I think it’s quite safe to say I’m an animal lover, mostly dogs as I was raised with them and I think they’re the most wonderful, loyal, loving companion a growing child or a dedicated adult could ever ask for. If you’ve read any of my novels you’ll see there’s always a dog in there. (Don’t get me wrong, I am aware that dogs have been in the news more and more for attacks etc, but my honest opinion is: you get a bad dog if you have a bad owner.)
I’m not just stuck on dogs though, I love all animals; cats, mice, horses, sheep,
elephant, hippos, bear, rhinos. The list goes on; even the bad guys I love, Killer whales and the like (don’t you think you should hear the Imperial March every time they show up on a wildlife
documentary?). Animals are marvellous and wondrous and can bring so much to our lives; including broken hearts!
Well hello there, I know it's been a while! It's been chaos in the M-Steel house, or more to the point house-move.
I'm not however going to bore you with those details, I'm here because I had a fantastic weekend at the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate. It was, quite frankly awesome!
So I've been quiet for a while, as I said last week I was in intense training for the Rat Race Dirty Weekend to raise money for Cancer Research. We did great, all 20 miles and 200 Obstacles in 7 hours 27 minutes (but take two hours off for all the queues!) But I'll tell you more about that another day.
Sounds easy right?
My novel is a fictional biography of a serial killer as she explains the life of abuse, neglect and criminal companions she grew up in which led to each situation where she is ‘forced’ to kill, starting at the young age of 5!
It’s dark, it’s nasty and it’s suspenseful.
First of all let me say I am a massive fan of Top Gear, I became a fan at the turn of the millennium and especially when I was writing Once Upon a Set of Wheels as I wanted to understand, not just cars, but peoples enthusiasm for cars, as it was something up to that point I had never really had. They were something to get me from A to B, usually driven by my dad.
Over the years they have done many specials, one of my favourites to this day remains the polar special; it was fun and exciting to watch.
I know that Jeremy Clarkson can severely rub people up the wrong way and May and Hammond, although also of very stern opinion about many things, always seem to be shaking their heads in dismay at him. He’s managed to offend the Mexicans, the Scottish, the Americans, the Indians, and a whole other manner of races and cultures. However when watching him, I don’t believe it has ever been done in a malicious or spiteful manner; just purely arrogant and slight ignorance.
So over the last week I've had a lot going on and I don't just mean the book launch.
This weekend I made my way to Essex with my family for a very special purpose.
Last year, on the 15th of February, my dear father passed away after fighting cancer for months, along with a broken back that of course hindered his fight. We were of course devastated. He was just 56 and had only just become a grandfather, something he had longed for. We all believe that it was the love of my darling niece that kept him going as long he did.
My dad was a huge Doctor Who fan, a massive Star Trek fan and well, all things sci-fi really (obviously where I get it from!) He was also a man who longed for adventure; he wanted to see the world and touch down on as many different lands as possible and soak in culture and history.
There were two things he would have loved to do if he had ever had the opportunity. One was to visit the wreck of the Titanic, a tragedy that he was fascinated with from a very young age. Two, would have been to go into space.
He was always in awe that the creator of Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry, had his ashes taken into space by the crew of the space shuttle and blasted out into the orbit of the earth, what an awesome legacy for ones remains!
About ten years ago, maybe longer, he said he’d like to have his ashes blasted out and scattered. We all stared at him momentarily and asked how exactly we mere mortals were supposed to get his ashes on the space shuttle! He then explained he wanted to go back to where he grew up, Southend-on-Sea in Essex and have his ashes shot off the end of Southend pier in fireworks.
Unfortunately, due to the fact that the pier has actually burnt down several times, we were not able to get permission to do it off the pier. So after going to Skyblazers fireworks in Sowerby Bridge (we could’ve gone to a big internet company or something like that, but my dad was a local businessman for many years and he would have insisted that we use a small local business before any others!) we placed his ashes in four rockets and ‘cake’ that had 120 shots in it. We arranged a private party where he spent his childhood being a typical Essex boy of the sixties and seventies, and with an amazing turnout of friends and family, we fulfilled his final wishes with a fantastic display!