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  1. Like Brenda, I very much enjoyed ‘A Barbed Wire Peace’. Like ‘Willow’, it has engaging characters and writing style, You have that novelist’s knack of bouncing the reader from one place or sub-plot to another, and retaining interest in what’s going to happen next.

  2. Hi Chris, I really enjoyed ‘A Barbed Wire Peace’ and I am getting the next one, I had hoped someone (my son) would buy it for me but my hints didn’t get through!
    Brest wishes.

  3. Rather later than I had intended, I am delighted – and a trifle relieved – to announce that NONE SO DEAF, book 2 of ‘The Agricola Solution’ is now up and running in both paperback and on kindle. Also, I have managed to update the ‘My Writing’ section of my website, which gives some insight into the background for the storyline and my plans for their future.

    I hope it is of some interest to you.

  4. The good news is that ‘A Barbed Wire Peace’ is now published both in paperback and for Kindle download. I am now working on the final edits of the next book, ‘None So Deaf’, which I aim to release about Easter time.

  5. I am delighted to announce that I shall be publishing the next book in the ‘Willow’ series before Christmas (2016). Book 2 will follow in a month or so, and Book 3 shortly after that. Books 4 and 5 (and – who knows? – maybe 6) will follow after a suitable pause – in which I will write them!

    Now, if you will excuse me, I had better get on with it, hadn’t I?

    • I’m afraid I’m running just a fraction behind schedule at the moment; Book 1 (which is now called ‘A Barbed Wire Peace’) I sent to the printers in early December and they had to admit that, while they could get the proofs to me fairly soon, they would struggle to get the first print-run back to me before Christmas. Rather than rush the final proof-read and adjustments, without the guarantee of getting the print-run back in time to get it out to people, I decided to avoid the Christmas rush altogether and slow down. It will be available in January, in both paperback and on Kindle.

      Apologies to all those who were hoping to get it for Christmas.

  6. Hi Chris, I was wondering when your next book will be published. I enjoyed your three books so far and am anxious for the next.

    • Hello Brenda, lovely to hear from you again. I hope you are well.

      I don’t know when my next will be published as it’s all proving rather complex at the moment. When I got started on the sequel to ‘Willow’ I thought it would just be the one book, but now I’m not sure. Currently it’s looking like 1922 up to 1932, then a second from 1933 to 1939, and the final one 1939 to 1945/6. I’m reluctant to work on Book 1 up to almost-publication in case I need, in Book 3, to change something radical in Book 1 or 2. I’m sure you see what I mean? I would have liked to get Book 1 out by the end of this year but if I’m to be honest I think early next year is more likely. But then Books 2 and 3 would be quite soon after that as they would pretty much be written already.

      I’m sorry about the time taken, and I must emphasise that these and any future books cannot by their very nature be as intense as ‘Willow’; nevertheless I hope they will be interesting enough to give a good read. But I shall do my best to get a wiggle on!

  7. John, I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed ‘Willow’. It was a story I have been wanting to write for a long time and now was the time. Yes, there was a fair bit of research involved, but my own naval/military experience helped, and I have over the years read a fair bit of fiction and non-fiction from and about that time. As for the letters, they were born out of a combination of having written weekly letters from the age of eight, through school, university and of course nearly 10 years at sea: that’s a lot of experience to draw on – particularly when you recall that I courted my wife almost entirely by letter throughout an Antarctic season culminating in the Falklands War! As for the rest of it, it was pure imagination, trying to put myself in their position, and think and feel as they might have thought and felt.

    As for trying to get the language right, the trick I think is to write in a manner that sounds, to our modern ear, right for the period, while making the characters likeable. By that I mean that 100 years ago dialogue and written letters were much stiffer than I suggested, and the way they spoke to each other would sound pretty awful to our ear; their sense of humour I found off-putting, even quite rude. So I decided to write in the modern way and then adjust only some of it to give the impression of ‘days gone by’.

    One thing that was important, I found, was to understand the difficulty that young people of that class had in dealing with the opposite sex. Robert Graves in ‘Goodbye to All That’ says that boys of his class and era were taught to treat any woman, of whatever class or age, as though she were his mother or sister: in other words, laying a licentious hand on them was morally repugnant. Hence the thing about lying back and thinking of England. The Great War began to break that down.

    I myself was pleased with the book; what worries me is whether I can write another to match it. Regardless of that, I have started work on the first of three sequels, which will take Philip Oakley up to WW2 – but this time only as a parent.

    Anyway, John, thank you so much for your kind comments, they are very much appreciated.

    • From what you have said about courting by letter I guess there is a lot of you in Philip Oakley whether intended or not. However you came by the characters it works well. I am looking forward to your next book, whenever that may be, but judging by the detail you go into and the research that you do, it will be worth the wait.

  8. Hello Chris
    I have just finished your latest book ‘In the Shade of a Willow’. It is brilliant. The amount of detail is phenomenal. The research must have taken you for ever. As for the letters, they read like you have based them on real life letters of the time, either that or you have a terrific imagination! The language used in dialogue seems right for the time if TV and films are any guide. Even the people’s feelings about the war change as the war goes on and that comes across very well. Once started it is a difficult book to put down. I have said to Geoff that it is your best book yet. Very well done Chris.

  9. John, Delighted to hear that you have enjoyed Maelstrom as well. Your comment about it being TV rather than silver screen is fascinating – not the kind of thing that I, being so close to it, can easily see. Sorry it took so long to get to you.

    Wonderful ideas about continuations from Maelstrom: thank you. I deliberately left one or two loose ends just in case. And the same with Cyclops too.

    Yes, next one is due out at the beginning of August and I shall ensure you have it in your hands on The Day. The only question, of course, is whether I can meet all this expectation …

    Anyway, thanks again for your very kind comments, and I am delighted you get pleasure from reading my scribblings. It encourages me to keep going.

  10. Hello Chris
    I finally caught up with Geoff and got my copy of Maelstrom. I read it in ten days. It is a cracking good story, well written and whereas I thought Cyclops would make a good film, blockbuster style, I thought Maelstrom would be more suited to a film made for television. As I’ve read them in the wrong order I can see that your mind has expanded from TV to film and not the other way round as I read them. However, now that I am up to speed with your books I am looking forward to your next book which Geoff tells me is out in August. You can be sure that you will have sold one copy at least – to me! As for Maelstrom, I’m sure that there is some mileage left in the story if you project forward a few years and decide whether the family stay together, split up, the children go their own ways, whether the drug smuggling gang seek retribution somewhere along the line? Does his wife ditch him as he continues his affair. Anyway, well done Chris on another great book.

  11. John, Many thanks for your comment. I am delighted you enjoyed ‘Cyclops’ so much. As for this making a good film, I imagine everything I write in my mind, much like a screen or TV film, so that’s probably why. Any Hollywood film producers reading this website are cordially invited to drop me an email …

    I shall get ‘Maelstrom’ to you as soon as poss. Thanks again.
    Chris

  12. Hello Chris
    I have just finished reading ‘The Cyclops Ransom’ and found it enthralling. After about 100 pages I just couldn’t put it down. It is brilliant and I’m sure it would make a good film. I will be getting ‘Maelstrom’ shortly and post comment about that when I’ve read it. Well done.

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