#ThrowbackThursday Song of the Sea God by Chris Hill @ChilledCH

If ever a book deserved to feature on #ThrowbackThursday, it is Song of the Sea God, by Chris Hill!

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This week we have as our guest the wonderful writer of ‘Song of the Sea God’, a very unusual book that I enjoyed reading very much and will probably read again.
Hello Chris, and welcome!
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Thanks for having me along to your blog Anita, it’s a delight to be here and always a thrill to talk to other writers and readers. You were asking about my book Song of the Sea God and how I came to write it. It’s an interesting question for any author I think – partly because in some ways it is such a hard thing to pin down.
As a writer it can feel as though you start with a blank page and finish with a book on the shelf and you are not quite sure how you got from one state to the next. Perhaps this is because a book doesn’t leap fully formed onto the page.
“Where did that come from?” you might reasonably ask yourself. Even though you know you did the planning and the notes and the research and the hours in front of the laptop and the rewrites – it still seems strange that you have produced this finished artifact – this book, as if from nowhere.
It’s especially the case with Song of the Sea God I suppose, in that it’s an unusual book with an element of the supernatural about it. It has one foot in reality and another in a world which exists only in the book.
So how did it come to be? I suppose the most honest thing to say about Song of the Sea God is that the idea for the novel kind of evolved over time.

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Song of the Sea God is a book about a man who comes to a small island off the coast of northern England and tries to convince the locals he is a god. In some ways I suppose it’s a book about the nature of religion – what it means to people, how it works.
I’m not particularly religious myself and I suppose I’d call myself an agnostic, but just because I don’t claim to know the mysteries of the universe, doesn’t mean I think there are no mysteries. I think what inspired me to write the book was that I wanted to examine that ‘god-shaped hole’ people have in their lives.
I’d like to think there’s humour in the book, particularly in the narrative voice, but it’s quite a dark book as well, it delves into some quite murky places.
I’m thrilled by the reaction it’s had so far from readers – people seem to think of it in different ways, it’s dark or comic or lyrical, and so on. That’s great because I was aiming to write something rich and layered and hard to pin down.
I know very well where the setting for the book came from, because the island is the place where I grew up, Walney Island of the coast of Cumbria in the UK. I used the geography because I know the place well and I think it helps if you have a book where slightly unreal things are going on if you can set it somewhere which feels very real – it helps to anchor it and I think a strong sense of place is a fine thing to have in a novel. But I always say, that though the island is based on Walney, the people in the book are definitely not the people who live there! The characters I suppose developed partly from people I have known over the years, partly from the needs of the story.
A lot of what happens in the book was based on research. I did a lot of reading into all sorts of things from ancient religious beliefs to magicians tricks, and from outsider art buildings to communities who live on rubbish tips. It all informed the finished book I hope and lent depth to the story.
So it’s that cocktail I suppose of imagination and research, and then developing ideas as you write.
I hope that’s given you some kind of insight as to how Song of the Sea God came about and anyone who wants to take a look at it can find it on Amazon here and you can read the first few pages to get a feel for it.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Song-Sea-God-Chris-Hill/dp/1908011556
I also have a blog, where I talk about writing and lots of other stuff, here:
http://songoftheseagod.wordpress.com/
Thanks again for having me on your blog!

You are more than welcome Chris, you can drop in any time you’re passing!

See you all next week…
Jaye

Promotion & Interview . . .

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Yes,BAD MOON, another one of our books is FREE this week, as part of a kindle book promotion on Amazon. From now until Friday, the kindle copy costs absolutely nothing!

Of course, we have an ulterior motive. We would love a few more reviews for this book, as it would make promoting it just a little bit easier. Nothing too difficult, just a few words on Amazon. Really easy to do and would mean so much to us both.

So click on this universal Amazon link   myBook.to/badmoon and help yourself (and us)!

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Seeing as this week is all about BAD MOON, I thought it would be a great time to post this interview with Anita herself. She hates anything to do with computers, so this is a milestone AND proof of my persuasive powers, so enjoy!

“Now Anita, do stop glaring at me, relax, and let’s get on with it. Bad Moon was your first book, what made you write it?

“Okay, I give in. At the time, I was a fan of Credence Clearwater Revival and loved their rendition of “Bad Moon Rising”   It wouldn’t leave my head, and before I knew what was happening, characters had climbed on board and I was off and running.”

“When I first read it, I thought it was an incredible mix of the film Deliverance and The Walton’s. How would you describe it?”

“Beneath this savage family saga, the desire for normality and kinship shines through, despite some appalling odds. I loved the idea that you can find love and caring in the strangest of situations.”

BAD MOON has an amazing bunch of characters, who is your particular favourite?”

“I’m never sure if we should have favourites. It’s a bit like being a mother, you’re supposed to love them all equally. However, having said that, Annie, the teenager rebelling against tradition, will always have a special place in my heart. So young and determined to change her families way of life. The lengths she goes to still amazes me, and I wrote it!”

“It is a bit brutal in places, not a gentle family story by anyone’s standards. Is this something you think could exist in an ordinary family?” Anita is glaring at me again; maybe I shouldn’t have asked that question?

“Not so much the brutality, although it does happen. But a close family can go to extraordinary lengths to protect and defend each other. Are we done yet?”

“Just one more question. Was SIMPLE, your next book, ever intended to be a sequel, as it is very similar?”

“I’ll let you into a secret. I have this strange affinity with West Virginia in America. I love the way the people talk and there is something strangely familiar about the country. It is possible, I think, that I may have lived there in a previous life or something.”

“Yes, it certainly reads as if you feel at home there. I loved both books, and always imagined them good enough to be made as films. Thank you for talking to us about your books, Anita. I’ll let you go back to your writing . . .”

( phew… got away with that, I think!)

Hope the Youtube video link works, as this was the music that started it all!

 

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Detective Inspector Snow…

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Continuing our series of posts featuring some of the memorable characters from our books, today we welcome Detective Inspector David Snow, the man responsible for saving Kate Devereau in The Last Life. Not that the book had a particularly successful conclusion, hopefully he will be in a talkative mood today.

As he walks into my office, I am struck again, by how much he reminds me of Tom Selleck. The same smile and boyish demeanour, but starting to show the signs of wear around the edges.

“Take a pew and thank you so much for agreeing to talk to us today, David. The first thing I have to ask, is how is Kate these days? We haven’t heard anything since we saw you last.”

He lowers his long frame into one of my office chairs, sadly inadequate for someone his size. It looks like dolls furniture, and reminds me to see about getting something a tad more comfortable for any future interviews.

“Glad to be here, actually Anita. I needed a break and taking time out from my latest case is more than welcome. Last time I saw Kate, she was much the same as before. They say there is still hope of a full recovery, but I’m not so sure…”

“You mentioned a new case, anything we will get to hear about?”

“At this stage, anything is possible. It all depends on whether I successfully solve the problems or not, I suppose.”

“I heard the sad news about your sergeant Jim Harris. Does this have anything to do with the case?”

David hesitates, and I wonder if I have just pushed my luck. He is a detective after all, and not known for his small talk as a rule.

“Unfortunately, I am unable to comment directly at this stage. So much is still speculation. My writer Jaye Marie is pushing me to make sure I leave no stone unturned, and I owe it to her to try my best.”

Changing the subject, I ask him about the serial killer in his last case. Should be on safe ground as the case is probably closed. “Have you finally closed the case on Jack Holland yet?”

Was it my imagination, or did a cloud just pass over his face?

“The forensic evidence was pretty conclusive, so I am reasonably satisfied we will not be seeing him again.”

“I heard a rumour that you might be contemplating retirement in the near future, is this true?”

He looked at me without speaking for what seemed like ages. I knew he did this sometimes when he didn’t want to talk. Then a slow smile lifted the corners of his mouth and creased the skin around his eyes. He was gorgeous when he did that, and I can quite understand the effect he has on women.

“I was thinking about it. Getting a bit long in the tooth now and the idea of moving away from it all was very appealing. But I am needed now, so what I want will have to wait.”

My next question was worrying me. Just how would this important man, senior Detective Inspector Snow react to my probing into his business? I decided to take the chance anyway. “I understand there is a new female presence in your office these days. What is she like?”

He looked at me, a stunned expression on his face as if surprised I knew about her.

“How on earth do you know about Detective Winton? I only met her two days ago…and before you ask, it is too soon for me to have any opinions.”

“Is she pretty?”

For the first time in the interview, he didn’t look at me. He seemed embarrassed, which was strange, unless he had made up his mind. “Come on David, you can at least tell me if she is pretty…”

“Okay, if it will shut you up, I will admit to feeling uncomfortable in her presence. She makes me feel awkward, as if she knows something I don’t… and on that note, I really should be getting back to work… I have enjoyed meeting you, Anita.”

“Perhaps we can talk again, after this case is solved maybe?”

He slowly pulled himself out of the uncomfortably small chair and I was surprised yet again by how tall he was. As he shook my hand, I caught another glimpse of the rare smile, the way he must have looked as a young man. I wondered where his story would end, and if Kate Devereau would be there when it did.

© Anita Dawes 2016

 

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We Welcome Kate Devereau…

Today, we welcome a guest to our blog and if you think she looks a bit like Meryl Streep, don’t worry about it.

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This is our very first character guest post, introducing Kate Devereau; the unlucky artist from Jaye’s books The Ninth Life and The Last Life.
Still recovering from her latest trauma, she seems frail yet fiercely determined to be here. Something we have come to expect from her.

Shove that pile of books out of the way, and make yourself comfortable…so good to finally meet you in person, Kate.

“Thanks Jaye, it’s lovely to be here, anywhere actually…”

How exactly are you these days? I understand you ran afoul of Jack Holland, your murdering ex-husband again?

“Unfortunately I have, but I have a new protector now, so I am confident everything will be fine…”

Does this protector have a name, and when do we meet him?

“The book will be available from Friday 6th November, and then everyone can meet my Snowman and discover what happened in my latest adventure.”

Er… who or what is this Snowman, Kate?

“The new man in my life, Detective Inspector David Snow. He is so kind and helpful. He saved my life, and sent Jack packing…”

Good news indeed. But what about Michael Barratt, your loyal old flame. Is he still carrying a torch for you?

“Sadly not. I don’t think it would have worked out anyway, it had been far too long and we had changed too much.”

The arrival of this snowman wouldn’t have anything to do with it?
(Kate starts to look uncomfortable, and I wonder if I have touched an exposed nerve. Or is something else going on here?)

“I’m sorry, but I am still a little raw around the edges. What happened to Michael was awful…”

What did happen to him, can you tell us?” (I notice she is wringing her hands together, each one trying to make the other be still. Maybe this visit was too soon…)

“No, I cannot tell you what happened to him at the church. All I keep seeing is the bloody roses on the altar. They wouldn’t let me see him…”

I am sorry, Kate. I didn’t realise it would still be this raw.” (Changing the subject fast, I ask about her painting. The change in her face is remarkable, and as the tension eases, a small smile appears at the corners of her mouth.)

“I haven’t been able to paint since… but thanks to the Snowman I have my favourite seascape back. I live in that painting. Maybe one day soon I can start to paint again.”

In the first book, I loved reading about your paintings and how each one was created. It would be a shame if the world was deprived of any more of your work.
Kate smiles, the first real smile of the day. “I can feel it building inside of me, this overwhelming need to smell the linseed oil again. Hopefully, it won’t be long…”
(I sense the interview is over, but I make her promise to come back when her life is back on track.

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