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18/02/2019

#MondayMusing with Guest: Bill Todd @williamjtodd @DannyLancaster3 #Author #CrimeThriller

A product of contemplation; a thought: "an elegant tapestry of quotations, musings, aphorisms, and autobiographical reflections" (James Atlas).
I am delighted today to have Bill Todd on the Blog today. He has shared a great author interview with us. Bill is the author of the Danny Lancaster series of Crime Thrillers. First off let us find out about Bill in his own words. 

I’ve spent most of my working life as a journalist on local and national newspapers. It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet all sorts of people and gain insight into all manner of places and events.
My fiction has also been aided by years writing travel features, a fantastic job that’s taken me to more than 40 countries, from Arctic Finland to the deserts of Namibia which feature in ROUGH DIAMOND.
I’ve enjoyed a long love affair with Crete. The mountains, coastline, food and people make me wonder if I lived there in some previous life. I was delighted and surprised to receive the Ed Lacy travel award in 2007.
Before journalism I tried my hand at odd jobs including furniture removals (watch out for the flat-packs, they tend to pack flat when lifted!), photography, teaching and running a magazine group.
My other interests include my family tree. I’ve traced the ancestors back to William of Byfield, a farmer in 1600s Northamptonshire, just down the road from Shakespeare.
I love maps and  have a ragbag collection of more than 2,000. I'm also a fan of interesting cheeses, good beer and wilderness. They’re like Marmite, you’re an empty places person or you’re not. Then there's baby grandson Theo.

Interview with Bill Todd

Q&A

1)      Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
I wrote my first book when I was 13 or 14 with a school friend, an old fashioned story of mischievous schoolboys. I might have a copy deep in the archives but it's staying there.
When I was a kid I assumed I'd be a soldier. Grandads served in WWI and dad and his brothers in WW2. One grandfather was in the Boer War in South Africa in 1902.
But thoughts of a military career we're dashed by an aversion to discipline and an addiction to my grandmother's steamed apple pudding.
I started work at about 10 or 11 doing a milk round and well remember the pain of gripping glass milk bottles, empty and icy, one on each small purple finger. Compensation came at Christmas. My festive tips were more money than I'd ever seen and I was even given the occasional small sherry, very warming when out in the winter half-light.
School was not my finest hour and first proper job was as a news agency messenger. This opened up an amazing world of wealth, crime and celebrity which was magic to a wide-eyed and imaginative 17-year-old.
I then trained as a journalist on a local  newspaper, attending block release courses at Harlow Tech. One exam aimed to stimulate imagination - picturing a milk float in a road accident. My witness descriptions of a white river flowing down a hill won hands down. Perhaps that was an omen.

2)      Could you tell us a bit about your character Danny Lancaster?
Tricky this, like everyone he's a wide mix of traits. If I had to pin him down it would probably be loveable rogue. Danny served as a paratrooper in Afghanistan and lost his left leg below the knee in a firefight. He struggles to cope with changing from superfit to maimed in the space of two seconds of gunfire. His love life looks a bit bullet-riddled at times.

Although he's now back in civilian life Danny still tries to cling to the military ethos including courage, discipline, respect and loyalty. It's a struggle.

3)      Which writers do you admire?
All of them. I'm in awe of authors. It's a writer's self-doubt thing. But most of my reading is escapist. As a kid I loved Sherlock Holmes and Biggles and still have all the paperbacks.

I loved John D MacDonald's Travis McGee thrillers, then moved on to Jack Higgins, loved The Eagle Has Landed. Next came Len Deighton and Frederick Forsyth.
It would be unfair to select a few random active writers but I'm sure they're feeling the love. 

4)      If you had to give one book only as a present, which would it be?

An impossible question that I will wriggle out of by saying it would depend entirely on the recipient.

5)      Godlefe's Cuckoo, your sixth Danny Lancaster, came out last March. What are you working on now?

Embarrassing question. Since Godlefe's Cuckoo I've been backsliding. I could give you excuses - glorious summer weather, family illness, new grandson, crisis of confidence on how to top Godlefe's Cuckoo - but a writer writes, end of. It's not as if I have nothing to do. There's my 7th Danny Lancaster in the pipeline. Plus a standalone crime thriller. And a cosy crime locked-in mystery. Also, the diary behind my travel writing across a decade and four continents. So, no excuses. All I can do is apologise. Maybe a novella soon? Nag me if you don't hear. 

6)      How important is the cover of a book in your opinion?
Absolutely vital, it's your shop window. I'm not sure I’ve always got it right but I'm very involved in the design, typography and graphics. It's essential for the book, and good fun too.

7)      What made you become a writer?

Obsession. .

8)      What are your writing habits and space like?
I plot and plan, resisting the urge to write until it is overwhelming in the hope the words will pour forth. My home office has a PC with two big screens and my record in there is 16 hours with only sandwich and pee breaks.

But my last book, Godlefe's Cuckoo, was mainly written in cafes and pubs on the wonderful Nexus 7 tab and a Bluetooth keyboard. Late on, I have discovered the joys of writing on the move. Most of this blog has been written in a pub on my Samsung S8 phone.

9)      What is the strangest thing you have ever had to research online for your writing?
Where to start? Firearms, drugs, nicotine poisoning, people smuggling, gunshot wounds, rough sleeping, geriatric medicine, the sky’s the limit. An ambitious young psychiatrist could make their career on the back of my internet search history.

10)   Could you tell us something about you that people wouldn’t necessary know about you?

I could but I'll need to consult a lawyer first.



My six Danny Lancaster titles are available from Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords and Amazon PoD paperback. They are:
THE WRECK OF THE MARGHERITA - https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007OVUG6Q
GARGOYLE PIXIE DOG - www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B010T2CHK4
GODLEFE’S CUCKOO - https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B079Z7Z4MW
I have also written three non-fiction books. GUNNER is based on my father's World War Two diary, photos and postcards from Normandy to Hamburg. PIGTAIL PILOT is the tragic story of a talented young woman who was on course to be the RAF’s first female pilot when she was killed in training. A CROCUS FROM JERUSALEM is the story of a 19-year-old country lad's journey to war in the Middle East in 1917.


I can be found here…
Twitter: https://twitter.com/williamjtodd - @williamjtodd
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/billtodd_writer/ - @billtodd_writer



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