Book - The Memory Tourist
Event - Blog Tour
Date – 30th June - 7th July
Hosted by Hooked on books & Cherry0Blossoms Promotions
The Memory Tourist
They enjoy a really closely stitched together friendship living, working and playing together; it is supposed to be this way always. That is until Dee Winters evolves from the elephant in the room in to the memory tourist.
The transition from quintet to quartet is almost unbearable for Garth who struggles to forgive Dee, in her absence, for her thoughtless choice and selfish deed, as he perceives it to be. Priya, Polly and Rita rally around him desperate to compensate for the fact that they know he out of all of them has lost most of all.
The questions are: will any of the remaining four ever detect The Memory Tourist? Will they ever uncover her constant trespass in the formation of all their memories past, present and future? Is their inevitable reunion and forgiveness something Garth will ever accept?
The Memory Tourist's Apprentice (The Memory Tourist Series Book 2)
Steve has had many lives and an equal amount of deaths but this is the first time he has ever been murdered by his lover and soul mate.
For Steve, his death is not the tragedy that the people left on earth consider it to be. By killing him in one regrettable but irreversible act of violence, Sam frees Steve in a way he could never comprehend. Upon leaving his body Steve’s parents, who were killed years earlier along with his baby sister, Janine, greet him, and accompany him on his journey home, to the world of spirit.
Before they welcome him in to their New England style house deep in the winter wonderland they created, his parents deliver him to Dee Winters, his transition counsellor. Dee initiates him back into the magical world of make believe that is the afterlife. She shows him that his own hand penned his life as Steve the last time he was dead, and documented in sacred books known as blueprints. Introducing him to the author whose thoughts she penetrated in order to share her story in The Memory Tourist, Steve is inspired and decides to channel through Hudson in exactly the same way. Soon the author is gripped by vision and begins to breathe life into The Memory Tourist’s Apprentice.
Consumed with guilt Sam pays heavily for what he did to Steve, languishing for many years afterwards within various unforgiving prison walls. Through countless methods Steve tries desperately to reach out to him and ease his pain for there are many things that Sam does not know yet, including what happened in the life they shared long, long ago. The life they were both stable boys. The life Sam was hanged for a crime he did not commit…
Get To Know The Author Interview
Tell us is there anything about you that people don't already know?
I eat raw sausages. I can’t help myself, I think its an addiction.
Your books are so emotional. How long does it take for you to be able to get the characters out of your mind and move on to the next?
Hmmmm. It isn’t as hard as you would think. It’s the names that take the longest. I often use a name twice because it’s so hard to think up new ones. Character personalities are quite easy because I’m so observant. I really get a feel for people in real life and I’m always meeting people whom I think to myself- they would make a really good character- so I write notes on them. It’s got me into trouble before. I’ve been sworn at for staring at strangers on trains, and ease dropping into their conversations. “It’s research, I tell them,” which never seems to help, really.
I’m very much a listener, and I’m very empathetic, which informs the souls of my characters. I harness emotion, all the things people don’t fell they can speak out about, I do.
Are the names of the characters in your novels important?
Sometimes. Not all the time. Jerome Barker is. Jerome is a name I really like and always said I called my son it, if I ever had one. Barker is my nan’s maiden name, so that is a tribute to her. Dee in the Memory Tourist is named after my friend Deborah who died when we were twenty-four in 2003. Garth, in the same book, is named after myself, his husband Al is named after someone I still think about a lot, but now is someone I ‘used to know’, and Freya their daughter is named after the daughter I never had, and modelled on my niece. In other novels the names are not so important, I try to pic names I think go with the personality or the demographic e.g. posh, common, harsh, soft.
What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?
I never read published work. It’s too late. The thing is anything that we do in life whether it’s baking a cake or writing a book, it could always be better. A book we wrote or a cake be baked ten years ago, will not be as good as the books we are writing now, and the cakes we are baking now. Therefore once my work is published I never look at it, I’ll only see something I wish I had done differently, and that could drive a person insane, no?
What is the most demeaning thing said about you as a writer?
I haven’t crossed this bridge yet, which isn’t necessarily a good thing, it just means I’m not famous enough yet for anyone to have slated my work!
How do you react to a bad review of one of your books?
Again, I’ve never had one, but I don’t believe there is such a thing as a bad review. At the end of the day a review is a matter of opinion, not fact, well it’s fact for the reviewer but that doesn’t mean it represents the entire population. I bleached my hair blonde once, some people loved it, others didn’t, and many sat on the fence. It’s the same with writing, some people will love my work, some won’t and some will be undecided. Whatever their feelings about my writing is they are entitled to their opinion, and they don’t know me, so it can’t ever be personal- can it? Also I’m a glass half filled kind of guy, so, if someone was to write, ‘I hated this book, who want’s to read about someone dead, watching over their loved ones,’ some people will think ‘yeah, too right mate, not me’ and others will think, ‘me, actually, I want to read about that,’ which means the review could actually bag me some sales. Those who agree with reviewer probably were never going to read it anyway, or if they did, would then write a bad review because it wasn’t their cup of tea, so again the original reviewer has done me a favour, they’ve saved me from a bad review!
Always look for the positive in a negative, that’s my philosophy.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The inability to freeze time. Writing for me is easy, it pours out of my fingertips and I never get writers block. I can write 10,000 in a weekend if I give myself fully to writing. Having a life, a career and a family means I don’t often get to lock myself away for weekends to do this. It also means that once a novel is created and published I do not have the time to market it, and try to achieve the exposer for it that it deserves, not if I want to write something else anyway.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learn from my characters all of the time. From those that are brave, I learn to be more assertive and to have more confidence. From those that are bad and careless, I learn not to be like them. From those who are in love and stable relationships, I learn to have the hope that maybe one day I’ll be like them, and have the love they have. From those that make mistakes, I learn not to make the same ones.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Loads them, in every page hopefully. Ranging from ‘please cherish life and never take it for granted’ to ‘never judge anyone else’. Jerome is judged a lot, I hope from his story that people realise there is always more beneath the surface than they realise, and that they should never make assumptions about people. I want people to realise that people are different, we’re not all the same and there are those who claim to be able to do things that other people don’t understand. Just because we don’t understand it doesn’t mean they are wrong. Just because we can’t see it, doesn’t mean they can’t too.
In The Memory Tourist Dee has demons in her head and doesn’t quite cope with life, but despite this she is a character you can’t help but warm to, so I’m hoping to raise awareness and change opinions around mental health. There is also a twist in how she dies, which I hope will encourage people to never judge a book by it’s cover (excuse the pun). In the Memory Tourist Apprentice I challenge people to consider that, in this story at least, their empathy should be with the murderer in the story and not the murder victim, who as a result of his death is freed from a world that for him is really harsh and unfeeling. As a result he is reunited with the family he lost, and is no longer an orphan. Whereas the murderer, who incidentally loved his victim so intensely, it drove him to kill him, is left to rot in a living hell, and all because he couldn’t accept how he felt about someone. At the root of that is what happened to him as a child. In both these books I hope give people the tools to imagine that their loved ones live on, as therapy for their grief. It’s why I wrote The Memory Tourist, to enable me to visualise Deborah in a different place, still living on, happier and healthier than she ever was here.
Have you ever read or seen yourself as a character in a book or a movie?
Yes, I think I’m the combined and gay version of Bridget Jones and Adrian Mole. I have novels written based on that concept, they are unpublished at the moment but I will revisit them one day.
I love the covers. What made you choose them? What gave you the idea?
The Memory Tourist and The Memory Tourist Apprentice are very ethereal, timeless stories. Where the dead go in these books is to a world of magic, where they are the magicians with the ability to conjure up their every hearts desire wherever it be the perfect wedding out at sea or a winter wonderland snow storm. I wanted them, the book covers to reflect this. My specification was- ancient magic books- and my cover artist delivered. She couldn’t find anything that matched the mood board I sent her, so the covers for both these books are hand drawn, which means they are original artwork. I love them too they are perfectly mystical, magical, ancestral, which are the themes I was going for.
I love the Jerome Barker covers too. I worked at a museum many moons ago in marketing. The museums brochures were jet-black and deliciously glossy. The images on the front always stood out and had an air of intrigue and the paranormal about them, even though the subject matter was not paranormal. When I was thinking about what I wanted for the JB covers by mind travelled back sixteen years to that point in my life, and again this is the specification I gave my cover artist- ‘Jet-black, glossy, ghostly image on the front.’ Jerome Barker has three guides who help him in his work as a clairvoyant so it made sense that these should model for the ‘ghostly image’ on the front.
Who designs your covers?
An amazing and beautiful young woman, who is also astoundingly talented, and very easy to work with. Her name is Jade, she’s Australian (which makes her very cost effective for us Britt’s). She is one half of the epic company Steam Power Studios. Her husband, the other half of the company, is also wonderfully creative and astonishingly talented, he did my trailer for the JB series.
Describe in 5 words, your writing:
Deep, all-consuming, captivating, original, thought provoking.
When you were a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
A wedding dress designer, I used to spend hours designing wedding dresses, and making them, for Barbie.
What do you use to write your book?
A MacBook Air to tap the story out on, strong real coffee to keep me going for hours and hours, and real life for inspiration.
Do you listen to music while you are writing or reading?
Sometimes depending on my mood. I find Enya a huge inspiration for JB because it’s so emotive.
I listened to a lot of eighties writing The Memory Tourist because I imagined that would be the type of music Dee would be into so it helped me develop her character.
Tell us your latest news?
I have just started a brand new project. I finished the last Jerome Barker last weekend, so he’s done now. I like to leave it a bit after I have written a novel to start the editing and self-proof reading process. I find it helps if I have forgotten my own plot, and things that I have written. I’m more objective then when I edit. Anyway, back to point, my new project is something I have been thinking about for a while. The title is a safely guarded secret but what I can tell you is it’s a completely new genre for me, a comedy, without a hint of paranormal, tragedy, sadness anywhere to be seen. Hopefully it’s as emotive as my usual work but this time I’m going for laugh out loud apposed to sob out loud. My receptionist at work has read some pieces from it, and did laugh out loud, so we may be onto a winner.
What book are you reading now?
I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t read a book in a while; writing takes first priority for me at the moment. Fifty Shades of Grey is waiting in the wings, though.
Do you have a nickname?
When I lived in Dublin between the ages of 23 and 25 my housemates used to call me G-Man. I liked it; I think a revival is in order. My family refer to me as Glenda, a lot. I also get Haighster.
What are your pet peeves?
I hate pets, full stop. I’ll never have one except maybe a micro pig. That’s what you meant by pet peeves, right?
Do you ever write naked?
Really? Girls come on. No, but I have been known to write in my boxers and a t-shirt, it’s not a pretty sight trust me.
What is your favourite Starbuck’s/coffee shop drink?
I can’t spell it or say it. Caramel Macchiato. I always ask for- ‘The one with caramel in it, that begins with an M.” They always know what I’m asking for.
What's your favourite fruit?
Wentworth Millar, I’d peel him, and devour him one segment at a time any day.
What's your favourite TV show?
I’m currently watching re-runs of Bad Girls, and I love it. I watch them all originally, and am enjoying them just as much second time around.
What's your favourite genre?
I like a chick lit novel, where there is a heroin and a hero. Something happens to threaten them getting together but love prevails in the end.
One of your favourite quotes
“Don’t worry, be happy, because every little things gonna be alright.” I’m assuming I don’t need to cite its author.
Do you enjoy giving interviews?
Do I enjoy an opportunity to talk about my work and myself? Hmmmm. Jury is out on that one.
Top Ten Book Boyfriends
I really don’t have ten that would make me a total tart, what are you insinuating, exactly? Edward Cohen fro the Twilight saga, Mr Darcy for Pride and Prejudice, oh, and, Bill Sykes from Oliver Twist. And, that is your lot.
Top Ten Love Triangles
Five Fun Facts:
My laugh, my outlook, by big fat face, my immaturity, the colour of my kitchen walls.
Thank you so much for taking part. We can't wait to read more work from you.