Related to: 'Fantastic First-Time Father'

Quercus

From Mother to Daughter

Katie Piper, Diane Piper
Authors:
Katie Piper, Diane Piper
riverrun

The Book of Forgotten Authors

Christopher Fowler
Authors:
Christopher Fowler

'JOYOUS . . . READERS WILL LOVE THIS FASCINATING BOOK' CATHY RENTZENBRINK'A GODSEND WITH THE PRESENT SEASON APPROACHING' IRISH INDEPENDENT'THE PERFECT GIFT FOR A BOOK-OBSESSED FRIEND' STYLIST, 50 UNMISSABLE BOOKS FOR AUTUMN 2017'EXCELLENT . . . SHOULD BE READ BY ANYONE WHO LOVES BOOKS' EVENING STANDARDAbsence doesn't make the heart grow fonder. It makes people think you're dead.So begins Christopher Fowler's foray into the back catalogues and backstories of 99 authors who, once hugely popular, have all but disappeared from our shelves.Whether male or female, domestic or international, flash-in-the-pan or prolific, mega-seller or prize-winner - no author, it seems, can ever be fully immune from the fate of being forgotten. And Fowler, as well as remembering their careers, lifts the lid on their lives, and why they often stopped writing or disappeared from the public eye.These 99 journeys are punctuated by 12 short essays about faded once-favourites: including the now-vanished novels Walt Disney brought to the screen, the contemporary rivals of Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie who did not stand the test of time, and the women who introduced us to psychological suspense many decades before it conquered the world.This is a book about books and their authors. It is for book lovers, and is written by one who could not be a more enthusiastic, enlightening and entertaining guide.'A BIBLIOPHILE'S DREAM' FINANCIAL TIMES'WILL HAVE READERS SCURRYING INTO SECONDHAND BOOKSHOPS' GUARDIAN

Quercus

The Gut Makeover

Jeannette Hyde
Authors:
Jeannette Hyde

As seen on ITV's Save Money: Good Health'THE MOST PAINLESS DIET EVER' Daisy Goodwin, Daily Mail'I DROPPED A DRESS SIZE. I feel mentally clearer, far less emotional, have got rid of an ongoing chest infection and sleep better on a regular basis than I have in months.' Caroline Sylger Jones, The Times 'LIFE-CHANGING. The most practical gut guide.' BBC's Dr Rangan Chatterjee'The Gut Makeover transformed me and changed my life. I also lost 18 pounds.' Tim Arthur, BBC Radio LondonTransform your body shape with this 4-week health plan for a healthier mind and body. This is more than another fad diet. This is a lifestyle you'll want to adopt for life. Revolutionary new science has shown that the state of our gut is central to our weight, health, immune system and mood. Packed with easy-to-follow advice, the latest science, meal plans and delicious recipes, The Gut Makeover is a radical new approach to eating and living. The Gut Makeover is the only book you'll need to control your weight, improve your skin, sleep better, lift your spirits, and strengthen your immune system for good.

riverrun

Six Four

Hideo Yokoyama
Authors:
Hideo Yokoyama

'This novel is a real, out-of-the-blue original. I've never read anything like it' New York Times Book ReviewTHE MILLION-SELLING JAPANESE CRIME PHENOMENON, NOW A UK BESTSELLER.SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2016 CWA INTERNATIONAL DAGGER.SIX FOUR.THE NIGHTMARE NO PARENT COULD ENDURE. THE CASE NO DETECTIVE COULD SOLVE. THE TWIST NO READER COULD PREDICT. For five days in January 1989, the parents of a seven-year-old Tokyo schoolgirl sat and listened to the demands of their daughter's kidnapper. They would never learn his identity. They would never see their daughter again.For the fourteen years that followed, the Japanese public listened to the police's apologies. They would never forget the botched investigation that became known as 'Six Four'. They would never forgive the authorities their failure.For one week in late 2002, the press officer attached to the police department in question confronted an anomaly in the case. He could never imagine what he would uncover. He would never have looked if he'd known what he would find.

Quercus

The Soup Cleanse

Angela Blatteis, Vivienne Vella
Authors:
Angela Blatteis, Vivienne Vella

Lose weight, boost energy and feel recharged. The ideal alternative to juicing diets, The Soup Cleanse offers all the natural benefits of whole fruit and vegetables, but with less sugar and more fibre, making it a healthier, gentler and more sustainable way of eating. With more than 50 delicious recipes and easy-to-follow detox programmes, you'll learn how to nourish and purify your body while flooding it with essential nutrients, as you sip your way through wholefood soups packed full of regenerative ingredients.Unlike many other diets, The Soup Cleanse is built on simple, satisfying recipes that won't leave you feeling hungry or deprived, making it accessible and easy to stick to, even for those with the busiest lifestyles. Get ready to rejuvenate, revitalise and reclaim your health - one bowl at a time!'Really nourishing ... incredibly satisfying ... surprisingly hearty' GOOPIncludes:+ 1-day, 3-day and 5-day detox plans+ Wide range of everyday recipes, from breakfast through to dinner+ Hot soups, chilled soups, regenerative broths and cleansing infused waters+ Dairy-free and gluten-free to suit many diets and lifestyles

Quercus

Beautiful Ever After

Katie Piper
Authors:
Katie Piper
Jo Fletcher Books

Traitor's Blade

Sebastien de Castell
Authors:
Sebastien de Castell

'Fantastic from the first sentence to the last . . . These books are the rarest of things, great rollicking fun combined with an emotional punch' John GwynneThe Greatcoats - legendary heroes, arbiters of justice . . . or notorious traitors? The Greatcoats are travelling magistrates bringing justice to all . . . or at least they were, before they watched the Dukes impale their King's head on a spike. Now the land's heroes are reviled as traitors, their Greatcoats in tatters.Facio, Kest and Brasti have been reduced to working as mercenaries, but when they find their employer dead - and are forced to watch as the killer plants evidence framing them for the murder - they realise things are about to get even worse.For the royal conspiracy that began with overthrowing an idealistic young king is spreading to Rijou, the most corrupt city in the land, and the life of a young girl hangs in the balance.When every noble is a tyrant and every knight is a thug, the only thing you can really trust is a traitor's blade.

Quercus

Super Bright Baby: 50 Things You Really Need to Know

John Farndon
Authors:
John Farndon

From pregnancy to toddlerhood, Super Bright Baby: 50 Things You Really Need to Know will help parents nurture their child's burgeoning mind. Expert author John Farndon recommends strategies - including ways to bond, intelligence-building play and teaching your child to read - that can be used throughout every stage of a baby's development. With a timeline covering learning and growing milestones, boxes outlining the scientific facts for each topic, and quotes from leading childcare experts, this book is the smart choice for parents who want a great future for their children.

Jo Fletcher Books

Fearie Tales

Stephen Jones, Alan Lee
Contributors:
Stephen Jones, Alan Lee

Neil Gaiman, Joanne Harris and other bestsellers re-imagine famous fairy tales in this wonderfully rich, scary anthology, illustrated by Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings artist Alan LeeFollowing in the grand tradition of the Brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, some of today's finest writers have created their own brand-new fairy tales - but with a decidedly dark twist.Fearie Tales is a fantastical mix of spellbinding retellings of 'Cinderella', 'Rapunzel', 'Hansel and Gretel' and 'Rumpelstiltskin', among others, with unsettling tales inspired by other childhood classics, all interspersed with the sources of their inspiration: the timeless stories first collected by the Brothers Grimm.Edited by Stephen Jones, Britain's best-known anthologist of dark tales, and illustrated by Oscar-winning artist Alan Lee, who also provided the magnificent cover, with stories by Neil Gaiman; Joanne Harris; Garth Nix; John Ajvide Lindqvist; Markus Heitz; Michael Marshall Smith; Angela Slatter; Robert Shearman; Christopher Fowler; Ramsey Campbell; Peter Crowther; Brian Hodge; Brian Lumley; Reggie Oliver and Tanith LeeBut be warned: this stunning volume of frightening fables is definitely not suitable for children!

Quercus

Happy, Healthy Pregnancy

Ali Monaghan
Authors:
Ali Monaghan
Jo Fletcher Books

Planesrunner

Ian McDonald
Authors:
Ian McDonald

'Chock-full of awesome,' says Paolo Bacigalupi, 'the kind of airship-dueling, guns-blazing fantasy that makes me wish I could pop through to the next reality over!' - so join Everett and Sen on the airship Everness as they race through parallel worlds to save his dad!There is not just one you, there are many yous. We're part of a multiplicity of universes in parallel dimensions - and Everett Singh's dad has found a way in. But he's been kidnapped, and now it is as though Everett's dad never existed. Yet there is one clue for his son to follow, a mysterious app called the Infundibulum: a map not just to the Ten Known Worlds, but to the entire multiverse - and someone wants to get her hands on it . . . very badly. If Everett's going to keep it safe and rescue his dad, he's going to need friends: like Captain Anastasia Sixmith, her adopted daughter and the crew of the airship Everness.'Romantic, action-packed, wildly imaginative and full of heart' Cory Doctorow

Quercus

Relish

Prue Leith
Authors:
Prue Leith

Ali Monaghan

Ali Monaghan has a master's degree in midwifery from the State University of New York. Since graduating in 2007, she has delivered over 400 babies, and has a one-year-old son.

John Farndon

John Farndon is the London-based author of many hundreds of books for children and adults on scientific and environmental issues, including the international bestseller Do You Think You're Clever? (short-listed for the Society of Authors Education Award). He has written widely on the human mind and body, including books such as The Mind Explained and The Story of Nerves for the Nobel science organization. With leading child-psychologist Dorothy Einon he wrote Creative Play, a pioneering book on creative ideas to promote a child's development.

Tim Mungeam

Tim Mungeam is the Chief Executive of Springboard for Children, a child literacy charity, and Director of Dads Unlimited, a company which helps working fathers juggle multiple responsibilities. He is also the father of three boys aged seven, twelve and fourteen, and is married to a midwife.

Eat Your Way to a Clean, Lean, Nourished Body in Less than a Week

The Soup Cleanse

Win a Champneys Detox Ritual Day for Two worth £250 with The Soup Cleanse Dieting is tough, especially around the Christmas season when there are tempting treats at every corner. If you are looking for an easy helping hand to get you ready for the party season then The Soup Cleanse is your best friend. With more than 50 delicious recipes and easy-to-follow detox programmes, you'll learn how to nourish and purify your body while flooding it with essential nutrients, as you sip your way through wholefood soups packed full of regenerative ingredients. Unlike many other diets, The Soup Cleanse is built on simple, satisfying recipes that won't leave you feeling hungry or deprived, making it accessible and easy to stick to, even for those with the busiest lifestyles. To celebrate publication, Champneys Health Resort & Spa are offering two people the chance to win a Detox Ritual Day at their Detox and Wellbeing Centre at Champneys Tring. It’s the first of its kind in the UK and launched in celebration of their 90th anniversary. Offering a range of water-based personalised treatments in a smart, ultra-modern purpose-built environment; this revolutionary hub has been designed to renew and reinvigorate. Using the recuperative qualities of seawater, algae and marine minerals, our treatments have been carefully selected for their stimulating, cleansing effects on both the body and mind. By harnessing the richness of the sea, you will feel the benefits of its revitalising and rebalancing properties – vital components of health and wellbeing. Their experts will provide a personalised programme that will: detox, improve circulation, promote wellbeing and help you to slim and tone. With five key treatments and the perfect post therapy relaxation experience, you will never feel so good. Step inside their haven of tranquillity to refine, relax and tone. Slow things down, take a step back and cleanse your body from the inside out. In six blissful steps, you will be taken on a voyage of discovery. Included in your day: 9am arrival Welcome and tour of the resort Light refreshments A detox ritual worth £69 3 course buffet style lunch, with the option of using our light diet room Unlimited use of swimming pool, sauna and steam room Access up to 20 fitness class per day* 6pm departure To enter fill in your name and email address below Terms & Conditions: 1. This is a prize draw to win a Champneys Detox Ritual Day for Two People worth £250. To enter, please fill in your name and email address in the boxes set out at the following webpage: www.quercusbooks.co.uk/soupcleanse. 2. Prize includes: Welcome and tour of the resort. Light refreshment. A detox ritual worth £69. 3 course buffet style lunch, with the option of using our light diet room. Unlimited use of swimming pool, sauna and steam room. Access up to 20 fitness class per day* 3. The Winner will be selected at random from the entries received in accordance with these terms and conditions by The Soup Cleanse authors, Angela Blatteis and Vivienne Vella, whose decision will be final. 4. The Winner may see their name posted on quercusbooks.co.uk and possibly other websites and Twitter accounts. 5. Prize must be booked and taken by 30th June 2016. *£3 charge applies for advanced class bookings only. Subject to availability. Valid Monday to Thursday only at Tring Champneys Health Resort and Spa. 6. Travel, accommodation and refreshments other than those stated at paragraph 2 above are not included in the prize. 7. Quercus Editions Limited (Quercus) is not liable for the operations of Champneys Health Resorts (Champneys) and accepts no responsibility for them. Participation in the Champneys Detox Ritual Day is subject to any terms and conditions set out by Champneys Health Resorts (for more information click here: http://www.champneys.com/spa-resorts/spa-resort-breaks/specialist-retreats/slim-and-detox/detox/champneys-detox-ritual-day/ here). 8. There is no purchase necessary to enter. 9.The prize draw opens at 12:01am GMT on 10 December 2015 and closes at 11:59 pm GMT on 31 January 2016. Any entries received outside these specified times and dates will not be eligible for entry into the competition. 10. The prize draw is open to anyone aged 16 or over in the UK except employees of Quercus and Champneys, their families, or anyone professionally connected to the competition either themselves or through their families. If the winner is under 18 years of age, the Winner may be asked to have his or her guardian complete waivers, consent forms and/or other documentation as prerequisite for being awarded the prize. 11. Only one entry per person allowed. Second or subsequent entries will be disqualified. Entries will not be accepted via agents, third parties or in bulk. 12. Quercus is not responsible for contacting or forwarding prizes to entrants who provide unclear or incomplete information or for entries lost, misdirected, delayed or destroyed. 13. Quercus reserves the right to alter the prizes or cancel the prize draw without notice. No cash alternatives to prizes will be provided. 14. The Winner will be contacted by email on or before Friday 5 February 2016 and his or her name will be published at www.quercusbooks.co.uk/soupcleanse on Friday 5 February 2016. 15. The email addresses of entrants may be shared with companies within the Hachette group of companies but will not be shared with other companies outside the group. It will be used by the Hachette companies to send you news about our books, products and promotions. You will be given the option of opting out in those emails if you don’t want to receive any further news from us. 16. By entering the prize draw each entrant agrees to be bound by these terms and conditions. 17. This competition is being organised by Quercus Editions Limited, Carmelite House, 50 Victoria Embankment, London EC4Y 0DZ 18. These terms and conditions and any disputes or claims (including non-contractual disputes or claims) arising out of these terms and Conditions shall be governed and construed in accordance with the laws of England, whose courts shall have exclusive jurisdiction.

Q&A with Andreas Norman

If there was a film of Into A Raging Blaze, who do you think would play the main characters of Bente Jensen, the Secret Service Head, and Carina Dymek, the civil servant on the run? Well, the Swedish original of Into A Raging Blaze (En rasande eld), is actually being adapted for bigscreen right now by a major Swedish film company. They are right now starting to cast it! But then of course, Bente and Carina will be played by Swedish actors. In a British remake I would love to see a character actress like Jodie Foster or Imelda Staunton play Bente, who could take on that utterly unsentimental, tough-minded, no-nonsense type of woman. Carina – I think Maggie Gyllenhaal, Emily Blunt or Sarah Solemani would be perfect for the role. Brainy actresses with a lot of energy. You worked in the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs for ten years in Counter-terrorism and Security. Can you tell us anything about the kinds of projects you worked on, and what it was like? They were mainly projects launched to prevent further terrorism – in other words, the recruitment and radicalisation of individuals and groups in countries around the world. I can't tell you much more, it is all very classified information; other than that we worked in partnership with other countries on this, and their police forces, intelligence agencies as well as various local non-governmental organisations. Our main slogan was: counter-terrorism without the respect for human rights is counter-productive. That was a one-liner I came up with, actually, in order to easily convey the Swedish view on these matters. And I still believe that it is absolutely valid. If you violate people's basic rights, you will end up with more politically motivated violence, and that is unfortunately what is happening today in, for example, Pakistan and many other places around the world today. How much is the diplomatic service as portrayed in the novel based on your experience of that world? The descriptions of the Ministry’s interior and other places are absolutely authentic; you could use the book for a guided tour around the Swedish MFA and the Government offices! If you ever visit the pub Pickwick’s on the corner of Fredsgatan and Drottninggatan in Stockholm, where all the civil servants hang out after work, look out for the elk head hanging on the inner wall. You'll find that place, and all other locations in the book exactly as I describe them. It was great fun to portray my workplace and the people in it. There are such a wealth of stories and characters in the diplomatic and intelligence community, that for most of the time remain untold, unseen, due to the secrecy that surrounds the trade. At the same time, there’s a lot that is universal which every person who spends their days in an office can easily relate to: the struggle for having an office with a nice view, the byzantine procedure for requisitioning an ergonomic chair, the career angst, all that. You left the Ministry to become a full time writer. What do your former colleagues think of the novel? Were you worried about revealing any government secrets? They think it’s great! I was surprised and happy to get so many positive reactions from colleagues in the MFA. Dozens of ambassadors and desk officers from all over the world have emailed me to congratulate me on what they felt was both a very entertaining and wholly accurate panorama of the rather absurd everyday life in the foreign service. I think many felt that, for once, their profession and work life had been portrayed in an authentic way. I wasn't worried for a second that I would reveal any secrets. I'm so used to handling classified information, you know, and the people in the ministry knows that. But just to be sure, I actually read my first draft as if I were looking for intelligence, classified procedures, etc. In some cases I obscured one or two details to make sure that Into A Raging Blaze would be useless – as intelligence, I mean. Your novel has a plot point whereby British agencies and GCHQ use cyber-spying to access private communications in European countries, even from governments. Was this based on fact when you wrote it, and if so, how did you come across the information? Sure, this is common practice. Just look at what Snowden revealed: NSA tapping the mobile phones of Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. My book basically outlines GCHQ’s mass surveillance programme code-named Tempora. I was not aware of the code name at the time I wrote the book, but knew something like this existed. That was in 2009. It was also in this period that NSA got enormously enhanced capacities to collect and store data, and later, to mine them. They were building big new facilities in Utah for data storage. As part of my job in the Foreign Ministry, I had the opportunity to learn how the signals intelligence agencies were organised, their methods, their technology. It was top secret back then; now you can find all about it on Google in an instant. Since you wrote the novel and it was published in Sweden, the world woke up to the same reality when Julian Assange published Edward Snowden’s leaked documents. What was the reaction to your book when this happened? A lot of readers were surprised by how close to reality my book actually was. Everyone who read it reacted with, ‘Wow, did you know about all this?’ Especially since the depth of the partnerships between NSA, GCHQ and the Swedish signals intelligence agency FRA was revealed later that year. Then even political op ed's in the main Swedish papers started using my book as a starting point for discussing the surveillance scandal, which thrilled me. The Swedish agency took a lot of criticism for being mixed up in the mass surveillance revealed by Snowden, and my story pointed towards precisely this partnership. It´s called Five Eyes, by the way. Al Gore has now come out in support of Snowden. What do you think of Snowden’s and Assange’s actions, and the reaction to them? I completely agree with Al Gore's statement. Snowden has done everyone a great service. Leaking classified information is always damaging someone, and sure, if it’s being revealed to the public, there is a risk of jeopardizing national security or hampering operations that can save lives. But when state agencies like the NSA or GCHQ operate massive systems that violate the basic civil rights of millions of innocent people, and do so without any democratic control, you end up with a state within the state; an omnipotent machine working outside the boundaries of democratic society, and that is very dangerous. That cannot be tolerated in an open, democratic, rule of law-based society. Assange created the platform for leaks, and Snowden provided the content. How uncomfortable it ever may be for state agencies and corporate executives, I think society will always need whistle-blowers like them. That the intelligence community reacts with horror is no surprise. Disappointing, but not a surprise at all, is the way the Obama administration is pursuing whistle-blowers like Snowden and Manning, in spite of their rethoric about openness. What is most worrying is the complacency of the public. But I think this is due to the fact that we, the ordinary internet users, have no alternative to the internet. Even though our digital lives are being monitored we have no real way to protest, since you can't really say, ‘Hey, I'll stop using the internet and go buy some other product!’ In a way, it shows the limits of consumer power. What is needed are sound state policies that put citizen rights first. The leaked documents in your novel are plans for a Europe-wide intelligence service that would not only cross borders, but skirt national and international law in the name of counter-terrorism. Are there any signs that this is a real possibility, and what would you consider are the major risks of such an operation? The idea came to me when I learned about the US drone warfare in Pakistan. There you have exactly this situation. The US Air Force fly thousands of drone missions for the CIA over Pakistan every year. They fly wherever they want, target whomever they want, regardless of Pakistani law, and probably also in violation of international law. What if drone missions were carried out over UK soil, with the silent approval of the British government and the EU? That is the question I hope my book raises. Even more chilling is that the US administration also targets its own citizens, putting not only foreigners but Americans on so-called 'kill lists'. This practice not only violates basic rights of individuals, but weakens the judicial system, and corrodes the trust we put in our governments. It's a disturbing development. Your fictional ‘European Intelligence Service’ had a clause allowing American services to launch attacks within European borders if they could justify a potential threat. Your novel shows convincing ‘threats’ can easily be created from little evidence. Do you think that US intelligence services pushes the boundaries of acceptable strategy, and how much are European services in thrall to them? Yes, well, you know, intelligence services are masters of fabrication and betrayal. To fabricate ‘threats’ to support wars and other foreign policy adventures are textbook tactics. Just think of the introduction to the Iraqi war, and the massive fabrication of ‘threats’ back then. Or the last and current US administration's circumvention of international law, in order to justify huge counter-terrorism operations. Today, the Obama administration have moved more towards extrajudicial assinations, drones and special forces operations, and the CIA, together with parts of the US military, like the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) have turned into smooth war machines. What if it would lie in the interests of the US to launch the same counter-terrorism operations they carry out in Afghanistan or northern Pakistan in the heart of Europe, and the EU would condone it? That question lies at the core of my book. It's fiction, but at the same close to reality. Because all intelligence services depend more or less on each other. You trade intel, you build alliances. The US service is the most powerful player, simply on the strength of their vast capacities. They can push boundaries to fit their objectives and cooperate with European services when it serves their interests. The Brits have a privileged position in this business, being very close to the US system, whereas the Swedes are just a minor, but useful partner. As I put it in Into A Raging Blaze: the Brits and Americans create the weather of tomorrow, while the Swedes are forced to guess the forecast. In the novel, a young Egyptian-born civil servant in the Swedish Ministry of Justice is suspected of being linked to a terrorist cell. How much do you think immigrated Arabs, North Africans and people of Islamic origin are at risk of being unjustly persecuted? Or is paranoia justified in the face of a terrorist threat? Intelligence services nurture professional paranoia, and rightly so; it’s part of their job description to be suspicious. But in the today’s era of counter-terrorism, with its strong focus on Islamic fundamentalism, whole Muslim minorities run the risk of being regarded as a ‘problem’, or an environment conducive to political violence and terrorism. When a security service try to pin down someone who might pose a terrorist threat, a large number of people are screened, which is standard procedure for all investigations. The problem is, with the mass surveillance currently in use, it is possible to screen literally millions, which means that whole populations of Muslims or immigrants – for example, everyone in the UK with the surename ‘Mohammad’ – could be routinely monitored. This is a depressing reality, and adds to the strong islamophobic tendencies we witness in Europe today. In the UK, John Le Carré’s novels were instrumental in forming the spy compromised group in opposition to the realpolitik practices of ‘big brother’ CIA. In your novel there’s a similar relationship, but between the Swedish and British, relatively. Is this a realistic portrayal? Yes, absolutely! The only difference is, Swedes are nicer because they are weaker and further down the food chain in global politics. If Swedish services had the same spying capacity as the colleagues in Vauxhall, not to mention Langley, they would be meaner, I'm sure. But there are historic reasons as well to why Swedish services are less ruthless than their AngloSaxon counterparts: we have not been forced to fight for our survival in World War II or fight terrorism at home; we have no recent colonial history, no real ambition to dominate the world – other than perhaps through exports of pop music, cars and crime novels. Swedish intelligence services are just small, efficient sub-suppliers in the global security business. It’s funny you mention LeCarré, since his latest novel A Delicate Truth is quite a turnaround where he portrays the British government and the MI6 as the corrupt and morally rotten ones, don't you agree? I hope Mr LeCarré nods in approval of my portrayal of the Swedish-British relationship. The recent European elections saw a surge in extreme right-wing groups gaining votes. Why do you think this is, and how might it affect counter-terrorism and relationships between diplomatic services? Oh, I just get depressed when I think about the recent EU-parliament election . . .The reasons for this can probably be found in the recent economic recession that plagued many European countries since the Lehman Brothers crash in 2008. Europe is being strongly affected by globalization, and financial crises with immediate repercussions in national economies, resulting in redunduncies and harsher everyday lives for a lot of people. This generates fear and hatred. When citizens don't feel that there is a social contract anymore, that there is no state to provide them with basic services, there is always a temptation to join the populist chant. It’s easy to blame immigrants, or a weak minority with no voice, like the Roma. Fascism offers a tempting dream of unity and strength. It’s an enthusiastic ideology, selling easy solutions. Unfortunately, a lot of people are lost in this dream nowadays. To diplomats, the appearance of right-wing extremists in leading positions around Europe complicates bilateral relations. Some relations will become frosty, new alliances will be made. For example, a social liberal democracy like Sweden cannot rely on support from Hungary or Denmark in the EU-council for its view on migration. And so on. For professionals in the intelligence services, an increase of militant right-wing extremists of course means more work, and in the long-term perhaps also a shift towards monitoring right-wing terrorist networks more closely. After the Utöya massacre and the bombing of the Norwegian government offices in 2012, this has certainly been the case with Norwegian and Swedish security services. What are you writing next? I have a book out in autumn, 9,3 på Richterskalan (9,3 on the Richter scale). It's an eyewitness account of my days in Thailand after the tsunami on Boxing Day 2004. I was sent to Thailand as a member of some one the first response teams, being a young diplomat who just entered the service. My publisher calls it a harrowing read, I suppose it is. Right now, I'm writing the sequel to Into A Raging Blaze. You'll see more of Bente Jensen, this time in a family crisis with lethal consequences. Surveillance, counter-espionage, deadly lies and deception, all against the backdrop of the recent Crimea crisis. That’s about all I can tell you, the rest is classified!

His ideas and inspirations behind Into A Raging Blaze

Q&A with Andreas Norman

If there was a film of Into A Raging Blaze, who do you think would play the main characters of Bente Jensen, the Secret Service Head, and Carina Dymek, the civil servant on the run? Well, the Swedish original of Into A Raging Blaze (En rasande eld), is actually being adapted for bigscreen right now by a major Swedish film company. They are right now starting to cast it! But then of course, Bente and Carina will be played by Swedish actors. In a British remake I would love to see a character actress like Jodie Foster or Imelda Staunton play Bente, who could take on that utterly unsentimental, tough-minded, no-nonsense type of woman. Carina – I think Maggie Gyllenhaal, Emily Blunt or Sarah Solemani would be perfect for the role. Brainy actresses with a lot of energy. You worked in the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs for ten years in Counter-terrorism and Security. Can you tell us anything about the kinds of projects you worked on, and what it was like? They were mainly projects launched to prevent further terrorism – in other words, the recruitment and radicalisation of individuals and groups in countries around the world. I can't tell you much more, it is all very classified information; other than that we worked in partnership with other countries on this, and their police forces, intelligence agencies as well as various local non-governmental organisations. Our main slogan was: counter-terrorism without the respect for human rights is counter-productive. That was a one-liner I came up with, actually, in order to easily convey the Swedish view on these matters. And I still believe that it is absolutely valid. If you violate people's basic rights, you will end up with more politically motivated violence, and that is unfortunately what is happening today in, for example, Pakistan and many other places around the world today. How much is the diplomatic service as portrayed in the novel based on your experience of that world? The descriptions of the Ministry’s interior and other places are absolutely authentic; you could use the book for a guided tour around the Swedish MFA and the Government offices! If you ever visit the pub Pickwick’s on the corner of Fredsgatan and Drottninggatan in Stockholm, where all the civil servants hang out after work, look out for the elk head hanging on the inner wall. You'll find that place, and all other locations in the book exactly as I describe them. It was great fun to portray my workplace and the people in it. There are such a wealth of stories and characters in the diplomatic and intelligence community, that for most of the time remain untold, unseen, due to the secrecy that surrounds the trade. At the same time, there’s a lot that is universal which every person who spends their days in an office can easily relate to: the struggle for having an office with a nice view, the byzantine procedure for requisitioning an ergonomic chair, the career angst, all that. You left the Ministry to become a full time writer. What do your former colleagues think of the novel? Were you worried about revealing any government secrets? They think it’s great! I was surprised and happy to get so many positive reactions from colleagues in the MFA. Dozens of ambassadors and desk officers from all over the world have emailed me to congratulate me on what they felt was both a very entertaining and wholly accurate panorama of the rather absurd everyday life in the foreign service. I think many felt that, for once, their profession and work life had been portrayed in an authentic way. I wasn't worried for a second that I would reveal any secrets. I'm so used to handling classified information, you know, and the people in the ministry knows that. But just to be sure, I actually read my first draft as if I were looking for intelligence, classified procedures, etc. In some cases I obscured one or two details to make sure that Into A Raging Blaze would be useless – as intelligence, I mean. Your novel has a plot point whereby British agencies and GCHQ use cyber-spying to access private communications in European countries, even from governments. Was this based on fact when you wrote it, and if so, how did you come across the information? Sure, this is common practice. Just look at what Snowden revealed: NSA tapping the mobile phones of Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. My book basically outlines GCHQ’s mass surveillance programme code-named Tempora. I was not aware of the code name at the time I wrote the book, but knew something like this existed. That was in 2009. It was also in this period that NSA got enormously enhanced capacities to collect and store data, and later, to mine them. They were building big new facilities in Utah for data storage. As part of my job in the Foreign Ministry, I had the opportunity to learn how the signals intelligence agencies were organised, their methods, their technology. It was top secret back then; now you can find all about it on Google in an instant. Since you wrote the novel and it was published in Sweden, the world woke up to the same reality when Julian Assange published Edward Snowden’s leaked documents. What was the reaction to your book when this happened? A lot of readers were surprised by how close to reality my book actually was. Everyone who read it reacted with, ‘Wow, did you know about all this?’ Especially since the depth of the partnerships between NSA, GCHQ and the Swedish signals intelligence agency FRA was revealed later that year. Then even political op ed's in the main Swedish papers started using my book as a starting point for discussing the surveillance scandal, which thrilled me. The Swedish agency took a lot of criticism for being mixed up in the mass surveillance revealed by Snowden, and my story pointed towards precisely this partnership. It´s called Five Eyes, by the way. Al Gore has now come out in support of Snowden. What do you think of Snowden’s and Assange’s actions, and the reaction to them? I completely agree with Al Gore's statement. Snowden has done everyone a great service. Leaking classified information is always damaging someone, and sure, if it’s being revealed to the public, there is a risk of jeopardizing national security or hampering operations that can save lives. But when state agencies like the NSA or GCHQ operate massive systems that violate the basic civil rights of millions of innocent people, and do so without any democratic control, you end up with a state within the state; an omnipotent machine working outside the boundaries of democratic society, and that is very dangerous. That cannot be tolerated in an open, democratic, rule of law-based society. Assange created the platform for leaks, and Snowden provided the content. How uncomfortable it ever may be for state agencies and corporate executives, I think society will always need whistle-blowers like them. That the intelligence community reacts with horror is no surprise. Disappointing, but not a surprise at all, is the way the Obama administration is pursuing whistle-blowers like Snowden and Manning, in spite of their rethoric about openness. What is most worrying is the complacency of the public. But I think this is due to the fact that we, the ordinary internet users, have no alternative to the internet. Even though our digital lives are being monitored we have no real way to protest, since you can't really say, ‘Hey, I'll stop using the internet and go buy some other product!’ In a way, it shows the limits of consumer power. What is needed are sound state policies that put citizen rights first. The leaked documents in your novel are plans for a Europe-wide intelligence service that would not only cross borders, but skirt national and international law in the name of counter-terrorism. Are there any signs that this is a real possibility, and what would you consider are the major risks of such an operation? The idea came to me when I learned about the US drone warfare in Pakistan. There you have exactly this situation. The US Air Force fly thousands of drone missions for the CIA over Pakistan every year. They fly wherever they want, target whomever they want, regardless of Pakistani law, and probably also in violation of international law. What if drone missions were carried out over UK soil, with the silent approval of the British government and the EU? That is the question I hope my book raises. Even more chilling is that the US administration also targets its own citizens, putting not only foreigners but Americans on so-called 'kill lists'. This practice not only violates basic rights of individuals, but weakens the judicial system, and corrodes the trust we put in our governments. It's a disturbing development. Your fictional ‘European Intelligence Service’ had a clause allowing American services to launch attacks within European borders if they could justify a potential threat. Your novel shows convincing ‘threats’ can easily be created from little evidence. Do you think that US intelligence services pushes the boundaries of acceptable strategy, and how much are European services in thrall to them? Yes, well, you know, intelligence services are masters of fabrication and betrayal. To fabricate ‘threats’ to support wars and other foreign policy adventures are textbook tactics. Just think of the introduction to the Iraqi war, and the massive fabrication of ‘threats’ back then. Or the last and current US administration's circumvention of international law, in order to justify huge counter-terrorism operations. Today, the Obama administration have moved more towards extrajudicial assinations, drones and special forces operations, and the CIA, together with parts of the US military, like the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) have turned into smooth war machines. What if it would lie in the interests of the US to launch the same counter-terrorism operations they carry out in Afghanistan or northern Pakistan in the heart of Europe, and the EU would condone it? That question lies at the core of my book. It's fiction, but at the same close to reality. Because all intelligence services depend more or less on each other. You trade intel, you build alliances. The US service is the most powerful player, simply on the strength of their vast capacities. They can push boundaries to fit their objectives and cooperate with European services when it serves their interests. The Brits have a privileged position in this business, being very close to the US system, whereas the Swedes are just a minor, but useful partner. As I put it in Into A Raging Blaze: the Brits and Americans create the weather of tomorrow, while the Swedes are forced to guess the forecast. In the novel, a young Egyptian-born civil servant in the Swedish Ministry of Justice is suspected of being linked to a terrorist cell. How much do you think immigrated Arabs, North Africans and people of Islamic origin are at risk of being unjustly persecuted? Or is paranoia justified in the face of a terrorist threat? Intelligence services nurture professional paranoia, and rightly so; it’s part of their job description to be suspicious. But in the today’s era of counter-terrorism, with its strong focus on Islamic fundamentalism, whole Muslim minorities run the risk of being regarded as a ‘problem’, or an environment conducive to political violence and terrorism. When a security service try to pin down someone who might pose a terrorist threat, a large number of people are screened, which is standard procedure for all investigations. The problem is, with the mass surveillance currently in use, it is possible to screen literally millions, which means that whole populations of Muslims or immigrants – for example, everyone in the UK with the surename ‘Mohammad’ – could be routinely monitored. This is a depressing reality, and adds to the strong islamophobic tendencies we witness in Europe today. In the UK, John Le Carré’s novels were instrumental in forming the spy compromised group in opposition to the realpolitik practices of ‘big brother’ CIA. In your novel there’s a similar relationship, but between the Swedish and British, relatively. Is this a realistic portrayal? Yes, absolutely! The only difference is, Swedes are nicer because they are weaker and further down the food chain in global politics. If Swedish services had the same spying capacity as the colleagues in Vauxhall, not to mention Langley, they would be meaner, I'm sure. But there are historic reasons as well to why Swedish services are less ruthless than their AngloSaxon counterparts: we have not been forced to fight for our survival in World War II or fight terrorism at home; we have no recent colonial history, no real ambition to dominate the world – other than perhaps through exports of pop music, cars and crime novels. Swedish intelligence services are just small, efficient sub-suppliers in the global security business. It’s funny you mention LeCarré, since his latest novel A Delicate Truth is quite a turnaround where he portrays the British government and the MI6 as the corrupt and morally rotten ones, don't you agree? I hope Mr LeCarré nods in approval of my portrayal of the Swedish-British relationship. The recent European elections saw a surge in extreme right-wing groups gaining votes. Why do you think this is, and how might it affect counter-terrorism and relationships between diplomatic services? Oh, I just get depressed when I think about the recent EU-parliament election . . .The reasons for this can probably be found in the recent economic recession that plagued many European countries since the Lehman Brothers crash in 2008. Europe is being strongly affected by globalization, and financial crises with immediate repercussions in national economies, resulting in redunduncies and harsher everyday lives for a lot of people. This generates fear and hatred. When citizens don't feel that there is a social contract anymore, that there is no state to provide them with basic services, there is always a temptation to join the populist chant. It’s easy to blame immigrants, or a weak minority with no voice, like the Roma. Fascism offers a tempting dream of unity and strength. It’s an enthusiastic ideology, selling easy solutions. Unfortunately, a lot of people are lost in this dream nowadays. To diplomats, the appearance of right-wing extremists in leading positions around Europe complicates bilateral relations. Some relations will become frosty, new alliances will be made. For example, a social liberal democracy like Sweden cannot rely on support from Hungary or Denmark in the EU-council for its view on migration. And so on. For professionals in the intelligence services, an increase of militant right-wing extremists of course means more work, and in the long-term perhaps also a shift towards monitoring right-wing terrorist networks more closely. After the Utöya massacre and the bombing of the Norwegian government offices in 2012, this has certainly been the case with Norwegian and Swedish security services. What are you writing next? I have a book out in autumn, 9,3 på Richterskalan (9,3 on the Richter scale). It's an eyewitness account of my days in Thailand after the tsunami on Boxing Day 2004. I was sent to Thailand as a member of some one the first response teams, being a young diplomat who just entered the service. My publisher calls it a harrowing read, I suppose it is. Right now, I'm writing the sequel to Into A Raging Blaze. You'll see more of Bente Jensen, this time in a family crisis with lethal consequences. Surveillance, counter-espionage, deadly lies and deception, all against the backdrop of the recent Crimea crisis. That’s about all I can tell you, the rest is classified!

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Rosanna Ley's top tips for fiction writing

Rosanna Ley is the best selling author of The Villa, Bay of Secrets and the forthcomingReturn to Mandalay. She has worked as a creative tutor for over twelve years, leading workshops in the UK and abroad, and has completed an MA in creative writing. Her writing holidays and retreats take place in stunning locations in Italy and Spain. Rosanna has written numerous articles and stories for national magazines. When she is not travelling, Rosanna lives in West Dorset by the sea. www.rosannaley.co.uk ROSANNA’S TOP TIPS • Let the idea for your story compost while you indulge in free writing/ thought-storming/ day-dreaming/ going for long walks etc. Create a space for your story. • Switch off your phone and avoid Internet and social media for at least 3 hours a day to enable more writing time. • Don’t just write what you know – write what you want to explore and discover. • Get inside your characters’ heads by being there with them – as far as you are able. • Check that your dialogue sounds natural, isn’t written in speeches, is not too heavy on dialect and doesn’t include too many extravagant tags like ‘he enthused…’ • Remember – every scene should progress the story in some way. • Create characters who are believable, interesting, fully rounded and who don’t do impossible things. • Forget the word count and cut, cut, cut – especially the waffly and self-indulgent bits. Less is more. • Never forget that readers are intelligent. They do not have to have everything explained to them as if they were four years old. Have faith. • Read your work out loud to yourself and the dog or a willing partner. Not so much for feedback (esp from dog) but to listen to the rhythms of your writing and to spot slow pace, repetition and sag. • Listen to criticism. Take most of it on board. Don’t allow yourself to be destroyed by negativity. Re-work. Re-write. Persevere. • Remember that writing is work. And you’re on your own. But you can still have fun.