Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Very British Blog Tour



I've been tagged!

... and by a Scot to boot!

My friend, and fellow scribbler, Seumas Gallacher, he of the Blogging Sporran, did this foul deed! (his post here)

So here goes.

HEALTH AND SAFETY WARNING: This post contains blatant examples of British humour. Read with care!.You've been warned.

I've been tagged to answer questions about being Very British, I think. Not sure I am, but you be the judge:


Q. Where were you born and where do you live at the moment?
A. I was born in New Brighton, in the Wirral, Cheshire. The Wirral, for those weary travellers who’ve not heard of it before, is not one of Tolkien’s creations, but the peninsula that sticks out between Liverpool to the north and Wales. It’s most memorable feature, for me, is the huge number of golf courses packed into its acreage. I lost many a ball there in my youth. You've not lived until you've been ball-less on Merseyside!
Q. Have you always lived and worked in Britain or are you based elsewhere at the moment?
A. I worked in the UK for 12 years before moving to warmer climes (Oh, the winter of '76! Still remember it. Even my hot-water bottle froze!) I was based in Madrid, Spain for many a year but travelled all over Europe and to the States, Africa and other exotic hotspots (emphasis on hot). I still live in Spain, but now on the Mediterranean coast.
Q. Which is your favourite part of Britain?
A. Having lived outside the UK for over 30 years, I tend to see Britain not as someone born there but with a fresh pair of eyes every time I return. Therefore, although I still have a soft spot for the Wirral and North Wales, there is something new to be rediscovered with every trip back to Blighty. I always seem to have that song by 'Sting' running through my head when I'm there, though.
Q. Have you ‘highlighted’ or ‘showcased’ any particular part of Britain in your books? For example, a town or city; a county, a monument or some well-known place or event?
A. Not yet. To date my novels have been set predominantly outside the UK. In the novel I’m currently writing, ‘Leaving Shadows’, I start the tale in the South of England (rainy and cold) and then skip to London (rainy and cold and grey), but leap over to Europe after that (dry and sunny). Weather is such a strong influence in my writing. 
Q. There is an illusion – or myth if you wish - about British people that I would like you to discuss. Many see the ‘Brits’ as ‘stiff upper lip’. Is that correct? 
A:  No. I spent years explaining to the Spanish that I didn’t even own a Bowler hat nor rolled umbrella. I used to know someone, many an eon ago, who had a Bowler - he kept it on the back seat parcel shelf of his Mini to stop his golf balls rolling around (Shout-out to Roger Doswell, wherever you are). Topical allusions such as these abound everywhere. Tea at Five? The only time I've experienced this (paper doilies and all), it was at a Belgian's house in Nairobi! They did it as a tribute to me, so I wouldn't miss home so much! After 30 years I’ve yet to see a ‘Toreador’ walking the streets in Spain, yet it’s part of the image Brits often have of the locals here. And the ‘stiff upper lip’? Probably an excess of Botox, if you ask me.

Q. Do any of the characters in your books carry the ‘stiff upper lip’? Or are they all ‘British Bulldog’ and unique in their own way?
A. I do enjoy having the occasional subtle sideways dig at British stereotypes in my books, especially the few that I’ve encountered in real life. But I try to make them as believable as possible, without exaggerating their foibles too much. Exagerated foibles! Sounds contagious.
Q. Tell us about one of your recent books
A. My last novel, ‘the CULL’ was an interesting project. I decided to take the whole vampire theme, dump all the teenage angst etc, and return to the horror of Polidori and Stoker. I started with an in-depth investigation into where the myths came from (not Vlad Tepes the Impaler, as you might expect, but much, much older and from a different part of the world) and tried to establish a solid ‘scientific’ explanation for the creatures if they were in fact real. Then I wove a fast-paced contemporary suspense thriller around this. If readers are looking for another YA novel with ‘romantic’ vampires, then ‘the CULL’ will surprise you: it’s hard-nosed and scary. It’s been described as Patterson meets Dan Brown meets Bram Stoker, but entirely unique. Read it, and judge for yourselves.
Q. What are you currently working on?
A. I’m currently in the middle of ‘Leaving Shadows’, a spy thriller that starts with the kidnapping of the Head of the Secret Intelligence Service, aka MI6. But nothing, not even from the first page in the tale, is as it seems. Watch for it in Spring of this year.
Q. How do you spend your leisure time?
A. Reading, as do most writers. I also love watching films (that’s movies for those who don’t speak the Queen's English), listening to music, travel… oh and I teach traditional martial arts to anyone who’ll listen and advanced tactical self-defence to Police, military and bodyguards and the like. You know, the usual staid, quiet life of an ex-pat.
Q. Do you write for a local audience or a global audience?
A. Honestly I write for myself. I am my only fan! No, joking aside, I like to give my books a global appeal, but I focus on writing what I enjoy. I try above all else to be entertaining. I used to read many books whilst stuck in airports or overnight hotel stays as a break from the stress of the job. I endeavour to make my novels great reads when you’re in similar situations (so fair warning: don't try to read them anywhere else - they don't work!); something to take your mind away from the day-to-day. When you want to return to reality, close the book.
Q. Can you provide links to your work?
A. On my website www.ericjgates.com there are links to all of my novels on distinct platforms (Amazon, Kobo, Nook, Sony, etc... even paper!) so rather than adding a long list here, you can find them with a single click on my Home page. While you’re there, the web has extracts of all the novels, the Inside Secrets (some of which should not be read until you’ve finished the relevant book), even a competition where you can win a character named after you in a future book. There’s also writing tips if you’re daft enough to take up this strange and intoxicating business of novelist yourself. The web runs to over fifty pages and there’s something for everyone.

Sorry. 

Got to go now. 

Kettle's boiling. 

Time for a cuppa! 

TTFN!

One lump or two?

Eric @ www.ericjgates.com

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