'When Sir Humphrey Miles Pinkerton Strange, huntin' shootin' and fishin' Squire of Batch Magna, goes to his reward (doubtless to find God as true-blue British as his more recent but equally worthy ancestors), his rambling but rotting estate passes to distant relative Humph, a hapless dollar doodler in New York.With $$ in his eyes, Humph decides to make a killing by transforming the sleepy backwater of Batch Magna into a theme park image of rural England - a vacation paradise for free-spending US millionaires.But while the village's threadbare businessmen see the plan as a windfall, the tenants of the estate's dilapidated houseboats are above any consideration of filthy lucre and stand their ground for tradition's sake . and because they consider eviction notices not to be cricket.Each disgruntled faction sees the other as the unwelcome cuckoo chick in the family nest!So, lead by randy pulp-crime writer Phineas Cook and Lt-Commander James Cunningham DSO, DSC and Bar, RN (ret) - a man with a glass eye to suit every occasion (and all painted with naval battle scenes where the Union Jack flies triumphant) - the motley crew takes on Wall Street . broadside to broadside.'
1. What can we expect from your book? What is its genre?
I suppose the heading it’s most likely to come under is that of humour, of the rather quirky English sort.
2. What is your favorite part of the book?
When everything comes together, both for me as the author and for my pivotal character Humphrey – to say any more would risk a spoiler.
3. How did you come up with this book and who/what are your inspirations?
All the books in the series feature houseboats, converted paddle steamers on Batch Magna’s river the Cluny, and I lived on a houseboat in the mid-1970s (the time frame for the novels) on a converted Thames sailing barge among a small colony of houseboats on the Medway, deep in rural Kent. An idyllic time, heedless days of freedom in that other world of the river which inspired the novels. It was, one could say, written out of nostalgia for that lost world of youth.
4. Who are your favorite authors and why?
Scott Fitzgerald – and as for the why, I think I can do no better than quote the New York Times after his death. ‘Fitzgerald "was better than he knew, for in fact and in the literary sense he invented a generation ... He might have interpreted them and even guided them, as in their middle years they saw a different and nobler freedom threatened with destruction."’
5. Your message to your readers.
Thank you for being my readers. And if, for only that short while, I have given you another world to visit, then I feel I would have succeeded.
And thank you, Michelle for having me as your guest.
I am an ex-actor, fringe theatre director and script writer, married and living in the Welsh Marches, the borderland between England and Wales, and the backdrop to a series I’m writing, the Batch Magna novels, set in a village cut off from whatever the rest of the world gets up to beyond the hills of its valley.
All the books in the series feature houseboats, converted paddle steamers on Batch Magna’s river the Cluny, and I lived on a houseboat in the mid-1970s (the time frame for the novels) on a converted Thames sailing barge among a small colony of houseboats on the Medway, deep in rural Kent.
An idyllic time, heedless days of freedom in that other world of the river which inspired the novels, set in a place called Batch Magna.