Monthly Archives: December 2018

Author Interview: ‘Before Getting Rid of Gil and Josh & About A Boat Trip, A Hold Up, A Strip Show and You’ by Stephen Benatar

About the Book:

Before Getting Rid of Gil and Josh is both a love story and a comedy-thriller, rather than any stark account of homicide. It is set in 1954, before it was legal for two men sexually to love one another and follows the attempt of an MP’s twin to blackmail him. The MP and his partner decide they have to scare off this sibling but when their tactics unexpectedly result in death, they have to resort to desperate measures to avoid suspicion falling in the right place.

About a Boat Trip, a Hold Up, a Strip Show and You can be seen as a latter-day Brief Encounter, occurring some forty years later, in 1986. It concerns Stella McCabe, an attractive middle-aged woman who is thinking of leaving her husband and becoming the sort of person she would like herself to be – independent and far less conventional. Her world is diverted when she meets a man of half her age who turns out to be a Chippendale-type stripper – and, ridiculously, starts to fall in love with him. Is Vince the catalyst she needs or can a selfish husband undergo a change of heart?

Both books are lively, entertaining, and transport the reader to a world of light-hearted fiction, and once begun, will grip its reader until the final pages have been turned.

Praise for Stephen Benatar’s previous works:

‘A masterpiece…matchlessly clever…wholly unique’ – John Carey, Literary Critic

‘Benatar writes with wit and humour about subjects most writers do not tackle – ageing, age, the frequent nastiness of family life.’ – Doris Lessing

With this marvellous book, poetry and character return to the English novel.’ – The Times Literary Supplement


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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US


Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

Nothing much to tell. A strictly average man who wants to make sense of his existence, impose a little order on it and show that he was here. Who likes to be able to hold in his hand the fruits of all his work, or see them on a bookshelf – tangible, condensed. A sense of purpose, a feeling of control, a striving after meaning. There is nothing so satisfying as (oh, cliché, cliché!) playing God, creating your own small world, loving the characters who inhabit it; they become extremely real to you and will always be your friends (and, hopefully, other people’s).

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

No, absolutely not. Any time. On buses, trains, on benches that punctuate your walk, or simply in some spot where it’s quite easy to stand and not get too much in anybody’s way. Often, of course, in the middle of the night – although that’s something one does one’s best, for obvious reasons, not to encourage in oneself. Often, one has to be disciplined about taking time off, meeting friends, going on outings with the family, etc. That CAN be hard, really hard.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

God alone knows. I find the getting of good ideas by far the most difficult part of novel writing. Some people are amazingly prolific but only three times has anybody else’s idea turned out to be something I myself could develop. Certainly the more you strain for an idea; the less likely you are to find one. Perhaps an odd few words you read in a book … perhaps some incredibly banal thought … For instance, one morning I was taking the dog for her walk when I happened to think wouldn’t it be great if we could live our life over again with full recollection of the mistakes we had made the first time. Hardly very original; hardly very profound; but out of that stale reflection arose the piece of work I would want more than any other to be remembered for, ‘The Return of Ethan Hart’. And then – this had never happened to me before – no sooner had I started writing (in a state of some excitement) than ANOTHER idea occurred to me which really grabbed my interest, and I thought Oh hell, which should I now concentrate on. And how ANNOYING that this should happen, what bloody timing! But then I saw that the two ideas could actually fit together, and – hey presto – as I’ve just said, the book I’d most want to be remembered for …

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

I think you should always know, roughly, how a story’s going to end, and these days I might say a none-too-detailed synopsis was a pretty good idea – because in the past I’ve written a first chapter I thought was really spot-on, and even the first five or six chapters, and then found I had nowhere to go. This in fact happened with my first published novel, ‘The Man on the Bridge’. My wife couldn’t think, any more than I could, where the story ought to go and suggested I should just regard it as a very valuable exercise and go on to something else. I totally agreed with her, but that night, sleepless, I felt I was in mourning – what I’ve said, about one’s characters becoming friends – and felt I couldn’t just abandon John and Oliver and all the rest of them…and out of that anguish and desperation, thank heaven, suddenly emerged the way forward… such a vast and indescribable relief!

But my having said all of which, the TLS said about my second published novel, ‘Wish Her Safe at Home’, “it’s very clear that Rachel took over from her creator and sent him in a direction he hadn’t at all intended.” Very percipient and absolutely true. So where exactly does that leave us? At the beginning I hadn’t known at all where that novel was going to end.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

I hope, no genre at all. I hate to repeat myself and I try to make each novel as different as possibly can be to all the others, except in terms of style (economy and simplicity are always mega-important to me). I wrote ‘Letters for a Spy’ simply because I had never before written a spy story, ‘Before Getting Rid of Gil and Josh’ because I’d never once dealt with murder, and have even been contemplating a western – although I’m not sure if that will ever take off. However, I suppose there are certain things that do crop up more than once in my work – an element of romantic love, the possibility of redemption. But I’d still say my books don’t belong to any genre. Except that ‘On Chasing Brad Through Purgatory’ – so far published only in the States, not yet over here (although I’m hoping that it will be next year) – joins ‘The Man on the Bridge’ and ‘Before Getting Rid of Gil and Josh’ in having gay protagonists; but certainly none of these three is in any way about homosexual issues and – these days being gay myself – I must be permitted from time to time to have non-sexually-straight protagonists without my being labeled as ‘a gay writer’. Three out of twelve isn’t a big percentage.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

No idea. I love the cinema and – I imagine because of this – people say all my books are very cinematic; but I never play games of that sort. Fifty or sixty years ago I might have played them, in the days when there still existed a Star System, but there are very few modern actors whom I know or recognize or would go to see any particular movie that I was told they were in. I consider myself very fortunate to have become a moviegoer during the heyday of Hollywood, or of Pinewood or Denham etc.

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

No, I don’t read much – I think that perhaps when you’re writing you shouldn’t read at all; it’s so very easy to pick up mannerisms and odd turns of speech without your being aware of it. My favourite authors: Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, Michael Connelly.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

A book called ‘Actress’ by Yvonne Mitchell.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

Following on from Question 7, possibly ‘Pride and Prejudice’ is the book I’ve read more than any other, then ‘Frederica’, then ‘Arabella’. As a genre (!) I maybe read American thrillers more than anything else, but so often they are disappointing and I don’t finish them.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

If they need advice, then I’d tell them to forget the whole idea. They’re obviously not writers. I started when I was a boy, simply because I wanted to, simply because I HAD to. Tell them to read a lot? Why? Probably discouraging? Tell them to keep their eyes open, to notice things, particularly about people? If they don’t do this anyway, well I’d repeat my first sentence – and you know I don’t like repeating myself! I suppose I could say it’s going to be an uphill journey – I myself wrote a dozen novels between the ages of nineteen and forty-four – therefore, if you want it enough, be determined you’ll NEVER give up. Just say to yourself that you’re improving all the time, learning and mastering your trade. And if you don’t love doing it, if you begin to think you might be wasting your time, that you could be spending it more profitably …

Enough said!

Indeed, a very suitable cue for me to finish!

Thank you.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?

Not on any social media at the moment.


About the Author:

Stephen Benatar was born in 1937, to Jewish parents, in Baker Street, London.

Although he started writing when he was only eight, ‘The Man on the Bridge’ wasn’t published until he was forty-four – and even then, if it hadn’t been for the kindness and concern of Pamela Hansford Johnson, the novelist wife of C.P. Snow, this might never have happened.

Since then, however, there have been eight novels – one published by a borough council, the first and only time a council has produced a work of fiction. There have also been two plays and two children’s books. In 1983 he was awarded a £7000 bursary by the Arts Council; and Boston University in Massachusetts is now the repository for all his papers and manuscripts.

He was married for twenty-nine years to Eileen, with whom he had two sons and two daughters – has taught English at the University of Bordeaux, lived in Crete and Southern California, been a school teacher, an umbrella salesman, hotel porter, employee of the Forestry Commission – and at long last, in his retirement, has become a full-time writer.

Having finally moved back to the town of his birth, he now lives in West London, with his partner, Greg.

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Book Blitz: ‘The Forked Path’ by T.R. Thompson

Title: The Forked Path

Wraith Cycle Series Book 2

Author: T.R. Thompson

Genre: Dark Fantasy / Horror



About the Book:

Future and past entwined.

Despite the victory over Cantor Cortis, the dark power still spreads. Nightmare creatures are wiping out villages all along the southern edge of the wild Tangle forest, causing a stream of refugees to flow into the capital of Sontair in the hope of finding protection.

All who helped overthrow the Nine Sisters of Redmondis have been touched by what they experienced and those they lost. Dark visions sap Petron and Daemi’s strength even as they try to heal the rifts within Redmondis and forge a new path for the wielders, crafters, and guards who make up its three main schools.

Wilt must enter the Tangle to seek out the source of the power that calls to him. Visions of the past seen through other eyes haunt his days, and he finds it harder and harder to resist the pull of his wraith form.

The Guardian is old and weak, and the Tangle is no longer secure…


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Shade had to admit it. He was lost.

He hadn’t thought it possible. He’d spent all his life in the Tangle, wandering its paths, listening to its low murmur and avoiding the random cruel tricks the Others liked to play. Now though, none of the surrounding trails seemed familiar. As soon as he found one worthy of pursuing, it seemed to curve around on itself until he was somehow back where he started.

He’d even tried climbing some of the trees, though they too resisted his efforts, bending themselves out of his way and shifting branches and boughs suddenly out of reach. Finally he’d glimpsed the late afternoon sky and got a sense of direction, but as soon as he was back on the forest floor, the trees seemed determined to shepherd him away from his chosen path. After only a few steps he’d be faced with an impossible solid wall of trees that even his thin figure was unable to squeeze through. And so he’d be forced to turn around and try to flank them, but the forest always seemed one step ahead.

And the Others, their voices much clearer now, as though they too were all converging on this one spot. Their conspiratorial whispers seemed to leak out of the shadows to fill his ears.

A challenge!

So soon?

Long overdue. Look how weakened we are.

But none have succeeded. Even the strongest of us.

And little Shade hopes to succeed?

He squeezed his eyes closed and tried to ignore them. Nurtle had warned him about this as soon as she’d seen the cloak the Guardian had gifted him. How it would open certain doors, certain paths that normally remained closed.

Future and past entwined.

The words on the clasp that had held it. The words forced out of him. Had he brought this on himself? Or was it the Guardian, drawing him ever deeper. Was this what Nurtle had feared?

Time to climb, little Shade.

Climb for your life.

Or your death.

It’s all the same to us, you know.

Shade let their words wash over him, not paying attention to their meaning. His mind was buzzing, as though the forest’s song itself had grown in strength. Their words were just another breeze in the leaves. He kept his eyes closed and let the voice of the forest hum his heart into stillness.

When he opened his eyes again, he was deep in the forest, the light dim, the high sun blocked out by ranks of close-growing trees. The air was thick and muggy, heavy with moisture and the warmth of rotting things, making it hard to breathe.

He was standing in front of an enormous trunk, easily twenty feet across. It was the biggest tree he’d ever seen.

The Challenge Tree!

How high can little Shade climb?

How fast?

Not high or fast enough.

Not a runt like you.

Hurry up and start, boy.

About the Author:

T.R. Thompson is an Australian speculative fiction author. He lives in Belgrave on the outskirts of Melbourne with his wife and two young sons.

When not writing or reading, he spends too much time gaming and taking long meandering walks through the forest that always seem to end up at a tavern.


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Book Blitz: ‘Traveling Light’ by Nisha Paul

Title: Traveling Light

A Self Reflective Journey

Author: Nisha Paul

Publisher: Friesen Press Books

Genre: Self Help / Motivational



About the Book:

On this journey of discovery, we strive to understand what motivates us while exploring our true personalities. We reflect on situations that have brought about our greatest learning. It is within these answers that we discover our own fulfillment.

Although the truth lies within each of us, we may be too scared to peel the layers away to discover the real person beneath. It is only through this real understanding that we can accomplish that feeling of bliss that we all seek.

Traveling Light is the self-reflective journey that I share with you in the hope that you open yourself up to an adventure of your own. It is meant to help you create and reinforce your own safe zone of discovery. I assure you it will be a trip worth taking and will be filled with learning that will reflect in multiple areas of your life.

So start this journey today with me. While you make the commitment to invest valuable time in yourself, I encourage you to notice the successes that you begin to create through your own actions and new awareness….


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Purchase Links:

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Friesen Press Books

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About the Author:

Nisha Paul is a psychologist who has spent the last two decades focusing on people and organizational development. Born in Mumbai, India, she has traveled and lived in different parts of the world and currently calls Vancouver, Canada her home.

Having studied at the University of Mumbai, India and the University of Nottingham, U.K. she has gained a global academic perspective to complement her valuable life lessons.

Along the way she has discovered what truly makes her happy and has created a life for herself that she finds enriching. Nisha also enjoys photography and has used her photographs to illustrate this book.

Motivated to seek opportunities to give back to her community and society at large, she decided to share this literary journey, which is her first. While encouraging her readers to reflect on their own life journeys, she aims to contribute to the collective awareness in our world today.

Nisha can be reached at

Social Media Links:



Twitter: @nishapaul10

Amazon page:

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Book Blitz: ‘The Sailors Tiller’ by Noël Wolf


Title: The Sailors Tiller

Something to hold on to

Author: Noël Wolf

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Sub-genre: Steamy, humour



About the Book:

How did the most embarrassing date of my life turn into the most amazing sex of my life? Sometimes dating feels like a job and sometimes it has major benefits. Right now it’s paying off in a rocking orgasm. The boat I’m on is pitching to a different rhythm than the thrusting of my date’s hips and its making my body feel like it’s on fire.

The irony of all this heat building up while I’m surrounded the Pacific Ocean isn’t completely lost on me. Neither are the penetrating brown eyes and bulging biceps of my modern day Sailor. Unfortunately, when we return to the marina tonight, I’ll be taking a very embarrassing item home with me in a to-go bag. And I’ll need to restart my Tinder search for happily-ever-after tomorrow. How exactly do people make love work when at our foundation, we’re all human?


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About the Author:

Noël Wolf loves beaches, boys and birds. The order changes on any given day but you’ll find all three in her books which will probably make you fall in love too.

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Book Blitz: ‘Hauling Checks’ by Alex Stone

Title: Hauling Checks

Author: Alex Stone

Publisher: AWS Books

Genre: Fiction / Humour

Sub-genre: Transportation / Aviation



About the Book:

I’m a cargo pilot.  In the industry, I’m known as a “Freight Dog.”  I fly canceled checks and other types of high-value cargo around the country, mostly at night, in airplanes that are older than I am.  Flying freight—or “work” as we call it—in small, twin engine aircraft is a lesser known side of the aviation world.  Our day starts when banker’s hours end.  Thousands of flights move millions of pounds of work from city to city every night while the rest of the country is asleep.  We’re out there in the freezing rain getting de-iced when you‘re laying down for bed.  We’re sweeping the snow off our wings with a broom at three in the morning.  That horrible thunderstorm you heard last night while you were sleeping, we were flying through it.  The fog you woke up to in the early morning hours, we were landing in it.

Hauling Checks is a comedy about the darker side of aviation.  A cast of degenerate pilots, who work for a shady night time air cargo operation, take you on a flight through the unfriendly skies.  The pilots abuse every Reg in the book in their quest to make deadlines for their high value cargo.  As the company falls on hard times, management resorts to questionable measures to save the failing airline.


What people are saying:

“One of the best aviation read yet. Definitely art imitating life.”

“I’ve never laughed this much while reading.”

“If any of it is true, I will eat my headset.”

“Hilarious book that opens your eyes to the fringes of aviation.”

“An irreverent comedic read.”

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US


About the Author:

Alex Stone grew up in Munster, Indiana.  He’s been flying since age fourteen and received a Bachelors Degree in Aviation Science from Western Michigan University.  He has worked as a flight instructor and was a “Freight Dog” in the air cargo industry for seven years.  This is his first novel.

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