Category Archives: thriller

The story of my beautiful book cover

This beautiful book cover for Cairo Mon Amour has an interesting evolution. It was actually designed for a self-published edition of the book, but I offered the artwork to my publisher, who was happy to take it over.

When I first discussed the project with my designer Rachel Ainge of Tribe Creative Co, I imagined a cover that tried to tell the story. I cooked up the idea of an aerial shot of Cairo with a pair of women’s shoes (containing feet) on the ledge of a building.

Rachel took things in hand: “Don’t try to tell the story.  Leave it with me.” We’d had this discussion before when I’d talked her into creating covers that told the stories of two other books of mine. They were lovely covers, but did they help to sell books? I wasn’t sure. Here they are, along with one of my crude sketches:

 

 

 

 

Rachel came back to me with the idea of branding the three books under a common theme, including new covers for the older books, and a new title for one of them.

Over to me for the theme. I thought hard about what linked the three books: A contemporary  Australian political satire, a psychological drama set in England, and a thriller/romance set during the Yom Kippur War. How were they connected?

It came to me in a flash while I was walking on the beach (that’s where my most creative thinking takes place): Love, betrayal and redemption. That’s what I really write about.

This gave me a formula for uniform subtitles for the three books:

  • Love, betrayal and pure theatre
  • Love, betrayal and genteel crime
  • Love, betrayal and espionage

Incidentally it gave me my elevator pitch: Stuart Campbell writes quirky novels about love, betrayal and redemption.

Next, Rachel asked me for an iconic scene for each book. “I’ll give you the blockbuster treatment – a big dramatic sky and characters looking into their destiny,” she said. I came up with Martin Mooney looking at the distant mountains, Jack Walsingham approaching a rural cottage, and Pierre Farag and Mark Bellamy riding towards the Pyramids.  This is what I got:

And I’m very happy with the result!

Cairo Mon Amour will be published in late June 2017 by Austin Macauley Publishers, an independent trade publisher with headquarters in London and New York.

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I’ve nominated author Kerry Donovan for Kindle Scout – will you?

Author Kerry Donovan has a new book Ryan Kaine: On the Run enrolled in the Kindle Scout program. If you’re not familiar with this, authors apply to have never-been-published works enrolled, and readers are invited to nominate books for a Kindle Publishing   contract on the basis of sample chapters. Here’s the link for Kerry Donovan’s book.

I was lucky enough to read the whole manuscript this week.  Being a Kerry Donovan fan, I wondered what to expect from the author’s first venture into the action thriller genre. Tough, handsome hero  with a will of iron, deadly training, and the propensity to kill on demand? Well, sort of, except that Ryan Kaine is more than the one-dimensional cut-out figures that blast their way through the paperbacks on sale at airports; he’s got buckets of morality and an urge for redemption.  And what a pleasant surprise to meet a couple of old friends from Donovan’s D.C.I. Jones series along the way. I won’t reveal any more, other than to say that Ryan Kaine: On the Run is a romp of a book that leaves a sense of satisfaction rather than a sugar hit.

Have a look at the Kindle Scout link (here it is again), and if you like what you see, give Ryan Kaine your vote.

 

Stuart Campbell’s Cairo Mon Amour will be published by Austin Macauley Publishers in the second half of 2017.

Dark and challenging novel that delivers with the deliberation of a cannula.

frontonlylo-res-arbutus-copy2-1Bill East’s The Arbutus is a dark and challenging novel that delivers a potent dose of madness, violence and erotic tension with the deliberation of a cannula. Maddie, a woman approaching middle age, returns from England to Peter, the Australian lover she fled many years before. Apparently unhinged and obsessive, Peter confesses to a series of murders at his wooded estate on the outskirts of Sydney. An intricate psychological game of revenge follows: The characters’ psyches are built layer by contorted layer; truths are offered and then undermined; the reader teeters on the edge of resolution, only to be pulled back into the game. Plausibility is often stretched to the limit (if the bizarre plot can be called plausible in any way): Is Maddie’s androgyny credible? Would Peter really have planned such a spooky endgame? On both counts, the author builds a convincing case for Maddie’s weird erotomania and Peter’s convoluted creepiness, and in the end, both their fates were easy to believe in. I rummaged in my reading history to find some novels that The Arbutus might echo. For the blending of the macabre and the world of nature (Peter has a thing about trees), I came up with Patrick Süsskind’s Perfume. For the exploration of twisted emotions, John Fowles’ The Collector and Sebastian Faulks’ Engleby came to mind. For gore, Jeffery Deaver’s The Bone Collector resonated. In the end, though, Bill East has created his own monsters. Crime thriller? Black comedy? Erotic mystery? Homage to trees? I didn’t care as I raced at top speed through The Arbutus.

You can find Bill East’s website here and buy The Arbutus here.

Five stars for Kerry Donovan’s ‘The Transition of Johnny Swift’

512plzra3dlI’m a fan of Kerry Donovan’s DCI Jones English police procedurals, and I particularly enjoyed his US debut On Lucky Shores.

The Transition of Johnny Swift is completely different. This time, the author throws us into a jangling world of motor racing, dire injury, psychological stress, simmering romance, and family loyalty. The spiralling plot has the reader on edge until a clever resolution in the last few pages. I was unclear about what genre I was in until the ending, but this added to the pleasure! The technical stuff – medicine, neuroscience and some weird physics – was convincing enought to keep me engaged. The style – an urgent, present tense meld of introspection, narrative and economic dialogue – pushes the pace.

Well done, Mr Donovan. More like this please!

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Read about Stuart Campbell’s books here.

Publisher contract for Cairo Mon Amour

CMA redesign coverI’m pleased to announce that my novel ‘Cairo Mon Amour’ has been accepted for publication in 2017 by an international publisher, thanks to the great work of my agent Michael Cybulski and the team at New Authors Collective. Many thanks to those who have supported my efforts in bringing ‘Cairo Mon Amour’ to this point. I’ll be keeping my readers up to date with details of the release date as they come to hand.

‘An Englishman’s Guide to Infidelity’ hits Amazon bestseller ranks in UK, Oz and Canada

canada sales 19:8:16A huge thank-you to my  readers and reviewers for helping to catapult An Englishman’s Guide to Infidelity up the Amazon UK, Australia and Canada charts. I couldn’t have done it without you!

I hope I can reward your enthusiasm with my next novel Cairo Mon Amour, which will be released on 31 August. There’s a swish website here where you can read about it and even pre-order a copy for the promotional price of 99c.UK sales 19:8:16