Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Interview with contemporary thriller author M. Jonathan lee

Readers, I’d like to introduce you to author M. Jonathan Lee. Jonathan is here today chatting about his writing, and in particular, his new contemporary thriller novel, The Page.

During his virtual book tour, Jonathan will be awarding 1 (of only 20) limited-run signed review copy of The Page and a signed first edition of The Radio to a lucky winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit Jonathan’s other tour stops and enter there, too.

M. Jonathan Lee (also known as Jonathan Lee) was born in 1974. He was born in South Yorkshire, England where he still lives today. In between juggling a full-time job, looking after five children and feeding two cats, he writes stories.

His first novel, The Radio was nationally shortlisted for The Novel Prize 2012 (UK) and is the first in the loosely titled The 'The' trilogy. His second novel, The Page released in February 2015. He is currently working on his third novel, the catchily titled A Tiny Feeling of Fear or The Two Sides of One.

Welcome, Jonathan. Please tell us about your current release.
My current novel, The Page is a fast paced mystery thriller, which begins and ends with a tragic car crash. It follows Michael the lead character who has recently lost his wife and is on holiday for the first time alone. Around the pool a page blows from a book and sticks to his chest. The page describes in exact detail the events leading up to the crash. Michael finds himself in a race against time to find the rest of the book before his family find out his dark secret.

You may or may not know that there is a huge competition where I give away my royalties to the person to solve the clues.

What inspired you to write this book?
Bizarrely, whilst on holiday in the States, a page was stripped from a book after a huge gust of wind which stuck to my chest. It was a romance novel but got me thinking, ‘what if…’ and that’s how the story developed.

Excerpt from The Page:
A waitress approached to offer more drinks, which Margaret eagerly accepted – this time a large glass. Michael wouldn’t have another. Not tonight. Michael’s eyes widened and he beamed at the waitress, showing his slightly yellowed teeth.
“Got to watch this one!” he said, passing her a ten-pound note.

The waitress smiled and reached into her money belt for change.

Michael shook his head, indicating the waitress’s search for coins should stop.

“That’s for you,” he said, winking.
The waitress smiled and left.
Margaret was unsure whether she’d said everything that she wanted to say. She had never been able to discuss any of this with anyone. She had lived with these feelings inside her head; feelings that had slowly gnawed away at her for so long. So, so long. She had often thought that perhaps if she had someone to confide in, she may have been able to make sense of it all. But this simply hadn’t been possible.

She knew that their only daughter, Jane, was unlikely to say anything bad about her father. She’d often considered Jane to be her only real friend, but had concluded that however close they were she was not the right person to speak to about the way Michael made her feel. It was well, just too close. She couldn’t speak to any of her friends because her friends were ‘their’ friends. It wasn’t possible to speak to her female companions because they were somehow behind the shield of their relative husbands. And their husbands were Michael’s colleagues, ex-colleagues or business associates. The dinner parties and evenings at restaurants they had with such friends were always pleasant enough, but they were rarely about Margaret, rarely about the women. No, they were about the men, and their new cars, and their business deals, and their name dropping and their money. About which clients they were working for, about rumours, about fee income. True, on occasion the women were left alone to chat unencumbered by the men. But these situations were always brief, toward the end of an evening or perhaps whilst clearing the dishes away, and the men were never far from earshot. On a handful of occasions, when she felt she could stand it no more and when the Chardonnay had disappeared a little too quickly, Margaret had mustered up the courage to discuss how disposable Michael made her feel. But almost instantaneously an alarm bell had rung in her mind and she would quickly backtrack, realising that she certainly didn’t know these women well enough to confide. And anyway, it appeared that they and their husbands all adored Michael. The Michael they saw.
Michael stared at a meadow-scene watercolour and yawned before slowly turning his head back towards her.
“So, in summary, Margaret, you’re unhappy and have been for some time. Yes?”            
That tone.
Margaret took a sip from the large glass that the waitress had delivered earlier. It remained near-full.
“Yes,” she replied, looking up through the top corner of her eyes, her head bowed.
“And what is it exactly that you wish to do?”
The shockwaves struck and she lifted her head. In her script Michael made the decision on their marriage; she hadn’t considered the onus passing to her. Well, if this was her decision she would just say it. It was time. Another quick sip, the wetness ensuring the dryness of her lips didn’t interrupt the next sentence.

“I think we should separate, Michael.”

“Separate, Margaret, or divorce?”

“Divorce.” The words crackled from her dry throat. She took a further sip and repeated more resolutely: “Divorce.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am writing two stories at the moment. The first A Tiny Feeling of Fear or The Two Sides of One is the story of how people can put on a mask for their working life whilst their home life might be altogether different. It follows how one tiny event can turn life upside down for better, for worse.

I am also writing the final part in The Radio/The Page trilogy, tentatively titled The Biscuits!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and so always felt it was inside me. However, I have to be honest that it was the moment my first novel was nationally shortlisted that I suddenly found myself feeling like a writer. I think the moment when a panel of peers say “Hey, this is pretty good!”

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I have five children and a full-time 50-hour a week job! My writing comes in pockets of time which I pre-book with the help of my girlfriend and then stick to them rigidly. So, I may say “I’m writing on Thursday 10pm – 1am” and then stick to it. It’s the only way I can make it work!

Anything else you’d like to share with the readers?
Yes, I have a special contest I invite everyone to try.

The Page has 15 clues which to a lesser or greater extent give away the twist in the final chapter. The clues are inserted into the text and hopefully are well-hidden. To celebrate the release of The Page in February, a competition will be run. We will invite people to identify the clues and enter (when they have ten or more - as some may be so well hidden they are never found) through my website The competition will close 163 days after the release of The Page, and the winner (i.e. the one who identified the most clues - in the event of a tie - at random) will win:

1) One month's royalties earned from The Page;
2) The original manuscript (of which there is only one);
3) A numbered and signed copy of The Page - review copy - there are only 20 of these worldwide;
4) A signed copy of my back catalogue in paperback or kindle version;
5) The Page promotional mug;
6) A free signed copy of all future novels released by me for life.

The overall winner will win 1-6 above. 2nd/3rd will receive 4-6 only.

Social media links:

Thanks, Jonathan!

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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

j0n4th4n_lee said...

Thank you so much for posting the interview. Much appreciated. Hope you enjoy The Page!

bn100 said...

interesting sounding book