The final blurb

The final product description for my upcoming second novel Naebody’s Hero, coming very soon:

Copyright Mark Wilson 2013

Abandoned by his parents as a child, Rob Hamilton has developed an unshakeable sense of right and wrong. He also has some very special gifts. If he can stop hiding from them and get his life together he may just be the greatest hero the world will never know.

Arif Ali is an English teenager from Battersea, London who is now living and studying in Pakistan. Arif is about to become a prized asset of Al-Qaeda. He and Rob will form an unlikely friendship that will alter one of the most notorious days in American history.

Kim is an American intelligence agent from Ann Arbor, Michigan. She heads up the agency’s anti-terrorist response, is an obsessive workaholic and is relentless in the pursuit of justice. Kim could be the worst enemy the friends have, or their greatest ally.

Set in Scotland, England, Pakistan, Afghanistan, France and the United States; Naebody’s Hero is a fast-paced global thriller spanning four decades, reaching its climax on one horrific day in September, 2001.

POWER DOESN’T ALWAYS CORRUPT

The exciting new novel from Mark Wilson, Author of Bobby’s Boy

20130109-131126.jpg

Meet the Cast

I’m in the final 20 percent or so home stretch of my second novel Nae’body’s Hero and thought I’d give you a wee look at the characters. I love when they do this at the start of Star Wars novels, they call it their “Dramatis Personae”.

If it’s good enough for Lucas/Walt, It’s good enough for me:

Nae’body’s Hero

Dramtis Personae

Rob Hamilton, Gifted Scotsman and hero.

Arif Ali, English-Pakistani and double agent.

Kim Baker, Lead agent in CTA and badass.

Frank and Mary McCallum, Rob’s foster-parents.

Cara Hamilton, Rob’s twin sister and school teacher.

Mike O’Donnell, Homeland Security.

Mr Bendini, Mike’s boss.

Jack Foley, CTA agent.

Azam and Mimi Ali, Arif’s parents.

Latif Ali, Arif’s cousin.

Zulifkar Raheem, Handsome terrorist. Member of a fledgling Al Qaeda.

Frank McCallum Jr, Government worker.

Special guests:

Tom Kinsella, Rob’s childhood best friend.

Paddy Carroll, Infant

Osama Bin Laden, Al Qaeda leader and architect of 911 attack.

 

Nae’body’s Hero, coming early 2013.

You can read my debut novel Bobby’s Boy here:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bobbys-Boy-ebook/dp/B007SGTHVC/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1354646802&sr=1-1

Working cover for Nae'body's Hero

Working cover for Nae’body’s Hero

 

Sneak Preview – Nae’body’s Hero- Meet Frank

Having just passed Chapter 38 on my upcoming novel I thought I’d preview a little more of the book. In the following excerpt we meet Frank McCallum, My main character Rob’s foster-father and all round great-guy. That’s wi I called him after the real Frank.

Here’s a preview from Chapter 4:

The following is copyrighted to Mark Wilson 2012

Two hours was plenty of time to complete the tasks he’d done this morning. They might take Mr McCallum all day, but he was a fit and healthy sixty five years old to Rob’s even more sprightly fourteen years. Besides, Rob had sprouted and filled out in the few years he’d worked the farm, standing well over six feet of broad and lean muscle. It was just another characteristic that set him apart and isolated him from his peers at the local school.

Physical tasks around the farm were so easy for him that it was laughable and helped him feel good about himself as he saw it as a small way to repay the love that the McCallums had shown him.

Rob had come to live with the McCallums, Frank and Mary, just over three years ago after being circulated through a couple of care homes and one foster family. The small, self-sustaining farm was near the city of Durham and felt like another world when compared to his memories of Bellshill. This was a good thing so far as Rob was concerned. He’d much rather never to set foot in his hometown again if he had any say in the matter. Frank and Mary had officially retired in their mid-fifties but as an ex-marine and a former teacher, Frank and his wife found it difficult to accept the slow pace of retiral and had bought the farm to keep them busy. They’d also been fostering kids on shirt-term placements for a few years before taking in Rob on a more or less indefinite basis. Mr and Mrs McCallum were wonderful and Rob was very grateful to have been found by such a patient, open and loving couple.

Cara had also been fortunate to be placed with a fairly wealthy family in Edinburgh. The Graham’s were lovely people and Cara loved living with them. The only problem was that the twins almost never had the opportunity to see each other. Weekly phone calls (always on a Thursday at seven o’clock), was the best that they could manage at present. The few hundred miles of A1 that separated them may as well have been a million miles, but Rob knew that time would pass and bring independence, a driving license a job and money. Cara and he would be together again soon enough and in the meantime they had both landed on their feet with the families they’d been accepted into.

Rob sighed as he watched the sun come up and thought again about whether or not he should talk to Mr McCallum about his fantasies. If anyone could help him it’d be Frank but it was too big a worry. What if the McCallums decided he was a loony and asked him to leave? No….he’d figure it out alone. Rob heard the cockerel crow which meant the Mr McCallum would be awake shortly. “Beat you again Lester” He laughed to himself and started the short work back to the farmhouse.

“So, you’ve been doing my work again have you, lad?” Mr McCallum asked in his thick Geordie accent, trying to sound angry.

Rob loved the local accent as it sounded like a more musical version of his own to his ears. “Aye, sorry Mr McCallum, you’ll just have to find something else to do with the day.”

Frank lowered his little rectangular reading glassed and shot Rob a disapproving look. “I’m perfectly capable you know, son. Ah’ don’t need you doing everything for me.”

“Ok Mister McCallum” Rob told him. “I’ll make sure you’ve plenty left to do tomorrow morning.”

“Aye, right, son” Frank didn’t believe a word…Don’t you sleep?…..And call me Frank for Christ sake.”

Rob smiled at the older man’s fake outrage, stuffed the last of his third bacon roll into his mouth, picked up his bag and headed for the door.

Mary who’d been sitting laughing began clearing plates, but Rob about-turned and took them from her along with all the others on the table. Smiling at Rob she told him, “Thanks, son. Have a good day at school.”

“Aye, try to actually talk to some kids today, eh?” Frank added with a grin.

Rob slung his backpack over one shoulder and headed out the door, “Aye, ok I’ll do that. Love you both, bye.”

“Love you too, son.” Both McCallums chimed.

Mary headed to the sink to begin cleaning the dishes, squeezing Frank’s shoulder as she passed. “Great laddie that one. When do you think he’ll tell wae’ what’s bothering him?”

Franks grunted in agreement as he finished the last of his coffee. “He’ll tell us when he needs to Mary. He knows we’re here for him.”

Mary watched Rob’s back disappear down the driveway from the window. “Hmmm. Suppose so. He’s deep thinker that boy.”

Frank pulling his boots on replied “He’s grand Mary, don’t worry about him.”

School was the usual exercise in patience for Rob it had always been. Even at his old school in Bellshill, surrounded by people he’d known his whole life and with his best friend at his side, Rob was the eternal outsider in his heart. Here in this Durham Secondary school full of kids he couldn’t begin to relate to, he’d retreated into himself more than ever. He’d become mister grey in the school’s corridors, unnoticed by most despite his huge stature. He was quite happy to drift through the days taking what he could from the day’s lessons and keeping to himself on the fringes of the various peer groups.

When he’d first arrived at the school, the kids had been friendly enough, inviting him along to sit with them or join them at rugby or football, but you can only turn down invitations so many times before they’d stop asking. His status as a foster kid, his size and his accent were all enough to set him apart, to make him different in an age group where being different, standing out, was the last thing you wanted; add those to his tendency to isolate himself and it didn’t add up to many friends. This suited Rob fine, he was content to be mister grey, mister unnoticed by the other kids. These days they left the big, weird kid foster-kid alone to sit on the stairs and read his books.

On this particular day Rob was quite happy to be at school instead of on the farm as the McCallum’s grown-up son, Frank Jnr was visiting. Over the years Rob had learned to stay out of Young Frank’s way and always made a point of being busy when he knew the man would visit.

Young Frank was in his late thirties and a government worker of some sort. Rob wasn’t really sure what he did for a living but guessed it was nothing good, probably a tax or debt collector. Whilst his parents were the warmest and most generous people Rob had known in his short life, young Frank was surly, rude, bad tempered and mean to his parents and to Rob.

He made a habit of making snide remarks to Rob whenever they were alone and flat-out ignoring the boy when the elder McCallums were present.  It was an odd feeling seeing the obvious malice and anger on a younger version of Mr McCallum’s face which itself was always so peaceful and kind. Young Frank always dressed in the same brown tweed three-piece suit and chewed vicious-smelling eucalyptus sweets continuously. The sickly-sweet smell lingered in the farmhouse along with a very obvious downturn in the mood of the house’s occupants long after young Frank’s visits ended.

On Frank’s most recent visit to the farm he’d had a massive argument with his parents in the living room. Rob listened from the staircase in the dark hallway outside. He did not like the man one bit but was most hurt by the disdain he showed the elderly McCallums. He was positively cruel to them and they were too nice to be treated by that by anyone, let alone their own son.

Needing a drink of water, Rob had crept through the darkness of the hallway towards the kitchen, but timed his trip badly as young Frank came crashing through the living room door just as Rob approached. Frank shoved him violently out of his way, Rob jumping most of the way in fright at Frank’s sudden appearance. Frank, who had continued barrelling towards the front door, stopped suddenly as something occurred to him then turned and walked menacingly towards Rob.

Reaching the boy he said quietly to him. “You’re the one whose parents left in the middle of the night.”

It wasn’t a question and Rob didn’t give a reply, he just looked at his own feet.

“Yeah, you’re that one. Smart people your parents. Obviously saw what a waste of space you are. Just a stray really, aren’t you?”

Rob’s eye’s misted but he wouldn’t give Frank what he wanted. To make him cry. Instead he just lifted his head to glare at the older man.

Young Frank nodded towards the living room. “Those two old duffers will see through you too eventually you know. Nobody needs a kid like you hanging around. Bad luck, that’s what your type always brings.”

Young Frank turned and walked towards the front door again, tossing one final remark over his shoulder as he left. “I expect you’ll be gone by my next visit.”

Rob went to bed that night mind racing. He knew that Frank was using his insecurities against him, that he’d just set out to upset him. It didn’t matter though, how many times he told himself that, the little voice inside him, the part that hated himself whispered to Rob that every word was true. The McCallums would ask him to go soon.

Rob had asked Mr McCallum after the encounter what he’d done to annoy young Frank. “It’s not you he’s angry at, son, It’s me. I wasn’t always a terrific father to Frank.”

Rob didn’t push for more. He could see that Mr McCallum was upset, so he decided to stay out of young Frank’s way whenever he was on the farm and give him one less target.

In a hurry to spend some time fishing with Mr McCallum, Rob took a shortcut home to the farm, after school had ended for the day, through Neville’s farm and Moses’ field. As he made his way to the edge of the bull’s enclosure he saw Frank’s tractor parked in his own field. Frank had a tool bag and was fixing the old water pump that supplied the cattle’s trough near the edge of the field nearest his own farmhouse. Lifting his head Mr McCallum noticed Rob heading his way and gave him a wave before turning back to the pump. Rob waved back and then stopped dead. The gate leading to the McCallum’s field was open. Broken off the weak hinges he’d spotted earlier it now lay in the mud covered in footprints. Moses.

Still walking towards the gate Rob scanned the McCallum’s field. He spotted Moses, still looking pretty steamed, behind a little knoll off to Mr McCallum’s rear and to his left. Rob wasn’t particularly worried at first. Frank would hear the bull coming from a good distance and get himself to safety. It was as he thought this that Rob noticed two things.

The tractor’s engine, right beside Mr McCallum, was still noisily idling away, drowning the noise of Moses hoofs. Worse, Moses had decided that Frank was a good outlet for his pent up frustrations and was hurtling towards the old man in a charge at high speed and Frank was oblivious.

Nae’body’s Hero is almost complete and wil be available by February 2013.

You can by my debut novel “Bobby’s Boy” on paperback or Kindle here:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bobbys-Boy-ebook/dp/B007SGTHVC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1353085510&sr=8-1

Sneak Preview: Nae’bodys Hero

The following excerpt is copyrighted and the property of Mark Wilson and is extracted from the upcoming novel Nae’body’s Hero:

chapter 6

Kim took a breath, found the calmness in her that always rose in these situations and looked down the sights. She forced her voice to show the calm that had begun to creep from her centre and out along to her outstretched gun hand. The small shake in the hand disappeared. “Let her go!” she almost whispered to the man. All she got in response was a short and very descriptive obscenity.
The man, who had been using a fifteen year old school girl as a shield, pulled her closer still by tightening the arm slung over her shoulder and across her chest, bringing her closer to himself. He’d been doing a damn good job of shielding himself. “I like this one. She’s just my type. I think I’ll keep her.”
Kim continued to move with him as he tried to back away and pivot out of range. She had to step over two other bodies. His earlier victims were classmates of his current playmate. There was a perimeter of tactical agents with sniper-rifles set up but Kim had ordered them to stand down. This guy was too good and far too committed to his cause, whatever the hell he thought that was. The first scope he saw glinting at him and he’d execute the girl. He’d come there to die and to take as many bystanders as he could with him.
Kim’s team had done their research and followed the intelligence all the way from a little outhouse on a farm in Michigan to an attempt to detonate a bomb in a government office building in New York City. After they’d discovered the device this guy had sprang out shot two kids who were still being evacuated and grabbed a hostage. He was threatening to blow himself up.
Kim watched him from behind her sights, circling, moving, and always keeping six feet from him. He was young, maybe twenty, not too bright, but dangerous. The bodies on the hot tarmac attested to that. The kid (and he really was a kid to Kim’s eyes) was instinctively using his human shield to perfection. Kim scanned him. His body, what she could see; his face, his gun. He was getting scared. He’d made his choices. He’d shoot soon.
“Just let the pretty girl go, son. There’s still a way out of this for you.”
More obscenities and pretty inventive ones at that.
Kim breathed out slowly and whispered silently to herself. “Suit yourself.”
Focusing through her sites, she watched a small area around the size of a silver dollar bob rhythmically in and out from the cover of the young shield’s left shoulder. Female agents in her organisation rarely achieved Kim’s rank. They had to work twice as hard as their male counterparts to be taken half as seriously in the role. As a result, the women in her agency were often twice as effective, and much more dangerous, than the men. This was true of female terrorists also.
Few agents would take the shot Kim was being presented with. The angle and elevation were all wrong and the kid was just too good at using his shield. Most agents, male or female, just wouldn’t take this shot. Thanks to obsessively long and painful hours on the shooting range, Kim was more confident in her shooting skills than most agents. She waited, caught the rhythm and squeezed. Headshot.
But only just.
Kim moved straight to the screaming girl, wrapped an arm around her, in a fashion not dissimilar to the gunman, and kept her gun-hand pointed at the downed kid. She kicked the pistol free of his hand and lifted and rolled him over with her foot. “Clear.”
Kim left with her arms around the kid….the one she hadn’t shot and killed, as her team flooded the area.
“Good work, Boss.” Foley offered as Kim and the girl passed him.
“Yeah..Brilliant.” Kim offered without looking at him.

A week passed during which time Kim travelled to her family home in Ann Arbor. The CTA demanded that all agents take two weeks leave and attend therapy sessions after a killing in the field. Kim hadn’t exactly had a relaxing break so far, choosing instead to dredge through a forest worth of reports on The Demon’s activities in Afghanistan over the last few years. It seemed that he had continued to set up and run training camps throughout the region. He’d been very effective in recruiting disenfranchised, angry and radicalised Muslims into his training camps. The endgame was unclear; no one had yet to find any proof of what the purpose of the camps graduates would be, or their target. There was no choice but to wait.
The US government was distracted at present by domestic acts like the one Kim had ended the previous week, and that was the right thing, but Kim kept a close watch on The Demon knowing that eventually her government’s priorities would be forced to shift and she’d have her chance to hunt him. Kim’s world was very black and white. You hurt people and my job is to stop you. She didn’t appreciate weeks like this one and the shades of grey it had brought.
Kim had been drinking scotch for the last hour or so, from her dad’s supply which still lay in the basement and trying to erase the kid’s face from her mind’s eye. The boy (and he was just a boy) she’d killed. The strong taste was as much a punishment as a pleasure to her unaccustomed palate but she kept drinking as he shifted her focus from The Demon to last week’s incident. The kid, Joey Scoggins, had been part of a group who believed that the US government were diminishing their rights to bear arms and invading their privacy. It seemed crazy to Kim that groups like these had started to spring up throughout the States, but that disbelief didn’t dilute the danger that they presented. Quite how they were protecting American’s rights by killing Americans (government workers or otherwise) was beyond Kim’s understanding, but she didn’t really need to understand their motives to catch them, just their methods. As ever, the weak and the young were the most common conscripts into these makeshift armies.
She drank some more, thinking of the nineteen year-old Joey, who would be eternally nineteen as her Scott was eternally an infant. He had been as much a victim as a perpetrator; as much prey as predator, but Kim knew better than most that sometimes, even those who it would be easy to pity needed to be stopped.

……………………….

When Kim was a kid, around ten, her dad had been having a problem with the small chicken coop he’d kept out back. For three consecutive mornings he’d arrived at the caged henhouse bucket in hand to feed the little group. Each morning he’d found another hen missing and a trail of blood leading to different holes dug under the fence. On the third night, the old man had sat on the back porch the whole evening guarding the coop. inevitably for a man as hard-working as Jesse had been; her dad had dozed off in his rocking chair in the early hours. Waking too late to stop another chicken being taken her dad did witness the butt of a familiar dog leave their yard.
The next morning with Kim riding shotgun Jesse had driven the short journey to a little house with an oak tree ten blocks away.
“Stay here sweetie” he’d told her as he left and headed for the little house. Kim switched on the radio and relaxed back into her seat, tapping her toes against the dash in time to the music and waited for her dad. Elvis was singing “Hound Dog, much to Kim’s delight.
Ten minutes later Kim heard raised voices coming her way. She moved across the large single unit front seat of the car and pressed he face up to the driver’s side window, cranking it down an inch to listen in.
“I can’t trust that you’ll keep that dog locked up. You told me it wouldn’t happen again after last time, Henry. The dog has to go.”
“I know Jesse.” The other man admitted. “I know that once they start killing they’ve got to be……dealt with, but he was Annie’s dog, y’know?”
Jesse Baker reached out and placed a hand on Henry’s shoulder. “I know that buddy but what if it’d been Kim or another kid? The dog’s got a taste for blood now.”
Henry hung his head a little then looked up again at Jesse. “I can’t Jesse.”
“It’s ok Henry, I’ll do it. Go on inside.”

Jesse returned to his car to find a freshly planted Kim back in her own seat pretending to listen to the radio. He slid into the driver’s seat.
“Kim, I need to do something for Henry here. I want you to stay in the car, turn the radio real loud and wait for me, ok?”
“Sure daddy, but…..”
“No buts honey. Stay here.”
Jesse turned the volume way up on the radio, forcing more crackles than music through the old radio. He kissed Kim on the forehead and got his shotgun from the trunk. Heading around the back yard of Henry’s house, Jesse disappeared behind an old oak. Kim thought for around three second then followed after him hoping that the music from the car’s radio would cover any sound she made crunching down Henry’s driveway.
Giggling at her own cleverness, Kim peeked around the corner of Henry’s house into his back yard, just in time to see her father raise his shotgun, point it towards a large German Alsatian tied to a fence post and blow its head off.

Three hours later Kim was still sobbing but had calmed down significantly since she’d seen the dog shot. Sitting in bed with her knees bent and arms wrapped around her shins she heard her father approach the door.
“Is it ok if I come in darlin’?”
Kim blew her nose before answering. “Yes daddy.”
Jesse stuck his head in through the door and had a quick glance at his daughter before fully entering the room. Taking a seat beside her on the little pink bed Jesse took Kim’s hand.
“I’m sorry daddy.”
“You’ve nothing to apologise for darlin’. It’s daddy’s fault. I shoulda’ taken you home first.”
Kim’s face saddened a little. “But….Why did you have to shoot that dog at all daddy? It was only a few chickens.”
Jesse stroked his stubbled chin and considered his response.
“Kim, when an animal kills, it gets to like it and it’ll keep right on killing until somebody stops it.”
“But they were just chickens daddy.”
Jesse used a finger to tuck some stray hair behind Kim’s ear, and then cupped her cheek with his hand. “They always move onto other animals darlin’ and sometimes even begin to attack people. They become predators. I couldn’t have an animal like that visiting our yard.”
Kim’s lip quivered a little but her father could see acceptance beginning to show on her tear-stained face.
“Ok daddy……..but what about people?”
Jesse tilted his head quizzically to the side as if to listen better. “People who hurt other people you mean?”
Kim nodded.
Jesse didn’t really want to answer but he’d sworn to always treat his children with respect and to be honest with them.
“Yeah, honey…..Sometimes bad people need to be taken care of too; but only the really bad ones and only to stop them hurting others. It’s flat-out wrong to kill other people but sometimes, when they become predatory like that dog, there’s no other way of preventing more hurt.”

Jesse kissed his daughter goodnight, tucked her tightly into her little bed and re-joined his wife downstairs.
“How’s she doing Jesse?”
“She seems fine….I expect we’ll see her in the night.”
“Bad dreams?”
“I can’t see how she wouldn’t have, baby. If she wakes up, she can sleep in our bed for the rest of the night.

Jesse had been wrong about that. Kim didn’t stir once that night as a result of the day’s events, or any other night. She slept peacefully, safe in the knowledge that bad people got punished for hurting good people and that her daddy was a good man.

…………………….

Kim finished the last of the Scotch in her glass and raised her glass to Jesses photograph above the fireplace. “Thanks dad.”
Like most nights she slept very little that night, there were just too many people who needed to be stopped from hurting others; too many predators. It was her job to balance the scales and she was god at it but when the predator was a kid like Joey Scoggins her neat black and white world became a little less monochrome and a little too grey.

END OF EXCERPT

Mark Wilson’s debut novel Bobby’s Boy is available on Amazon.

20121026-153223.jpg

Music and Stories

For me, music has been a constant soundtrack to my life. Key events, loved ones, hard times and great times all have a song or album as a soundtrack. Books and movies are no exception.

Little wonder that my own debut novel was so driven and influenced by the music pof the times it’s set in and passes through.

Here are the three songs I chose for each “Act” of the book and why:

In part one I quoted Huey Lewsi and the News “The power of love” :

“Make a bad one good.

Make a wrong one right.

The power of love will keep you home at night.”

Partly because I love the track but mostly because the era that part one of Bobby’s Boy is set in is encapsulated so well in the memories that this song envokes. All the good stuff and all the bad are brought to the fore of my mind’s eye in the openeing 5 seconds of this song. The quote also evokes the love I wanted Tommy to encounter and be changed by

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NMph943tsw

The second act of the book was introduced with the quote

 

“Oh I would never give up and go home,

 beaten and broken.

 No, I don’t know who I am anymore,

But I’ll keep on chasing those rainbows.”

 

from “The Only Enemy that Ever Mattered” by the wonderful Hopeless Heroic. At this stage of the book, tommy was departing on the trip of his life, but he was every bit as much running from his past as he ws barrrelling towards his future.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eau7ojfX7_E

The last song I used was intended to show the wish to start all over again. Tommy’s been fantasising for so long, and he now lives in a world once more he wishes wasn’t real , but is. The video is a perfect fit also.

Coldplay – “The Scientist”

“Nobody said it was easy.

No-one ever said it would be this hard.

Oh, take me back to the start.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqWLpTKBFcU

Bobby’s Boy is on FREE PROMO until tomorrow

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bobbys-Boy-ebook/dp/B007SGTHVC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1347132445&sr=8-2

 

 

I

Nae’body’s Hero – Update

So far writing this book has been a very different experience to writing Bobby’s Boy. It was much easier having just one character’s point of view to convey.

It’s proving a challenge to effectively think like three different people; to enter the minds of my three main characters each of whom are so very different to each other and to me. So far it’s been fun stretching myself and my writing is most definitely improving with the new experience.

In many ways it’s much more fun being more than one person in type.

The main drawback at the moment is that I’m being sucked into the character’s minds a bit too much. I’m getting a bit obsessive and thinking constantly day and night about the story and the people and about moving both forward.

It’s a weird thing entering a fictional character’s mindset, thinking like they do, writing it down and then switching to two other people.

Kind of carrying three other people around in my head at the moment everywhere I go.

Good fun, despite the potential for split personality disorder.

So far I’ve introduced my three main characters and am now beginning to shape their personalities to prepare for and move them to where they meet.

20120905-155222.jpg

Meet Kym Baker

My upcoming novel “Naebody’s Hero” is well under way so I thought I’d introduce you to one of my three main characters whose stories the book will tell. Here’s a short excerpt from My female agents’ introduction in Chapter 3. As always my character is named after or named by someone I know.

Kym Baker:

Kym is a badass and of my three main charaters is the one who is vital to moving the story forwards and the characters together. She’s a doer and a motivator. Thats why I named her after two of my favourite and newest friends who motivate me more than they know ith their support and encouragement.

Chapter Three

 Kym 

Kym took a deep, slow breath, the smoke from the last shot still stinging her nostrils. She looked down the sight, pictured his face, summoned the will and took the shot. Dead centre; head shot. Reloading the glock, she slid a fresh magazine calmly back into the handle and resumed firing stance. She’d been on the shooting range for three hours. Every shot was painful; each and every one a punishment for her as much as it was for the paper targets. She breathed. Her wrists and shoulders ached from the kick. Her eyes stung from the smoke despite the yellow safety glasses. Her soul ached for Scott.

She breathed in the noxious, burning fumes once more, using the sting to stoke her anger and bring the memories of him to the surface, allowing her once more to lift the dead weight of the glock, take careful aim and squeeze. Another head shot. She was sick of the gun. She was sick of the emptiness inside her. Year after year since all sense had left her world she had gritted her teeth and pushed on.  One thing in mind; one goal; one target. Terrorists. Any and all, she detected them, investigated them and hunted them at the pleasure of the United States government as lead officer on the CTA.

Kym Baker had pursued, detected, arrested and killed more agents of terror (both foreign and domestic as the saying goes) in the last ten years than any other agent in the States. Ruthlessly and restlessly she’d dedicated her whole life and purpose to hunting and stopping those who threatened peoples’ peace.  Barely sleeping four hours a day, Kym dedicated herself to becoming one of the country’s foremost experts in many types and sources of terrorist cells. Her knowledge and skills were unparalleled in the field. She was the only female agent to attain her current rank. She’d earned the right to lead her team, the relatively newly-formed Counter-Terror-Agency, but then she was more motivated than most. Losing your only child and husband to a terrorist’s bomb tends to focus a person.

“Still here Baker?”

Kym didn’t bother to lower her gun but looked over her shoulder long enough to nod an acknowledgement and throw a tight smile at Agent Foley who was, aside from her, the last person on the range. “Yeah.” she turned back, blew some stray hair from her eyes with an upward puff and re-aimed. Foley was a good guy and a very good agent, but she was too busy for his attempts at small-talk.

She thought of Scott and squeezed the trigger again, pushing her grief, her love and her hate through the barrel along with the bullet. Two more hours passed in this manner before, arms trembling, she reached for the handle to the exit and headed for a shower.

Nae’body’s Hero: Coming soon

Cover Image for Nae’body’s Hero

Sneak Preview – Nae’body’s Hero

The following is a preview from the upcoming novel “Nae’body’s Hero”. Copyright Mark Wilson 2012:

Cover Image for Nae’body’s Hero

Book Description:

Rob Hamilton hails from Lanarkshire and from a messed up family. As a result, he has an unshakable sense of right and wrong and is low on self esteem. Rob also has some very special gifts. If he can stop hiding from them and get his life together he may just be the greatest hero the world will never know. 

Arif Ali is a British medical student. Disillusioned with life in Britain he is now living and studying in Faisalabad, Pakistan.  He and Rob will form an unlikely friendship that will change the course of history.

Annie is an American agent with an undisclosed agency. She could be the worst enemy the friends have or their greatest ally.

…………………

Prologue

The first time it happened I was seven years old. Obviously I knew it had to have been a dream but it really didn’t seem that way at the time. I’d woken in the middle of the night face pressed to a hard, cold surface instead of comfortably against my pillow. At first I assumed that I had fallen out of bed again and landed on my bedroom floor but the contact on my cheek was hard; too hard to be the blue carpet which covered my bedroom floor in those days.

As I slowly came to it dawned on me that the surface was pointed too. There were loads of wee dry, plaster-like prickles pressing into my face, into my whole body actually. It was artex, which made no sense at all. Only the ceiling was artexed. I opened my eyes to see white artex as the realisation hit me that I was pressed to the ceiling.

Realising where I was seemed to break the magic and I clattered heavily onto the blue of my bedroom carpet, grateful for its thickness.

“Robert. You’ve fallen out of bed again. Get back to sleep.” Dad roared from the next room.

I did so and quickly. I didn’t want to anger dad again. I’d been in enough trouble this week. I wasn’t really sure what we’d done but mum and dad had been really annoyed with my twin sister Claire and I repeatedly this last week or two and both seemed tense over something. It was very unlike either of them to be so easily annoyed and tetchy with us.

“Sorry dad.”

“Right Robert. Shush. Sleep.”

Dad was the only one who ever called me Robert and he had many different ways of saying, shouting, laughing or barking my name depending upon how much trouble I was in. When I was a wee boy my dad taught me a rhyme about my name that I’ve never forgot, mostly because it reminds me of him and makes me smile. He’d told me that it was about a boy called William but he thought that it fitted my name better. I could recite it back to him by the age of three, the two of us laughing together as I did so.

Father calls me Robert

Sister calls me Rob

Mother calls me Robbie

 and the fellas call me Bob.

Dad has always called me Robert and I love that mum actually does call me Robbie (she pronounces it Rabbie) but nobody has ever called me Bob. Everyone else, including Claire, calls me Rob (or Rab).

Finally I did sleep once more, drifting off to the thought that it would’ve been really cool if that dream had been real and I really could fly up to the ceiling. That’d be crazy though. No-one can fly.

Chapter One

 1983

Rob

 

Waking from a long deep sleep, with all the usual dreams sleep brought with it, Rob sat up in bed. Leaning back against the old headboard he rubbed his eyes and took in the room. Something seemed……off. Dressed in matching Y-fronts and vest (Spiderman) Rob stepped out of bed and pulled on some jogging bottoms. He took in his rooms’ contents, mentally noting various objects’ positions. Everything seemed fine, nothing out of place. Claire hadn’t been in overnight to cuddle up with him (a twins’ habit they had yet to break which had increased in regularity recently), all his things seemed to be where they belonged, but something just wasn’t how it should be. The house was just too quiet.

Checking his bedside clock Rob noted that it was eight am. Friday morning, mum and dad are normally getting ready for work and pulling us out of bed by now. Surely they haven’t slept in?

The previous night Rob’s parents had both seemed in good spirits. The whole family had watched a film together, chatting their way through most of it with nobody really all that interested in what was happening on the screen. Both mum and dad had tucked them into bed with lots of kisses, cuddles and “I love you-s” exchanged. It’d been great having them back to their old selves after so long of being so tense at home. I’d better go see where they are.

Rob creaked out onto the landing, walking slowly and deliberately just in case he’d been daft and gotten mixed up; maybe it was Saturday. There wasn’t a sound coming from anywhere in the little semi-detached family home. Continuing across the landing he slowly cracked open Claire’s bedroom door. Seeing his sister still asleep he resisted the urge to go wake her up by jumping on her just in case her screams woke their parents and quietly closed her door over. Rob made his way downstairs to the kitchen with some quiet time in mind before the usual burst of activity started.

On autopilot Rob loaded eight slices of bread into the massive family toaster, prepared four cups for hot drinks for everyone. Coffee with milk and two for both mum and dad, tea with one and milk for Claire and black coffee for himself. Wandering through to the downstairs hall, Rob picked up the Daily record which had been lying on the mat. Confirming from the front of the paper that it was indeed Friday and from his wee calculator- watch that it was now 8:15 he decided that he’d better rouse everyone before they lay in so long that they’d be late for work and school. The only sounds in the house were of his own footsteps bending the old stairs as he ascended causing them to creak and groan.

“Mum. Dad. It’s time to get up.” Tom knocked softly on his parents’ bedroom door. He waited a beat and knocked a bit harder.

“Time to get up”, he sing-songed cheerily.

Again nothing came back in reply. He pushed the door open to his parents’ room and to what would be a new beginning. They were both gone.

Rob Hamilton was just like any ten year old boy in Bellshill in the  80s. Football, Kim Wylde and Star Wars occupied his mind. A relentless ball of energy was how most of his friends would describe him. Playing football, rugby, hockey and attending scouts took up most of his time. That and hanging around down Strathclyde park with his friends. On the surface he seemed a happy and contented kid with not a care in the world, in many ways he was, but Rob Hamilton rarely felt that he fit in with the company he kept. Not with his friends (not since Tom left the town) and not in his own home.

He’d lived in the small town most of his life but was slowly becoming a more detached soul. Rob rarely felt part of what was happening around him and struggled to understand the people in his life. He just felt so different to them. He went through the motions. Joining teams, socialising, school and seemed to be thriving but in truth the only people he’d felt that he really had a place with, who he felt accepted and understood him were his best friend Tom and his sister Claire.

Tom Kinsella had been Rob’s best friend since they attended nursery together. The boys had been as close as brothers, at times even closer than Rob had been to his own twin. Spending long hours days and weeks roaming woodland, building dens and fires, and playing football had developed their friendship. All these things had brought them so close and of course the talking. They were always talking.

They spoke of their families, of where Tom’s dad would be taking him on some adventure always asking Rob along. Rob could confide in Tom, telling of his own parents’ increasingly detached behaviour these past few years. They told each other about their dreams for the future, about how Tom would be a musician, or a writer, or a fireman; maybe all three. Rob just wanted to see the world he didn’t care what job he did to pay for it. A part of Rob just wanted to find somewhere where he felt at home and Tom was the only person who not only understood his desire to roam, but seemed to share it. Both agreed that they would leave their hometown as soon as they were able and made a pact to do so together; to always be best friends. When Tom Kinsella’s father Bobby died and his best friend moved away, Rob was completely lost without him and turned to his sister more often.

Despite being his twin Claire was quite different to Rob. More outgoing, less introspective and much less inclined to be quite as moody as Rob had found himself becoming in the last two years. Claire was one of those people for whom life’s surprises were just another chance to try something new. Claire never flapped, stressed or worried she just went with life, happily taking what came her way and making new friends easily. She and Tom were very alike. The three of them were close and had always been.

They spent most of their time as a threesome chatting, swimming at Bellshill baths, walking down and around Strathclyde Park, sometimes going on the fairground rides or climbing the trees in the woods, but mostly they just talked and laughed. They had a secret place that they’d visit daily either alone or together. They did most of their talking there in a den made of old tree branches they’d made months before and filled with three old tyres for seating. It was in a small bit of woodland behind the butcher’s shop and they’d named it “BHQ” (B for butcher).

Tom, Rob and Claire had found the location for BHQ after following a horrific smell around the back of the shop and discovering a sheep’s head. The two boys had poked at it with sticks for a few minutes examining its face, lolling tongue, milky eyes and rancid, maggot-filled mouth. The thing had started to become putrid. Smelling strangely sweet it had attracted the boys in their morbid curiosity. Claire kept her distance, hugging herself in revulsion, but giving Rob and Tom time to satisfy their interest.

“Let’s go you two, that things’ boggin’.” The boys laughed but quickly moved to join her and walk home together. The next time they visited the sheep was gone but they discovered the location for BHQ and began its construction.

These days, with Tom gone, Claire never came near it she was too busy with her friends, only Rob sought a little solace in their den. The days the three of them spent wasting hours happily together felt like years ago to Rob now and as though they’d happened to another Rob Hamilton.

Rob was happy his sister was so engaged with the world and full of life. He assumed that this meant that she had escaped what he knew he’d inherited from his grandfather and he could feel becoming worse each night, with every surreal dream of events and incidents that couldn’t have happened but his apparently damaged wee brain was trying to convince him had.

The vast reserves of energy he possessed were a result of his not wanting to waste a minute of the time he had in life. He wanted to see as many places, meet as many people and engage in as broad a range of activities as he could before his mental capacity degraded as quickly and completely as he’d been told that his Granda’s had. As these episodes had started to happen in the daytime as well now, when he was wide awake, he knew that his mental health had taken a turn for the worse.

By the time Rob knew his granda the old man was in a residential hospital having long since lost all capacity for reason. As a younger man he’d apparently been huge “built like a brick shit house” his own dad had told Rob. Working as a steelworker, like so many local men, his Granda, at six foot nine inches, not an ounce of fat on him and a tea-total-ler, stuck out like a sore thumb in Lanarkshire the land of the ubiquitous five foot five male. Rob, even at only ten, had taken a stretch in height this past year and was already towering over most of his year group in school. He’d have been happy to have inherited only his build from the old man.

Granda Hamilton had suffered a series of mental breakdowns from his fifties onwards, hallucinating and fantasising events that Rob’s father had told him couldn’t possibly have occurred. Granda had deteriorated to the point where he couldn’t tell what was real from what wasn’t in five short years and been confined to a hospital for his own safety by Rob’s dad. The phrase bi-polar had been used in Rob’s house when discussing his granda.

With his granda always in his mind Rob had vowed to ignore the growing detachment he was feeling and follow his best friends and sisters’ example, throwing himself into as many friendships and experiences as he could regardless of how out of place he may feel.

After finding his parents’ room empty Rob searched the house. He searched every room, every cupboard, drawer, pantry, bathroom and the garden and its shed outside. Rob even clambered up into the small attic. Initially he was looking for his parents but when he decided that they weren’t there to be found he began looking for a note. He didn’t find his parents or a note explaining their absence.

All of their drawers and cupboards still contained all of their belongings. Jewellery and toiletries, shoes and coats, dad’s asthma inhaler, all of it was where it should be. The house was exactly as it had been the night before when they’d all went to bed enjoying the afterglow of a much needed family evening full of affection. Even the car was still outside. The only thing that was missing from the house was them.

They must have had an emergency or something. With no close relatives in the area (apart from their granda) Rob could think of no one to call. Figuring that all would be fine later in the day he woke Claire, explained that their parents had got up and gone out early to work and that they had to get ready and go to school.  When the school day was over and the twins returned home the house still lay empty. It stayed that way for the next day and the day after that.

On Sunday evening Rob called the police. He and Claire left their little house on Liberty Road for the last time that evening. Claire holding a female police officer’s hand, crying for her mum and dad; Rob trailing behind, face of stone, completely certain (as only a child can be) that they had left because of him; because they knew like everyone else did that he wasn’t “right”.  That he didn’t belong.

Chapter Two

Arif

Azam Ali hurried through the busy, familiar streets of Battersea, SW London, gently pushing past and apologising to other commuters in his thick London accent as he did so. Normally, on any other day Azam would happily wander along, content to be carried along with the flow of traffic, usually on the journey between his little newsagents and home, a little ground floor, two bedroom rental. Today however was a not a normal day for Azam.

Sure for millions of others it was just Sunday; just another Sunday in the last days of March. Sundays were for relaxing, for reading the papers (in his case selling them) and having Sunday roast. Most places were closed on a Sunday. Maybe it was special for some people, an anniversary, visiting family or church  or whatever but really, what ever happened on a Sunday?

For Azam this Sunday was a very important day indeed and today he wasn’t walking the two blocks to his shop. Today he was taking public transport. Today, on a Sunday, the second generation of Ali to be born in England was on his way to meet his parents.

…………………………………….

Nae’body’s Hero will be published in December 2012.

In the meantime try Bobby’s Boy, Mark Wilson’s Debut novel where Rob makes a brief cameo. Available now as en Ebook or Paperback.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bobbys-Boy-ebook/dp/B007SGTHVC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1343918174&sr=8-1

Positive Scots

Scots, for me, have become the whipping boys of the literature and film-making worlds in their seeming determination to present us with unintelligent, violent, and predictably inaccurate stereotypes of the people of my nation.

The British, generally, suffer in this regard but whilst the English stereotype in Hollywood is the evergreen, upper-class accented, moustache-twirling villain and/or cheeky chappy cockney, rarely is an English character presented as we would find the ordinary hard-working men and women of the midlands and Northern England for example, or the Welsh.
Only the Irish seem to have lucked into a more light hearted, twinkly-eyed, everyone’s best drinking buddy type of stereotype. Still hugely misrepresentative of their people though (mostly).

Whilst most Brits are represented in a ridiculous way, I do feel that Scots suffer most of all from the public perception which the media seems determined to portray us as. Almost invariably whenever Scots appear in books, TV or films they are presented as violent, usually drunk, often drug addicts, and incoherently stupid. It appears that the media’s view of Scots is of a nation perpetually in the pub/football stadium/ high/drunk/aggressive/loud, unintelligible and most of all, thick.

Very few forms of entertainment present us with a positive Scots’ role model, and the worst offenders are produced here in Scotland.

While we do have Inspector Rebus played brilliantly by Ken Stott, Amy Pond, great character, James Bond, an intelligent and proactive super-spy, Jack Parlabane, funny, human and clever (Brookmyre), we’re also victim to the “We’re just one of you” brigade of Scottish TV and actors like Elaine C Smith, with her Morningside accent for the interviews, and her Clyde side “Mary-Doll” for the plebs.
Even the brilliant Peter Mullen’s NEDS, focuses on this thug minority, albeit in an insightful and skilled manner.

I find it difficult to believe also that Hollywood can’t cast a Scottish actor in main roles when tackling very Scottish projects. Instead we get an Australian William Wallace, an Irish Rob Roy, never once a Scottish “Scotty” in Star Trek, a French Christophe Lambert Playing a Scottish Immortal in Highlander beside a Scottish Sean Connery playing a Spaniard.
Are Scots really so untalented that we can’t be used to represent our own nation. Pixar’s “Brave” appears to have taken a huge step in the right direction in this regard with it’s genuinely all-Scottish, very talented cast.

Its very difficult to pinpoint a good, honest portrayal of a Scotsman these days who isn’t a junky, a wee NED, talks through his/her nose or has anything positive or intelligent, or human to say. A character who reflects the ordinary people of his/her country would be a start.
The people of Scotland that I know are warm, good people. They’re clever (even the uneducated ones folks), they’re vital, funny as hell, resilient, hardy, and rough sometimes yes, but among the most decent people worldwide.

Let’s see some of that on the screen or in books. Lets see some truly gutsy, interesting Scottish characters in our media and ditch the Shortbread tin or smackhead/NED image we’re tarred with. Characters like Jack and Victor and all their entourage in Still Game who revel Scotland’s heart in their genuine characterisation of its people.
People like our handicapped superstar golfer in John Niven’s wonderful “The Amateurs”. Some real characters with real and current difficulties and victories like the ones that John Mackenzie gave us throughout his career, but most especially in “Just another Saturday”.
People who learn, make mistakes, change, care, and laugh and cry throughout their lives.
Proper story telling. Proper characterisation.

This is exactly what I need to see more of and why I populate my books with such characters. Flawed, funny, wilful, interesting. Just like peoples of all countries contain. People with something to say, with a story to tell, imperfect people with the capacity for goodness and badness. People with heart..

Ken loach can stick his “Angel’s Share” and its cheeky chappy, criminal wee NEDS-come-good up his arse. Social commentary for unemployed and disenfranchised youth? Maybe but representative of the majority of Scotland youth or its people generally.Absoultely not.
Buy Bobby’s Boy on kindle for 85p

Book Competition – Free Paperback of Bobby’s Boy

To celebrate the release of Bobby’s Boy as a Paperback and thank everyone for their support, I’m giving away 5 signed copies. To enter visit the Facebook page and click like. Everyone who likes the FB page is entered in the draw. I’ll pick the 5 winners on Saturday 16th June and post their free copies to them. A handful of people who have helped me along the way will also recive a free copy each. I’ll contact everyone soon for addresses.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bobbys-Boy-Mr-Mark-Wilson/dp/1477532781/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1338829846&sr=1-1

http://www.facebook.com/BobbysBoy