Posted in Blog Tour

Lie In Wait – G.J. Minett #BlogTour #Author Post

Lie In Wait

On 9 March 2017 Lie In Wait by G.J. Minett is being published as a paperback and looking inside the front cover I can see that I’m not the only reader to heap praise on this novel

lie-in-wait-inside-cover

So I was thrilled to be asked to kick off the blog tour to celebrate the paperback publication especially as the author was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule, which includes submitting book three to the publishers, to write this exclusive post about writing characters!

Writing Characters

All authors have to choose a starting point that works for them and for me it’s the central character. That doesn’t mean to say that potential plots don’t occur to me from time to time – they do, and I tend to shut them away for future reference because until I have a character I want to work with, there is no story to tell. Once I do, I can then look for that character’s Achilles heel and choose a situation that is going to test her/him to the limit. But it’s character first.

In The Hidden Legacy, Ellen sprang out of an exercise we did for the MA in Creative Writing at the University of Chichester. We were given a comprehensive checklist which we had to use to ask our character questions ranging from which newspaper she read to what her deepest fear would be. I took ages over fleshing her out and carried her around with me for months, even asking myself how she would react to news items on TV. Not far off schizophrenic maybe but very useful for getting to know your character.

In Lie In Wait Owen was a composite of a handful of children I’ve taught over the years who seem to have the words ‘natural victim’ stamped into their psyche. Very often they are different but they are made more so by the reaction of those around them who exclude them from everything.

Writing is not just about central characters though and I’ve come up with three tips which work for me when developing the cast of supporting actors who help to bring the novel to life. In no particular order they are:

• Avoid extremes if possible. Not many people are without flaws and no one I’ve met is entirely without redeeming features. Try to make sure you throw in a few little surprises which show a different side to your characters or there’s a danger they’ll be too wooden and stereotypical to be interesting. It’s always better to challenge the reader’s expectations.

• Get the dialogue right. We all speak slightly differently from each other with a variety of hesitations, digressions, favourite expressions that, you know, we seem to kind of throw in every other sentence . . . basically. Know what I mean? Listen to people around you, borrow extensively from them. In an ideal world, it should be possible for a reader to listen to a dozen or so examples of speech from one character in your novel and know exactly who it is without being told. And the listening part is important too – try taping an extended piece of dialogue you’ve created and playing it back to see what it sounds like. If it clunks, change it.

• Test your characters. You won’t want (or have time) to do this with all of them but with half a dozen or so who appear relatively frequently, try to come up with a situation which will put them under pressure and bring out a different side to them. Characters when pressurised behave in ways that surprise us and readers tend to like being caught on the hop. At any social gathering, I don’t suppose I’m very different from anyone else in seeking out the individuals who are interesting, entertaining and informative and readers are the same. If we can make a character that little bit more interesting, we’re winning the battle for the their attention.

I did say these work for me. It doesn’t mean they will for everyone but if there’s even one small suggestion there that helps, I’ll be delighted.

Many thanks to Cleo as usual for the opportunity.

Thank you Graham, and one of the things I’ve loved most about both books is how realistic the characters are, for me it is the mixture of redeeming, and not so redeeming qualities which tends to convince me but I can see that by employing all of those tips, there is nothing to doubt about how life-like a character is.

gj-minett-author-pic

G.J. Minett’s first book A Hidden Legacy was published by Twenty7 Books then a new imprint of Bonnier Publishing, specialising in debut fiction from every genre. They are incredibly passionate about supporting the best new authors and finding innovative ways of bringing their books to readers across the world.

Lie In Wait
has been published by Bonnier and has already amassed an impressive quantity of five star reviews on Amazon.

You can visit Graham’s author page on Facebook at G.J.Minett author or on Twitter @GJMinett

Lie in Wait

Synopsis

A man is dead. A woman is missing. And the police have already found their prime suspect…

Owen Hall drives into a petrol station to let his passenger use the facilities. She never comes back – and what’s more, it seems she never even made it inside.

When Owen raises a fuss, the police are called – and soon identify Owen himself as a possible culprit – not least because they already have him in the frame for another more sinister crime.

Owen’s always been a little different, and before long others in the community are baying for his blood. But this is a case where nothing is as it seems – least of all Owen Hall…

A dark, addictive thriller, ingeniously plotted with a twist that will make you gasp, LIE IN WAIT is perfect for readers of Angela Marsons or Rachel Abbott. Amazon

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Lie In Wait – G.J. Minett

Psychological Thriller 5*s
Crime Thriller
5*s

There are times when I’m reading that I just know that I’m in a pair of safe hands and this is exactly what I felt when I opened the first page of Lie In Wait. That despite not really knowing at the start what this book was going to be about, I could immediately tell though, that this was a different type of book to this author’s debut novel The Hidden Legacy, despite sharing some of the same themes.

The book opens with Owen, our protagonist, clearly a young man who struggles with the social side of life, but is exceptionally good with numbers. Owen has met up with one of his fellow students from the days before he was removed from secondary school to be home-schooled by his mother. As I said, luckily I felt I was in a pair of safe hands because this tale doesn’t go in the same direction as you might expect from such a character. Yes the book is about Owen but there is a whole cast of others that all have pasts and presents that are full of colour and surprises.

Without giving too much away Owen is hired by his old schoolmate Abi to redesign her garden and it is Abi who is the main link to the web of characters that flesh out the storyline. Abi is married to her childhood sweetheart, Callum who is a highly professional networker, hence the ready funds to use on a fancy garden. But there is a twist, Callum and Owen have their own history and the discord runs deep. Despite being successful in his own right Callum appears slightly put out in the change in Owen in the intervening years now he is a tall, well-built owner of his own gardening business.

At its heart there is a straightforward mystery, someone is dead and the police are looking to find out who caused the death. Surrounding this obvious crime there are many smaller crimes being committed, with some dastardly characters some with good intentions, many not so. The reader meets diverse characters such as security guards in the local shopping centre, policemen and friends of the main characters. What you can be sure of is that all of these characters matter to the plot in one way or another, no pointless filling for this author! Each of the chapters is headed with the name of the character narrating and the time period that it covers – yes it is one of those books that keep you on your toes switching not only character but time period. Thankfully the author has managed to give each of the narrators a very distinctive voice so despite the complexity of construction, following the plot as a reader is easy.

The switch in characters definitely kept me hooked particularly when the author tantalisingly ends a chapter with a revelation that you just know is going to have massive consequences and then the time period switches away from that particular cliff-hanger to provide a separate clue or maybe a red-herring to excite you. But what makes this novel so particularly clever, is that yet again G.J. Minett has produced a book that isn’t all action, rather it is has the essence of a psychological thriller in the purest sense. Not everything is spelt out for the reader but as information is revealed be it directly or ‘between the lines’ the reader is invited to think about the background to some of the characters and really evaluate why they behave the way they do.

It is important to me to have a sense of not only the time and the characters but of place. This book is set around Chichester, not a place I’ve been, but I didn’t for a moment doubt that this place exists; with its fancy houses and back alleys, the busy road and its retail park as well as the cinema where Owen treats himself to a solitary film and the fish and chip shop, where he buys his treat for afterwards. is all evocatively described I can believe I’ve visited, more than once.

I’ll be honest there are some parts of the plot which seemed to stretch my credulity, if not to the limit, at least to ‘ooh that’s a bit tight’ point, but by this time I was invested in the story, I wanted to know what happened because like the characters or despise them, they had all become important to me. After all this is what good storytelling is all about!

All in all this was a deeply satisfying read which has real depth to it which despite a complex plot which has been thought out to the nth degree it is an easy and enjoyable read. As an aside the construction of this novel would lend itself very nicely for TV, I would watch it even now I know what happens at the end!!

I received an advance copy of this book from the publishers Bonnier Zaffre, and this review is my unbiased thanks to them and the author for a superb read. Lie In Wait will be published in eBook format on 25 August 2016 with the paperback coming out in November 2016.

Published UK eBook: 25 August 2016
Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre
No of Pages: 400
Genre: Crime Thriller
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (August 10)

This Week In Books

Lypsyy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

At the moment I’m reading Lie In Wait by G.J. Minett which is out in eBook format on 25 August 2016.

Lie In Wait

Blurb

Owen Hall has always been different. A big man with an unusual fixation, one who prefers to put his trust in number patterns rather than in people, it’s unsurprising that he’d draw the attention of a bully.
Or a murder investigation.
And, in the storm of emotions and accusations that erupts when a violent killing affects a small community, it soon becomes clear that a particularly clever murderer might just get away with it.
All they’d need is a likely suspect . . . Goodreads

That was after I finished Did She Kill Him?: A Victorian Tale of Deception, Adultery, and Arsenic by Kate Colquhoun

Did She Kill Him

Blurb

In the summer of 1889, young Southern belle Florence Maybrick stood trial for the alleged arsenic poisoning of her much older husband, Liverpool cotton merchant James Maybrick.
‘The Maybrick Mystery’ had all the makings of a sensation: a pretty, flirtatious young girl; resentful, gossiping servants; rumours of gambling and debt; and torrid mutual infidelity. The case cracked the varnish of Victorian respectability, shocking and exciting the public in equal measure as they clambered to read the latest revelations of Florence’s past and glimpse her likeness in Madame Tussaud’s.
Florence’s fate was fiercely debated in the courtroom, on the front pages of the newspapers and in parlours and backyards across the country. Did she poison her husband? Was her previous infidelity proof of murderous intentions? Was James’ own habit of self-medicating to blame for his demise?
Historian Kate Colquhoun recounts an utterly absorbing tale of addiction, deception and adultery that keeps you asking to the very last page, did she kill him? Goodreads

You can read my review of Did She Kill Him? here

Next I am going to be reading You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz, a psychological thriller about a marriage counsellor who doesn’t know where her husband is or what he may have done!

You Should Have Known

See yesterday’s post for the synopsis and an excerpt from this book

What are you reading this week? Please share in the comments envelope below.

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (August 7)

Weekly Wrap Up

Nothing exciting to report from the ranch this week all fairly normal except I managed to smash my phone’s screen which resulted in it having to be fixed – this in turn meant that I was around less on social media than normal this week. But it’s all better now and normal life can resume once more.

Last Week on the Blog

On the blog last week I posted a review one of my favourite reads of the year so far; I See You by Clare Mackintosh meaning that with two five-star reads under her belt that she is now firmly on my ‘must-read’ list of authors. As in her first book, her twelve years in the police force, including a stint in CID adds to the realism of what was a very creepy book, albeit one with a beautiful cover!

My opening paragraph on Tuesday was from the Queen of Crime; Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, the review of this book was posted later in the same week!

Wednesday’s post featured the books I am reading this week, sadly I didn’t take to Eleanor Catton’s The Rehearsal at all and it is a DNF. It is a long time since I have tossed a book aside, I fear I wasn’t in the mood for the arty language and after struggling through the first few chapters have put this aside. I’m a bit disappointed as this was one of my 20 Books of Summer but since I was never going to get to number 20 anyway…

Following my review of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd the poll indicates that my readers favourite Agatha Christie novel is Murder on the Orient Express!

Friday found me talking/rambling about the fact that the end of a book is so important and yet, in order to avoid spoiling the book for other readers, is something I rarely emphasise in my reviews. I then went on to discuss the end of series which the common method for finishing seems to be the death of the protagonist.

Yesterday had me posting my review of Rat Run by Caro Ramsay a police procedural set in Scotland (I do seem to have read a far few Scottish crime novels lately) which has a definite bite to it!

Stacking the Shelves

I was contacted by Bonnier Zaffre to ask if I would like to read G.J. Minett’s second book Lie In Wait. This man’s debut novel The Hidden Legacy was an outstanding read, so after thinking for a millisecond, I swiftly said ‘yes please’ Lie In Wait will be published in eBook format on 25 August 2016.

Lie In Wait

Blurb

Owen Hall has always been different. A big man with an unusual fixation, one who prefers to put his trust in number patterns rather than in people, it’s unsurprising that he’d draw the attention of a bully.
Or a murder investigation.
And, in the storm of emotions and accusations that erupts when a violent killing affects a small community, it soon becomes clear that a particularly clever murderer might just get away with it. NetGalley
All they’d need is a likely suspect . . .

And Fiction Fan kindly let me know  that I’d missed the announcement of the Agatha Christie Blogathon organised by Christina Wehner for 16 to 18 September 2016. It is no secret that I am a huge fan of this author but the re-reads I have been doing over the last couple of years have always been the Poirot books, or standalones because I wasn’t a fan of Miss Marple. I am now biting the bullet and giving Miss Marple a chance, and to be scrupulously fair I researched to see what other readers thought the best one was. I am going to read and review The Murder at the Vicarage but of course in order to do so, I needed a copy of the book!

The Murder at the Vicarage

Blurb

Agatha Christie’s first ever Miss Marple mystery, reissued with a striking cover designed to appeal to the latest generation of Agatha Christie fans and book lovers.
’Anyone who murdered Colonel Protheroe,’ declared the parson, brandishing a carving knife above a joint of roast beef, ‘would be doing the world at large a service!’
It was a careless remark for a man of the cloth. And one which was to come back and haunt the clergyman just a few hours later. From seven potential murderers, Miss Marple must seek out the suspect who has both motive and opportunity. Amazon

So that’s me, what have you found to read this week?

PicMonkey Collage TBR

TBR WATCH
Since my last post I have read 3 books, discarded 1 and gained 2 so the total this week is now standing at 174 books!
87 physical books
68 e-books
19 books on NetGalley