– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘The Watch List’ blogtour, organised by Damppebbles Blog Tour.
To promote this book I have a guest post, but b
About the Author :
Joseph Mitcham served with the British military in elite and technical units for over 16 years. His service not only gave him a thorough tactical and technical understanding of some of techniques and processes employed in his first novel, it also provided him with the opportunity to develop himself, earning a first class honours degree in business leadership by the end of his service.
The inspiration for writing ‘The Watch List’ was taken from personal experiences from the roles that he has served in and characteristics from some of the people that he has served with. Joseph has written an incredible, yet compellingly credible story that plays out in our world as he sees it today.
Sixty-eight dead and nearly 300 injured in a hostile vehicle and bomb attack on a community festival in Birmingham, the country is in shock.
Battling the mental turmoil of the aftermath, Alex, a former Army communications specialist, stumbles across the UK Terror Watch List – he cannot resist the challenge of stealing the list from under the nose of his contract supervisor, Lucy Butler, a razor sharp and headstrong Intelligence Corps corporal with big ambitions.
Wrestling with his conscience and the ethics of tackling unconvicted suspects, Alex enlists the help of famed former UK Special Forces Warrant Officer, Craig Medhurst. Alex struggles to win the respect of Craig’s core team, but together they hatch a daring plan to act on their selected targets.
Can Alex use his charm to persuade Corporal Butler to join them?
Published in paperback and digital formats on 2nd December 2019.
Guest Post :
SOLDIER, OFFICER, AUTHOR
I left the Regular Army in 2015 and found my feet in civvy street working for Sunderland Council, preparing the city to host The Tall Ships Races; it was great doing something new and interesting, and being able to live at home with my young family for the first time since meeting my wife in 2010.
In 2017, I’d just finished an online business degree, so had twenty hours a week back that I had no immediate use for. There had been several high profile terror attacks in the UK and on the continent, and there had been a lot of press around what the authorities knew about the perpetrators of these terror attacks. On the evening of the Monday 22nd May, and I started making notes for a story that had been bouncing around in my head; it was about what might happen if the UK Terror Watch List got into the hands of some over-exuberant ex-squaddies. As I wrote, news broke on the TV that an explosion had happened at Ariana Grande’s concert at the Manchester Arena. I was shocked by the scenes and fallout from the attack, but enthused to write on in earnest.
Writing fiction was not a hobby that I would have envisioned myself getting into, but I became so involved with the characters that I had dreamt up, and felt that my story line was so compelling, current and evocative, that I became addicted to spewing my thoughts out onto my laptop. I soon found myself sitting for hours at a time, no music, no TV, just the keyboard and the screen. It gave me a new sense of release and helped me to unwind my brain after difficult days at work.
I had no idea whether what I was writing would end up as, or if my naturally developing style of writing would be popular, or even readable, but I did feel that it was going to be different from anything else on the market. I consider my background as a Private soldier in the Parachute Regiment, coming through to commission as an officer in the Royal Corps of Signals, as my ‘unique selling point’ as an author. Military authors are usually from one of two broad camps; commissioned officers who have great stories of leadership to tell, and non-commissioned soldiers, with fantastically gritty stories, usually based on their own lived experiences.
The former group are predominantly well-educated and quite capable of penning good quality memoires or factual accounts, but don’t have that raw edge to their work that a soldier might have. Typically speaking, soldiers of the ranks’ stories are about super-tough Special Forces guys, not often showing vulnerability or weakness to their characters. Alex, the hero of my book is a young, technical veteran who is not as mentally robust as he might wish to be, and he has great trouble dealing with the issues that his chosen mission presents him. There are plenty of ‘super-tough’ characters in ‘The Watch List’, but even some of these have clear and problematic weaknesses. The strongest character in the story is the female lead; Lucy has a personality based on a blend of real Army women who are not to be crossed!
There are few, if any, military techno-thrillers written directly by Armed Forces personnel without writing support, and who retain one hundred percent of the grass-root soldier’s writing authenticity. I hope that I have achieved this with what I have produced. I concede that my writing is not ‘Masters level’ English, but certainly good enough for the intended audience to enjoy.
‘The Watch List’ is peppered with insights of how our stereotypically rough and ready soldiers interact and behave. It was very important to me to communicate my views on how they regard their experiences of live ‘contact’ with the enemy, and how they cope with the death of comrades in action. These insights are taken primarily from my own limited experience in Afghanistan, and from observing the reactions and manifestations of guilt, sorrow and sadness expressed by fellow soldiers. I want my non-military readers to gain insight and understanding from this, but I would be over-joyed if military readers of the book can say ‘wow, that’s how I feel’.
The Magic of Wor(l)ds