West Uist Chronicle – Keith’s blog

THE LATEST DOC MARCUS QUIGLEY ADVENTURE and HELL ON THE PRAIRIE

Hi Readers,

We are pleased to announce that the 4th short story in The Adventure of Doctor Marcus Quigley series of ebook shorts is out now from High Noon Press. This is a an on-going series of western stories about Doc Marcus Quigley, dentist, gambler and bounty hunter. He is on a mission to bring a murderer from his past to justice.

These are old fashioned pulp style stories of western adventure, each moving the story further forward.

You can get a copy for the munificent sum of £0.77, just by clicking on the left.

And also, the latest anthology of western short stories fro Western Fictioneers is out now. HELL ON THE PRAIRIE has seven short stories, including one by Keith, writing under his western pen-name of Clay More. It is available as paperback or ebook for Kindle or Nook.

The story is called THE OATH and it is a stand alone tale about Doctor Logan Munro, the town doctor of Wolf Creek.

There are six book out in the best selling Wolf Creek series now. The name Ford Fargo disguises a bunch of professional western writers. These are a collaborative novels, written by six writers per novel. You may care to check them out as well, starting with BLOODY TRAIL. Keith has contributed to book one, four and six, with further chapters in book eight and nine, already in the can.

You’ll find them if you follow the links on Amazon or Nook when you check out Hell on the Prairie

Calum Steele
Editor
Keith Souter

DEATH IN TRANSIT

Hello Readers,

We are pleased to announce that our associate editor, Keith Moray’s latest crime novel, set right here on West Uist has now been published by Robert Hale.

This is the fifth in the series and in it Inspector Torquil McKinnon  and his team are up against a serial killer, which Calum and Cora have christened…..

But that is is telling you too much. Here is what it says on the book cover:

The lack of light pollution made West Uist an idea place for astronomical observation.
            The Heavens Above show, a regular Scottish TV review of the latest news about astronomy, is being broadcast from the island and there has been an influx of amateur astronomers. At the same time, the West Uist Astrological Society has staged a series of lectures by a celebrity astrologer.
            Tension between the two groups is clear from the start and when a body is found floating in Kyleshiffin harbour it is unclear whether there has been a tragic accident or a cold-blooded murder. A chalked astrological sign on the harbor wall   gathers significance when a second body and another sign is discovered. This time there is no doubt – it was murder most foul.
            And the signs are that there will be more deaths, unless Inspector Torquil McKinnon and his team can solve the case and find the Zodiac Killer.
If you fancy a copy, then pop to the left of the article and you’ll see a link to Amazon, where you can get a good deal. Alternatively, get it straight from the publisher where you can also get a good deal.

Enjoy!
Calum Steele
Editor


THE CASEBOOK OF DOCTOR MARCUS QUIGLEY

Welcome readers,

We are please to announce that our old friend Clay More (actually, Keith’s western pen-name) is writing a series of western short stories that are coming out one a month as short ebooks in Kindle and Nook, published by High Noon Press. Each adventure is a separate story, but they link up into a whole tale, like the Saturday afternoon matinees of old.

Overall Synopsis:
Doctor Marcus Quigley, qualified dental surgeon, gambler and sometime bounty hunter has gradually been working his way west. His reasons for choosing such a lifestyle are personal and pressing, as well as expedient, for there is someone he means to track down and hold to account for a murder committed some years previously.


In DEAD IN THE SADDLE Doc Marcus Quigley has set up a temporary consulting room in Hagsville. He has just pulled the tooth of one of the town’s loafers when Jordan Parker, the town banker falls dead from his horse in the middle of the main street. When Sheriff Dan Morgan asks him to examine the body Marcus discovers some strange things that lead to a trail of death and duplicity and which put him right into the jaws of danger.




In GUILTY AS SINNED  Doc Marcus Quigley treats a female patient in the town of Sage Fork and learns that she has good reason to want revenge upon the person who beat her and loosened a tooth. When a murder is committed soon afterwards he is convinced that a miscarriage of justice is about to take place and he must move fast to uncover the murderer before someone else is killed. By taking a hand he places himself in extreme danger.
In this second adventure from his casebook, we learn more about Marcus Quigley and his long quest to bring a cold-blooded killer to justice.

The third adventure THE COVERED TRAIL is already written and in the can!

Each ebook is a mere £0.77, available from Amazon, by clicking the links at the side.

Calum Steele
Keith Souter

JUDGE ON THE RUN AND OTHER WESTERN NOVELS

Welcome readers,

This week we are featuring three western novels written by Clay More, which just happens to be the western pen-name of Keith Souter. You may have guessed, the choice of the name is a homage to Clayton Moore, the first TV Lone Ranger.

Keith, aka Clay More, has been writing westerns for several years. He is a member of Western Writers of America, Western Fictioneers; both organisations for professional writers about the Old West. You probably know him best on this blog as the author Keith Moray, who writes the West Uist crime novels for Robert Hale of London.

Keith’s western novels were first published by Robert Hale, but have now been republished as ebooks by The Western Fictioneers Library. There are three out now and all have been well received. They are traditional westerns, but each of them is also a mystery, since nothing is quite as it seems. The plotting is very much in the style of Keith’s crime writing.

Here is the outline for Judge on the Run.

Wesley Talbot is a respected frontier judge devoted to the law. So why does he adopt the identity of wanted desperado Diamond Jim Chance and go on the run? Why is the ruthless bounty hunter known as The Deacon on a bloodthirsty quest to track down the judge? What dangers lurk in a hidden canyon in the Pintos Mountains? Who is the real mastermind behind a gang of vicious killers? And what secret that leads to a gunpowder-laced showdown lies in the church of a small Mexican village?

The answers to these questions can be found in JUDGE ON THE RUN, the action-packed novel that’s the latest release from acclaimed author Clay More and the Western Fictioneers Library. Previously published as a Black Horse Western by Robert Hale, this newly revised edition is full of excitement and thrills.

The latest out is A Rope for Scudder, another fast-paced, traditional western.

Jake Scudder is just a drifting, peace-loving cowboy. So why does he find himself in jail, convicted of the murder of an old-timer he had befriended and sentenced to hang for that crime he didn’t commit? Jake gets a chance to clear his name when the train taking him to the gallows crashes, but was that wreck an accident? Who’s the real ringleader of the gang of vicious outlaws known as the Marauders? Jake Scudder has to dodge not only the law but also a cunning murderer as he attempts to save his own life and that of a beautiful young woman. A ROPE FOR SCUDDER is another classic, action-packed Western from bestselling author Clay More and the Western Fictioneers Library.

His very first western, Raw Deal at Pasco Springs, published by Robert Hale back in 2004 was  also the very first novel to be reprinted by Western Fictioneers Library, thanks to the ever-working, multi-talented, best selling author Livia Washburner.

Here is the outline.

Lady Luck smiled down on ex-lawman Tom Mallory when he won the Diamond T ranch in a poker game.  Tom begins to wonder if it was actually bad fortune when he is ambushed and then rides into a gunfight where a hooded man in a long duster coat shoots a man pinned under his horse. Furious at this bushwhacking, Tom takes cards in this deadly game, and soon it starts to look like this gamble is going to be his last hand . . .

So, if these have whetted your appetite for a traditional western novel, then you can easily obtain copies from Amazon, all for around £2. Just check the Amazon links on the left and join Clay More out on the trail.

Along with a whole host of other western novelists Clay More is busily collaborating on a series of novels about the Kansas town of Wolf Creek. But that’s another story that we’ll come back to in another blog, real soon.

Calum Steel 
Editor

Keith Souter
Associate Editor

A TALE OF TWO SISTERS AND OTHER TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED

Welcome readers.
This week we are fortunate to have Anne Coates in the office. She is the author of some deliciously dark and twisted tales as well as some extremely useful non-fiction books. Her latest ebook, A Tale of Two Sisters, published by Endeavour Press is available from Amazon. Just have a look to the left of the column. 
Keith reviewed it on Amazon and gave it  *****

Here is the first part of the review:

This is the second of Anne Coates’s books that I have read. I very much enjoyed the twists and turns of the tales in Cheque-Mate and Other Tales of the Unexpected and was looking forward to this one. I was not disappointed. Anne Coates knows how to keep you reading and the beauty of these ebooks is that you can quickly read them while on the train, in the dentist’s waiting room and then on the train home again. That is exactly what I did and she kept me enthralled all the time.
I am not going to print the rest, since that might give away some of the interview! You can check it out when you visit Amazon.  So now, it is time to meet Anne.

 Anne, thank you for coming in to the West Uist Chronicle office. Keith told us that you used to be his editor and that you are now a freelance journalist, non-fiction and fiction author. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Yes I’ve been freelance for many years and before that worked as a staff journalist on several magazines. When I first met Keith I had a contract to edit Health & Homeopathy for the BHA. Keith wrote in his capacity as a doctor and then I learned that he too wrote fiction so our interests overlapped.
I was born in London but went to school in Harlow when my parents moved there. Then I went to Portsmouth Polytechnic (now a university) and Université de Rouen studying English and French. In fact Maupassant’s short stories have been quite an influence on my own writing. I just love the way he counterbalances two viewpoints and allows the reader to draw her own conclusions.
After I graduated, I moved to London and began my career at Transworld Publishers. So I lived in Ealing, then Fulham before crossing the river to East Dulwich when I worked at IPC. I love living in the capital and couldn’t imagine having a home anywhere else. London offers me the chance to indulge my passion for cinema, theatre, museums and galleries plus you can find lots of places to eat well at reasonable prices!


Why did you decide to become a writer?

I suppose like many authors I’ve always written – from a young age I started composing poems and I’ve always read voraciously. Writing has been a second nature to me but it took a while to find my own style and voice in fiction. Journalism and non-fiction feel less personal and more removed from the author although I do include my own experiences when relevant. I’ve written seven non-fiction books so far. The titles of my last two – Parenting Without Tears: Living With Teenagers and Parenting Without Tears Guide to Loving Discipline are linked to the website Parenting Without Tearswhich I founded about seven years ago and for which Keith has also written. Often my non-fiction work relates to a stage in my own life. I wrote Applying to University The Essential Guide(which I update annually) and University A Survival Guide when my daughter, Olivia, began life as a student.

We are both interested in your inspirations. Keith wondered if there could be an autobiographical element in your work. Can you enlighten us?
I was once given an excellent piece of advice: “Write your first book then put it aside so you can get rid of the ‘autobiography’ element.” However I’m guilty of using scenes and conversations from my own life. For example in my latest novella A Tale of Two Sisters (an ebook published by Endeavour Press) there’s a description of a wedding photograph. I still have a copy of it but I’ll leave you to guess which sister I was – the bridesmaid or the younger sister who wanted to be one! A Tale of Two Sisters began life as a much shorter story. Although the beginning and the end are almost the same, by making the narrative longer, other themes were introduced and I’d like to think the story became more balanced, and, like life, less black and white.
A lot of my short stories are focussed on family relationships which I find fascinating but they are not all autobiographical. Especially the murders! However when a neighbour tried to commit suicide and I found her, it affected me deeply and I later used the experience to create another story about two sisters: A Life Sentencein the collection Cheque-Mate & Other Tales of the Unexpected.
We like writing that leads us in one direction and then provides a twist. Your writing does that and I see in reviews that you have been compared with Roald Dahl. Can you give us a clue a to how you plot a story?
It is an amazing compliment to have been compared to Roald Dahl whose writing I admire immensely. The odd thing is that in conversation with my mother once I told her that when she died, I’d put her ashes in an egg-timer so she could keep on working and then that appeared in one of Dahl’s televised stories!
With my short stories, especially Cheque-Mate & Other Tales of the Unexpected, I start off with a situation and then think “what if..?” So the news that a famous person who had been adopted had discovered a natural sister she hadn’t known about made me think about how one would feel if an unknown sister was “unacceptable”. I was pleased with the outcome: A Sister Worth Waiting For. The plots seem to take care of themselves in my short stories but I do work more on this for longer fiction. Sometimes the twists take me by surprise as well!


Who have been your biggest influences?
I have always read widely and across genres. And I’d have enthusiasms. I used to love sci fi, then D H Lawrence, Jane Austen, James Baldwin… the list is fairly typical of a literature graduate.  As I mentioned previously Maupassant’s short stories inspired me as did Dahl’s. I love James Joyce’s Dubliners as well. But I think that we are influenced by everything we read and all our life experiences whether we are aware of it or not. One writer I greatly admire and discovered quite by chance via a conversation I had in a French bookshop is Fred Vargas.
What type of books, films, music do you like?
Strangely twitter has introduced me to a range of new writers (or new to me) including Mari Hannah, Judith Kinghorn and Cath Staincliffe and I’ve loved their books and there are other writers on my to read list. I recently finished Broken by Daniel Craig and can’t wait to see the film. Currently I’m reading The Circus by James Craig and The Gathering Murders by a certain Keith Moray! And in between I’m re-reading Gissing’s New Grub Street the theme of which seems as pertinent today as it was when written in the 19th century.
     I’ve recently seen Skyfall, The Untouchable, Argo and despite the fact that I’m not keen on musicals, Les Misérableswhich at least didn’t make me want to walk out of the cinema.
    I enjoy listening to choral music and sing in a local church choir from time to time. Last year my daughter managed to get us tickets for the last night at the Proms which was an absolute joy. Otherwise I tend to listen to music on the radio or CDs.
   BBC4 has been wonderful in introducing foreign crime/political series. I have loved Boergen and The Killingand am watching the latest series of Spiral.
Well, we certainly hope that you enjoy The Gathering Murders! We did, although I sometimes get a bit puzzled about the way that Keith describes me. But that is another matter. So tell us, what is next on the agenda?
My work in progress is a full-length crime novel. The inspiration for this was an interview with a prostitute that I did for a national newspaper. And then I thought “What if…” I wrote it some time ago and it’s gone through several drafts. Now I’m getting down to the real nitty-gritty editing and hopefully ensuring that it’s a really good, absorbing read.
Brilliant! We all love crime novels here at the Chronicle. What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
Writers need to read as much as possible and write, write, write… And, of course, in most cases you need to find an agent as most publishers won’t even consider your work without one.  It’s very tempting to self-publish now that ebooks are so popular but I would always advise authors to have their work professionally edited and proofread. It’s amazing how many silly mistakes can be overlooked (even in traditionally published books) and you want to make reading your work a really positive experience.
Thank you for your time, Anne. And good luck

And if that has whetted your appetite, why not pop over to Anne’s website Parenting Without Tears. Here is the link.

http://www.parentingwithouttears.com

And please, feel free to leave a comment.

Calum Steele
Editor

Keith Souter
Associate Editor

THE BAD EASTER BUNNY Meet the author and illustrator behind this delightful Easter picture book

THE BAD EASTER BUNNY
A children’s picture book you will not want to miss.
Written by Isabel Atherton and illustrated by Stéphanie Röhr



We give it  *****
Welcome readers. This week we are pleased to bring you news about a terrific children’s picture book. This is going to be a fabulous gift to give alongside the Easter eggs. Indeed, it may not be a bad idea to get a copy ahead of Easter and let the youngsters appreciate a good message, for life, not just for Easter.
This is a superbly well-written book by Isabel Atherton, who is none other than Keith’s own literary agent. (Actually, that isn’t quite true, since she is not my very own agent, since she runs  the highly successful Creative Authors literary agency, which has oodles of other writers, artists and generally creative types on their books.)
Going on from the success of her adult picture book Zombie Cat, which she did with Bethany Straker, and which we reviewed earlier on the West Uist Chronicle, she has this time teamed up with another very talented artist Stéphanie Röhr.
As a taster, have a look at THE BAD EASTER BUNNY – the movie!

And so I am pleased to welcome both Isabel and Stephanie into the office for a chat to tell you all about it.
Isabel, welcome back. For those of our readers who are visiting for the first time, tell us a little about yourself and your background.

Thanks for having me back! I’m a literary agent at Creative Authors Ltd. You can see more about my company and the wonderful authors I represent at www.creativeauthors.co.uk. I also love collaborating with talented artists and this has led me to work on illustrated books. The Bad Easter Bunny aka BEB is my first children’s picture book. It’s been such a treat to team up with Steph and I am over the moon with how the book looks. I hope readers will enjoy it too!
Stephanie, give us the lowdown on yourself, please.
Allo. I’m an illustrator of children’s books and an Art director for Creature London. I moved to England from France four years ago, to immerse myself in London’s vibrant creative energy. Finding Isabel has been fantastic, and I’m looking forward to working with her on future projects. I prefer to let my work speak for me and you can hear it chattering away at: stephanierohr-illustration.com
  


Isabel, tell us about the book. I know that you are a very polite lady yourself and I suspect that you had a reason for writing this story.
My wonderful publisher, Julie Matysik at Sky Pony Press in New York, dropped me a line enquiring if I had any suitable scripts, as she was looking for a title for the Easter market and she also wanted to use Steph as the illustrator. This got me thinking and I decided to have a go at writing the story myself. Whenever I think of Easter I think of the Easter Rabbit and so I decided to develop a story around the bunny. I pondered the character for a few days and suddenly bingo! I thought of how in my life there have been occasions where I haven’t felt necessarily appreciated and how the Easter Bunny hands out gifts, but how does he feel? Is he appreciated for his efforts? The key message is the importance of gratitude. Something, I believe should never be underrated.
Stephanie, I love these pictures. How did you choose to draw the Easter Bunny this way? Did you decide between you?



Our publisher wanted to get me on board again after ‘Count the Sheep to Sleep’ by Phillippa Rae was released. She thought that a colourful Easter story would fit perfectly with the bright colours I love using, and the quirky ideas I punctuate my work with. The first time I read BEB, it was clear to me BEB had to be both cute and a little bit scary for kids to love the character. I always send early sketches to the authors I work with, believing it’s important they are happy with my interpretation of their work. My initial drawings were well received by Isabel and throughout the process I kept her involved with how the spreads were developing. 
Isabel, I know that you have other books in the pipeline. Can you share these with us?
Yes of course! I have one more book scheduled to be published in Fall 2013. It’s called ‘Smelly Ghost.’ It’s about a ghost who gives off a bad smell due to all the junk food he eats and how he eventually learns that eating good foods will lead to feeling healthier and happier. It’s illustrated by Bethany Straker. We’re also currently working on two more children’s books together to be published in 2014. These are ‘Springy Chicken’ about Martha a chicken, who has springs for legs, which initially ostracizes her from her fellow hens until she leaps into action to save a young chick from the mean Mr. Fox and finally ‘Mr Cow’s Deep Sea Adventure.’ Mr. Cow doesn’t like to make cheese or yogurt like his cow friends – he’d rather be exploring and in his first adventure, he takes a trip to the bottom of the 
deep blue sea, where he finds all kinds of creatures and makes a friend along the way.


Stephanie, what are you working on next? Have you got other books coming out? Will you be collaborating with Isy again?
Currently I’ve been commissioned by creative agency Serious Comedy to illustrate a scooter safety booklet for six year olds, and I’m developing a series of funny, edgy, educational books for teenagers with award winning comedian and comedy writer Darren Ruddell. I always ways hope to collaborate with Isabel. It’s been a fantastic experience, and I adore her writing. Her stories are full of charm and allow me to play with bright colours and funny visuals jokes, which I love.
Ladies, it has been a pleasure. We wish you well with your future projects.
Thanks so much, Keith!
Merci beaucoup, Keith!
We really love this book and if you would like to hop over to the Amazon opposite, you can order your copy!
Keith Souter
Associate Editor
Calum Steele
Editor

MEET RAE ANDREW – AUTHOR OF THE LAY OF ANGOR

Welcome readers. This week we are pleased to bring you news of a remarkable book by Rae Andrew. It is a racy, Gothic fantasy that is reminiscent of JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and George RR Martin’s Game of Thrones. I am sure that is bound to whet your appetite.
It smoulders, it fascinates and it intrigues.
THE LAY OF ANGOR, BOOK 1: GONDARLAN
By Rae Andrew

We give it a ***** rating
And we are pleased to welcome Rae into the office for a chat to tell you all about it.
Rae, welcome. I hope you don’t think I’m giving too much away by revealing your real name as Helen Cox. Tell us about yourself – or about you both!
Hello, readers. Well, I used to be an archaeological conservator and museum collection care advisor; then I met my husband and turned into a ‘writing housewife’ with a freelance publishing and lecturing business, Herstory Writing & Interpretation – Helen does factual history, and Rae makes it up! My special interest is the 15th century, and I’ve written three non-fiction books on the battles of Wakefield and Towton (you can find out more on my website, http://www.helencox-herstorywriting.co.uk). I also edit The Towton Herald, Towton Battlefield Society’s newsletter, act as Secretary of its Wars of the Roses re-enactment group, The Frei Compagnie, and I’m a pretty mean shot with a longbow!
Wow! You pack a lot into your life. Tell us about the book.
It’s an historical romance in a parallel world, more Gormenghast than Middle-Earth – dungeons without dragons and swords without sorcery, but plenty of black humour, political intrigue and nice juicy sex! The heroine, Princess Elinor of Gondarlan, is very moody because her father King Thorund is packing her off to marry a stranger – Jehan of Angor, a tattooed New Age hippie dressed in doublet and hose – and the running joke is the culture clash that happens when he arrives at the Gondaran court to woo her. Needless to say, the path of love doesn’t run smooth… not for Elinor and Jehan, at any rate.

And it is all in there, folks. How did you get the idea for the book? It must have taken a long time to imagine all that history.

Originally, from a rude story I wrote as a joke for a previous partner! His suggestion that I develop the characters and try to publish it got me thinking. I didn’t fancy writing contemporary erotica for the ‘adult’ market, or an historical ‘bodice-ripper’ tied to a real place and period – so I invented an Urth of my own, where I could bring in all sorts of personal interests and favourite themes from real-world history. I had the basic storyline roughed out in a couple of months – but it took nearly 10 years of further evolution, endless re-drafting and ruthless pruning to achieve the finished product!
How is the series developing? And how many books do you plan?
The second instalment, Breath of Gaia, has just come out on Kindle and Kobo, with the paperback to follow shortly. Book 3, Wolfsbane – which should be in print by early 2014 – is about a third of the way through. I’m planning one more, Children of Fafnir, to finish the saga, and I’d like to round off with an archaeological detective story linking a contemporary version of Urth with Princess Elinor’s world. But I could potentially write more – as Terry Pratchett has with his Discworld – if the demand is there! Meanwhile you can follow developments on the Lay’s own website www.lay-of-angor.co.uk or its Facebook page, The Lay of Angor.
We like that idea of the detective story and we are great fans of Terry Pratchett.  Your background in archaeology has clearly been a big help. The story drips with facts and has great atmosphere. As a history re-enactor I guess that has helped. Can you give us an idea of how you actually picture a scene?
Thank you! Yes – it’s given me loads of ideas, experiences and material to draw from. Lots of the environments are ‘real’, either places I’ve visited or seen on TV – for instance, Gondarlan is a hybrid of Scotland, Scandinavia and Iceland, and the architecture, costume and so on loosely based on European medieval. Within that framework, the details fill themselves in as if by magic – I see it in my mind’s eye, and hear the characters speaking, as if I’m watching a movie. They’ve taken on such a life of their own, I feel like more of a conduit, or a secretary taking dictation, than a creator; the main challenge is capturing everything on keyboard as quickly as it flashes through my head!
Rae – I mean Helen, it has been a pleasure. We wish you well with the rest of the series.
Gondarlan is available as an e-book for £2.99 on Kobo and Amazon Kindle (Kindle Prime members can borrow it free). The paperback is available at £7.99 plus p+p from York Publishing Services – order from http://www.YPD-books.com, by phone on 01904 431213, email to enqs@yps-publishing.co.uk or order through any good book-shop. UK readers can also buy signed copies at the discount price of £7.50 inc. p+p direct from Rae Andrew – email your order to her.story@hotmail.co.uk.

DEATH IN TRANSIT – coming soon

DEATH IN TRANSIT

By Keith Moray

The next novel in the West Uist crime series – to be released 30th April 2013

The lack of light pollution made West Uist an idea place for astronomical observation.
            The Heavens Above show, a regular Scottish TV review of the latest news about astronomy, is being broadcast from the island and there has been an influx of amateur astronomers. At the same time, the West Uist Astrological Society has staged a series of lectures by a celebrity astrologer.
            Tension between the two groups is clear from the start and when a body is found floating in Kyleshiffin harbour it is unclear whether there has been a tragic accident or a cold-blooded murder. A chalked astrological sign on the harbor wall   gathers significance when a second body and another sign is discovered. This time there is no doubt – it was murder most foul.
            And the signs are that there will be more deaths, unless Inspector Torquil McKinnon and his team can solve the case and find the Zodiac Killer.

ZOMBIE CAT – The Tale of a Decomposing Kitty




Zombie Cat

The Tale of a Decomposing Kitty   

By Isabel Atherton
Illustrated by Bethany Straker

For all of you zombie fans and cat lovers (well, perhaps I had better rephrase that, for all cat lovers who are also zombie fans) this brilliant book is a sheer delight. It is more than that, we at the West Uist Chronicle believe that it has the potential to be a Christmas bestseller and may well attain cult status.
The book is written by Isabel Atherton, literary agent extraordinaire, and illustrated by talented artist Bethany Straker. It is a short picture book for adults about Tiddles, an everyday cat-about-town who is transformed into one of the undead.
The story is wittily told and beautifully, yet macabrely illustrated. It is short, but merits several readings. Each reading reveals a little more and each illustration tempts you back again. We predict that a copy in your house will gradually decompose, like Tiddles aka Zombie Cat, although not from decay, but from frequent readings by the family, guests and whoever else passes through your abode.
The West Uist Chronicle gives this book an unreserved ***** rating.
And now, here are the creators to tell us about themselves and about their journey among the undead.
Welcome, ladies.

Isabel, tell us a little about yourself and your background.
Hello readers! First of all, I am the director and literary agent at Creative Authors Ltd. You can read more about my agency here: 


Creative Authors prides itself on its eclectic list of authors. I only ever take on authors and books that I feel extremely passionate about. I’ve also recently started to write for pleasure myself. It’s been a very interesting experience sitting on the author’s side of the fence with Zombie Cat.
Bethany, give us the lowdown on yourself.




I’ve been illustrating magazines for a number of years now, and started working on books last year. Illustration has always been ‘The Thing That I Wanted To Do’ from an early age. It took persistence, some fairly unhappy years at university and a lot of worry – but I’m happy I can dedicate my career to illustration full time now. I like the weird and wonderful, the creepy, the odd and the funny – and I try to have these things as a base for my work and ideas. I love old scary movies like Robert Wise’s ‘The Haunting’ and their use of light and dark, which often comes out in what I do. 

Isabel, where on earth did this idea come from?

I’ve always been an ideas type of person and I love helping my authors develop their initial concept into strong book proposals. This led me to think what it would be like to experience what it feels like to be in the author’s shoes. I therefore decided, at the next stroke of inspiration, I would jot down the idea and follow it through. A little while later, just as I had been bemoaning to my husband about my own lack of personal creativity, and as I started to drift off to sleep – the words ‘zombie’ and ‘cat’ jumped into my head. I leapt out of bed and promptly sent myself a text, so I would remember the idea in the morning.
 


Bethany, these illustrations are spectacular. How did you choose this style to illustrate Zombie Cat?


Thank you! Firstly, I decided on a colour palette. I wanted it to be grimy – so when it came to drawing it up I wanted the grime to be reflected in the amount of detail, too. I enjoyed adding little extra elements of humour and, of course, as much grisly gore as I could fit in! 






Isabel, what else have you got in the pipeline? Is Zombie Cat going to rise again? I think everyone will want to know what happened to good old Jake. Are you collaborating again?
Zombie Cat may rise again. It all depends on sales figures and whether the publisher feels they’d like to see a sequel. I wouldn’t rule it out. Right now,I am moving over into children’s picture books.
I have a title called ‘The Bad Easter Bunny’ out in February next year and I am working with a wonderful French illustrator called Stephanie Rohr. You can see a little more description here about the book:
Beth and I are also collaborating again on a few more titles (we love working together!), which are coming out up until 2014. These include ‘Smelly Ghost’ (pub, Autumn 2013) – this is a story of a ghost who gets the toots from eating too much scary junk food, such as eyeball pizza, fizzy snot soda and beetles blood ice-cream.  ‘Springy Chicken’ (pub, Feb 2014) is the story of Martha, a Bantam chicken, who was so savaged by a fox she lost her legs. Her owner saved her by fitting her with springs for legs, so she is able to boing! around the place. Sadly the other hens don’t like the fact she’s different. Finally, Beth and I are collaborating on ‘Mr Cow’s Deep Sea Adventure’ (pub, Summer 2014). This is the tale of Mr Cow, a Friesian cow, who can’t make cheese or yoghurts and has no desire to. He wants to explore Aztec Mountains, scale tall sand dunes, but more than anything he wants to be the first cow deep sea diver. This one is inspired by Whitstable, my hometown, a small seaside town in Kent.
Bethany, if you are collaborating with Isabel again, will you be using the same style? What else are you working on?
Isabel and I make a great team. We are collaborating on several children’s books, which Isy explains above. All of them have my signature style, although I have made simplifications for each target age group. Of course, I have also left out the gore! Smelly Ghost will be out in 2013 and I can’t wait to see what the response will be. I love working with an author like Isy as she has such a great imagination and sense of humour in her work. I also have another picture book out in late 2013 – this one is called The Lonely Curiosity Rover and is about the Mars Rover. I’m collaborating with a new author called James Duffett-Smith and we’ve been influenced by the style of 1950s Soviet propaganda posters.
Ladies, it has been a pleasure. We wish you the greatest of success with Zombie Cat – and will be looking out for your next work.
Thanks so much, Keith and Calum!

We really love this book and if you would like to hop over to the Amazon opposite, you can order your copy!
Keith Souter
Associate Editor
Calum Steele
Editor

THE LITTLE BOOK OF GOLF

As all our readers of The West Uist Mysteries will know the Padre is a keen 8-handicapper. And our local St Ninian’s course is one of the toughest tests of golf in the Western Isles. We are pleased to say that Keith Souter, who pens the West Uist Mysteries as Keith Moray, has just had another book published by The History Press, entitled THE LITTLE BOOK OF GOLF.

It is an ideal stocking-filler.

Full of interesting anecdotes, history and trivia about our national game.

Keith is no Nick Faldo, but he’s a keen golf historian.

It is out now in hardback and Kindle.

And we are pleased to announce that Death in Transit, the fifth novel in the series has been accepted for publication by Hale.

Calum Steele,
Editor