Saturday, July 30, 2011

Pooh Bridge, The amazing Nigel Lampard

I'm so pleased to introduce to you all the incredible Nigel Lampard, whose brand-new book, Pooh Bridge, is receiving rave reviews on Reviewers have called it thoroughly enjoyable, beautifully paced, and gripping.

So, without further ado, let's meet the man behind 11 5-star Amazon reviews and the wonderful mystery Pooh Bridge.

J: Hello, Nigel. Welcome to my blog! Thanks for joining me today.

N: My pleasure.

J: Who are you and what is your background?

N: As a relatively unqualified product English Grammar School system, I joined the British Army at the age of 16. Four years later I was commissioned from RMA Sandhurst into the Royal Army Ordnance Corps. I had a reasonably successful career and retired in 1999 having attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. I was appointed an OBE in 1996. During my service I served in the UK, Europe, the Middle and Far East and obtained a Post-Graduate Diploma in Organisational Psychology from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology.
Trained as an ammunition and explosives expert, I spent most of my commissioned service in command of ammunition related units. By virtue of the types of appointment I held, I had significant contact with the press, appeared on German television and was called upon to speak in public. On leaving the Army l had every intention of forming a management training company with three colleagues but although the company was a success, I soon realised that I wasn't going to have the time to follow a second career and also write. To this end I left the training company and worked in Warwickshire as a civil servant with the Army, advising and guiding servicemen and women in connection with their transition from the Army to civilian life. After eight years in this appointment I chose to retire at the same time as my wife, Jane, and we moved to Leigh-on-Sea in Essex.

J: What inspired you to write your first novel?

N: In the early 1980s I had a posting to Berlin. The city, its history, its people and its isolation in the middle of the then, Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR), intrigued me to such an extent that if it is possible to fall in love with a concrete jungle, I did. On returning to the UK after more than 2 years in Berlin the enduring need to continue the affair with this city by whatever means was overpowering and the only way open to me was to write about it. I embarked on my first novel, Who Needs Enemies (Paul Cameron, a British Army Major in Berlin in 1981 is blackmailed into helping with the escape of an East German citizen from East to West) with enthusiasm but with very little writing experience. I spent many years writing, editing, rewriting, discarding and rewriting again until eventually, some six years after starting, I was reasonably happy with my first novel.

J: What happened when you had finished your first novel?

N: I had caught the bug! I took Who Needs Enemies and rewrote it but this time from the blackmailer’s perspective. With Friends Like You was an interesting exercise and gave me a lot of food for thought for the future. Both of these parallel novels left some unanswered questions so I then wrote a sequel, The Truth About Berlin, which was even more of an adventure because out of necessity to the story I moved out of the safe military environment. In the last ten years I have written a further 10 novels, trying my hand at various genres. I dabbled with the publishing world, as did some of my loyal readers, but as with so many others, to no avail. I wasn’t too disappointed because the bug had turned into an epidemic and I continued to get great enjoyment out of writing.

J: What message are you trying to convey?

N: Am I trying to convey a message? I suppose the general theme throughout my novels is no matter what is going on around us, personal relationships are what life is really all about. However, I would like to change the question slightly and ask: what message do my books give me? I will use my 8th novel, Subliminal, to answer this question. I was walking through Ashby St Ledger, a delightful small village in Warwickshire, with my family when my elder son, Simon, asked me why I had never based one of my novels in the village because as we lived locally at the time, we visited it quite often and he thought it was an ideal setting. One intriguing fact about Ashby St Ledger was that it was where the gun powder plot of 1605 was hatched and planned. As the year was now 2004 I took my son’s idea forward. The year 2005 would be the 400th anniversary of the original plot: what an ideal time to launch such a novel in which I could blow up a few unsavoury politicians – of course the similarity of any of the characters to real politicians would have been purely coincidental! The main character in the book was called Peter Salter (a play on saltpetre being a constituent part of gunpowder) and all went well until Page 44. On Page 44 the characters in the book decided they weren’t going to play ball, and the plot moved away from gunpowder to the subconscious. How do I explain that? I have learnt that I may have a pretty detailed plan but inevitably the characters I create decide their own destiny and invariably it is not what I originally intended.

J: What is your intended audience?

N: My novels have been read by all ages from late teens to ninety years of age and the feedback I get from them is surprisingly similar. Because my novels are about the realities of life I think my readers can relate to the story as well as the characters. I try and retain the authenticities of life in my novels, and keep well away from fantasy – with one exception! I decided to have a go at science fiction so I wrote The Illegal Immigrant – my sons have suggested it wasn’t my best!

J: Where are currently with publishing any of your novels?

N: In September 2010, I was advised by Richard Grayling from Struggling Authors to submit the first chapter of any of my novels to Tim Roux, Night Publishing, for consideration. I chose my 4th novel, Pooh Bridge, because I was particularly pleased with it and also it was the first of my novels in which I completely moved away from any military content. Suffice to say Tim liked it and it appeared on Amazon in April 2011. Tim has said that he will run with all of my novels and the second – I haven’t decided whether it will be Obsession or Copper’s Ridge yet but it won’t be The Illegal Immigrant! – will go to him later this year.

J: Any there any projects forthcoming?

N: Over the years I always meant to get round to editing my novels properly but never really had the motivation, I just got on with writing new novels not expecting to have to delve into editing on a serious basis. But my circumstances have now changed. Over the next year I plan to finish 2 novels I started a couple of years ago, edit a sufficient number of the ones already written so that there is always one or two in the starting-blocks waiting to go. Then if time permits I may start another!

J: Where can we buy Pooh Bridge?

N: At the moment Pooh Bridge is available from Amazon and also from the local book shop, The Book Inn, in Leigh on Sea.

J: What a fascinating interview this has been. Thank you so much for being here with me today, and best of luck with Pooh Bridge, and all of your other books!

N: Thank you for having me.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Fantastic Robert Craven!

I am priviledged to have a guest on my blog today. His name is Robert Craven, and he's the author of the conspiracy-driven Get Lenin, an amazing book set in WWII.

J: Rob, so nice of you to be here! So, what inspired you to write your book?

R: Two things really, the first one was my 40th birthday; one of those landmarks and I really wanted to get a novel published - an item I suppose was on my bucket list. I had written one a few years earlier about my years as a gigging musician in Ireland and on tour, but felt it was limited in its narrow appeal. I pitched it for about a year, then gave up - but didn’t forget the lesson when pitching Get Lenin which is NEVER EVER GIVE UP.
The second thing was living in Ireland I felt there was an endless production line of chick lit being pumped out and thought of an angle- less Mills & Boon, more Mills & BOOM! I had a very rough draft of an young editor who in the process of preparing a dying man’s memoirs uncovers a secret from WW2 and the conspiracy leads her to discover this once bastion of society had been a Nazi on the run. By uncovering this, she puts herself in peril. I then decided to set the story during the period itself rather than back-tracking through the plot - the conspiracy being Lenin’s tomb lay in a wreck of a submarine 100 miles off the East Coast of Ireland.

J: how long did it take you to write it?

R: It took three years to write the first draft; then I was lucky to be introduced to an editor and expert on WW2, Mr Hugh McCracken, to remove any historical innaccuracies. That took about a year and then I posted it up on Authonomy and found some really good comments & suggestions. Then I found Marta Przybysz, who gave me some great information on Poland to help build Eva’s back story - so from first draft to publication, about 5 years.

J: what message are you trying to convey?

R: The message is simple - propaganda is still an effective tool and the story of snatching Lenin’s tomb and using it as a piece of propaganda is as relevant today as it was then: Information can easily be twisted to suit a wider personal or political agenda; just look at how Rupert Murdoch’s media empire has been exposed and what it was involved in. I suppose the other message is that in war, there’s no good or bad guys only that in a conflict as big and as brutal as WW2 - especially The Eastern Front in 1941, all the lines get blurred.

J: what is your intended audience?

R: I’m hoping for was wide an audience as possible. I think everyone loves a good conspiracy and wants a bit of escapism though the premise and the genre of Get Lenin might certainly point towards a ‘cult’ following. The Second World War is a period of time that still has a morbid hold on the imagination even though it had been over for about 21 years before I was born; and I felt when writing it that there was another way to approach the action-adventure book; drawn from films of that period like ‘Casablanca”. I loved Elsa’s charcter and Victor Lazlo, but wanted a female MC with a bit more ‘bite’- from there my MC Eva evolved. I hope she’s a sympathetic enough character for everyone to root for, I love her.

J: So, tell us more about yourself.

R: I’m married & we have a son and I work for a packaging company in Dublin. I live in a lovely little seaside town called Rush. I had a fairly peripathetic childhood; born in England, emigrated when I was 10 to Sydney Australia, that didn’t work out after 2 years and the family moved here to Ireland where I’ve lived ever since.

J: Any projects forthcoming?

R: I’m in the process of completeing the sequel; working title “Zinnman”. It picks up 6 months after Get Lenin and America has just entered the war against Germany, Italy and Japan and the lines blur even further as the global conflict progresses.
I’ve also pitched the musician novel to Tim Roux at Night Publishing, but this would be a labour of love as looking back it’s a bit meandering and woefully out-of-date in some respects.

J: Where can we get your book?

R: (paperback & kindle)

and on smashwords: (e-book)

Get Lenin is also on facebook here:

J: Fantastic! Thank you so much for appearing on my blog today. It was wonderful to find out a little more about you and hear about your exciting book! Hopefully everyone checks it out!

R: Thank you for the interview, Jess.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Updates and things

So, life's been busy these past few weeks. I finished the Storm Within around the first of July and it's been sent out on submission since around the 5th. I'm patiently waiting (yeah, right) to find out whether or not it's been picked up yet. The suspense is killing me, but I remain hopeful that it will find a home. I'm quite pleased with it.

Decisions is coming to print! Not sure when, but wait till you see my beautiful cover! The amazing Reese Dante really went above and beyond, I think.

I recently underwent a septoplasty (again) as the first one failed. I'm doing much better now than I was a week ago, but I still have some healing to do. If this doesn't work, we have to consider an open rhinoplasty, and I'm not sure I really want to do that. Oh, well. It's really just my luck.

Hooking Up and Supermarket are still doing pretty well, although sales are slowing a little. Know anyone who wants a great read for a great price? If so, do I have a deal for them!

I'm going to restructure my blog a little in August. I've been fortunate enough to have been interviewed on a bunch of my friends' blogs and they've given me some wonderful PR. It's time to return the favor. So, here's what I'm going to do. Author buddies, do you want your book/projects featured on my blog? Send me a message on facebook with your email address and I'll send you a message with what I need from you. Keep in mind that Blogger has been acting squirrely, and I might not be able to do everything, but I'll try.

Anyway, it's hotter than heck here this week, and I'm ready for some cooler air. The temperature indicator in my car was at 120 degrees Fehrenheit at 5:00 this afternoon. Enough is enough, Mother Nature!

Hugs for now,

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Giveaway time!

So, here's the contest I threw together...I'm so not good at this stuff!

All you need to do to enter is follow my blog. On August 1, I'll randomly pick a person who will receive an e-copy of Decisions, my latest book! And of course, if you'd like to comment on my blog, you might even get another entry...

It couldn't be more simple. I think. I'm really not good at structuring giveaways, but I don't think I can screw this one up. We'll see, I guess.

Good luck, and of course, if you can't wait until August 1 to get your very own copy of Decisions, pop on over to Amazon to check it out!

Oh, and guess what? It'll be out as a paperback soon...


Saturday, July 16, 2011


I'm pleased to announce that Decisions is now available for sale on Amazon! I hope you enjoy it, and I hope you let me know what you think. Happy reading!

PS-I'll be dreaming up a contest soon to give away a free copy, but I'm not entirely sure how to structure it yet. Any ideas?