What Lies Around Us by Andrew Crofts | @AndrewCrofts @RedDoorBooks | #blogtour #RandomThingsTours #extract #excerpt

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for What Lies Around Us by Andrew Crofts! Today, I have an extract to share with you all but first, let’s see what this book is all about.

Author : Andrew Crofts
Title : What Lies Around Us
Pages : 256
Publisher : RedDoor Publishing
Publication date : June 13, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

It is possible that since this book’s publication you will have heard that I have died in ‘suspicious circumstances’. Obviously I hope that will not be the case, but I believe it is worth taking the risk in order to get this story out there.

Why would one of Silicon Valley’s most powerful billionaires offer a British ghostwriter a million dollars to write the autobiography of Hollywood’s biggest star?

Only once he is living and working among the world’s richest and most beautiful people does the ghost realise that there is way more than a publishing deal at stake.

The ghostwriter must face the dark underbelly of the tech industry. He must face corruption and manipulation, come to blows with people who will do anything to remain at the top of their game and uncover the dark truth behind what it really means to be an influencer . . .

| EXTRACT |

From Chapter 1

The day the first email arrived, Caroline suggested I start a diary, although neither of us had the slightest idea how enormous the story would become.

All I knew was that I had been contacted personally by one of the mightiest beasts from the world of the business and technology superpowers. Roger Rex’s name was right up there with Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk; a modern-day witch doctor who was believed to not only be able to see into the future but to be able to shape it too; a magician for our times. And instead of a fire-breathing dragon, this sorcerer had his billions to give credibility to the rumours of his magical powers and stupendous brain.

I was aware that the email could have been a hoax. I mean, what were the chances that one of the half dozen richest people on the planet had actually sat down and written a note directly to me? But there was no reason not to accept it at face value, at least until it proved to be something else. The message was simple; I am going to be in London next week and I would really like to discuss a possible project. Could we meet for lunch? I will be staying at the Four Seasons.

Even if it came to no more than a lunch with Roger Rex at the Four Seasons it would be an adventure worth having. I would love to, I emailed back, just let me know where and when you would like to meet.

“I love your work, Andrew,” he said once the complications of the menu had been ironed out and the staff had quietly withdrawn to prepare the meal as ordered and attend to other customers. “Particularly the human interest stories; ordinary people battling against the odds…”

“Really?” I said. “You’ve read my work?”

“Of course,” he seemed shocked by the suggestion that he might have come to a meeting unprepared. Leaning down beside his chair he dipped his hand into his backpack, which he had refused to relinquish to the staff at reception, producing Secrets of the Italian Gardener with a flourish, making the gold inlay of the cover glitter in the subdued restaurant lights. “Fantastic story. And short too. I like a book I can read in one flight.” He paused for a moment before adding awkwardly, “my condolences on your loss by the way.”

“Thank you.”

The social niceties apparently now out of the way he reverted to monologue-mode. I wished I was recording him because I wanted to remember everything he was saying so that I could relay it to Caroline once I was home, but our relationship had not yet reached a point where I could whip out a Dictaphone or a notepad. At this stage it was just a casual lunch and I still had no idea why he wanted to meet me. Everything he said was interesting. There was too much of it for me to hope to remember more than a few main themes; too many ideas, too many digressions, too many extraordinary pieces of information and exciting predictions, all sparkling with the most dazzling name-drops in the world – Clinton, Obama, Gates, Mandela, Zuckerberg, Bezos, Soros, Clooney, Swift, de Niro and Streep – delivered with no apparent self-awareness, simply reporting something interesting they had said to him or done. He had no need to boast about who he knew, it just so happened that many of the people he talked to in the course of his average days were world famous. I wasn’t even sure that he realised how famous they were, or cared.

“So,” I grabbed a fleeting opportunity to interrupt his flow, “are you thinking of writing a book?”

“Sure,” he said, apparently surprised by the question, “sure, sure, but not yet.”

“If we were to commission a book but we had very strong ideas about what should or shouldn’t be in it. Would you mind being told and having to re-write and edit a great deal?”

“Usually I suggest that I write the first draft as I think it should be,” I replied, “but ultimately it is the author’s story, so they can make whatever changes they want.  When you say ‘we’ would have very strong ideas …?”

“There are a few people interested in the outcome of this book. It could have huge global impact. Absolutely huge.

“Can you give me an idea what you mean by ‘global impact’?”

“Not yet, no. Not until you’ve talked to the lawyers. You would be great for this job, really great. Your books made me cry. You’ve done celebrity books too, right?”

“Yes, a few.”

“It’s important not to be star struck.”

I remembered reading that he had been buying up film studios and television networks, corralling creative talent so that he could control the creation of the content he needed for streaming services into smartphones and social media. Were these the sort of stars he was talking about? I felt my heart thump a little faster – surely everyone’s star struck about somebody.

“Can you tell me anything about the story at all?”

“No,” he shook his head and gave a sharp bark of laughter which made several heads turn in our direction. “Lawyers. You’ll have to sign away your life before we can tell you anything. Do you have an agent? Is there someone we have to talk to?”

“We can go through an agent if you like,” I said, “there are a few that I use for different projects. Or you can just deal with me.”

“We would prefer that, if you don’t mind. If there is an agent involved then that is one more person who has to know at least some of the details of the project, one more person who might leak, one more stage in the process, slowing things down. This is really great coffee! Such a great aroma.” He held the tiny cup close to his nostrils and inhaled deeply, closing his eyes in apparent ecstasy. “We will want to pay you an outright fee so that we own the copyright completely. Your name would be visible nowhere. Would that be a problem?”

“Absolutely not.”

“This is great, really great. It’s going to be so great!” he rocked happily back in his chair, clapping loudly, his huge hands flapping like a seal’s flippers. “I’ll get the lawyers to contact you. We are going to make history.”

If this extract has left you wanting more, then why not to go ahead and grab yourself a copy of What Lies Around Us!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Waterstones | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Andrew Crofts is a ghostwriter and author who has published more than eighty books, a dozen of which were Sunday Times number one bestsellers. He has also guided a number of international clients successfully through the minefield of independent publishing.

His books on writing include “Ghostwriting”, (A&C Black) and “The Freelance Writer’s Handbook”, (Piatkus), which has been reprinted eight times over twenty years.

Throughout his bestseller, “The Ghost”, Robert Harris quotes Andrew’s seminal book, “Ghostwriting”. Harris’s book went on to become a major movie by the same name, directed by Roman Polanski and starring Ewan McGregor as the eponymous ghost. The opening lines in Robert Harris’s book sum up Andrew’s philosophy:

“Of all the advantages ghosting offers, one of the greatest must be the opportunity that you get to meet people of interest”.

Andrew was on the Management Committee of the Society of Authors from 2012 to 2015. He lectures on the subject of making a living from writing at Kingston University, presents Masterclasses on the subject at The Guardian and frequently guests at writing workshops, literary festivals and in the media. He blogs regularly on matters pertaining to publishing, self-publishing and writing.

What Kitty Did Next by Carrie Kablean @CarrieKablean @RedDoorBooks @LoveBooksGroup #blogtour

Delighted to join the blog tour for What Kitty Did Next by Carrie Kablean today! My thanks to Kelly at Love Books Group for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my review copy.

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Author : Carrie Kablean
Title : What Kitty Did Next
Pages : 416
Publisher : RedDoor Publishing
Publication date : June 28, 2018

aboutthebook

England, 1813. Nineteen-year-old Catherine Bennet lives in the shadow of her two eldest sisters, Elizabeth and Jane, who have both made excellent marriages. No one expects Kitty to amount to anything. Left at home in rural Hertfordshire with her neurotic and nagging mother, and a father who derides her as “silly and ignorant,” Kitty is lonely, diffident and at a loss as to how to improve her situation.

When her world unexpectedly expands to London and the Darcy’s magnificent country estate in Derbyshire, she is overjoyed. Keen to impress this new society, and to change her family’s prejudice, Kitty does everything she can to improve her mind and manners—and for the first time feels liked and respected.

However, one fateful night at Pemberley, a series of events and misunderstandings conspire to ruin Kitty’s reputation and she is sent back home in disgrace. But Kitty has learnt from her new experiences and what she does next does next will not only surprise herself, but everyone else too.

mythoughts

Since it’s been ages since I read or watched Pride and Prejudice, I was a little hesitant about reading this one. Not just because I thought I might have been too unfamiliar with previous events but also because this is Jane Austen and it’s always a little tricky picking up something so iconic. But I shouldn’t have worried, as within the first few pages I once again found myself completely immersed into the lives of the Bennett family.

What Kitty Did Next focuses on daughter Catherine, also known as Kitty. Life at Longbourn has changed dramatically since Kitty saw three of her sisters get married. Kitty is lonely and bored, especially without her sidekick Lydia, and feels trapped at home with just her parents and sister Mary for company. But then she’s invited to stay over in London and even Pemberley. Suddenly the world looks incredibly different and Kitty might just figure out what kind of person she really is.

If someone had told me this was always supposed to be a kind of sequel and it was actually written back in the day, I would have believed them. The author does a fantastic job at creating the right atmosphere and staying true to the characters most of us are so familiar with.  The story flows and it all feels very natural, as if it was always meant to be like this.

It’s been wonderful having the opportunity to spend some more time with these delightful characters and a part of me would actually be quite happy with more. If you like Jane Austen, you will most definitely enjoy this but I also feel it’s a novel for any historical fiction reader, whether you’re familiar with Pride or Prejudice or not.

What Kitty Did Next is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

I was born and raised in London, and came to Sydney in 1990. I love both cities – shame they are so far apart.

I have always loved reading and when I was a kid and the mobile library made its weekly stop nearby I read anything in the historical fiction genre I could get my hands on. Especially loved Tudor England. Then Jane Austen came into my life, and never left. And I started working my way through other great English classic novels (an ongoing pastime). But my tastes range farther afield too, Junot Diaz, Stella Gibbons, Tom Wolfe, Graham Greene, Karen Joy Fowler, Alice Sebold…. have to stop, it will go on forever.
Theatre is also a passion. I reviewed for The Sunday Telegraph for more than a decade, and still post the occasional review.

I was a journalist with The Australian for more than 20 years, and now write for my own amusement – and hopefully yours!

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This Week in Books (June 20)

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Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.

Last book I finished reading

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A small, broken town sits on the edge of a frozen lake surrounded by a forest, its wounds still raw from a tragedy that tore its fragile community in two.

Beartown has lost its way. Now the cold and dark that surround the snowbound town creep in, and so do new conflicts and tensions. What was once a friendly rivalry with the neighbouring town is beginning to turn sinister and Beartown braces itself for another tragic blow.

How far will the people of Beartown go to preserve their reputations for a second, deadly time?

The book I’m currently reading

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Something bad has happened to Alison Taylor.

Her Saturday night started normally. Recently separated from her husband, Ali has been persuaded by her friends to go on a date with a new man. She is ready, she is nervous, she is excited. She is about to take a step into her new future.

By Sunday morning, Ali’s life is unrecognisable. She wakes, and she knows that something is wrong. She is home, she is alone, she is hurt and she has no memory of what happened to her.

Worse still, when she looks in the mirror, Ali doesn’t recognise the face staring back at her. She can’t recognise her friends and family. And she can’t recognise the person who is trying to destroy her…

What I’m (probably) reading next

39103763

England, 1813. Nineteen-year-old Catherine Bennet lives in the shadow of her two eldest sisters, Elizabeth and Jane, who have both made excellent marriages. No one expects Kitty to amount to anything. Left at home in rural Hertfordshire with her neurotic and nagging mother, and a father who derides her as “silly and ignorant,” Kitty is lonely, diffident and at a loss as to how to improve her situation.

When her world unexpectedly expands to London and the Darcy’s magnificent country estate in Derbyshire, she is overjoyed. Keen to impress this new society, and to change her family’s prejudice, Kitty does everything she can to improve her mind and manners—and for the first time feels liked and respected.

However, one fateful night at Pemberley, a series of events and misunderstandings conspire to ruin Kitty’s reputation and she is sent back home in disgrace. But Kitty has learnt from her new experiences and what she does next does next will not only surprise herself, but everyone else too.

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What are you reading this week? Let me know! Happy reading! xx

 

Child Taken by Darren Young @darrenyoungbook @RedDoorBooks

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Author : Darren Young
Pages : 368
Publisher : RedDoor Publishing
Publication date : May 18, 2017

aboutthebook

How could such a thing happen? But it did happen. I wasn’t one of the others, observing. It happened to me.

One hot summer’s day, two-year-old Jessica Preston disappears from the beach. The police are convinced she drowned, but Sandra Preston won’t give up hope that her daughter is still alive. How can she?

Twenty years later, another child goes missing, and Sandra is approached by a young journalist who raises questions about what really happened to Jessica Preston all those years ago. But when the journalist discovers someone with an explosive secret, it threatens not only to reveal what’s been covered up for so long, but puts both their lives in danger.

mythoughts

One summer’s day, two year old Jessica Preston disappears from a beach. She’s believed to have drowned but her mother, Sandra, is convinced her daughter was taken.

Twenty years later, another child goes missing and Laura, a journalist, stumbles upon the case of Jessica Preston, who was never found. Laura soon finds herself in way over her head but she’s determined to see things through, no matter the danger she’s putting herself and her family in.

When I realised Child Taken was Darren Young’s debut novel, you could have knocked me over with a feather. This psychological thriller does what so little of them in this genre have done lately. It’s different and like other reviewers have said before me, it stands out from the crowd.

From the very beginning of the book, you know Jessica was taken. That in itself is a novel way of telling a story. Each part of the story kicks off with the point of view of the man who’s raising Jessica and the mother who lost her. I could have read an entire book with just those chapters as they are incredibly thought-provoking. This is one of those books that will keep you up at night as you keep going over things in your head, asking yourself what you would have done.

What we have here, is an incredibly well constructed plot that has you flipping the pages in a desperate attempt to find out the truth. It’s a harrowing story of how the kidnapping of a child affects everyone. And even if, like me, you figure out where it’s going, it in no way detracts from the tense ride this story takes you on.

Darren Young is a brilliant new voice in the genre of psychological thrillers and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next!

Child Taken was published in May.

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