29 October, 2014

#SpecialFeature :: #interview with Neil Grimmett, #Author of The Threshing Circle

Now Presenting:
*** SPECIAL FEATURE - October 2014 ***


When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
I have always told stories and written. From comics when I was a kid, lyrics when I was a rock musician, and then poems and short stories. And finally, novels. Can’t remember not being a writer of some description.

What inspires you to write?
I’m a bit like Faulkner. I only write when I’m inspired. Fortunately I’m inspired  at 9 o’clock every morning.

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
We visited a village on Crete and I heard the true tale about an English woman who had fallen in love with a Cretan and then been betrayed and hung by the occupying Germans during the war.

Is there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of the day?
Loads. Some of the best  short stories I have written and held back. A YA novel and other novels.

Tell us about your writing process.
First draft is always in pen on yellow legal pads. My second draft goes on the computer and then to my super proofreading wife for corrections and suggestions. Then two or three more drafts until it is close.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
Barba Yiorgos and Kirsty together on Gavdos with the white witch. I think it is at the heart of  the novel and the reasons behind truth and lies and vendetta.

Did any of your characters inherit some of your own quirks?
Maybe Kirsty’s need to unravel mysteries.

What is your most interesting writing quirk?
Writing on the back of my hand if I suddenly think of something I need to add or change and can’t access my black Moleskine.

What is your usual writing routine?
I get to my desk at 9AM and do not leave until I have hit 2000 words. Sometimes it is more; rarely less. I never write in the afternoon as I find my mind dull (er). 

Do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?
Voraciously. Too many authors to list. In genre, I love King, Thomas Harris, Lehane, Tana French to name just a few. In so called literature, Dickens, Joyce, Pynchon, Cormack McCarthy. Etc.  All writing influences a writer. Good and bad.

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?
From Stephen King. To write is human to edit divine. It was also reiterated by an agent when I was with Writers House in New York: ‘You can edit your own book like you can cut your own hair. But neither is recommended!’

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
Read a lot; write a lot. Do it because you have to; not for fame or fortune. And do not despair, it is a long slow craft that you will never completely master.

What would be the Dream Cast for you book if it was to be turned into a movie?
A younger Sean Connery for Barba Yiorgos; Laura Linney for Kirsty.

If you were to be stranded on the famous deserted island, what three things would you carry?
The Bible; Ulysses and Robinson Crusoe.

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?
I love to walk especially by rivers or lakes. To unwind I enjoy the woods. Recently Fyne Court in the Quantocks has become a favourite and was used in a scene in my new novel, The Hoard. 

Can you share with us something off your bucket list?
Visit the Reichenbach Falls where Moriarty died. Take a trip on the Orient Express with my wife, Lisa. Top the US and UK bestseller lists.

Tell us three fun facts about yourself.
I love to cook exotic meals. I like all the birds in my garden but especially the crazy wood pigeons. Making people laugh is always a joy to me.

What do you have in store next for your readers?
A psychological novel, The Mud Dance; and my first supernatural thriller, working title ‘Clootshill’. 300 pages done in longhand so far.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
Writing is a solitary profession and needs to be during the first draft. But after that you will have many others involved. Learn quickly to sort the wheat from the chaff. Also, spend time on learning how to write pitch letters and a synopsis for your work. Both are very difficult; both are vital.

About the Books
A young couple arrive on the Greek island of Crete and begin prying into the execution of a beautiful English woman during the German occupation sixty years before. They enter a labyrinth of forbidden love, betrayals, murder, greed and vendettas, old and new. 
Then they disappear. 
A feisty Scottish woman and an irascible, Zorba-like Greek form a reluctant allegiance in a desperate attempt to find and rescue them. They both have very different motives for their involvement. Their search will take them to hidden rituals, ceremonies, remote gatherings, famous monasteries and villages abandoned after decades of vendettas. To the remote island of Gavdos and finally back to a place that, “Even God does not know exists”. 
They will encounter characters good and evil; some modern and pragmatic, others ancient and magical. 
All the time they are being stalked by the sons of man who seeks to complete the crimes of his father and sate his own greed and insane desire for vengeance. These men are more animal than human and have been raised in the remote mountains for the sole purpose of carrying out the brutal will of their father. 
The mystery of the real, hidden Crete runs deep, and THE THRESHING CIRCLE explores some of the myths and romance while not shying away from its often violent nature. 
By the end choices will have to be made. If such actions are really possible on an island where many Cretans still believe that: “The Cycle of Blood”, can never stop flowing.

The Hoard is a thriller set in the secretive, dangerous world of a Royal Ordnance Factory; a vast, surreal place full of some of the most volatile elements on the planet. 
Thirty years before the main story, the nitration house at the ROF in Bridgwater exploded in a fireball that could be seen for miles around. The entire crew was killed, and the source of the explosion was never found; authorities claimed that the charge in the nitrator had gone critical and that the chargehand was unable to stop a lethal cook-off. But Gunner Wade, the man the nitration crew sent for help that day knows differently: they were murdered; and he was branded a coward. 
Now Byron, the son of one of the victims, enters the sprawling Gormenghast-like compound of the top secret factory to discover the truth about his father's death. But what he finds in the dark heart of this world is a hidden hoard of super-high explosives; illegally produced and drenched in the blood of those killed to conceal its existence. As the threat of discovery mounts, Byron finds himself at the centre of a struggle between good and evil; both to prevent a destructive force from being unleashed again and to bring the sadistic mass murderers who killed his father to justice. He is aided by an unlikely alliance of helpers, including the beautiful widow of a murdered chemist and Gunner Wade. Against them are the original perpetrators and their new legion of evil acolytes. 

Inspired by a massive explosion that killed six men at the real-world ROF Bridgwater facility in 1951 - no cause was ever found - The Hoard is a gripping, grim novel that offers a glimpse into a self-contained apocalyptic landscape scarred both by the birthing of the materiel that fuels war, and the hearts of evil men who would do anything for greed.

About the Author
Neil Grimmett has had over eighty five short stories published. In the
UK by among others: London Magazine, Stand, Panurge, Iron, Ambit, Postscripts Magazine, Pretext etc. Australia, Quadrant, South Africa, New Contrast. Plus stories in the leading journals of Singapore, India, France, Canada, and the USA, where he has appeared in Fiction, The Yale Review, DoubleTake, The southern Humanities Review, Green Mountains Review, Descant, The Southern Review, West Branch and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. He has appeared online in Blackbird, Plum Ruby Review, Tatlin's Tower, Web Del Sol, In Posse Review, m.a.g., Word Riot, Blue Moon Review, 3AM, Gangway, Eclectica, The Cortland Review, Segue, The Dublin Quarterly , Ducts, Sugar Mule, Mysterical E, Thuglit and over thirty others. His stories have also appeared in the anthologies: ENGLAND CALLING, BOOK OF VOICES and Italy’s ISBN’s Top International Stories. He has made the storySouth Million Writers Notable Short Story list for the last three years. In addition, he has won the Write On poetry award, 7 Oppenheim John Downes Awards, 5 major British Arts Council Awards, a Royal Society of Authors award and has been awarded two major grants from the Royal Literary Fund.  He has been signed over the last ten years by twelve of the leading literary agents in both the UK and USA. His current agent is Jon Elek at United Agents.
His first thriller, THE THRESHING CIRCLE, was published on Amazon KDP Select. Followed by the second, THE HOARD.

1 Digital Copy of The Threshing Circle & 1 Digital Copy of The Hoard up for grabs for International Readers!
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