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My writing space is of major importance in my life.
Very much like the main characters in my novel Hand Over Fist, a few years ago I hit rock bottom in life, and have managed to climb back up. My house and my writing space are a comfort for me when I dwell on those former andbetter (financial) times. I was born and lived the vast majority of my life in Bristol, England, which is a vibrant and wealthy city. I owned and was involved with many successful businesses and turned over in the region of £300 million ($450 million.) After a destructive divorce I went from being a millionaire to insolvent within an eighteen month period. There was no way I could afford to stay living in my home city and was forced to move to the Welsh valleys, where property prices were less than a third of Bristol prices.
But although I now live in a redundant mining community I have a house and views that would be impossible to buy for any sort of price back in Bristol. I have the side of a mountain in front of me and rolling hills with sheep grazing at the rear. Internally I have a large room that takes up the third floor with skylight views from all four sides.
Martin Russell can barely face the future. With dismal life prospects and an estranged family, he is at the end of his rope. When an old friend, Hannah, elbows her way back into his life, Martin’s luck begins to turn around.
Hidden within the shadows of evil, there must be some good…
Ex-policeman Bobby Tanner lost everything one rage-filled night. Now he runs a reading group for alcoholics where he meets a young drug dealer, Zack, who disturbs him in a way that’s hard to define. Bobby soon discovers the teenager is in over his head and has been dealing with a despicable individual known as The Chemist.
The roots of evil run deeper than we imagine…
Martin’s lucky streak begins to unravel when Hannah suddenly goes missing, and he turns to a friend of a friend, Bobby, for help. Thrust into an underworld empire of corruption and half-truths, he learns his friend may not be who he thought she was.
In a shadowed world of deception, stalkers, and despicable drug dealers, Bobby and Martin must uncover the truth, and fast…
Several lives depend on it.
Enjoy an excerpt:
A large part of The Chemist’s wealth came from something that started out as a petty sideline but now provided an ever increasing income—money lending, loan sharking, pawn broking. It served a double purpose. Obviously it created wealth, but it also increased the footfall of deprived humanity passing through the front door of Shortcross Drive. This meant that when the police did a stop-and-search on visitors leaving The Chemist’s house, all they found were small amounts of cash in new white envelopes. Positive feedback within the local police force went up the line, and it was duly noted that local drug related problems were on the decline. Statistics made fine reading at County Hall and everyone was happy. No matter how much Mario increased the interest rates to his borrowers, people paid their debts. It was an undisputed fact. No matter how much financial difficulty The Chemist’s borrowers were in, they always found a way to pay up. If anybody at County Hall had bothered to correlate the figures, they could
surely not have missed the numbers showing that criminal break-ins and burglaries within a twenty mile radius had increased even more markedly.
The largest amount Mario had ever lent to one person was £1,000. It went to a young local tearaway who was quite happy to agree to repay Mario the sum of £1,200 within three days. The young thug duly turned up on the Friday with the cash and a nice bottle of champagne to go with it. Next day, while Mario was sitting down with his copy of The Sun, he read that there had been a robbery at a Post Office in the Peak District, and that the Post Mistress was in a coma after being attacked with a sledge hammer. The paper stated that the thieves got away with over £6,000. Mario felt something akin to parental pride. Mario carried on lending monkeys and tons to his regulars until he received a phone call that came out of the blue. The request came as something of a shock, even to Mario’s fireproof ears.
“Hello, my name’s Jeremy. I’d rather not go into any more detail over the phone, but I was given your name by Eddie Parsons.”
Eddy Parsons, The Peak District thief.
The rather snooty voice continued, “I want to borrow ten-thousand pounds for ten days. I can pay you back the second of next month. Guaranteed.”
About the Author:
Born and raised in Bristol, England. I spent most of my life in business, my companies turning over in the region of $500 million. The majority of that time marketing cars, eventually owning the largest Saab specialist in the world, before a bitter divorce forced me rethink my priorities. Particularly between 2003 and 2005 when I had to accept that I was no longer a millionaire but literally penniless. I avoided bankruptcy by the skin of my teeth and slowly rebuilt my life.
This led me to the life changing decision to leave the bustling city and move to live halfway up a mountain in the Welsh valleys. At the same time I started a part time six year English Literature course at Bristol University, and attended creative writing classes at Cardiff University. I left school at sixteen and this was my first taste of further education and an immense challenge.
I eventually adjusted my thinking to the academic life, and on 30 June 2015 had confirmation of my 2.1(Hons) degree from Bristol University. At the same time I also won the prestigious Hopkins Prize for my essay on Virginia Woolf and the unsaid within her text. Now the university courses are finished it will, with any luck, gives me plenty of extra time that I can devote to my fiction writing.
Thanks to the university experiences, my interest in English literature has flourished over recent years. Hopefully I have evolved as a writer from my earlier work in short stories (over ninety of them.) Although interestingly my first three novels have all been developed from a long forgotten short story.
Life is, once again, very good, and I live very happily halfway up a mountain, in the Welsh Valleys, with my wonderful partner Mari, and our rescue dog Wolfie.
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