– ‘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 ‘Crime and Justice’ blog blitz, organised by Damppebbles Blog Tour.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.
About the Author :
A Cambridge economics graduate, Mark Brumby is a vastly experience financial analyst and owner of Langton Capital, an FCA-regulated advisory company specialising in the hospitality and leisure sectors. He is a partner in the Imbiba Partnership, which invests in pub, bar and restaurant start-ups.
Mark wrote Always Adam (originally published as Payback) in 2013. Boomslang is republishing the book in November 2020 as it deserves to reach a wider audience in the current pandemic climate.
“Covid-19 has brought home not just the fragility of human life but the power of vaccines. Very shortly, we hope, a vaccine could physically alter the cell structure of three or four billion people and protect the same number again via herd immunity. But what if a vaccine were misused?”
“In some ways the world has changed but in many ways it remains the same. The ‘facts’ re our existence have not and will not change. But the events of the last few months have brought home the truth that we are only animals and that we are almost as much at risk from novel diseases with high R ratios and significant mortality rates as we have ever been.”
“I tried to take a step back and look at how we got here & what we’re doing. That sounds deep but some 99% of species that have ever existed are extinct, so what makes us so special?”
“Indeed, we’ve very nearly joined the list of ‘used-to-be’ species list on several occasions. Anthropologists believe that the human population at times in our history fell to a total of less than 10,000 individuals worldwide. You could fit them all in a small football ground and it’s more than a 99.99% reduction on the number of people around today.”
“As an author, Covid-19 has moved the goalposts a little. It has made the unbelievable a little more believable. A pandemic, until December of last year was, literally, a fiction.”
Mark Brumby is married with five children and commutes between London and his home in York.
London-based financial journalist Spencer Beck is obsessed with billionaire biotech prodigy, Adam Reid, orphaned in his mid-teens when his parents died in a tragic murder-suicide in New York City. A shadowy informant with MI5 connections promises Beck unfettered access to the mysterious Reid and introduces him to Daniel Flanagan, a retired Big Apple detective who investigated the deaths of Adam’s mother and father. Spencer’s initial scepticism, fed by the suspicions of the former police officer, turns to excitement when Reid reveals the truth about himself and his altruistic ambitions to protect society from a deadly virus with a powerful vaccine he’s developed. But when Beck’s entire world starts to implode, he discovers Reid harbours a vendetta that, left unchecked, threatens not only his survival but that of an entire species.
Published by Boomslang Books on 30th November 2020.
First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂
Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
Brought up in Hull in the 70s, I qualified as an accountant before going to university, where I read economics.
The university experience widened my horizons somewhat and I then moved down to London and worked for stockbroking firms before taking a job working for a bank in Geneva for a few years around the Millennium.
We, that’s Joanne, my wife and our four boys (we now also have a daughter) came back to the UK in 2002 and, although we based ourselves in York, I co-founded a broking firm in The City before setting up my own business, Langton Capital (www.langtoncapital.co.uk) in 2010.
As a financial analyst, I’ve written for a living for many years, but balance sheets and earnings statements lack a little something when it comes to excitement.
I had always felt that there was more to life – and much more to the written word – than talking about numbers and spreadsheets, and therefore made the time to put a few of my thoughts down on paper.
Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I grew up in the 70s and was fortunate to have an English teacher whose passion for books was infectious. He had to balance his desire to teach with the wants of a teenaged audience but he managed to move us on from comic books to books such as A Brave New World, 1984, Lord of the Flies, To Kill a Mockingbird and later Darkness at Noon, The Siege of Krishnapur and many, many others.
He must have been at least partially successful as I’ve not picked up an Incredible Hulk comic since my early teens and don’t currently feel the need to do so.
Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
There are so many. I’ve always been drawn to well-written but commercial novels and to the authors with something to say behind them.
Mary Shelley and George Orwell come to mind alongside such contemporary authors as Robert Harris, John Irving, John le Carre, Dennis Lehane and Peter Carey.
In defence of the commercial novel I’d say you need to get past page one if you’re going to find out what the author has to say. Dickens (e.g. ‘…it was the best of times, it was the worst of times’) certainly knew that.
There’s no intent there to compare myself with Dickens but hopefully nor does mentioning the word ‘commerciality’ make me a Philistine.
If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Whilst the bad guys are often more interesting, they may change your life – and not necessarily to your advantage as Emperor Hirohito nearly said in August 1945.
Adam is an alleged murderer with genocidal tendencies. You wouldn’t want to forget to sugar his tea. Spencer, on the other hand, is an everyman. He’s easy to get along with and might even amuse.
Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Very much so as regards writing as a part of the day job as I write to a deadline. Early mornings are in order as our daily c3,000-word email has to go out by 7.30am. Much of it is formulaic but it nonetheless requires a lot of thought.
When writing for pleasure, less so.
I’m fortunate to have a home office. The Ergonomics are important and creating a structure, a framework for the book is vital but making the time to get down to the job of actually writing is very much a part of the equation. This needs to fit in with life’s other demands, regular trips down to London, company visits etc.
Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Yes, good point! Hopefully, I have more in common with Spencer than with Adam as my first hand experiences with homicidal maniacs have been thankfully limited.
Hence, the ideas must come from wider reading, observation and the deeper recesses of my mind. And that’s maybe a little worrying!
Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
More the former as I like to have a goal, an end point. Setting off on a walk without a destination can be fun but it may be fruitless.
That said, an initial template need only be a few hundred words. At that point, hopefully, the characters move in to keep the plot moving from A to B and, ultimately, to an end point not wholly dissimilar to the one you had intended when you began the process.
Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Read, read and read again.
Decide what you like, what you think is good, whether the two are the same and whether your opinions gel with those of a wider audience.
And then write. Re-read and re-write.
There are first time geniuses out there. But not many of them. I know it’s common to say follow your dreams. If you want something enough, you will get it but, often, that needs to be tempered by realism.
Life’s not easy and you need to eat. Best not starve to death in a squalid garret. Deal with food before fame. Thereafter, be prepared to work regularly and hard and simply get on with it.
What are your future plans as an author?
I intend to write a sequel in the New Year. Adam simply has too much to say and do for him to exit the stage at this point. I have two other unrelated books already written and, if time permits, I would also like to overhaul them. But more Adam first.
Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
History books are written by the winners. And, by simple virtue of the fact that we are here, we are descended from a long line of winners but, from time to time, it’s worth asking yourself ‘just how did the losers feel?’
And, as David Mitchell said to Robert Webb in a comedy sketch when looking down at his SS uniform, it’s worth asking: ‘are we the baddies?’
It’s here at 0 minutes 40 seconds – sketch.
Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Mark Brumby.
The Magic of Wor(l)ds
P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!