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Nik Morton – Prolific Multi-Genre Author, is my Guest this Week

March 26, 2018

This week I am pleased to welcome multi-genre author

Nik Morton

as my guest.

Nik Morton

We hope you will enjoy reading about his prolific and lengthy career and that you’ll leave a comment for him and investigate his books following his interview with me.

Hi Nik,

Thanks so much for agreeing to be my guest author. I am really excited to host you.

Thank you for inviting me, Jane.

Here is Nik’s Bio:

Nik served in the Royal Navy for 23 years, has been writing for over 50 years, and sold over 100 short stories: adventure, romance, ghost, horror, sci-fi, western and crime.
He’s had 30 books published, among them a noir western Coffin for Cash; a co-authored fantasy novel Floreskand: King, a psychic spy series Mission: Prague, Mission: Tehran and Mission: Khyber, modern vampire thriller, Chill of the Shadow, time travel sci-fi Continuity Girl, and 6 books of short stories, plus Write a Western in 30 Days – with plenty of bullet points.Nik lives in Spain with his wife Jennifer.

 Your career has been and is, so prolific. I’ve noticed books, short stories, TV and Movie scripts going back to 1971 included on your really interesting and comprehensive website.

Please tell us something about yourself which is not revealed in any of your biographies shown on Amazon and your website, it can be whatever you wish: hobbies, daft moments, amazing experiences, former career(s) and so forth…

I was adopted (and so was my wife, Jennifer). My name isn’t Nik, but Robert. It’s a nickname (no pun intended) that stuck; almost everyone who joins the forces ends up with a nickname and I was no exception; however, I spelled it without the ‘c’ and signed my cartoons and illustrations ‘Nik’. My surname is Nicholson-Morton, which is far too long when writing cheques (what are they?); I’ve lived with variations of that moniker, notably Nocholson-Mitten and frequently Nicholas Morton! And I went Up the Khyber with the Navy… (Related in the book Under the Queen’s Colours by Penny Legg.)

You write in a variety of genres: Thriller, Romance, Crime, Westerns, Science Fiction, Horror, Ghost, Fantasy and Spy – which is your favourite genre and why?

Sorry, Jane, I don’t have a favourite. I read books in all those genres, so I’m happy to write in any of them. It depends on the story. On the back-burner I have a Victorian detective novel, a pirate novel, and a time-travel novel.

Do you find some genres easier to write than others?

I’m comfortable writing in all the genres I’m drawn to; whether I’m good in all is another matter…

The structure may vary for a thriller as opposed to a western, though not necessarily: my westerns have the pace of thrillers, and often include romance as well. But, whatever the genre, they all require research. I invariably do research for all my stories, whether short or novel-length. Fortunately, I find the research aspect as much fun as the writing. I prefer to write a plot plan for my work, so that probably helps make the going easier!

After fifty-eight years of book-collecting, I have tomes on most subjects that interest me – history, geology, astronomy, science, espionage, wars, weapons, travel, the paranormal, all of which I can refer to if necessary. I do use the Internet as well, though I find that certain nuggets of information need to be gleaned from reading non-fiction books. When writing MISSION: PRAGUE I read a couple of biographies on Gorbachev, since he figured in the story in a minor capacity.

Where do you find inspiration for a story and a character? Do you model your characters on anyone you know, or have seen in the media or read about?

Inspiration can come from so many sources. Too many stories, not enough time! For example, while in the Navy our class sat down at a table and indulged in an Ouija session. Nobody seemed to be moving the glass consciously, and it only pointed to gibberish. Off the cuff, I remarked that the gobbledegook might be in code. That was the birth of the book MISSION: PRAGUE, though it took a long time to gestate after that. There are small things included that are taken from my time in the Navy, such as Tana’s crossing Portsmouth Harbour in 1965. The secret service training building, The Fort, is in Gosport, a short distance away from our old home, and is featured too.

Unlike D H Lawrence, I don’t consciously write about people I know. Admittedly, some of my genre fiction will have more character depth than others; it can depend on the word-count: some publishers have a set maximum. A fast-paced thriller will not dwell on character as much as a psychological thriller.

Do you read a great deal, and which genre is your favourite reading material?

I don’t read as much as I’d like. The highest number of books I’ve read in a year was 96 in 1990. I’ve kept a record since 1982; last year I managed only 40! They will vary from adventure, crime, historical, espionage, classic, horror, fantasy and non-fiction (invariably for research).

Again, I don’t have a favourite genre. I do believe a writer should read widely, not only in their own genre.

Who are your favourite authors and why?

That’s a tough question. There are so many favourites!  But there would be since I have over 4,000 books… Off the top of my head, Ruth Rendell and her alter ego Barbara Vine for her understanding of the human condition; Edgar Rice Burroughs for his exciting imagination; Arthur Conan Doyle for his breadth of subject matter; Neville Shute for his poignant storytelling with people at the core; Charles Dickens for his wit and humanity; Raymond Chandler for his atmospheric prose and one-liners; George MacDonald Fraser for his amusing amazing Flashman chronicles; Margaret Mitchell for Gone with the Wind; Leslie Charteris for his humour and wit; Louis L’Amour for his honest depiction of the Old West and its people; Richard Matheson for gripping the heart; Charlotte Bronte for the wonderful Jane Eyre; H Rider Haggard for his splendid adventure stories; Anthony Burgess for being a writer’s writer; O Henry for teaching me how to write short stories; Edgar Allan Poe for his strangeness; Bernard Cornwell for putting me in the thick of the Peninsular War; J B Priestley for his artistry;  Joseph Conrad for his command of English and powerful descriptions; Mary Stewart for bringing alive for me the Arthurian legend; Hammond Innes for his intense adventure tales; Nelson DeMille for his non-PC humour; Ray Bradbury for his bravura imagination; Somerset Maugham for immersing me in his stories, places and characters; D H Lawrence for his emotional depth; Jack London for capturing the psyche of wolves and dogs. That list doesn’t include a good number of more modern writers, admittedly, for which I apologise unreservedly.

Who inspires/influences you and your writing the most, if at all?

I can’t say that any one author has inspired or influenced me over the years, though I suspect in my early days my first attempts at writing were reflections on Edgar Rice Burroughs and Ian Fleming! Naturally, as I’ve read so many books, I’ve subconsciously analysed many of the books and learned how their stories were told. My noir western COFFIN FOR CASH was homage to Edgar Allen Poe, for example beginning with a premature burial!

You have been writing for a long time – over 50 years – do you think your writing has changed a lot, and if so, in what way?

The more you write, the better you become, they say. I’d like to think so. Somebody has said that you’re not a good writer until you’ve written a million words (like an apprenticeship). Well, the word-count of my published books is about two million at present.

At the outset, I knew the basics and had studied a good number of books to see how writers laid out their tales – paragraphs, sentence-length, word-flow, vocabulary etc. My early writing, in retrospect, was probably too rushed, and not sufficiently visual.

Long ago I learned that if I can’t see what is happening, where it’s happening, or feel what the characters are feeling, then the reader won’t either. Having recently self-published over eighty of my previously published short stories (they go back to 1971), I feel that despite their early shortcomings they do their job in the word-limit that the magazines allowed.

We live in a visual world and many aspiring writers have grown up watching TV and films, where ‘things happen’; however, you can’t write books like that. To involve the reader, you have to internalise, and that’s something I learned along the way. The protagonist isn’t simply moving along with the plot, he or she is emotionally involved in it.

Has it become easier to write or harder and why?

It gets easier, because I can detect my lazy errors as they’re committed. I usually know where the story is going; however, the emotional journey for the characters can lead to many interesting side-routes, and these can add depth and increase my – and the reader’s – understanding of the character. Even now, after so many books written, each one is a journey of discovery – even with that plot plan map.

Having written so many books and short stories, TV and Movie scripts, how do you keep coming up with new ideas and stories to tell?

Characters themselves can create a storyline. Some writers say they always begin with a character and then they see where he or she will lead them; this can be at the planning stage or the writing-by-the-seat-of-the-pants process. Other writers prefer to begin with a plot or a dramatic situation and then thrust characters into the mix. I probably do a bit of both.

For THE BREAD OF TEARS the character came first; a nun who had previously been a policewoman; it hadn’t been done before. Initially, I wrote it as a third person narrative set in the US; then I transposed it to UK, with a total rewrite in the first person, and the initial chapters won a Harry Bowling Prize.

For the Leon Cazador short stories, their origins came from actual events and my P.I. was grafted on to them. Every day, open a newspaper or magazine and you’ll have the kernel of an idea for a story; though it seems these days that every day is April fool’s day! Then decide if the story has legs to fill a book or a short story…

Your stories are staged/set in many exotic and even dangerous countries, and your readers and reviewers mention your attention to detail and in-depth descriptions of these countries. Have you been to any of those you write about? 

The old adage is to ‘write what you know’. I translate that as ‘what I’ve learned’; whether from life’s experience or from research. I try not to overload the story with travelogue description; it has to serve the story or the characters.

We had a time share in Tenerife for several years so I know all the places shown in my book AN EVIL TRADE. My vampire novel CHILL OF THE SHADOW is set in Malta and the action occurs in real places in the islands; I’d lived there for eighteen months. Since the last time I was there, the buses changed colour, but fortunately I discovered this on the Internet. So, yes, I tend to back up personal knowledge with research.

If the story allows, I include places I’ve been to, either privately or with the Navy. Whether or not I’ve been to a place, I tend to read two or three books about the country or city to absorb and possibly use a little of the detail and also gain a broader impression; that’s what I did for CATACLYSM set in China (since the closest I got in my travels was Hong Kong!)

I served on the frigate HMS ZULU in the late 1960s. When writing MISSION: TEHRAN (set in 1978) I used that ship briefly in the story, as it really had been in the area (the Persian Gulf). In the same novel, my characters were going to Yazd in Iran, the ancient city of the wind-catchers; as it happens, Google Earth told me there’d been an earthquake there on the dates my characters would be in the city, so the tremors were used in the story!

As I mentioned earlier, I went up the Khyber Pass in the late 1960s; so when it came to writing the third Tana Standish novel MISSION: KHYBER (set in 1979), I referred back to my notes of the time plus photographs, constantly checking to ensure that there were no discrepancies between 1969 and 1979!

The short stories in LEON CAZADOR, P.I. are primarily set in Spain. I’ve used real events in some cases, names suitably changed, of course, and real places, to convey a little of the flavour of this vast and varied country.

If you have not, how do you research the locations and write about them so convincingly?

I try not to skimp on research reading, even if I’ve been to a place I’m writing about. Memory plays tricks; check, if you can. Immersion in the place – and time, when it’s historical – helps. Recently I wrote a long short story for an American anthology set in 1930s London, told in first person narrative; it’s a pastiche of August Derleth’s Solar Pons adventures (which are pastiches of Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes!) I immersed myself in a good number of those Derleth stories and then wrote my tale. The anthology editor accepted the story, commenting that I’d captured the voice of the narrator. Due to immersion.

I study photos, if available, to aid in the description, and try not to forget the sounds and smells. Sometimes, there can be sensory or information overload; everything must go in, because you’ve researched it. Certainly by the final self-edit stage, I try to excise anything that doesn’t move the story forward or isn’t actually experienced by the character(s). The objective always has to be: put the reader there. I may not always succeed, but that’s what I strive to accomplish.

How do you conduct research for your stories? Do you travel a great deal and are you a great fan of Google and other search engines or do you research traditionally?

I’ve touched on some methods of research, and it’s a mixture of the traditional book-delving and referencing the Internet. Google Earth is certainly useful. I’ve used it to travel down streets I’m writing about, for example. And I still have to write about places I’ve been to, such as Rome, Elba, Mombasa and Greece.

Do you write by hand or go straight to the computer?

I learned to touch-type in the Navy, so I write direct to the computer. I believe Frederick Forsyth buys a new typewriter for each novel he starts. I could not go back to those days of carbon paper, ‘snopake’ and ribbon changes! I recall typing in the ship’s office at sea; if the sea was contrary and rough, it was not unknown for the platen to jump from the ratchet and slide with the roll of the ship! 

Do you keep reams of notes and make maps of your locations and storylines?

Many of my books have maps – such as, for example, the Canary Islands (AN EVIL TRADE), Malta (CHILL OF THE SHADOW), and Floreskand and Lornwater (FLORESKAND: WINGS and FLORESKAND: KING). I also use maps for my own benefit to check the whereabouts of characters; especially in a western town.

For the Tana book MISSION: KHYBER I had printed off about a hundred pages of notes – flora, fauna, weather, history, people, notes, more notes, weapons, references from many books etc.

For my first Tana Standish book, once the Ouija idea took hold, the story had to be in the realms of the paranormal. At that time I was interested in a variety of books by Edgar Cayce, Lyall Watson, Ingo Swann and a few others. There’s a believability threshold to cross, suspending disbelief, and if the subject is dealt with in a matter-of-fact manner, perhaps it can become believable. The poltergeist phenomenon, particularly relating to young girls reaching puberty, can be construed as psychic forces being unleashed unwarily. Although Tana showed signs of psychic ability, it was heightened at puberty. I mention the psychic tests that the secret services conducted, and those with astronauts and men in nuclear submarines: all fact. Remote viewing has a significant part to play in MISSION: TEHRAN and MISSION: KHYBER.

You have written with Gordon Faulkner at times, and we would love to know how you go about this as I understand you both live in different countries – do you use email to communicate with each other? Tell us how this works.

Our writing is a kind of symbiosis. For many years Gordon has been creating and evolving his creation Floreskand. He would tell me about a handful of main characters and their goal. Often, it was up to me how they got there. However, I had his wealth of Floreskandian knowledge about the landscape and history to aid me. There’s limited magic and supernatural goings on; nothing too earth-shattering. I’d create obstacles for our heroes, and often by return of email Gordon would have evolved a flora/fauna/political/religious explanation for that obstacle!

For our latest, FLORESKAND: MADURAVA, Gordon visited me for a week and we thrashed out the plot for the novel. This suited me, as I’m quite happy to write to a plot plan. It still gave me sufficient leeway to create characters and events, so it was not a straitjacket.

Did it take a lot of discussion to meld your writing styles together, or are they similar and it was easy?

While I do the majority of the writing, the main plot is Gordon’s; he has thousands of years of history annotated, with many family trees drawn up! I will introduce additional characters, more intrigue or character conflict as appropriate, and he will add to that based on his knowledge of the history and religion etc. I couldn’t write the story without Gordon’s imaginative input. More than once we’ve been on remarkably similar wavelengths as the nitty-gritty takes shape! While the Floreskand books are standalone, they interlink with events and characters; that’s where Gordon’s planning proves of great value. The writing is easy and fun.

Who comes up with the ideas for a new story when writing with Gordon?

While Gordon has the overarching story-line mapped out – and I’m not necessarily privy to that until we get there – there are plenty of sub-plots I introduce. And, time permitting, I can write separate tales outside the main plot-line.

You have many lead characters – you’ve written so many books and short stories – and one is the psychic spy, Tana Standish. Where did the idea for her character and adventures come from?

In the 1960s I wrote a couple of spy novels (unpublished!) and one main character was very similar to Tana, though at the time she wasn’t psychic. I wrote these before knowing about the existence of Modesty Blaise. At the time I’d been reading a lot of science fiction, some of it concerning psychics – among them Alfred Bester’s THE DEMOLISHED MAN. Always intrigued by the concept, it seemed a natural leap since I was a fan of spy fiction to make my hero female and psychic. The concept was the easy part.

Much later, when the Ouija story became a novel, and changed title and length a few times, evolving into PRAGUE, I realised I had a series in the making. Linking real events with the fiction: PRAGUE relates actual events and we meet some real people from that time. And to perpetuate the conceit, each book begins with a clandestine meeting and the handing over of a manuscript.

Are you an avid spy novel fan? Who is your favourite author in this genre?

I’ve been a fan of spy fiction since the early 1960s. I deliberately avoided mentioning spy novelists in my earlier list.  I don’t have one favourite. I’ve always admired Adam Hall’s Quiller books. I enjoyed all of Len Deighton’s and Ian Fleming’s spy thrillers. I learned a lot from Somerset Maugham’s Ashenden tales. And of course John Le Carré: he breaks many so-called writers’ rules but maintains the interest and sucks me in.

Why did you make Tana a psychic spy? Does this limit you with her character and her adventures? Must she always come out on top, always be one step ahead of her enemies?

During my studies of the paranormal, it became obvious that if psychic ability existed in the real world, it was not easily called upon at will. I made a point of this early on in MISSION: PRAGUE. She can sense ill-will and danger, and at moments of heightened tension she may snatch a thought or feeling, but she can’t mind-read and is not a super-heroine. She’s extremely fit and capable, but she is fallible, and indeed is captured. She has an edge, but that can be blunted. And of course the Russians have their own psychics, who have detected her presence in their bailiwick…

Are there plans to write more stories about her or have you moved on now? Tana for the 21st century might prove a challenge, but the technology would open up so many opportunities for adventure.

Nik Morton Avenging Cat series 3

So far, Tana Standish’s adventures have taken her to Czechoslovakia (1975), Iran (1978) and Afghanistan (1979). Her next mission will be the Falklands (1982). There may be others; in the early 1980s she’d be in her forties; it depends when her psychic faculties will wane – or evolve…

Tana was born on May 12, 1937 in Warsaw, so she’d now be 81…. At the time of the uprising of the ghetto in 1942, she was five years old. She had two brothers, Mordechai and Ishmael, both now deceased. She was adopted by a British couple in 1942, but her adoptive father Lieutenant Hugh Standish was killed in a car crash two years later. Her mother Vera never remarried. She joined Edinburgh University in 1955 and read Psychology, gaining a BA (Hons) in 1958. Thereafter, she worked for the Parapsychological Research Unit, Northamptonshire – 1958 to early 1965; during this time, she travelled to the US and the USSR, among other countries, to give talks on memory. Besides possessing psychic abilities, she has a photographic memory.

Right now, it would seem the UK needs Tana to come out of retirement. Maybe as someone healthy in her eighties, she could still make a difference?

Have you considered her for a role as a ‘remote viewer,’ for example, used – if she has aged in your stories – from an office based situation to direct her adventures?

Ingo Swann (1933-2013) was a famous remote viewer; I’d read his book Star Fire in 1979, and I’ve researched remote viewing quite a bit too. Yes, Tana utilises this technique, most notably in TEHRAN, though then she’s still a novice. Again in KHYBER, she employs it to spy on the Russians. She’s an active agent, however, and would not settle for merely sitting behind a desk and remote viewing!

Tell us something about Tana, her character and motivation.

Having escaped Nazi oppression, she grew to loath evil individuals, whatever doctrine they espouse. She does not baulk at killing evil men – or women, for that matter. Wherever she can, she will save innocents. 

Please list the books in which she appears.

MISSION: PRAGUE (Czechoslovakia, 1975)

MISSION: TEHRAN (Iran, 1978)

MISSION: KHYBER (Afghanistan, 1979-1980)

Which of your characters is your favourite and why? Who is the most exciting to write?

I can’t have favourites; they might decide to get jealous, and who knows where that would lead! Seriously, I’m fond of all of them; whether that’s Jim Thorp (the hero in my first published book, DEATH AT BETHESDA FALLS) or Corbin Molina THE $300 MAN with a hook for a hand, or Catherine Vibrissae, the ‘avenging CAT’, or plucky journalist Maria Caruana in black magical Malta, or even Leon Cazador, the half-English half-Spanish modern-day Knight Templar. Perhaps I’d select Maggie Weaver also known as Sister Rose, as I was told I captured her voice and an ex-nun liked her story THE BREAD OF TEARS so much she asked for a sequel!  

As for the most exciting to write, I imagine that will be Tana, though all my heroes and heroines have excitement in their lives.

What are you working on now and do you have anything due for publication soon? If you do, tell us about your new work.

I’ve just finished the third book in our fantasy series – FLORESKAND: MADURAVA. A madurava is a compass; the story continues from FLORESKAND: KING concerning the ongoing civil war of Lornwater.

Also completed and awaiting publication is a commissioned noir western DEATH FOR A DOVE, which again features Cash Laramie and is my homage to Anthony Hope’s THE PRISONER OF ZENDA!

Thanks so much for agreeing to be my guest Nik, I wish you continued success.

Thank you again for inviting me here.

Please list your publications and share some reviews with us:

Books by Nik Morton

An Evil Trade

The Bread of Tears

Chill of the Shadow

Gifts from a Dead Race – Collected stories vol.1

Nourish a Blind Life – Collected stories vol.2

Visitors – Collected stories vol.3

Codename Gaby – Collected stories vol.4

I Celebrate Myself – Collected stories vol.5

Leon Cazador, P.I. – Collected stories vol.6 

The Tana Standish psychic spy series:

Mission: Prague (#1)

Mission: Tehran (#2)

Mission: Khyber (#3) 

The Avenging Cat series:

Catalyst (#1)

Catacomb (#2)

Cataclysm (#3)

Bullets for a Ballot

Coffin for Cash

Death for a Dove

Continuity Girl (also featuring We Fell Below the Earth)

A Fistful of Legends (Western anthology: editor) 

Non-fiction

Write a Western in 30 Days – with plenty of bullet points!

Old Shoes and Medals (memoir) 

Fantasy co-authored with Gordon Faulkner, writing as Morton Faulkner:

Floreskand: Wings

Floreskand: King

Floreskand: Madurava

Westerns writing as Ross Morton:

The Magnificent Mendozas

The $300 Man

Old Guns

Blind Justice at Wedlock

Last Chance Saloon

Death at Bethesda Falls

Nik’s Social Media/buy links

Authl.it urls/:

Facebook

http://www.facebook.com/nikmorton.10

Twitter

@nik_morton

Goodreads

http://www.goodreads.com/Nikmorton

Linkedin

es.linkedin.com/pub/nik-morton/14/9b7/77/

www.freewebs.com/nikmorton

http://nik-writealot.blogspot.com

http://auguries-magazine.blogspot.com

FLORESKAND: WINGS

http://authl.it/B076HYD33X

FLORESKAND: KING

http://authl.it/B076MLR9Y4

MISSION: PRAGUE

http://authl.it/B06XFY7LLV

MISSION: TEHRAN

http://authl.it/B06XDWLKNH

MISSION: KHYBER

http://authl.it/B06XFYWBGR

CHILL OF THE SHADOW

http://authl.it/B06XJSB6J8

THE BREAD OF TEARS

http://authl.it/B06XBSGDRS

AN EVIL TRADE

http://authl.it/B07257LTT8

LEON CAZADOR, P.I.

http://authl.it/B076M32Q3G

CATALYST

http://authl.it/56v

CATACOMB

http://authl.it/56w

CATACLYSM

http://authl.it/4hv

WRITE A WESTERN

http://authl.it/56x

Excerpt from Mission: Prague (570 words)

 1942 Five-year-old Tana has escaped from the Warsaw ghetto with her brother Ishmael. Their brother Mordechai was killed. They’ve secretly boarded a ship in Gdynia…

Tana cautiously followed Ishmael and scaled down a ladder onto the well deck. He partially lifted the cargo hatch tarpaulin cover and they both slid into the for’ard hold, where it was pitch-black at first. But after a while, their eyes became accustomed to the darkness; it was not unlike the sewers, Tana supposed, though smelled less rank.

The hold was stacked with crates but no food. Rats scurried to the forepeak, in deep shadow, but neither Tana nor Ishmael was particularly alarmed. Even the prospect of eating these vermin as a last resort held no horrors.

Tana’s stomach rumbled emptily at the memory of the last food scraps to pass her lips two days ago.

Ishmael chuckled and she imagined that he was smiling; he told her she was to make herself comfortable, while he went ‘up top’ to steal some food.

Fearful for his safety, she pleaded with him not to go. He kissed her forehead. “We’ll starve here if I don’t find something, little Tana. I promised Mordechai I’d look after you. I keep my promises.”

He was gone for ages. She had no way of knowing how long. It could have been an hour, perhaps much longer. The waiting seemed endless.

Deep in the creaking, dank-smelling hold, Tana was a little afraid. She would much rather have stayed in the sewers of Warsaw. Known terrors seemed preferable to those unknown. Besides, she had too much imagination.

Then her heart lightened, as she recognised Ishmael’s limping stride across the deck above. He sounded in a hurry. Intuitively, she knew something was wrong.

Anxiously, she scrambled up, her little knees grazing on the metal ladder. She peeked over the coaming.

Silhouetted in the searchlight beam that lanced down from the ship’s bridge, Ishmael attempted to run for cover, heading towards her, dodging around winches and the cowls of ventilators. Under his arm was a brown paper parcel that was spewing apples and he left a trail of broken eggs behind him.

A German voice shrieked: “Halt!”

Ishmael faltered. He turned to face the bridge.

Running out of the wheelhouse, a black-clad sailor leaned over the Navigation Bridge. In his arms was a sub-machine gun. Tana recognized the weapon and her heart froze.

Ishmael’s face was unnaturally pale in the pinioning light. He seemed resigned. His youthful cracked mouth twisted in a breathless agonised grimace. Suddenly, he jack-knifed backwards, six inches in the air to the staccato sound of the Schmeisser MP40 weapon. His out-flung arms violently discarded the stolen food; most of it splashed overboard as he crumpled almost on top of Tana, inches away from her ashen face. A solitary apple rolled past his staring eyes and unthinkingly she snatched the fruit.

Ishmael’s head was on one side, his right cheek squashed against the metal deck and his eyes stared at her. His lips trembled but he was unable to speak. Yet she caught his words, faintly echoing in her mind. “I hope Mordechai won’t be too annoyed with me when I see him…” What little light there was went out of him and a thin gasp of air passed his lips and she felt it, like a kiss, on her cheek.

Eyes wide in shock, she slid back into the shadows under the tarpaulin.

She knelt in the dark. Her mind was completely numb, but she gripped onto the apple – her brother’s last gift to her.

Excerpts from some reviews

Mission: Prague

For me, the best scenes are the one-on-one confrontations, claustrophobic closed room battles of expert second-guessing. There’s a superb fight sequence which takes place in a pitch-dark living room, where weaponless Tana must defend herself against an armed opponent using her memory, wits, senses and what falls to hand. It’s beautifully choreographed and delivered.

The finale … (is) preceded by a simply chilling chapter, the best in the book, where Tana must marshal all of her mental strength to resist the worst that her opponents employ against her. I also thoroughly enjoyed the scenes in the Soviet psychic investigations unit. Likewise, the author’s attention to detail in his descriptions of Prague, and Tana’s cracking back-story, were superb. – Rowena Hoseason, Murder Mayhem and More

Mission: Tehran

There are not too many books that stay with you long after you finish reading them, not too many characters who are so alive it seems like you recently met them. And so it is with Tana Standish, the psychic spy in this page-turning thriller. We travel to Iran, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan and England and meet a variety of brilliantly portrayed characters – both chillingly cruel and highly talented, some of them torturers, others who control a team of remote viewers, others traditional British MI6 characters. The locations are so finely drawn we can almost reach and touch them, the atmosphere so vivid that we can shut our eyes and sense ourselves there. – Maureen Moss, travel journalist, author of More to Life

Mission: Khyber

… is thought-provoking and intellect-expanding stuff, meticulously researched, with a carefully planned plot and a fascinating core character to provide rock solid foundations. A rewarding read suitable for folks who enjoy meaty literary series like Patrick O’Brian’s Napoleonic naval epics. – Rowena Hoseason, Murder Mayhem and More 

Floreskand: Wings

A beautiful and atmospheric tale. The author has skilfully developed the characters in a way that you feel you are right there with them on their quest. I can say that I have read many fantasy stories I have truly enjoyed, but only a few have left that lingering haunting feeling within me. Can’t wait for the next instalment.  – Amazon reviewer

… twists and turns in the presentation of the plot expand the telling of the tale and there are many duly woven into the pattern to enrich and excite the reader. The journey through the Sonalume Mountains has a strong element of authenticity to it, concentrating on the treacherous ice and snow coupled to an intense bitter cold. This seems to derive from an actual experience that must have been quite wretched at the time.  – British Fantasy Society reviewer

Floreskand: King

Long anticipated follow up to Wings and not a disappointment… Nice twist at the end linking in with ‘Wings’ which was set at the same time in Floreskandian history… This story widens the scope of history and certainly leaves you wanting more. – Amazon reviewer

The Bread of Tears

This is a gritty and at times downright gruesome thriller. Written in the first person, Morton has achieved a true sense of feminine appeal in Maggie, the narrator, and despite her religious calling, she comes over as quite a sexy woman… I found myself totally empathising with this full-blooded, gutsy woman… All the characters and horrific events in this crime thriller are extremely visual and well-drawn, making this a riveting read. It would make a brilliant TV series! – Jan Warburton, author of The Secret and A Face to Die For

 Please leave us a comment and your thoughts on Nik’s interview, we’d both love to read them.

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15 Comments
  1. Wow, what a prolific writer indeed! I think I might be after some of your books, Nik! Especially the crime fiction!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Nik edited my third book HURRICANE HALSEY. A busy, talented man indeed!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Wow …When do you sleep, Nik? An impressive array of work. x

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I knew Nik in Spain. We used to meet regularly, have a coffee and swap books. I still have a row of Nik’s books on my shelf (not all of them). Hopefully he still has mine, but I’ve seen Nik’s collection of books, and I don’t think he’ll have much room for more. Lovely long interview, and very interesting. well done.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Glad you enjoyed it. I am sure he will pick you up here Michael Parker. Thanks for rezding and visiting.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the comment, Mick, and good to see you here. Yes, I still have all your books. Too many boxes are in a warehouse at present awaiting an eventual (we hope!) move back to UK. Will keep in touch. Love to Patricia. x

      Liked by 2 people

  5. A great interview with a prolific writer. It’s great to read about someone who writes in numerous genres.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Many thanks for the invitation, Jane. It was fun; hope I didn’t go on too much!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Not at all, it was interesting to read, especially as you have listed some of my favourite authors. Amazing. I hope that you find new followers and readers here. x

      Liked by 1 person

Please leave a reply and comment - your input is really appreciated. Thanks, Jane

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