Monday, July 30, 2012

Author Spotlight: Interview with Chris Barraclough

1. Quickly, give us the title and genre of your book and a 30-word or less tagline:

My book's a fast-paced, action-packed thriller called Crack: A policeman accidentally hits and kills a young girl with his squad car in a notorious British council estate, causing the locals to rise up and rebel.

2. Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

It's a very adult book, filled with bad words, bloodshed and beyond - but all portrayed in a gritty, realistic manner. If someone gets slammed in the face with a metal pipe, they don't just get up again with a bloody nose! If you like action and drama but are sick of ultra-tough SAS-trained anti-heroes, then give Crack a shot!

3. How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

There are literal cracks in the book, from the smashed windscreen on the very first page, but the title is a reference to the very fragile relationship between down-and-out Britons and the authority that tries to keep them in order. After the main character (Nathan Pang) accidentally kills a girl, the locals explode with rage - something we've seen happen for real during the Brixton Riots.

4. Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

Definitely Pang, the conflicted cop who inadvertently causes the riots. He's an average guy stuck in this horrific situation, with hundreds of people baying for his blood, and no idea what to do. Add in the fact that he just killed an innocent girl, and his head's a real mess of a place!

5. How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you?

A horrid little git called Terrence Fisher, based on far too many real-life characters. He takes advantage of the turmoil to fight, steal, and manipulate the rioters to fulfil his own selfish needs. If you saw footage of the recent UK riots, you'll have seen people using the chaos as an excuse to spread mayhem - that's Terrence, except he's a hundred times worse!

6. If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be?  Why?

I had to slash a number of chapters down to keep it fast-paced, stuff that was irrelevant to the story but great fun all the same. I'd love to release a 'director's cut' version that adds them back in...

7. Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series:

I almost got hit by a car myself when shooting the cover, on the road outside my flat - this crumbly old Fiat flew around the corner without slowing and almost sent me flying. Of course, I was stood all gormless in the middle of the road, so I can't really complain!

8. What other books are similar to your own?  What makes them alike?

I actually haven't seen much like Crack around - most action thrillers are about grizzled, invulnerable army marines taking down armies of baddies without breaking sweat. Crack takes the battle to the street, with characters who are just like you or I - people caught up in a situation that's out of control, and heading for disaster. Pang certainly isn't like John McClane, he gets roughed up bad as the book goes on!

9. Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?

I love karaoke, but it's certainly not a talent - more of a drunken obsession...

10. How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

My website has details on all of my books, plus links to download. You can download a free sample of Crack from Amazon if you'd like to check it out, and if you'd like to get in touch, you can reach me at

11. What can we expect from you in the future?

I'm halfway through a prequel to Crack, which reveals more about certain events in that book, and has a number of returning characters, plus some very interesting new ones :)

12. What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

If you leave an Amazon review I'll love you forever, it's something that practically no one seems to do any more! And feel free to get in touch via Twitter too - I'm Seebaruk

13. Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?

Fellow writers, it's a tough, arduous road - it took me almost a decade to get my first book, Bat Boy, published in paperback. Make sure you write for the love of it, and stick with it too - the first time you hold a book that you wrote in your sweaty, greasy mitts, it's the best feeling in the world.

14. Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Life is tough and full of surprises. Make sure you always wear clean underwear.

15. And now, before you go, how about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us:

Cool, here's the first page!

The windscreen fractured, his face pricked by fragments which leapt from the surface and sliced into his skin. A scream died somewhere deep in his throat. With eyes squeezed shut, he slammed his foot on the brake. Agony ripped through his muscle, crippling him from thigh to toe. His body jerked forward as the car shuddered and shook, until the belt snapped across his chest and brought him to a breathless halt, just half an inch from the steering column.

Before he knew what had happened, he was crushed back into his seat. The world was silent again.

Pang’s fingers were bleach-white, still wrapped around the top of the wheel. Every breath was agony. His ribs shifted in unnatural ways and his skull was vibrating, like someone had sideswiped him. His eyes remained shut. Aside from a tender hiss, the only sound he heard was approaching footsteps. Several sets, all running - and now voices across to his side. They were warped somehow, almost monstrous.

Devils come to take me away.

He forced his eyes open and stared at the remains of the glass. For now it held firm, but in total ruins. The point of impact was to his left, directly level with his eye-line. Something solid, probably the size of a bowling ball, had struck it at a terrific pace. Pointed cracks spread from the centre, thick and jagged at first, then thinning out like veins.

“What happened?”

His own voice sounded distant, as if someone outside had mumbled his words for him. Through the cobwebbed cracks, Pang made out black and white shapes that danced before his car. More voices. He heard them clear enough now the ringing had subsided...
Thank you Chris for taking part in my Author Spotlight interview! I hope your writing continues to flourish and we hope to see more of you in the future.
If you or an author/illustrator you know is interested in being interviewed, feel free to send me an email at

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