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2015: A review

Today marks the end of 2015 and it’s been a successful year!

After fifteen months, my 8th Sam Archer thriller Last Breath finally hit the shelves to what has been a great response.

Some of you may have noticed that for the first time I dedicated one of my books to someone or a group of people I don’t know personally. Without a doubt, Last Breath was the darkest and hardest Sam Archer book to research, which I think is a main reason as to the increased length of time it took to write it.

The foundational ideas for the novel came to me when I became so angered and saddened by the seemingly needless shootings that seem to happen somewhere in the developed world almost on a weekly basis. During the writing of the story, scores of these events continued to happen: the Peshawar school shooting in Pakistan, where 141 people lost their lives. The Charlie Hebdo attacks in January of this year, where 12 people were killed. The Charleston Church shooting, where 9 people died, the same number as the Umpqua Community College shooting in Portland. 130 people killed in Paris, many of whom were enjoying a rock concert or an evening at a café. In August, Alison Parker and Adam Ward, a Virginia reporter and a photojournalist, were murdered on live television.

I often aim to explore topical things with my books so my readers find them relatable, but a lot of times this year I wish I hadn’t been so close on the mark with certain aspects.

Too often this year, life has too closely reflected fiction. I truly wish it hadn't.

For those who’ve read the book (and those who haven’t, this isn’t a major spoiler) Last Breath contains a school shooting near the beginning of the story. In order to portray such an incident accurately I spent a lot of time researching past events such as the shootings at Columbine and Sandy Hook, and from witness accounts, documentaries and so forth I began to know more and more about the victims, their friends and their families, who have been forced to deal with the aftermath of what happened on those days every second, minute, hour and day since.

As well as the victims above, Last Breath is dedicated to every single one of them.

In lighter news, I’ve done a number of very successful promotions this year, with One Way still high in the charts at the time of writing after being the #1 free Thriller in Christmas week in the UK, Canada and United States (it was the #2 free book in the entire UK Amazon store on Christmas Day, which was fantastic!). Lots of new readers and reviews have appeared since, which is wonderful; slowly but surely, the series is growing ;) May 2016 will mark four years that Nine Lives was published, and it’s been a hell of a ride and learning curve since.

A match made in heaven ;)

As for 2016, next month I am heading off to Scandinavia and then Portugal for almost two months to take a break, do some writing, have some new experiences and get some inspiration for what should be a very productive year! I’m planning to release the 9th Sam Archer thriller (think it’s time we got Chalky involved again in this one ;) in September or so and also a Sam Archer series short story collection with 9 stories, each from the POV of a different character in the series. Vargas, Marquez, Hendricks, Shepherd, Chalky; I feel like there’s a lot we don’t know about these people (including me!) and I thought it might be a nice side project to explore their backgrounds/formative moments in a 9-story book.

Lastly, this month the series crossed the threshold of 50,000 books sold in 3 ½ years, which is amazing and slightly surreal considering where this all started (on a kitchen table on a Saturday night in November 2011, where ideas suddenly came into my head!). If you’re reading this, you no doubt have bought at least one of the 50,000, and I thank you sincerely for doing so. You’re allowing me to live my dreams and write about them too ;) Thank you again.

From myself, Archer and the crew, this one's on us ;)

That’s it from me, but I hope you all had a wonderful year. Here’s to 2016; let’s work together and make it a good one,


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