Sunday, 29 November 2009

Phil The Shelf 17:32 hrs today (GMT)...or maybe not!!
This is a little reminder that I'm on Phil Rickman's show on BBC Radio Wales at 17:32 hours, but it now looks like it will be during next week's show (or maybe the next, as the listings name Stella Rimington as the guest author). The link above will allow you to listen in live - or you can use it to access the show later in the week. This will be episode 3 of a six part series.

Apologies to those who tuned in today, but, who knows, you might have enjoyed this weeks selection of authors any way?

Saturday, 28 November 2009

The Daily Telegraph names Joe Hunter in it's books for Christmas list

Sorry, but at time of writing the website link is down. But anyway, Joe Hunter's two outings get a mention (Dead Men's Dust and Judgement and Wrath) in Jeremy Jehu's round-up of the thriller books available for Christmas. I'm not sure of the context where both mine and Sean Black's Lockdown are used in a pop at Lee Child, but I'm still very grateful for the mention. It is lovely to see me, Sean Black and Jeremy Duns - both guys I respect thoroughly and whose books I've mentioned previously - all get a mention. We all debuted this year, and I for one feel part of a little brotherhood with both these guys, notwithstanding the fact we're all ITW Debut Authors classmates.

Friday, 27 November 2009

What's ga'an on in Cumbria?

I just wanted to express my thanks to all those who got in touch to make sure I was Okay during the recent horrendous weather in my neck of the woods.

Other than a little wind damage to my garden, I got off very lightly when compared to many other people in my county. The floods were devestating: homes flooded, businesses destroyed, tourists staying away, and bridges collapsing were only a few of the headlines flashing around the world. Perhaps the most poignant story was that of PC Bill Barker who died in the act of saving a bus load of people on a collapsing bridge. I take my hat off to Bill, and say, 'Well done'. Bill is a true hero.

Following the wettest day on record, I got back to doing what authors do. I was writing again, watching stuff swooping past my windows carried on the high winds - but always had one ear on the TV playing behind me, listening to the unfolding of the tragedy around me. On Wednesday this week, I sought to escape the horrendous weather, and headed over the Pennines to the relative safety of York, to do a library event at Acomb library with top psychological crime author Sophie Hannah. Enroute the weather was absolutely atrocious, but I made it there. Then the weather caught up with me. Not as bad, but bad enough, and the rain lashed York like it had been in Cumbria for the past five days or so. On the return journey on Thursday things were almost as bad, but i made it home to some nice blue sky for a change. Yeah, right. it was still lashing down from the heavens. But I'm not complaining. I could return to my writing, but have to admit to thinking more than once about those in blue, green, brown and high-vis uniforms who are still out there still trying to do good for the people of Cumbria.

Someone asked me recently: 'Do you miss being in the police?'
I replied: 'Apart from the camaraderie, no. Not ONE bit.'
But I have to admit, when all was falling to pieces around me, I did get that urge to go and put my waterproofs on and go do my bit. The only thing that stopped me? I knew that I'd only be getting in someone else's way. So, I've realised, my place is now at this laptop. The good I can do for the people of Cumbria is to continue writing and try to give them something else to be proud of. Compared to Bill Barker's sacrifice, mine is only a very small thing indeed.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Have your name immortalised in print in a future Joe Hunter book

Have you ever wanted to have your name, or that of a loved one, immortalised in print? Well, here's an opportunity for you. I was approached to offer a prize to the ROOM TO READ charity auction currently being held on Ebay, and agreed to include a character named by the winning bidder in a future Joe Hunter book.

If you'd like to take a look, click the link above. If you'd like to take part, all you have to do is offer a higher bid than is currently offered. Good luck, highest bidder wins. the auction ends on November 30th 2009.

Full terms are on the page.

Apart from myself, many authors and companies have rallied to support this very worthy cause which helps to spread the joy of reading and literacy to underprivileged girls, and if you want to take a look at the other prizes on offer, take a click here:

Saturday, 21 November 2009

DC Vertigo Crime

Growing up, I was a sucker for comic books, my firm favourites being 2000AD, Action, Starblazer (anyone remember that one?), and to be honest I've never given up reading comic books - although these days I say "They're not comics, they're graphic novels!!" For years I collected anything and everything related to Robert E. Howard's Conan the Cimmerian and all the related characters and to this day have a loft full of carboard boxes filled with...ahem...graphic novels. Lately I haven't had the opportunity to read many, uh, GN's, with the exception of A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE which as you probably know was turned into a tough gangster flick starring Vigo Mortenson.

Any way, the point of this is that I only today received in the post a review copy of DC Vertigo Comics 'The BRONX KILL' written by Peter Milligan and drawn by James Romberger.

Now, the title's cool enough to catch my eye, but the interior is even better. It's 182 pages of top class crime writing and superior art work, and if I say it's as good as any crime book I've read lately I wouldn't be exaggerating. Some people are still a little sniffy about 'graphic novels' thinking them immature and for kids. Well, they couldn't be further from the truth here. The Bronx Kill reads like a classic Hitchcock tale of paranoia, deceit and lies, all the while interspersed with the kind of noir action that is the staple of many contemporary crime novels. So, I guess that you realise that I loved the book? So much so that I let the editor know, in fact.

For a few hours solid reading, that will leave you thinking for days after, why not take a look at the link above.

The Bronx Kill is only one of a number of DC Vertigo's new Vertigo Crime line of books for adult readers. I feel like I've just discovered a new treasure trove to plunder.

I loved it.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

JAW gets a new paperback cover

Again, having just spotted this on Amazon, I'm safe to say that I can now show you the new look paperback cover for Judgement and Wrath for when it's released next spring. Hope you all like it as much as I do.

It was a dark and stormy night...

Today I braved the storm of the century that is wreaking havoc in my home county of Cumbria. As I write this the wind is shrieking and unbattened-down items of furniture are rattling around my garden, splashing through the 'new' swimming pool that has appeared where my patio was yesterday. Touch wood: I am far more fortunate than a lot of my fellow Cumbrians tonight. Many people have had their homes and businesses flooded, and this latest round of storms are threatening to be worse than the deluge that submerged Carlisle back in 2005.

Any way, the reason I faced the storms was to drive into Carlisle to the local BBC Radio office to do a pre-recorded show to air at 17.30 on Sunday 29th November on BBC Radio Wales. I had the pleasure of being interviwed by author Phil Rickman, whose show 'Phil The Shelf' is very popular at present. On the show I talk about Joe Hunter, my influences, my take on bullies and the paradox that Joe Hunter faces when dealing with Dantalion - a product of bullying in his formative years. I also speak about the attraction of crime novels, particularly hard-edged action figures like Joe Hunter, Jack Reacher and Joe Pike and why women love them so much. Hope I don't upset any feminists out there. I also give a hint of what might be in line for Joe Hunter in coming books.

I'm looking forward to hearing the finished result, and hope you enjoy it too. I'll post a link as soon as it becomes available.

I was glad that it was radio and not TV: wet through and looking wind-swept maybe wouldn't have went down that well on TV.

But I've made it home, hale and hearty, and hoping that the power lines don't go down before I finish typ

Unsolicited Comments Welcome...

Some of the kindest and inspirational comments I receive about my books come from my friends and family, and I guess that to some extent you would expect that to be the case. I am grateful, obviously, but every now and again I come across a totally unsolicited comment from people who do not know me, who may not have even read any of my books, and these really are touching indeed.

Take for instance a letter sent to Cumbria Life magazine in response to an article published about me in May this year:

"Carlisle and Morton School, should be proud of crime writer Matt Hilton (Cumbria Life, May), who did not have the advantage of a grammar school and university education like many other writers, but left school at 15. He must surely be Cumbria's writer of the year."

Well, I'm honoured that someone should even feel like that having read about my story, and to have taken the time to voice an opinion. This was without an agenda or any other reason than perhaps the author of the letter felt inspired by my tale. My huge thanks go to Tom Moore (who I'm pretty sure I've never met before) from Southport for his very kind words. Inspiration is reciprocal, my friend.

...and also thanks to Val, (who is a friend), for buying the magazine, just so she could cut the snippet out of the pages to pass on to me. That's inspirational too.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

SLASH AND BURN - Joe Hunter three

When your book covers become available on Amazon (thanks to Sean Black for the head's up) you know that you're safe to share them with the world. So here it its; the first look at the cover of SLASH AND BURN, the third in the Joe Hunter series. On sale first week in April 2010.
If anyone would like to pre-order a copy, then here's the link:

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Of Dandelions and Daffodils...and explosions (just in case you thought I was growing soft)

Flowers have featured heavily in the last couple of days of my life.

Not very 'thrilling' you might think for a thriller author to be talking about flowers, but there is a reason for it.

Explosions, too.

First off, DANDELION.

I had to chuckle when my well-meaning mam said she'd been reading Judgement and Wrath and had got to the point where Dandelion first shows up. 'It's not Dandelion, it's Dantalion,' I explained. 'Oh, well, you know who I mean,' she responded.

Well, actually, that got me thinking. Must make sure that I don't pick a villain's name that is difficult to pronounce in future. Even in Dead Men's Dust, there were different people calling the killer TWO-BALL Cain (which I'm sure as a red-blooded man he appreciated), while me and a few others pronounced his name Chew-bel Cain.

Another thing that has been mispronounced is Arrowsake (the secret base where Hunter trained while fighting terrorists). Some people ( even on the audio reading of DMD) pronounced it ARRO-SACK-AY as though it was a Japanese name. It isn't it's pronounced ARROW (as in bow and arrow) and SAKE (as in oh, for f..k's sake!). My fault entirely, as I used the original base for the wartime Special Operations Executive as the idea behind Arrowsake. This was based in Scotland at Arisaig, which I turned into a phonetic (ish) sounding Arrowsake to avoid the ire of the locals.

With Dantalion, you can pronounce it DAN-TALLION or DAN-TAY-LION but please don't call him Dandelion - I'm not sure that the warped contract killer would care too much for that. Being callled his mother's little angel was enough to send him off on one, let alone being callled her little weed.

Oh, and by the way, the title of DMD is plural - but it still occasionally gets the singular Dead Man's Dust.

Let this be a lesson to all you aspiring authors when considering titles and character names.


Well, what can I say?

As followers of this blog know, I appeared on BBC Radio Five Live on the Simon Mayo show where J&W was reviewed by three critics. Although I kind of expected to be attacked as being a 'commercial' thriller writer as opposed to being a 'literary author, the last thing I expected was for a discussion to spring up as to what two 'yellow things' were on the cover of the book. Someone suggested rubbish, and someone else suggested 'Daffodils', while I was thinking WHAT THE F..K? Did two tiny yellow blobs of colour mean anything to listeners who couldn't even see the book cover?

OK, so I got that the presenter and the critics were only having a little banter, so I didn't feel precious about it, but you could probably hear from my desultory explanation that 'They're lights in the distance.' that i wasn't that chuffed at the direction the conversation had turned.

But, hey, overall, I came out feeling good. Two of the critics liked the book and said so, while the third, although constantly referring to Lee Child as being better also summed up by saying he liked it.

Now for the EXPLOSIONS!!

The feedback I've had has been massive, and very incendiary from some people (get the explosion reference?).

I've had some well-wishers emailing, and some telephoning, and even some demanding that one of the critics be boiled in oil then strung out for the ravens to peck at....and I have to say a HUGE thank you to you all.

Another one for the aspiring authors here: not everyone will like your work. FACT. Some will try to pull it down at the expense of making others sound better. FACT. Critics criticise. FACT. Just take any bad press on the chin and move on.

...although that big pot of oil is approaching bubbling point!!

Seriously, though, here's some quotes gleaned from said radio interview:

“suffused with testosterone. . .. very exciting . . . I liked Joe Hunter.” Zara Husain

“Fun, furious. . . a good read. . . . cracking pace. . . crisp pacey thriller.” Joel Morris

“I enjoyed it. . . classic opening scene. . . last 1/3 really exciting. I was totally caught-up in it.” Boyd Hilton.

So what's there to complain about, huh?

My thanks to Simon Mayo, and to Zara, Joel and Boyd, for featuring me on the show.

Joe Hunter comes up as a decent Son of Spade

Here's a link to a review of Judgement and Wrath over at JD Steen's Sons of Spade web-site.

Many thanks to JD for a well-balanced review.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Hear me on BBC Radio 5 Live

Tomorrow, Thursday 12th November 2009 at 3pm I will be appearing live on Simon Mayo's show on BBC Radio Five Live to speak about Judgement and Wrath - Joe Hunter's latest thrilling adventure.

You can listen in via the website at:

or on SKY TV on channel 0105

or listen on radio at 909/693 AM

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Sunday, 8 November 2009

The Road To Hell and back Again

With fireworks exploding all around us, me and my wife, Denise, made our way around Newcastle College in search of the Masonic Hall on Maple Terrace, Newcastle. We were on a scouting foray to find the location for the launch of Sheila Quigley's new book - The Road To hell - the fifth in her Lorraine Hunt series, released that day (5th November - hence the fireworks)by Tonto Books.

We were about four hours too early, but we didn't trust Google maps to send us in the right direction. Our mistrust was well-founded. We discovered the hall, having walked about 2 miles all around the back streets and alleyways of Elswick. But that was OK. We found that if we'd only walked out of our hotel, across some grass and up a steep hill we'd have made it much sooner. Still, while we were there and taking in the gothic splendour of the building, brilliant crime author Adrian Magson and his wife, Anne, turned up on a similar scouting mission. We were joined shortly after that by aspiring crime author, Col Bury, who'd had an even wider detour through the mean streets of a nearby housing estate. It was like a mini-writing convention, meeting and greeting old pals and new (in Adrian, Anne and Col's case that is who were meeting each other for the first time). Together we set off in search of sustenance and ended up in the Starbuck's opposite the main railway station, where we had a great time chewing the fat and downing Starbucks' finest. We killed time then headed off for our respective hotels to shower and prepare for the launch.

We all ended up back outside the Masonic Hall, where we found we were still too early, but that was OK, too, cause it gave us more time to chat. I really must kick myself into better shape, because I met a couple of aspiring authors who write together, who I'd met last March at Borders in Team Valley. I neglected to catch their names again - shame on me. But if you're reading this, believe me when i say it was a pleasure catching up again, and I hope it's not long until we see your books on the shelves.

Stuart Wheatman, head honcho of Tonto books was on hand, and I made his aquaintance. Great guy who was working very hard to make Sheila's launch night special.

Pretty soon, Sheila's friends and family began to show up by the car and minibus load. It was lovely meeting her family - folk right up my alley. Ken McCoy - author of the Mad Carew crime books - and his wife Val showed up and it was nice catching up again with Ken.

Sheila showed up with her usual merriment, her laughter announcing her arrival and we all entered the hall for the launch. it was a lovely cosy affair with tables, decorations and live music from a band who played the theme songs that make up the titles of Sheila's books.

Sheila's new book was launched and we took the opportunity for a signed edition.

After the do, me, Den, Adrian, Anne and Col went off in search of food and found a lovely Italian of Grainger street (Tiscani's I think it was called) and had a lovely meal. Once again the talk was about writing and the publishing industry, and I learned a heck of a lot. My friends also learned what a Jam Eater is. Opinions are still divided.

The following morning we resolved to meet again, and did so, our little bunch meeting with Sheila under Gray's monument, then heading off for another round of creative writing chat at a local coffee shop. Before we knew it three or four hours had passed and we all headed off for our respective trains home.

Great couple of days. Thank you Sheila for the invite, it was a pleasure, and the 'almost' headbutt genuinely was an accident!!!

The photos are once again kindly supplied by Adrian Magson - cause I remain useless when it comes to remembering such essentials as cameras.

For more on Sheila Quigley, click here:

For More on Adrian magson, click here:
For more on Col Bury, click here:

For more on Ken McCoy, click here:
Photo's top to bottom:
Ken McCoy, Sheila Quigley, Matt Hilton
Sheila Quigley signing copies of her new book
Col Bury and Matt Hilton
Sheila Quigley and the orb (look closely)
Adrian Magson, Col 'red eye' Bury, Matt 'squint eye' Hilton

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Empty vessels make most noise

I'm often the person in the group who sits quietly, doesn't say much and simply listens, absorbing what is said and only offering my opinion when I've something important to convey.

That doesn't work well when you're blogging. I can only apologise for my lack of verbosity these past couple weeks. But here we go, I've got a couple things to tell you about.

For those of you who follow this blog because you are aspiring authors and have been following my trials, tribulations and adventures through the world of publishing then this is for you:

As I previously mentioned, I completed the rough draft of book 5 in the Joe Hunter series, told you all about how I'd written it in third person, how I'd had to re-write the final third of the book when discovering a friend had come up with a similar scenario, and all the other things I whittered on about. Well, what I've been doing in the meantime is rewriting it all again, putting it back into first person for the Joe Hunter chapters and re-organising one plot thread and doing away with another entirely. You may wonder why: It was a fusion of good advice from my agent and also from a fellow author, who pointed out that Joe's voice was my brand. Although I liked the book the way I'd written it, it just didn't read to me like a Joe Hunter book. Third person offered more depth, but it didn't hold the same urgency and frantic pace that I was searching for. So back to first PPOV it went for Joe. Writing from third to first isn't as easy as changing 'Hunter said' to 'I said'. There's a lot more to it than that. I've just done finished re-writing the book again. But steady on, before the champagne flutes come out, I'll be going back to it again. And again. And, yes, you've got it, again. But that's just the way it is. Whoever said that the writing game was an easy lark?

Dead Men's Dust was released in paperback in the UK a month ago. I'd like to report that it has done very well, and at one point reached number 18 in the 'official' bookscan charts. It has also featured heavily in the indidual charts at various booksellers and supermarket chains. Thank you to everyone who bought a copy and helped me achieve such heights.

A fortnight ago, Judgement and Wrath came out in the UK (and is due next week in Oz, NZ, South Africa and Canada etc) and it has been great receiving emails and best wishes from old friends and new readers alike. Fabulous stuff for a quiet, reserved lad like me.

By the way, did I tell you about Leeds? Oh, I did. Just remember that both Leeds Borders and Leeds Waterstone's have signed copies of DMD and JAW available. Get 'em while they're hot!

Coming up I've a couple events for you:

Next Thursday 12th November at 3 pm (that's 15:00 hours for all you veterans) I will be appearing on Simon Mayo's Radio FIVE Live show to talk about Judgement and Wrath and about Joe Hunter. Also appearing on the same show will be Attica Locke talking about her new literary thriller Black Water Rising. It's sure to be a great show.

Then, on Thursday 25th November I'll be at Acomb Library in York, alongside psychological crime author Sophie Hannah for another night of chat. It's a pleasure appearing alongside Sophie; she's an amazing orator, an amazing poet and an amazing writer. Thinking Yin and Yang are you? Well, there's something in it.

Something else I'm looking forward to:
This Thursday sees the publication of Northern Queen of Gritty Crime Writing, Sheila Quigley's, fifth book - The Road To Hell - and I'm attending her launch in Newcastle. Should be a great event.

My next event is a private one. It is something I'm looking forward to with a mix of pleasure and trepidation. Basically, I'm attending a secondary school to impart my knowledge and experience of writing to a group of talented creative writers. The word EEK comes to mind. But, hey, I'm up for it. Looking forward to it in fact. I wish that when I was a lad, an author had come to my school and told me a thing or two about getting published.

Lastly, I'd like to mention a few things (sorry if this sounds like yet another commercial break).
(DMD) L'Inseguitore (translated by Stefano Mogni) is now out in Italy. I'm not sure how it's doing, but judging by its number of appearances on Google it's doing pretty well.
(DMD) Der Nochensammler comes out in Germany next February, and did I tell you that Heyne had bought rights to publish JAW as well?
I haven't got a publication date for the Bulgarian or Romanian versions of DMD yet, but as soon as I know, I'll let you know.
DMD is now available as an unabridged audio book, available from ISIS Publishing, read by David John.
A large print edition of DMD is now available for purchase from Clipper Books, and there's also a US large print edition available from HarperLuxe.
No news about a movie deal yet... (Joking - people who were at Leeds library will get that one).

that's all from me for the moment.
Keep on keeping on y'all

NZ gets JAW this coming Monday

I had a head's up from a buddy in New Zealand who has confirmed that Judgement and Wrath will be out there this coming Monday.
Cheers Bryan.

Monday, 2 November 2009

A shout out to my Australian, New Zealand and Canadian cousins

Hello all across the oceans. It is my understanding that Dead Men's Dust (mass market paperback edition) and Judgement and Wrath (hardback edition) are published in Australia, New Zealand and Canada this month. Sorry about the fuzzy information, but from my understanding the books should now be available.