Friday, August 30, 2013

Showcase: Blood and Ashes by Matt Hilton


Brooke Reynolds died in a car crash. Tragic accident, the police say. But her father Don Hoffman knows otherwise. And he wants Joe Hunter to find the men responsible. Joe is not convinced - until he is attacked by two troublemakers, and Don's other daughter is also threatened. Looks like more than coincidence. And sure enough, the entire family is soon under siege with only Joe to protect them. The ensuing blood bath is the beginning of a trail of death that leads right to the heart of a racist conspiracy. White supremacists want to hold the government to ransom; and they have got hold of a dirty bomb to add weight to their case. Joe is on countdown: can he stop the plotters before they reduce the free world to ashes?

Matt Hilton

Matt Hilton worked for twenty-two years in private security and the police force in Cumbria. He is a 4th Dan blackbelt and coach in Ju-Jitsu. He lives in Cumbria with his wife and son.

Matt is the author of the best-selling Joe Hunter thriller series, as well as standalone horror thrillers and short stories that have appeared in a number of collections and anthologies. Matt's first novel - Dead Men's Dust - was a Sunday Times best-seller and was shortlisted for the ITW New Novel Award 2009.

Q.  What inspires your writing?

A. My earliest influence was probably because my father used to tell me and my brothers wild, action-packed stories to entertain us, and I think I caught the bug of story telling from then. I recall having a vivid imagination as a child and would act out games and story lines and such, and that progressed to actually drawing or writing those tales down on paper. I can't think of a time in my youth where i wasn't writing, drawing or building models. I planned to make animated movies one day and would storyboard the movie on rolls of lining paper, or in notebooks and such. As I grew older (as in my teenage years) I progressed to writing short stories and attempted my first novel at about thirteen years old. Back then I was influenced by the books I was reading - many of them in the heroic fantasy genre - or books I could sneak from my dad's pile, books like Don Pendleton's 'Executioner', or an Alistair McLean adventure. My first real attempts were pastiches paying homage to the fictional characters I read, with my own original twist to them. Reading those books put me on to reading American thrillers, and I was a big fan of David Morrell, Robert Ludlum and Dead Koontz, and i began writing books blending their styles until i found my own unique voice.

Q.  What is your favorite thing about being an writer?

A. I love story, and I love story telling, and being in a position where I get to read and write for a living is my idea of heaven.

Q.  What is the toughest part of being an writer?

A. You can't please everyone all of the time. I write out of the love of writing and sharing those tales with readers. It can be hurtful when someone who hasn't enjoyed the book attacks you in a personal manner, makes false assumptions, and tries to bring down your writing by way of vicious or vitriolic reviews. I know for a fact that some people will love or hate my work, and that's perfectly fine, but I don't believe there's any need for this kind of behaviour. Basically I came into the profession of writing wide eyed and naive, and have had to grow a thick skin. Nowadays i just shrug off the bad reviews, but it's something that any aspiring authors should prepare for.

Q.  If you could not be writer, what would you do/be?

A. I worked most of my adult life in law enforcement, but it was never my vocation. I always wanted to be a writer. If I wasn't a writer, I think I'd still have to be creative in some way, perhaps working in TV/Movies or as a musician/singer.

Q.  What would the story of your life be entitled?

A. I'm a terrible procrastinator when I can get away with it, and have a very laid back nature, therefore a good title would be: Maybe I'll Do It Tomorrow.

Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?

A. I've a number of favourite books and more so characters, but if I'd to choose only one - my desert island book - it would have to be Stephen King's 'The Stand'. It is epic, but it is the characters and the interplay between them that leaves me in awe. I wish I'd written that book.

Q.  Which character from ANY book are you most like?

A. I struggle to find someone from a book that I'm like, but I'd probably be more the bumbling sidekick than any literary hero. My wife often tells me i remind her of Garfield the Cat, if that helps.

Q.  What character from all of your books are you most like?

A. Although I haven't got his style, or panache, I'm probably most like Joe Hunter and Rink's friend, Harvey Lucas. I'm more level headed and slower to action/violence than Joe Hunter is.

Q.  Which book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of?

A. I'd most like to take a heroic fantasy romp alongside Conan the Cimmerian, but I don't fancy my chances of getting out the other side unharmed.

Q.  What is your favorite season?

A. I love late Autumn/Fall. I love the early dark nights, the falling leaves, and especially when there is a full moon. I find it magical, and enjoy nothing better than getting away into the Scottish mountains just to sit in peace and absorb the ambience. I also love the eeriness and magical feeling around Halloween.

Q.  What inspired your book cover(s)?  Or what is your favorite book cover and why?

A. To be honest I don't have much in put into my covers. They're designed by the publisher and I see them once the idea is set. Saying that, I absolutely love the 'pulpy' feel my US publisher (William Morrow and Co/Harper Collins) have gone fore with my latest book, Blood and Ashes.  It harks back to the style of book covers that attracted my attention when i was young and looking for action adventure.

Q.  Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.

A.  Some people might not see the funny side of this but I did. I visited St Louis to attend Bouchercon, the world mystery convention, and while there I joined Zoe Sharp, another British thriller author at a shooting range in order to further familiarise and test shoot guns I mention in my Joe Hunter series. Before heading off to the shooting range my wife gave me a look, and warned me not to shoot myself in the foot. Any way, while at the range, I got the opportunity to fire an MP5 submachine gun. Being safety conscious, I had on ear protectors and goggles. I fired the gun on single shot, then on three round bursts. I was then asked if i wanted to go fully auto to which I gleefully agreed. I let loose, only for the spent brass, which is incredibly hot to fly up in the air, land on my head and then slip down inside my goggles. I ended up with two red hot casings rattling around inside the goggles, burning my eyelids. Afterwards the instructor said the odds are a million to one to even get one shell inside your goggles, but I managed three in total. Wish I was as lucky when buying a lottery ticket. You can probably imagine the look I received from my wife when I arrived back at the hotel with two blistered eyes.

Q.  Are you working on something new?

A. Yes, I'm currently working on the next Joe Hunter thriller. This is book ten in the series. Over in the UK, publication is ahead of what you've seen in the USA. At present, book 5 is on the stands in the US, with book 6 - Dead Men's Harvest - due to be published late October this year. It's a tad confusing I know, but I'm well ahead in the writing of the books. I'm also working on a second novel, a stand alone, but whether or not this sees print any time soon is down to a healthy dose of luck. I'm hoping those three-million-to-one odds I beat at the shooting range goes my way this time.

Q.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?

A.  Yes, I'd just like to thank you all for taking time to read this interview, and hope that perhaps I've piqued your interest enough to perhaps go and check out one of my books. I'm not a literary writer, and won't win any major prizes. I write for pure enjoyment and hope it satisfies the need for enjoyment that a reader is also seeking. And please, if you like the books, I'm happy. But if you don't, please don't write nasty reviews - I'm kind of a gentle soul at heart.

Oh, and don't take my last statement seriously. I'm also known to tell a joke or two at my own expense.

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