Tag Archives: Harry Royle

The Truth Behind The Fiction

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Harry Royle didn’t simply spring fully formed from my imagination, he is in fact based on a real person.  The man behind the fiction, is my late father. He was the classic wronged man, who having made a mistake turned to a life of crime and in the process became a notorious jailbreaker.  In 1951 he was Britain’s most wanted man, having escaped from Dartmoor prison and his face made the Front Pages of the national press. In 1954 his story was serialised over a five-week period in The Sunday People newspaper. He was picked up from the gates of Dartmoor by the most famous crime reporter of the time, Duncan Webb.

As a son, I knew him as a generous man with a huge heart and a great sense of humour. He had a strict personal moral code and would help anyone he could. He was a great storyteller and had me believing he was a cousin of John Wayne and an adventure who had prospected for gold in the frozen Yukon.  Later I would find out that he was man who had experienced his own share of true adventure. Before Harry Royle came into being, the book started out as a nonfiction book about my father. I began researching with another author, Trevor James. Trevor was once himself an employee of Dartmoor prison and had written a number of books about both the prison and the escapes. We were to have co-written the book, but there wasn’t enough background information to fill a book.

I am intending to finish this book, with Trevor’s blessing and his permission to include some of his own unique photographs of the prison and surrounding area. I am going write the book to show the real-life behind Royle’s escapes. This will be released as a future title. Harry Royle as a character is not intended to make a hero from a criminal, but to show how different things could have been, if another path had been taken. It is my tribute to the man behind the headlines. A man who as a non commissioned officer in the British army fought in both the North African and Italian campaigns. In the sixties he became a private detective.

 

 

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If the eye is the window of the soul, what is a book cover?

An author might spend many months or even years working on a book. Didn’t Emily Bronte take thirteen years to finish Wuthering Heights?

Say what you like about Emily, she certainly had staying power. I digress, sorry, back to my point.

Having worked hard and any of my readers, who has written or is in the process of writing a book, novel or non-fiction, will know just how hard it really is.

You can forget these ‘How to write’ books that tell you that it’s simple, just sit down, plug into your Muse and away you go. No, not quite.

The writing has to be backed up by good quality research, even fiction, especially fiction if readers are to believe in its truth.

After the book is finished, comes the proofreading and editing, a huge task, even with a small book.

Along the way there are so many choices, what needs to go in, what should be left out? In order to let the work breathe and in doing so benefit the book.

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When it’s finished, being a book, it will need a cover. And here all too often is the big problem.

Why do so many people who have worked so hard and for so long, throw any old image on the book and call it a cover?

In this time of E-books, especially when it comes to Amazon Kindle books, covers are not just important, but vital in getting your work noticed.

I have seen books in the crime and thriller sections, which feature obvious pictures of pets. I’m not kidding, dogs and cats and a title and author name.

Remember that if your book comes out on Kindle, it will feature on The Kindle Carousel, once downloaded. The quality of the cover along may decide on that book being flicked past, deleted or opened.

When it comes to my hard work, I mock up all of my covers first and then send them to a designer. My book represents not only my hard work, but also my Author Brand.

I want to be able to stand behind each book proudly. I also want them to look good as both thumbnails and full size.

In an Amazon search, potential readers must be able to read the title and see the cover image, at least reasonably enough to decide if it might be of interest to them.

Remember that they’ll only get to read the blurb, as amazing as it might be, once they click through from the thumbnail.

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I like to have my covers before my books are written. That might seem odd and maybe it is. To me, it helps keep me on track.

It also holds me to account, because if the cover exists, the finished book has to follow. My thinking is like that great movie with Kevin Costner and Burt Lancaster, Field of dreams.

The quote from that movie was

‘If you build it, they will come.’

Now if you missed that one and I’d be surprised. The theme of the film was about believing in yourself and knowing that if you do what is right for you deep down in your heart, everything will work out.

So my covers are like that, I get them and the books will come. It works for me, but we’re all different and that’s what makes life so interesting.

 

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Free Kindle book download

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A Question of Honour is still free for the next two days only, then it reverts to full price. Why not grab yourself a FREE read.

US Amazon free download                UK Amazon free download

It is 1938. Sergeant Harry Royle, on the eve of becoming an officer, is framed for murder and forced to run. Royle forced into hiding, friendless and lost, as hunted, he runs from place to place. Manchester, Cardiff and York, are but stops along his journey. A journey which eventually takes him to the brutal streets of London’s gangland Soho, where he finds friendship, comrades and a hope of redemption, in the twilight world of smoky jazz clubs and those who live in the shadows. Harry’s story is told against a backdrop of wartime cities, daring prison escapes and stolen moments of happiness. It is one man’s truth and his battles with an unjust world, a world populated by those who live by their own rules and who would stop at nothing to keep him locked away and his true story untold.

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