Friday, May 27, 2016

Welcome to the Book Tour for Shadowboxing! Anne Barwell talks Writing A Series!

Join me in welcoming Anne Barwell and her newest novel, Shadowboxing, Book One in the Echoes Rising Series!


Shadowboxing will release May 31st!
Pre-order now from DSP Publications!

 Thanks for hosting me today.

As Shadowboxing, the first book in my WWII Echoes Rising series, is released in its 2nd edition with DSP Publications, I’m writing book 3 in the series, Comes a Horseman. The 2nd edition of book 2—Winter Duet—will be released in December this year, and all going well, the 1st edition of book 3 in June/July 2017.

Re-reading Shadowboxing as I worked through edits and proofs reminded me of how the three books in the series fit together. Knowing that this would be a three book series I was very conscious when I was writing Shadowboxing that I had to keep in mind the big picture, or rather the complete story I was writing.

Although I’ve set up each book so it can be read alone and still make sense, it is a continuous story, with each book building on what has happened in the one before. I had the ending of the series in my head before I began writing Shadowboxing, and knew roughly what would happen in all three books. That’s why some of what happens in Shadowboxing isn’t resolved in that book—it is set up or foreshadowing for what is to come.

Shadowboxing is really Kristopher’s story, as he is forced to take a hard look at himself and face the reality of not just who he is, but what he is doing with his life. However, he is not the only character who grows within this story, and friendships and relationships are formed that I didn’t always expect. I had a particular scene for the last book in the series in mind as I wrote Shadowboxing, and Winter Duet, but as I approach it I am realising it isn’t going to work in its current form because of what these characters have been through. The general idea works, and the consequences, but the reactions no longer do, so I will be adjusting it as I go.

I love series outlines and find they are necessary so I don’t write myself into a corner. Setting up for a particular situation or character takes time and throwing a bit of foreshadowing or a plot point in a chapter or so beforehand doesn’t always work. However, I also have to keep in mind that as I write ideas and characters will often change, and so I need to be prepared to be flexible and change with them. As it all comes together, though, I’m excited about it. I originally started work on Shadowboxing, and this series, over fifteen years ago, but the journey has been very rewarding.

About Shadowboxing

Berlin, 1943. An encounter with an old friend leaves German physicist Dr. Kristopher Lehrer with doubts about his work. But when he confronts his superior, everything goes horribly wrong. Suddenly Kristopher and Michel, a member of the Resistance, are on the run, hunted for treason and a murder they did not commit. If they’re caught, Kristopher’s knowledge could be used to build a terrible weapon that could win the war.

For the team sent by the Allies—led by Captain Bryant, Sergeant Lowe, and Dr. Zhou—a simple mission escalates into a deadly game against the Gestapo, with Dr. Lehrer as the ultimate prize. But in enemy territory, surviving and completing their mission will test their strengths and loyalties and prove more complex than they ever imagined.

Shadowboxing will release May 31st!
Pre-order now from DSP Publications!

Excerpt:

Michel froze when several gunshots pierced the quiet Berlin night. “Kristopher…,” he whispered. No. Please no.

Beside him, Matt’s head jerked up. He swore loudly. A few moments later, another lone shot followed the first couple.

Walker and Palmer skidded to a halt, doubling back from where they’d gone on ahead.

“Elise’s Kaffeehaus.” Walker panted, trying to speak and catch his breath simultaneously. He and Palmer appeared to be much younger than their companions; Michel wouldn’t be surprised if this was their first assignment in the field. “Gestapo….”

“Matt….” Ken’s previous harsh timbre was replaced by something much gentler, but Matt ignored him and shook his head.

“No.” His voice shook, his words partly echoing Michel’s thoughts. “Not Elise. Please, not her, not now.” Matt leaned heavily against a nearby lamppost, his eyes glazed over.

“We don’t know who fired the shots, sir.” Palmer took over the explanation. At least he could pass for German if he stayed quiet and kept his head down. Hopefully it wouldn’t come to that, but there were no guarantees as to which way a particular mission might go. Michel had had that fact reinforced on more occasions than he cared to remember, but too many lives depended on them with this one. It had to succeed. “The Kaffeehaus is swarming with Gestapo, but there is no sign of anyone else.”

“We need to ascertain precisely what has happened before we move in. In order to do that, we will have to get closer.” Ken took charge—although Matt was the ranking officer, he appeared to be in no state to give orders. Whatever his relationship to Elise, this was not the time for him to be dwelling on what might be happening in the Kaffeehaus. Getting Kristopher and the plans to safety was still their priority.

“It’s damn obvious that someone’s been shot.” Matt visibly pulled himself together, although his voice hitched slightly before the word “shot.” “We need to get in there quickly in order to minimize damage. Gabriel, take Walker and Palmer and secure the back entrance. Lowe, Zhou, you’re with me. We’ll secure the front.”

“What if there’s another exit?” asked Liang, disengaging the safety on his handgun.

Matt shook his head, his matter-of-fact tone verifying prior knowledge of both the Kaffeehaus and its owner. “There isn’t. Not unless Elise has done some major renovations, which I doubt.”

“We’re probably more than outnumbered by Holm and his men.” Michel pointed out the inadequacies of the plan. “It would be more sensible to size up the situation first, as Lowe suggested, before we move in. The shot might be merely a warning. We don’t know for certain that someone is injured. If Dr. Lehrer and Elise have been captured, it would pay to wait until….” His voice trailed off, a grotesque image entering his mind—Kristopher lying on the floor of the Kaffeehaus, his fair hair stained red with the blood dripping from a single bullet hole to the temple. Michel quickly pushed it away. Holm needed Kristopher. He wouldn’t risk killing him. Elise could be used to ensure Kristopher’s cooperation. It made more sense that they were both still alive.

“I don’t care.” Matt’s previous calm was replaced by an edge of desperation that made him both unpredictable and dangerous. “I’m not just sitting here and waiting. To hell with procedure.”

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing "discussion," and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.

In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.

She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as "too many." These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of "spare time" is really just a myth.

Anne’s books have received honorable mentions four times and reached the finals three times in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical.

Find Anne on her Website, Blog, Facebook, Goodreads,

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