I have no idea what it is like for a fiction author on publication day, but it always gives me a frisson of excitement to welcome them to Linda’s Book Bag on the day to chat about their latest book. It’s my absolute pleasure to welcome Chris Malone to stay in with me to tell me about her new thriller out today.
Staying in with Chris Malone
Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Chris and thank you for agreeing to stay in with me. Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?
Hello Linda and thank you for the invitation to stay in with you today, a special day for me because it sees the publication of my latest thriller, #stoptheglitch.
The irony is not lost on me that, in order to publish a thriller about loss of the internet, especially at the current time, I am dependent upon the very phenomenon which my protagonist despises.
That’s an intriguing title and I love that irony! What can we expect from an evening in with #stoptheglitch?
Well, Robin, the narrator, is angry. She is fed up with the everyday frustrations of technology, she is appalled at homelessness, and she is desperate to find somewhere quiet where she can think more clearly.
But Robin is by no means an irritating moralistic prig. As Juliet Blaxland says in her review, “It is appealing that the narrator is prepared to admit to being slightly preachy … the tone of ‘moral dissonance’ was pitched just right to engender genuine sympathy with the narrator & the collective dilemmas and paradoxes thrown up by life.” Tensions between order and disorder, anachronistic left and right-wing politics, gender stereotypes and the ethics of individual agency are all explored through the novel.
That sounds incredible. I find books that explore quite challenging issues very compelling.
So, at first. our evening will not necessarily be relaxing, that is, until we reach Caernef camp, in remote Wales. Robin’s dream-escape on a remote Welsh clifftop was conceived from my experience of education outdoor centres. In fact, #stoptheglitch is dedicated to the Hill End Outdoor Centre, near Oxford, ‘a place of possibilities’.
That’s a first for me. I’ve stayed in with authors who dedicate their books to all kind of people but never to an outdoor centre before! Tell me more.
The first time at Caernef, Robin says, ‘It is a very long time since I have been in a place where you cannot hear the human race. There are no traffic noises, no voices, and no hums or buzzes. The distant swell of the sea is calming, and I willingly lapse into a daze, transfixed by the beauty and simplicity of the scene, instinctively remaining silent and still, to blend into the tranquillity.’
But this peace does not last long. When Robin travels back to Oxford just before Christmas, to collect some belongings and see friends, another serious glitch strikes, knocking out phones, power and internet. The cause of this chaos has something to do with Caernef.
Robin is faced with a tantalising dilemma. Should she use her knowledge to try and restore the systems which mankind so relies upon, or should she follow her instincts and deliberately prevent the return to a digital age?
I think #stoptheglitch sounds brilliant.
What else have you brought along and why?
I have brought my #stoptheglitch face mask, to assist our social distancing indoors, and because the book is set in the immediate aftermath of coronavirus. As Juliet Blaxland says, ‘I liked the way #stoptheglitch referred to the pandemic as being in the recent past, as part of a collective memory but not an over-dominant one. The vaguely sinister lurking background presence of the virus added authenticity to the very real idea of internet vulnerability, and the subtle fear of a second wave/glitch.’
That’s a super review and a very impressive mask Chris!
We will listen to Dire Straits Brothers in Arms, because my husband who is a (now ageing) rock guitarist, used to play, and sing it exquisitely. The lyrics sum up the spirit of #stoptheglitch, but this time it is a cyber war. There is also an irony in the title, as I play gently with gender in the book, ever the feminist.
Nothing wrong with a bit of feminism! Did you bring any food?
Sorry to disappoint, but as a severe coeliac, I tend to avoid special food. Instead, we can drink coffee, but in keeping with Robin’s principles, not in throwaway cups.
Most definitely not! I have a feeling I’m going to rather like Robin when I get to read about her Chris. Thanks so much for staying in to tell me all about #stoptheglitch and happy publication day.
In a post-pandemic world, the nation is healing its wounds and trying to get back to a new normal. But the darker threat of a second wave looms.
Robin hopes to escape society, using an inheritance to secure a peaceful life off grid in Wales. However, through a series of bizarre circumstances, Robin is pulled back into a life left behind, and into a conspiracy where competing gangs challenge assumptions about progress and prosperity.
When the second glitch strikes, knocking out power and communication networks, Robin becomes stranded in Oxford. Desperate to make it back towards Caernef Camp, Robin recruits three companions and is joined by a mysterious gate-crasher.
Does Robin hold the key to stop the glitch?
Published by Burton Mayers today, 16th October 2020, #stoptheglitch is available for purchase here.
About Chris Malone
Chris achieved a first-class degree through the Open University while raising her family. She then worked as a teacher, a primary school headteacher, and an Ofsted inspector, as well as setting up and managing pre-schools, and leading a further education centre. In 2000 she was invited to Buckingham Palace to celebrate her contribution to education. Chris then occupied a series of senior management roles in county councils, most recently as Assistant Director for Education in Warwickshire.
Now retired, her debut novel, Zade was published by Austen Macauley in May 2020, closely followed by ‘#stoptheglitch’, published by Burton Mayers Books.