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Friday 12 August 2016

ℚ♫ S5 Uncovered - James Durose-Rayner

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about S5 Uncovered (, Clink Street Publishing, 908 pages), a Crime Thriller.

Based around a series of true events.

The BBC's current affairs programme 'Panorama' undertook a sixty minute documentary / exposé surrounding an elite government task force that went undercover in Sheffield over a period of twelve months. Their remit was to use the Proceeds of Crime Act to fill up the police federations coffers using illegally gained intelligence, on one hand overlooking - and in some cases encouraging - major criminal activity such as murder, kidnap and torture; whilst on the other, surreptitiously acquiring pre-bargained guilty pleas from defendants then reneging on deals, which culminated in some of the heaviest sentences ever handed out in the UK.

The programme was never aired.

Author Q&A | Synopsis | Teaser | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops

A very warm welcome to fellow Brit, James Durose-Rayner; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

I had a look at your site and love the fact that you write to music, hence, to begin, I would like to share your playlist for S5 Uncovered here.  I suggest to everyone to visit James's Music page on his website, as it has lots of insights into S5 Uncovered and his other books!

I hope you enjoy the selection below as we progress with our interview!

What was the inspiration for S5 Uncovered?
"I said that I would write something for a friend to keep his spirits up. He had just been remanded in HMP Doncaster and was facing a trial for malicious wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. He ended up getting a sentence of 8 ½ years. Did he deserve it? The story is in the book.

However, it never started out as a book – but as a screenplay, which became a book. By that time, I had become good friends with a fairly high ranking police officer in Sheffield’s city centre. Although he was a great person and fantastic company – his personal life was nothing short of a train wreck. He drank heavily and had a semi-psychotic wife with mental health issues.

This gave me two sides for my story. The criminal and the police."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"Life experience is what it is all about. There’s a bit of the author in every bit of any book I would imagine, but if I am being honest I write what I know. S5 Uncovered is based on a series of true events, but has had its real timeline shortened from several years to just 12 months and which has been strung together by fiction. Does it still appear realistic? Very. On 22/07/2016 about 9 pm UK time a family member of a murderer contacted me. That is the reality of the book. I am sure I will be getting approached by a few other people too, not at least the police.

You really need to draw from personal experiences to write a book such as this, and as such I could give you several of examples but one thing I was told – and this was by a career criminal – Money equals power.

That being the case, how would you react on hearing that your wife was raped when she was a child; and how would you react once you had located the rapist? What is it like to be stabbed and shot at? and more so how do you act when the police refuse to help as the assailant is a paid police informer? What is prison actually like? Have any bestselling authors ever actually been inside? Is prison a punishment? How do you turn Queens Evidence and pervert the course of justice to make a trial collapse? How do you make a bomb for less than £5?

I’ve tried to make S5 as realistic as possible by basing it around a series of true events and telling the story from two separate angles."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover. Can you tell us about your cover for S5 Uncovered - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"The cover is just a stock photo. The reason why I chose it is that is exactly what a person would look like coming out of the dark in a city like Sheffield to put a bullet in you. Has that happened to me? No, but I do know a few who it has happened to."
Why should we read S5 Uncovered and what sets it apart from the rest? What makes your book unique?
"My day job is as a journalist / editor. Just the other week I had to knock back some ‘copy’ given to me by a someone who is generally quite a good writer. He thought his piece punchy with character. I thought it was a pile of pedantic dog shit. I never pontificate – ever. If you need to say something, say it. Never ever pontificate. You don’t need loads of long pointless words to make a story as it loses its overall visual aspect.

A recent review of ITV 7: As with I Am Sam, ITV 7 has a great tempo, emotional depth and no little humour, which allied with strong plot-lines makes it both engaging and absorbing and subsequently difficult to put down. The author also writes in a very visual style which could easily translate to mediums of television and/or film. It is a winning formula that James Durose-Rayner has established and therefore readers should eagerly anticipate the final part of the trilogy, Queen of Cups.

An example: my father-in-law once bought me a biography of Terry-Thomas. I loved his films and I loved the actor. However, after reading the foreword I slung the book. Pure pontification. You needed a Thesaurus to get through the first two paragraphs.

I told the copywriter that I write like I am going to smack someone in the face. Very visual and very straight to the point, which makes the story very easy reading.

That is not to say that I am an aggressive writer as I can write just the opposite - and I can also write as a woman, which I have done several times (ITV 7 and its follow up Queen of Cups) and which I thought was really quite rewarding.

Write what you know? I am married and I know loads of women."
Can you tell us something quirky about S5 Uncovered, its story and characters?
"All the characters within this book were based on real people. I always use real people as a base, as if not I would end up being each and every one of them. I mean, why did the family member of a murderer call me at daft o’clock on a Friday night? Because the characters in the book are very, very real.

Mr. White in S5 is basically ‘Sooty’ out of I AM SAM, ITV 7 & Queen of Cups, which is obviously a trilogy and Ronnie Poe in S63.

He is based on a real person who is a brilliant kid, but who has major flaws in his personality. If I wrote a book about him nobody would believe it.

The book itself is a real-life jigsaw – when it comes to character naming, as I am sure both Sheffield’s gangland and the police may find out. Mr Smith is hardly Mr. Jones or Mr. Day, Mr. Night. All the same – the jigsaw is there.

I have attached a photo of the character behind Big Phil. He died recently so I’m sure he won’t object to his photo. I have also uploaded one of the character behind Honest John. He definitely wouldn’t mind!"

Who would you recommend S5 Uncovered to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?

"It does have a gritty dialogue, which I have tried my best to calm down, without it losing its edge. In reality the male-to-male Sheffield gangland dialogue contains very F-led and C-led superlatives. I have tried to calm that, although it is still there. In reality it is much worse.

An example – not from the book but how they actually talk: “Do yourself a fucking favour you thick fucking cunt,” he said. “Fucking come around here again and I’ll put some fucking steel in you.”

I’d certainly lose quite a lot of the F-words in that lot!

There’s a bit of sex in it, although it’s not mega graphic as it was in S63.

In I AM SAM, ITV7 & Queen of Cups I have tried to leave the sex to the imagination by using innuendo, and to be honest it works quite well.

S5 UNCOVERED is somewhere in between."
If you could / wished to turn S5 Uncovered into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"It would have to be based on location is all that I would ever want. ITV currently have it although they have neither the money nor the staff to make it work. It would also be a bit un-PC for British television."
What do you like to write and read about? Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?
"I could write anything for anyone so long as that there is a human element in it."
What is your writing process?
"Absolutely fantastic question! I generally write from the middle. I put a series of passages together and add them together to form a spine. And I continue going up and down it until I have something to go on. And then I start the story. It’s a great way to do it. I AM SAM, ITV7 & Queen of Cups were relatively easy in the sense of half the characters were already there; however, the hard bit was the story’s progression. Good fun though."
What is in store next?
"I have nearly completed Queen of Cups then I move on to the half-finished Moles."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"In the I AM SAM trilogy there are two ferrets – we had two ferrets when my son was younger… Now this is a strange one. In real life those ferrets were given to the actual person behind the ‘Radiohead’ character in S5. The tattooist, as my son had outgrown them. There is an Alsatian in S5 also – called ‘Boot’. My mum and dad had the exact same when I was two or three."
Thank you again for chatting to us!  We hope you are having a great tour!

To find lots more information about S5 Uncovered check out Putting Together S5 by James Durose-Rayner.

S5 Uncovered
Available NOW!

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