Staying in with M. N. Grenside

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It’s my very great pleasure to be part of the Love Books Group blog tour for M. N. Grenside today. Thanks to Urbane Publications and to Kelly, I’m staying in with Mark so that he can tell me all about his latest book.

Staying in with M.N. Grenside

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Mark and thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.

Hi Linda, hope you keeping well and safe.

I am thanks Mark, especially with all this wonderful weather. Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?

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Tonight I am bringing along my debut thriller FALL OUT; the first in a franchise of thrillers set in the movie industry.

Oh, interesting. So, what can we expect from an evening in with FALL OUT?

You can expect a late night firstly as I hope you can’t put it down! It’s a fresh look at the thriller genre. In the same way as Dick Francis wrote stories with horse racing as the backdrop or Grisham used the law, I have used my experience in film and TV to write a thriller with an Entertainment Industry backdrop

That sounds great – an example of write what you know then. Tell me more.

The story starts out with the murder of a successful screenwriter who has just completed his latest script Fall Out, destined to be a huge hit and the best work of his career. However we discover it is much more than that; for a select group of people he has sent it to it’s a death sentence with a reveal of one of the last centuries greatest crimes. As the quote on the top of each screenplay reads:

The secret of a great success for which you are at a loss to account is a crime that has never been found out, because it was properly executed’. HONORÉ DE BALZAC

Now I’m intrigued Mark…

FALL OUT gently lifts the veil on not only how films get made but on the true story of one of the greatest crimes of the last century.

Does that mean you’re blending fact and fiction?

The story has a number of characters from a Talent Agent, Completion Bond Executive, Stunt Men, a designer of parties and stands in Cannes, a writer, a Producer, a sixty-year-old Filipino and the last person you would expect as a hit man… I’d get sued if I told you whom they are based on!

Maybe when Linda’s Book Bag readers have gone you can whisper…

In addition, I have used both well researched historical facts laced with a healthy dollop of fiction to create a hybrid book where hopefully the reader finds it difficult to separate reality from fiction. There is action, exotic locations, Da Vinci code type clues and I hope some fascinating glimpses at art, food and organized crime.

FAll OUT sounds very exciting. Tell me about the main characters.

It has two leads… Producer Marcus Riley and Designer Melinda ‘Mako de Turris’, who spark off each other. I hope there is a lightness of touch and humor which I believe is missing from thrillers today. As a film and TV Producer, dialogue that crackles and descriptive scenery are important to me. It’s a very visual read with a number of spectacular locations that I hope are both fascinating and different.

I love a visual read. Just what we need as travel is limited at the moment too. But tell me a little more about your background that has fed into FALL OUT.

After a brief stint in Kidnap Ransom and Extortion Insurance at LIoyds of London, I started my TV and film career working for Jim Henson and the Muppets. Over the years I made a number of movies, mini-series and series for worldwide TV, with productions for both US and UK networks. Somehow in the mid noughties, I also ended up being a  channel owner buying the international version of The Hallmark Channel. That was sold to NBC and I returned to producing. The last project was Treasure Island for SKY and NBC Universal with Eddie Izard, Donald Sutherland, Elijah Wood, Philip Glenister and Rupert Penry Jones!

Nothing unusual then! Honestly Mark, that’s some career!

This all gives me an insider’s view to the workings of the Entertainment Industry to give verisimilitude to the backdrop of  FALL OUT. On that front, I hope I succeeded with already some very kind endorsements from people in the Industry. These include a number of award-winning Producers of Oscar nominated movies and Emmy Award winning drama shows, home grown support from the CEO and owner of Hammer Films, the founder of Talk Radio, Broadcaster Emma Forbes and former CEO of Channel 5 and senior Exec at ITV and Sky Dawn Airey.

You must be thrilled with that. Who knows. We may see FALL OUT on screen sometime… But with all that experience why did you write THIS particular book?

Well, I unearthed a dark side of history on a visit to Asia. On its own it lacked a real story that is relevant today to wrap around it. So I chose the movie business; something everyone is fascinated about, yet the Industry itself keeps so may secrets to itself.

And on a personal basis, making movies by nature is a very collaborative business. I just wanted a chance to do something where I am in complete control! So if it’s a success I will no doubt be insufferable!

I think you’ll deserve that moment of being insufferable!

I have been very lucky with support. From the Publishers, my wife and friends and even from bestselling authors including Damien Lewis. I hope I have succeeded blurring the lines between truth and fiction with a fast paced but very different kind of thriller. As well as imparting some knowledge about really how our business works. Most important is your readers enjoy the ride!

I think FALL OUT sounds so intriguing. I really need to get my hands on a copy now!

What else have you brought along and why?

In addition to my writing I am an entrepreneur. I and two friends founded a CBD company Dragonfly Biosciences in 2016 so I have some CBD for you.

I’ve never tried a CBD product so that will be interesting for me.

I also love to cook and entertain so I have some favorite recipes. Parmesan soup, Lamb baked in hay and rhubarb and white wine jelly!

Parmesan Soup

Ingredients: (Serves a very generous 4-6)
2 white onions (coarsely chopped)
50 g unsalted butter
200 g Parmesan (freshly grated)
1 litre chicken stock
2 litres cream
1 litre milk
50 g lardons of unsmoked bacon (finely chopped)
10 branches of chives (finely chopped)
1 shallot (finely chopped)
2 tbsp croûtons (fry some diced small cubes of country bread in olive oil until golden)
200 ml Madeira or Marsala
Salt and pepper (for seasoning)
Crusty country white bread

Coarsely chop up the onions. Melt the butter in a large pot, add the onions and sizzle away on a low heat for 10 minutes.

Add 150 g of freshly grated parmesan, chicken stock, milk and cream. Simmer on a low heat for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop finely the bacon or simply use the cubed lardons. Fry for 5 minutes until crispy. Put to one side. Finely chop the chives and shallots. Put to one side aside.

When the soup is ready, add the remaining parmesan. Simmer for a further 10 minutes.

Mix in a food processor, and strain through a sieve. Season with salt and pepper. Keep the soup warm. Add the Marsala stirring the mixture

Place the shallots, chives, croûtons and bacon in a soup dish, serve soup immediately.

Cut bread into large chunks. Simply the most glorious soup to warm you up!

Lamb in Hay

Ingredients: (Serves six)
1 3 KG leg of lamb
100 g soft butter
1 small bale of fresh hay (you can get it in any pet shop)
Rosemary
Salt
Pepper
Garlic

Take your roasting tray. Place silver foil underneath the base, not inside the tray and leave it attached to the roll and place roll beside the tray.

Make a bed of hay in it. Place your leg of lamb in it. Smear the top with the butter so the other ingredient can stick to it.

Crush a couple of cloves of garlic into small bowl. Add the content or a decent spring of rosemary, salt, pepper. Use scissors to finely chop up into a paste. Then add to the top of the lamb.

Next put more hay to the top. Using the silver foil then wrap at least twice round this mound of lamb and hay making sure there are no openings or gaps. If there are the hay will catch fire.

Pre-heat over to near max 475f/240c/gas 9. Slam in the lamb for 2.45hours.

Be simply amazed at the tenderness and wonderful aroma and taste. Magnificent!

Rhubarb and Muscat Jelly

Ingredients:
1 kg rhubarb
325g caster sugar
500 ml water
Juice and finely grated zest one large or two small oranges
325ml Muscat wine (or similar, Beaume de Venise etc)
9 leaves of gelatine

Prepare an over tray with some silver foil over base around 30cm x 20cm and 5cm deep. Preheat oven to 5/190c/370f

Chop rhubarb in to chunks as long as your thumb and place in tray. Sprinkle over the sugar orange juice zest and water. Bake for an hour. Take out and let rest.
Then strain into a jug. Will be about 700ml of liquid. Keep the pulp for another day to reheat and have with vanilla ice cream for a pie or trifle. You can freeze it if wanted. Add more wine until you get about 900 ml of liquid.

Gently oil a jelly mould it you want to turn this out when set or simply get a pretty glass bowl.

Soak the gelatine in water in a dish till soft. Then take two ladles full of rhubarb and wine mixture and place in saucepan. Bring to boil then remove. Drop in softened gelatine then whisk till dissolved. Add to rest of mix and stir.

Then either pour into jelly mould or bowl. Put in the fridge for a couple of hours to set and chill.

Serve with crème fraiche and a chilled glass of Muscat!

Oh, you can come again if you’re going to cook. What a glorious meal Mark!

melinda

Here are a few photographs from the book of things you may have thought I made up but are real! Mako’s Riva Melinda II, Death Flowers, Chrysanthemum Stones and the writer’s house on Venice Beach that belonged to Dudley Moore

flower 1 flower 2 death flower

I have never heard of chrysanthemum stones before and I really wouldn’t mind living in that villa.

villa

My other passions of classic cars and scuba diving are a little difficult to bring with me! Come out to Malta though and we will dig out a car, go for a drive then have a dive. And I’ll tell you more about the follow up, The Bastion! Some of it is set here.

Now that sounds a plan. Thanks so much for a really fascinating evening. You get that Parmesan soup served Mark and I’ll tell blog readers a little more about FALL OUT:

FALL OUT

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The Player meets Get Shorty in this thrilling debut from Mark Grenside.

An LA screenwriter is killed shortly after completing his latest script, FALL OUT – a thriller destined to be a blockbuster but written with a secret double purpose. Echoing events from the past the screenplay is sent to a very specific group of people and will change their lives forever. All are connected to a movie that had abruptly stopped shooting in the jungles of the Philippines years before. FALL OUT exposes the truth about a conspiracy and murder that led to a half-a-billion-dollar fortune for a select few.

Follow the story of Producer Marcus Riley, who sets out on an increasingly dangerous quest to get FALL OUT made. From a powerful Agent’ s office in Hollywood, hidden treasures in Belgravia and a remote chalet in the Swiss Alps to murder at the Cannes Film Festival, Marcus teams up with designer Melinda (Mako) de Turris as they and the other recipients of the screenplay are pursued by an assassin from the past.

With clues cleverly concealed in the screenplay, Marcus and Mako unravel a lethal puzzle that for some will bring death, others the truth and ends in a cave with a shocking secret…..

Published by Urbane books today 21st May 2020, FALL OUT is available for purchase here.

About Mark Grenside

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Mark Grenside began his working career straight out of school at Lloyds of London, specializing in Kidnap, Ransom and Extortion Insurance. At 25 it was time for a career change and to dump the suit and tie so he started his media career working for Jim Henson and The Muppets. From that moment on he has been involved in Entertainment and nearly every aspect of it. Mark then went on to create and produce a number of television series and mini-series. At the same time he started a music management company launching million seller artist Neneh Cherry. In 2004 he arranged a $250 million buy-out of the Hallmark Channel International which was then successfully sold to NBC. He returned to producing a number of movies and mini-series.

He has recently somehow morphed into a serial entrepreneur and is now a co-founder of seed to shelf CBD producer Dragonfly Biosciences (www.dragonflybiosciences.com) and a founder in two separate digital companies…. but has also seen a very good return from his love of cooking in an expanding waistline.

A probably unhealthy amount of time and money is lavished on a collection of classic cars that he has raced all over the world. He enjoys risk and has parachuted in New Zealand, scuba dived in the Pacific, hang-glided in the Himalayas and even tobogganed down the Cresta Run. In nearly every case chasing after his wife who is utterly fearless!

He is now writing the follow up to FALL OUT, entitled The Bastion. In addition he writes also puts out a humorous blog with subscribers in more than 40 countries. Mark has two grown sons, two daughters in law, three grandchildren and lives with his wife, a pug and a French bulldog in Malta.

Visit Mark’s blog for more information. Mark has just joined Twitter @MNGrenside too.

There’s more with these other bloggers too:

Fall Out poster

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