Happy Friday everyone and hello May!!! I’m kicking this new month by welcoming the blog tour for Savage Gods by Peter Boland to A Knight’s Reads and I’ve got a fab guest post for you!
Massive thanks to the fab Sarah Hardy of Book On The Bright Side Publicity for having on board the blog tour and to Peter Boland for the insightful post.
FROM #1 BEST-SELLING AUTHOR IN AMAZON CRIME ACTION & ADVENTURE.
He only kills atheists.
Pray that God’s on your side.
A serial killer stalks the streets of London, murdering atheists in the most horrific ways. So far, it’s only the loud, outspoken ones who’ve been targeted. Specifically, a controversial group of intellectuals called The Four Pillars of Atheism. Attacking religion and angering believers, they’ve amassed enough hate mail and death threats to keep the police busy until hell freezes over.
DCI Roberts and her team have too many suspects and are drowning in leads. The pressure is on her to catch the killer before another horrific murder is committed. Not helped by the fact that London is in the grip of a sweltering heat wave. Desperate times call for desperate measures. DCI Roberts reaches out to John Savage and Tannaz to help her find the killer. Trouble is, Savage has his own personal demon to battle. Can he defeat one and catch the other?
The Guest Post – How to write an action thriller
There are loads of ‘how to’s’ about writing thrillers, but not many on action thrillers which are a slightly different animal. Sure, there are similarities, but while thrillers may rely on the slow turn of the screw to crank up tension, the action thriller has to work a lot harder to keep those pages flipping over.Here are a few things I’ve learned.
It was too fast-paced, said no one, ever.
Pace is king in an action thriller. Things need to be happening in every chapter, on every page if possible, as long as it’s not too absurd. This starts with plotting. Plot the thing to within an inch of its life. The plot should drive your story. Anything that holds it up should be mercilessly cut out. Descriptions and detours into thoughtful musings about life are nice, but in action thrillers they are the enemy. For instance, I was reading an action thriller by a very famous author who spent four pages describing how beautiful a character was. After the first page I gave up and flipped ahead.
Avoid purple prose.
This is related to the point above. I love beautifully crafted sentences, the kind that make you think, wow, I wish I could write like that. But I’d stay clear of them. Going into intricate detail about how exquisitely your protagonist struck someone in the visage with great pugilistic aplomb is only going to hold things up. Just say they punched them in the face.
Start with something nasty.
A dead body always works well. But don’t just stop there. Make it gruesome, odd or nonsensical. Get creative. In Savage Games I started with a dead body hidden high up in a tree, deep in a forest, begging the question, how the hell did it get there? But it doesn’t have to be a dead body. It could just be something intriguing. In the book Persuader, the master of action thrillers Lee Child starts his story with a twist – a very rarely seen device, and it’s utterly brilliant.
Have more than one bad guy.
Think of an action thriller like a video game where your protagonist has to fight his or her way through different levels of baddies before they get to the head honcho. Give your baddies plenty of time to develop though, so the reader relishes the part where the get their comeuppance.
Give your minor characters personality.
This is linked to the point above, but sometimes in books, characters are so expendable they’re a bit like the red-uniformed crewman in Star Trek. They’re just created as a plot device and then disappear. They may as well be called henchman 1 and henchman 2 etc. Don’t be tight-fisted with your minor characters. Okay, you don’t want them to steal the show either. But give them a reason to exist by making them real even if they only appear for a page or two. It’s these small touches that make your story more believable and richer.
End every chapter on a cliff hanger.
Tricky but highly rewarding for the reader and will ensurethey can’t put your book down. When I say cliff hanger, I don’t mean every chapter has to end with some melodramatic scene with him or her fighting for their lives. But at least try to end each chapter with a revelation.
Work in a twist or three.
I always feel a bit short changed if I get to the end of a thriller and there’s no twist. Make no mistake twists are hard to pull off. Double twists are even harder, but the holy grail is the triple twist. A word of caution, they have to be plausible, so don’t invent something right at the end that the reader didn’t know about. Get your twists in at the initial plotting stage. Sometimes I find it easier to start with the twist and then work backwards.
Make your protagonist vulnerable.
Okay, this is a fairly new one. In most action thrillers, there’s been a trend for the lead character to be some kind of Superman, minus the superpowers, but definitely invincible. Which is absolutely fine, if that’s the way you want to go. Personally, I like a main character who is flawed, makes mistakes and cocks things up now again, like John Savage. He’s very human and talks and banters and makes jokes like an everyday person. Add a bit of humanity and it will not only make your main character more believable, it will also make them but more likeable.
Who Is Peter Boland?
After studying to be an architect, Pete realised he wasn’t very good at it. He liked designing buildings he just couldn’t make them stand up, which is a bit of a handicap in an industry that likes to keep things upright. So he switched to advertising, writing ads for everything from cruise lines to zombie video games.
After becoming disillusioned with working in ad agencies, he switched to writing novels (or was it because he just wanted to work at home in his pyjamas?). He soon realised there’s no magic formula. You just have to put one word in front of the other (and keep doing that for about a year). It also helps if you can resist the lure of surfing, playing Nintendo Switch with his son, watching America’s Next Top Model with his daughter and drinking beer in a garden chair.
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