The saga concludes. Touchstone Season 1 reaches the grand finale

My time travel saga, Touchstone, has finally concluded with the release today of Touchstone (6. Fade to Grey), but while it’s the end of Rachel’s story, it’s not the end of Touchstone.

Touchstone-part-6---facebook-500When I first started novelising Touchstone, back in 2011, I adapted it from a couple of TV spec scripts I’d written. I had these ideas for a teenage time travel TV drama series, but unfortunately it was just about the most expensive idea anyone had ever come up with.

A big budget time travel drama series, you say? A different era every episode, you say? We’ll get back to you.

So in light of the TV world’s indifference, it made much more sense to pursue it as a series of novels. And over the last three years, as the story of Rachel Hines’s quest to get her life back has progressed, it has somehow hit a chord with readers. Continue reading

Touchstone (6. Fade to Grey)

Keep on burning till the end. Both ends burning…

Touchstone (6. Fade to Grey) concludes the time travel saga exploring a small corner of an English city through a century of change.

Rachel makes a final journey to the past to ensure her mother, Lorna Foster, and father, Martyn Hines, have their fateful first kiss at a sweaty Ultravox gig in 1980. But Esther Parker is also making a play for Martyn, and if their romance is kindled, Rachel will never be born.

But she knows she is now up against both Danny and Kath Bright, two former friends and allies, now turned bitter enemies with growing superpowers. And Rachel’s own disturbing inner fire threatens to cut her off from her old life forever.

Can she be the simple village girl she longs to be, or must she accept that she might be a goddess?

It’s all set for an epic battle with destiny, both ends burning. Continue reading

Touchstone (5. Let’s Fall in Love for the Last Time)

It’s murder on the dance floor…

Rachel finds herself in 1934, where she must help Charlie stage a concert featuring renowned Jewish crooner Benny Orphan and an all-black swing orchestra.

But Danny is there too, seemingly intent on sabotaging things. And a group of murderous Blackshirts are determined to make sure the concert doesn’t happen.

As swing fans, nazis, communists and time travellers do battle on the dance floor, Rachel finds that it’s not always clear who’s an ally and who’s an enemy. Especially when disturbing new powers emerging from both her and Danny threaten to tear the city apart.

A gripping tale of love versus hate in the Depression, set to a backdrop of beautiful swing tunes. Continue reading

Touchstone (4: Station at the End of Time)

A haunted train station in 1959, a freight train with a mysterious cargo and a young woman determined to throw herself in front of it…

Rachel miraculously finds herself back at home in the present with her father but suffering a recurring nightmare of being trapped on Kings Heath station in 1959, trying to prevent her maternal grandmother, Deirdre Foster, committing suicide.

As more and more characters from her time-travelling past intrude on both her too perfect waking world and her nightmares, she begins to wonder which world is real… leading to a terrifying battle to hold onto her own sanity. Continue reading

Touchstone (3. All the Time in the World)

Baby, baby, baby… you’re out of time…

Rachel, lost and alone in 2012, travels back to 1966 to repair her lost timeline with the help of Charlie, now 50 years old but still in love with her.

Continuing the adventures of Rachel and Danny, a pair of mismatched History students who stumble upon an old gravestone that catapults them back in time.

The Swinging Sixties are in full flow, Birmingham is being rebuilt and England are hosting the football World Cup.

The temptation to stay there and live with Charlie is overwhelming, but Danny is there too, and the World Cup betting sting he’s carrying out on the city’s bookies brings them all to the attention of a local gangster, a corrupt politician, a cop with a grudge and a cabal of mysterious time travellers who are determined to prevent the past being changed.

In the end it’s hard to care about correcting the past when you’re in danger of becoming the foundations for a new high rise. Continue reading

How to be a paperback writer…

When I started publishing ebooks for Kindle last year, quite a few people asked me when the paperback versions were coming out.

This was obviously annoying.

Why aren’t you embracing the digital ebook revolution!!? I shouted (well, thought, more than shouted).

But I can’t say I’m surprised. People still cling to the feel of books, the smell of books; the notion of books as tactile pleasures. I did that my whole life before I converted to the convenience of reading great books on my iPhone and Kindle.

So I have to say that, although I think it’s highly likely that ebooks will replace dead tree books over the next few years and reduce them to the status that vinyl records currently enjoy in the world (curios for a minority of buyers, sold by specialist shops), I do also see that paperbacks still have a place in the world, and that for a while longer people will still want them.

And that’s why I’ve worked hard to make five of my titles available in paperback editions.

Continue reading

A spooky little thing I noticed about our unconscious need for structure

I go on about structure a lot, particularly in screenwriting, but also in my prose fiction. I teach screenwriting classes at Worcester University and Birmingham City University, both at undergraduate and masters level, and with each intake I find myself giving students my take on the basics of 3-Act Structure as defined by screenwriting guru Syd Field (hear us chat about it in my podcast), or the mythological paradigm of the Hero’s Journey, from Campbell via Vogler.

A lot of people in writing circles reject these easy paradigms as ‘formulaic’ and insist that great stories are much more complex than the simple 3-Act structure, and if you want to write great stories, whether in film or as novels, you’d be better off ignoring these structures and going with your gut instinct. Continue reading

The Budapest Breakfast Club goes INTERACTIVE… and it’s FREE for 2 days!

Yes, it’s another ebook giveaway. The Budapest Breakfast Club is now available FREE to download to your Kindle for the next two days (1-2 March) .

But this is not just any old e-book.

The novel has been given a bit of a makeover.  It’s now the INTERACTIVE SOUNDTRACK edition.

It’s something I’ve been thinking of doing for a year now. A lot of my books contain musical references, so wouldn’t it be nice to hear the music as you read? Continue reading