My intention for this series is for my guests to tell us what surprises we might find in their work - some surprises being from newly launched novels and from other authors something in their back list.
My return guest today is Nik Morton, a very prolific author of many novels across different genres. I've known Nik for a few years now through Crooked Cat Books but you'll find that he has an impressive list of novels available that are published by others.
It was a brilliant short read with a lot of twists and plot surprises - though I don't deal in spoilers so I'm not mentioning any of those. You'll just have to pick up a copy and read them yourself!
For me the surprise continues today because Nik has added my review comments to the blurb of the book. That's a first for me - I feel very honoured indeed!
Welcome again, Nik. Please tell us more about Continuity Girl.
Continuity Girl – Surprises
Thanks for inviting me, Nancy – and I appreciate your review which appears on the book blurb!
Nancy: It was my pleasure, Nik and a very enjoyable read!.
There are good surprises and bad ones. We all like the good variety, and I was pleasantly surprised when a publisher sent an email asking me to consider writing for him again. The publisher is David Cranmer and his imprint is Beat to a Pulp. Previously, I’d written two westerns in his ongoing noir series about U.S. Marshals Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles; the first, Bullets for a Ballot, concerned female emancipation in the Old West; the second, Coffin for Cash offered a literary nod or two to Edgar Allan Poe. (A third is just completed, Death for a Dove). David sent me two books, science fiction time-travel tales: Carnosaur Weekend (#1) and Apocalypse Soon (#2) by Garnett Elliott, a writer living in Tucson, Arizona. Each book in effect contains two novellas. David asked me to write #3 in the series, which became Continuity Girl.
In our future, Kyler Knightly and his uncle Damon Cole are field agents for Continuity Inc, a private organisation that obtained the contract when the government Time Corps was deregulated. CI is dedicated to protecting human history.
They use the Zygma projector to travel through time and must carry a focus object from the period they’re targeting.
Kyler is also a dreamer with passive psychic talents, a precognitive.
The head of the group is an Artificial Intelligence character, Sennacherib. Their offices are in the West End of London, a disused theatre.
I’ve always been fascinated by time-travel stories, and indeed I have an unpublished novel that deals with that very subject; it might see the light of day some time…
With all of history to raid, the question was where to take the heroes. I grew up in the north-east, not far from Hadrian’s Wall and I’d visited that site and the auxiliary fort of Vindolanda more than once.
Kyler is helped by the Continuity girl Tertia Beynon. I created Tropes Unlimited, a film and publishing company that specialised in historical fact and fiction. It was set up by four academics who also worked for the Government Time Corps. Secretly, they duplicated the Zygma projector: Film director/writer Sebastian Bulmer. He directed successful Flix – Fall and Rise of Rome, Caligula’s Concubines, The Year of the Five Emperors. He’d researched his material first-hand. His next project was to be Death on Hadrian’s Wall, prompted by his last film project. But he didn’t return. The others are fiction author Mary Ellison, film producer Lucian Matheson and historian Tom Rusch. The Roman governor at the time (190AD) Clodius Albinus was forty. The scene was set to explain how by some twist of time Kyler’s present, our future, would be radically altered so that the Roman Empire never fell.
This story might be the first to reference ‘Brexit’, viz: ‘Shielded from the sun’s harmful rays by the soot-stained Plexiglas dome, this broad section of the London skyline shimmered before his eyes, and transformed slowly, uncannily. The Gherkin, the Shard, the O2 dome, the Third Eye, Saint Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, the Scalpel, the Cheesegrater, One Blackfriars (known as the Pregnancy Bulge), the Independence Tower (commonly known as the Brexit Finger), the New Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, they all dissolved to be replaced by classic Roman architecture, an enormous amphitheatre, tall blocks of dwellings fronted with Doric columns, aqueducts and viaducts that spanned the river and white marble temples faced with ornate friezes extolling battle triumphs and appeasing gods.’
[Any sci-fi fans might have noticed the names of famous authors: Beynon, Bulmer, Ellison, Matheson and Rusch!]
That established the first novella. The second sprang out of a few quotations from a book of poetry by David Cranmer’s relative who died tragically: Celebrations in the Ossuary by Kyle J. Knapp.
Still playing with time, and utilising another of those academics/writers, I would mix in fact and fiction again – but this time the horror fiction of Bram Stoker. The unintended consequences of time travel on this occasion could be truly horrendous, as the blurb hints.
I enjoy blending real events with fiction and have also done it for the Tana Standish psychic spy series Mission: Prague, Mission: Tehran and Mission: Khyber. Even though I follow a rough plot plan, there is always scope for surprises engendered by the characters as they interact.
Nancy: Read on to see the fabulous covers below for the Tana Standish series,which I also loved reading.
Kyler is accompanied by the delectable yet mysterious Tertia Beynon. Their mission is to trace an academic who has travelled to Roman Britain in 192 AD! Precog suggests that an interfering event in this past will radically alter the future. Arriving at Hadrian’s Wall in the freezing winter, the pair encounter blood-thirsty argumentative locals and then obtain the aid of Governor Clodius Albinus in their trek on the northern side of the wall. Here they are confronted by Ambrosius, a druid who possesses arcane power.
Nothing seems simple. Action abounds, with brutal sacrifices, deadly swordplay, a fraught chariot chase and an attack by a pack of wolves.
With all this going on, will they be able to save their future in time?
‘What an exciting zip back to the past with some really neat time travel twists! The story may be short but it’s packed with plenty of entertaining ‘what ifs’ and action near Hadrian’s Wall. And for good measure, the conclusion just might be something you don’t expect!’
- Nancy Jardine, author of The Celtic Fervour series
We fell below the Earth
Our duo are helped by Tertia and Chief Inspector Irving. Corpses drained of blood point to a clue, a letter from Bistritz in 1897. Kyler and Cole are sent to Transylvania.
The conclusions are inescapable: it seems that the discovery of time travel – even though it’s regulated and Continuity Inc strives to protect history – heralded in a sequence of parallel time-streams. Where before these time-streams were ‘what if’ scenarios, now they’ve split into different realities. In some, fiction is fact.
The deaths, the blood and gore point to vampires being real, and they’re certainly not your idealised romantic sort. The evil blood-suckers are intent on feasting in Kyler’s present and spreading their contagion…
e-book - http://authl.it/7r5
Paperback release shortly
Website - www.freewebs.com/nikmorton
Twitter - @nik_morton
Facebook - firstname.lastname@example.org
Goodreads - http://www.goodreads.com/Nikmorton
Amazon author - amazon.com/author/nikmorton
Pinterest - www.pinterest.com/nikmorton10
My best wishes to you, Nik, for the latest launch of Continuity Girl. Thanks for visiting and please keep in touch!