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Monday 12 August 2019

ℚ♫ Beginning to End: DCI Spearing and DI Devlin [1] - Paul Hughes

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about Beginning to End (first published , this new re-edited edition 21 May 2019, Paul Hughes, 477 pages), a Thriller, book one in the DCI Spearing and DI Devlin series.

"An ambitious start to a promising crime series. Its rich details and abundant humour shine through. Hughes depiction of the London Metropolitan Police in the 1960s is incredibly well –researched." ~ Kirkus Review

|| Synopsis || Teaser: KCR Preview || The Series || Author Q&A || About the Author || Tour Stops ||

A very warm welcome to Paul Hughes; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

Here at BooksChatter we love music; do you have a music playlist that you used in Beginning to End, or which inspired you whilst you were writing it?

"When I am writing, in fact all day every day, I am listening to all types of music, from the 1940s to 2019.  Because my first series of books is set in the 1960s I do get into the era of the sixties music which inspires me create the atmosphere of that era.

My favourite songs have to have good strong lyrics and tell a story.  My top music to listen to while writing this series are:

(i) Two songs written by two friends (Shammy Lafferty and George Nash) and I to promote the book series starting with ‘Beginning to End.’  I wrote the lyrics for ‘Looking Back’ and Shammy wrote the lyrics for ‘When we were young.’  George and Shammy wrote the music for both songs – on You Tube.

(ii) One of the bands I was the agent for a time; ‘Caledonia’ – In Tom Brown Caledonia featured one of the great mostly undiscovered talents of the late 60s and 70s, and my brother Harry Hughes, a very well known drummer throughout the 60s and 70s groups scenes.  One of the best bands that I was ever involved with.  I still listen to a lot of their music while writing including; ‘One of the Poorest People’(see them perform this number).  From the Caledonia album ‘Get the show on the Road’- I still listen to most of the tracks including; ‘Gipsy’, ‘Loves Is The Answer’, and ‘No Smoke Without Fire’.

(iii) I also still listen to the classics from the 60s and 70s especially those with great meaningful lyrics – to name but a few; 1) ‘Eleanor Rigby’ by of course The Beatles.’ 2) ‘The Sound of Silence’ by Simon and Garfunkel. ‘Waterloo Sunset’ by The Kinks and 3) ‘Imagine’ by John Lennon.  I could go on forever as I listen to music all day even when not writing!"
And here they are — enjoy!

What was the inspiration for Beginning to End?
"My inspiration was the things I saw and done during the 1960s – I was heavily involved near the very top in the music business throughout the sixties and early seventies and I have used these experiences as background to the series starting with; ‘Beginning to End.’

I also used my experience in the defence industry from the mid seventies onwards when there were many mysterious deaths among defence company employees and MI5 were suspected of being involved."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"There are bits and pieces of me and my inner thoughts written into a number of the characters and a number of the storylines actually happened to me or to friends.  I used authors licence to exaggerate the storylines, but many are based on facts."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover.  Can you tell us about your cover for Beginning to End - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"My concept for the cover was to reflect a scene which always stuck in my memory from the 1960s, in fact from 1967, the start of the psychedelic era where my series begins.  It was when we played clubs and a projector would flash up extraordinary bright colours, sometimes with hippy communes in the background, onto a screen behind the stage.

I described the scene to Richie Cumberlidge at MoreVisual Ltd (Leicester, UK) who I think did a marvellous job in capturing it for my front cover – it has received a lot of praise on Amazon and Facebook."
Why should we read Beginning to End and what sets it apart from the rest?  What makes your book unique?
"I believe the books tell the real story of the 1960s and not the myth that many have created around the 1960s music scene, including many who actually lived through them.

I believe the series is also unique in that there is never a big time Sherlock Holmes type character coming in and solving the cases with great powers of deduction.  Nor are there ‘hard men’ taking on a small army and somehow winning.  Many of my Detectives cases actually fall apart due to a lack of evidence, wanted people being killed off, or New Scotland Yard bosses, many of whom are in the pockets of the big London gangs, ordering our Detectives to lay-off.

This is how it is in the real world, but DI Spearing always tries to find some way to make the guilty pay, even if he cannot charge them."
Can you tell us something quirky about Beginning to End, its story and characters?
"A few years ago, having finished the final draft of ‘Beginning to End,’ I went on holiday to Thailand with the intention of putting the final touches to the novel.  While there, through a mutual friend, I met two former New Scotland Yard detectives who were both retired and living in Thailand.  Over a few extra pints of beer, they were reminiscing and started talking about a detective who sounded exactly like one of my main fictional characters who I had created two years before we met."
Who would you recommend Beginning to End to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"I would recommend this series to adult readers who love fictional crime/mystery stories, told with humour and are realistic – no great heroes coming in and taking on an army single handed!  It is originally set in the slightly naïve 1960s, a very different world without CCTV, Mobile Phones or internet.

Due to the explicit sexual and murder scenes it is not appropriate for under-sixteens."
If you could / wished to turn Beginning to End and the DCI Spearing and DI Devlin series into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"My preferred director would be Michael Caton-Jones who, besides being born about 12 miles from where I was born, has made the kind of films that reflect the storylines in my books.  In particular, the sympathetic war scenes in ‘Memphis Belle’ and the political action thriller in ‘The Jackal.’

I would like Richard Madden - born near Glasgow to play one of my main characters; DS Kevin Devlin a 27 year old Glaswegian who joins New Scotland Yard in 1967.  Madden like Devlin is also seen as a ladies man.

I would like Daniel Craig to play the other main character: DI Andy Spearing, a gruff Yorkshire man who has been mentioned in dispatches during WW2.  He has a dry sense of black humour.  Due to an acrimonious divorce Spearing has become a closeted alcoholic, but still the most successful detective in 1967 New Scotland Yard.  I believe in the Andy Spearing character, Daniel Craig would be perfect for the part and have someone to get his teeth into.  He is also the right age group for the part.

I would like Colin Firth to play the part of ‘The Fox’ an assassin – He is the right age and has the physique to play the part and can act the part of a London east ender, plus in disguise an elderly English gentleman."
What a perfect answer to that question!  Thank you!

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 like to write Fictional Crime/Thriller stories, but mostly based on actual events with humour and realism.

Yes – these are also the type of books I like to read about.

I will be exploring a completely different genre next year with a new book titled; ‘Evil Incarnate’ (One Mans War) - which tells the story of a man and his war from 1938 to 1945 against the Germans, followed by the Russians and his lingering - perhaps justified hate? - of both countries for the rest of his life.  It is based on a few brief conversations with a work colleague in the 1970s and I used his basic story, but created a fictional balance of his story."
What is your writing process?
"I do most of my writing during the winter months when I am abroad hiding from the UK winters.

I generally write in the morning - starting around 08:30 and working through till 14:00.  If necessary I use part of the afternoon to research for the next morning, but generally I do most of my researching and promotion work during the summer months in the UK.

As I have previously stated most of my story lines are based on things that actually happened, then I generally exaggerate the stories to make them more interesting to the readers."
What is in store next?
"Two more books in the series have been released; ‘Running Amok’ and recently ‘Revenge is Mine.’  Both followed up on some of the open cases from ‘Beginning to End.’  There is also an attempted assassination of the main characters; DI Spearing and DS Devlin by a Peter Jensen, an MI5 operator – this results in a manhunt for an MI5 Vigilante group who have been killing without trials; both criminals and very often innocent people in the defence industry.  Loosely based on actual events with political innuendos.

The fourth book in the series tentatively titled; ‘Chasing’ is due out in April 2020.  Later in 2020 the aforementioned ‘Evil Incarnate’ (One Mans War) - something completely different – will be released."
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?
"When my mate Shammy who still lives in Scotland and I are in Thailand every winter we are well known in Pattayas bars and clubs singing duet with live bands and in Karaoke.  So much so we are invited for guest appearances by many of the live bands and bar owners.  Two old rockers still rockin' all over the world!

Unfortunately recently my phone was damaged and I lost the relevant photos and videos."
Aww, what a shame; sounds great and lots of fun though! Thank you for sharing, you have been a fantastic guest and we hope you are having a great tour :-)

Beginning to End
Available NOW!

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