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Author Interview with Michael Ross
What are you currently reading? The Woman in White.
Do you have a favorite author? Who is it: No one author. Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, Harlan Coben, Matt Haig
When did you start writing? Seriously in 2008.
Why do you write? I love to challenge myself, I love the writing process and discovering what lies within my characters.
Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book? An adult audience who enjoy some depth of plot and character in their thriller reading.
If you could go back in time and meet one famous person or legend in history, who would it be? Why? What would you say to them? Leonardo Da Vinci Just to be in the company of a true genius. Talk to me Leonardo, because I’m all ears.
How did you come up with the idea for your book? Why did you want to write about Lady Godiva?:
It evolved from a short story. I could not get the protagonist and his back story out of my head.
I never wanted to write about Lady Godiva – just an attention seeking low life celebrity. I bet she was taking selfies for the entire horse ride.
Tell us about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
The publishers undertook that side of things. Personally I am not keen on it, but as they are a US publisher I accept they have a better idea of what might appeal to American readers.
Who would you cast for the main characters if your book became a movie?
Martin Russell – Hugh Grant might just be able to pull off the down and out defeated look needed.
Pin-up – Dominic West Bobby Tanner – Ewan McGregor
How about an excerpt from your book meant to capture our imagination and make us want to read more?
I really like the opening paragraphs – very cinematic?
A shabbily clothed man closes the door to his flat, connects the ancient padlock and turns the key. He’s not sure why he bothers. There’s nothing inside worth stealing but that doesn’t seem to matter much around here. The route to the ground is an outside metal staircase and his shoes scuff away flakes of rusty black paint as he descends.
Disparate pieces of litter and waste lie scattered around his feet as he scrapes his way through the alley. Waste bins as tall as giants line the walls with an old uncomfortable stench; soiled newspapers and grubby polystyrene boxes are strewn like sacrifices at their base. An ancient rat, its body mottled with the scars of many lost battles, can hardly be bothered to drag its feet under the wire fence and stops briefly to watch the man’s progress before sliding out of sight.
The silence is eerie and unsettling as the man shuffles slowly towards the main road with its tired charity shops and dirty fast food outlets. This is a street where money resists journeying too often. Fumbling through his pockets, he finds a half stub of a cigarette and sucks it to life as if his whole being depended on it. He drinks in the silence. He is a head with no thoughts, a body with no life.
The plastic watch on his wrist shakes. It is time to go. Half heartedly, he kicks an empty tin of dog food and heads for the bus stop. The street is empty, as if the world has ended and nobody has told him. He hovers in the shadows for a few minutes before the bus arrives, lumbering.
When an old friend disappears, Martin learns nothing is what it seems…
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.
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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.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links
It was a strange and twisting road that led to the publication of my first novel. From my humble beginnings, as an office clerk, to ownership of a multi-million dollar business I always maintained my love for literature.
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.