Author Interview, Lawrence Estrey

I had an author interview/launch on Saturday at St James Church in Muswell Hill, North London, N10.

About forty people attended the event, I sold/signed copies of my two novels afterwards.

Having trained in classical music and concert performance, I also played the piano in between the main sections of the interview, and people afterwards commented on how well the music had blended in.

Towards the end of the interview, the audience asked questions.  Two things came up: a) queries as to whether the second novel, EggHead, was a sequel to the first, and b) suggestions that the first novel, Secrets, could/would make a good film.

During the interview, I read extracts from the two novels too.

In all, an enjoyable, rewarding morning.

Lawrence's Two Novels 2013-11-23 10.33.13

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Forthcoming Author Book Launch

I’m set to do an author interview and book launch for my two novels, Secrets and EggHead, on Saturday, November 23 at St James’ Church in Muswell Hill, North London.  The novels fall under the crime fiction/psychological thriller genres (definitely not police procedural), and I wrote my second novel EggHead for teenagers and Young Adults. I’ll be discussing the key themes in my work, along with my musical background and the years spent as a recital pianist.  

Admission free.

Spring Has Come, Prolific Writing

Spring has finally come a bit later than usual, with warm weather and sun.  And the difference the weather makes.  London streets look cheerful rather than bland and grey. 

I’ve been working on my third novel, a psychological thriller called Silent, and churning out pages of work.  The novel, set in the Lancashire/Yorkshire borders, follows the story of pianist Gavin as he struggles to come to terms with a tragedy that took place five years earlier during his student days at the stately Harlesden Hall.  The Hall had a disturbed past, and during Gavin’s brief stay there as a student, secrets from the past exploded, bringing about a devastating conclusion. 

In the following section of the story, Gavin has returned to the area of Harlesden five years on and finds himself stranded and the target in a murder investigation:

I order another pint, then go out to look for him. Empty lanes. Fields and an evening sky with a setting sun, red like a fire. Towering hills in the distant, cairns, gates. Breeze. You can’t see Harlesden Hall from here, but I stare in the direction of the ruins anyway, scanning the horizon – and as I do, a cold feeling passes through me, a sense that madness and tragedy are about to strike yet again on those grounds.

Meanwhile, my other two novels – Secrets by Lawrence Estrey and EggHead – are available from Amazon in paperback and e-book. 

Check out the reviews for my debut novel Secrets.

Newspaper article on author.

Local musician publishes crime thriller

April Showers

Easter came and went with frost and chills.  Now, the weather has got warmer, but the grey skies continue, along with rain and gloom.

Meanwhile, I’ve written 50,000 words of my new novel, Silent, a psychological thriller set on the Yorkshire/Lancashire borders, featuring a group of young pianists who have come together for a week of piano workshops.  In Silent, central character Gavin falls for one of the other students on the course, Philippa, a Goth from Kent, but their relationship becomes obsessive and destructive, leading to disaster…  As a classically trained pianist myself, I feel particularly qualified to write this story.

In the following sample, central character Gavin has started to struggle with his surroundings:

Sitting up in bed, I remembered other stuff from yesterday evening. Shadows and footsteps. A man smoking a cigarette by the fountain behind the practice Cells. Watching in the narrow semi-lit corridor. And then, that awful place by the river with its chilling atmosphere.     

Meanwhile, my other two novels – Secrets by Lawrence Estrey and EggHead – are available from Amazon in paperback and e-book. 

Check out the reviews for my debut novel Secrets.

Newspaper article on author.

Local musician publishes crime thriller

Easter Freeze, A Blast From Siberia

Spring came a week and a half ago, and the freezing temperature continues here in the UK, thanks partly to a blast from Siberia.  We had snow just before Easter, and elsewhere newborn lambs have been dying from the cold.  The forecasters reckon the freezing weather will last throughout the month of April.  Most people I know are getting pretty depressed from the constant chill and grey skies.

I’ve spent the last two weeks working on a new novel, Silent, a psychological thriller about a group of piano students brought together for a week of masterclasses in a stately hall in Yorkshire.  The hall, owned by the Harlesden family, has a tragic history, and during the week of piano classes, past events come to the surface, presenting danger to the five students.  As a trained musician myself with more than ten years experience giving piano recitals, I felt particularly qualified to write the story. 

In the following section of the novel, central character Gavin goes to a party and meets a couple of local lads, but senses straightaway that the lads are hostile:

I climbed through the window space again, cutting my finger on the nail. I tiptoed round the back and started making my way up the steep mound behind the line of factories, clawing through hedges and branches on all fours, into a field. I continued up, across the grass, looking for the path, tiptoeing like a girl in order to avoid creating any noise. I found the path and quickened my pace, putting more distance between me and the two lads.  Part of the way up the hill, I started running towards the fence. Up and over, and I was on the other side. Safety. Just five more minutes to go, and then Harlesden Hall and a pint of lager. Not long at all. Just concentrate on the job at hand. No dithering, or you’re dead. I ran up hill as fast as I could, but eventually I had to slow down before stopping for half a minute or so to gather my breath. I looked around. Silence, dusk turning to evening. No sign of the two lads. In future, I would stay in at night, avoid the village of Harlesden altogether and give any further parties a miss, unless the parties were at Harlesden Hall.       

Reaching a second path that veered left to the lane leading to the driveway, I passed a tree and thought I detected a flicker of movement nearby.

‘Oi, Gavin,’ a voice called. ‘Oi, oi, oi.’

A pair of hands gripped me.

Meanwhile, my other two novels – Secrets by Lawrence Estrey and EggHead – are available from Amazon in paperback and e-book. 

Check out the reviews for my debut novel Secrets.

Newspaper article on author.

Local musician publishes crime thriller

Out of Actions For A Few Days

Freeze and snow and sharp winds reminiscent of a supermarket freezer.  I have limited access to the internet this week, but basically, I’m working on a third novel, a psychological thriller, about a group of music students bought together in the north of England.  In the following excerpt, central character Gavin returns to the scene of a crime five years after he first met the other students:

I stop by the abandoned factories and mills, remembering the night of that party five years ago…how it ended…what it led to…the guilt that has followed me everywhere since then.  The crumbling buildings stand in a line, damp-looking and reddish-brown, with boarded up windows. They’re surrounded by broken fences and gravel and rubble and rust.

Meanwhile, my other two novels – Secrets by Lawrence Estrey and EggHead – are available from Amazon in paperback and e-book. 

Check out the reviews for my debut novel Secrets.

Newspaper article on author.

Local musician publishes crime thriller

Brief Writing Sample From My New Novel, Silent

Early March, and awful weather. The weather here (UK) has taken another dip with bland grey skies and a constant chill.  A difficult time for SAD sufferers.

Currently, I’m working on another novel, Silent.  Having trained as a classical musician, I feel equipped to write the story. A psychological thriller set on the Lancashire/Yorkshire borders, Silent focuses a group of piano students brought together for a week and a country house with a tragic history. During the course of the week, past events come to the surface, leading to a shattering conclusion for the students….

Halfway along the corridor, I stopped and glanced back, aware of an atmosphere in the basement area. There was no one there, though. The others were either in the main hall or in their bedrooms. This is stupid, I thought as I continued on – but again, I stopped and looked around. 

Silence, apart from snippets of piano playing and laughter from the main hall upstairs and the adjoining bar. Leaves blowing around outside in the wind. An overcast dusk sky, promising rain.

Fresh shapes formed on the pathway outside. A gust of wind. Wisps of movement.

A large shadow positioned in between a couple of trees.

A surge of muggy heat burst in across the empty annexe, and I noticed that the fire exit door was open. Nearby, a man stood by one of the concrete fountains with his back turned, staring into the evening.

Meanwhile, my other two novels – Secrets by Lawrence Estrey and EggHead – are available from Amazon in paperback and e-book. 

Check out the reviews for my debut novel Secrets.

Newspaper article on author.

Local musician publishes crime thriller

Short Writing Sample: Silent

The Internet connection remains problematic, as do the grey skies and cold weather.  I’ve been working on a third novel, Silent, a psychological thriller set in the north of England. In Silent, main character Gavin has to return to Harlesden Hall, the scene of several murders five years earlier.  One of the survivors has sought Gavin’s help but has disappeared and Gavin is trying to find her.

I text, hey, cheers for your help and sorry to get you up here for nothing, but let me get on with it, okay? Speak soon.  

I switch off the phone and continue on my way, taking in deep air in the hope of catching a scent from those student days of five years ago. A rhythm, the hint of a voice or laughter. Perfume.  But I only catch the silence of the fields and the river and the bleakness all around me, the traces of memories; the echoes of a chilly breeze, despite the fact it’s summer. The abandoned mills and old factories at the foot of the side hill leading up to Harlesden Hall. The overwhelming scent of manure in the air. Thundery clouds reflected in the surface of the river. The silence that is rarely calm. Echoes and traces of death and sorrow  from more than a century of suffering.

The climb up the hill takes me about ten minutes and I have to keep pausing to catch my breath, thankful that I’ve never taken up smoking. I arrive at the long driveway to the house and walk down, past the tall hedges and the bushes, stopping suddenly by the hilly mound at the bottom of the grounds.

Someone’s watching me in the driveway. It’s pretty obvious this time. I hear a branch snap. Feel the intense gaze directed at me.

A game. Cat and mouse.

Except I’m not playing the mouse.  No way.

 

Meanwhile, my other two novels – Secrets by Lawrence Estrey and EggHead – are available from Amazon in paperback and e-book. 

Check out the reviews for my debut novel Secrets.

Newspaper article on author.

Local musician publishes crime thriller

Cold and Frost

Temperatures have plunged again here in the UK and the pavements have become slippery again.    Plus, internet connection poor again.

Meanwhile, I’m working on a third novel, a psychological thriller set around a stately hall, involving five music students.   The hall has a dark history and one of the students inadvertently reignites the past, leading to fatal consequences.  Five years later, central character Gavin and the other survivor of the hall Lucy find themselves in trouble.  Much of the story comes from Gavin’s perspective in the first person, but some sections are told from Lucy’s viewpoint using the third person. 

In the following sample, Lucy takes on the role of viewpoint character:

‘What’s this?’ she says to herself.

There, lying on the post mat in the hallway, is an A4 packet, hand delivered. She stops short. Glances around.

A photograph drops to the floor.

A photograph of herself, done in black and white.

There are five photos in the package, all of her. 

In one, the photographer has captured a shot of her in central Manchester on her way to a wine bar to meet a girl she knew from Uni. In another, she’s walking past the local church, reading an email on her phone. The next photograph shows her leaving a supermarket. The fourth has been taken near Manchester Piccadilly. In the final snap, she’s heading towards her local pub, talking hurriedly on her phone. The most frightening photograph of all, since the photographer has included the date the photograph at the bottom of the image and she remembers the occasion clearly, the clothes she wore that day….the day former music student Gavin called her back from London and they arranged to meet.

The stillness closes in, growing audible. That day, someone was following her, but she didn’t realise it. They know all about her and Gavin.  Although the stalking seems a recent thing, it has been going on for much longer in practice and the person has been tracking her movements for more than three months.

The landline phone rings, startling her.

She grabs the receiver.

Silence.

‘What do you want?’ she says.          

No answer.

She detects faint breathing in the background. 

Male breathing.

A man watching her, following her about.

Photographing her and editing the images in black and white.

Posting photo packages through the door of her flat. 

‘The police have been,’ she lies. ‘And they’re on to you.’

Silence.

Cruel, tormenting silence.  She hates silence, always has hated silence. How the person on the other end of the line understands the power of silence.

The caller hangs up.   

Meanwhile, my other two novels – Secrets by Lawrence Estrey and EggHead (teen fiction) – are available from Amazon in paperback and e-book. 

Check out the reviews for my debut novel Secrets.

Newspaper article on author.

Local musician publishes crime thriller

Limited Internet Connection At Present….

Having trouble getting a connection at present, so I’ve not posted as much as usual. 

Currently, I’m working on a third novel, Silent, another psychological thriller set up in the north of England.  In the story, a group of piano students spend a week together in a stately hall, but events from the past combine with present uncertainties, producing an atmosphere of danger and paranoia. 

In the following excerpt, central character Gavin returns to the hall five years after events spiralled out of control. 

Flowers scattered nearby.

Wreaths.

Wreaths ripped to bits and tossed on top of a single pile of rubbish.

Who the hell’s killed a sheep and placed its head by the remains of these flowers?

What type of sicko would do something like that and destroy the wreaths?   

I feel eyes staring at the back of my neck. 

Eyes studying me.

I swing round, but there’s no one around.

Just tall hedges and bushes and the views in the distance.

‘Who’s there?’ I call. 

No answer. 

Just echoing silence.

Mocking silence.

Meanwhile, my other two novels – Secrets by Lawrence Estrey and EggHead (teen fiction) – are available from Amazon in paperback and e-book. 

Check out the reviews for my debut novel Secrets.

Newspaper article on author.

Local musician publishes crime thriller