The New William Quest Novel

Dark Shadow – the third novel in the William Quest thriller series is now available for pre-order as a Kindle eBook. Publication day is on the 26th July.

Dark Shadow Cover copy.jpg

The paperback will be available to order soon.

So if you enjoy eBooks do order now at the cheaper pre-publication price.

And remember, you don’t need a Kindle to read the book. You can download a free app for your smartphone or tablet when you order.

Here’s the publisher’s blurb:

John Lardiner runs down a street in the ancient city of York and vanishes off the face of the earth.

In a dangerous race against time, Victorian adventurer William Quest is summoned to York to solve the mystery – what has happened to John Lardiner?

Forced into an uneasy alliance with the city police, William Quest finds his own life in peril.

Men who pry into the disappearance of John Lardiner end up dead.

In York’s jumble of alleys and narrow medieval streets, William Quest finds himself pursued by a sinister organisation.

Can he solve the mystery of John Lardiner’s vanishing before his enemies bring his adventurous career to an end?

To order please click on the link here:

Robin Hood Books on Offer

I’ve been thinking a lot about Robin Hood lately, now that I’ve completed Villain, number three in my novel series The Chronicles of Robin Hood.Loxley New Cover

The final book in the sequence will be out towards the end of the year.

When you consider it, Robin Hood is quite a remarkable guy – with King Arthur one of the two essential British myths. For darned near a thousand years, the people of Britain, and then the citizens of the world, have been entertained by his exploits.

He reaches out and says something to us all to this day.

What’s the attraction?Wolfshead Cover_edited-5

Well, Robin Hood appeals perhaps to the rebel in all of us, the man who’s prepared to champion the poor and powerless against the uncaring rich and powerful. Mind you, if you read the original ballads he’s not quite so selfless.  But it doesn’t matter. People need a champion and Robin Hood’s quite a good one.Villain Cover

I think it’s interesting that you could take a medieval peasant away from his plough, transport him through time and put him down in front of a television and let him watch Robin of Sherwood say, or Richard Greene in The Adventures of Robin Hood and he’d get the point. (Assuming he wasn’t overcome by technology or changes in the English language, of course. I frequently am!


Naming Book Characters

Preparing the new William Quest novel for publication next month, I’ve been thinking about how I come up with names for characters.

It’s not always easy.

In the new Quest novel I’ve had one character who is very important to the story. I gave him a name I quite liked and was nearly at the end of the book when it dawned on me that it was terribly similar to the name of a well-known personality.

So I had to do a rapid renaming session during the revising of the manuscript.

People often ask where character names come from?

Well, from all sorts of places.

I like walking around graveyards, and they’ve provided several names over the years.

I also use family names quite a lot – and there is a sampling in several of my series.

I had ancestors with the surname Stanton. Hence Billy Stanton in my 1930s thriller Balmoral Kill, and Rosa Stanton in the Quest novels, set in the 1850s. (In moments of mad imagination, and not very seriously, I like to think that Billy is a descendant of Rosa.) William Quest himself was, in my original notes, going to be called Edward Stanton – but I didn’t think it had much of a ring to it.

William Quest has no links to anyone, though I did see a Quest on a gravestone once.

The only character who is definitely named after a real person is Josef Critzman, of the Quest novels. Josef Critzman was a real ancestor of mine. Like his namesake in the books he came to England from Poland (then a province of Russia) – probably as a political or religious refugee.

Unlike my Book’s Josef, who runs a walking stick shop and a secret society, my ancestor settled in the Black Country of the English Midlands and lived a harmless life as a glazier. I’m very proud of him. Family legend has it that he fled Poland with his brother, though I could find no trace of a sibling. So in the book I gave him a brother called Isaac, that adaptable crime lord.

Albert Sticks, the ex-prizefighter in Quest, actually began his career in Balmoral Kill, which I started and then put to one side to work on Quest. When I went back to Balmoral Kill the Sticks there became Corporal Bliss.

Jasper Feedle was never meant to exist in Quest at all. I  just wanted a villain to meet Sergeant Berry and have a walk on part of a few paragraphs. But Jasper arrived, with a complete personality, and inveigled his way into the plot, Quest’s entire back story and the Monkshood secret society.

It happens sometimes like that. Where these characters complete with names come from, heaven knows?

Wissilcraft, the Spymaster in the Quest novels, got his name from a gravestone I saw in East Anglia many years ago. I’ve never come across it in real life, though the novelist Henry Williamson has a Laura Wissilcraft in his Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight saga.

With the third Quest novel finished (it’ll be on pre-order in a couple of weeks) I’m moving on to write the final book in my tetralogy The Chronicles of Robin Hood  (do check out the first three volumes Loxley, Wolfshead and Villain).

In a way, Robin Hood is easy as far as characters go. Robin and his greenwood gang are very familiar names from the medieval ballads onwards, as are the Sheriff, Gisborne and his enemies. Trying to make the familiar characters different from previous outlaw outings is the difficult task.

Thank you again to all you readers who’ve bought and kindly commented on the novels. Do keep looking because I’m going to put some pieces about the new book on in the next few weeks.

And please do spread the word!

Not having the advertising budget of some of the major players in publishing, we very much rely on word of mouth.

The fiction and walking books are all now out in paperback and as Ebooks on Kindle.


You can see a list and details of most of the books on the following page, so please do click on the link: