Event Alert: Peter May at Waterstones Piccadilly on 27th January 2015

Runaway cover image

Runaway cover image

On Tuesday 27th January 2015 Peter May, author of the best selling Lewis Trilogy and the fabulous standalone Entry Island, is going to be visiting Waterstones Piccadilly to talk about his new standalone novel RUNAWAY. Sounds like it’s going to be a great evening.

Here are the details …

PETER MAY talking with Barry Forshaw (crime reviewer for the Financial Times)

Venue: WATERSTONES PICCADILLY – 203-206 Piccadilly, London W1J 9HD

Tickets: £5/£3

Tel for tickets: 020 78512400  Website: http://www.waterstones.com/events

And a bit more about RUNAWAY …

What the blurb says: “The decision for five teenage boys to leave their homes in Glasgow in 1965 and head to London is led by Jack Mackay when he is expelled from school. His friends need little incentive to run away from their abusive families and dead end jobs to pursue fame and fortune as a band. However, the boys find their dreams to be devastatingly different from reality, and within less than twelve months of their departure, only three of them return home, their lives irrevocably damaged.

Fifty years later in 2015 a brutal murder takes place in London and the three men, who are now in their sixties, are forced to return to the city to confront the demons which have haunted them and blighted their lives for five decades.”

CTG Reviews: Entry Island by Peter May

Entry Island cover image

Entry Island cover image

What the blurb says: “Detective Sime MacKenzie’s life in Montreal is one of loneliness and regret. And so when he is assigned to a seemingly open-and-shut murder case on a remote island 850 miles from the Canadian mainland, he departs readily. But Sime’s time away will be anything but a holiday. And Entry Island will prove anything but a haven. Sime may have left his domestic demons behind, but waiting for him in the Gulf of St. Lawrence is a far darker destiny.”

Entry Island is a standalone novel from Peter May, the award-winning author behind the highly acclaimed Lewis trilogy.

It starts with the murder of a wealthy businessman at his home. The number one suspect: his wife. She’s also the only witness. But when Detective Sime MacKenzie and the eight-strong team of detectives and crime scene investigators reach Entry Island they find that the case may not be as easy to solve as their leader, Lieutenant Crozes, had hoped.

Sime is the odd one out. He’s the only native English speaker within the French speaking team, and has only joined them for this case due to the principle language of Entry Island being English rather than French. With unresolved tensions between him and his ex-wife, Marie-Ange – the team’s forensic expert – the atmosphere is far from comfortable. What’s more, Sime finds himself inexplicably drawn to the widow of the murdered man, and is unable to fight the feeling that somehow he knows her.

As the investigation gets underway, Sime finds that the insomnia he’s been suffering since his marriage break-up is getting worse. Now, in the few minutes sleep he is able to snatch, he recalls the vivid stories his Grandmother told him of his ancestors: crofters who had lived on the Isle of Lewis, who were removed from their homes during the brutal ‘clearings’ initiated by greedy landlords who wanted to replace them with sheep, and forced onto boats to ‘the new world’.

The descriptions of the two main locations: the modern-day Entry Island, and the historical look-back at the Isle of Lewis, really bring the settings to life. They conjure up strong images of the geography, the close-knit communities and their cultures. For Sime, the past and the present are strangely linked, and as the story progresses, connections and similarities between his own family history and that of the prime suspect emerge.

For me, this novel was a real treat. I loved the sleep-deprived, conflicted, and often confused character of Sime for his determination to get to the truth no matter who, or what, was pressuring him to finish the investigation fast. Often battling his inner monologue as much as his colleagues, he follows every lead no matter now unlikely, even when it puts him in personal danger.

The author artfully weaves the modern day investigation and the historical story of Sime’s ancestors together, hinting at connections between the two but never quite revealing the implications of the past on the present until the final resolution.

A hauntingly compelling, highly atmospheric read.

Highly Recommended.

[With many thanks to Quercus for my copy of ENTRY ISLAND]

CTG Interviews: Peter May author of the Lewis Trilogy and new standalone Entry Island

Peter May

Peter May

I’m delighted to be joined on the CTG blog today by Peter May, author of the fabulous Lewis Trilogy,  whose new book ENTRY ISLAND is out this month.

So, first question, as well as writing the award winning Lewis Trilogy, you’ve had successful careers as a journalist and a television and screenwriter. What was it that attracted you to becoming a novelist?

I always wanted to be a novelist – since I wrote my first book at the age of four!  My parents taught me to read and write before I went to school and the first thing I did was write a story, and with my mum’s help sewed the pages together to make a book.  (You can see the result on YouTube:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTxOEfwclh0 )  Journalism was my way of trying to make a living as a writer, since jobs as novelists were not exactly thick on the ground.  Journalism led me into television, and a lucrative career as a scriptwriter, editor and then producer.  But I quit all that (including the income) in the mid-nineties to try, finally, to make my living writing books.  And, well…  I’m still here.

Your new book, Entry Island, is just out. Can you tell us a bit about it?

Entry Island is a story that takes place in two time frames – contemporary and historical.  The contemporary element is set in Quebec, Canada, and more specifically the Magdalen Islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  A detective, Sime Mackenzie, from Montreal is sent with an investigation team to the tiny Entry Island – the only English-speaking island in the Magdalen archipelago – following the murder of its wealthiest resident.  But on arrival he finds that the victim’s wife, and prime suspect in his murder, is unaccountably familiar to him, even although they have never met.  The historical story is told through dreams and recollections of diary entries read to the detective by his grandmother when he was a child.  It tells the tale of a young man (whose name Sime shares) growing up in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland in the 19th century at the time of the Highland Clearances, when tens of thousands of people were driven out of their homes and forced on to boats for the New World.  When the young man and his family are brutally evicted, he finds himself on a boat bound for Quebec.  At a certain point both stories converge and the link between them, along with a resolution to the Entry Island murder, is revealed.

Your books always have a fabulous sense of place about them, what’s your secret to creating this?

Many of my early writing experiences, from the start of my teens on, were screenplays of movies I wanted to make.  I always had a very visual sense of storytelling, and when I began to realise that I didn’t need a multi-million pound budget and a film crew to tell those stories, I took that visual sense with me into the writing of my books.  Basically, I described the pictures in my head.  I went to all those places in my mind and wanted to take the reader there with me, to experience them as real.  Not just visually, but sensually as well.

Could you tell us a little about your writing process: do you dive right in, or plan the story out first?

I spend four to five months developing and researching an idea.  Then I brainstorm for a week and write a very detailed storyline that runs anything up to 20,000 words.  From there I set myself a very disciplined schedule, rising at 6am and writing 3000 words a day.  The book is finished within six to eight weeks.

What advice would you give to those aspiring to publication as crime writers?

Write about what you know.  And remember that no matter how clever your story, readers won’t get involved unless they care about the characters.  Don’t be put off by rejection.  It happens to all of us.  After all, “The Blackhouse” was rejected by every major publisher in the UK, and the Lewis Trilogy has now sold more than a million copies.

And lastly, what does the rest of 2014 have in store for you?

A crazy year lies ahead.  I am in the research and development phase of a new book, which I hope to write in the late spring.  I have books tours in the UK and France, and the USA at the end of the year.  I will be at festivals in Harrowgate, Edinburgh and Bloody Scotland, and in this Scottish Homecoming year, VisitScotland are keen to use my books as a magnet for foreign visitors to Scotland.  A visit to Canada might also be in the offing.

Sounds like 2014 is going to be hectic! A huge thank you to Peter for dropping by the CTG blog. 

[Stop by on Friday to read my review of the fabulous ENTRY ISLAND]

Event Alert: An Evening with Peter May at Waterstones Piccadilly

Entry Island cover image

Entry Island cover image

Looking for something to do once the party season is over? Well, look no further. Waterstones Piccadilly are hosting ‘An Evening with Peter May’ on 21 January 2014. At the event, Peter will be discussing his new book ‘Entry Island’.

Tickets are £5 (£3 for Waterstones cardholders) and include a glass of wine or soft drink. To book your ticket, either ask in store, call 02078512400 or email events.piccadilly@waterstones.com

Peter May was an award-winning journalist and successful screenwriter before turning his hand to novels. His first book in the Lewis Trilogy ‘The Blackhouse’ was a Richard and Judy summer read and a Sunday Times top 10 bestseller. ‘The Lewis Man’ and ‘The Chessmen’ were also Sunday Times bestsellers. The series has now sold over 1 million copies. Peter’s next novel ‘Entry Island’ will be published by Quercus in January 2014.

I’ll be reviewing ‘Entry Island’ in January, but, until then, here’s a sneaky peep at the blurb: “When Detective Sime Mackenzie boards a light aircraft at Montreal’s St. Hubert airfield, he does so without looking back. For Sime, the 850-mile journey ahead represents an opportunity to escape the bitter blend of loneliness and regret that has come to characterise his life in the city.

Travelling as part of an eight-officer investigation team, Sime’s destination lies in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Only two kilometres wide and three long, Entry Island is home to a population of around 130 inhabitants – the wealthiest of which has just been discovered murdered in his home.

The investigation itself appears little more than a formality. The evidence points to a crime of passion: the victim’s wife the vengeful culprit. But for Sime the investigation is turned on its head when he comes face to face with the prime suspect, and is convinced that he knows her – even though they have never met.

Haunted by this certainty his insomnia becomes punctuated by dreams of a distant past on a Scottish island 3,000 miles away. Dreams in which the widow plays a leading role. Sime’s conviction becomes an obsession. And in spite of mounting evidence of her guilt he finds himself convinced of her innocence, leading to a conflict between the professional duty he must fulfil, and the personal destiny that awaits him.”

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