Today we welcome author Ged Gillmore to share with us how an addiction to Instagram nearly lost him his new novel Base Nature, Book 3 in his Bill Murdoch Mystery Series.
PLUS to celebrate Ged’s upcoming book series launch event at Berkelouw Books on Thurs 29 March 2018
3 lucky readers will win a title of their choosing from the Bill Murdoch Mystery Series, in ebook — entries open worldwide.
Crime Writer vs Bus
Last month I caught the 440 to an early morning meeting in the city. So early that the sky beyond the scarred bus windows was still utterly black. On the seat beside me lay my laptop. I don’t normally take it with me anywhere but I was under a thrilling deadline: if I could get my new crime novel printed and distributed by the end of the month, my favourite bookstore – Berkelouw Books in Paddington – was willing to host a launch. And not just of the latest book but of the whole Murdoch series to date.
I had accepted the offer perhaps too hastily. The subsequent pressure on me, the Editor, the Formatter and the Proof Readers had revealed edges in our relationships that had previously lain hidden. Still, we got there in the end. Even a last minute loss of connectivity was unable to stop us. All I had to do was get this final, sole copy of Base Nature to the printers and we were all on track.
What happened next was Instagram’s fault. Not mine. I can’t be blamed for an addiction to communicating with readers I’ll never meet. It was the app what done it, guvnor.
I was about twenty minutes off the bus and walking fast, the night bleeding from the eastern sky, when I felt that awful lurch. The realisation that – with Instagram all tapped out for a second – there was something missing from my hands. My laptop was still on the bus.
Generally I’m good in a crisis, as long as there’s someone there to tell me what to do. On a pre-rush Wednesday morning, as the Liverpool Street cafes were putting out their chairs, I think I may have frozen for a few seconds. Or maybe screamed an expletive or two at the lightening sky. Then I started running.
Even this early in the day, the traffic behind Central Station – by now the location of the closest 440 stop– was clogging. The passengers lined up there to get onto buses looked about as excited at the prospect as the buses lined up to take on passengers. I couldn’t bear to wait for a 440 so I jumped on the first bus that opened its doors and garbled out my story. The driver was sympathetic but resolute.
‘We can’t radio to other buses,’ he shrugged sadly. ‘We can only contact the radio room.’
‘Well, could you do that then, please? Contact the radio room for me?’
‘No. Not allowed. Have you tried calling the passenger information line?’
I had actually. I’d tried three times while running towards Central. The first two calls had hit a message recorded in the fifties.
We may get back to you in forty-eight hours. If we do not, then your property has not been retrieved.
On the third attempt I had reached a human being who helpfully put me through to the recorded message.
‘Please?’ I was begging the bus driver by now, I didn’t care. ‘Please call the radio room and get him to ask all 440 drivers to look on the seat closest to the back door!’
But by now it wasn’t just me against reason and the driver. It was me against a bus full of commuters keen to get to work before the rush hour started to swell.
The next driver I harangued was less sympathetic.
‘Get a taxi,’ she told me gruffly. ‘Chase the original bus.’
Like I said, I’m great in a crisis when there’s someone to tell me what to do. Bubbling incoherent thanks, I jumped off that bus and there – right there! –stood a taxi chugging with his light on.
The atmosphere inside the car was strangely calm. As I told the driver my story, Michael Buble finished one song, the Smooth FM jingle oozed out, and then Carly Simon started another.
‘I will help you of course,’ said the driver as the lights changed and, at last, we were moving in the direction of my book. ‘Except I don’t know the 440 route. Where does the bus go to?’
I had no idea. In the other direction I could tell you every stop but, coming this way, I always get off in the city. I wrestled with my phone to find the information.
‘You must hurry,’ said the driver. ‘The rush hour is starting. Right here or straight on?’
‘I need to know now.’
‘Er… Straight on?’
And so we continued down Parramatta Road, the traffic thickening around us, until at last my phone showed me what I needed to know. A tiny map with Rozelle at one end. I held up the screen and the driver squinted at it. He looked back at the road, braked hard, then looked at my phone again.
‘Rozelle,’ he said knowingly, ignoring the horns behind us. ‘Your bus will be on the way back by now. He will have reached the last stop and turned around. Oh look, there’s a 440 there.’ He pointed across the road and, as we moved forward again, I saw a 440 coming towards in the opposite lane. ‘Perhaps that is him?’
But I remembered the driver of my original bus had been bald and wearing glasses. My husband is bald and I’ve learned to spot a shiny head from a hundred metres. The driver of the bus coming towards us had – wait for it, wait for it – a full head of hair!
No!’ I shouted over Carly Simon, telling me how vain I am. ‘No, that’s not him!’
‘No,’ said the driver ruefully. We had stopped again, for a traffic light this time. ‘No, he wouldn’t be here yet. Let me see that map again.’ He produced a pair of tiny glasses and perched them on the end of his nose. ‘No. He will be stuck in traffic somewhere on Norton Street. We will find him.’
As we drove on, I tried the passenger information line again. The message recorded in the fifties hadn’t changed since my previous call. Five minutes later, we turned onto Norton Street.
‘Now you must watch carefully,’ said the taxi driver, as Carly Simon handed over to Louis Armstrong. Like it really was a wonderful world and all you had to do was sing along and you wouldn’t have left two and a half years of blood, sweat and tears on the blooming bus.
‘Here I leave you, ‘ The taxi driver was pulling up to the kerb. ‘There, I think, is the latest place your 440 could be.’
He was pointing across the road at a bus stop.
‘Come with me,’ I wanted to tell him. ‘I need someone sensible to tell me what to do.’
But instead I paid the fare, climbed out of the car and said goodbye with profuse thanks to him and Michael and Carly and Louis for their vain attempts at soothing me. Across the road, a 440 was arriving. Even from this distance I could the smoothness of its driver’s head shining above his glasses.
As any writer worth his salt will tell you, this is the point in the story where I get run over in my determination to catch that bus. So I took a deep breath (only forty minutes too late), looked both ways and calmly crossed the road. By the time the 440 had pulled up to the stop, the taxi had driven away.
Ileftmylaptoponyourbus!’ I said, before the doors were fully open.
The bald driver sagged and gave me a strange look. Then he reached to his feet, pulled up my precious machine and handed it over with a smile. ‘You’ve no idea the paperwork you’ve saved me,’ he said. ‘I’m so grateful.’
He was grateful? I was beside myself.
Marwin, the 440 driver, is coming to the launch of Base Nature on 29th March. And I’ve asked Smooth FM to help me find the driver of the taxi so he can come along too.
– ~ –
In October 2017, Ged launched Headland – the first book in the new ‘Bill Murdoch Mystery’ series. Headland follows the hard-boiled adventures of Bill Murdoch, a not-always-lovable English rogue, as he tries to adapt to a new life in Australia and leave his criminal tendencies behind. The sequel, Class Act, launched in January 2018, and the third book in the series, Base Nature, launched on 21st March 2018.
Disclosure: If you click a link in this post and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission.
Headland, A Bill Murdoch Mystery #1
What happens when a drug dealer is forced to turn detective? Meet Bill Murdoch, the world’s most-reluctant private investigator…
Murdoch’s doing just ﬁne, thanks for not asking. He’s dealing drugs for a professional crime syndicate in Sydney and saving for a house by the sea. But what does he think life is, a fairy tale?
As the syndicate puts pressure on him to fill the shoes of his murdered boss, Murdoch is cornered by an equally formidable foe: the Australian Tax Ofﬁce demanding an explanation for his sizeable cash income.
Murdoch spins a beautiful lie, telling tax inspector, Hannah Simms, he’s a private detective. When Simms asks him to investigate the mystery of her niece’s disappearance, Murdoch grabs what he thinks is a golden opportunity to outrun the syndicate. But his arrival in the missing girl’s small coastal home town causes an unexpected stir and the reluctant PI soon realises his troubles are only just beginning.
Headland is noir crime at its best, a thriller to keep you guessing until the very end.
Class Act, A Bill Murdoch Mystery #2
Can a man who’s lived a life of crime ever escape his past? The world’s most reluctant private investigator is about to find out.
Former bad boy turned local hero, Bill Murdoch, should be happy with his little piece of paradise. After all, he’s got the fancy car and the big house by the beach. The only trouble is he’s slowly suffocating in small town life.
So when Murdoch is hired to investigate who framed wealthy businessman, James Harte, for murder, he jumps at the chance. Going undercover amongst the jet set, Murdoch is quickly drawn into an exciting world of yachts, horse racing and glitzy parties. But soon Murdoch’s shady past looks set to catch up with him and when he falls for Harte’s beautiful wife, Amanda, things take a deadly turn.
Base Nature, A Bill Murdoch Mystery #3
How far can you push a man before he reveals his base nature? Bill Murdoch is about to find out in his darkest case yet…
Murdoch takes on two cases in as many days. First he is hired to find local man, Scott Patterson, the victim of a mysterious abduction. Then an impressive stranger arrives in town with a tempting offer.
But has Patterson really been abducted? And is the stranger all he appears to be?
As Murdoch gives in to temptation and risks everything by returning to his old criminal ways, the hunt for Scott Patterson takes an unexpected turn. Soon Murdoch and his partner, Davie Simms, are dragged into a depraved underworld of human trafficking, prostitution and torture, where they will find evil on their doorstep, and face a desperate fight for their lives.
Titles in the Bill Murdoch Mystery Series are available from:
About the Author, Ged Gillmore
Ged grew up in the Midlands of England before moving to London where he completeddegrees in languages and literature at the University of London. After graduating, Ged worked in France, Germany and Italy before returning to London for eighteen years where he gained experience in a variety of roles including the police force, the film industry and banking. Fancying a change to sunnier climes, Ged made the leap to Sydney in early 2004. These days he spends his time between Australia, Ireland and the UK.
For the last few years Ged has been a regular online contributor to the Good Men Project, where he likes to challenge gender stereotypes with wit and panache. Ged has also studied at the Australian Writers’ Centre and the Writers’ Studio, both based in Sydney. As well as writing crime fiction, Ged has also had two middle-grade books published. His hilarious chapter books, Cats On The Run and its sequel Cats Undercover, both became Amazon best sellers.
Thanks to deGrevilo Publishing 3 lucky readers will win a title of their choosing from the Bill Murdoch Mystery Series, in ebook format. Simply tell us which title you would most like to win in the entry form below — either Headland #1, Class Act #2 or Base Nature #3.
- Open worldwide, entries close midnight 7 April 2018
- Earn extra entries in the draw by spreading the word via Twitter , Pinterest and Facebook/Google+/Webpage
- The 2 winners will be randomly selected and announced on our Facebook Page
SORRY, ENTRIES CLOSED – See winners announcement