Welcome to my stop on the blog blitz for Rip Current by Amanda James! My thanks to Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books for the invitation to join. Author Amanda James visits the blog to chat with DI Bryony Marshall, the main character in Rip Current. But first, here is what the book is all about.
Author : Amanda James
Title : Rip Current
Pages : n/a
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : June 27, 2018
DI Bryony Marshall has been on the tail of Kenny Ransom for two years. He’s involved in prostitution and trafficking, but there’s never been any real proof. To complicate matters further, Bryony’s best friend from childhood is his daughter Imogen.
Bryony worries about admitting the fact that she is trying to put Imogen’s dad away, but unexpectedly, Imogen turns on her father and helps the police. Kenny finds out and swears he’ll get his revenge.
Sick of being in the police force, Bryony visits her mother in Cornwall and considers starting a new life.
While in Cornwall, Bryony saves the life of a man caught up in a rip current in the sea.
But who is this stranger? And is Kenny really bent on revenge?
Interview with Bryony Masters – The Calico Cat
I’m sitting on the high terrace of the Living Space bar at The Watergate Bay Hotel near Newquay. The view is stunning from this advantaged position and I watch the Atlantic breakers crashing on the yellow beaches while the seabirds wheel above, calling to the wind. From the restaurant, the smell of seafood, French fries and garlic mingle with the blackcurrant tones of my wine and my stomach is rumbling. Through the open doors hurrying through the bar, I spy Bryony. She’s the protagonist in my book Rip Current. Bryony’s slipping her light denim jacket off and as she comes outside, her dark-brown hair lifts on the breeze as she walks. As she sees me, her lively hazel eyes light up and her smile reflects mine as she hurries over to my table. She looks self-assured as ever, but happier than she once did. She’s come a long way, and that makes me happy.
‘Hi Bryony, how are you?’ I say giving her a quick hug.
‘I’m good, thanks. Really good.’ She smiles again and sits opposite. ‘I suppose you might even say I’m fantastic.’
‘You look it. Now, can I get you a glass of wine or shall we order lunch first?’
Bryony picks up the menu and scans it the delicious food on offer, and then back to me with a mischievous twinkle. ‘Hmm, I’m starving. Let’s order first.’
I laugh. Bryony always comes straight to the point, no prevaricating for her, similar to me in that way. A waitress comes over and we select the same lunch dish too. Locally caught crab salad, and fries. We order a plate of olives and fresh bread to share, then wait for the waitress to bring our drinks. She leans back in her seat, straightens her colourful summer dress and says, ‘How’s stuff with you then, Mandy?’
Bryony always uses Mandy rather than Amanda. ‘I’m great thanks. Life is treating me well. But I’ve really missed you of course. It’s been a while. And, would you mind answering a few questions, so the readers of Rip Current can get to know you a little more?’
‘I expect so. Hope they’re not too tricky.’
‘No, I promise. Okay, first question, how old are you?’
Bryony rolls her eyes and a smile tugs at the corner of her mouth. ‘You know the answer to that, you gave me life after all.’
The waitress sets down our drinks and the olive plate and I pop one into my mouth.
‘I did indeed,’ I say with difficulty as the olive’s intent on sliding down my throat. ‘But then I know all the answers. The readers don’t though.’
‘I’ve just turned thirty-two.’
‘And what do you do for a living?
‘I used to be a copper in Sheffield, but that wasn’t working out for me.’ Bryony grins and crunches an olive. ‘But now I’m a counsellor and crime support advisor. I go up and down the country but mainly work out of Truro. I live in Padstow nowadays, just along the coast a bit from here.’
‘How’s that going?’
‘The job? It can be hard and upsetting, but I feel I’m making such a difference in people’s lives. It’s so rewarding. It’s really busy too. I don’t have a minute to myself.’ Bryony tears some crusty bread, dips it in olive oil and takes a big bite. ‘I like busy though.’
‘And your other half?’
‘He’s really good thanks. He’s doing guided tours around the area, and he loves it.’
‘A bit different from his previous work then?’ I laugh and dip my bread in the oil.
‘You could say that. It was hardly your nine-to-five, was it?’ Bryony frowns then gives a little laugh. ‘I can hardly believe how much he’s grown. Poor bloke just needed a chance to prove himself.’
I say, ‘Oh of course, yes.’ I won’t explain further as I don’t want to give too much away if you’re going to read the book. I take a sip of wine. ‘You sound happy, are you?’
Bryony swallows and gives me a huge smile. ‘I have never been happier. I’m quite certain of that. You know me, I analyse everything to within an inch of its life, and I have come up with Bryony Morgan is definitely happy. My other half is a big reason she is.’
‘Ah yes, the lovely err. We’d better not reveal his name, or it might give too much away to the readers. And happy…you couldn’t have said you were a year or so ago, eh?
A dark cloud slips behind her eyes. ‘No.’
I feel guilty for dragging up the past, but if readers are to know Bryony, we must visit it. ‘If you’re okay to, would you mind if we went back to your dad for a bit and how you and your mum had a falling out?’
A deep sigh. ‘I guess not. But that stuff’s all behind me now…so why dwell on it?’
I take a sip of wine and plunge straight in. ‘I won’t dwell – just a bit of background. You always wanted to join the police because your dad was a copper, didn’t you? But then he got killed in the line of duty. You always adored him, is that right?’
Bryony wrests her hair from the wind and look out over the ocean. ‘Yes. I adored my dad and would have done anything for him. I think I only stayed in the police because I wanted to honour him by putting as many scumbags away as possible. The trouble was, there were too many that got away. Later on in the story my relationship with my mum which had always been wonderful takes a knock. She had done something in her past which hurt dad and me too.’ Bryony looks at me, sets her jaw. ‘In fact, you know what? I don’t want to talk about it any more, if that’s okay.’
‘Of course.’ I should have known better than to bring that up. The wounds must still be raw. I change the subject. ‘So how’s Imogen?’ Imogen is Bryony’s oldest friend and was very instrumental in helping to put away one of Sheffield’s most notorious criminals.
Bryony’s whole face lights up. ‘She’s great! And guess what? She’s moving down here with her husband and she’s also pregnant!’
‘That’s wonderful! I might catch up with her soon too. I do like her. Her husband’s the doctor she met when she was a receptionist, isn’t he?’
She gives me a withering look and yawns. ‘You know he is, you wrote the story. This interview is a bit daft really. Can we talk about you for a change? I never really got to know much about your life.’
‘Er, perhaps another time. Humour me, did you realise how important Imogen was going to be to you early in the story?’
‘Okay. Not at first, but later, yes. The fact that she was willing to lay herself on the line, even her life actually, to do the right thing and put the finger on that vile Kenny Ransom made me realise how special she was. Immi helped me understand the true meaning of friendship and love.’
‘Nathan became very special to you, didn’t he?’ I make space on the table for the waitress to put down our crab salads.
‘He certainly did. Once we were able to—’
I hold up my hand. ‘No, don’t mention more. In fact, I think we have enough now to give readers a flavour of who you are and what your story is about.’
Bryony shrugs her shoulders and sprinkles cracked-black pepper onto her food. ‘Make your mind up, Mandy. First you want the low-down, then you want me to stop.’
‘That’s because the story’s just waiting to be discovered. No point in giving the game away before the readers have even opened the first page is there?’ I smile and pour salad dressing.
‘Right,’ she says a little stiffly, loading her fork. ‘Shall I fill you in with what I’ve been up to recently or what?’
‘Best not, because that might give too much away too,’ I say hoping she’s not going to get in a strop. ‘Let’s eat this and then go inside for another drink. The readers won’t hear us there. I’d love to hear all your news.’
Bryony grins. ‘Now you’re talking.’
We tuck in and Bryony says she feels like we’re in a scene from the book because everything is so colourful and vibrant. I totally get what she means and feel I’m so lucky to have created someone like her. I say as much.
‘Luck has nothing to do with it. I knew you were the writer I needed to give me life and crept into your subconscious while you watched surfers on Fistral that day demanding to have my story written, remember?’ Bryony’s eyes dance with amusement. ‘You had to rush home and jot the bare bones down before I’d let you sleep again.’
I nod and smile. ‘I remember it well, Bryony.’
She raises her glass. ‘Good. I call the shots and don’t forget it.’
As if I ever could…
Amanda has written since she was a child, but never imagined that her words would be published, given that she left school with no real qualifications of note apart from an A* in how to be a nuisance in class. Nevertheless, she returned to education when her daughter was five and eventually became a history teacher. Then in 2010, after many twists and turns, the dream of becoming a writer came true when her first short story was published. Amanda has written many short stories and has six novels currently published.
Amanda grew up in Sheffield but now has realised her lifelong dream of living in Cornwall and her writing is inspired every day by the dramatic coastline near her home. She has sketched out many stories in her head while walking the cliff paths. Three of her mystery/suspense novels are set there, Somewhere Beyond the Sea, Summer in Tintagel and the Behind the Lie. Rip Current is also set in Cornwall and will be published by Bloodhound Books in April 2018.
Amanda, known to many as Mandy, spends far more time than is good for her on social media and has turned procrastination to a fine art. She can also usually be found playing on the beach with her family, or walking the cliff paths planning her next book.