Monthly Archives: May 2011

Interview with Black Shadows author, Simon Swift


Book Trailer :


How did you start writing ?

I have always been a writer. My earliest memories contain the writing of stories. As a child, I had dreams of being a film star, a spy or an author. It was clear that of the three, writing was my real passion, and dreams aside I was never going be cut out to be the next James Bond or Marlon Brando! Every opportunity I got, I would write whether it  be stories, poems, reviews and I am sure, quite a lot of nonsense along the way. As I grew older my writing became more serious and I continued to produce a range of stories covering a variety of genres, often handing in extra work to my High School Literacy tutor for review. 


How did Errol, the main character of Black Shadows, come into being ?

Errol has been developed over many years. I suppose he was born from a thousand mysteries, encapsulating Sam Spade, Phil Marlowe, Mike Hammer and more recently Max Allan Collins’ Nate Heller. And of course with a good dose of Simon Swift mixed in there. I wanted to make him much more three dimensional than the typical wisecracking private eye, but not lose that authenticity and hardboiled grittiness.


What for you were the most important plot factors to include/maintain in Black Shadows ?

Black Shadows is such a labyrinthine mystery, it was a constant worry, ensuring I maintained all the interweaving plotlines, subplots and red herrings. My intention was to steep it in history, the real life death of Dutch Schultz being the inspiration, and to weave the fiction around this.

 How did you start writing Black Shadows ?

I started writing Black Shadows many years ago. After reading Politics and Philosophy at The University of York, I embarked on a 12 month odyssey of adventure, traveling the world with my beautiful girlfriend. Alongside the odd pair of clean clothes and a stack of paperbacks, my most treasured possession was the notebook, which contained the chrysalis of my own hardboiled novel.

 Who or what do you feel influenced your narrative style most ?

That’s a difficult one. For Harper Collins to compare me to Chandler and Hammett is an unbelievable compliment. I guess there is plenty those guys in there, as well as a splash of Spillane. More recent authors that have influenced my style and panache would be the amazing Max Allan Collins and the legendary James Ellroy. If I have got even close, I am a very happy man.

 Current and upcoming projects ?

I am currently putting the finishing touches to the sequel, The Casablanca Case, a much darker novel, which reveals much about the friendship of Errol Black and Hermeez Wentz. This is a crime mystery story, but also a tale about murder, betrayal and love.

 Which writer(s) past and present would you like to recommend to your readers (in addition to you, naturally!)

James Ellroy is the greatest living crime writer and the LA Noir series is an absolute must read. Anti-hero Dudley Smith is one of literature’s finest creations. As far as other authors, there are far too many to list although David Peace, Haruki Murakami and Khaled Hosseini are current faves, alongside old classics like Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.

 Do you have a special place where you like to work ? Do you have a timetable or is it as and when you can manage ?

With young children, a beautiful wife, and a very demanding day job, it is a matter of write when and where you can, although I do like nothing better than to be out in the natural beauty of the Yorkshire countryside, letting inspiration wash over me.

 Do you write mainly on a computer, or does it start with pen on paper ?

Always starts with pen and paper. The computer is just the icing on the cake. There is nothing better than starting with a fresh, white page and the germ of an idea. I’m a big believer in writing down your first thoughts and just letting it flow. I have never written a book in order and probably never will.

 Are there any favourite websites or writing communities you would like to recommend to other writers ?

Authonomy was great to me. It was a rollercoaster journey, and getting the great review from Harper was swell, but it also introduced me to so many great people, offering invaluable advice. There is as much bad as good, but that is the nature of all advice! I learnt an incredible amount during my time there.

 Since then I have spent more time on Nightreading, a community of writers set up by old authonomist Tim Roux. This is a truly wonderful place, full of splendid people who constantly offer support and best wishes. They also publish about 50 books a year, which has brought some great books to print.

 Lorraine Holloway-White’s Authors on Show is also a great site and offers invaluable support and promotion of published an unpublished authors. Lorraine works tirelessly and has built a great team around her.

 What have been your experiences on Kindle so far ?  How does ebook publishing compare to print ? Do you think ebooks are going to overtake print, or will they settle into being a handy ‘extra’ to traditional publishing ?

Wow. Too much to think about here. I kind of like kindle, but am very new to it. It feels wonderful when your book hits a top 100 list (Black Shadows has recently got as high as 14 in the mystery / hardboiled section) and yes I think eventually kindle will take over the world, a bit like Tesco is doing! But ultimately I remain a traditionalist and will always cherish the feel of a ‘real’ book in my hands. It’s even better when it’s your own ‘real’ book!

 Where can we read/buy your work ?  Website links :



Publishers website:


Amazon paperback (UK):

 Amazon paperback (US):

 Amazon kindle:

 Waterstones online:



Book-signings and blog-tours . . .

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Two quick items :

First, Simon Swift, author of crime noire Black Shadows, will be doing book-signings signing on Saturday (21st May) in Waterstones, Kingsgate Centre, Huddersfield between 12 and 2pm.

About Black Shadows :

Black Shadows is a historical mystery set in post-war New York. Murder, double-cross, betrayal and the quest for a mythical diamond blight the life of reluctant hero Errol Black.

When fellow detective and one-time partner Dyke Spanner is shot to death, Black is drawn deep into a violent and bloody quest. The search for the priceless Blue Tavernier Diamond brings gangsters, New York’s ruthless Tongs and beautiful women into Black’s life.

To solve the crime, he finds himself journeying into his own past where both the secret to Dyke’s killer and the clues to the hidden diamond lay.

Black Shadows is a crime novel blending fact and fiction. It is set in one of America’s most violent and unsettled eras. Gangsters, beautiful dames, colourful villains and red herrings galore – this is the world of reluctant hero Errol Christopher Black.

Black Shadows is published by Wild Wolf Publishing (

Book trailer :

Waterstone in Kingsgate Centre :

AND Second :


Shalini Boland’s YA gothic paranormal romance will be touring blogs throught the rest of May into June and later :

Shalini is already featured at the following : at

Upcoming :  (paranormal)
To be featured on 26th May 2011


with others in the pipeline . . . we’ll be tweeting updates . . .


A paranormal romance that spans the centuries from modern London to 19th century Paris and ancient Cappadocia.


Sixteen-year-old Madison Greene is in foster care until one day she inherits a fortune, she inherits a house, she inherits a cellar full of danger.

Eighteen-year-old Alexandre lives in 19th century Paris. On an archaeological expedition he discovers a lost underground city where his life changes forever.

For each of them, life is finally starting. Little do they know it is closer to ending. Something lies buried which should have been forgotten.

Falling in love has never been so dangerous.

Book trailer – click on HIDDEN  in the right-hand menu . . .


Promo video for AuthorsAnon, a collective of authors ‘writing to be published’ :
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1st collector for AuthorsAnon
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Interview with Shalini Boland, author of HIDDEN

 A page for interviews with those of AuthorsAnon who are available in print and/or in ebook form, and naturally interviews from outside can be hosted. Guest interviews welcome !

First up is . . .

HIDDEN : a new YA gothic romance by Shalini Boland, which has been getting 5 star reviews on Amazon. (Booktrailer in VodPod on this page . . .)

Blurb in brief :
‘A paranormal romance spanning the centuries from modern London to 19th century Paris and ancient Cappadocia.

Sixteen-year-old Madison Greene is in foster care until one day she inherits a fortune, she inherits a house, she inherits a cellar full of danger.

Eighteen-year-old Alexandre lives in 19th century Paris. On an archaeological expedition he discovers a lost underground city where his life changes forever.

For each of them, life is finally starting. Little do they know it is closer to ending. Something lies buried that should have been forgotten. Falling in love has never been so dangerous.’

AuthorsAnon : Where did the idea for HIDDEN come from ?

 Shalini Boland : I’ve always wanted to write a vampire book, but never had a strong enough idea. Then one day I read a story in the paper about a family who had to move out of their house as they had 150 bats nesting in their roof. They said it was like living in Dracula’s castle. I had a light bulb moment and thought: Bats in the attic? – What about vampires in the basement?

 AA : Which books/authors do you think most influenced you when creating the trilogy ?

 SB : Probably Anne Rice. I love how she detailed each of her vampires’ stories – how they were made, what eras they came from. All that historical richness and romance. But I have very eclectic reading tastes, so my influences are varied.

 AA : May we know when the next in the Marchwood series will be available ?

 SB : Thicker Than Blood will be out at the end of 2011. You’ll get to see more of Maddy and Alexandre as well as a trip back in time to see the ancient Byzantine vampires of Cappadocia.

 AA : How do you work ? In starts and spurts, or do you have a timetable you adhere to ?

 SB : I have two young children so it’s hard to work to a timetable. Hidden was written in 6 months. I worked flat out in every spare minute I could grab. I’m hoping Thicker Than Blood will flow just as easily…

AA : Do you have a favourite place for writing ?

SB : I always write on my netbook sitting on the sofa next to the window with a cup of tea or coffee on the arm – it usually goes cold before I get a chance to finish it.

AA : Which comes first:  images, plot or characters ? Or other ?

SB : Each book is different. With my first book, Outside (a post-apocalyptic road trip thriller), I thought of the ending first and built up the story around it. I always like to have a strong character to work with before I start writing though. If you haven’t got a great character, you can’t get excited about the story. 

AA : What are your next projects ?

SB : I’m writing Thicker Than Blood, book two of The Marchwood Vampire series. I’ve also started writing the sequel to Outside. I need to revise my children’s book, A Shirtful of Frogs, a bittersweet timeslip adventure about a WW2 evacuee who meets up with a boy from the present day. Once I’ve done that, I’ll write part three of The Marchwood Vampires, Hunted. That should keep me going for a little while. 

AA : What do you think the future of ebooks are ?

SB : I think they can only grow. A few years back, everyone (me included) said downloading music wasn’t the same as actually owning the cd/vinyl. But I don’t buy records at all anymore – I have a truckload of redundant cds. I only ever download my tunes now. It’ll be the same for books. There’ll be a bit of a backlash, followed by the inevitable embracing of technology. My mum’s an avid reader in her sixties (sorry, Mum!) and she got a kindle for Christmas, not knowing if she’d use it or not. I lent her a paperback last month and she said, ‘actually, I think I’ll download it to my kindle, I much prefer it to actual books’. 

AA : Creating a readership is fundamental to writers – on which websites can readers find you ?

SB : I’m making myself dizzy with all the websites I’m on. Okay, here goes:

My website:

My blog:

Amazon US –

Amazon UK –

Goodreads –

Twitter – My twitter name is @ShaliniBoland

And of course, I always like to hang out with the lovely people at AuthorsAnon –

AA :  Any thoughts or advice on writing you’d like to pass on ?

SB : Joining an online writers’ group was the best thing I ever did. I never realised how much it would benefit me. Just being able to bat ideas around and chat with like-minded people is great.


Thanks, B. It’s been so lovely chatting with you!

 Thank you for taking the time , all the best with the sequels!

Book Trailer for The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton

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Book Trailer for The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton
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Just collecting booktrailers I think would make readers go and look for the book . . . this one has a nice classic feel to it.