Welcome to 10 – 4 Tuesday! This is a forum where we’ll feature either an author or someone in a position related to publishing, promoting or a service that is author related. I will only be offering this forum on occasion, and if anyone wants to participate, email me to set up a date 🙂
For 10 – 4 Tuesday I will ask our guest to share 10 things about either their book or what service they offer and then 4 questions for fun 🙂 So let’s get started.
So, let’s get started!
First the 10:
1. To start out, tell us a bit about yourself Tim.
Well, I’m a grandfather, I live in the English countryside near the historic city of York, I have a wife, two horses, two dogs, two cats, two daughters, two grandchildren – two of everything really, except my wife – so I guess I’m a bit like Noah! I even have a white beard, and right now I’m looking out the window at the rain. We have had two months of rain here in two days last week, and I’m seriously thinking of building an Ark!
2. I hope the Ark building goes smooth! lol What genres do you write?
Lots. I write legal thrillers (courtroom dramas), historical novels, children’s books, and I’ve also written a lot of shorter books for foreign learners of English, some fictional, some factual. The last one of those was about Dinosaurs (but I’m not having T Rex in my ark! He’ll have to swim or become extinct!)
3. lol…Poor Rex! Tell us the moment when it first sank in that you were an official author!
Hm. I don’t think it’s ever really sunk in. Maybe one day I’ll see a big poster for one of my books at an airport or train station. Then I’ll believe it. But that hasn’t happened yet. Probably never will.
A Game of Proof, a legal thriller set in York. It’s the first book in the series ‘The Trials of Sarah Newby.’
A mother’s worst nightmare – can her son be guilty of murder?
Sarah Newby, who left school at 15, and was living as a teenage single parent on an inner-city estate, has worked her way up to begin a career as a criminal barrister. Then her own son, Simon, is arrested and charged with a series of brutal rapes and murders. The evidence against him appears so strong that his QC advises a guilty plea, but Simon swears he is innocent and begs his mother take on his defence. The only other obvious suspect for the murders, however, is a man who has already been acquitted once – with Sarah acting as his defence lawyer …
Since Simon has often lied to her in the past, how can she trust him when he says he is innocent this time? And what should she do when she herself uncovers evidence that seems to suggest his guilt?
Should she help the police and protect the public? Or risk her career to save her son?
5. What inspired you to tell this story?
Well, I used to take foreign students to the courts here in York quite regularly, to learn about British justice. And I got fascinated with the drama of the trials. Once I saw a rape trial where the man was acquitted; it was basically his word against hers, as it often is, unfortunately. But then a few months later I saw the same guy back in court, accused of exactly the same type of sexual assault against a completely different woman; and he was acquitted again. But all the details in the two women’s stories were identical; he had some kinky, nasty habits which would be hard to make up. So I thought, if only the law had allowed both women to give evidence to the same jury, he would have been convicted, for sure. But his lawyers prevented this.
I told this story to my daughter, who is a lawyer. ‘Where is the justice in trials like that?’ I asked. ‘Dad,’ she said. ‘A trial isn’t about justice. It’s just a game. A game of proof.’ So that’s where I got the title for my book.
6. Love that story! What was your favorite part about writing A Game of Proof?
I think the emotional scenes, where something dramatic and surprising happens. I enjoy that. I get lost in the story, forget where I am, and the language seems to flow.
7. Share an excerpt!
I really enjoyed this excerpt because the little surprise at the end came to me in a flash.
Sarah Newby has just had a friendly lunch with Detective Inspector Terry Bateson, who finds her quite attractive. But in court, they are enemies.
Sarah stood up. She looked across the court at Terry Bateson. No flicker of recognition passed between them. The easy conversation of an hour ago was forgotten. They were strangers. As she asked her first question, the hair rose along the back of his neck.
‘Detective Inspector, you lied to Mr Harker, didn’t you?’
For a long telling moment Terry didn’t answer. ‘I … don’t understand you.’
‘Let me help you then. Do you recall these words: “We know you were there because she recognized you. She saw your face.” You said that, didn’t you?’
‘Was it true?’
‘Ms Gilbert recognized Gary Harker, yes. That’s why we arrested him.’
‘Was it true that she saw his face?’
‘So you lied to Mr Harker, didn’t you?’
Terry recovered himself slightly, and addressed his reply to the judge as the police were trained to do. It was a subtle way of insulting defense counsel, making them seem unimportant in the eyes of the jury. ‘She didn’t actually say she saw his face, my lord, that’s true, but she stated very clearly that she recognized her assailant as Gary Harker, and the reason I …’
‘I didn’t ask you why you lied, Detective Inspector, I asked you if you lied. And the answer is yes, isn’t it?’
The judge leaned forward protectively. ‘Nevertheless, I think it might help the jury if the Detective Inspector were allowed to give his reasons, Mrs Newby. Inspector?’
Thank God for judges, Terry thought. ‘The reason was simple, my lord. I wanted to see what his reaction would be if he thought he’d been recognized. And his reaction was quite clear. He was silent, as you could hear on the tape, and he went very white. That convinced me that he was guilty.’
Sarah glanced at the judge. It seemed he had finished, for the present at least. Once again she had the electrifying feeling that all eyes were on her. Mostly hating her, at this moment.
‘I see. What would you say, Detective Inspector, if I told this court that at lunchtime you put your hand up my skirt and indecently assaulted me?’
A collective gasp sucked the air out of the court. Someone in the public gallery began to giggle helplessly. Terry opened his mouth to speak but no sound came out.
Before he could recover Sarah went on, smoothly: ‘I think the jury can see exactly what you would say. Your face has gone white and you are lost for words. Well, let me reassure the jury straight away that that was a hypothetical question. The Detective Inspector did not assault me, members of the jury. But even though he knows the suggestion is untrue he is shocked and lost for words, as you see.’
A young jurywoman laughed and her neighbour grinned. The other expressions ranged from delight through dismay to disgust. She had their undivided attention, at least.
8. Do you find it more difficult to write characters, emotion, description or conflict?
Probably description. I need to visit the place where something happens, to see it properly. If I do it without going to a real place, it doesn’t always work so well.
9. What time of day do you feel most motivated to write?
In the mornings mostly. After I’ve got over the horror of staring at a blank screen and thinking, ‘The sun is shining outside. What am I doing in here?’
10. What’s your current work in progress?
I’m trying to write a fourth novel in the ‘Trials of Sarah Newby’ series. It’s still in the planning stage; I’m trying to find a really good plot.
Now the 4:
1. If you had to give up one of your senses, which one would you choose, and why?
The sense of smell, I think. If you compare a person to a dog, you realise that we’ve lost most of it already. I think it’s the one I’d miss least.
2. You have won a contest! You have one hour in any store in the world to pick out anything you want … no dollar or item limit. What store would you choose?
Harrods in London, because they boast that they can sell you anything you can imagine. And I think I’d buy a helicopter!
3. Great choice…how fun would it be to own your own ‘copter? A family of Aliens have landed in your backyard. They’re on vacation. Name 3 places you’d tell them that they HAVE to visit.
York Minster, because it’s only a few miles away and it’s the largest Gothic cathedral north of the Alps. Stonehenge, because I want to check out all those New Age hippy stories that suggest Aliens had a hand in building it. And a large field full of ripe wheat, because I want to see how good the Aliens really are at drawing those crop circles which everyone blames them for.
4. Make a sentence using these 5 words: Halloween, Centerpiece, Books, Pen, Limousine.
Last Halloween I sat in my limousine scratching my head with a pen trying to work out which character would be the centerpiece of my next series of books.
Nicely done sentence Tim! Thank you so much for joining us on 10 – 4 Tuesday! I had a great time learning more about you and your book.