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Trevor Wood

Trevor WoodTrevor Wood has lived in Newcastle for 25 years and considers himself an adopted Geordie, though he still can’t speak the language. He’s a successful playwright who has also worked as a journalist and spin-doctor for the City Council. Prior to that he served in the Royal Navy for 16 years joining, presciently, as a Writer. Trevor holds an MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) from UEA. His first novel, The Man on the Street, which is set in his home city, will be published by Quercus in Spring 2020

  1. To readers of the blog who may not be familiar with you or your writing, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing
    I joined the Royal Navy at 18. When I left 16 years later I retrained as a journalist. One of my fellow journalism students, Ed Waugh, was interested in writing, comedy in particular, and as we car-shared for the whole course we talked about that a lot. Several years later we decided to give it try and wrote a comedy play called Good to Firm which did very well. Our next play, Dirty Dusting, was a huge success. It ended up touring all over the world and is still being produced some seventeen years later. Eleven professionally-produced plays later I decided to take a break from theatre and try to write a crime novel, the genre I had been reading since I was a kid. I signed up for the inaugural MA in Crime Writing at UEA, which was even better than I had hoped it might be, and the novel I developed as part of that course became my debut novel The Man on the Street.
  2. Tell us about your new book called ‘The Man On The Street’
    The Man on the Street centres on Jimmy, a homeless veteran, grappling with PTSD, and living on the streets of Newcastle, who witnesses a murder. Initially no-one believes him and even he hopes it’s another one of his vivid hallucinations but then a newspaper headline catches his eye: GIRL IN MISSING DAD PLEA. He believes the missing man might be the victim of the crime he witnessed. It’s time for him to stop hiding from the world. But telling the girl, Carrie, what he saw puts him at risk from enemies, both old and new. Jimmy has one big advantage though; when you’ve got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose.
  3. What made you decide crime?
    It’s always been my first love as a reader. Like most people my age I blame Enid Blyton for everything. The Secret Seven, Famous Five and the ‘Adventure’ series were undoubtedly my gateway drugs to a lifelong love of crime fiction. It’s no coincidence that The Man on the Street features a dog. He’s a direct descendant of Timmy.

    Once I’d put on my big boy pants it was difficult to know where to go next – YA fiction was barely a thing back in the day. The solution came to me on a terribly dull barge holiday on the Norfolk Broads with my cousin. These days I’d love that kind of holiday – a glorified pub crawl on a boat being my kind of thing – but for a 14-year-old boy it was stupefyingly boring. The solution was galloping through the shelf full of books on the barge – all written by Agatha Christie. From that moment on it was crime all the way and it’s all due to Enid and Agatha (and maybe Scooby Doo)

  4. What do you find the most challenging about writing a book?
    The length of time it takes! 90,000 words is huge, especially as I used to write plays which come in at around 25k – and I had a co-writer. I know that some writers can breeze through a book in a couple of months but I can’t, something around nine months is optimum for me as I like to edit as I go along and maintaining focus and staying in the right zone to ensure I keep the voice and character consistent for that long is difficult.
  5. What’s your favourite opening line from a book?
    “The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there” from L.P Hartley’s ‘The Go Between’
  6. The Man on the Street

  7. If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
    How many can I have? Dennis Lehane, because he’s a genius, Dominic Nolan, great writer, funny man and the next big thing; Harriet Tyce, my best writing pal, fellow UEA MA graduate and a font of knowledge on crime writing; Olivia Kiernan, because she never stops talking; and maybe James Ellroy for the touch of madness he would bring to the party.
  8. Has there ever been a film that’s been better than the book?
    Yes. Unequivocably. ‘Nocturnal Animals’ is a thousand times better than the book it’s based upon, Tony and Susan. I really didn’t like the book at all and didn’t even finish it. When I saw the movie trailer in the cinema I realised it was from that book but it looked fantastic so I went to see it and it was superb. One of my favourite movies of the last ten years.
  9. Who’s your favourite villain or hero?
    I’ve always liked Alex in ‘A Clockwork Orange’ (which probably makes me a bad person)
  10. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
    ‘A Clockwork Orange’ by Anthony Burgess (again) – not only a great book but a lot of it is written in an invented foreign language – Nadsat – which means you can fill hours working out the words and maybe inventing new ones.

    ‘Different Seasons’ by Stephen King. Bit of a cheat as it’s four novellas in one book but as three of them became excellent movies, Stand By Me, The Shawshank Redemption and Apt Pupil it’s well worth reading time and again

    ‘My Absolute Darling by’ Gabriel Tallent – not just because it’s a brilliant if brutal book but, from memory, it also includes a lot of survival skills that may prove very useful on the island.

  11. What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    Think carefully about the decisions you make about how to tell your story. Whose perspective works best? Highsmith suggested that a single perspective increases intensity which I think is true but it also fences you in as a writer – your protagonist has to ‘see’ everything.

    Concentrate on character – how does your protagonist think, talk, interact with other people? What words does he use? Don’t show off by using ten-dollar words if your character wouldn’t use them.

    If you’re trying to write a thriller, focus on pace. Short chapters, short sentences, chapter endings that make the reader keep going. Be careful about too much description – Elmore Leonard’s advice to ‘leave out the bits people tend to skip’ is very sound.

  12. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
    A cup of strong, black coffee. Or even better, a whole cafetierre.
  13. And finally, do you have any projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the readers of the website?
    The Man on the Street is the first in a series of crime novels with the homeless community at the centre. I’m currently working on book 2 in the series which is provisionally called One Way Street. There’s an outbreak of bizarre drug-related deaths amongst runaway teenagers and, when one of his friends becomes involved, Jimmy is compelled to try and find out what’s really going on.

    Follow Trevor Wood on Twitter and his Facebook Page website for updates.

You can buy ‘The Man on the Street’ from Amazon

One Moment By Linda Green

One Moment‘One Moment’ is the latest book by Linda Green and has been recently been picked as a BBC Radio 2 Book Club Pick.

Finn and Kaz are about to meet for the first time. Ten-year-old Finn, a quirky, sensitive boy who talks a lot and only eats at cafes with a 5-star hygiene rating, is having a tough time at school and home. Outspoken Kaz, 59, who has an acerbic sense of humour and a heart of gold, is working at the café when Finn and his mum come in. They don’t know it yet, but the second time they meet will be a moment which changes both of their lives forever.

If you’re a lover a warm hearted stories, I would thoroughly recommend this story, with a kind hearted lady and reclusive little boy, this story of friendship is the perfect feel good story.

In this story we meet Kaz and Finn, an unlikely friendship between an older woman and a little boy, who are both at turning points in their lives. Finn’s parents are divorcing and he’s having to go between both parents which is difficult as he doesn’t like change, the only thing is constant is his love for Alan Titchmarsh and gardening. Whilst straight talking Kaz is enjoying her new friendship with Finn as it provides a welcome distraction from her sick brother Terry,

I adored this story, the characters are warm and relatable and the storyline flows at a lovely pace as the pair bond over their troubled relationships. Kaz is a kind soul, known for her plaits and sheep apron, she’s there for people, always putting others first. She has a huge heart and I regularly found myself chuckling at her Yorkshire way of speaking and brutal honesty. Her protection for her brother is also an interesting side to the story as he struggles with schizophrenia and is regularly chatting with Matthew Kelly from the 90’s television show ‘Stars In Their Eyes’.

Finn is an interesting boy, he’s not the typical boy and because of this is the subject of bullying which is difficult to read as he’s having to deal with with twice the drama with divorcing parents and bullying school kids.

This story is a lovely story which focuses on many issues such as mental health and the impact a divorce has on a young child. The tender relationship between Kaz and Finn makes for poignant and interesting reading as the two of them are crutches for each other between particularly hard times. ‘One Moment’ is well worthy of its recent nomination of a BBC Radio 2 nomination, is an emotional story of a fascinating friendship that will have the reader gripped about how a simple moment can have an impact on a life.

You can buy ‘One Moment’ from Amazon.

In Five Years By Rebecca Serle

In Five Years‘In Five Years’ is the latest book by Rebecca Serle

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Type-A Manhattan lawyer Dannie Kohan has been in possession of her meticulously crafted answer since she understood the question. On the day that she nails the most important job interview of her career and gets engaged to the perfect man, she’s well on her way to fulfilling her life goals. That night Dannie falls asleep only to wake up in a different apartment with a different ring on her finger, and in the company of a very different man. The TV is on in the background, and she can just make out the date. It’s the same night – December 15th – but 2025, five years in the future.
It was just a dream, she tells herself when she wakes, but it felt so real… Determined to ignore the odd experience, she files it away in the back of her mind.
That is, until four and a half years later, when Dannie turns down a street and there, standing on the corner, is the man from her dream…

Dannie is a strong and logical woman, who’s life is based on numbers and when she meets David, it’s only natural to expect that after a couple of years together that marriage and children would follow as this is the expected way of life. But for Dannie, after the much anticipated proposal becomes a long engagement when her another man suddenly appears in her dreams and suddenly appears in real life in a relationship with her best friend, Bella. Bella and Dannie feel that Bella has found the perfect man but everything is thrown into disarray when Bella suddenly becomes seriously ill and Dannie has to question everything in her life.

I genuinely loved this book and my heart really went out to Dannie and Bella, who’s childhood friendship is sadly pulled apart by ovarian cancer, which also coincides with March being Ovarian Cancer Awareness month.

So not only does Dannie have to battle the pain of seeing her best friend in pain but she also has to see her with the real life man from her dreams, who makes Dannie question her own relationship.

I really liked Dannie, she’s a independent woman who’s set her life out and is determined that ovarian cancer will not take away her best friends happiness. She researches methodically into the illness to give her some control over the illness that is spiralling out. Her genuine love for Bella is not only as a friend but is also maternal as Bella’s parents were absent from her life most of the time and Dannie was the friend she turned to most of the time. Their relationship is strong and fun, but is tested a lot throughout the story. It’s also interesting to see how Dannie deals with Aaron, the man from her dreams appear in real life and the new emotions that she struggles, such as wanting her friend to be happy but also deal with a new attraction towards him.

‘In Five Years’ is a rare and brilliant love story about the complexities of relationships. This story is a bittersweet tale that really tugs at the readers heartstrings. Poignant, sweet, this original tale had me gripped from the first page. Sweetly written and well researched of the cruelty of cancer, this book will have you in bits with this emotional rollercoaster.

You can buy pre-order ‘In Five Years’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 10th March 2020.

My Top 12 Books Of 2019

My Top 12 Books Of 2019

Every year, I spend some time looking over my reviews of the books from that were published during that year and find myself faced with the same quandary. What have been my favourite books? The books that I recommended, enjoyed and passed onto friends to share the experience.

2019 has been no different, it’s a cracking year for debuts, ‘The Silent Patient’, ‘The Flat Share’ and ‘The Truth and Triumphs of Grace Atherton’ were all fantastic books that have soared through the books charts

After ten years of writing, C.L. Taylor received numerous accolades for her book called ‘Sleep’ and who can forget that sunny day in July when I read both ‘Those People’ and ‘The Family Upstairs’.

This was initially a list of my top 5 books of 2019, then it became my top 10 before finally becoming a top 12 books of 2019.

So, if you’re looking for some ideas for the book lover in your life, then look no further!

1. ‘Lies Lie Lies’ by Adele Parks
2. ‘The Passengers’ by John Marrs
3. ‘The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton’ by Anstey Harris
4. ‘The Family Upstairs’ by Lisa Jewell
5. ‘Blood Orange’ by Harriet Tyce
6. ‘Those People’ by Louise Candlish
7. ‘Half a World Away’ by Mike Gayle
8. ‘Tell Me Your Secret’ by Dorothy Koomson
9. ‘Sleep’ by C.L. Taylor
10. ‘Louis and Louise’ by Julie Cohen
11. ‘The Flat Share’ by Beth O’Leary
12. ‘The Silent Patient’ by Alex Michaelides

Murder By The Minster By Helen Cox

Murder By The Minster‘Murder By The Minster’ is the latest book by Helen Cox.

It’s a perfectly normal day for Kitt Hartley at her job at the University of the Vale of York library, until Detective Inspector Halloran arrives at her desk to tell her that her best friend, Evie Bowes, is under suspicion of murder. Evie’s ex-boyfriend Owen has been found dead – with a fountain pen stabbed through his heart – and all the evidence points to her. Kitt knows there is no way Evie could murder anyone – let alone Owen, who she adored. Horrified that the police could have got it so wrong, Kitt decides there’s only one thing to do: she’s going to investigate Owen’s murder herself. She’s read hundreds of mystery novels – how hard can it be?
With the help of her assistant Grace, and the occasional hindrance of the library’s eccentric regulars, Kitt summons up all her investigative powers (absorbed over years of reading everything from Agatha Christie to Ian Rankin) and gets to work. She soon discovers that down the quaint streets and snickelways of York lie darker doings than she’d ever dreamed, but she needs to watch her step: the murderer is watching her. And they haven’t finished killing yet…

I spent my Sunday curled up with this book and I couldn’t put it down until I reached the final page. The first book in the new Kitt Hartley Yorkshire Mystery series is a fantastic introduction to a new mystery series and one that I wholeheartedly hope there will be more books to come.

The story is seen solely through the narrative of librarian Kitt Hartley, who finds herself using her own investigative skills to solve a murder of her best friend’s Evie’s ex boyfriend. As Evie finds herself the prime suspect in the murder, Kitt is determined to solve the crime using her own wit and the skills she has learned from her love of Agatha Christie novels. But as Kitt delves deeper into the crime and the bodies pile up much to the disgruntlement of the Yorkshire police, particularly a handsome detective called Halloran.

I loved the characters in this book, particularly Kitt and her librarian assistant Grace as the pair piece together the evidence and clues they have gathered along the way. They are a comical duo who make for entertaining reading with their banter. Throughout the story, there are many suspicious characters that leave you wondering if they are the murderers.

Gripping from the first page, this cleverly written book is perfect for fans of Agatha Christie and Miss Marple. Set in a sleepy village with a pair of witty and cunning librarians at the centre of the drama, ‘Murder By The Minster’ is an exciting new series that is riddled with mystery and drama throughout.

You can buy ‘Murder By The Minster’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.