I’m just delighted that I have author Tony J Forder staying in with me today because I count Tony as a friend, and he has been so generous with features for Linda’s Book Bag in the past.
When Bad to the Bone was published, Tony wrote an inspirational post about becoming a writer here.
Tony also wrote about writing outside his comfort zone here and he allowed his characters Bliss and Chandler from The Scent of Guilt to introduce one another here.
Staying in with Tony J Forder
Thank you so much for staying in with me Tony and welcome back to Linda’s Book Bag. Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?
There are several reason why I decided to bring along my third book, Scream Blue Murder. The idea for this book came to me during a period when I was hardly doing any writing at all. I was working very hard, and my physical condition wasn’t great (like my crime series character, DI Bliss, I have Meniere’s Disease), and I barely had the mental wherewithal to write, let alone find the time. But I scratched and shaped the book to about the halfway stage and then did not know where to go with it next, so I shelved it.
(I’m sorry to hear that Tony. I have tinnitus and having spent last summer with nausea and passing out you have my sympathy.)
When I was made redundant in December 2016 and decided to take my writing seriously again, I already had both Bad to the Bone and Degrees of Darkness written, and needed something new to write. I thought Scream Blue Murder was ideal to get my teeth back into, as I had always liked the storyline. There was another, more personal reason for finishing the book, but I’ll save that for later.
(Oh – tantalising.)
I have to say that once I got started on this again I thoroughly enjoyed writing it, and for the first time I allowed the characters to unfold and dictate the flow. There are a couple of villains here whose parts were supposed to be much smaller, yet they ended up playing significant roles in the story. This is also the book I was writing when I got my first publishing deal with Bloodhound Books, so it means a great deal to me for that reason alone.
I imagine it does. So, what can we expect from an evening in with Scream Blue Murder?
Scream Blue Murder is an action-adventure book, fast-paced and hopefully thrilling. This represented a challenge for me, because my other books are written in the third person from a central character’s point of view. This featured a first person POV narrative for the main character, plus many scenes from the POV of other characters. It was a test, and I changed my mind three times whilst writing it, but it was the right POV to use and I could not have been happier with the final result.
(I know many writers struggle with POV Tony so I imagine this was quite a challenge.)
The book was critically well-received, and I got the following quotes from fellow authors whose work I admire:
“Forder didn’t spare the horses when writing Scream Blue Murder. This book rockets along, a breathless action-packed ride. Perfect reading for fans of Simon Kernick and Jeff Abbott.” Matt Hilton, author of the Joe Hunter thrillers.
“An action packed, twisty thriller. Great stuff.” Mason Cross, author of the Carter Blake thriller series.
“I would urge you to buy this book – there’s something special about it, and it’s a full five stars from me.” Anita Waller, bestselling author of 34 Days.
(My goodness. You must be so proud of those responses.)
The other thing about the book is that it was only ever intended to be a stand-alone. However, I became so involved with and engaged by the characters, that by the time I entered the final quarter of the writing stage I knew I had to write a sequel. I deliberately made the lead character, Mike Lynch, a man the reader wouldn’t immediately take to. There’s a danger in doing that, because some people might stop reading because they can’t buy into the character. But I wanted a man who was down on his luck, a man who was depressed and veering towards drink again, and then have his luck get even worse. Only this time he has two people to protect along the way, and so he is forced to dig deep and become the man he once was. I realised that to counteract the way some might feel about Mike early on, I had to ensure the early scenes compelled the reader to continue despite their feelings towards Mike. Given some of the nice things reviewers have said about Mike, I think I was largely successful.
(It sounds as if Mike has become genuinely human through your writing. I really want to meet him now and must read Scream Blue Murder as soon as I can.)
The sequel I had already started even before Scream Blue Murder was sold, is now completed. Cold Winter Sun is a part mystery, part suspense, part thriller, part fun novel, most of which takes place in New Mexico. Once again it features a large range of characters, and I hope to have it released later on this year.
(Then you must come back to the blog to tell us more about it. You’d be very welcome Tony.)
What else have you brought along to share and why?
The book has a simple dedication to my father. Sadly, he passed away before I managed to get my first novel published. But one of the other reasons why I felt compelled to finish Scream Blue Murder was because I actually started writing it back when my father was still with us, and a major reason why I chose to write an action-adventure book was because, though my dad had once loved those kind of books, especially from the likes of Alistair McLean, he had lost his love of reading in recent years. I began writing Scream Blue Murder because I hoped he would enjoy it, and more so that it would get him back on the path of reading books again. He never got to read it, but I like to think he would have enjoyed it. I’ve never told anyone that, and I know when my step-mother reads this part she’ll be blubbing.
(Just like I am now. Pass me a tissue from that box on the windowsill. Your Dad would have been so proud of you. Your comments feel really emotional to me as it’s two years tomorrow when my Dad had the massive stroke that took 17 weeks to kill him and I was feeling a bit tearful already…)
But it really was for him. So, I’ve brought along a photo of us together, and also a photo of a band he and I absolutely loved. My dad and I mostly talked sport together, but music was also a passion we shared, and our love of Steely Dan was something we could discuss all night long if you let us. Though there were many greats songs to choose from, our favourite (which was played at his cremation ceremony) was Reelin’ In The Years, off the band’s first album, Can’t Buy A Thrill. Here’s a link to the song.
Oh Tony! I’m in pieces. Thank you so, so much for such a personal insight into Scream Blue Murder. This has been a wonderful evening and my absolute privilege to host you here.
Many thanks, Linda, for the opportunity to provide this insight into one of my books.
Scream Blue Murder
Mike Lynch is going through hard times. But things get much worse when he witnesses a murder in a lay-by. Snatching the victim’s car in order to get away, Mike soon makes a shocking discovery – the victim’s young daughter and her nanny are hiding in the rear footwell. This is when the real trouble begins.
Mike wants to go to the police, but the nanny, Melissa, wants to delay until the daughter, Charlie, is somewhere safe. Mike agrees to this request before finding out the seriousness of the situation, and just how much danger they are really in.
Who exactly was the man he saw murdered? And who is the man he saw pulling the trigger?
In a situation where nothing is what it seems, Mike will have to fight for his life to protect a woman and a child he doesn’t know. And when the death count rises, he will discover what kind of man he really is.
When you can’t identify the victim, how can you find the killer?
Scream Blue Murder is available for purchase here.
About Tony J Forder
Tony J Forder is the author of the critically acclaimed crime thriller Bad to the Bone, the first in a series featuring DI Jimmy Bliss and DC Penny Chandler. The second book in the series, The Scent of Guilt, was released in March 2018.
Some years ago, Tony won a short story competition judged by an editor from Pan Books. The story, Gino’s Bar and Grille, went on to be published in Dark Voices 2, part of the celebrated Pan Book of Horror series. Three further short story sales followed: Book End, published in Dark Voices 4, Character Role, in FEAR magazine, and finally A Grim Story, which featured in A Rattler’s Tale. It was the start of Tony’s publishing journey.
On 19 September 2017, Tony’s dark, psychological crime thriller, Degrees of Darkness, featuring ex-detective Frank Rogers, was also published by Bloodhound Books.
Now a highly successful crime writer, all Tony’s books can be found here.
You can follow Tony on Twitter @TonyJForder, visit his website and find him on Facebook.