Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Blog Tour ~ Guest Post ~ Steven Savile


Good morning and welcome to my stop on the Parallel Lines Blog Tour! This tour is being hosted by Titan Books. Today is the release date for Parallel Lines by Steven Savile (pick up a copy here) and this week there is a series of blog posts, each connected to one of the eight central characters. 

This post is centred around the main villain: Archer. Villains can make or break a great book and Steven Savile has written a short piece about some of his favourite villains. Archer is a stand-out villain in Parallel Lines, managing to unite many strangers via their intense loathing of him. Thank you to Titan and Steven Savile for including me on this blog tour. I thought Parallel Lines was a brilliant crime/thriller piece with an intriguing cast of characters. I will share a few details about Parallel Lines and Steven himself, then onto the guest post!

Book Synopsis: 
How far would you go to provide for your child?

Adam Shaw is dying, and knows he’ll leave his disabled son with nothing. His solution? Rob a bank. It’s no surprise that things go wrong. What is surprising is that when another customer is accidentally shot, no one in the bank is in a hurry to hand Adam over to the police. There’s the manager who’s desperate to avoid an audit, the security guard with a serious grudge against the dead man, and the woman who knows exactly how bad the victim really was...

Eight people, twelve hours, one chance to cover up a murder. But it’s not just the police they have to fool. When many lives intersect, the results can be explosive. (Official Titan Books Synopsis)

About the Author (Official Bio + Picture from twitter):  Steven Savile has written for Doctor Who, Torchwood, Primeval, Stargate, Warhammer, Slaine, Fireborn, Pathfinder, Arkham Horror, Risen, and other popular game and comic worlds.  His novels have been published in eight languages to date, including the Italian bestseller L'eridita. He won the International Media Association of Tie-In Writers award for his Primeval novel, SHADOW OF THE JAGUAR, published by Titan, in 2010, and The inaugural Lifeboat to the Stars award for TAU CETI (co-authored with Kevin J. Anderson). 

SILVER, his debut thriller reached #2 in the Amazon UK e-charts in the summer of 2011. It was among the UK's top 30 bestselling novels of 2011 according to The Bookseller.  The series continues in Solomon's Seal, WarGod, and Lucifer's Machine, and is available in a variety of languages. His latest books include HNIC (along with the legendary Hip Hop artist Prodigy, of Mobb Deep) which was Library Journal's Pick of the Month, the Lovecraftian horror, The Sign of Glaaki, co-written with Steve Lockley, and has recently started writing the popular Rogue Angel novels as Alex Archer. The first of which, Grendel's Curse, is out in May.

 He has lived in Sweden for the last 17 years. For more information visit: http://www.stevensavile.com/

Guest Post - Villains by Steven Savile

Samuel Archer has spent most of his adult life making enemies. Most of them were in that bank that morning.

Everybody loves a good villain. They’re fundamental to the jeopardy that drives a plot. They’re the source of all things fun. Take the villain of the piece out of the equation and our hero is left contemplating his navel, heroically, sure, but it’s still basically picking the lint out of his innie. So, the last thing you want is a vanilla villain who’s basically doing bad for the sake of doing Bad Things. 

I mean, what’s House of Cards without the machinations of Francis (be it Urquhart or Underwood)? What’s Road Runner without Wyle E. Coyote? Star Wars without Vader? In terms of great stories, I’d even argue that the villain is more important than the hero in terms of making something truly memorable, but then, I did start out writing horror stories and have a habit of going ‘dark’ in my writing.

So, rather than say here’s a definitive list of the best, what I’ll say is these five bad guys stayed with me long after I read their stories, and in each case they’re a lot more than just a foil for the good guys to go up against. 

My first pick goes back to the idea of behind every great man there’s an even greater woman, because as far as templates for memorable villains go there’s none better than the bloody hand washing Lady Macbeth who by day drives the ambitions of her husband, and by night sleepwalks through the corridors of their castle. His story wouldn’t be anything without her. Quite literally. He’s the weapon she wields, and she knows exactly what to say to bend him, to break him, and eventually reshape him in the image of the destiny she believes is his due. 

Another woman who won’t take no for an answer is that cockadoodie Annie Wilkes, who quite simply couldn’t accept that her beloved Paul Sheldon had killed off Misery Chastain. I would say but for the grace of… well… social grace go most of us. I mean, we love to read or we wouldn’t be here, right? We get emotionally invested in these make believe lives if it’s done right. And okay, maybe you wouldn’t hobble your favourite writer, but you can bet there’s someone out there who’d lock up George RR Martin and stand over him with an axe and a blow torch at the ready if he doesn’t pick up the pace with A Dream of Spring arguing that in fact he is this particular Annie’s bitch… because, here’s my take on it, Annie is bloody terrifying because she’s so mundane. She’s absolutely ordinary. She’s not wearing a monster’s face. She’s not creepy like Norman Bates, or a sociopath like Hannibal Lecter, she’s your favourite caring grandmother, who dedicated her life to helping others as a nurse.  I should add (because I know she won’t read it and it’s therefore safe to say) I’ve been married to a paediatric nurse for a long time, and if imminent death isn’t on the cards her stock response is ‘Get over it, you’ll be fine.’ Thankfully she doesn’t read my stuff, though we do have an axe and a blow torch in the shed...

There’s a lot of talk in the media these days about 1984, for good reason given the way it seems to have become a handbook for government, but the Orwell villain that captured my imagination growing up wasn’t some faceless big brother, it was the charismatic, even charming pig, Napoleon, who managed to convince the other animals that not only were four legs good and two legs bad, but not all animals were created equally, and therefore he should live in the farmhouse like a king and they should just be happy about it. He’s a practical pig of relatively simple vocabulary who praises the notion of ordinary animals working hard and uses words to manipulate others. But he’s smart, too. He gathers attack dogs to do his bidding, consolidating his power and making sure no one can challenge him. He doesn’t offer much in the way of original ideas, preferring to attack the ideas of his fellow animals to make himself look better. He’s treacherous, devious, and smart enough to come up with a catchy slogan, “Long live Animal Farm!” that can be chanted by the adoring masses, nothing too taxing, or too divisive, it works. It’s all about making the farm great again. I mean what animal wouldn’t want the farm to flourish after the rebellion? He turns ordinary animals into enemies of the farm if they challenge him, and delights in turning the other animals against them with constant slander, and those never-ending catchy phrases about loyalty. If they don’t do as commands they’re branded traitors, and traitors in his world have a habit of dying. But it’s all for the good of the farm, he’s making it great again, even as he goes about changing the seven commandments of animalism and stripping his fellow animals of their basic animal rights whilst he and his fat cat pig friends get fatter and fatter. But at least he doesn’t have a Twitter account...

Thanks again to Steven Savile for taking the time to share his thoughts on some of the best villains of recent fiction. Thank you all for visiting Always Trust In Books on this blog tour. For more posts about Parallel Lines this week see below.

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