THE THING ITSELF OUT NOW IN PAPERBACK

FEBRUARY 2013

Busy times with the Brighton series. The second of the trilogy is just out in France as LE DERNIER ROI DE BRIGHTON and my terrific translator, Jean-Rene Dastugue, is working on the third, THE THING ITSELF, for publication later this year. THE THING ITSELF has just come out in paperback here. The fourth in the series, THE DEVIL'S MOON, comes out in the UK in May and the US in the summer.

"LE DERNIER ROI DE BRIGHTON"

PUBLISHED IN FRANCE IN JANUARY 2013

Just before Christmas I heard from my brilliant French translator, JEAN-RENE DASTUGUE, that THE LAST KING OF BRIGHTON will be published in France by LE ROUERGUE in January 2013. Exciting start to the year!

THE NEXT BIG THING

TEN QUESTIONS IN TEN MINUTES

Rosanna Ley (www.rosannaley.co.uk), brilliant best-selling author of “The Villa” invited me to be part of the Next Big Thing, a phenomenon which is expanding exponentially to take over the world. The deal is that I answer the following questions about my writing then recommend five other authors who also answer the questions and they in turn recommend five other authors, who…you see how quickly this is heading for global saturation? My recommendations are at the end of this post.

 1) What is the working title of your next book?

The Devil’s Moon is the final title. The working title was The Devil’s Dyke, then The Devil’s Altar.

 2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

A winter hike across the Devil’s Dyke with a break at the medieval Saddlescombe Farm; the discovery of a first edition of Aleister Crowley’s dire novel, “Moonchild”, with a long inscription in it, written in Paris; seeing a painting of flowers in the Brighton Museum and wondering why the artist, Gluck, titled it “The Devil’s Altar”.

 3) What genre does your book fall under?

Crime with a supernatural theme.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

I’d prefer unknown actors but let’s say a younger Tom Hollander for my new character, pocket policeman Bellamy Heap; a younger Lesley Sharp for DI Sarah Gilchrist; a younger Liam Neeson for Bob Watts; an older Michael Fassbender for Jimmy Tingley; a younger Elizabeth Moss - Peggy in Mad Men - for Kate Simpson.

5) What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

That old black magic has Brighton in its spell…

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? It will not be self-published (though I have self-published my novella, The Belgian and The Beekeeper). It will be published by Severn House in Britain and the US and, in due course, in translation by Le Rouergue in France.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Six months longer than it should have because halfway through I almost totally changed the plot.

 8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

In some ways it is the flipside of my Millennial comic crime novel, A Ghost of A Chance. Although a mystery about Knights Templar features it is not a Dan Brown clone in any way.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

See above – “Where did the idea come from?” Add in that I wanted to provide employment for characters who have been twiddling their thumbs since the end of my Brighton trilogy.

 10) What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

If your idea of a good time is fish falling from the sky (a lot of fish); a Wicker Man burning on the shoreline of Brighton; and a (genuine) major mystery about what happened to the Knights Templar in Sussex in the then this is for you. Plus The Great Beast, Aleister Crowley, alongside Ian Fleming and Dennis Wheatley, carrying out magic ceremonies on the Downs at the start of World War II to defend Britain from the Nazis…

And I’m passing the baton(s) to four fine writers (in no particular order). I hoped my fifth would be that fine Western writer, MIKE STOTTER (www.mikestotter.com) but he was AWOL when the deadline arrived. Here are my other four:

LYNN SHEPHERD (www.lynn-shepherd.com) - her new Dickension mystery, “Tom-All-Alone’s”, is the cat’s pajamas.

RUSSELL JAMES (russelljamesbooks.wordpress.com) - the Godfather of British Noir has been writing some terrific historical works of late, such as his new one, “The Exhibitionists”.

BARRY FORSHAW (www.crimetime.com) - his range of knowledge about crime fiction on the page and the screen is without equal. Check out his “British Crime Film” for an outstanding, page-turning account of the best of British cinema.

ALEX GRAY (www.alex-gray.com) - her tough Glasgow series featuring DI Lorimer has long been a must-read. The latest “A Pound of Flesh” is maybe her best yet.

THE THING ITSELF "ONE OF BEST MYSTERIES OF 2012"

KIRKUS REVIEW

Esteemed US literary magazine, Kirkus Review, has declared "The Thing Itself" to be one of their Best Mysteries of 2012. Who am I to disagree?

ROGER MOORE at CHELTENHAM

SATURDAY 6 OCTOBER 2012

I had a great time interviewing SIR ROGER MOORE as my first event in Cheltenham. What a nice guy he was both on-stage and back-stage. I tried to avoid questions he'd been asked before. Given the media blitz around him in the couple of years since his autobiography came out I thought that was going to be impossible but, in fact, in the course of the conversation I managed to steer him into areas he hadn't much covered before. Trying out as a stand-up comic in Wales, for example.

He was great. The audience, I think, loved it and the biggest laugh he got demonstrated that even at 84 years of age he still has a quick wit. Someone in the audience asked him what he thought of GRACE JONES, who had been his co-star in A VIEW TO A KILL. "Now I deliberately didn't ask that question," I said (knowing from my research he clearly loathes the woman but won't expand on the reasons why). Quick as a flash MOORE said: "And I deliberately didn't hear it" and we moved straight on to the next audience question. Okay, maybe you needed to be there but, trust me, he brought the house down.

Check out other things I got him to discuss here:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/celebritynews/9591822/Sir-Roger-Moore-calls-Queens-James-Bond-performance-marvellous.html

ROPETACKLE AND BLOODY SCOTLAND

25 SEPTEMBER & 14-16 SEPTEMBER

In rainy, windswept, beautiful Shoreham last night for a crime evening with two new authors, MARK PATTERSON & SARAH SHERIDAN. Except Sarah couldn't make it down from Scotland because of rail disruption so Mark and I talked about our respective Brighton books. Mark's a welcome addition to the crimewriting world. The event was part of the Shoreham Festival and had been organised by Paul and Inge of the remarkable independent bookshop, City Books - and a great job they did. It was also good to see a few long-time supporters of Brighton Book Festival from back in the days when I was its director.

Sarah Sheridan was missed - but I also missed her at the inaugural Bloody Scotland in Stirling a couple of weekends ago. She was there, I just never saw her. But then I was too busy having a great time at a fantastically well organised crime fiction festival. My friend DAVID STUART DAVIES was a rousing toastmaster at a Sherlock Holmes dinner; KARIN FOSSUM & VAL McDERMID made a great double act on stage with me (KARIN looks weirdly like a younger Ruth Rendell); and QUINT JARDINE and ANNE PERRY, whilst seeming an odd pairing, bounced off each other really well. And the old town in Stirling is fab - though I was a bit disconcerted by the statue of WIlliam Wallace that makes him look like a Hobbit.

WHO'S RILEY?

THE FRENCH TRANSLATION OF THE LAST KING OF BRIGHTON

My NICK MADRID novels haven't yet got translated because, according to my first agent, English humour doesn't travel.

THE BRIGHTON TRILOGY is much darker but there is still humour in it - and it's proving untranslatable. The Life of Riley is not a phrase known in France so an exchange in THE LAST KING OF BRIGHTON about Riley wanting his life back has understandably thrown even my brilliant translator, Jean-Rene Dastugue. (There should be an acute accent on the last "e" of Rene but I can't figure out how to do it - apologies Jean-Rene.)

So maybe my first agent wasn't just using a lazy excuse.

THE THING ITSELF U.S. REVIEWS

16 AUGUST 2012

Six days into the Edinburgh International Book Festival and I'm getting distracted because the US pre-publication reviews of The Thing Itself, the third part of my Brighton trilogy, are starting to come through. Kirkus concluded its generous review with:

"Guttridge’s third Brighton thriller is so well-written that it would be well worth your time even if it were not such a darkly brilliant mystery."

Darkly brilliant, eh? I can live with that...

GATZ

NOEL COWARD THEATRE, LONDON

An eight hour reading of SCOTT FITZGERALD'S THE GREAT GATSBY, word for word, is quite a commitment for actors and audience. But GATZ is not just a reading. Some parts are enacted and the reading is set in a slightly odd context (odd not just because it didn't quite work for me).

And the result is utterly and absolutely enthralling. The guy who is doing the reading - and I'm sorry but I don't know his name - is phenomenal, as is the production.

The weird thing about watching this show and listening to GATSBY, word for word, is that a novel I've always remembered as being a masterpiece now seems to me flawed in plot and characterisation. Jay Gatsby used to be enigmatic for me - now he doesn't quite make sense. Great show though.

SHAKESPEARE: STAGING THE WORLD

BRITISH MUSEUM 19 JULY - 25 NOVEMBER 2012

I went to the press launch of this because the Elizabethan period features in my fourth Brighton book, DEVIL'S MOON. Specifically some magical apparatus belonging to alchemist and magus JOHN DEE. The apparatus is always on display in the Museum but I figured it would be moved to be part of this look at the world in Shakespeare's time. And it was.

Great exhibition. Some truly beautiful objects on display.

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