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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

BLOG TOUR: This Disunited Kingdom by Leslie J. Nicholls

Welcome to my stop on This Disunited Kingdom BLOG TOUR! Please do yourself a favor and take the time to read about this fascinating political thriller.  An excerpt, author guest post and an author Q&A is provided below.  (I LOVED the answers he gave - the funniest thing that's happened to him recently made me LOL!)

It's the early 2020s and the UK has successfully withdrawn from the European Union and immigration laws are tight. Scotland has become independent, and the home nation is under the rule of a Conservative/UKIP coalition that has introduced radical reforms, which are robustly efficient in running the country. It seems that the UK has never been in a better position - until suddenly, two catastrophic bombings in central London shake the country to its very core.
Investigators Farah Karim and Sean Lakin are on a mission to get to the bottom of the intent behind these two attacks; are they simply a resurgence of the acts of terrorism that haven't touched the country in years? Or is there a new and deeper conspiracy emerging?
Farah and Sean find themselves entangled in a dangerous guessing game where their personal lives come under fire and the lives of thousands lay tenuously in their hands.

Leslie J Nicholls:  The new Nostradamus or Fall-Guy Fawkes?
It should be the aim of every published author to provoke thought and debate but rarely has a new work of fiction divided opinion with such passion as Leslie J Nicholls’ political thriller This Disunited Kingdom.
Numerous reviewers have proclaimed him the new Nostradamus whilst a few social media posts have declared that he prompted Brexit, promoted terrorist attacks and fuelled hate crimes. One suggested that he is the greatest threat to Parliamentary Democracy since Guy Fawkes.  Others have just marvelled that such a cracking read is the work of a novice writer.
An historic House of Commons vote last month gave Government permission to trigger Article 50, paving the way for Britain to leave the European Union. The process began in February 2016, David Cameron announced that the nation would be allowed to vote on EU membership. By that time, the explosive new thriller by debutant author, Leslie J Nicholls was rolling off the printing presses, having been written six months before the referendum had even been announced. In June, the nation voted out and the rest is history, and this book is history in the making.
Already, reviewers of this astonishing work are pointing to a series of amazing revelations and prophecies that continue to stun its readers with every news bulletin. Here are just some of the events detailed within this remarkable piece of fiction.
•             It’s the early 2020's and Britain has left the EU
•             Scotland has left Britain but wants to return
•             The country is governed by a Conservative and UKIP coalition.
•             The Labour and Liberal parties are protest groups rather than serious Political Parties.
•             There is a growing call for IBIS: an Independent British Islam State within the Kingdom.
•             Civil war is looming in Ireland with the North within the UK and the Republic in the EU
•             Brutal turf wars with the Poles, Ukrainians, and Romanians marking out their territories
•             The reduction in migrant labour has placed pressure upon resources in the Public sector
•             The government has withdrawn Welfare benefits for those that refuse to work
•             The UK is fighting on three fronts in the Middle East and military resources are stretched
•             An EU Army is threatening our security and independence.
•             European countries are jealous of our independent prosperity and conspire against us.
•             Cracks are appearing in our Diplomatic and Trade Relations with the U.S.A.
•             The UK is forging closer links with the wider world and China is our new best friend.
•             A series of terrorist incidents have rocked London and other Europe cities.
•             The race is now on to prevent the next one……… THE BIG ONE
When asked to comment upon those polarised reviews, Nicholls could hardly conceal his delight that he had managed to provoke such passionate debate. “I am not a politician, nor a journalist, economist or psychologist. I am just a creative scribbler with an active interest in current affairs. I really didn’t need a crystal ball to foresee the maelstrom of mayhem and chaos about to be unleashed at home and abroad over the next decade.”
As a work of fiction, THIS DISUNITED KINGDOM, is set to become a contemporary classic. As a commentary on the economic, social and political landscape, even the author has been surprised that it has proven to be so prescient. He must now hope that not all of his predictions come to pass.

Author Q&A: Let's learn a bit about the face behind the book!

What does your writing process look like?
I'm a pretty structured writer. I set out with a clear view of the beginning, the end and the various sub plots and themes that make up the middle. I systematically weave the strands into a formatted template before working on the narrative. I then let the left brain take over in to develop the plot and characterisation.  

What is the most difficult part of your writing process? Your writing Kryptonite?
I constantly challenge the credibility of my characters and their actions.  Though coincidence and serendipity are features of life, I avoid them in my writing. Every passage and incident must be totally plausible and able to stand the test of the most intense, rational scrutiny.

How many hours a day do you write?
On the days that I write, I will spend between six and eight hours in front of my laptop. I only write on the days that I feel creatively in tune with the manuscript. I don’t force myself to deliver words to meet arbitrary targets. That doesn't mean I sit idly aside. I frequently use those other days for research, review and reflection.

Do you have any strange writing habits?
Before committing my fingers to the keyboard in complex scenarios I will frequently lie awake in bed, visualising actions, outcomes and exchanging silent dialogue. Occasionally I am not as silent as I think I am and get accused of sleep talking.

What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process? Favourite part?
My least favourite part is the review, editing and proof reading. My favourite part is possessing the power to create those shocking outcomes that amuse, amaze and often offend.  It’s an awesome feeling to wipe out hundreds of human beings by a few clicks of a keypad.

Is there one particular subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?
There is no subject that I would consider off limits from a sensitivity perspective but there are certain genres that I would never embark upon.

Is there a type of scene that's harder for you to write than others?
I find sex scenes incredibly difficult to write as I always envisage that friends and family will imagine that I’m writing from experience.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
I believe that a big ego might help the writer but it won't necessarily do the reader many favours.

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
As a five year old I discovered that certain words used in certain sequences made similar sounds.  I seemed to develop a natural tendency to think in rhyme and became very popular at parties and school events. 

How many unpublished/half-finished books do you have?
I have two complete volumes of obscene and bad taste poems and monologues that might now scrape past publishing legislation but will still challenge perceptions of accepted decency. In my teens I considered myself to be the original Punk Poet and the antidote to Pam Ayres.

How long does it usually take you to write a book?
Hands up… I am a novice author. The whole process, incorporating preparation, planning, plotting writing and editing my debut novel, This Disunited Kingdom, took seven months.

What are you working on now? What is your next project?
I am currently writing a romantic, mystery, psychological crime thriller set on a round world cruise ship voyage. The research was fascinating.
For my next project, I have been challenged to write a Sitcom.

If you could cast the characters of this book for a movie, who would play your characters?
I recently met Dean Andrews, best known from Life on Mars, and he would make my perfect Detective Chief Inspector Sean Lakin. I always visualised Indira Varma as Farah Karim, beautiful, assertive but slightly vulnerable. Raza Jaffrey would be my Adnan Abadi and I wonder if Nigel Farage would be interested in forging a new career, playing Neil Faraday, my deputy Prime Minister and UKIP Leader?

Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Any advice on how to deal with the bad?
Yes, of course I read reviews and respond whenever I can. I have only ever read two, marginally negative reviews. The first commented that I had repeated too much detail in a political thriller and, on reflection, the reviewer may have had a point. I also learned a valuable lesson from another reviewer who told me that I had not given a sufficient physical description of a key character which made it difficult to relate to him!
If people care enough to write a review, it would be disrespectful and potentially harmful, not to read it. If a review were REALLY bad, I would console myself in the fact that I hate the work of James Patterson, possibly the most successful author on the planet. Not all good writers are successful and not all successful writers are good.

If you didn't like writing books, what would you do for a living?
I would go back to my previous career in Sales and Marketing within the Drinks Industry. My colleagues considered much of this to have been a work of fiction.

What's the best money you ever spent as a writer?
My recent fare on a three-week cruise researching my current novel. I have cruised previously but surprised myself by stripping back the veneer of unashamed luxury and relaxation and recognising that the cruise ship, is, in fact, a floating hotel, kitchen, and Retail Park in which bad things can happen to good people.

Have you ever gotten reader's block? How did you get out of it? (And yes, I meant readers) :D
Yes, I have had reader's block when battling with chapter upon chapter of technical spam in a political thriller. I am convinced that the author simply cut and pasted a whole manual from an armaments website. I got out of it by throwing the book over my balcony into the Atlantic Ocean. Apologies are due to both Tom Clancy and the Maritime Environmental Organisation but my sense of relief and release was immense.

Do you google yourself?
Doesn't everybody? I always look forward to what I find despite the fact that I probably posted most of it myself.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
I guess I would commission a designer to create a great big Angry Owl. I believe that a contemporary, political thriller writer needs the capacity for Anger and the Wisdom to harness and channel it.

What literary character is most like you?
I actually am a reincarnation of Heathcliff: A handsome, brooding, tortured and dangerous deep thinker who never quite realised his potential.
What authors have inspired you?
The first adult novel I ever bought was The Virgin Soldiers by Leslie Thomas when I was thirteen. Gerald Seymour has inspired and educated me by setting political thrillers in virtually every conflict ever encountered in modern history. I learned much from Robert Ludlum and Frederick Forsythe and spent many happy holidays recently in the comfortable company of Harlan Coben, David Baldacci and Lynwood Barclay.

What's one piece of advice you have received that has always resonated with you?
Never tell anyone your problems. Eighty per cent of people couldn't care less and the other twenty per cent are probably glad.

What's the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?
After a very long reunion dinner that began just after lunch and ended only a few hours before breakfast, I retired to my hotel room, undressed and collapsed onto my bed. Answering the inevitable dawn call of nature, I pulled open the bathroom door which promptly slammed behind me as I found myself stood, stark naked, in the corridor on the tenth floor. At the time, the night porter seemed to find this far funnier than I did though I can now smile, grudgingly at the embarrassing memory. He might not have found it quite so funny had he discovered how and where I had found relief.

Leslie J. Nicholls
Leslie J. Nicholls has always held an inquisitive, borderline cynical, interest in the politics, morals and motivations of governments and their politicians.  As an avid observer of current affairs, national and international news he has developed an uncanny knack of predicting unfolding world events. Political writers like Gerald Seymour, Frederick Forsythe, Robert Ludlum and Sebastian Foulkes have inspired Nicholls to abandon a successful career in Sales and marketing to express this interest creatively in the publication of This Disunited Kingdom, a political thriller with a prophetic vision of post Brexit Britain.


Chapter 3

(This extract outlines the political, economic and social climate in the UK in the immediacy of BREXIT )

Back in Downing Street, Prime Minister Mitchell was still struggling to watch the distressing live feeds on his news screen as Janet, his personal assistant, ushered in John Gemmell, the Chancellor, who, at fifty-three, pencil thin with rimless glasses perched upon a slender crooked nose, looked every inch of the part.
 Despite the numerous and significant social difficulties that the country might be facing, the economy was in its strongest position since the heady days of the Thatcher regime. The pound had never been stronger against the euro. Back in 2016 when Greece ditched the currency and defaulted on its European debt, the pound was worth one point two euros. Now a visitor would have to pay almost two euros for one of the much-coveted English pounds and there were still many members of the European State that were desperate to do so. English exports to Europe had, of course, become significantly more expensive, but since the British withdrawal from Europe in 2018, the Americas, Far East and China had become their most significant trade partners. Scotland were still in the European Union so it was still possible to sneak some of those rarer French wines and German sausages across Hadrian’s Wall but it was considered to be a most unpatriotic practice.
The first few years out of Europe were hard as the British in general and the English in particular had to find new markets for their exports. They were forced to do so whilst rebuilding their own agricultural and manufacturing base to produce all those goods that for the previous forty years had travelled over or under the sea, further lining the pockets of the corrupt Europeans who controlled the shipping lanes and transportation systems, as well as the goods they carried. The immediate removal of restrictive laws and trade practices made the restoration of the rural and industrial infrastructure much faster and less painful that anyone could have imagined, aided, crucially, by substantial investment from their new allies in China. Over sixty percent of English electricity was now generated by Chinese-owned nuclear reactors.
Unemployment was decimated and the government of the day congratulated itself on the decision not to have repatriated the wave of Eastern European migrants that had fled the abject poverty within their own flawed and failed political flirtations with the European Super state. Such was the demand for labour in the fields, factories and offices that unemployment and welfare benefits were virtually withdrawn as anyone who wanted to work could do so and those who didn’t were made to.
Not all of the former British Isles shared this meteoric economic recovery. Britain’s departure from Europe coincided with the second Scottish devolution vote which, this time, opened the vote to both English and Scots. The criteria for the declaration of independence demanded that either fifty one percent of the Scottish electorate voted for separation or a minimum of thirty percent of the combined population. Both criterion were comfortably exceeded and the Scots heralded their independence in a blaze of tartan clad, malt fuelled exuberance.
Scotland was welcomed, open armed, into the European Union immediately. They were wooed by a more accessible market for their oil and some misguided perception of economic and national security. The economic implosion of Scotland was heralded two years following independence with the almost complete collapse of the North Sea Oil Industry. Decline in global manufacturing had led to dramatic downturns in consumption. This was exacerbated by the Confederation of Muslim States or, as it was then known, ISIS, gaining control of a large proportion of the Middle East’s oil fields and flooding the market with cheap oil to fuel their armament costs and, simultaneously destabilising Western economies. The rapid development of fracking technology spread quickly from North West England throughout the country to the point at which the country became not just self-sufficient, but a significant fuel exporter. This, inevitably, fuelled tension between the two nations.


  1. As a debutant author, I am not sure of the etiquette and protocol in responding to reviews and blogs but hey, what's the worst that can happen? Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to feature my work on your fascinating site. As you know, most authors outside the top ten best sellers, struggle to generate awareness for their work so it is really gratifying that good people like yourself find time to support us. Hope you enjoyed the book as much as you enjoyed my tale of "light relief!"
    Best Regards, Leslie J Nicholls. ( Not quite so Angry, still near Accrington!)

    1. Haha! You're the best! Thank you for taking the time to post on this and answering my Q&A! I love supporting authors of all kinds! :D