Last month Austin Macauley published Peter C. Harley’s debut novel Under Her Umbrella. It looked like an interesting thriller and I was curious to ask the author some questions. Peter agreed to be interviewed and you can find the result below. Additionally, the publisher has made it possible for me to run a giveaway for my readers, which you can find at the bottom of the post. Enjoy this Author Query!
Let’s start with the basics. Who is Peter C. Harley?
Peter C. Harley has a degree in Surveying and works in the residential property development sector. He lives alone and has one daughter who is severely autistic. Under Her Umbrella is his first novel, although he has plenty more ideas and his second is well on the way. His main interest is writing about the interconnections, intersections and interrelationships of the journey through life.
How would you introduce people to Under Her Umbrella?
Under Her Umbrella is a thriller that tells the tale of how Pete got to live the lifestyle that he does. It all starts when the demolition of a scrapyard as part of a conventional property deal takes a huge and unexpected turn of events. Pete does a favor for Noel Harrington the scrapyard owner, gets to know Mark Daniels the leader of ‘protection’ and during the unexpected event meets Sally, the love of his life. This transports Pete into a very different type of business environment. It is not until the end that he realises why he is Under Her Umbrella of protection.
The text is intended to be thought provoking for the reader and covers a number of issues including people’s perceptions, autism and war in addition to the plot.
Thrillers are often defined by their rapid pace, the perilous situations the protagonist faces, and a lot of tension and suspense. What defines a thriller for you?
For me a thriller has to have suspense and a twist within the plot, but strong characters as well, not just the faces. It needs to be descriptive and enable me to relate and understand their thinking and to get to know them on a personal level, it has to be more than a mere chain of events.
What are some of the authors that shaped your view of what a thriller should look like?
For me, influences include Tania Carver for the plot, Tami Hoag for the structure and Peter James for characters that the reader becomes rather more than acquainted with.
How do you plot your books? Do you start with a conspiracy or scheme and create narrative around it or think of a character and their arc and come up with a plot that allows you to tell it?
I start with the idea of part of a plot, or scheme, although I do not know the direction that it will lead, what will happen along the journey, or how it will end. A few key characters to drive the story are the next stage, the ones that are strong, that the reader will become to know and relate to. They then dictate and write the rest of the book, it is what they do, how they think or react that dictates what happens and ultimately how it all ends.
What drew you to setting your story in the world of business and property development?
It is what I know. I have a degree in Surveying and have always worked in the property development sector. I find it interesting, there are always plenty of real characters and plenty of possibilities for conspiracy. There are often huge sums of money involved which tends to be a key to influencing the direction that people take.
What’s next for you? Any appearances or conventions planned?
I do not have any appearances planned, but I will see what happens next. My second novel is however well progressed although on a totally different subject.
Is there something else you’re passionate about other than writing and books?
Yes, I am currently learning to ice skate very slowly; I have a patient coach and far more determination than natural skill. I also like the countryside, animals, wildlife and property.
As a book reviewer, I’m all about the book enabling; I can’t help but want to make people read all the good books out there. But I can always use help. What are your top recommendations of books we should look out for in the coming months?
I am probably the worst person to ask this question to. There is so much I have never read even without new titles. I would watch out for anything by those that have influenced me and also Holly Seddon, I like her characters.
Finally, I have to stay true to my roots and ask a librarian question to finish off with: Do you shelve your books alphabetically, by genre or do you have an ingenious system?
I have an ingenious system; I put it down. Usually on a shelf. Mostly at the side of, or on another book. The only structure is that fiction and nonfiction are mostly separated. Let them mix, mingle and interrelate.
Bio: Peter C. Harley is an Author with a Degree in Surveying who works in the Property Development sector. He resides alone in Nottinghamshire, England, has one daughter who is autistic, a passion for the countryside, animals, classic cars and architecture. His work has the common theme of the inter-connections, intersections and inter-relationships of the journey through life and beyond.
You can discover more about Under Her Umbrella at Austin Macauley.
The publisher has generously allowed me to giveaway 5 paperback copies for Under Her Umbrella. This giveaway is open internationally and will run until Wednesday 26 October until 23:59 CET. To enter, please leave a comment below with your favourite thriller author or title and a way to contact you.