My next thriller has won the Yeovil Literary Prize for novels. I was very pleased to attend the literary festival in that Somerset town and read an extract from the manuscript. FLEE will now be published by Bloodhound Books in October.
Suspense, mystery, peril: FLEE is the story of a young teacher’s desperate plan to rescue 27 orphaned children from the Nazis in the midst of war… just as a British saboteur arrives to destroy a target next to their hiding place. She’s highly persuasive and he faces the dilemma: obey orders or save the children.
Many thanks to all the readers on my e-mail message list who’ve volunteered to review the book . I’ll be in touch shortly.
Really happy with progress of my thriller EXIT DAY which came out last November. Pre-orders for the ebook on Amazon Kindle Store were very encouraging and the best-seller rankings also good:
Tenth for the category labelled Crime thriller mystery action and adventure and 16th for suspense..
Had a massive five-day giveaway on Amazon when I achieved second place in the rankings, and now sales have been progressing well at 99p.
The paperback sales also went well, especially during several book signings at various bookshops and at libraries.
Bookshops: Norwich, Ipswich, Bishop’s Stortford, Sudbury, Peterborough, Bury St Edmunds, Colchester, Chelmsford, Southend, Southwold. Libraries: Bury St Edmunds, Saxmundham, Newmarket, Lavenham. Last signing: Long Melford British Legion club on March 9th.
One of the many pleasures of writing is research. I’m studying the Suffragettes at present for a new novel (to follow FLEE) and one of my discoveries is a slim but fascinating volume by Stephen and Tanya Wynn on Women in the Great War. The cover picture really took my eye.
It gives a new insight into the era – not the usual grimness – but the joy and fun of women breaking out of Edwardian convention. I’m looking at a despatch rider in her new uniform, breeches and big boots. She loves the life. Goodbye long skirts.
For other intriguing titles – the latest are Churchill’s Flawed Decisions and Holocaust – see author website stephenwynne.co.uk.
Continuing the Churchill theme – war leader, benevolent imperialist, big spender, serious gambler, risk-taker, debtor, tax avoider. The many layers of this fascinating personality that spawned a thousand biographies, a giant who dwarfs the minnow leaders of today.
These were just some of the revealing insights to be gained at a highly entertaining Literary Festival in Lavenham, Suffolk. The Churchill discussion featured biographers David Lough (the money) and Laurence James (the empire). Better than any TV programme.
Some great warm-ups: Clare Mulley’s intriguing researches into two leading women aviators who flew for Hitler. Not just flyers but engineers and daredevil test pilots – like flying into barrage balloon cables with razor-cutting tips to their wings. You couldn’t make it up!
CLASH OF STORIES, CLASH OF HISTORY
Robert Harris made a huge publicity splash with the launch of his novel on Munich and the pre-war Appeasement crisis. But I’m glad to say my novel MUNICH The Man Who Said No! was already out there on Amazon.
What’s fascinating is that he’s trying to restore the tarnished reputation of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain – while I’m trashing it. Rival stories going head to head… a gulf in historical view… should get the juices flowing.
Britain 2019: An assassin stalks the Prime Minister about to sign the final Brexit deal. The country lurches from crisis to crisis as deadline midnight approaches on March 31st. Meanwhile journalist Harry Topp is chasing a spy at the heart of government… blissfully unaware he has a cuckoo in his nest.
RESEARCH FOR MY PILOT CHARACTER IN EXIT DAY
A friend, Tim Mobbs, gave me two flights and lots of wonderful detailed background information on piloting his bright-red Jodel, a light aircraft built to a French design by a group of enthusiasts in Germany in the Fifties. One of them had a clutch of “kills” in the war.
“Are you feeling brave?” he asked before we took off from a grass strip at Rougham, an old wartime airfield close to Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk. Fortunately, no-one with a machine-gun was on hand to intercept before we landed at another wartime airfield at Seething, Norfolk. Tim’s base is a very well appointed airfield with a tarmac runway, several hangars including aircraft turntables and workshops where he and a colleague are building brand new aircraft.
While there I spotted a somewhat sad-looking plane impounded by Customs following interception of a people smuggling operation.
Then we flew back again using a compass device on his mobile phone. I think I might just about have been able to manage straight and level and keeping her on course.
My next foray was to another grass strip airfield near a tiny village in Suffolk called Monewden (pronounced Monnydon) to see that wonderful old warbird the Tiger Moth, which had service right from the beginning of the last war.
Mike Webster and his colleagues flew over from Cambridge for an open day – in fact there were two Tigers, but the bright yellow version became the star attraction for the crowd.
Fascinating to see the props being swung for a start-up and the guys hanging on wingtips to help with sharp turns on the ground prior to take-off. And for me, lots more inside info, for which I’m deeply indebted.
THE GET OUTTA JAIL CARD?
What’s if feel like? That’s the question constantly asked by The Ghost in Robert Harris’s splendid novel of the same name. His character is a ghost writer quizzing his celebrity subjects, trying to get them to talk.
But the “what’s-it-feel-like” question is just as valid for an author to quiz his own character creations. This is the route to depth and authenticity. So, if one of my characters comes out of jail after a three-year stretch inside, what does the first glimpse of freedom feel like for him?
My question to Gerald Erle Roper in the Munich story. And short of a loquacious ex-con to hand, I went off to Wormwood Scrubs to walk the ground and try to get inside the head of Roper as he leaves the prison gateway. He steps through the arch, looks at the notice threatening dire retribution for anyone assisting a prison escape, then stares at the roadway – traffic buzzing up and down, the Tube rattling away just beyond and all those people rushing about while wrapped up in their daily lives. Ordinary lives, so unlike his own.
I won’t reprise the rest. It’s in the Munich novel. Suffice to say the details of the gateway, that iconic arch, have a fascinating history. Google it, you’ll be intrigued.