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Sunday, 5 July 2015

Blog Tour Guest Post - Thicker Than Water by Jon Tait

Thicker Than Water
Author: Jon Tait
Genre: Pulp Fiction/Mafia Crime Thriller
Length: 205 pages
Release Date: June 5, 2015
ISBN-13: 978-1511723640

Book Description:
If you presumed that the notorious Anglo-Scottish Border Reivers just faded into history with the Union of the Crowns in 1603, think again.

These men of extreme violence, who had spent over two hundred years perfecting the art while indulging in blood feuds and giving words such as blackmail and bereave to the English language, simply disappeared underground.

And they haven’t been heard of again. Until now.

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People tell you to write about what you know. My family have been living on the Anglo Scottish Border for at least 600 years, so it is a place that I have intimate knowledge of. The Border is my home. I’m a border writer, born in Northumberland of Scottish ancestry.

That carries the baggage of years of conflict and strife – one of my ancestors fought for Scotland at the famous Battle of Flodden Field in 1513. How do I know this? Because he complained to the authorities afterwards that someone had stolen his horse from the field while he was getting stuck in.

Two of my other distant ancestors had been sent on a hit two years earlier as a revenge for the murder of Sir Robert Kerr. They went down to York, beheaded one of the murderers, named Starhead, and brought his head back in a sack where the Scottish King had it displayed on a stake in Edinburgh. The message? Mess with the Border clans and this is your fate.

The Borderers rode in family gangs known as the Reivers for a couple of hundred years in the medieval period. Maybe this violence and gangsterism has left its mark. I can be a bit dour, with a gallows sense of humour. The blood of many border families pumps through my veins. It is in my DNA. You certainly won’t see a light hearted tome coming from my pen anytime soon, so I’m well suited to the pulp crime story as I’m interested in the Mafia, corruption, violence and sultry women.

I have an emotional attachment to the rolling Cheviot hills and am at my happiest on top of a rocky mountain trail with my friends as the mist and rain comes in so thick you can hardly see your boots in front of you. I’m connected to the forests, the streams and scree slopes, so it’s what I write about.

Home. There’s a certain satisfaction in having roots that run so deep. I know exactly who I am and where I’m from. It grounds my writing with a sense of place.

I do, of course, enjoy travelling and discovering new places and people. But all roads lead back to the Border. It’s as if I’m drawn back by the shadowy spectres of the past. They’re there, all you have to do is listen and you’ll hear their voices. Thicker Than Water brings those ghosts alive, keeps their memory.

If you are interested in further reading on the Border Reivers, then George McDonald Fraser’s The Steel Bonnets is considered one of the best historical texts. But if you are after a fast-paced pulp crime mystery then why not give Thicker Than Water a go. It’s a violent, sexy story like Dan Brown on amphetamines, or Sir Walter Scott on LSD.

Maybe you won’t like it. That’s fine. I promise your head won’t end up in front of Edinburgh Castle. The City council would probably fine me for littering and we couldn’t have that now, could we?

About the Author
Jon Tait was born in Northumberland and now lives and works in the Great Border City of Carlisle with his family.

He has previously written two chapbooks of poetry – Midnight at the Snake Motel (Alternating Current, 2010) and Lucky to get Nowt (Blackheath Books 2011) and a walks book, Northumberland: 40 Coast and Country Walks (Pocket Mountains 2013).

He has a degree in Journalism from the University of Cumbria and is a soccer writer for a number of local newspapers.

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