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23 04, 2015

SCHREIBER’S SECRET Evokes Long Shadows of the Holocaust

By |2018-01-12T13:02:47+01:00April 23rd, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

Schreiber's SecretTo mark National Tell a Story Day on April 27th, I’ve picked Roger Radford’s excellent thriller Schreiber’s Secret, which I recently narrated.

It may be seventy years since the end of the Second World War and the defeat of Hitler’s genocidal Third Reich, but the terrible events of the Holocaust remain etched into the memories of many survivors still living today.

Publicity surrounding the trial of 93-year-old Oscar Gröning, the so-called “Bookkeeper of Auschwitz” is a reminder that many continue to seek justice for the murder of their relatives and for the countless atrocities in the thousands of transit camps, forced-labor camps, and killing centers set up by the Nazi regime.

In his “masterly written thriller” Schreiber’s Secret, which I was proud to narrate for the audiobook version, Roger Radford lays bare the horror and tragedy of life in the concentration camp of Theresienstadt and its associated “Small Fortress”.

Through the medium of a classic “whodunnit” murder story set in 1990s London, Radford’s novel brings to life the problems of tracking down and identifying perpetrators many years after the war’s end. It raises burning questions of moral guilt like those facing Gröning in today’s courtroom in northern Germany, and explores what it means to be Jewish and live with the legacy of the Shoah in the modern world.

Amongst its many accolades and five-star reviews, readers have the called the novel “unputdownable” and the audiobook “totally absorbing – I didn’t want it to end.”

As the audiobook narrator, I found reading Schreiber’s Secret aloud an engrossing experience, with episodes of high-stakes drama and horrifying barbarity set against a story that ultimately renews faith in the triumph of the human spirit.

Listen to a short extract from Schreiber’s Secret:

https://soundcloud.com/nigelpatterson-1/schreibers-secret-by-roger-radford-read-by-nigel-patterson[/fusion_soundcloud]

If you’d like a free copy of Schreiber’s Secret, click here to start a free 30-day trial membership at Audible.com – or if you would like a reviewer copy, send me a message using the contact form at the bottom of this page.

26 12, 2014

Interview with author David Leadbeater

By |2018-01-12T13:02:48+01:00December 26th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , , , |0 Comments

David Leadbeater, author of the Matt Drake thriller series, talks about his work and what it’s like to hear his work in audio

david-bonesDavid Leadbeater is an inspirational success from the world of self-publishing: in the space of little more than two years, he has brought out 14 Kindle bestsellers in series ranging between action/adventure, espionage, and the supernatural.

I narrated THE BONES OF ODIN this year (now available at Audible.com, Amazon, and iTunes) and I’m looking forward to working on subsequent books in the Matt Drake series in 2015.

David took time out from his busy writing schedule to tell me more about Matt Drake and his other series of books. (Interview continues below…)

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On your blog, you tell readers that you’ve been writing since the age of 15, but that it’s taken you the better part of 30 years to find success. What motivates you to write – and what kept you going in the years before your work found such an enthusiastic readership?

My motivation come from the love of reading and writing. The early stories and novels were written purely for fun and for the joy of getting lost in a story – much the same way as why a reader picks up a book. I really love what I do and actually need no motivation. Every day I look forward to getting involved in the next part of the story I am creating. This is not to say that sometimes the going gets hard – it does, but working through the problem helps give you the experience to make the next tough part that much easier. I need no reason nor motivation to want to write my stories.

I had great fun narrating THE BONES OF ODIN, the first book in the series of Matt Drake novels which came out in audio a few weeks ago. There’s a very colorful cast of characters, including a megalomaniac fashion designer, a New York cop on forced leave, and a troop of Swedish Special Forces soldiers, all on the hunt for the greatest archaeological treasure the world has ever known – and at the center of them all, the hero Matt Drake. What would you like tell new readers to the series about him – and how did you come up with the character?

Matt Drake is an ex-SAS soldier, once a member of the “best of the best” squadron within the regiment, retired from the army when the oppression of command and the tragedies of personal life caught up with him. A born soldier, he has fought hard to accept a new civilian life but in reality has drifted from job to job until finding one that has finally struck the right chord in him. Since leaving the army he has become a loner; all the friends he has ever known as an adult are soldiers.

I came up with the character by using a process of elimination. I knew very well all the dangerous and demanding trials he would have to overcome, not just in the first book but in the rest of the planned series. I also wanted him to be a Yorkshireman like me; it’s easier to write about what you know and helps pin down the character when occasionally he reverts to the Northern slang. I also wanted him to have heart, and a great sense of friendship, as again I knew a large team would flourish around him – a team that would eventually become a family.

You must get a lot of feedback from your fans – does that help to shape the direction of a story arc across a series? Do you plot everything meticulously before you start to write, or does inspiration sometimes lead you down an unexpected route?

I make a point of asking for feedback from fans, both at the end of the book and on my website. The feedback has been excellent so far, even the negative comments. Everything works towards making the ongoing series that much better. Typos and mis-naming have been spotted and corrected quickly through emails from fans. So far, I have shaped the story arc myself but with a few extra scenes added that fans have requested. If it’s possible and works with the story, chances are I will write your scene.

I am a plotter, yes. It’s one of the ways I avoid “author’s block.” If I come up against that wall I just check to see what’s the next plot point. Always works! That said, I do wander quite regularly but only for a short while as my books need to be pretty well structured to strike the right balance between action, dialogue and characterisation.

Now that THE BONES OF ODIN has been released as an audiobook, what’s it like for you as the author to hear your work in audio? Are there elements of the story that strike you differently from the way you imagined them?

The audiobook is fantastic and something I was considering even before Amazon contacted me. I love the translation of words into audio and in particular the local accents of my characters. It did feel a little odd to me at first, not having listened to an audiobook before, but I found that if you just carry on listening you soon become as lost in the story as you would reading on your Kindle. I thought my main villain, Abel Frey, came across as a much more intense character over the audio, and that’s down to you, Nigel. Maybe you associated with the villains more than the heroes!

It was certainly a lot of fun to voice a cast of characters with such different backgrounds and accents. I love playing villains, and Frey is so deliciously twisted – it helps raise the stakes!

I’m looking forward to narrating more books in the Matt Drake series in 2015, but of course it’s not the only story line you have been developing recently. What would you like to tell readers and listeners who are ready to explore some of your other work?

The Matt Drake series will continue and I have part 9 three-quarters written for a release date of March 2nd. It’s what I call a “crossover” book as it draws together three of my main series in one huge adventure. It’s fantastic fun to write, though the logistics can be mind-boggling where three teams are involved, and a much longer story than I have written before. After that it’s straight into the next Drake and following the continuing storyline. I have also recently written a spin-off to the Drake series starring one of its most popular, feisty characters – Alicia Myles. This book has been very well received and if I hadn’t already planned for a second part I certainly would now! In addition I must also finished the Chosen trilogy (a supernatural thriller series) in 2015, so a very busy but productive year ahead.


Here’s a short extract from THE BONES OF ODIN:

https://soundcloud.com/nigelpatterson-1/the-bones-of-odin-read-by-nigel-patterson[/fusion_soundcloud]

Visit David Leadbeater’s website to find out more about the Matt Drake series and his other novels.

18 09, 2014

Interview with author Kerry Wilkinson

By |2018-01-12T13:02:48+01:00September 18th, 2014|Categories: Audiobooks|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

A conversation with British author Kerry Wilkinson, author of SOMETHING WICKED and the Jessica Daniel series of novels

Kerry Wilkinson, author of Something WickedKerry Wilkinson burst onto the self-publishing scene in 2011 with his hugely popular Jessica Daniel series of crime novels, quickly attracting the interest of publishers Pan Macmillan.

A couple of months ago I had the pleasure of narrating the audiobook version of SOMETHING WICKED, and Kerry and I talked recently about this first book in a new series of novels featuring Andrew Hunter, a character who originally appeared in PLAYING WITH FIRE. (Interview continues below…)

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As a way of showing my appreciation, I’m offering a limited number of FREE download codes for the audiobook of SOMETHING WICKED. To claim yours, just fill in your name and email address below and select your preferred Audible store – I’ll get back to you as soon as possible!

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Your author’s page on the Pan Macmillan website seems to suggest that you began writing fiction by accident – but in a period of just three or four years, you’ve brought out nine books in the Jessica Daniel series, started a new spin-off series with the Andrew Hunter novels, and branched out into YA fantasy with the Silver Blackthorn series. That’s a remarkable output for an “accidental author.” To what do you attribute your success?

I was an accidental author in the sense that I never set out for this to be my career. I was more than happy working as a sports journalist – and writing a novel was something to do on the side. When I turned thirty, I made a list of things I thought I could do if I put some effort in and writing a book was only one of those things.

For the output, well, I work hard. I don’t allow myself to be distracted and simply get on with it. It’s such a cop out to say that writing’s hard, or that you need to be in the right frame of mind. Or that you need a fancy office with a view, or some villa in the South of France. I’ve done night shifts on factory production lines – and THAT’S a tough gig. On his Reddit Q&A, Jerry Seinfeld, one of my heroes, wrote: “Writer’s block is a phony, made up, BS excuse for not doing your work.” I could not agree more.

So aside from your proven discipline of showing up to write on a regular schedule and the Seinfeld philosophy of “don’t break the chain”, what influences do you think have shaped you as a writer?

More than anything, I think it is my upbringing. I grew up in a working-class family on a council estate, where you see the reality of life as it is for many people. I’d hope the sense of family and community is something that comes through in my books, regardless of genre. Not to mention the suspicion of authority.

Writing can be a very middle-class thing in that authors reflect the world in which they grew up. That so often means leafy suburbs – but that’s not life for a lot of people.

Then there’s the fact I was a journalist for plenty of years. Media offices, plus police stations, hospitals and probably most offices are full of humour and running, private jokes. They’re very funny places and I try to reflect that.

Let’s talk a bit about SOMETHING WICKED, the first in the new series of Andrew Hunter novels, currently available as an ebook and an audiobook (narrated by me!) and which is coming out in paperback in the spring of 2015. Andrew Hunter previously appeared in one of the Jessica Daniel stories. What would you like new readers and listeners to know about Andrew – and why did you choose to build a new series around him?

I love America and have spent a lot of time there, but I always struggle with American crime and action fiction – not just books – because of the prevalence of guns. Guns make everything so easy, because a character can shoot his way out of trouble. Either that, or survival relies entirely on the bad guys being appalling shots. There are seemingly no movies or TV shows where enemies can shoot straight. It’s all so distracting.

In that world where the heroes of fiction are big, muscled, fighting, shooting, invincible machines, Andrew is the antithesis. He tries to avoid confrontation, he makes mistakes and he can’t fight his way out of situations that go bad. He has to think his way out and there are genuine consequences to his decisions.

In the Jessica book, PLAYING WITH FIRE, he was much less agreeable in all my plot notes. When I came to write him, he sort of created himself, becoming smarter, quicker and more likeable. He’s a very normal person, surrounded by abnormal things – and I really like that dynamic.

As the narrator, I enjoyed playing the character of Andrew as a hero who is flawed and who evolves as an individual, and his backstory has an important role to play in that development. He doesn’t have all the answers, he has to think – or talk – his way out of some pretty dangerous situations, and I like the fact that he’s much more cautious than his sidekick!

Which brings us to the character of Andrew’s assistant Jenny. She’s much more of an enigma, and in several situations you’re not entirely sure which of them is in charge. Her bravado (or recklessness) makes her a great foil to Andrew – but by the end of this first story does he really understand her any better?

The feedback from readers regarding Jenny is perhaps the biggest thing to come out of Something Wicked. She’s the character everyone wants to ask about. I really like writing her because she’s so unpredictable. Sometimes she’s the smart one with the answers; other times she’s lost and clueless. That gives a good dynamic for plotting in that her reaction to a situation could go either way. Is she an asset to Andrew or a liability?

At the end of Something Wicked, if anything, I think he understands less about her than he did at the beginning. Any facets he has discovered about her history leaves him with more questions. As a promise to readers, I know the answers!

The writing in Something Wicked is shot through with a very distinctive sense of humour, such as in the repartee between Andrew and Jenny, little descriptive asides, even snatches of random overheard conversations in the street. You mentioned Jerry Seinfeld earlier on – who or what else makes Kerry Wilkinson laugh?

My favourite television programme is the UK version of The Office. It’s only 14 episodes, but it’s utter perfection. I watch the whole lot at least twice a year and still find it funny. The jokes are sharp not only because they are – but because you feel like you know the character making you laugh. It’s such a craft and I think could only come from a pair of writers who had lived a life before fame and done ‘real’ jobs. I’m a big fan of Ricky Gervais and Steve Merchant.

Away from that, the shows I always go back to are Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Arrested Development. People-based humour, as opposed to complex, contrived set-ups.

You obviously enjoy keeping your audience on tenterhooks – not just with cliffhangers and unexpected plot twists within a story, but between novels too. At the end of SOMETHING WICKED a character unexpectedly pops up and asks a question that leaves the door open to all sorts of possibilities. So what’s next for Andrew and Jenny?

For Jenny, the reader gets a little more insight into what makes her tick. With Andrew, well, that’d be telling. The next book is finished and should be out in 2015.


Listen to a short extract from a couple of scenes from SOMETHING WICKED.

Visit Kerry Wilkinson’s Facebook page to find out more about the Andrew Hunter novels and his other series.

1 05, 2014

RAVAGE by Iain Rob Wright

By |2018-01-12T13:02:49+01:00May 1st, 2014|Categories: Audiobooks, front page slider|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

RAVAGEI recently recorded the audio version of Iain Rob Wright’s Ravage, an “apocalyptic horror novel” set in the Midlands in England, and now available on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.

Iain has rapidly become one of the UK’s most popular horror writers, publishing a series of thrillers in quick succession which has earned him a loyal following of devoted fans.

Ravage deals with a scenario which is familiar to aficionados of the genre: the main character, Nick, wakes up one morning to find that some bizarre infection has spread amongst everyone he knows – not just his family, but across his entire neighborhood and apparently, as he later discovers, the whole world.

The infection is contagious, spread by contact with bodily fluids such as the blood or saliva of an infected person, and quickly turns victims into mindless zombies baying for fresh blood.

Nick is obliged to flee for his life, and soon teams up with a ramshackle band of survivors who have managed to avoid infection through unexpected circumstances – or sheer dumb luck.

The survivors manage to find somewhere to take refuge, but very soon a different enemy begins to stalk them – a power struggle among the group that asserts itself as quickly as the order of civilized society has been eroded. Very quickly, it becomes clear that this enemy within is just as frightening – and much more dangerous – than the world outside their haven.

Ravage is fast-paced, with a colorful cast of characters, plenty of gore, and a storyline that builds through a series of cliffhangers to an explosive climax. And refreshingly, it’s a zombie novel where the focus is on the characters – both human and animal – rather than the “walking dead.”

Listen to a sample:

I really enjoyed narrating this novel, and I’m looking forward to producing more of Iain’s work in audiobook format later this year – stay tuned for updates!