I am very pleased to be hosting author Derek Thompson on my blog today. Derek is also offering a free download of his thriller Cause & Effect. Take it away, Derek.
I enjoy talking to groups, while most other people I know avoid it like tax return day. It’s not in any way brave for me because I don’t fear it (which is not to say that it doesn’t go badly, on occasion). To experience a sense of that crowd fear I once attempted five minutes of stand-up comedy in Birmingham (I lasted four and a half). It went so well that I was heckled by one of the speakers at the comedy writing event I was attending. Despite that, it was still a thrill to be there on stage, delivering my unrehearsed lines poorly and arguing with drunks.
People love thrills. Whether it’s funfair rides (cold sweats), any kind of heights that doesn’t involve wings or rotor blades (panic), or being in a drunken festival crowd (palpitations), we all have thrill buttons we’re happy to have pushed.
When it comes to thrillers, whether they involve murders, espionnage, detectives or spies of any persuasion, there’s an agreement between author and writer: stick around, and you will enjoy the ride.
Just as there are techniques and formulas for writing gags, so there are different ways of cranking up the tension and creating vicarious thrills on the page. Here are a few of them.
1. Two steps ahead
The reader knows who’s waiting around the corner, or sat in the darkened apartment. Even better, they know what the mystery assailant in capable of because they’ve just seen them ply their murderous trade somewhere else.
2. Fair is foul
Just when we think we know a person’s character they undermine it with a small act or detail, making us question everything we think we know. Did she just pocket that knife? Because, if we’re wrong about that, how can we be sure of anything?
3. Up close and personal
We stick close to our protagonist all the way. And when that gun goes to his head we flinch right along with him.
4. High stakes
The future of the agency / monarchy / world is at stake! And the president is trapped in the submarine with the killer. Oh yeah, and someone’s left the oven on.
Most of us can trace our thriller kicks all the way back to bedtime stories. Little Red Riding Hood anyone? And if you think you know the story inside out, take a closer look here – http://tolovajwordsmith.hubpages.com/hub/red_riding_hood
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What lies at the heart of Europe?
Thomas Bladen has been living a double-life for two years. He’s a civil service photographer in London, but the Surveillance Support Unit also assists other government departments. It’s staffed by ex-forces personnel, careerists and Thomas. He has an eye for details that other people miss and a talent for finding trouble – a combination that was never going to bring him an easy life.
When Thomas uncovers a web of deceit and treachery, that threatens everything – and everyone – that matters to him, can one man hold the line without crossing it?
LINE OF SIGHT
Who pays the price for big business?
A young woman lies dead at an army base. Was it really an accident and
was she having an affair with her boss?
Thomas Bladen works in surveillance for a shadowy unit of the British government. When Amy Johanson is killed during a weapons test, Thomas and his partner Karl are determined to get to the bottom of it. They must protect Amy’s friend Jess, the only witness they have, who plays a dangerous game of seduction and lies. Meanwhile, Thomas’s girlfriend Miranda and her family are once again put in the firing line.
Can Thomas get justice for Amy, solve the mystery of Karl’s past, and decide who he can really trust?
CAUSE & EFFECT
What goes around…comes back to bite you.
A seemingly random attack on a child and a clinical assassination – neither one is any of Thomas Bladen’s business, but all that is about to change. When his girlfriend Miranda’s father calls in a favour, Thomas must use all his surveillance skills to investigate the attack for a man he despises. Jack Langton may be in prison now, but he is still pulling the strings and everybody’s dancing. As Thomas delves deeper, he finds out the truth about Miranda’s past and his investigation takes him closer to the dark heart of the shadow state.
About the author
Derek Thompson writes fiction, non-fiction and comedy. The Thomas Bladen novels are a contemporary noir-inspired thriller series, combining intrigue, action and sardonic humour. Much of his fiction involves death, loss or secrets. As the saying goes: write about what you know.
You can find him on Twitter: @DerekWriteLines
Go visit his blog: http://www.alongthewritelines.blogspot.co.uk