Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Killing State by Judith O'Reilly @judithoreilly #KillingState #BlogTour #RandomThingsTours

The bullet in his brain isn't the problem. She is.  Michael North is a hero, with a bullet in the brain to prove it. A bullet which has rewired his neural pathways and heightened his sense of intuition.  
A bullet which is driving him mad.   
Working for an extra-governmental agency called The Board, North knows one thing for sure. He is very good at killing very bad guys.    
But what happens when a hero is ordered to kill a good woman rather than a bad man? Because it turns out that rising political star, Honor Jones, MP, can't stop asking the right questions about the wrong people. He should follow orders. Shouldn't he? 
"...more twists than a pretzel. ...a gritty, action-packed, page-turner." ANDY MCNAB

Killing State by Judith O'Reilly is published in ebook on 6 November 2017 and will be available from WH Smith and Amazon in paperback in March 2018.

I'm delighted to open the Blog Tour for Killing State today. I'll be posting my review of the book separately to the Blog Tour and am today welcoming author Judith O'Reilly to Random Things; she's talking about the books that are special to her in My Life In Books:

My Life In Books - Judith O'Reilly

I’m talking to readers here so you’re all going to ‘get’ what I’m saying about books. How books are like oxygen to me, and how they matter at this fundamental level. That when someone tells me they “don’t read because they simply don’t have the time”, my first reaction is to think ‘Somewhere in Neverland a fairy just folded up her sparkly wings, laid down and died.” I think that, and I think “You and I – we’re never going to be that close. Is that the time? Yes it’s been lovely meeting. Do it again? Ummm. I’ll check my diary. Yep. Thought so. Busy.”

THESAURUS   I’m an only child. In an era before play dates and mobile phones, I read book after book. But my family home didn’t have many books. A Bible. An Encyclopaedia of Catholic Saints. A Pears Encyclopaedia, and a couple of condensed Readers Digest books. When I went to secondary school, I got a dictionary and a thesaurus and I’d sit around reading the thesaurus. I thought it was magical how you could think of a word, turn a page and there’d be all these alternatives. Alternatives which were similar, but which had these nuanced differences. It made me consider meaning – what is it you mean when you use one word as opposed to another. (Of course, you’ve no idea how you pronounce some of them. But that’s something you don’t realise till you’re older, when
you’ve been using them for years, and inside you curl up and die a little. Thinking about it, there really should be a word for that exact feeling. I should look it up.)

BUNTY Not strictly a book, I know but my mum and dad bought me comics like Bunty and Judy every Sunday after mass as a treat. They helped me get into the habit of reading. The fact they came with pictures was a bonus. I suppose it could have gone either way, I might have grown up wanting to be a defy-the-odds gymnast or a prima ballerina.

MADAME SERPENT  My proper books though came from the local library, the school library and Kirkstall Market in Leeds where they had a second hand bookstall. You’d buy a second hand book one day and return it the next, when you would get half the price you paid for it. You’d use that money to buy another book. Bring that one back, get half the price you paid for it, and so it went on. I read my way through all of Jean Plaidy, Victoria Holt and Philippa Carr that way. They were all pen names of the prolific Eleanor Hibbert. One of the very many books that stands out was her Madame Serpent the first in her trilogy about Catherine de Medici. Outstanding, and the idea of a woman at the centre of history was before its time.

A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE   In the library as a kid, I ran through the historical novels of Geoffrey Trease and Henry Treece. (If I found an author I liked I’d read everything they wrote. Thank God for prolific authors.) When I’d finally read my way through the children’s library, they took pity on me and let me into the adult section and I read the plays of George Bernard Shaw like Major Barbara and Saint Joan, and Oscar Wilde’s A Woman of No Importance. Even now, I enjoy writing dialogue, because you learn so much about a character if you let them speak.

MOLL FLANDERS   The other stand-out from school years was Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders. “Twelve Year a Whore, five times a Wife (whereof once to her own brother), Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon in Virginia”. I took Moll out from the school library repeatedly, and I’m convinced to this day, the nuns at my Catholic grammar school had no idea what was in it.

A WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE  And of course what ambitious Leeds girl like myself wasn’t going to fall head over heels in love with Barbara Taylor Bradford’s Emma Harte in A Woman of Substance. That book, published in 1979 (along with the others in that particular seven book saga), said it was Okay to want to better yourself.

WHAT’S BRED IN THE BONE   Who else have I grown old with? Margaret Attwood and Robertson Davies. I went to Canada on a scholarship when I was 18 and loved both these authors. In particular, Davies’s What’s Bred in the Bone. Both of them write in a way I can only dream about.

DANGEROUS LADY  Writing this has shown me just how important feisty female characters have been to me since the very start. Women who start out with nothing and who fight all-comers and against the odds for their place in this world. First published in 1992, Martina Cole’s brilliant creation of Maura Ryan is one of them. Fighting her corner in gangland London. Loyal and loving to her family. Determined to be powerful in her own right. Martina is a world-class story-teller.

KILLING FLOOR  Bearing in mind, my own novel, Killing State, is a political/action adventure thriller, how could I fail to mention Lee Child? Love his hero Jack Reacher. The plotting. The writing. I’ve read all of the Lee Child books, but if I had to pick a favourite then I’ll pick the first, Killing Floor. (I’m such a fan girl that when I met Lee Child himself at this year’s Harrogate Crime Festival, I had to resist the urge to clamp myself to his leg, and just have him walk round with me.) Again, for anyone interested in writing, Reacher Said Nothing by Cambridge academic, Andy Martin, is a fascinating insight into how Lee Child writes.

Judith O'Reilly - October 2017

Judith O’Reilly's claim to fame is that one of her books was a Radio 4 Book of the Week. As far as she's concerned that's as good as it gets. 

Judith has written three books. Her latest book is called Killing State. It's a commercial political thriller and her first novel – at least the first one she's allowed to leave the house without her. She likes to describe it as a Lee Child meets Robert Harris, with a young and very British action hero and compelling and dynamic female characters. She may be the only person who ever thinks that. We'll have to see. 

Judith's a former political producer with BBC 2’s Newsnight and ITN’s Channel 4 News, and a former education correspondent with The Sunday Times where she also covered politics, undercover reporting and general news. She still writes for The Sunday Times. 

Her two non-fiction books were called Wife in the North and A Year of Doing Good (both published by Viking Penguin, in 2008 and 2013 respectively). Wife in the North reached number three in the UK bestsellers’ chart and was in the top ten for five weeks. It was also a top ten bestseller in Germany. It sold into ten countries, was serialised by The Sunday Times and the Daily Telegraph, was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week (has she mentioned that already?), and was based on Judith’s eponymous blog which was named as one of the top 100 blogs in the world by The Sunday Times. Judith’s blog is credited with kicking off the popularity of domestic blogging in the UK. For A Year of Doing Good, she did a good deed a day for a year. It did not make her a better person. She has taught memoir and blogging at Newcastle University, and occasionally advises on strategic communications. Most of all though, she writes and drinks a lot of tea. Occasionally, she shakes things up and drinks coffee.
Find out more at where you can join Judith's Readers Club - 
Join the readers' club here to receive a free download of a "Michael North Short" into your email basket. The story, entitled And So It Begins, takes a peek at North's life as a boy. The bonus giveaway story Grave of Dreams follows soon after. 
Hear about new titles as they become available and receive details of exclusive reads.

Follow her on Twitter @judithoreilly 

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