Thursday, May 12, 2016

Interview with thriller author Michael Ross

Michael Ross is here today to chat with me about his newest book, a mystery, thriller, romance titled, Hand Over Fist.

During his virtual book tour, Michael will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to one lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too!

Welcome, Michael. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
It was a strange and twisting road that led to the publication of my first novel. From my humble beginnings, as an office clerk, to ownership of a multi-million dollar business I always maintained my love for literature.

Born and raised in Bristol, England. I spent most of my life in business, my companies turning over in the region of $500 million. The majority of that time marketing cars, eventually owning the largest Saab specialist in the world, before a bitter divorce forced me rethink my priorities. Particularly between 2003 and 2005 when I had to accept that I was no longer a millionaire but literally penniless. I avoided bankruptcy by the skin of my teeth and slowly rebuilt my life.

This led me to the life changing decision to leave the bustling city and move to live halfway up a mountain in the Welsh valleys. At the same time I started a part time six year English Literature course at Bristol University, and attended creative writing classes at Cardiff University. I left school at sixteen and this was my first taste of further education and an immense challenge.

I eventually adjusted my thinking to the academic life, and on 30 June 2015 had confirmation of my 2.1(Hons) degree from Bristol University. At the same time I also won the prestigious Hopkins Prize for my essay on Virginia Woolf and the unsaid within her text. Now the university courses are finished it will, with any luck, gives me plenty of extra time that I can devote to my fiction writing.

Thanks to the university experiences, my interest in English literature has flourished over recent years. Hopefully I have evolved as a writer from my earlier work in short stories (over ninety of them.) Although interestingly my first three novels have all been developed from a long forgotten short story.

Life is, once again, very good, and I live very happily halfway up a mountain, in the Welsh Valleys, with my wonderful partner Mari, and our rescue dog Wolfie.

Please share a little bit about your current release.
Martin Russell spends his last coins on a bus ride out of the city with barely enough motivation to face the future. The following day, a chance incident near his home triggers a sequence of positive opportunities for him, including a deepening relationship with an old friend, Hannah. Old friends rally around him and life is exceptionally good for Simon until he receives a phone call informing him that Hannah has disappeared. As he begins his search for her he uncovers details that prove she is not the uncomplicated person he believed her to be.

People's lives change forever, and who can be trusted? Certainly not the obsessive stalker Nash, nor the slimy underworld figure they call The Chemist. How about successful entrepreneur, John Staples, better known as Pin-up, is his renewed friendship with Simon genuine or suspicious? And what is going on with Zachary and Danny? What could a schoolboy drug dealer and a disgraced ex-copper have in common, other than Zachary's attractive sister Zoe?

How do all these people's lives interact? You might well consider asking The Chemist's terrifying enforcer, Xenon. But that could be a big problem, because no-one in their right mind ever questions Xenon...

What inspired you to write this book?
The story evolved from a short story I had written a few years earlier and I was intrigued about the protagonist's past and future.

Excerpt from Hand Over Fist:
      A shabbily clothed man closes the door to his flat, connects the ancient padlock and turns the key. He’s not sure why he bothers. There's nothing inside worth stealing but that doesn't seem to matter much around here. The route to the ground is an outside metal staircase and his shoes scuff away flakes of rusty black paint as he descends.
Disparate pieces of litter and waste lie scattered around his feet as he scrapes his way through the alley. Waste bins as tall as giants line the walls with an old uncomfortable stench; soiled newspapers and grubby polystyrene boxes are strewn like sacrifices at their base. An ancient rat, its body mottled with the scars of many lost battles, can hardly be bothered to drag its feet under the wire fence and stops briefly to watch the man's progress before sliding out of sight.
The silence is eerie and unsettling as the man shuffles slowly towards the main road with its tired charity shops and dirty fast food outlets. This is a street where money resists journeying too often. Fumbling through his pockets, he finds a half stub of a cigarette and sucks it to life as if his whole being depended on it. He drinks in the silence. He is a head with no thoughts, a body with no life.
The plastic watch on his wrist shakes. It is time to go. Half heartedly, he kicks an empty tin of dog food and heads for the bus stop. The street is empty, as if the world has ended and nobody has told him. He hovers in the shadows for a few minutes before the bus arrives, lumbering like a slug as it makes its grateful way out of the city.

What exciting story are you working on next?
The third in the Out of Hand Series, the second is already with my editor and more or less done and dusted. This third book will spend more time with Pin-up and Xenon who readers seem to really like.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

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?
More or less full time. I do some work with a charity that works with individuals struggling with drug and alcohol dependency, which takes up a little time. I get up, have breakfast, walk the dog, and then react to what happens when I switch on my PC.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I get through a mountain of chewing gum

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A professional footballer.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?

I have four books coming out this year, including a light hearted romance and another short story anthology.


Thank you for being a guest on my blog!

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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Mai T. said...

How has your environment & upbringing colored your writing?

Victoria Alexander said...

Great interview, I enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing :)

James Robert said...

Thank you for taking the time to offer us this giveaway

Ally Swanson said...

Congrats on the new book and good luck on the book tour!

James Robert said...

Thanks for the opportunity to win, you're awesome! Happy Friday!