Tag: author

A new name, a new look…

Behind the scenes, the cogs have been whirring for some time on what’s coming next in my writing career, and after a great deal of discussion, I can happily report the answer to this will be: A LOT.

The news and plans will be dripped through as things are confirmed, but myself and my super publishers Endeavour Media are going to release the first bit of news this week, then the next the week after.

So this week, I’m thrilled to be able to confirm that Ben Bracken is coming back, and not only that, but he’s coming back with a whole new look – not just for future books, but for the whole series. So that means A Wanted Man and Morte Point are going to look a little different on shelves…

Boom, goes the dynamite. I’m absolutely delighted with this dynamic and exciting look for the series, and these covers are in place right away in the marketplace. You can check them out in the wild here and here! This will be reflected in paperbacks from the next print run.

For those paying attention, you’ll notice something else too is different… my name. That’s right, after some deliberation, I’ll now be writing as Rob Parker, as opposed to Robert.

I feel like now is a good time to change, and a good time to make a step forward – plus the giant literary career of a certain Robert B Parker will always be there, and I can now sidestep that a touch! This change is pretty small, but took some persuading of me – but then I realised that everyone I’ve met in the industry knows me as Rob anyway! This makes things much simpler.

Huge thanks to my agent Linda Langton, and everyone at Endeavour Media, especially Rufus Cuthbert and James Faktor. Thanks for the support, hope you dig the new look, and tune in same time next week on 15th March for the next instalment of Bracken news – which is a biggie…

From Bloody Scotland to Deep Down Dead…

When Deep Down Dead was first published as an ebook in October, I managed to convince myself to wait for the paperback in early January. I was very excited to read it, and had been for years – so I thought a couple more months couldn’t hurt.

Then the reviews started coming in – five stars upon five stars, with some of the biggest names in crime writing on both sides of the Atlantic weighing in with heavy praise and before I knew it, I was bursting to read it even more. The paperback couldn’t arrive quickly enough.

The reason I was so excited is because I was actually present when the book was pitched as part of the Pitch Perfect contest at Bloody Scotland 2014 (a hell an event, by the way). I sat there (having just signed with my own literary agent, tentatively dipping my little toe into the literary waters) and listened in awe as Steph Broadribb span a fascinating yarn about a female bounty hunter in Florida, drawing from her own experiences training as a bounty hunter in California – I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It was a book I wanted to read immediately.

Prior to that event, and for a good year after, I never once made the link that Steph was in fact Crime Thriller Girl, the popular crime blogger whose reviews, articles and recommendations I had always followed and enjoyed. It was only when word started to get out about ‘the book with the female bounty hunter in Florida’ that the penny began to drop. I was thrilled and delighted to hear that I was actually going to get to read that exciting story, that Steph was going to be published, and that that same story that got me hooked in that pitching contest was going to be her debut.

Regarding the book itself, there are far more eminent crime writers out there whose words carry far more weight than my own – but I just love what Steph has done, how she has delivered it, and what a great series (I hope!) she has set up. I’m fully invested in Lori Anderson, JT and Dakota, and am so excited to see what happens next. If you like your thrillers fast, urgent and gripping, with a great, fresh, relatable protagonist, in a setting that drips with intrigue and genuine authenticity, then Deep Down Dead will be right up your street.

As I’m learning, in crime publishing you tend to find just the nicest people – and Steph is no exception. She has been so kind, generous and encouraging towards myself, in ways that I never expected or assumed.  Make no mistake, Crime Thriller Girl is one of the good guys… and to see this book go from beginning to such a spectacularly successful end is so very pleasing.

Dystopian futures, the youth of today and Donald Trump…

On Thursday I had a truly wonderful day running writing workshops for Year 6 pupils (10 to 11 year olds) at Croft Primary School – my old primary school. I was delighted to have been invited to work with them and found myself learning just as much from them as I hope they learned from me. WhatsApp Image 2016-11-25 at 17.03.14.jpeg

What I immediately noticed was just how savvy and switched on these kids were – far more so than myself at that age. The workshops were designed to show how we can create stories from nothing, examine what inspires us, and show that with a simply structure and some pointers we can build a story from scratch very easily. In the context of discussing our life experiences and how we all subconsciously use that in our stories, I gave the kids carte blanche to brainstorm story ideas. The idea was that we would together as a group pick a genre, a setting, a general central plot, and a set of characteristics for a main character, and they must finish the story in any way they see fit. So far, so good.

There were four groups of between 6 and 8 participants, and every single group – without fail or exception, nor any prompting – brought up Donald Trump, the US presidential race, and Hillary Clinton. More than that, both were unanimously painted in shades of evil. Most wanted Trump to be the villain of our concocted story, and one child even went so far as describing the proposed protagonist of the story as having a nasty side and generally being ‘Trump-like’.

We are talking about a small village primary school in the north west of England, with only 140 students approximately. It amazed me that they were all so clued in on such broader, more adult topics. But there were all sorts of other examples of how these kids seem to be growing up quicker than I did at the same age.

All the stories they came up with all featured dystopian futures, corrupt governments and administrations, discrimination (racism was mentioned frequently), rioting and general societal fracture. One group even wanted to set the story in World War 3. I asked when this was. The answer given? ‘About 2 years’. It was amazing to hear what the world around us has got these kids thinking.

I’m not in any position to make any grand societal statements about what I learned from this tiny cross section of the youth of today, but I certainly found it revealing, very interesting and surprising. Where as a ten year old I was all about dinosaurs and football stickers, are ten year olds today really preoccupied with oppressive regimes, political fracture and grim futures? I have no idea. I’m sure there’s a lesson in here about how access to information is so much easier for modern youths (with phones, internet etc), and we are all moulded to an extent by what is around us.

Either way, I loved the chance to work with such a bright, polite, engaging and downright clever set of individuals. My thanks to the headteacher of Croft Primary School, Mrs Mains, and the Year 6 teacher, Miss Perry, for the wonderful opportunity – and I certainly hope to work with the children again.

PS I’m off to write a middle grade dystopian comedy thriller, set shortly in the future during World War 3, featuring oppression, discrimination, rioting and Donald Trump…