Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Being held hostage by your memory. #Flashbacks.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Being held hostage by your memories. #Flashbacks.

Definition of Hostage

If you say you are hostage to something, you mean that your freedom to take action is restricted by things that you cannot control. Such is the force of PTSD.

Memories are something unique to each and every one of us. They are perhaps the only thing apart from our DNA that truly sets us apart from any other of our species.

They can be triggered by the sweet joyous sound of a baby’s laughter, the scent of a freshly baked cake, or a scene from a movie that we watch over-and-over again. All our senses take part in the remembering process.

The lingering refrain of church bells on Sunday morning and the butterfly touch of a spring breeze on our faces may all take us to places we once inhabited in real time.

But not all of our memory is sweet.

The darker times of loss, the time a love ended, the tragedy  that life hands out … but never in equal measure, all those times remain there in that memory and at our weakest moments they will surface, to test our strength, or to force us to become aware, finally, that we are  no longer in that place of weakness.

Our memories hand us our self-knowledge, and at times, those memories are the very things by which we judge our own self-worth.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder has as a bi-product its own unique way of enabling our darkest memory to surface. These are the FLASHBACKS  … I have experienced many. I will share with you one that it still shakes me to recall, in the hope that in some small way I can help shine a light into the darkest of places.

When it came, there was only a fleeting moment of recognition before I catapulted straight back to hell.

It was a crisp August morning, mid-winter here in Australia. I was beyond excited, anxious and happy that morning. I wore a new business suit, my hair was freshly cut and styled and I was ready to attend my second interview, at a firm of Merchant Bankers that were well known and respected, located in the Sydney CBD. I really wanted that job. Hell, I really needed that job. Blowing the funds on the new clothes and hairstyle was done in the belief that I had what it took to nail this position. I had worked in the field for a good many years and my reputation was solid. They had now compiled a short list of five possible candidates, including myself. I liked those odds.

I arrived at the tower of power that rose high above our beautiful harbor, and joined the throng of workers lined up for the elevators.

I have always hated elevators, but twenty-two floors up was my appointment location, and my lungs already knew that stairs weren’t an option.

My life long claustrophobia clung hand in hand to my inability to stand at the front of the elevator … my unease at having people behind me unseen won the argument. I entered the elevator and went to the middle against the back wall … my ass was covered. I smiled, remembering my dear Jamie’s favorite expression, “Always cover your ass, Sass!”  The other occupants soon created a wall in front of me, which I escaped by keeping my eyes closed and only briefly glancing up as the lift stopped and disgorged people on each floor.

I believe I had a handle on the claustrophobia, and just breathed deeply.

We stopped again, someone else entered. I watched an older woman, well attired, and confident looking stand just in front of me. She loosened her colored scarf and her perfume was captured and sent in my direction by the movement.

I inhaled that scent. My guts clenched so tight I could scarcely breathe. The nausea was my second warning sign that something was wrong. I took a deep breath to quell the wave of it as it rocked me. That is when it truly began. That smell … the woman who gave birth to me always wore that perfume. I was shaking and attempting not to throw up; I couldn’t move my limbs, for they were weighed down by the concrete of fear.

The fight or flight reflex kicked in and I lunged forward and hit the next floor button. Those brief moments seemed endless, and I had wet myself as I had as a small child when that scent of her would linger long after a beating. That odor had me back in a hell I had long run from. A hell that held me hostage with the memories that even the smell of a perfume could bring back into being.

I was that broken child again, kneeling on the floor and then placing my mouth at the light coming from underneath the locked door in the darkened room. The forty-year-old woman that I now was simply ceased to exist. I was four-years-old again. My back so sticky with crusted blood that the singlet I had been wearing for days stuck fast to the surface. I could feel my control slipping away and could find no logical thought that would both stop it and me from spiraling deeper into that remembered nightmare of pain and darkness.

The lift door finally opened and I half fell out in my haste. I don’t know what floor I landed on, my only coherent thought was escape. I needed a bathroom but couldn’t open my mouth to ask for directions. I headed to a corridor that I hoped would contain public washrooms. I threw up all over the plush-pile carpet in the corridor, and all over myself, not knowing or caring if anyone bore witness to my humiliation.

I found a washroom and locked myself into a stall. I sat down on the closed lid of the toilet and searched for the ability to breathe. I sat with my head down and focused on the tiled pattern on the floor until I could at last see it clearly, that gave me a route back to the immediacy of the moment, the now time, the real time where she had no power over my life … except in my memories. I had no idea how much time had passed. It had for me, seemed like a lifetime. I didn’t think to check my watch. Such is the nature of Flashbacks.

I cleaned myself as best I could, using paper towel and soapy water. I had nobody I could call to come and pick me up from the city. At that time in my life, I was living alone. I inspected myself, grabbing reassurance from the adult face reflected in the mirror, surprised to discover not the child I’d once been, but my grown self. I looked at my reflection for a long time …  until I had gathered as much of me together as I could hope for just then. I lightly sprayed on my own signature perfume, in the hope of hiding the stench of my clothing and my fear from the Taxi driver on the twenty-minutes it would take to him to drive me back home to safe haven.  I tipped him well.

I recall unlocking the door and resetting the alarm system before sliding down and sitting with my back firmly in place against that door. Nothing and no one could come near me … for now.

I showered, dressed, and then rang the folks that had expected to interview me. I apologized of course. I’d simply told them that I had taken suddenly ill. They thanked me, but they didn’t suggest a reschedule. I was distantly grateful for that, for I knew with absolute certainty that I would never take the risk that that woman could possibly share any space whatsoever in my life. I rated the chance of her working there far too high.

It took me a couple of days to regroup. I thought about and then tried not to think about what had happened. I knew I didn’t want to take the option of isolating myself … not again.

The temptation to reach out for alcohol to numb me against everything was resisted, this time. Being under the influence of the large amounts of alcohol I knew I could consume would make me a loaded weapon placed in the hands of a terrified four-year-old child.

I didn’t sleep fearing the nightmares that experience had told me lay waiting. I needed to cry it out, but I could not.

Finally, after almost three days of constant vigilance, exhaustion claimed me, and I slept. I awoke on the morning of the fourth day and knew that, I had,at least for now, regained control.

I refocused my attention on finding a job.

And life went on.

For those who suffer from P.T.S.D, and for those loving, caring folks that have someone in their lives that are trying to deal with the challenging packages P.T.S.D hands out, please know this … there are people out there in the now of your world that can help you. They will help you go to battle … and they will cheer you on as you win.

Reach out. There will be many loving hands ready to take yours.

I have listed below sites that are available world-wide, it is by no means a complete list, but if anyone reading this needs to learn more, these sites will point you in the right direction.

Depression Alliance U.K

ABeyond Blue Australia. Information and help

Anxiety and Depression Assistance America

Police Post Trauma Support Group | PPTSG | Post Traumatic Stress

Help line. 0432 569 589. 7am – 10am. The PPTSG is a not-for-profit organisation, … Its aim is to provide support to those who are suffering from PTSD, anxiety, … officers, and emergency workers, PPTSG provides a family and spouse support function. … He has been through the system & suffers ongoing medical problems of …
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can cause fear, anxiety and trauma memories that persist for a long time and affect a person’s ability to function.
Blue Knot Helpline (formerly ASCA Professional Support Line) provides help, … The MindSpot Clinic does not provide an emergency or instant response service. … health conditions, such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, …
Posttraumatic stress disorder (sometimes called PTSD) is a form of anxiety … Ask your doctor about any concerns you have, or contact the SANE Helpline on …
PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) can cause fear, anxiety and trauma … information, online programs, helplines and news on mindhealthconnect. … PTSD is a treatable anxiety disorder affecting around one million Australians each year. …. (000) for an ambulance or go to the nearest hospital emergency department.
Trusted information about complex PTSD, including symptoms, causes, diagnosis and … If someone has attempted, or is in immediate risk of attempting to harm … Complex posttraumatic stress disorder describes the long-term effects of …. Helpline 1800 18 7263 Home Mental Health & Illness :: Facts & Guides Get Help …

Find help for the effects of trauma – Phoenix Australia

phoenixaustralia.org/recovery/find-help/
This page lists Australian helplines and websites. For urgent support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 for confidential 24/7 counselling and …. PTSD and trauma.
People with posttraumatic stress disorder often experience feelings of panic or extreme fear, which may resemble what was felt during the traumatic event.
  1. Confidential online assessment. Free to Australian adults.
    Dedicated IT Team · Free & Effective Service
    Steps: Learn, Get Assessed, Treatment…

 

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) | Mind, the mental health charity …

Explains what posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and complex PTSD are, and provides information on how you can access treatment and support. Includes …

It is normal to experience upsetting and confusing thoughts after a traumatic event, but … The Combat Stress 24-Hour Helpline 0800 138 1619 is for the military … trauma in military and emergency service personnel and also complex PTSD and … Rivers offers treatment for the whole range of post traumatic disorders with the 

 

 

 

 

Book REVIEW Video “Empty Chairs” by Suzanne Burke writing as Stacey Danson. Reviewed by Gwen Plano. #RRBC

How marvelous it is to have my book reviewed in this way. I am so honored to have  Gwen Plano feel strongly about my work. Please, pop over to the YouTube site and leave a comment on her video.

Thank you for dropping by.

 

 

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Sunday Short Story – The Common Mynas and the Bad Rat – Parts 1 and 2

Sunday Short Story – The Common Mynas and the Bad Rat – Parts 1 and 2

Don’t miss this, folks. A marvelous short story for children. The book is NOW available on PRE-ORDER! Why not grab a copy for the children’s Christmas stocking!

About Fauna Park Tales

Part 1

Not everything in the woods are always as it seems. While the monkeys chatter happily in the trees and the good humans are reading to their grandchildren, others are making mischief. One such character is a dark-feathered bird, called the common myna.He looks like a robber – black head and neck, yellow feet and legs, beak and eye patch. White wing patches show underneath his mud-brown feathers. He and his partner are outlaws as far as other birds in the forest are concerned. These mynas find their way around other birds’ nests, causing great misery. This morning is no exception and even the monkeys stop their constant chattering to hear what the odd-looking pair of mynas cackle about. 

‘I’ll show those crimson-breasted shrikes what I can do!’ and then the male kicks their remaining egg out of the nest and whistle shrilly, ‘Be quick! There’s no time to…

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Author Showcase: Featured genre this month Mystery/Thriller/Suspense. My guest today is Author Mae Clair.

AUTHOR SHOWCASE MAE CLAIR OPENER.jpg

Meet Mae Clair:

MAE CLAIR IMAGE FOR REVIEW

Mae Clair has been chasing myth, monsters and folklore through research and reading since she was a child. In 2013 and 2015, she journeyed to West Virginia to learn more about the legendary Mothman, a creature who factors into her Point Pleasant series of novels.

A member of the Mystery Writers of America and the International Thriller Writers, Mae pens tales of mystery and suspense with a touch of romance. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania and numbers cats, history and exploring old graveyards among her passions.  Look for Mae on her website at MaeClair.net

Author Interview:

  1. What inspired you to write in this genre?

I’ve written in multiple genres over the years, but most of them contained elements of suspense and mystery. As a kid I was in love with mysteries so it was only natural that theme would worm its way into my writing. With each successive book I’ve written, that element has taken on a larger role, until it’s become my primary focus.

  1. How much research was required before you began to write &did the characters then create more research by their actions?

    My newest book, A Desolate Hour, required a great deal of research as it incorporates actual events and aspects of folklore. The book is set in the town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia in the U.S. I made two separate trips to the area to do site research. I also devoted numerous hours to reading accounts of the town’s history, and investigating the multiple urban legends associated with Point Pleasant.

  2. How would you best describe your protagonist?

A Desolate Hour has more than one protagonist. Caden Flynn is a practical man forced to adapt to extraordinary circumstances. He’s steady and sure with a strong work ethic, and a willingness to step out of his comfort zone. A sergeant with the local sheriff’s office, he’s suffered multiple tragedies in his past, but that hasn’t stopped him from starting over or opening his mind to the inexplicable and bizarre events that beset Point Pleasant.

Quentin Marsh, my other protagonist, has grown up in an affluent family. A musical prodigy, his life has taken an unexpected turn. By the time he arrives in Point Pleasant, he’s floundering. He goes to the town at the request of his twin sister, but soon becomes embroiled in a murder investigation, an ancient curse, and a vendetta that spans centuries.

  1. Have you written or do you intend to write in other genres.

Before I was published, I wrote everything from high fantasy and sci-fi, to inspirational and western.

My first two published books were romance—Weathering Rock and Twelfth Sun—a paranormal/time travel, and a contemporary. Both incorporated mysteries, but were more heavily slanted toward romance. Afterward, I moved into romantic suspense with a growing shift to mystery. The change was gradual which allowed me to maintain a number of existing readers while establishing a new brand. I love the mystery/suspense genre and plan on staying entrenched. J

  1. Is this novel a stand-alone or part of a series?

A Desolate Hour is the third and final book of my Point Pleasant series. Each novel is complete, with a finite ending, but there are also events and characters that continue throughout the series. Books 1 and 2 are A Thousand Yesteryears and A Cold Tomorrow.

  1. Are you currently working on anything new?

Yes. I’m very excited to have recently signed a three book contract with my publisher. The Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill is the first book in a new mystery series I’m developing. The plot features two threads—one in the present, the other in the late 1800s. Both tie together and are rooted in the Spiritualism movement of the 19th century. At that time, mediums readily engaged in fraud (sometimes quite skillfully), a few of them even amateur magicians. The research has been fascinating!

I then ask my guests to pose a question to themselves, and their response

7. How long have you been writing?
Since grade school. I know that many writers begin later in life, but for me it’s been a life-long passion. If I go a week without expelling my creative energy in some type of story format, I suffer from withdrawal. I think only another writer truly understands how essential writing is for our well-being!

 Featured Book: This Book is due for release on JULY 18th 2017.

Author Showcase MAE CLAIR BOOK COVER

  A Desolate Hour:

Sins of the past could destroy all of their futures 

For generations, Quentin Marsh’s family has seen its share of tragedy, though he remains skeptical that their misfortunes are tied to a centuries-old curse. But to placate his pregnant sister, Quentin makes the pilgrimage to Point Pleasant, West Virginia, hoping to learn more about the brutal murder of a Shawnee chief in the 1700s. Did one of the Marsh ancestors have a hand in killing Chief Cornstalk—the man who cursed the town with his dying breath?

While historian Sarah Sherman doesn’t believe in curses either, she’s compelled to use her knowledge of Point Pleasant to uncover the long-buried truth. The river town has had its own share of catastrophes, many tied to the legendary Mothman, the winged creature said to haunt the woods. But Quentin’s arrival soon reveals that she may have more of a stake than she realized. It seems that she and Quentin possess eerily similar family heirlooms. And the deeper the two of them dig into the past, the more their search enrages the ancient mystical forces surrounding Point Pleasant. As chaos and destruction start to befall residents, can they beat the clock to break the curse before the Mothman takes his ultimate revenge? . . .

Purchase from:
Universal Pre-Order Link
PRE-ORDER for JULY 18 RELEASE

Other titles in the series:
A Cold Tomorrow (Book 2)
A Thousand Yesteryears (Book 1)

Author Showcase Mae Clair book 1 and book 2.jpg

 

 YOUR FAVORITE AMAZON REVIEW: Book 1.

From New York Times bestselling author Kevin O’Brien:

“A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS is masterful, bone-chilling fiction that begins with a real-life tragedy on December 15, 1967: the Silver Bridge collapse in Point Pleasant, West Virginia.  46 people died.   Author Mae Clair has seamlessly woven fact, fiction and creepy urban folklore into one intense thriller.  The gripping story focuses on two witnesses to the disaster—fifteen years later.  Both Eve Parrish and Caden Flynn lost loved ones in the catastrophe and still carry the emotional scars.  After a long absence, Eve returns to Point Pleasant to bury her recently-deceased aunt, face some old ghosts, and reunite with her one-time “impossible-crush,” Caden.  But when Eve begins to investigate her aunt’s death, she’s plunged into danger and a nightmare world where scary urban legends are very real.  Full of suspense, A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS will keep you guessing, gasping and turning the pages for more.”

Mae Clair can be found on the following links.

Website and Blog
MaeClair.net

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/MaeClair1
@maeclair1

Facebook Author Page:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mae-Clair/219356774828949?ref=tn_tnmn

Google+
https://plus.google.com/+MaeClair/about

Goodreads:
http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8128047-mae-clair

Instragram: 
https://www.instagram.com/maeclair1/

Amazon Author Page:
http://www.amazon.com/Mae-Clair/e/B009I61ND0/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1394989885&sr=1-1

Kensington Publishing: 
http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/author.aspx/29541

Pinterest:
http://www.pinterest.com/maeclair

 Thank you to my featured authors this month, Gordon Bickerstaff, John W. Howell and Mae Clair.

From August 12th I will be featuring NON-Fiction- Memoirs.

I appreciate you stopping by and offering your comments and support to all these talented folks.

 

Author Showcase … Featured genre: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense. Featured Author John W. Howell.

Author Showcase CARD JOHN HOWELL

Hello and welcome to Author Showcase! I will be featuring different authors & genres each month. I interview each author, and showcase their featured work.

WHY? Simply because I enjoy supporting other Indie Authors every chance I get.

This Month I am featuring Mystery/Thriller/Suspense Authors.

Please welcome my guest, Author John W. Howell.

Meet John.

John Howell Headshot
John W. Howell.

John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories.  His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016.  All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. John lives in Port Aransas, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

Author Interview:

  1. What inspired you to write in this genre?

 My genre is Thrillers and I love to write stories that grab the reader. Since I write in the first person present tense my stories tend to unfold as the reader proceeds. I love the idea of having a plot point deviate in a different direction. A thriller is supposed to keep the reader guessing and that is what inspires me. When my reviews validate the fact that the story twists and turns I feel satisfied I’ve done my job.

  1. How much research was required before you began to write &did the characters then create more research by their actions?

My research was extensive. My story is about boats, explosives, airplanes, and other subjects which are not part of my knowledge base. All these elements needed to be thoroughly researched before the writing began. As the characters began to have a voice in the story additional research was necessary in order to deliver what the character was demanding.

  1. How would you best describe your protagonist?

John Cannon is a litigation attorney. He is as normal as a lawyer can be. He doesn’t have any special talents or survival skills on which he can depend when the going gets tough. He has a keen mind and the patience to wait until he is certain of an outcome before going into action. He also has a fondness for delicious coffee which puts him in good stead with the antagonist.

  1. Have you written or do you intend to write in other genres.

I have completed a book in a genre that I would describe as Spiritual or Speculative fiction. It is due to be published in September.

  1. Is this novel a stand-alone or part of a series?

My GRL is the first book in the John Cannon Trilogy

  1. Are you currently working on anything new?

I am currently working on another spiritual fiction novel and am working with a very talented collaborator. The story is about two spirits who are challenged to return to Earth with the objective of preventing a singular act that has the potential of destroying humanity.

I then ask my guests to pose a question to themselves, and their response.

& 7. Hummm. I think the question I would ask is What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a writer?

My advice is: 1. Write for the right reasons. If you get joy from writing then it is your thing. If you want to be rich or famous walk away. 2. Write every day. Set a goal and stick to it. The only way to become a better writer is to write. 3. Until your draft is finished, do not share it with anyone. Well-meaning folks tend to discourage new writers. A new writer does not need to have people question or evaluate the manuscript until it is done. Then the gates can be opened. 4. Do not edit or try to improve the manuscript as you go along. Finish it then go back. All writing needs editing. If the new writer does too much of it before the manuscript is done chances are it will never be done.

FEATURED BOOK: “MY GRL”

My GRL front

 John J. Cannon successful San Francisco lawyer takes a well-deserved leave of absence from the firm and buys a boat he names My GRL. He is unaware that his newly purchased boat had already been targeted by a terrorist group. John’s first inkling of a problem is when he wakes up in the hospital where he learns he was found unconscious next to the dead body of the attractive young woman who sold him the boat in the first place. John now stands between the terrorists and the success of their mission.

 John w. Howell’s  FAVORITE AMAZON REVIEW.

John Cannon is a thirty-eight-year-old partner in a law firm in California who decides to take a twelve month leave from the practice in order to decide if he is truly happy with the “comfort of the routine I had come to know and hate” or if he would prefer a different lifestyle now that he has the financial means to live as he pleases. At first, everything proceeds wonderfully with a relocation to Port Aransas on the Texas Gulf Coast. The quick acquisition of a twelve-month lease on a home and purchase of a car and sixty-five-foot boat, which he names My Grl, all point to a positive future, only when John becomes implicated in the murder of the broker through whom he bought the boat he finds his reality turned upside down. John’s life now appears to be in enough of a tangle when he discovers himself caught between the local police, the FBI and a possible love interest, but the plotlines become further knotted when a terroristic agenda, in which an enemy from his past has placed John and My GRL at the center, is revealed, and John finds that he is the only person who can prevent a massacre

There are several key concepts to achieve when writing a novel from the first-person perspective, arguably chief among them is creating a character with a distinctive voice who the reader can not only “hear” as being an actual person but who is someone the reader would like to know in real life. Howell’s character John Cannon exemplifies these goals through his stream of consciousness inner monologues in which he reveals himself to be an ordinary man with everyday concerns and fears, not some superhero with radioactively-induced mutant gifts that the average reader can only have described in graphic novel imagery or with incomprehensible technical jargon. Cannon is a man not unlike ourselves who, though in the end having some high-level support, is put into a position where he is the only person who can connect the dots and prevent a terrorist attack. In addition to the crafting of the protagonist himself, the plotting of “My GRL” is to be commended. Unlike the thrillers produced by the major publishing houses, “My GRL” provides a true to life reveal of the big picture where the reader, seeing the world through the eyes of John Cannon, learns every detail in tandem with the man who by the end of the novel would become a hero. More than just an exciting read, as a piece of literature, “My GRL” proves the worth of independent publishing in allowing Howell to provide a quality storyline that willfully neglects the formulaic in the interest of pulling the reader directly into the middle of an exciting, ever-developing, complex plot.

The Other books in the series.

Author Showcase JOHN HOWELL BOOK 2 and 3

Author John W. Howell may be reached on the following links.

 Author Blog ‘Fiction Favorites’

 FACEBOOK

TWITTER

Amazon AUTHOR page

Thank you for stopping by. My next featured author this month is Mae Clair.

Author Showcase: Featured Genre for July is Mystery/Thriller/Suspense. My first featured Showcase & Interview is with Author Gordon Bickerstaff.

AUTHOR SHOWCASE FEATURE WITH BIO

Hello and welcome to Author Showcase! I will be featuring different authors & genres each month. I interview each author, and showcase their featured work.

WHY? Simply because I enjoy supporting other Indie Authors every chance I get.

This Month I am featuring Mystery/Thriller/Suspense Authors.

Please welcome my first guest, Gordon Bickerstaff.

Meet Gordon …

Author Showcase Bio Pic Gordon Bickerstaff
Author: Gordon Bickerstaff

I was born and raised in Glasgow but spent my student years in Edinburgh. On summer vacations, I learned plumbing, garden maintenance, and I cut the grass in the Meadows. I learned some biochemistry and taught it for a while before I retired to write fiction. I do some aspects of DIY moderately well and other aspects not so well.

I live with my wife in Scotland where corrupt academics, mystery, murder and intrigue exists mostly in my mind. I have written the Gavin Shawlens series of thrillers: Deadly Secrets, Everything To Lose, The Black Fox, Toxic Minds and Tabula Rasa. More will come in due course. I enjoy walking in the hills, 60s & 70s music, reading and travel.

My Interview with Gordon.

  1. What inspired you to write in this genre?

My dad read Ian Fleming’s books so a combination of reading his books and the movies got me hooked into thrillers and world-changing threats led by megalomaniacs. In my books, the women are not eye-candy; they are the smart and determined main protagonists like Zoe Tampsin who win the day. There is a character similar to Q in James Bond and that’s Gavin Shawlens.

 2. How much research was required before you began to write & did the characters then create more research by their actions?

I trained as a researcher, so I love doing research to give my stories some substance. I have no experience of weapons and Special Forces operations, so I have to do the research. I don’t do it before I write, I do the research as and when required e.g. in Tabula Rasa, Gavin Shawlens is threatened by the baddies, and in keeping with the specifics of the scene, I needed something very old and nasty. With some research, I found The Heretic’s Fork, which was just the ticket to make Gavin talk.

Yes, the characters do create more research. I’ve had a lot of positive feedback about main protagonist Zoe, and since she is Special Forces trained, I’ve had to learn more about weapons and fighting to make her heroine character more believable.

 3. How would you best describe your protagonist?

There are two; Zoe Tampsin and Gavin Shawlens, and they are complete opposites. Gavin is modelled on Q from James Bond but whereas Q is an expert on everything, Gavin is more limited to life sciences. He is naive, and untrained in the ways of covert investigations. Zoe is ex-army, Special Forces with a finely tuned skill set for undercover operations. Her nickname in the regiment is DP (which are the initials of Diana Prince, aka Wonder Woman). Zoe is the strong female lead who is empowered with the skills and cunning to get the job done. When I write about Zoe, I think about Samantha Caine (played by Geena Davis) in the brilliant movie The Long Kiss Goodnight.

 4. Have you written or do you intend to write in other genres.

Interesting question because I’m wrestling with it at the moment. At the end of Tabula Rasa, if the goodies win, the nightmare is averted. But what if they didn’t win and Gavin and Zoe faced a world apocalypse (dystopian genre) in which his science is needed for her survival, and her fighting skills are needed for his survival. Haven’t decided yet if I’ll go for such a massive twist in the series.

 5. Is this novel a stand-alone or part of a series?

Tabula rasa is #5 in a series and is completely stand alone. I’m changing the name of series from The Gavin Shawlens Thrillers to The Lambeth Group Thrillers to reflect the fact that in some of the stories either Gavin or Zoe play a lesser role.

 6. Are you currently working on anything new?

Having just published Tabula Rasa, I’m at the stage of trying to decide on the next story. I have two outlines. Zoe leads a rescue team to the Middle East to extract a prominent captive (Gavin will have a minor role). Or, Gavin receives a new assignment from the Lambeth Group in which he has to discover how six men have managed to get away with murdering their wives (based loosely on a true story of a biochemist in Edinburgh who tried unsuccessfully to kill his wife). When Gavin gets too close to discovering the truth; Zoe will need to pull him out of the fire, again!

I then ask my guests to pose a question to themselves, and their response.

7. The first three books in the series are stand-alone stories but over-arching them is a story arc that brings the third story and the trilogy to a climax. Where did this story come from?

When I was a student in 1973, I attended a seminar given by Tim Dinsdale in which he showed the Rines-Egerton picture as proof of the Loch Ness Monster. After the seminar, I joined my pals for a few drinks and we agreed that although the picture looked good, it was all a load of nonsense.

Loch Ness Monster for Gordon
Rines-Egerton The Loch-Ness Monster.

Then for months afterwards, I began to wonder what the Americans were really searching for in Loch Ness. Not the monster – that’s a hoax, so it had to be something else, and from that idea I developed the story. But I had to wait until I retired before I could put in the time to pull it all together.

So the overarching story of the first three books in the series is my fictional thoughts on what the Americans were doing in Loch Ness in the early 1970s with their high-tech sonar and their high-tech cameras.

Today we are Featuring 

Tabula Rasa: The end is nigh …

AUTHOR SHOWCASE BOOK COVER GORDON BICKERSTAFF

 BOOK BLURB

Tabula Rasa

The end is nigh …

A thriller for fans of Michael Crichton, Lee Child, Tess Gerritsen and James Patterson.

A hundred years ago, a wealthy family of visionaries prophesied the devastation that global warming would bring to world food supplies in the 21st century. They decided to prepare for the worst, and embark on an ambitious plan of revolution.

Lambeth Group agents, Zoe Tampsin and Gavin Shawlens, prepare to investigate the unusual death of a government defence scientist. Someone is determined to stop them before they get started. Zoe uncovers two unfamiliar words, Tabula Rasa. The only other clue is the curious behaviour of the dead scientist’s son, Ramsay. Posing as a couple, Gavin and Zoe enter the secret and dangerous world of Ramsay’s aristocratic guardians, headed by philanthropist billionaire, Lord Zacchary Silsden.

What Gavin uncovers, shocks him to the bottom of his soul. Does he have the courage and the conviction to stop the greatest revolution in human history?

What Zoe discovers about Gavin—words can’t describe. Zoe is faced with an impossible choice, but one thing is certain, she will not hesitate to do her duty, no matter the cost.

 Just one of the many AMAZON REVIEWS of Tabula Rasa The end is nigh.

5 out of 5 stars  A Real Page Turner!

By 1D82 Manyon July 1, 2017  Format: Kindle Edition

A real page turner!
A thrilling, action packed adventure with great characters and exciting events that kept me up half the night. I loved how the plot circled around the aristocracy, a secret society, and plenty of intrigue. The intricate details really gave the book depth without compromising the story with ‘packing’. I also loved how strong the female lead, Zoe, was; makes an excellent change.

I hadn’t read the previous books but have now picked them up as although you can enjoy this book as a standalone, this is obviously a great series and worth reading the whole lot to gain more insights into the background of the characters.

The other books in this series:

GORDON BICKERSTAFF BOOK 1 THRU 4

 You will find Gordon Bickerstaff at each of the following locations.
                On TWITTER

                On FACEBOOK

               Gordon Bickerstaff Author Blog

              Amazon links

 

This featured genre will be Showcased Until August 12th.

I have three featured authors this month. Next up is Author John W. Howell. To be followed by Author Mae Clair.

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