the point of failure already, 95% of what is in the book has already occurred, been drawn or walked or what have you – I’ve had my nourishment  … a large part of making these experiences and actions into a book is an administrative procedure… a fun one, mind you

3. What’s the appeal of your book? 

Field Notes is wild. Wilder. Often rather fucking livid. But full of marshes – that’s what people like isn’t it? angry marshes?

4. Sounds great! Where/when can I get hold of a copy? 

Soon enough, after the hurly-burly of crowdfunding is done.

5. Describe a typical writing day, or at least a typical day with some writing in it:

5 am – dogs out

6 am – back with dogs

Make notes after walk

Drawing between 9 and noon

Later – when house is quiet, make more notes – maybe type them up to see how they look.

[Question 6 - the one about books about writing - went unanswered]

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7. Pick three books that have influenced or inspired you as a writer:

Mr Palomar by I. Calvino

Haunted Houses by E. Maple and L. Myring

The Mound People by P.V Glob

8. Pick three desert island books - works you couldn’t live without:

I’ll have a really sweet atlas please.

maybe Seven Pillars of Wisdom or the old Penguin Book of Welsh Verse

and my copy of Wind in the Willows ( no other editions thanks )

9. Any words of writing wisdom?

Read. Look. Listen. Walk. Cook.

Keep dated notes on everything.

Don’t be an Artist, never go on a Journey.

10. Let’s make a movie of your book. Give me the high-concept pitch:

Mad Max 2 but on foot near Mablethorpe and the anti-hero is his own Humungus – filmed on VHS

Get Werner Herzog to direct. Or Alex Cox. Werner Cox/Alex Herzog

Soundtracked by quarter speed Lark Ascending played on mellotron

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Social media contacts: @maximpetergriff

Unbound URL: https://unbound.com/books/field-notes/ 

Huge thanks to Max for playing along. Field Notes is great - I've seen some more of the work in progress, and naturally, I've backed the project myself - it comes at you like a mix of Raymond Briggs and AW Wainwright. Who can resist that kind of combination? Surely not you, which is why you feel irresistibly drawn towards pledging ...