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Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review

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Spider-Man is back and this time his ‘greatest battle begins.’ One thing the new Spider-Man franchise should stop – is using adjectives like ‘Amazing’ and ‘Greatest’ because neither is fitting for this film. Average Spider-Man 2 is a hodgepodge story with no character growth and weak motivations. The film has a lot of ideas crammed in and as a result has far to many plot lines to keep track of for a fulfilling resolve. From the trailers/advertising one might think Jamie Foxx is the lead villain…think again. One might also think Paul Giamatti’s the Rhino plays a substantial part as well…think again. One might also think there will be a reasonable motive for our hero and villains to explain what they are doing…think again.

 

Gwen and Peter’s Relationship. The last film ended with Peter and Gwen breaking up and then that final line ‘Don’t make promises you can’t keep.’ ‘Those are the best kind’. So it was clear that Peter wasn’t going to leave Gwen alone. Well, we return to see they are still dating but he’s troubled by his guilt and decides that they definitely need to break up. Peter then spends the rest of the film struggling with his emotions for Gwen – not being able to commit to her while also wanting to commit to her and also dealing with news that she is going to study in Oxford. Despite them not being a couple during the film they didn’t play it as if they broke up which made their storyline feel rather redundant.

 

Peter’s Parents. – As assumed from the tidbits in the first film we learn a bit more about Peter’s parents and his father’s experiments with Oscorp. And low and behold yes – Peter’s dad used his own DNA with the mutated spiders which is why Peter was able to become Spider-Man. So it wasn’t the interesting accident. To be honest – I spent most of the time wondering how Peter’s dad got his hands on a Vaio laptop in the mid 90’s that had the ability to link up to a satellite mid-flight.

 

Electro – A wasted character. Awkward and friendless scientist is saved by Spider-Man who then idolises him, becomes a mutant, then spends the majority of the film in jail only to break out at the end for one last quick battle. Average Spider-Man 2 is definitely a film that lies in it’s marketing. Electro should never have been sold as the main villain as he is far from that. His character is about as strong as Venom in Spider-Man 3.

 

Harry Osborn – Much like his character in Raimi’s films – he’s the un-loved son, the betrayed best friend, desperate for Spider-Man’s blood, and teams up with one of Spider-Man’s enemies in order to get it. Yes, his plot is basically that same structure as Spider-Man 2 and 3 with the added twist that he is dying. Harry returns to the company after his father’s death. When he learns of the experiments his dad had been doing he goes looking for that super secret spider-juice that will, for no reason at all, definitely heal him on the spot no questions asked and not turn him into the Green Goblin. The friendship between Harry and Peter did not feel genuine at all. It felt rushed. While the films marketing sold Electro as the main villain more time is centred around Harry. What confuses me, in all the trailers there’s a scene between Harry and Peter where Harry explains that Oscorp had Peter under surveillance…of course this is completely cut from the film. What happened to it? Don’t believe me? Here’s the trailer:

 

 

Rhino – What a joke! This was the worst use of a villain in the history of comic book movies. You cast a big name like Paul Giamatti and you give him no audible lines and about 3/4 minutes of screen time? Yes, Marc Webb was correct when he said the film wasn’t overloaded with villains – that’s because he didn’t give any of them much screen time so he could tell his whiny indie love story.

 

 

The film crammed everything and yet did nothing at the same time. Peter learns the secret about his parents, Norman Osborn dies, Harry Osborn, who is dying and wants Spider-Man’s blood to cure him, is introduced. Battling three classic villains while introducing and foreshadowing a host of other villains like Vulture, Doc Ock, & Alistair Smythe, Black Cat, plus the major death of Gwen Stacy, and a brief montage of Spider-Man No More. There are so many half-baked plot lines it is hard to say what the central storyline is. Narratively it is a disjointed mess. It felt more like watching a series of mini-sodes that ends well-before any pay-off can happen.  One thing is very clear: Sony does not know how to manage the Spider-Man franchise.  Multiple plot lines and more villains than can be handled; you’d think Sony would have learnt from Spider-Man 3 but everything that didn’t work with Spider-Man 3 was done in Amazing Spider-Man 2, and guess what…it still didn’t work.

 

Honestly, the film felt troubled from the very start. The fact that they cast Shailene Woodley as Mary-Jane, filmed all her scenes, and was then able to completely cut her out of the story completely with no effect at all to the overall narrative shows how weak the story already was. As well with the studio announcing plans for several more Spider-Man films before this one was even finished it felt like their focus was not on the story at hand and it shows. This film is shocking superficial. If you ask me, Gwen Stacy got the better deal by being killed off.

 

Marc Webb isn’t telling stories about Superheroes and Super-villains, He’s telling stories about Super-Hipsters and their painful existence and search for quirky love, acceptance, and friendship, but only half-assed.

 

The score was another mess of confusion created by Hans Zimmer. The James Horner score for Amazing Spider-Man might not have been the best but it had some nice motifs and was certainly far more fitting than this by Zimmer. No only does Zimmer’s sound like listening to the opening intro to the 6 o’clock news, but it didn’t fit the scenes. Scenes that were meant to be dark, contemplative, or dramatic were ruined by chipper and bright melodies which had you feeling, ‘oh, there’s no real danger – okay good.’

I was also not a fan of the pop/indie songs that came on whenever Peter was thoughtful or trying to work something out. It felt incredibly distracting and far to indie/500 Days of Summer-ish.

 

 

Average Spider-Man 2 is a swing and massive miss. Much like Iron Man 2 was a big promo for the Avengers and Marvel Studios shared universe. Average Spider-Man 2 is the exact same – a 2 hours plus promo for a Sinister Six film.

 

Be sure to check out:

Sherlock Holmes Studies in Legacy  is available from all good book stores including in the USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook format there is KindleiPad and Kobo.

Sherlock Holmes & The Horror of Frankenstein: A Graphic Novel is available from all good book stories including USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook formate there is kindle, iPad, and Kobo.

The Untold Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is available in paperback and ebook from all good bookstores including in the USA Barnes and NobleAmazon & Itunes. In the UK AmazonWaterstonesItunes UK. For fans outside US and UK can get free delivery from Book Depository. Alternatively you can order straight from MX Publishing!

Sherlock Holmes & The Case of the Crystal Blue Bottle – A Graphic Novel. Available in paperback and ebook from all good book stores in US & UK, Amazon.com Amazon.co.ukiTunes & iTunes UK and The Book Depository ! Alternatively you can order straight from MX Publishing!

 

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Untold Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – YouTube Review

Never too late to share. Found this rather nice review of my first novel on YouTube. I thought it was worth a share.

Thank you, Katie, for your kind words about my book! And to answer your question – Yes, there is a sequel!

Check out my books below:

Be sure to check out:

Sherlock Holmes Studies in Legacy  is available from all good book stores including in the USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook format there is KindleiPad and Kobo.

Sherlock Holmes & The Horror of Frankenstein: A Graphic Novel is available from all good book stories including USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook formate there is kindle, iPad, and Kobo.

The Untold Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is available in paperback and ebook from all good bookstores including in the USA Barnes and NobleAmazon & Itunes. In the UK AmazonWaterstonesItunes UK. For fans outside US and UK can get free delivery from Book Depository. Alternatively you can order straight from MX Publishing!

Sherlock Holmes & The Case of the Crystal Blue Bottle – A Graphic Novel. Available in paperback and ebook from all good book stores in US & UK, Amazon.com Amazon.co.ukiTunes & iTunes UK and The Book Depository ! Alternatively you can order straight from MX Publishing!

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The Untold Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Goes to India

The Untold Adventure of Sherlock Holmes Goes to India

In 2012 my first novel, The Untold Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, was released through MX Publishing. I am quite happy to say MX has signed a deal with Jaico Publishing House and Untold Adventures will be going to India!

Follow Jaico Books and Sherlock Holmes Books on Facebook for launch details

Be sure to check out:

Sherlock Holmes Studies in Legacy  is available from all good book stores including in the USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook format there is KindleiPad and Kobo.

Sherlock Holmes & The Horror of Frankenstein: A Graphic Novel is available from all good book stories including USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook formate there is kindle, iPad, and Kobo.

The Untold Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is available in paperback and ebook from all good bookstores including in the USA Barnes and NobleAmazon & Itunes. In the UK AmazonWaterstonesItunes UK. For fans outside US and UK can get free delivery from Book Depository. Alternatively you can order straight from MX Publishing!

Sherlock Holmes & The Case of the Crystal Blue Bottle – A Graphic Novel. Available in paperback and ebook from all good book stores in US & UK, Amazon.com Amazon.co.ukiTunes & iTunes UK and The Book Depository ! Alternatively you can order straight from MX Publishing!

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Review

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I was skeptical when it was announced that the Hobbit was going to be split into two films. As many have already said, it’s not a very large book. My scepticism increased when it was announced that the films would then be split into 3 parts. If anyone has seen Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 & 2 that is a prime example of where by adding too much stuff you find yourself twiddling your thumbs wanting the story to move faster and then when it does you get bothered by unnecessary changes or made up bits to said story.

Part 1 of the Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey had a decent pace to it. It certainly has a much lighter tone than Lord of the Rings, which it should do! I felt overall that part 1 was well-done effort back Jackson and co. and the additions weren’t too overpowering.

Part 2: The Desolation of Smaug….what can I say? It’s a mixed bag. The film opens and I’m still wondering how the Dwarfs and Bilbo got down from that mountain the Eagles left them on! Never mind I suppose. For me some things worked and something didn’t. I enjoyed this second film far less than the first. Part 2 seems to have more added story rather than The Hobbit story. I’ve no problem with them taking from the appendix to give us more adventure. It’s the changes to the original story that I had real issues with, mainly because these scenes just seemed to drag. In particular the barrel/orc fight scene could have been cut in half!

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But also, Laketown was another very long and drawn out sequence. I couldn’t wait for that it to end. All the characters in it just bored me to death – including the main characters. Further, I’m not overly keen with the battle with Smaug that occurs between him and the dwarfs – especially when they try and drown the dragon in liquid gold? In fact most of the ‘made up story’ that centres around the central characters, the dwarfs/Bilbo, was quite boring and in some way rehashed bitter attitudes of part 1 that I felt should have been resolved by now. i.e. why is Thorin still treating Bilbo so terribly. The inclusion of Legolas was fun, and the creation of Tauriel was a nice surprised. For a made up character she was actually rather cool and well done. I did find myself enjoying that piece of ‘made up story’.

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However, Legolas brings up another issue: graphics. There are numerous scenes where he looks so ‘doctored’ with make up/cgi it is almost laughable, but certainly incredibly distracting. His fake blue eyes and pale face leave you wondering ‘what happened here?’. But also there are quite a few poorly done CG effects in the fighting scenes as well as quite a few bad green screens. To me it just seemed that part 2 was rushed and wasn’t given the attention it needed to be a well polished second half.

Overall the performances were good, but not enough to keep me thinking about bad CG and redundant additional story – ironically not to do with appendix material.  By the end I really felt that the film should have simply been split into two films and no more. Part three has a lot to make up for. With rumours that Sauron comes a full-bodily return I’m starting to wonder a bit. Still, I’m holding out hope that Part 3: There and Back Again will be the exciting conclusion we should have seen in this film had they not split it further.

 

What did you think of The Desolation of Smaug – Be sure to comment below.

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Be sure to check out:

Sherlock Holmes Studies in Legacy  is available from all good book stores including in the USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook format there is KindleiPad and Kobo.

Sherlock Holmes & The Horror of Frankenstein: A Graphic Novel is available from all good book stories including USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook formate there is kindle, iPad, and Kobo.

The Untold Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is available in paperback and ebook from all good bookstores including in the USA Barnes and NobleAmazon & Itunes. In the UK AmazonWaterstonesItunes UK. For fans outside US and UK can get free delivery from Book Depository. Alternatively you can order straight from MX Publishing!

Sherlock Holmes & The Case of the Crystal Blue Bottle – A Graphic Novel. Available in paperback and ebook from all good book stores in US & UK, Amazon.com Amazon.co.ukiTunes & iTunes UK and The Book Depository ! Alternatively you can order straight from MX Publishing!

 

 

No Police Like Holmes – A Sherlock Holmes Theme Night

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What a better way to enjoy World Book Night then by attending a fantastic event on the 23rd of April 2014 at the Sherlock Holmes Hotel on Baker Street.  It is bound to be an exciting night and I hope to see you there!

To celebrate World Book Night this fun filled Sherlock Holmes evening includes a host of activities with all proceeds going to the Literacy Trust.

We’ll take you back to 1895 with Sherlock Holmes themed food and drink and to reward you for coming along in Victorian dress – we have some great prizes for the best dressed.

Special guests include bestselling author Dan Andriacco via satellite from Cincinnati. Dan has published six Sherlock Holmes novels including ‘No Police Like Holmes’ and has a big following in the US.

We’ll also be screening the award winning first episodes of a Sherlock Holmes web series.

To finish off the evening there will be a Sherlock Holmes Quiz – the winning team will get some exclusive Holmes prizes.

Your ticket includes;

- Sherlock Holmes cocktail and canapes

- 20% discount at the bar

- Live author Q&A

- Prizes for the best Victorian Dress

- Entry to the Sherlock Holmes Quiz

- Viewing of three episodes of Sherlock Holmes Web Series

- Accomodation Voucher for 20% off best available rate for a future booking will be available to event attendees (booking will be subject to availability)

- Lifetime discount to Watson’s Lounge bookshop (in conjunction withe Park Plaza Sherlock Holmes Hotel. All bookshop profits to National Literacy Trust)

- £5 donation to the National Literacy Trust

Be sure to share the word about this event! 

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Be sure to check out:

Sherlock Holmes Studies in Legacy  is available from all good book stores including in the USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook format there is KindleiPad and Kobo.

Sherlock Holmes & The Horror of Frankenstein: A Graphic Novel is available from all good book stories including USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook formate there is kindle, iPad, and Kobo.

The Untold Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is available in paperback and ebook from all good bookstores including in the USA Barnes and NobleAmazon & Itunes. In the UK AmazonWaterstonesItunes UK. For fans outside US and UK can get free delivery from Book Depository. Alternatively you can order straight from MX Publishing!

Sherlock Holmes & The Case of the Crystal Blue Bottle – A Graphic Novel. Available in paperback and ebook from all good book stores in US & UK, Amazon.com Amazon.co.ukiTunes & iTunes UK and The Book Depository ! Alternatively you can order straight from MX Publishing!

Getting to Know the Author: Charlotte Anne Walters

Charlotte Anne Walters has released her brand new book, Charlie Milverton and Other Sherlock Holmes Stories! We sat down and had a chat about her latest book and drove into her inspiration for it as well as discussed he thoughts on the BBC’s adaptation of Charles Milverton!

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Other than a writer who IS Charlotte? 

In my day job I work as a senior recruitment manager for a promotions company. It’s busy and very stressful – especially in the run-up to Christmas, but it’s rewarding when you help someone to get their dream job. I started out my working life as an actor and fell into promotions almost by accident but I’ve been in the industry about 12 years now and it’s been very good to me. I’m also a wife to my husband Tim and step-mom to two boys – Alex and Charlie. But they are nearly men now, Alex is 19 and studying at university, Charlie is 16 and about to take his GCSEs.

Where are you from.

I was born near Wolverhampton, West Midlands UK and now live in Shropshire.

What do you consider fun. 

Eating Chocolate, cake and cheese

What do you consider NOT fun.

Having to get up at 6am every morning to hit the gym before work and burn off all the chocolate, cake and cheese

Tell us about Charlie Milverton and Other Stories. Paint the picture for us, set the scene. What is it about? What stories do you adapt? 

Charlie Milverton is a collection of modern Sherlock Holmes stories which poke gentle fun at the idiosyncrasies of 21st century life – celebrity culture, cosmetic surgery, TV talent shows, glamour models and WAGS, the gutter press etc. The friendship between Holmes and his ever-faithful friend Doctor Watson remains central to each story along with Holmes’ unconventional methods. But now we see him using contemporary means to get results – whether this is ‘disguising’ himself as someone else on Facebook to extract information from a missing girl or taking advantage of British and American extradition agreements to bring justice on a baddie. Each adventure is based directly on an original canon story and is simply updated to modern day settings and themes. So for example, instead of an aristocratic young man marrying a wealthy bride, we get a premiership footballer marrying a glamour model for publicity. I have adapted Charles Augustus Milverton, The Nobel Batchelor, The Creeping Man, A Case of Identity and Abbey Grange.

What was your influence for Modern Sherlock Stories 

After seven years writing my first novel, Barefoot on Baker Street, and trying so hard to get the voice and everything else historically accurate for the Victorian period, I really fancied a change – something a bit freer and more light-hearted than the trials of the workhouse and the poverty of Whitechapel. It was nice to be able to use modern reference points and humour.

How long has this been in the works?

I worked on it off and on during last summer.

How much influence does the current Sherlock Holmes craze have on your stories in particular BBC and CBS

I suppose it’s influenced them in the sense that people are now open to modern adaptations of Sherlock Holmes. When I started Barefoot all those years ago, such things would have been seen as heresy. I thought I was being really brave back then just for having Sherlock Holmes involved with a woman – now we’ve had him fall in love with Moriarty in Elementary and no one seems to mind at all!

Now Charlie Milverton was originally published in Sherlock’s Home: The Empty House. The hugely popular BBC series SHERLOCK recently adapted Charles Milverton as well – how did you find their take on the character compared to Doyle’s original and yours? 

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Charles Augustus Milverton is my favourite Sherlock Holmes bad-guy. I thought that the interpretation of him in BBC Sherlock was fantastic – they made him wonderfully repulsive just as he is described in Doyle’s writing. I did have some issues with the episode in general but I loved their Charles Magnussen character.

We both had the idea that a modern-day Milverton would be a media/newspaper professional but my

version is about an unattractive outsider using blackmail as his only way of getting close to the ‘beautiful people’. My favourite version is still Granada’s The Master Blackmailer with Jeremy Brett as Holmes and Robert Hardy as CAM.

How much research do you do when you’re writing these stories? 

I did a huge amount for Barefoot. I remember spending one Saturday morning researching French politics and tying myself up in knots with it all. In the end I found real politicians from the period who fit into my narrative perfectly but I’m guessing that no one who has read Barefoot has even noticed that Alexandre Ribot and Charles de Freycinet actually existed. All I had to do for Charlie Milverton was keep the original stories open beside me while I wrote so that I could keep cross-checking – particulary for Abbey Strange which is the closest of the five to what Doyle wrote.

This isn’t your first book – run me through your other novel and your inspiration for writing crime.

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My first novel was Barefoot on Baker Street published in 2011 with an improved second edition in 2012. Barefoot is the fictional autobiography of a woman who is born in a workhouse in Victorian London and endures a rough childhood on the streets of the East End. She survives through turning to crime and ends up leading a tumultuous life in which she encounters Holmes, Moriarty and various other characters from their world. But it remains her story throughout and the reader follows her journey into maturity. It has been described as a ‘coming of age’ story which I think sums it up pretty well. Barefoot contains many extracts from the canon and sticks close to certain narrative threads but weaves them into my own story. This was hard work to achieve but I hope it shows my love and respect for the source material. I don’t think of myself as a crime writer – I just write adventures.

Will you do some original modern stories – ones that won’t be based off the Conan Doyle’s works? 

I’m working on a new novel at the moment which is something completely different and doesn’t involve Sherlock Holmes at all. It’s very exciting to be working on a new novel again after all those years writing Barefoot and I’m really pleased with how it’s coming along but don’t want to say too much about it at this stage. My writing has grown up a lot and I’ve learnt so much from all the reviews and advice I’ve received since Barefoot came out. I think it’s now time to apply all that to something new.

When you were writing this book was there a specific piece of inspiration? i.e. something you turn to to boost yourself.

Just the stories of Conan Doyle – incredible to think that they are still influencing people after all these years.

What challenges did you face during the writing process and how did you stay motivated to finish?

The biggest challenge for me is finding the time to write. I work full time and have lots of family commitments including two elderly parents who need support. But I love it so much that I always find a way. I’ve very driven.

Do you have a routine when you write? 

No, I just have to snatch moments when I can and make the most of it.

Where do you normally write? 

Usually on the train to and from work – I have a long daily commute. This can be difficult though if the train is busy and I can’t get a seat. It’s not uncommon to see me sitting in the aisle with the laptop balanced on my knee, people’s bags and elbows in my face etc. I love to write on holiday though – sitting by the pool in the hot sun. Or on a Sunday afternoon after a big Sunday lunch!

Is there a particular story you are eager to modernise?

I did look at doing the Speckled Band but a snake is a snake at the end of the day – you can’t really turn that into a modern equivalent. Snakes are timeless…

Did you have any inspiration say from a film or piece of music that helped you write these stories?

There are currently various high-profile Sherlock Holmes TV dramas and films in the media and all of them use elements from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories, but I wanted to write something which stuck a bit closer to what Doyle created and see how that would translate to our modern world. So I suppose that collectively they all inspired me to some extent – and I love the humour in the Stuart MacBride crime books which made me feel more confident about having a go at something light-hearted even though crime and serious issues are flying around in the background.

What’s your favourite story written by ACD? From Sherlock Holmes to the Narrative of John Smith. 

I love The Six Napoleons. It is simple, concise, humorous and contains all the best elements from a Holmes story – Watson, Holmes’ brilliant deduction, having fun at the expense of the official police etc. I also like Silver Blaze and of course, Charles Augustus Milverton.

Do you always know exactly what you want or do with a story or do you have a lot of room for experimentation when writing? 

I like to let things evolve. I start off with a rough plan but it’s very flexible and I’m happy for something to go off at a tangent if it feels right.

What is your favourite part about writing?

The escapism. I love disappearing into a totally different world.

Do personal events ever affect your writing or find their way into a story?

All writers draw their inspiration from the life around them; I think it’s inevitable that personal experiences find their way onto the page in some form. Though, I remember explaining once to one of my young temps that Barefoot was about someone who grew up in a Victorian workhouse and in all innocence she said ‘is that what happened to you?’ I thought, blimmey, do I look that old! My character’s childhood was definitely not based on personal experience. Just for the record, I’m 35 – definitely wasn’t around in Victorian England even though I probably look like it sometimes.

Do you have a favourite writer(s)?

I don’t really have a favourite – I just read whatever takes my fancy. I have a pretty eclectic book collection.

Outside of writing crime fiction do you enjoy writing anything else i.e. general fiction or poetry?

I had some poems published many years ago and used to write a lot of poetry when I was a grumpy teenager but not so much now. I’ve done freelance journalism work too. My new novel which I’m currently working on is general fiction and it’s nice to have a break from crime, dead bodies etc.

What has been some of your biggest influences on your writing during 2013 into 2014?

I have found the whole process of bringing out a novel and learning about the publishing industry very influential. Barefoot was my first book and I started writing it when I was still very young really. I have learnt so much since then – as much from the bad reviews as the good. I’m so much more experienced now and I hope that shows in Charlie Milverton and Other Stories. But I know I still have much to learn and relish the challenge to carry on evolving as a writer.

Could you tell us a book that you think your readers would be surprised you like? Think of it as a guilty pleasure questions – what is your guilty pleasure book? 

I’m taking a Barbara Taylor Bradford on holiday in a few weeks – that surprised me to be honest.

Do you have a favourite film or television show?

Stella on Sky1. Wonderful feel-good comedy-drama beautifully observed.

Do you have a favourite Sherlock Holmes series whether on tv or film?

Sherlock Holmes

Granada series with Jeremy Brett – without doubt. I still reach for my Granada box-set frequently and marvel at how Brett captured Holmes. The episodes are, in the main, a faithful interpretation of the canon and Brett just acts everyone else off the screen. And I am still a fan of BBC Sherlock even though I had issues with the last series. I’m holding out my hopes for series four and hope they will recapture the magic I think they created in series one and two.

Do you have a favourite Holmes pastiche? 

Exit Sherlock Holmes by Robert Lee Hall. It made me cry the first time I read it. Surprisingly moving and very well written.

What’s next for you? More modern or will you return to the gaslight street of Victorian 221b?

I am open to all possibilities. One thing is for sure – I will carry on writing, learning my craft and trying to create works which people will enjoy. That’s what it’s ultimately all about.

Thanks Charlotte, was great to speak with you! Wish you all the best with your new book. 

Charlie Milverton  & Other Sherlock Holmes Stories is available now!

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Here’s where to go for the paperback in the UKOr if you want the Kindle versionAnd if you’re outside the UK why not try this for your Kindle? Or if paperback’s your thing you can have it here – shipped anywhere in the world for FREE!

CHARLOTTE4Charlotte Anne Walters

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Be sure to check out:

Sherlock Holmes Studies in Legacy  is available from all good book stores including in the USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook format there is KindleiPad and Kobo.

Sherlock Holmes & The Horror of Frankenstein: A Graphic Novel is available from all good book stories including USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook formate there is kindle, iPad, and Kobo.

The Untold Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is available in paperback and ebook from all good bookstores including in the USA Barnes and NobleAmazon & Itunes. In the UK AmazonWaterstonesItunes UK. For fans outside US and UK can get free delivery from Book Depository. Alternatively you can order straight from MX Publishing!

Sherlock Holmes & The Case of the Crystal Blue Bottle – A Graphic Novel. Available in paperback and ebook from all good book stores in US & UK, Amazon.com Amazon.co.ukiTunes & iTunes UK and The Book Depository ! Alternatively you can order straight from MX Publishing!

Getting to Know the Author: Amy Thomas – Part 2

Amy Thomas has a new book hitting shelves March 2014 and I’m excited to say I was able to speak with her, for the second time, about her latest work: The Detective, The Woman, and the Silent Hive.

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Hello Amy, good to have you back for Getting To Know the Author. You’re actually the first person to be interviewed twice! 

That’s a huge honor! I also can’t believe I’ve been an author long enough to be interviewed twice. I was excited when my first book was picked up for publication; I had no idea I would eventually have three.

The last time we spoke The Detective, The Woman, and the Winking Tree was about to release. How did you find the reception?

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I’m extremely grateful that most reader feedback has been that people enjoyed it. I’m always surprised by some of the responses, both positive and negative, that bring out aspects I hadn’t even considered while writing. In particular, Philip K. Jones, who is a Sherlockian scholar and reviewer, drew attention to themes in the book that tied together much more tightly than I’d ever realized while I was working on the story.

I know not every author sees it this way, but I definitely feel like putting my stories into the hands of the audience and hearing what they have to say is a huge part of the process. For me, writing is about communicating, not just to myself, but to create a shared experience with others.

Tell us about The Silent Hive. Paint the picture for us, set the scene. What is it about?

In my first book, The Detective and The Woman, the mystery took both Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler out of their normal environments and brought them to Florida. It was an intentional way to help them come to know and appreciate one another’s capabilities in a new way. The second book, The Detective, The Woman and The Winking Tree, was set in Sussex, where Irene lives and keeps bees. It was, essentially, about her world.

The Detective, The Woman and The Silent Hive is set in London. It’s completely in Holmes’s world, the traditional setting of the canon, with all the excitement and atmosphere of Victorian London at the turn of the century. The story builds on the canon case “The Five Orange Pips” and gives a more definitive ending to what is a slightly open-ended case in Doyle’s version. The threat this time is much darker than in the previous stories, an unknown darkness that is particularly unsettling because it takes place in a city where Holmes is aware of everything that goes on–until he isn’t.

How did the Winking Tree influence The Silent Hive?

All the stories stand alone, but they also build on each other. Through each tale, Holmes’s and Adler’s friendship grows, and other canon characters like Mrs. Hudson and Dr. Watson experience progress in their individual stories. Those who have read my other books might notice a cameo appearance by one of my original characters from a previous story.

How long after Winking Tree did you start to plan this book? 

I started writing it immediately after, because I had ideas for where I wanted to go that I didn’t want to forget, but I didn’t finish for several months.

How much influence does the current Sherlock Holmes craze have on your stories?

I’m certainly delighted that Sherlock Holmes (and his writer) is getting the attention he deserves as a compelling literary creation and cultural icon. As a writer, I write from what I read in the canon stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, so the current craze has more to do with an increase in audience for the books than the books themselves. I’m grateful that a growing number of people want to read more stories about Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler.

How much research do you do when you’re writing these novels? 

I do a great deal of research as I write, generally on a need-to-know basis as I come up against a historical issue that needs detail or clarification. For Silent Hive, I did a lot of research into Victorian London, beekeeping, and the Savoy Hotel, which is the setting for part of the action and had recently been completed when the story commences.

What challenges did you face during the writing process and how did you stay motivated to finish? 

I find that there are always ebbs and flows in the process, but they’re emotion-based rather than indicative of quality. Each time I’ve written, I’ve hated some of my output and loved some, but when it comes time to read the first draft over at the end, it’s all equal in style, tone, and quality. There’s literally no difference whatsoever, other than in the way I felt while I was writing. That’s why my one real tip for finishing a book is just to keep writing, because even if you feel blocked, it’s an emotional illusion that has nothing to do with your actual ability to write as you normally do.

Where do you normally write?

I write all over the place. As an introvert, I find I do my best concentrated writing in a quiet, empty house, but I also go out and jot ideas down at coffee shops and bookstores if I’m starting to go stir crazy. Most of my writing is done on a computer, but I keep a notebook with me in case something occurs to me that I don’t want to forget. Sometimes that means a big idea for a plot twist; other times, it’s a particular turn of phrase I want to use.

Irene Adler was only in one Sherlock Holmes story; A Scandal In Bohemia. Why do you think she’s become so iconic while other women in Conan Doyle’s stories like Violet Hunter have not. Had she not ‘beat Holmes’ would she still be as influential? 

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To the first part of the question, of why she’s so iconic, I would say that it’s at least partly because she doesn’t play by the rules. We learn in “A Scandal in Bohemia” that she’s certainly not the cold-blooded villain the King of Bohemia makes her out to be, but she’s also not a model of Victorian propriety or traditional gender roles. She has power because she’s willing to give up a certain amount of conventionality for the sake of achieving her aims. In my view, no other woman in the canon does this to the same extent.

Second, I certainly believe the fact that she managed to best Holmes is a huge part of her ongoing popularity. It fascinates me that “A Scandal in Bohemia” occurs so early in the Doyle stories. It’s as if the author realized that by showing us Holmes during one of his most unusual cases, he could show us a lot about the detective and his attitudes toward the world very quickly. In that sense, Irene and everything she is act as amplifiers for Holmes, like a magnifying glass to show his strengths and weaknesses in a new way. Other canon characters who manage to do this, like Moriarty and even Lestrade at times, are also very popular. I continue this idea in my stories, as the characters of Holmes and Adler constantly magnify and reveal things about the character of the other.

Have you ever considered teaming Holmes up with another female or side kick that isn’t Watson or Irene Adler? 

I wouldn’t rule anything out. I love writing Holmes stories, and I might some day write a traditional Watsonian pastiche or do something completely different with the characters. There’s something special about Irene in particular, though, because she’s so intelligent that it’s not difficult to imagine her keeping up with Holmes.

In case people aren’t aware – you are a Baker Street Babe. How are the Babes? What adventures have you been up to lately with them?

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Life as a Baker Street Babe couldn’t be better. We’re going to be appearing and doing a live podcast at 221b Con during the first weekend in April, and we’ll also be at Dashcon later in the year.

Seasons of BBC Sherlock are few and far between, but the first part of our year was a mad dash to give the proper amount of well-deserved attention to Series 3. I had the great pleasure of livetweeting the episodes for the Babes’ Twitter account during the US broadcasts, and it was a wonderful time of interacting with hundreds of our followers.

What has been some of your biggest influences on your writing during 2013 into 2014?

Great question! I like that you gave it a particular year, because it changes and cycles all the time. Right now, I’ve been going back to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the Holmes canon a lot. I re-read the stories a couple of years ago, but I found that when I was working on Silent Hive, I needed to go back and refresh my mind with the source that started it all. I’m always amazed at the new things I find because Doyle was such a master craftsman.

Could you tell us a book that you think your readers would be surprised you like? Think of it as a guilty pleasure questions – what is your guilty pleasure book?

I’m a huge fan of the Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella. I don’t really ever read chic lit (unless you count Jane Austen…), but I picked up the first Shopaholic book several years ago and really enjoyed it, which led to me going on with the series. I always get a kick out of authors taking a genre that is often identified with lower-quality writing and giving the gift of something better. That’s what Sophie does. She takes a type of book that I usually wouldn’t even consider and imbues it with a style and wit I find irresistible.

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Last time we chatted you were writing a fantasy novel. Any developments on that? Besides fantasy what other types of genres would you like to write? 

I have returned to that partially-finished manuscript recently. It’s not complete yet, but I’ve picked it back up and plan to finish in the near future.

I would like to write a realistic novel about the American South at some point. Many of my favorite authors (Eudora Welty, Tennessee Williams, Zora Neale Hurston) are classic because they express the soul and spirit of the region where I grew up, and I would like to try my own hand at doing that some day.

What’s next for you? Without spoiling your new book will we be seeing another Holmes and Irene Adler story in the near future? 

Book 4 is in the works. I’ve already started jotting down plans, and I’m certainly not out of ideas for the world’s greatest detective and the one woman who beat him.

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Order The Detective The Woman and the Silent Hive from amazon.com in Paperback & Kindle as well as Paperback & Kindle from amazon.co.uk

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Find Amy online: www.girlmeetssherlock.wordpress.com & Twitter

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Be sure to check out:

Sherlock Holmes Studies in Legacy  is available from all good book stores including in the USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook format there is KindleiPad and Kobo.

Sherlock Holmes & The Horror of Frankenstein: A Graphic Novel is available from all good book stories including USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook formate there is kindle, iPad, and Kobo.

The Untold Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is available in paperback and ebook from all good bookstores including in the USA Barnes and NobleAmazon & Itunes. In the UK AmazonWaterstonesItunes UK. For fans outside US and UK can get free delivery from Book Depository. Alternatively you can order straight from MX Publishing!

Sherlock Holmes & The Case of the Crystal Blue Bottle – A Graphic Novel. Available in paperback and ebook from all good book stores in US & UK, Amazon.com Amazon.co.ukiTunes & iTunes UK and The Book Depository ! Alternatively you can order straight from MX Publishing!

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