Crime / Suspense / thriller
Date Published: 06/07/2021
Publisher: Troubador Publishing Ltd
The town of Unity sits perched on the edge of a yawning ravine where, long ago, a charisma of angels provided spiritual succour to a fledgeling human race. Then mankind was granted the gift of free will and had to find its own way, albeit with the guidance of the angels. The people’s first conscious act was to make an exodus from Unity – they built a rope bridge across the ravine and founded the town of Topeth. For a time, the union between the people of Topeth and the angels of Unity was one of mutual benefit. After that early spring advance, there had been a torrid decline in which mankind’s development resembled a crumpled, fading autumnal leaf.
Following the promptings of an inner voice, Tula, a young woman from the city, trudges into Topeth. Her quest is to abide with the angels and thereby discover the right and proper exercise of free will. To do that, she has to cross the bridge – and overcome her vertigo.
Topeth is in upheaval; the townsfolk blame the death of a child on dust from the nearby copper mines. The priests have convinced them that a horde of devils have thrown the angels out of Unity and now occupy the bridge, possessing anyone who trespasses on it. Then there’s the heinous Temple of Moloch!
The Abdication is the story of Tula’s endeavour to step upon the path of a destiny far greater than she could ever have imagined.
What is the hardest part of writing your books?
The most challenging part of writing is getting into the zone where and when the writing flows, connects to what’s written before and provides pathways to the following scenes.
Writing is a strange and enigmatic art. It’s not like making a cup of coffee or walking. They are repetitional tasks that the body has learned to perform.
Writing is something different. It involves the mind, and that wonderful thing called the imagination. It involves getting the fingers to work in unison with the brain by typing or writing long-hand.
Sometimes it can take hours to get into the zone; other times, it can take a few minutes.
What helps get into the zone, and to awaken the muse, is reading or editing the work done the day before.
because the muse can only whisper her thoughts, suggestions, and ideas to you.
So, what helps get in the zone is to have a quiet place with no distractions.
Do you have critique partners or beta readers?
I don’t have critique partners, but I do like to use beta readers. I find them useful to flesh out any plot inconsistencies, anachronisms, and holes in the characters' development. A fresh, impartial pair of eyes on your work is invaluable. I like to offer to review their manuscript in return. I find it refreshing to read and comment constructively on another author’s work, so see how they develop the plot, pace their work, develop their characters, and weave the story elements into a crescendo. An author can never stop learning.
How did you start your writing career?
Many years ago, as a student, I had a short story published in the student rag and wrote a novel.
After that, it wasn’t until the New Year in 2007 that I resolved to go on a Creative Writing Course.
Having read a lot of history and a fascination for the supernatural, I took on board the old adage to write about what you know, so I veered towards historical fantasy. Then I began the long journey of writing my first novel, The Genes of Isis, an epic fantasy set under Ancient Egyptian skies. My second novel, The Old Dragon’s Head, plays out in the shadows of the Great Wall of China during the Ming Dynasty, around 1400. My third novel, The Coronation, speculates on an alternative genesis for the Industrial Revolution. The Abdication is my latest novel.
My stories add a touch of the supernatural to history and deal with the themes of war, religion, evolution and the human’s place in the universe.
I am working on a two-book historical fiction/supernatural thriller series, The Shoes That Don’t Wear Out.
In the 1500s, Spain is the most powerful Catholic country in Europe. It’s King Philip leads the fight against the Protestant Reformation.
Nelan is a young man of Flemish-Dutch descent who flees Spanish persecution of the Protestants in the Netherlands and comes to England. Seeking revenge on the Spanish, he ends up sailing around the world with Francis Drake. During the voyage, he grows up, becomes a man, and learns the art of conjuring elements, particularly fire. Hence the title of the first novel in the series is The Mark of the Salamander.
In the second novel, entitled the Midnight of Eights, Nelan works to repulse the Spanish Armada, a massive fleet of warships sent by King Philip to invade England – the legendary Land of Angels – and burn all its heretical Protestants at the stake.
About the Author
Justin Newland is an author of historical fantasy and secret history thrillers - that’s history with a supernatural twist. His stories feature known events and real people from history which are re-told and examined through the lens of the supernatural. He gives author talks and is a regular contributor to BBC Radio Bristol’s Thought for the Day. He lives with his partner in plain sight of the Mendip Hills in Somerset, England.
The Genes of Isis is a tale of love, destruction and ephemeral power set under the skies of Ancient Egypt. A re-telling of the Biblical story of the flood, it reveals the mystery of the genes of Isis – or genesis – of mankind. ISBN 9781789014860.
“The novel is creative, sophisticated, and downright brilliant! I couldn’t ask more of an Egyptian-esque book!” – Lauren, Books Beyond the Story.
The Old Dragon’s Head is a historical fantasy and supernatural thriller set during the Ming Dynasty and played out in the shadows the Great Wall of China. It explores the secret history of the influences that shaped the beginnings of modern times. ISBN 9781789015829.
‘The author is an excellent storyteller.” – British Fantasy Society.
Set during the Great Enlightenment, The Coronation reveals the secret history of the Industrial Revolution. ISBN 9781838591885.
“The novel explores the themes of belonging, outsiders… religion and war… filtered through the lens of the other-worldly.” – A. Deane, Page Farer Book Blog.
His latest, The Abdication (July, 2021), is a suspense thriller, a journey of destiny, wisdom and self-discovery. ISBN 9781800463950.
“In Topeth, Tula confronts the truth, her faith in herself, faith in a higher purpose, and ultimately, what it means to abdicate that faith.” - V. Triola, Coast to Coast.
Author’s Website (where buyers can enter a dedication to be signed by the author)