Best Selling Crime Writer – 2015*

I am – well, I was – well with a small caveat. Best selling crime writer of 2015 – in the best bookshop in Busselton, WA. I know, it is a narrow criteria, but, it’s true – I outsold all other crime writers. I may have a tee-shirt made up. The caveat might be in small writing – on the back. But, nonetheless, the truth of the statement is there for all to see. All I need now is to have a thousand more bookshops across the globe love and promote my books the way Barefoot Books of Busselton does…

I owe them a great deal of thanks and so, I was very happy to have the official Australian launch of Flight Path in their marvellous shop, nestled within Fig Tree Lane.

Peta and Bob and their fantastic staff – “The Minions“, laid on a great day on Sunday 1st May and a good sized crowd turned up for an hour or so of me doing a few readings, telling a few stories, answering some questions and signing a few books. Thanks to all who came out on what was a relatively overcast day for Western Australia. Pictures, courtesy of Minion Steph, are below.

 

 

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An Indy Book Tour – 6

3d Adventurer waves a friendly hello

Llandudno…

“Lewis Carroll’s old stomping ground, although the Mad Hatter and Alice have nothing on the Colwyn Bay Murder & Mayhem group…”

The second book event of the tour was in a town I’ve known since I was a boy of seven. I spent many a summer holiday there and then later, during the early years of my RAF career, it was a home away from home. My younger sister still lives locally with her family, and I thought it would make a great stop on my travels. Luckily, Anne and Elin and all the rest of the Llandudno Library staff thought so too.

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I must say a huge thank you to Anne for all her efforts in getting things to work so well and for all the help she has provided connecting me up with various reading groups. One of which, the Murder & Mayhem group from Colwyn Bay, were well represented on the night. (Okay, that’s not their real name, but it worked on the evening, so I want them to adopt it).

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The library is right bang in the middle of the main thoroughfare, Mostyn Street, and is housed in, what on the outside appears to be, a traditional Victorian building, but inside has been completely and fantastically refitted. Bright, light and welcoming it’s a great space for readers of all ages.

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The event itself was good fun, people laughed at my rambling stories, they seemed to enjoy the book readings, I signed a lot of books and all in all, it went swimmingly. Some of the “Murder” ladies were even persuaded to pose for a photo 🙂 Alas, by the time I realised, I had missed the opportunity for a photo with another attendee who I was delighted to see on the night.

2016-03-24 19.43.29Eric, a representative of the local National Service association and an RAF veteran from the 1950s, had driven himself through a very cold, stormy and rainy night all the way from Anglesey because he had read in the local press I was ex-RAF. It’s men like Eric, secretaries of the veterans associations and their like, that keep the camaraderie of the Service alive and well. I am sad he left before I got the chance for a photo.

I wish you well Eric. Thanks for coming and thanks to all that turned up. Now, a day of rest before the trip to Dublin…

 

Till next time…

Ian

Ian Andrew is the author of the alternative history novel A Time To Every Purposethe detective thrillers Face Value and Flight Path and the Little Book of Silly Rhymes & Odd Verses. All are available in e-book and paperback. Follow him on social media:

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An Indy Book Tour – 5

3d Adventurer waves a friendly hello

Cider, Cheese and Cream Teas

“There are places that just ‘feel right’…”

On the way to Cheltenham I diverted a little from the direct route, to visit Cheddar Gorge. This massive gouge in the earth is home to caves, cliffs, rare fauna and flora and if you want all of that detail, wikipedia is probably a good source (article here) but, my fascination with the place dates back to 1989, when, as a young airman with a free weekend from a training course at nearby RAF Locking (alas now a housing estate), I drove into the Gorge’s magnificence and was stopped in my tracks.

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The road wound up with sheer cliffs on one side and sloping rises on the other. A river, gentle in its meanderings, flowed softly next to it, while the footpaths were lined with quaint shops and cafes.

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It was a little tourist enclave of ‘twee’ and I can’t really tell you why the ice-cream parlours, souvenir outlets and tearooms, the happy-go-lucky proprietors, the friendly staff and the array of tourist gifts made me feel so relaxed all those years ago, but perhaps it was because it was all so ‘genuine’. Yes, touristy, yes the shops and cafes tried their hardest to entice with souvenirs, but 2016-03-23 11.47.42they were real. The complete opposite of ‘Disney Culture’ and you knew it had evolved from the original discovery of the caves to be what it was. No marketing plan, no corporate vision, just a bunch of hardworking locals making a living from the opportunity on their doorstep. After I initially found it, I did return a few times as I attended more courses at Locking, but the last time I wandered her winding riverside paths must be twenty-three years ago.

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I am sooo glad to be able to say, nothing really has changed. Well, there are probably a few more shops, a few more tearooms, but the feeling remains. I walked to the head of the gorge before turning and retracing my steps. I gave ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ and its 274 steps to the summit a miss this time. I figured I’d seen it at least twice before and it was probably also the same… (My excuse and I’m sticking to it)… Then I indulged in the stable fayre of the gorge. The Cheddar Cheese shop. Selling Cheddar cheese, real Cheddar, made in… Well Cheddar actually. Right here. As authentic as you can get and phenomenally good. 2016-03-23 11.48.31Then to next door and the shop selling handmade fudge before popping into the cider shop, with its aroma of mulled (warm, spiced) cider. The smell alone, a rich heady mix of Christmas and summer, combined in a warm breath, drew every passer-by into the small shop with the rotund store keeper. Other shops sold Somerset wines and mead, sloe gin and brandy, souvenirs, ice-cream and old-style lollies and sweets.

I eventually pulled myself away from that version of ‘tweeness’ and went to the Wishing Well Tea Room. A rustic, family run, up and down-floored, chintz-pattern-china-cup eclectic mix of traditional. With scones and jam and cream and tea that tasted as good as it looked and it looked terrific.

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I spent an hour in Cheddar Gorge and then returned to my car and the world. On my way I noticed one difference… Squadrons of lycra-clad cyclists were using the steep hill climb to challenge themselves, while others, the challenge met, were hurtling their flimsy machines back down to the levels.

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As I watched a peloton wedge sweep past, I heard a goat’s bleat up on the high cliffs. It looked strangely out of 2016-03-23 12.15.26place in a tourist spot. Clinging on precariously, its bright patches of white wool flashing past gaps in the trees and shrubs. Its horns, testament to it maleness, as if it needed to show off to be sure in its status. I looked back at the cyclists and wondered…

 

Armed with Cheddar gifts, I headed off to North Wales and the hospitality of family in the Principality.

Till next time…

Ian

Ian Andrew is the author of the alternative history novel A Time To Every Purposethe detective thrillers Face Value and Flight Path and the Little Book of Silly Rhymes & Odd Verses. All are available in e-book and paperback. Follow him on social media:

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An Indy Book Tour – 4

3d Adventurer waves a friendly hello

Ancestry and A First Launch

“I’m not from round these parts, except in a weird way, I am…”

A little delayed in posting but finally… A review of Tuesday – Crewkerne, Somerset. The first Launch Event.

2016-03-22 10.52.23Crewkerne Library is housed in a small building that is fairly non-descript on the outside, but cosy on the inside. It sits at the heart of the old market town, surrounded by stunning 15th and 16th century pubs, coaching inns, narrow lanes and a less than 16th century Co-op, Waitrose and Lidls… Progress 🙂 2016-03-23 09.54.00

 

I arrived in the morning to find the little library festooned with blue balloons and lots of “Flight Path” posters. Kick off was at 2pm so I wandered off to get my room in the George Hotel and on my return the fantastic librarians, Lynn and Lucy, had set up a reading space and a display of my books.

 

2016-03-23 10.02.39A small gathering of people arrived and for the next couple of hours we chatted about writing, publish-on-demand, the nature of character development and why a Northern Irish born, Aussie living, writer was in Crewkerne at all.

The thing is, just around the corner from the Library is Hermitage Street. It’s where Kara Wright, my lead character from Face Value and Flight Path, “lived” as a little girl. Young Kara knew its narrow footpaths and closely abutted houses, its Unitarian Church, the steepness of its hill. Her parents still live there and her local pub, The Royal Oak, sits proudly, halfway up the climbing street. It is also has the house from which my actual Great Grandfather, William Frank, left in the late 1800’s to walk to Dorchester. Underage by nearly a year, he lied about his birth to join the Dorsetshire Regiment and never would return home. From Somerset to Ireland, via South Africa and the Boer War, he ended his days in Larne, Northern Ireland and I had to wonder how many others have walked both the length of Hermitage Street and Larne’s Main Street.  Maybe it is only the two of us, separated by a century or more.

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The talk in the Library was good. Eighty percent of the attendees were interested enough to buy a copy of Flight Path and I was pleased to have finally got the UK Book Tour off to a proper beginning. Even better was being able to drop a couple of copies into Phoenix Books and have a great conversation that will hopefully see the neat little Indy bookshop begin to stock my titles.

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The rest of my time in the town was spent being a sightseeing tourist-type, discovering that mobile data can disappear in the 21st Century and rediscovering the pleasure of sitting in a lounge bar with an open fire and good Guinness.

All in all, a good day. Next is Cheltenham for a bit of a social catch-up and probably a few more Guinness…

Till next time…

Ian

Ian Andrew is the author of the alternative history novel A Time To Every Purposethe detective thrillers Face Value and Flight Path and the Little Book of Silly Rhymes & Odd Verses. All are available in e-book and paperback. Follow him on social media:

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An Indy Book Tour – 3

3d Adventurer waves a friendly hello

A doubling sort of day.

“After 8 hours on a jet, I’d have been happy for the pilot to go back round again, for what’s not to like about getting spoilt at 35,000 feet…”

Picking up from before, I eventually had to leave the nice Emirates lounge and get onto, what turned out to be, the even nicer plane. A double decker no less…or to be a little more precise, in an aircrafty type of way, an Airbus A380-800.

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The third airbridge in the picture (lower left) was for that rare breed of passenger, the First Class traveller. All the airbridges had transparent sections so the three different passenger queues could observe one another. I looked down on them, but only metaphorically as actually, when they looked up to me, I knew they were smugly looking down on me 🙂 I was reminded of the old John Cleese, Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett sketch, albeit the layout was a bit wrong. 

Anyway, back to the plane. People on the upper deck were extremely laid back and polite making their way to their seats. No huffing or puffing of cheeks or barely disguised sighs as they waited for other passengers to move out of the aisle, because of course, the aisle was wide and the seats separate. image

I hadn’t even taken mine before I was offered a drink. Very nice. Then the Captain came on the PA to announce Air Traffic had delayed our push back time by twenty minutes. I distinctly remember thinking, “So what? I couldn’t care less. Take your time mate. No rush.” I would have had even more good thoughts on the subject, but the groans of dismay from the people on the deck below drowned them out.

Dinner was rough. A double choice to make on the double decker plane. Couldn’t choose if I should have the ice cream or the cheese. The flight attendants solved the issue. Gotta love over eating in the clouds 🙂 So far this leg of the trip was going not too bad at all 🙂 

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Dinner followed by a show. Or two. A double bill of remarkably good films. Both dealt with the awesome ability of the human spirit to overcome adversity regardless of the pressures, problems or dangers encountered. One was fiction and should be shown to all as to why space travel is so important for the human species – The Martian. The other was sadly not fiction and should be mandatory for all boys and girls to watch before they reach voting age  Suffragettes is a exceptional telling of an exceptional story. It also confirms Carey Mulligan as a brilliant actress. Once the movies were over, I felt the ICE system was trying to send me a message for the book tour. I took it as a good omen…

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Eventually, as the Pilot ignored my call to, “Go round again, mate,” we touched down in a grey and overcast London. Customs, baggage reclaim and car hire shuttle took an hour (one eighth of the time it took to fly from Dubai… there has got to be a more efficient way??) But, finally I was offered another double choice. One was a Mercedes C class and one an Audi A5.

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I chose the Audi, ‘cos the boot was big enough to accommodate at least a couple of bodies… or perhaps a suitcase?

Then it was off down to the quintessentially English village of Figheldean
image(pronounced file-dean) that looks like the picture English Tourism should use to promote itself. Twenty-four hours to catch up with friends, secure a British Sim card in Salisbury, revisit the amazing Salisbury Cathedral (with the tallest Cathedral spire in the UK)

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and prepare for the first book event that takes place tomorrow. Given all the doubles, I can only hope that more than two turn up for it…

Till tomorrow…

Ian

Ian Andrew is the author of the alternative history novel A Time To Every Purposethe detective thrillers Face Value and Flight Path and the Little Book of Silly Rhymes & Odd Verses. All are available in e-book and paperback. Follow him on social media:

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An Indy Book Tour – 2

3d Adventurer waves a friendly hello

Unlike quite a lot of folk, I like air travel. Always have. Even in the confines of cattle class. Yeah, no freebie upgrade on the Emirates flight out of Perth. I did score a spare seat beside me, although the couple in the next two seats over decided they would get more use out of it and proceeded to spoon across all three seats. Fair enough. They managed to sleep and not kick me with their feet so it was a result of sorts.

The baby (it is obligatory to have at least one crying baby on all flights over ten hours. Even in the military, although back them we called them Sailors 😉 Anyway, the baby on this trip was a lot less hassle thanks to the wonder that is Bose noise cancelling headphones. What could otherwise be a major annoyance becomes a tiny little surround sound, fill-in effect that is completely drowned out by TV, movie or music on the Emirates ICE, widescreen, in-seat entertainment system. The airline makes a big deal of the widescreen feature, but it’s the same width as the seat. I mean it’s good, but not exactly 50 inch high def. To be fair though, the ICE system is quite speccy, comes with three external cameras to watch take offs and landings and… Modern wonders… You can have your electronics switched on and there is allegedly wifi on board.

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There is too. It just didn’t work. I was a little gutted as I tried to make a Tweet or a Facebook post from 30,000 feet. But… in compensation, the aircraft had sparkly ceiling lights that looked like stars (only mildly disconcerting when you first look up from a drowsy half sleep and think the fuselage has ripped open)…

Another interesting event was the cabin crew fella who came round offering those weird hot towels. He was from Northern Ireland. Carrick to be precise. Carrick, for those not in the know, is the next door town to my home. That means me and the cabin fella had an instant bonhomme rapport as two exiles together, accompanied by that strange strangeness that comes from neighbouring home town rivalries. You all have one. The next town along is… Well… Just full of different folk. Hence the following initial exchange…

“Hot towel, Sir?”
“No, I’m dead on thanks.”
Grinning attendant says, “You sure?”
“Aye.”
“They’re free.”
“Uch I know, but the last one I had took me all day to chew. Where you from?”
“Carrick. Yourself?”
“Larne.”
“Boys, we don’t get many Larne men on here.”
“I know, we canny normally afford the ticket.”
“Ah well, I’ll be sure to look after you.”

Now, at that point he moved on, dispensing towels and I settled back to await his return and the offer of an immediate change of seat to First Class. Or maybe Business. Or at least a constant flow of drinks and ice cream. Instead, the next time I saw Carrick was as I was getting off the flight.

“All the best,” he says. “Is this you?”
“Nah, I’m off to London then home for a wee while.”
“Really? Sure there’s no many that go back to Larne once they’ve left.”
“Aye, but only because we might overshoot and end up in Carrick.”
A laugh and a shared “All the best,” and that was that. He had obviously looked after me in a peculiar, Carrick v Larne sort of way.

But it was all forgot as I entered into the luxury of Dubai’s terminal 3. Which is multicultural to a fault and just that little bit more classy than most.

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As is the Emirates lounge. Oh yeah, good news… scored a Qantas Frequent Flyer upgrade for the London leg… sweet… 🙂 Hence the lounge.. which has a water feature, an incredibly well stocked bar and wall to wall football matches.

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I always think slumming it or roughing it is sooo overrated. I decided not to try. Instead, I determined that at 06:00 local, a glass of Moet and a rerun of Liverpool beating Man Utd in the Europa League was a good use of my time  As I said, I like air travel.

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Ian

Ian Andrew is the author of the alternative history novel A Time To Every Purposethe detective thrillers Face Value and Flight Path and the Little Book of Silly Rhymes & Odd Verses. All are available in e-book and paperback. Follow him on social media:

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An Indy Book Tour – 1

Normally, my blog gets left all alone for days, weeks and sometimes months.

I get around to writing something when I feel the urge, but over the next five weeks I will be on a UK tour for the release of my new novel (Flight Path) and I hope to turn this blog into a much more regular Travel Log…

The “tour”, like all things in the Independent World of Publishing, has been driven along without the assistance of a big name publishing house. It comes down to one or two people having a bit of “oomph” and getting things done. A huge thanks goes to Jasmine, the wondrous Executive Assistant to the Book Reality Experience 🙂 for all her organisational skills, and to Jules (our on-call graphics genius) for all the artwork, posters and banners. From here on, it all hinges on the cooperation and assistance of quite a few others dotted around the UK and I hope to thank each of them in due course. 🙂

united kingdom

Over the next 35 days I shall be in Wiltshire, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Conwy, Dublin, Antrim, Cambridgeshire, London, Merseyside, Yorkshire, Essex, Suffolk and probably a few places in between. Some are for book events and some are for social catch-ups. I hope to blog about the trip regularly. Not sure if a theme will develop, not sure if the posts will be long or short, not sure if there will be pictures. I guess it will turn out to be what it will be.

Day 1.  From the ridge line to Perth and thence to Dubai on an Emirates flight. Not a lot to inform you about, other than to make a heartfelt plea to anyone who knows any Emirates staff flying out of Perth tonight at 22:05… I always think an upgrade is such a kind thing to give to unsuspecting lone travellers 😉

3d Adventurer waves a friendly helloIan

Ian Andrew is the author of the alternative history novel A Time To Every Purposethe detective thrillers Face Value and Flight Path and the Little Book of Silly Rhymes & Odd Verses. All are available in e-book and paperback. Follow him on social media:

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