Author Spotlight: Stewart Giles, Thriller Suspense

I’ve been discovering British dramas recently thanks to Netflix and PBS and now a best-selling author who is new to me and Lon.

We are pleased to welcome Stewart Giles whStewart Giles Author Photoo takes us to the U.K. His new detective story is set on the Cornish coast. Where the pretty villages and towns hold some very dark secrets.

Before we delve into the book, let’s learn about Stewart (oh, another link to his website, Facebook page, and Twitter are at the end):

After reading English & Drama at three different English Universities and graduating from none of them, I set off travelling and finally ended up in South Africa, where I still live. I enjoy the serene life running a boat shop on the banks of the Vaal Dam. I came up with the DS Jason Smith idea after my wife dropped a rather large speaker on my head. Whether it was intentional still remains a mystery. Smith, the first in the series was finished in September 2013 and was closely followed by Boomerang and Ladybird. Occam’s Razor, Harlequin and Phobia (a series of short stories detailing Smith’s early life) were all completed in one hazy 365 days and Selene was done and dusted a few months later.

And now … The Backpacker (DC Harriet Taylor #3) by Stewart Giles

The Backpacker cover idea 3

WHAT IS THE SECRET AT LANDELL’S FARM?

A girl’s body is found hidden in a remote spot of a Cornish Farm. The same farm that a young girl ran towards to escape her pursuer many years before.

Detective Harriet Taylor has to abandon her day out to investigate.

As Littlemore and the forensics team get to work they uncover another mystery hidden among the rocks.

Who would kill a young backpacker who hurt nobody?  Is there a link between this and a mystery from many years ago?

As Harriet and the team get to work they find more questions than answers.  What secrets is the sleepy Cornish village hiding?

This is a fast-paced page-turner that has so many twists and turns it keeps the reader guessing right up to the shocking end.

 If you like Police Procedurals, then this is a series you won’t want to miss.

THE SETTING

Trotterdown and the surrounding villages is a fictional village in Cornwall.  It is typical of Cornish villages with remote farms and sleepy Cornish stone cottages.  However, the area is steeped in history and the residents of the quaint cottages have their share of myths and secrets making it the ideal setting for this series.

THE DETECTIVE

DC Harriet Taylor had only been married for 2 years when her philandering husband was killed in a car crash.  It is common knowledge around the station that the woman who died next to him was his latest lover.  Harriet transferred to Trotterdown to escape the gossip and sympathetic looks.  She is now finding her way around Cornwall and getting to know the other members of the team.

DC HARRIET TAYLOR SERIES

Book 1 The Beekeeper
Book 2 The Perfect Murder
Book 3 The Backpacker

DS JASON SMITH SERIES

Book 0.5 Phobia
Book 1 Smith
Book 2 Boomerang
Book 3 Ladybird
Book 4 Occam’s Razor
Book 5 Harlequin
Book 6 Selene
Book 7 Horsemen
Book 8 Unworthy

1996

She ran. She ran like her life depended on it.
It probably did.

She could hear his breathing behind her – steady breaths that sounded in time with his footsteps. He was getting closer, and she pushed herself some more. She could see the smoke coming out of the chimney in the old farmhouse far in the distance. The smoke was going straight up – there wasn’t a breath of wind in the air. She thought she could feel his breath on her neck. The farmhouse didn’t seem to be getting any closer.
I’m not going to make it. This is what it feels like to know you’re about to die.
He was getting closer, and the farmhouse was too far away. The fields were empty. She felt a hand on her back, he screamed something in a language she didn’t understand and then she was free. She carried on running. The footsteps behind her were gone. She glanced back as she ran. He’d tripped and fallen and was picking himself up off the ground.
She reached the farmhouse and banged on the door. As she waited for it to open she scanned the field. Her pursuer was gone.

CHAPTER ONE

Carrion. That’s what the jackdaws could pick up in the breeze – the scent of carrion. The rooks had got there first. Scores of them, their wings beating in a frenzy of excitement. This kill was theirs. The crows waited in the sidelines. They were next in line. The jackdaws would have to be content with the scraps. One of the rooks pecked at something hard and recoiled, stunned. Their meal had been partially hidden between a pile of rocks on the far side of Landell’s farm. A heap of dead branches had been placed on top, but the full force of an Atlantic South-Westerly during the night had lifted most of them off. Now, the smell of carrion had drawn scavengers from far and wide.
It was the mob of birds that had caught the eye of Gilly Landell. Gilly was the wife of William Landell Junior, the owner of the farm. By the time she’d spotted the feeding frenzy there were more than fifty birds hanging around the scene. Gilly’s first thought was that a sheep had perished in the night. It was lambing season, and the lambs were especially vulnerable. Foxes were becoming more and more of a nuisance on the farm. She started up the quad bike, and made her way through the field towards the squawking rabble.
The crows and the jackdaws took flight at she approached, as did the majority of the rooks. A few of the bold ones stood their ground – this feast was theirs and they weren’t going to give it up without a fight. Gilly Landell stopped the quad bike and got off. She shooed the remaining birds away and moved in to take a closer look at what had attracted them to the far edge of the farm in the first place.
Gilly could see straight away that it wasn’t a sheep the birds were interested in. The branches that had blown off during the night revealed the body of a young woman. Her blonde hair was matted with blood. Gilly was well accustomed to death – growing up on a farm meant that death was a part of life but the body of the young woman lying among the rocks was something she wouldn’t forget for a very long time. One of her blue eyes was open. The other one was gone – bird food. The blood in the empty socket was black. Gilly Landell turned to one side and vomited on the rocks.

STAY UP-TO-DATE WITH STEWART

Website: www.stewartgiles.com

Twitter: @stewartgiles

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stewart.giles.33

You can join the Stewart Giles reader club by completing this form  https://goo.gl/forms/gtQ0gsNpzFP8WFHP2

 

gI_71240_press-release-1Stewart’s writing made me think of the Endeavour TV show which airs in the U.S. on PBS. I wrote a post here about the show and episode 2 of Season 5.,

The episode included actress Linette Beaumont along with Phil Daniels guest starring alongside Shaun Evans and Roger Allam.

For more author interviews see:

SN Bronstein

Lon Casler Bixby

Don Simkovich

Colleen Story

Meghan Holloway

 

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Author Interview: Meghan Holloway, Romantic Suspense

We welcome author Meghan Holloway to our author interviews on the Tom Stone Detective Stories blog. 
Follow Meghan online and learn more about her exciting projects.

Relationships themselves are quite a mystery and worth exploring in-depth. Read how Meghan achieves that discovery in her work with her answers that follow, written in a wonderfully engaging style.

Links at the end of the interview give you the chance to learn more about her and stay in touch.
How do you define romantic suspense and what draws you to write in the genre?
I have always thought of romantic suspense as the perfect literary cocktail. The romance genre is full of heart and an exploration of what I think is our most basic human need—connection.
The development of relationships can be such a fantastic launchpad for exploring the human psyche in a way that is uplifting and beautiful, but I’ve always been fascinated by chiaroscuro, an art term that refers to the strong contrast between light and shade.
I think that if storytelling is going to be authentic, it has to examine the darker side of humanity with as even a hand as it does the lighter side. The suspense element allows me to interweave these more haunting, gritty threads into the story and bring the tale full circle. Romantic suspense gives me the avenue to write a tale that ultimately ends in hope and the promise of happiness and companionship while still having a driving plot that winds through the labyrinth of the grimmer side of humanity.
For me, romantic suspense is the ideal medium for telling a story that is a balance of light and dark.
What compelled you to write fiction? 
Compelled is the appropriate word here. Writing, telling stories, has always been a compulsion for me. My love of stories began, of course, with reading and with sitting on my grandfather’s knee begging for tales from his boyhood. As soon as my hands learned to fashion letters into words, I’ve written. I don’t know if there was ever a conscious choice to write fiction. Storytelling is simply part of what it has meant to be me. If I had to pinpoint a source, I would say it’s the Celtic blood in me, and I inherited the tendency from my grandfather, who spins tales with as much talent and care as a master weaver.
What contributed to your ability to create characters “that feel more like old friends” in A Thin, Dark Line?
I think Cormac and Eloise appealed to readers because both are wounded but neither is willing to be a victim. There’s a fierceness about each of them, and a solitary aspect as well. But mainly I think it was the fact that I tried to create authentic characters, with weaknesses and fallacies and nuanced personalities. Neither of my main characters are good, and they’re all the more real and approachable for it.
What techniques did you use to craft your novels — outline? Simply forging ahead? Feedback from friends?
I know many writers fall into two classes, the “pantsers” and the “plotters.” I fall somewhere in between. I have a general outline of the overarching narrative and a list of key plot points I know I need to hit to move the story in the right direction. But I find if I outline too much, I feel stymied. I set guidelines and trail markers, but my creativity needs a bit of free rein at the points in between.
Were you pleasantly surprised with how your stories turned out? 
I was. It is such a surreal feeling to reach ‘The End.’ That feeling of creation, of bringing something into being that has not existed in this exact shape before, is awing and indescribable. I recently finished my third novel, and I must say that the feeling does not diminish. It’s not a level of astonishment over how the story unfolds and ends so much as it is that sense of fashioning something from nothing, from a simple germ of an idea that blossomed into a story.
Why do I think that you’re Scottish? Lol! Tell me. I read that you live in the Appalachian foothills? 
I am, and I do. My family came to the states when I was young, and though I’ve made a bit of a circuit around a portion of the US—Mississippi, Maine, New York City, Colorado, Boston—I’ve come back to the hill country where we settled to help take care of my grandparents in their twilight years.
Do you prefer writing in the country versus the city? 
I have never cared much for excessive noise or not being able to see the natural light of the night sky. I live—and write—on the quiet edge of a city, close enough to be able to venture in when desired but far enough out to enjoy the stars over the lake on which I live.
What are your current projects if any?
I recently finished a historical thriller set in the wake of Paris’s liberation in WWII, and I have been working these last months on querying agents and submitting it to publishing houses. I am currently writing a trilogy of romantic thrillers set in the contemporary American West.
Thank you for inviting me to interview. It was an absolute pleasure.
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