Monday, 2 June 2014

Guest Post & Giveaway: My Favourite Writer - J K Rowling by Matt Cain

Today I'm delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Matt Cain's debut novel Shot Through the Heart... if you're of a similar generation as me I can envisage that you'll now be singing the lyrics for the iconic Bon Jovi Song :0)

Matt Cain became Channel 4 News' first ever Culture Editor in 2010. Since then he’s reported on everything from the Man Booker Prize and the Mercury Music Prize to the opening of the Spice Girls musical and the death of Whitney Houston.

Matt has over twelve years’ experience working in arts television.

As Producer/Director of The South Bank Show, his credits include films on Ian McKellen, Sam Taylor-Wood, Will Young and Carol Ann Duffy. He’s also written for The Times, presented the series What Makes a Masterpiece? for More4, and contributes a monthly column to Attitude magazine. He's judged the South Bank Show Awards, the Stonewall Awards and will be on the panel for next year's Costa Book Awards. Born in Bolton and educated at state schools, Matt went to Cambridge University before moving to London.

I have a confession to make… I hope it won’t make me too unpopular… And please don’t hold it against me… But here goes… I was never a fan of Harry Potter.

Now I obviously realize that this puts me in a minority. And I don’t know why I never  really took to Harry as even the hardest nosed critic would accept the novels are brilliantly written and the whole world of Hogwarts is brilliantly imagined. But none of  the children in my family were really the right age when the books or films came out so none of them became massive fans. And I didn’t either.

So when I first heard that JK Rowling had started to write novels for adults I wasn’t really that interested. I have to admit, I only picked up The Casual Vacancy because it was such a huge event in the publishing industry that I felt I had to see what all the fuss was about.

But I absolutely loved it – and within just a few pages I realized what it is that makes JK Rowling such a terrific writer. First of all she’s an incredibly gifted storyteller who paces out her plot with wonderful judgment and precision. And her characters are so well observed you can’t help but be seduced by them all. My favourite in the novel is Samantha, the middle-aged woman who runs a lingerie shop and spends all her time fancying the boys in her daughters’ favourite boyband. I’m so desperate to go out for a drink with her – she’s absolutely hilarious!

But what really made the book stand out for me is how much heart and humanity JK Rowling obviously puts into it. She’s so sensitive to all of her characters, their motivations and the relationships between them that I couldn’t help but feel totally enchanted. And as I got deeper into the book I realized she has a really powerful message to convey about how we should all live our lives – and in particular how we should treat those members of society who are maybe less privileged than ourselves. 

I loved The Casual Vacancy so much that as soon as I heard JK Rowling had written detective story The Cuckoo’s Calling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith I couldn’t wait to read it. And again, I discovered the same elements that make her such a great writer. In particular, her private detective Cormoran Strike is a brilliantly drawn character and I love the relationship between him and his new secretary, Robin. And obviously, as this is a crime novel the author’s talent for plotting moves up a gear and I found it hard to break away from the story even to go to the toilet! 

But again, what makes it so special to me is how much heart JK Rowling puts into it. She really understands what’s important to her characters and empathizes with every aspect of their vulnerabilities. Oh and she can also be hilarious here too. I didn’t expect to laugh out loud reading a crime novel but I did – several times! 

So I might not have been a fan of Harry Potter but I’m now proud to say I’m a huge fan of JK Rowling. In fact, I’d even go as far as saying she’s my literary idol. And if people think I’ve managed to put just a fraction of the heart and humanity she channels into her work into my own first novel, Shot Through the Heart, I’ll know I’ve done a good job. Fingers crossed!

Thanks to the lovely Lucie at Pan Macmillan I have three copies of Matt's novel to giveaway via the Rafflecopter form below (UK and Ireland residents only). 

Mia Sinclair is the first lady of love, a beautiful goddess known for her romantic roles on the silver screen. But in reality life does not imitate art and love is not as easily found in the real world as it is in the movies. 

Leo Henderson is the Brit living in L.A, enjoying the lifestyle and photographing the stars when they least expect it. He knows that being a paparazzi has its pitfalls, but he’s living the Hollywood dream and enjoying every minute of it. 

Billy Spencer, the handsome screen idol of the moment, is sexy, tanned and hiding a secret that could easily end his career as a leading man. 

When Mia meets Leo, the sparks fly. But is dating a paparazzi the biggest mistake of her life? And as Mia and Billy look to star in the biggest movie of their careers, will their smouldering on screen relationship destroy a chance of happiness before it begins?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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