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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Guest Spot On Melissa Keir's Blog!


Today I'm having Andrew Weston by to visit. I really enjoyed his interview questions and am lucky to count Andrew as a friend. He is a guy who lives the life of a romance hero every day in Greece! So pull up a chair and get to know this sizzling man!
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Thank you Andrew for stopping by. Please tell my readers a little about your life. I was born in the city of Birmingham, in the UK and grew up in the towns of Bearwood and Edgbaston, eventually attending Holly Lodge Grammar School for Boy’s where I was School
Captain and Head Boy.

I always loved team events and was an active sportsperson for my school, college and a variety of rugby, martial art, swimming and athletics teams throughout the city.

On graduation in 1977 I joined the Royal Marines and served in a number of roles both in the UK and abroad.

In 1985 I became a police officer with the Devon & Cornwall Constabulary, and fulfilled a variety of uniformed and plain clothed duties until my early retirement in 2008.

Over those years, I wrote and illustrated a selection of private books for my children regarding the life of a tiny kitten, called, “The Adventures of Willy Whiskers”. I also gained further qualifications in Law and Religious Studies, was an active member of Mensa and continued to be an active sportsperson, providing lessons free of charge to local communities.

An unfortunate accident received on duty meant I had to retire early from the police force, but after moving to the sunny Greek island of Kos to speed up my recuperation, I was at last able to devote time to the “Guardian Concept” I had developed over my years in the military and police.

When not writing, I enjoy the many power cuts we get here in Greece, Greek dancing and language lessons, and being told what to do by my wife, Annette. I also have the uncanny ability
to hunt shadows in the dark. To date, I’ve managed to catch three – but let them go on each occasion as it was too scary!


See ladies, don't you agree? He's living a romance hero's life!
What television sitcom is most like your family? Why?
Married with children. Why? I’d get strung up if I told you. :) Please use your imagination. Ha ha.
What’s your favorite thing to do to relax?
It’s a combination of several factors, depending on my mood. Running, swimming, reading and watching a good film are top of the list –although I find them difficult to do at the same time.
If you could go back in time to when you were seven years old, what wisdom or advice would you pass on to yourself?
Matrix fan’s will appreciate this one. I’d say, “Take the red pill! For goodness sake, THE RED ONE!”

Seriously, though – looking back – I’d strongly advise myself to
follow my heart instead of my head. It would have led me along an entirely different life course, and I often wonder where I’d be now if I’d chosen differently.
For what are you grateful?
My family – and the fortitude to handle whatever problems come my way.
At what age were you the happiest? What triggered such joy?
I’d have to say that would be when I was about six. My family was still alive and together. It always snowed at Christmas. Summers were still hot and sunny, and I was cocooned from the harsh reality of the world outside. There was still a magical quality to life then that I never forget. I’d love to get that back for everyone.
What is the number one lie you tell yourself? How is that working out?
That I’ll regain the full head of hair I had prior to my accident! Sadly, Mr Cueball still rules in the kingdom of Shine! :)
Now about you as an author…What authors had an impact
on you growing up and as an adult?

Growing up: Arthur C Clarke – Isaac Asimov – Ray Bradbury – Nelle Harper Lee – C. S. Lewis.

As an adult: Stephen R Donaldson – Julian May – Ursula Le Guinn – Raymond E Feist and Trudy Canavan.
Did anyone in your life influence you or encouraged you to be a writer? (teacher, family member, friend)
In my early years, not really. It wasn’t until after my accident and I was well enough to come home from hospital that my wife suggested I keep myself busy by putting all the thoughts and ideas I’d come up with over the years down in writing. So I did.
And look at me now!
What is your favorite aspect of writing? Your least favorite?
My favorite aspect is seeing the polished end result! The fruition of months of work come together that people can enjoy.

My least favorite aspect is having my routine messed with! The repeated power cuts we get here in Greece are very frustrating and I hate living here at times. (But plans are afoot)…
What aspect of writing would you most like to improve on?
Believe it or not, I’d like to improve my ability within the romance genre. Not because I want to be known as a writer of erotic/romance fiction per se, but because it’s a notoriously difficult genre to write well. If I can improve that aspect of my writing, it will enhance the quality of my work across the board when they touch on those themes.
Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing?
Definitely. Strong – good quality coffee and silence
Do you have a common theme or item that appears in each of your books?
Although I’m new, I’d like to think that different aspects of my dark and twisted humor appear in different ways in each story.
What have you learned the most from being in the writing
business?

Be honest with those you work with, (Your publisher and editor, etc) and work with them. It’s so worth it!
Tell us about your latest release:
Blurb:

A small boy runs in front of a truck.

Miners trapped in the aftermath of a devastating underground explosion have no hope of escaping.

A stricken passenger aircraft plunges thousands of feet towards the earth below.

Everyone survives!

Why?

Because they are among the first in a number of miraculous interventions around the globe which heralds to the world that, “Guardian Angels”, blessed with extraordinary powers and
incredible technology, actually do exist!

While society in general reacts with euphoria, not everyone is
pleased!

There are those in power and many within the criminal underworld, who seek to counter the threat they feel these newcomers represent.

Early confrontations ensue, leaving many hungry for retribution. When it comes, their revenge is exacted at a terrible price in lives and suffering.

In turn, this creates a backlash that causes people to lose hope in their newfound friends, and which causes public opinion to change.

Is the fairy tale over before it even begins?


“Guardian Angels” is a powerful and compelling story about the catalyst that could at last, galvanize society to unite and look towards the future with hope.

Sadly, it also reveals how fragile such a spark of hope could be.

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Excerpt (unedited):

May had seen the truck coming from over thirty yards away to her right and decided to wait for it to pass before she began
crossing. She glanced across the road opposite, and immediately noticed the young man with a shaven head on the other side of the street, (although most people were young to her), dressed in one of those black fleece jackets that were so popular these days.

She noticed him, because after forty years of working with people, she was an excellent judge of bearing and character, and the man opposite, although appearing to be in his late thirties, perhaps his forties, seemed to radiate the confidence and authority of someone much older.

Not only that, but even at her age, she could see that he had the most magnetic grey eyes she had ever seen. Eyes that briefly flicked over all those around him, herself included, instantly taking in a wealth of information. Eyes that frowned at the CCTV camera’s, positioned only thirty yards away, before focusing intently on someone or something just to her right.

Puzzled, May glanced to her right, noticing almost immediately that the truck was drawing closer, and, somewhat startled by
that same flock of pigeons that began flying into the air all around her, she looked more intently, and realized they were fleeing from a little boy who was so focused on the birds, he obviously wasn’t watching where he was going.

He was running so fast, she knew in an instant that he would be unable to stop in time.

She glanced at the truck, back at the boy, and behind him to a young woman, most likely the boy’s mother, who appeared
terrified and was obviously shouting something to him.
Oh dear, she thought, knowing with dreadful certainty what was about to happen.

The last of the pigeons took to the air, just missing May’s face, and causing her to duck and look away, back across the street to the striking young man in the black fleece.


In all her years of experience, she had never seen eyes that seemed to flash so brightly, as if they had an inner light, eyes that again flicked to her before one last glance at the CCTV cameras, causing him to grimace, almost as if in distaste at being forced to act in public.

Then he did the strangest of things.

Instead of reacting, or beginning to react like the people around her to the accident about to happen, the man stepped forward
into what she would describe was a fighting stance, with both hands raised, at the exact moment the little boy came to a frozen halt in the road in front of her. By now, the truck was almost upon the boy, only a foot away, and because of the shock, time seemed to slow down.

May clearly saw the man’s left hand suddenly shoot out; his palm and fingers opened like a policeman directing traffic to stop. Incredibly, the truck slammed to an instantaneous stop, as if an invisible wall had been placed in front of it, causing the front end to crush in on itself, and the back end to lift from the
pavement.

With his other hand, the man made a sweeping motion, as if he were giving an imaginary opponent a back-handed slap to the
face, and the little boy was swept away from the vehicle with inches to spare, flying past her at incredible speed.

May found it hard to tear her eyes away from the man as his hands continued to move so fast, that even in slow motion, they
became a blur.

Because it was in front of her, she could see glass and other fragments from the truck fanning away from the point of impact,
but instead of showering bystanders, including herself in debris, they seemed to pause momentarily in mid air before dropping vertically straight down onto the ground.

The driver of the truck also seemed to be held in position, shock on his face, eyes tightly shut, despite the fact his vehicle was
now so far up in the air it was almost on its nose, its contents spilling forward, remaining motionless for just a moment before beginning its descent.

She was aware the young man was still gesturing, now reaching out with his right hand upturned, as if he were about to grasp a light bulb, and looking back towards the boy. She was amazed to see his flight through the air altered away from the hard concrete of the road, and into the raised flowerbeds outside the bookstore twenty yards away.

As the child and vehicle came to rest, the man looked intently at them both in turn for a few moments, squinting as if he were
reading small print, before nodding and giving a satisfied grin. People’s attention were still diverted, and so, without ceremony he glanced around once more, focused again on the CCTV cameras with a look of concentration on his face, and began to turn to walk away.

May couldn’t help but think at the young man,
Hang on. You
clearly did something to help and you’re just going to leave?


Amazingly, the young man immediately checked his stride as if he had heard what she thought. He stopped, turned around and looked back at her smiling.

His thought came to her.
One day the world will see how special that little boy is, May, what he’ll become. We can’t have him messing things up before he’s had a chance to shine, now can
we?


Then he turned again, and he was lost from sight in moments, leaving May quite unnerved, and looking wide-eyed at the mother of the young boy who now stood next to her. She didn’t seem to realize that May was there, and was staring in anger at the back of the young man’s receding jacket, before jumping as if startled into remembering where she was.

Turning, the young lady shouted something and began fighting her way through the crowd toward her son, leaving a bemused May standing alone at the curb wondering what on earth to do.

May was unnerved. What bothered her was the fact that the young man had heard what she’d thought; somehow, he even knew her name, and even though her hearing aid was switched off, she had heard him speak to her across a crowded street without moving his lips. How on earth had he managed that?
I think I’d better go home, she thought, otherwise people will put
me in a home if I start telling them I’ve seen a guardian angel.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
How did you decide on your story plot?
That came together over many years. Because of my actual roles within the military and police, I’ve had to witness suffering and devestation first hand on many, many occasions. More than I care to remember in fact. I often used to wonder,
“what would have happened if we had got here sooner? Or had the technology or capability to anticipate and prevent such tragedy striking in the first place?”
“What would it be like to have a ‘global emergency response service’ who had the capacity to respond to such events with far more efficiency than that currently possessed? Who could actually ‘undo’ much of the suffering caused?”


So, I took the real life elements I’d witnessed and expanded them to incorporate the ideas I’d begun formulating. I added a structured training system and set of abilities – and the advanced technology needed – to bring the Guardians to life.
Amazingly, when I then took the time to plan the full story out, I realized there was enough material to encompass two trilogies! It was a daunting prospect. Thankfully, it didn’t put me off.
How did you choose your characters names and location for your story?
It took a lot of research. The Guardians have watched mankind for millenia, waiting for the right time to intoduce themselves to a world desperately in need of guidance. In need of a unifying catalyst that will unite people, and help them reach out to the future with hope. So obviously, once they are revealed, what takes place happens within a “global” setting.

Without giving the game away, all I can say at this stage is…Part of the process for naming the characters was to identify
beings from ancient myth and legend who might be attributed with “Guardian” characteristics. How would their names evolve
over time? How might they be incorporated into a modern world? What aspects–if any–from myth and legend, might explain them to us now?

I’m sorry, I cant explain it more clearly at this stage. The reader will understand exactly what I mean once the book is released.
Additionally, certain revelations are made as the series progresses, to help you gradually appreciate just how far back
things may take you…(you’ll see).
Do you have a favorite scene? Why?
Yes. Again, it’s a little difficult to describe because the book
is released later this month and I don’t want to give too much away. BUT–it involves the point where a little girl who has lost everything realises she’s safe after all! There is someone out there–“she can trust”. It was very satisfying to write and will hopefully bring a tear to your eye. :)
Do you have a character that you identify with? Who and why?
To be honest, I was careful to avoid putting too much of myself
into any one character so that I could immediately identify with them. I wanted each one to be distinct and individual. However, I do have a favorite, as she is based on my wife and I think the readers will take to her too. Watch out for someone called
“Yasin”…and you’ll get an idea of why she’s going to be fun.

Thank you Andrew for visiting with us today. I'm sure readers are going to enjoy your book, especially at a time like now when things happen without reason, it would be nice to know someone is watching out for mankind.
Thank you for having me Melissa. Sorry I couldn’t answer some of the questions as fully as I’d have liked. (But Guardian Angels isn’t out until the end of August).I really enjoyed it–and some of the questions even made my brain hurt as I had to think. (Us
guys are really good at that. Yes?) :)


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