Browsing articles from "June, 2012"

Our Adventure to the Tonbridge Art Festival – Saturday 23rd June 2012

Our ‘adventure’ has started!

Interview on Isle of Wight Radio with the lovely Heather McCallum Wednesday 20th June! Here’s Heather with the medal we presented her with, for just being ’lovely’!

Most of you will have read, or heard about the chaos on the Isle of Wight, due to the IOW Music Festival. Why didn’t I think about the festival when I booked the tickets? But, to be honest I would have naively thought that getting off the Island wouldn’t be the problem – how wrong could I be.  I didn’t take into account the weather did I, and the mud!

Picture at the IOW Festival Ground!


If you ever come to the Isle of Wight this is the station you want to listen to for all the Isle of Wight up to date news and  it’s also a great music station with great presenters Once again they have done us proud and proved themselves invaluable to us.


These were the delays reported with people stuck in their cars for hours on end.

And these were the scenes at ‘our’ ferry port the night before we set off. The carpark was not only full to capacity but there were reported 600 people and cars onboard ferries, in the Solent waiting to dock. Without these travellers disembarking, we weren’t going anywhere. Were we going to get off the next day? No one knew…

What a difference a day makes… The news was still dire Friday morning when we woke but listening to the Isle Of Wight Radio they were advising routes were open to get us to the ferries, and Wightlink told us that the ferries were now running normally, albeit we had to get to the port!

Not booked on a ferry until 13.30hrs we left our house at 12.00. What normally would be a fifteen minute journey we knew may take us much longer. Car packed we set off with trepidation. As we drove down each road we couldn’t believe our eyes, it was clear. ‘We must hit the traffic surely,’ I said to Bob. Bob’s optimism was amazing, as always … this was after all an adventure.

At 12.35 we arrived at the port. Yes, we didn’t see one traffic queue, not even a delay and all we saw was happy, smiling festival goers en route! Thank you IW Radio for getting us there!

Although the previous night and day must have been a nightmare for Police and Wightlink workers, they were amazingly cheerful, polite and helpful as always. At 13.20, ten minutes earlier than planned, we were on board and setting sail!

Me, glad to be on board the ferry.

Approaching the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth

The trip to Tonbridge was a breeze and we were glad to arrive at our hotel for the weekend.

The Hadlow Manor Hotel – About two miles from Tonbridge Castle Hadlow Manor. The room was lovely and the staff very helpful. The only thing was we were told there was a hen party in that night, with a stripper! Good job our room was the furthest away from the party!

Bob’s wonderful big breakfast the next morning. Eat breakfast like a ’King’ so they say, and he did!


Saturday we were in the grounds of the beautiful Tonbridge Castle in Kent which boasts the counties best example of a Motte-and-Bailey Gatehouse, and its mighty gatehouse is among the finest in England. It’s the Tonbridge Arts Festival and we’re in the Caffeine Nights Publisers marquee with other authors from our stable. It was windy but fine.


Tonbridge Castle – The Venue

The castles glory lies not only in what can be seen. Its story is interwoven with that of kings and archbishops, tyrants and heroes, murderers and mercenaries who, on this ancient site and inside these weathered stone walls, have helped write 900 years of English history.

And here are some pictures, of  a lovely day to remember in the beautiful ’Garden of England’ !

Some of the Authors from the Caffeine Nights Publishers stable.

Alison Taft, CEO Darren E Laws, Bob, Nick Triplow,Me, Ian Ayris

Caffeine Nights Publishers Marquee before the event opened.

Darren Laws, Alison Taft, Nick Triplow, Ian and Charlie Ayris

The Talk with the Caffeine Nights Panel! (I stayed to man the marquee. If you were wondering where I was :) ).

Bob solving this ‘case’ with everyONE is Looking for SomeONE


Time for home ‘James’! Bob on the Wightlink Ferry homeward bound.

Hope to see you all next year! Till next time then…


Carol & Bob x







Carol’s Close Up with Author Ian Ayris



                                      Ian Ayris

Ian Ayris was born in Dagenham, Essex, in August 1969. Having spent most of his childhood more interested in kicking a tennis ball about the school playground with his mates than actually learning anything, he managed to leave the public education system in 1985 with but two O’ Levels and a handful of C.S.E.’s,

And a love of writing.

His academic achievements set him up nicely for the succession of low paid jobs he has maintained to this day. These jobs have included a three year stint as a delivery boy for an electrical company, five years putting nuts and bolts in boxes in a door factory, one day in a gin factory, and three months in a record shop, He has spent the last sixteen years, however, working with adults with learning difficulties, and in the meantime, has become a qualified counsellor.

Ian’s love of writing resurfaced late in his thirties, in the guise of short stories. He has since had almost thirty short stories published both in print and online, and is currently studying for a degree in English Literature.

Ian lives with his wife and three children in Romford, Essex, and is a lifelong Dagenham and Redbridge supporter.
Abide with Me is published March 19th 2012.

Ian’s novel Abide With Me has been described by many, as one of the most memorable books that they have read in a long time. When you meet Ian you are immediately struck that he is someone who is far too modest about his achievements and his ability. What you see is what you get with Ian. A lovely family orientated chap with a heart of gold and we were lucky enough to be at the Tonbridge Literary Festival with Ian this weekend and he also brought along his one of his sons who let me say now is a proper credit to him and his wife! Hi Charlie!


So come on Ian would you advise others  to take a writing course at college or University?

I’m actually taking an English Lit. Open University degree at the moment, the last module being Creative Writing. Next up – Advance Creative Writing.  The answer to the question, however, is probably ‘yes’ and ‘no’.  There is a lot that can be learnt on these sorts of courses about the structural elements of writing, especially story construction, character formation, and stuff like screenplays and radio scripts, and the like.  All very interesting.  But beyond all that, you need the spark – the imagination, the fearless capacity to write what is inside you. Not sure a course can teach you that.  For that, you need a teacher, and in this life, they come in many guises . . .

Because of your hectic lifestyle can you possibly have a routine for your writing – same place, same time?

Since ABIDE WITH ME was published, and the incredible response it has received, I’m trying hard to establish a writing routine.  AWM, you see, was written amdist absolute chaos. Lines written in my head at bus stops, in the school playground waiting for the kids, queing up atTescos, on the train. Or up through the night surviving on coffee and biscuits.

 My life is a bit simpler now, since the littl’un started school last August. I do a bit of cleaning, some shopping – Tescos every bloody day – and then I sit down at the computer for an hour or so. If I can keep off Amazon, and the social networking stuff long enough, I’ll try and knock out a thousand or so words a day.  But my way of writing is purely intuitive, so I sort of have to wait for the words to come. Hard to have a workable routine or wordcount when it comes like that. I’m trying, though :)

What’s your favourite nibble whilst you’re working? What keeps Ian Ayris ‘on the ball’?

Purple Yorkies, Double-Deckers, any sort of biscuity thing, really. If it’s got chocolate on top, so much the better.


Which character in your book did you like most and why?

Kenny is my favourite. He is my hero. In the book, he is the only character that stays true to himself, even though that sense of self is severely distorted by the limitations of his body and his mind. If I could see the world through the eyes of Kenny, just for a day, I’d be a very lucky chap.


Has becoming  published changed your life and is it all you expected it to be?
Getting published hasn’t so much changed my life, as changed my perception of myself. A lot of demons were slain in the writing of ABIDE WITH ME. Having it published – accepted outside of myself – squished them right into the ground. In that sense, my life has changed forever. Which is nice.


Do you admire or look up to anyone in particular?

I admire anyone who lives this life true to themselves, however that might manifest.


Pet Hates?

Exclamation marks and semi-colons. The punctuation of the devil.


How do you relax?

Being a househusband during the week, and working twenty two and a half hours in a residential home every weekend doesn’t allow for too much relaxation. Although my wife would say being a househusband during the week and working twenty two and a half hours in a residential home every weekend is more than enough relaxation for anyone. We beg to differ on the point, mostly. When I do get time to myself, however, walking, reading, and yoga are my main pleasures.


What do you consider your finest achievements?

Aside from having three wonderful children and a darling wife, I reckon stumbling through the last ten years as a househusband without the kids being taken into care is quite an achievement. Oh, and ABIDE WITH ME getting published. That’s great too ;)


What do you keep in your pockets?

It’s a tracksuit bottom day today – hence the answer is ‘holes’. Though I’ve an unsettling feeling I’ve a pound coin stuck in the lining somewhere towards my left foot. My front door keys went down inside the lining a couple of months back.  I had to do a yoga shoulderstand and wriggle me legs to get them out. We live in a terraced house, so this little performance was carried out in full view of the rest of the street.


My kids really are very proud of the things I can achieve. And so is my wife.


What words or phrases do you most overuse in speech or writing?

My biggest midemeanours are ‘and’, ‘all’, and ‘just’. My first drafts are littered with them. But they help me keep the writing flowing, even if they are commonly stripped out in the final draft.


What single thing would improve the quality of your life right now?

A Purple Yorkie and Double Decker combo.


What is the most important lessons life has taught you?

Fear nothing.


Greatest fear?

See above :)


Ideal dinner party guests?

Dmitri Shostakovich, Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, Stephen King, Sojourner Truth, William Blake. What a laugh that would be, eh :)


What are you writing now?

At the moment I am finishing writing my first Kindle  novella – ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF JASON DEAN. Hopefully, it should be out same time later this year, or early next.

And let me tell the readers I have seen a chapter – absolutely fantastic! What are your plans for the future?

My next assignment is to begin the sequel to ABIDE WITH ME, with a first draft hopefully completed in the new year, or thereabouts.


And just to have fun. That’s the main thing, eh :)

Thanks Ian. It has been lovely, as always, to have a chat with you. Good luck with everything and see you soon hopefully!

Ian’s contact details

Abide with Me

3rd May, 1975. Eight year old John watches his beloved West Ham win the cup, whilst at the same time, Kenny tumbles out the front door of the house opposite, blood all over his face.
Fourteen years later, both boys’ childhoods ripped apart in the broken streets of London’s East End, John and Kenny find themselves frontin up local gangster, Ronnie Swordfish.
John’s got a lifetime of hurt to put right – for him and for Kenny.
But with John layin on the ground half unconscious and Ronnie with a sword to Kenny’s head, whatever way you look at it, it don’t look good . . .
ABIDE WITH ME is the story of two boys forced to walk blind into the darkness of their shattered lives . . . and their struggle to emerge as men.


Carol’s Close Up – Dr Dorothy McCoy – Author, Psychotherapist, Master Instructor, Security Training Consultant

Carol’s Close Up with Dr Dorothy McCoy!


My ‘Close Up’ today is with a very special lady, and I have good reason to think that. Dr. Dorothy McCoy is a Licensed Professional Counsellor in both North and South Carolina. She began her first private practice in 1991 after she graduated with a Masters in Clinical Counselling from the Citadel in Charleston. Later, she went back to school to get her Doctorate, graduating from the University of Sarasota in 2001, with a Doctorate in Counselling Psychology. Dr Dorothy has written several books listed below and I have one of her wonderful CD’s for relaxation … believe me this is how I know this woman is extremely gifted!

Dr Dorothy is the author of counselling/psychology books:

From Shyness to Social Butterfly (Wellness Institute, 2003) (Revising for 2012)

The Ultimate Book of Personality Tests (Source Books, 2005) also Translated into Dutch

The Manipulative Man (Adams Media, 2005) also translated into Romanian To Order

Brain Games: Personality Quizzes (2009, Brain) To Order

For the men reading this, I understand Dr Dorothy was asked to write the Manipulative Man and most of it could also be applied to women. In most cases, she believes that both men and women want to be happy in their relationships and if encouraged will work toward that happiness. 


 Dr Dorothy McCoy at her desk.


Hello Dr D!


As you know I am an avid fan of both your books, and your relaxation CD which can also be used as an aid to eating healthy - I swear I couldn’t live without this CD!  Thank you so much for agreeing to chat with me today. I’m really excited about this interview so let’s get straight into the world of Dr Dorothy McCoy!


What are you up to at the moment?


Hello Carol!


I am in general practice as a psychotherapist (Licensed Professional Counsellor) in North Carolina. I have 20 years of experience in treating many psychological and emotional issues. I specialize in anxiety disorders such as PTSD (crime victims, accident victims, law enforcement, and military) and generalized anxiety and depression, grief and couples issues. I am located in Hillsborough, North Carolina and my phone number is 919 245 1034


This project is relatively new isn’ t it so now it is all set up what’s next?


I am talking with a forensic psychiatrist and an international law enforcement official about collaborating on two books. We have not decided on titles yet. Both should be exceptionally exciting. Stay tuned…


You certainly don’t let the grass grow under your feet do you? ;-) I would like to know more about you and your life if I may?


Fire away! :-)


Where are you from originally?

I have lived most of my life in South Carolina

Tell me a little about yourself, your education, your family life.

I received my BA from the University of South Carolina, my Masters from The Citadel (The Military College of South Carolina in Charleston—Go Citadel!) and my Doctorate from the University of Sarasota. I am a law enforcement consultant (specialty in deviant personalities), psychotherapist, former law enforcement and writer. I live in a small town in North Carolina and I would absolutely adore living at the beach.

Yes, we are very lucky to live near the beach but I’m sure you’d use it a lot more than we do on the Isle of Wight due to the weather! I hear you’ve started doing radio interviews on Voice America?

Yes, I recently started doing radio interviews on psychopaths, interrogation of psychopaths and psychopathic behaviours. I am revising my Master Instructor Manual (law enforcement) and my social phobia/shyness book.

When and why did you begin writing and when did you first consider yourself a writer?

A graduate professor at The University of Sarasota, Dr. Reynolds, told me I had talent and I should write. He was my advisor, so I listened and started writing professionally. It took a while. I felt as if I was an imposter for the first 3 published books, so I would mumble “writer” when asked about my profession.

What inspired you to write your first book?

I was treating a client for Social Phobia and he would not come into my office. I was determined to help him, though over the telephone counselling is not the optimal method of counselling—in my opinion. I have always believed that a workbook is better for changing behaviours than a traditional book. Each week I would write a few pages of a workbook for him. After he completed counselling I had a workbook—From Shyness to Social Butterfly. I approached the Wellness Institute and they published it. I was asked to write my –The Ultimate Book of Personality Tests—by a publishing house.

Do you have a specific writing style?


How do you come up with the titles for your books?

Normally, the publisher makes the final decision on the Title. The title, The Manipulative Man, was chosen before I wrote the book. I was asked to write that book also.

 What books have influenced your life most?

All of the Charles Dickens books, many research psychology books and, of course, the Bible…

What book are you reading now? 

I am actually reading, Consequences. I have read your first book Deadly Focus three times. As a former law enforcement officer, I love your books for their authenticity and for the skill you and Bob bring to writing genuine page turners.

Awh, thank you Dr D, that means a lot coming from someone with your background. Which authors grab your interest?

I tend to look back, with the exception of your books, to the established authors and the classics. I really need to experiment more don’t I?

Yes you do, and I can tell you we have plenty of very talented authors at Caffeine Nights ;-) What are your current writing projects?

I am revising my first book, the Social Phobia/Shyness book (From Shyness to Social Butterfly—the first chapter is free on my website I am also rewriting my Master Instructor Manual (law enforcement) and writing a chapter in an edited book on Police Leadership and Ethics.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

I have had so many fabulous people (and my dog, Sophie—she sleeps and snores while I write) support me I could not begin to name them all—they are dear people and I love them.

We have more in common than you think! Our dogs Belle and Vegas are at the centre of our daily lives! In fact they are even named in our books. Max the dog we write about mostly and who belongs to DI Dylan and Jen sadly died this year and Bob and I were both wrecks!  Move on before we get all sad shall we?  Do you see writing as your career?

Yes, but I also perceive it as a vehicle for getting the message out about my other careers, police consulting and psychotherapy. 

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I love to read and I have always been an insatiable reader. I read hundreds of books a year. Writing is the next logical step.

Can you share a little of your current work with u?

From Shyness to Social Butterfly gives readers the skills and tools they need to step from behind the isolating walls they have built and one step at a time become free.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Sitting at my computer (there is a picture of my ball and chain roll top desk on my Facebook page) and not interacting with people. Though, of course, Sophie is here—sleeping.

Yeah, I guess most of us find that a challenge, especially when the sun is shining. Who is your favourite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Charles Dickens has always, since I was a little girl, been my favourite writer. I admire his compassion for the underdog and his belief that right would triumph over darkness. Those were dark times when Dickens was writing. The poor were living in hovels with little to eat and no hope for a better future. Dickens fought against that disparity in Jolly Old England…which was not really so very jolly unless one was part of the upper class. He helped to change the world. Much of the world, including the United States, was much the same at the time. 

Do you have to travel much?

Not as much as I would like.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it? 

In The Manipulative Man, I learned much about manipulators and the damage they can do emotionally, psychologically and even physically. I learned to never stand between a psychopath and his/her goal.

Do you have any advice for other writers? 

Write what you know and love. Find your passion and follow it.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? 

Thank you so much for choosing my books. I am always honoured to hear from readers, please contact me Unless, of course, you are a psychopath :-)

If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done? 

I am a psychotherapist and police consultant; therefore, I would have simply been content to practice in those professions.

Who would your ideal dinner guests be?

I know this sounds odd, but I would like to have dinner with Jack the Ripper and Lee Harvey Oswald. I would love to have the answers to these two monumental mysteries. Since they ”the guys” are in spirit only, I should be safe. Then I will write the “real” stories and become very wealthily…:)

How do you relax?


I am not sure I ever really relax. I love to be busy with my mind set to “drive.” However, there are things that have a calming effect. I love to read just about anything, murder mysteries, biographies, history, criminology (especially cold cases), and psychology. The beach is a calming treat for me and it is my long term goal. I want to live at the beach. Wow! What fun that would be…


Who would your Ideal man be?


My ideal man would be courageous, intelligent, a country “taker-overer,” handsome, compassionate, creative, talented, sexy, honourable, passionate and with a great sense of humour. You did say, ideal…right?


Tell me about an amusing situation you found yourself in.


I taught an Anger-Management class for cops in South Carolina a few years ago. I was teaching with the expectation they would learn how to handle angry citizens. They were taking the class because their chiefs had demanded that they attend the class to learn to manage their anger. I wondered why, on the first day, twelve very angry cops were staring me down. They were armed too!


What’s your favourite perfume?




Bob can never understand why my handbag is so heavy. I’m a woman aren’t I and I might need anything, and everything at the drop of a hat! What’s in your handbag Dr D?


My handbag is a very large, brown leather massive carry space–given to me by a friend. I don’t think anyone has the time to read everything I have in it. Short list: money, wallet with ID, etc., 5 pounds of keys, letters, five or six lipsticks (one cannot run out), sometimes my cell phone, small appointment book, sunglasses, two or three pens, …I will stop while you are still interested. You are interested, right?  


Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it – just so people can get in touch with you?

The website for her practice is

If you’d like one of Dr Dorothy’s CD’s I spoke about at the beginning of the interview, she tells me that they cost US $20.00 and to purchase one you can call her office on 919 245 1034 or email her at   

 Thank you so very much for joining me today Dr D. It has been lovely talking to you.  

Carol :-)












Jun 12, 2012

Carol’s Close Up with Author Nick Quantrill

Carol’s Close Up today with another  our stable mates at Caffeine Nights Publishers. Nick Quantrill’s Joe Geraghty novels are described as ‘Northern gritty realism at it’s best’ – and we both agree. Not many people may know this but Nick won the HarperCollins ‘Crime Tour’ short story competition in 2006.  Nick is also a genuinely nice guy for all those readers of crime who don’t know about him yet! 


Nick Quantrill

Nick Quantrill was born and raised in Hull, an isolated industrial city in East Yorkshire. From a young age, Nick has always had a fascination with crime novels, starting young by annoying the local librarians for Famous Five novels. 

Never realising he could be a writer, Nick spent most of his twenties shouting and bawling his way around the Sunday League football pitches of the city, learning the hard way and meeting an impressive array of characters. With a handful of trophies and permanently damaged ankles to show for his troubles, football was swapped for education, spending the next six years studying of a degree in Social Policy. Approaching now or never time, Nick started writing crime stories set in and around his home city. Instead of just throwing them in a drawer and not letting anyone read them, the stories were made available for free on the Internet, and after winning the HarperCollins ‘Crime Tour’ short story competition in 2006, he started to build a readership. 

Fast forward a couple of years and after much hard work, a few false starts and countless short stories, Nick completed ‘Broken Dreams.’ Focusing on Hull’s past and future; the novel looks at the death of the city’s fishing industry and explores the problem of how the city can build a new future for itself. ‘Broken Dreams’ also introduces us to Nick’s lead character; rugby league player turned Private Investigator, Joe Geraghty, co-owner of a small detective agency. Nick’s stories are both entertaining and thought provoking, and although the settings may be local to him, the ideas and issues resonate on a much wider basis.

When not writing fiction, Nick contributes reviews and essays to a variety of football and music websites. He lives in Hull with his wife, daughter, cat and the constant fear Hull City AFC will let him down.

Hello Nick!

Thank you very much for taking the time to talk to me today! Let’s waste no time, I’m dying to hear more about you, your thoughts and  of course your writing.

 When you first started writing your novels how did you pick your protagonist’s name?

 I read that a lot of Irish workers lived in one particular area of Hull, but those houses are long gone now. I thought it was potentially an interesting background to give a character so deeply rooted in the city and maybe something I’d use at some point. One day…

 How do you come up with titles for your books?

 I tend to use song titles. “The Late Greats” by Wilco was a gift for a novel which included a fictional band. The current work in progress, “The Crooked Beat”, is a song by The Clash, but it also fits the theme of the story nicely.

 Do you have a routine for your writing – same place, same time?

 Generally speaking. I spend most of the day looking after my daughter, so I work around that. I use what time I have as productively as possible. I get grandparent help a couple of times a week, so apart from that it’s nights, weekends and school holidays. And it’s always the same place – my chair in the front room.

 What’s keeps you going whilst you’re working?


Ha! Ha! Another one of the Caffeine Nights authors who run on caffeine! :)  What do you love about your life now as a published author and is it all you expected it to be?

I suppose it’s the fact there’s a tangible result at the end of all the hard work. The books will always exist and they show I’ve made a small mark on the world. In many ways being published has exceeded what I expected. It’s hard to describe how satisfying it is to know that people have enjoyed your work. On the other hand, I expected it to be hard work and it often is. But it’s not like having a proper job, is it?

Who do you admire?

I admire people who get up and do something – people who make things happen. People who post on Facebook about what they’ve had for their tea don’t interest me. When you take the time to look, there’s inspiration everywhere.

How do you relax?

Relax? I’m too busy writing! I always have a book on the go, though I don’t read as much as I’d like to. I’m not sure if watching Hull City counts as relaxing…

What do you consider your finest achievements?

My Open University degree in Social Policy. It took me six years to complete, and although it’s been of no real use to me, it gave me the motivation to start writing seriously.

What do you keep in your pockets?

Not much, as my daughter is always helping herself…my mobile (with notepad facility) and receipts I should really file for my Tax Return…

What words or phrases do you most overuse?

I can’t tell you that in case you start looking for them! I have a list which I run checks on to try and stop myself going crazy with them.

What single thing would improve the quality of your life?

More time.

What is the most important lessons life has taught you?

It’s hardly profound, but it’s certainly true…the more you put in, the more you get out.

Greatest fear?

Not achieving everything I want to and having to go back to a real job…and don’t start me on my fears for my daughter’s future…she’s only just turned one!

Like to be remembered for?

As a writer who tried to capture something about his home city and was proud of it.

Thanks Nick! You’ve given me extra gusto to carry on with my writing now!

And I hear people can catch up with you in person, Thursday 28th June at Hull City Library can’t they? See below for details and for anyone wanting to purchase your books there is a link below too!

For all of those readers who might be concerned, I did ask Nick if it was his house he is stood infront of in the picture he gave me for the blog, and  I am very pleased to tell you that it isn’t. But Nick tells me that it is one of the remaining old-style terrace houses in Hessle Road, Hull.

Have a nice day!


Thursday, June 28, 2012
    Hull Central Library
    The Humber Mouth Literature Festival presents:“Crime Writing and the Humber: The Hardest of Times” is an evening of crime fiction from the region presented by three exciting new writers and hosted by acclaimed Hull playwright Dave Windass.From readings and discussions… drawing on their own work, along with writing from the likes of Charles Dickens and Brit-noir pioneer, Ted Lewis; Humber crime authors David Mark (“The Dark Winter”), Nick Quantrill (“The Late Greats”) and Nick Triplow (“Frank’s Wild Years”) look at Hull as a city on the cusp of change and consider how it might reinvent itself in the future.The readings will make the link between modern crime writing and the work of Charles Dickens by looking at recurring themes such as ‘the outsider’, the function of social realism as well as the application of episodic story structures and cliff-hanger endings to create rhythm and suspense, something which remains a major factor in the popularity of the crime genre today.The evening will include an audience Q&A session and a chance to buy signed copies of the authors’ books.Tickets (£2 inc refreshements) available from Hull Central Library or by telephone (01482 210000).


BD –

Carol’s Close Up with Author Nick Triplow


Carol’s Close Up With Nick Triplow!

 Nick was born in London in 1964. After spending much of the 1980s riding scooters around Kent and south London, playing guitar for (very) cult indie band I Can’t Scream and trying to find publishers for some ‘rough-arsed’ poems, Nick bit the bullet, went north of the river, and studied for a degree in Writing, Publishing and English at Middlesex University. Nick found validation for his ideas and writing, along with a realisation that if he was going to be another George Orwell or Graham Greene, he’d better get a bloody move on.    


After a farewell to poetry in the self-published pamphlet ‘Electric Lullaby’ – inspired by the mighty John Peel’s late night radio show – Nick focused on writing prose. Moving to Barton on Humber, North Lincolnshire in 2001, he began writing his first novel and in 2004 earned a place on the prestigious Sheffield Hallam University MA Writing. The course was a life-changer, and the novel completed for the MA, a slow-burn high-concept political thriller called The Paradise Man, earned a distinction.

In 2009, Nick co-wrote the script for Ted’s Return Home, a short film about Ted Lewis, native son of Barton on Humber, and author of classic British crime novel Get Carter (originally titled Jack’s Return Home). The film premiered to a packed cinema at the 2009 Humber Mouth Festival. Armed with a new sense of self-belief and a story to tell, inspired by the crime-writing of Lewis and George Pellecanos, Nick returned to draw on the people and places he knew growing up in south London for Frank’s Wild Years – a novel of loyalty, betrayal and last chances at the frayed and fading edges of the south London underworld.  

Nick is currently writing the official biography of Ted Lewis and his first novel Franks Wild Years was published  by Caffeine Nights Publishers on March 19th 2012 see where you can also download a sample of his work.

 Hello Nick!

Thank-you very much for being my very first Author on Carol’s Close Up! Now let’s cut straight to the chase because I’m dying to find out more about you and what makes Nick Triplow tick!

Ted Lewis, native son of Barton on Humber  and author of classic British crime novel ‘Jack’s Return Home’ (Get Carter), seems to hold a deep seated interest for you. Tell me, how is the biography going?

The first draft is not far off complete. The degree of detail you have to go into is staggering. Lewis was a complex man, a teller of dark stories in more ways than one.  Making sure you do justice to a man’s life brings with it a degree of responsibility and of course, everyone you speak to has their own memory and experience. And there’s the work itself, his writing was frequently flawed, but with an uncompromising edge that, until that time, few if any British crime authors had managed.

You have a degree in Writing & Publishing and English and an MA in Writing Nick, would you encourage others to go to University to study creative writing?

It depends where you are with your writing. Buying yourself some time to develop your work is never a bad thing, giving yourself permission to study and gain a deeper understanding of how writers work. That said, there are good and bad courses. My first degree wasn’t great in some ways, it was a new course and that didn’t help. But  I was lucky to study the practice of writing and publishing with the historian, Juliet Gardiner. She taught me a huge amount about research and integrating that into your work.

The MA at Sheffield Hallam University was a life-changer from day one. I was with an inspiring group of people. The course was highly competitive. Having Jane Rogers as my novel tutor and Mike Harris as script tutor challenged me constantly. The criticism was insightful, no punches pulled. And you had to complete a novel to a publishable standard be awarded the MA. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. But then, like any qualification, its true value is in what you do with it afterwards.  

Do you have a routine for your writing – same place, same time?

I try, but life gets in the way. It tends to get shoved aside too often – I have to earn a living. There are times, though, when the work takes hold and nothing else matters. You can lose days and weeks to it and it becomes an immersive process. It (the work) takes you places you never knew you’d go. When it’s like that, I disconnect from the rest of the world.

What’s your favourite nibble (sweets) whilst you’re working?

I don’t usually eat sweets, but when I was revising The Paradise Man recently I had a bit of a chunky peanut butter Kit-Kat phase. I’m over that now. Substitute ‘tipple’ for nibble and Jameson’s Irish Whisky or Johnnie Walker Black Label just about does the job.

If you could be a character in a book who would it be and why?

I’ve got a feeling that I’ll answer this one today and change my mind tomorrow.  But I’d be the central (unnamed) character in Colin MacInnes’ novel Absolute Beginners. To be in London as the 50s became the 60s, to be that young, that switched on, jazzed up at the birth of the mod movement, loving the summer and having some guy just give you a Vespa. That’s a good place to be. Even if it does go a bit pear shaped for the lad, he has that love of life.

What do you love about your life now as a published author and is it all you expected it to be? If not why?

I wouldn’t say I ‘love’ life as a published author – it’s a work in progress, always. Seeing Frank’s Wild Years in print is an ambition realised, but I have pretty high expectations for what’s coming next.

How would you describe yourself to a stranger?

I was told never to talk to strangers.

Who do you admire?

Obviously different things in different people, but I guess those who struggle against adversity every day and those who support them.  I’ve recently been working with a theatre company – Castaway in Goole, East Yorkshire – and they work with people with learning disabilities. A couple of months back they put on a new production which was stunning in every sense. You knew that the performers and production team had knocked themselves out to bring it to fruition. It was original, combined film, dance, music, drama. It was genuinely funny, moving and thoroughly entertaining.

Pet Hates?

I always love my pets.

How do you relax – Do you still have the scooter and the guitar?

A decent bottle of red, music, a walk on a beach, cinema on a winter’s afternoon. Sunday breakfast in Marples café, Cleethorpes. Seeing live music at decent sized (smallish) venues.

The scooter went a long time ago, I sold it to a mate who wrote it off within a couple of months. Although I’ve often been tempted to get another one. I’ve still got my guitar – it’s never far away. I have a recurring dream in which I’m back playing with the band. Only this time there’s an audience. I think at our last gig – the Clarendon in Hammersmith there were about nine people there. A rubbish way to end something that had some pretty special moments.

What do you consider your finest achievements?

I’ll tell you when they happen.

What do you keep in your pockets?


What single thing would improve the quality of your life?

Just one? Right now, a flat in London NW3 just near Parliament Hill.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Make the most of it, everything ends.

Greatest fear?

Everything ending.

Thanks Nick! See you next week at the Tonbridge Arts Festival!

You can purchase Franks Wild Years at : – 

And if you want to read any more, or get a contact with Nick, you can via Electric Lullaby:




BPV – The Future of Policing




I have a positive outlook on most challenges in life, however at present I struggling to comprehend the continued dilution of our Police service.

During the past 20 years the emphasis in policing has been about performance and its monitoring, cutting costs whenever and wherever. This major focus remains a number one priority, crime and public order are simply distractions from the paperwork attributed to this.

We need to remember that officers have died in the line of duty,  are shot, stabbed, beaten to death or killed by vehicles. Gun crime has trebled and officer’s numbers are at their lowest for a decade facing like many other groups pay freezes and increased pension contributions. Yet we hear comments such as ‘We must ask Police Officers to do more for less.’

We are talking about devoted servants of the Crown, who put their lives at risk on a daily basis protecting others what more could be asked of these men and women?

The flesh has been removed and the service is a mere skeleton of what it used to be and as for the heart, dare I suggest it has been well and truly ripped out! Is this a duty of care under health and safety, or is it too late with one foot already in the grave?

It seems to me like a bleak horizon for the world renowned and respected law enforcers.

Political Commissioners — Lucrative deals for senior officers to ensure compliance? And now the Home Secretary appoints a ‘Police Watchdog’ with no experience of the ‘real’ world of policing. Perhaps confirming why she gets the ‘vote of no confidence’.

Policing in this Country continues to be diluted beyond belief and in the future no doubt a ‘time team’ will be employed to discover whatever happened to the thin blue line.

But what will replace the ‘British Bobby’ one asks? Profit making privatisation, offering VFM (value for money)? Street walkers or vigilantes driven by cost alone? I dread to think who the sleeping partners would be in these industries or who as a hand in ensuring fair distribution of the relevant lucrative contracts.

One industry that appears to be booming in a time of world recession is the Governments ‘lip service’ who like those before them are NOT listening to the people. What this Country needs is to absolutely support its Emergency Services – a duty of care to its population.

I finish on a positive note. I am proud to have had a distinguished career as a Police officer, having spent thirty years policing the community with loyal and devoted service but I fear this will be soon a thing of the past.

Whilst I now continue to write crime fiction the Government in my view needs to embrace reality! A new Home Secretary perhaps, and one that cares for the Public and the Queens peace.

Yours faithfully,


Bob Bridgestock. Former Detective Superintendent, West  Yorkshire Police.


Anger over flash cars for top police – I always knew they had their ‘head in the clouds’ about some issues but no one can think this is right can they?



If one had a static holiday caravan, one would feel grateful for the Chancellors u-turn ensuring the VAT rise isn’t going to happen. Who knows, perhaps even celebrate with a hot savoury pastry, which is now affordable; or a barbeque with the ‘never mind the calories,’ vast amount of food some supermarkets are offering us which includes a bottle of Ketchup. Please note Doctors will not be available for severe stomach pains, due to a strike, so make sure you cook your meals properly. Be careful you don’t fall asleep afterwards and miss any of the Leveson Inquiry – Oh, you’re bored with that too?

European economies and dreams are shattered and we are riding a double dip recession making severe and savage cuts, which are essential. Shops and businesses close and we have almost four million households where no-one has a job, yet if you are the Mayor of Salford you can have thirteen assistants, all necessary of course, if we believe what we read?

Genuinely I felt disappointed and even ashamed when I read this headline in the Yorkshire Post this week though …

If you are a Police Chief you are still entitled to the ‘top of the range’ Jaguars, Audi, BMW’s etc. the choice is yours – No cuts for them at ‘the top’.  They may need to buy to a SAT NAV though for their drivers, using the service credit card of course, as there will be no beat officers to ask directions. Nationally, thousands could be saved on this ‘perk’. This is described by the press office as part of overall package to attract the right candidate – tongue in cheek I guess since the people having to put a positive spin on the announcement are fighting for their own jobs yet again. Is this three times in as many years? I can’t imagine the pressure this puts them under. Is it not true that saving could be used to put at least twelve Police officers back on the beat in the West Yorkshire Police force alone? I dread to think what the costly Police Commissioners will ride around in and have as an ‘incentive to attract the right candidate’!

It appears that yet again the Civil Service credit card is the best one to have, (part of a that employment package of course), which racks up millions of pounds in expenses  every year; isn’t it right that in some areas this expense to the public purse is actually over a billion?  A promised clampdown recommends; fewer bookings at 5* hotels and a spending on alcohol – yes, checks will be carried out now they say on all transactions. As if people of this ilk would abuse them? Such harsh recommendations!

‘Lead by example’ leaves a bitter taste right now. ‘I’m alright Jack’ goes to the top of the charts. I don’t blame the present Government or envy their task, being left with empty coffers, watched no doubt by the smiling Blairs’ and Mandelsons ‘ with their lucrative deals . Do they feel the bite of the recession? I think not.

Enough moaning! It’s the Queens Jubilee. We’re in Europe for the football, Wimbledon is just around the corner and of course we have the Olympics in England this year, we’ve a lot to be proud of and look forward to.

The other option is to read/listen to a good book -  e-book, paper back or hardback whatever your preference and escape for a while from reality.

My dad used to say, ‘The higher up a tree you go my lad, the more of your arse you show. Treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself and remember, those at the top have a long way to fall, and fall I know they do.’