Thursday, January 5, 2012

Authorsday: Merlin Fraser

Author Merlin Fraser Bio

Born: Aberdeen Scotland in 1947.
Scottish parents, Mother still going strong but my father died many years ago. We moved to a tiny village high in the Cotswold Hills and for a young city kid who couldn’t speak the language,  I may have invented culture shock that year.

Divorced I now live in the relative peace and tranquillity of a small town in the beautiful Cotswold Hills not ten miles from where I spent those early years. It took almost a lifetime of world travel for me to discover the beauty of the English countryside something I already had. 

Inner Space Book One Blurb 

At 45 years of age with a broken childless marriage behind him Detective Inspector Nick Burton is just coasting through life. That is until the day his boss, Chief Superintendent Dan Davies, is arrested and charged with murder. In denial Nick’s attempts to get at the truth are further hampered when Dan dies while in custody. Question is did he commit suicide to avoid prosecution? Or was he murdered to prevent a scandal? 

As he puts the pieces together Nick is drawn into the mysterious world of parapsychology and psychic phenomena to a conclusion that belies everything he thought he understood.

Blog Interview Questions:  

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I’m not a hundred percent sure it was ever a conscious decision I know I have always had ideas floating around in my head that I thought might make a good story.  I remember about ten twelve years ago watching daytime television and remarking about the sub standard storyline and thinking I could do a lot better.   Of course not having the faintest idea how to go about writing for the screen soon put paid to that notion, however I did go on to write copious notes creating a range of characters and setting out a storyline.  Eventually I started writing the story down, I showed it around to one or two agents but it was never taken seriously but I think that’s when I was bitten by the writing bug.

Describe your books.
I have always had a fascination with the paranormal ever since I read the fact that we humans can only control about twenty percent of our brain functions. Allowing that about forty percent is taken up with the auto functions like body temperature control and breathing without thinking about it that left forty percent up for grabs.   Is this the sub conscious part of our mind over which we have no control and if so why and what’s it for?   My research took me to some very strange places and many, many different theories but the one I truly liked was one that explained that the power of the human mind was capable of far more than we realised.  Somewhere in the past we had lost these powers or more likely it was driven from us by a new order of religious zealots who feared everything they did not understand and therefore could not control.

Now taking my favourite genre, ‘Crime and Detection’ thrillers I wonder if it would be possible to combine the two.   I suppose subconsciously I was looking for an unique niche for myself, something away from the normal ‘Who Dun It’ yet still leave much for the reader to enjoy as the story unfolds I hope the INNER SPACE  trilogy does this. 

Take Nick Burton one very ordinary police detective, undergoing a mid-life crisis, who is going through the motions of his life and job, add a murder for which his immediate superior and friend is arrested and while in police custody dies and you have a couple of interesting questions. 
“How well do you really know your best friend and would you believe them capable of murder?”   Now add in a paranormal explanation that challenges everything thing our detective once held to be true about life, bring in a woman with beautiful green eyes who may be friend or foe and you have a cure for one man’s mid-life crisis !

Who is your favorite character in your book?
In book One it has to be Jill, the green eyed girl who ties Nick Burton’s heart and senses in knots.  As you journey through my stories you come to realise that Burton is not exactly the sharpest tool in the box and he needs a lot of outside expert help.  He is far from prepared for the fast moving ‘High Tech’ environment the world of crime is becoming.  Enter Skippy and Scooter, two twenty something’s that live for computers and technology, a pair of lovable rogues who are as much of a burden as they are a help to Burton but are essential to the story.

I guess I love all my characters in different ways, after all I did create them and I control their every movement and thought, well most of the time. 

Do you plot or do you write by the seat of your pants ?

Tough question;  I always start with a rough idea of where I’m going, however as the characters start to take shape they have a nasty habit of taking over.   Over the years I have studied other peoples writing methods, read their how to books and even purchased a piece of software on how to write a novel but none of it fitted me.  

So I guess that means as with everything else in my life I fly by the seat of my pants….   Like reading a good book the same thing happens in writing, you reach a point where everything starts to flow naturally now you are in the groove and let it take you where it will.   Sometimes when I start a story I don’t have an ending in mine,  I’m not one for ‘Happy Ever After’ or that the ‘Good Guys’ always win, I hope this makes me a little different and adds to the enjoyment of the read.  I love it when someone says to me “ I didn’t see that coming !”

What was the name of the first novel you wrote?  Did you try to publish it ?

It was called Nelly’s Secret, a sort of ‘Romantic, Magical Fantasy’ and really was a seat of the pants job.  The magical part came from my name sake Merlin, the famed magician of Arthurian legend and starts after the death of King Arthur.  Merlin decrees that no mortal shall ever inherit his powers and so casts a spell upon himself that scatters his powers where no single person shall find them.  He divides his powers into thirteen pieces and scatters them throughout future time.

One of the pieces lands in the 1950’s where it is found by a young girl, Nelly, who sees and can speak to an apparition of Merlin.  Of course as soon as he cast his spell Merlin realises he has made a terrible mistake and now seeks away to bring the pieces back together once more.

Unintentionally Merlin takes over this girl’s life he is her secret and in an otherwise normal world cannot be revealed for fear of being thought mad.  This will never do because young Nelly has plans of her own but it doesn’t stop Merlin from interfering and causing all sorts of mayhem.  It is a light hearted story, originally planned for a young adult audience but so far I have only showed it to a few female friends who assure me it is wonderfully different.   The only professional who read it felt that it fell between two stools, children who might like the magic and female adult who would like the romance but would dislike the other bits.  Thing is all the people who have read it (all female) are all over fifty and they loved it as it is.  It sits here on a memory stick, one day I will go back to it but agents and publishers don’t like authors who engage in genre jumping.

What do you know now that you are published that you didn’t know pre-published that you wish you knew?

Tons of stuff but mainly how hard it is for anyone to become published at all, it really is a tough world.  Of course people will tell you how hard a challenge it is and equally of course you don’t believe them.   After all we are the next Bill Shakespeare and we have written a masterpiece that will have agents fighting in the street outside your door. (Yeah Right !)

I guess if I believed half of the advice I was given as a new writer I might have quit there and then as a forlorn hope and gone on to do something else.  However like a million other dreamers I stuck with it put my head down and kept butting the wall.  Trust me it really does feel great when you stop doing it !

The other main thing I have learnt is that writing the book is the easy part.  Today of course it is much easier to get into print and bring your book before a potential readership far easier than it was in the past.  We can now do most of the work ourselves and no longer have to struggle against the flood in a vain attempt to attract an agent or be accepted by one of the big six mainline publishing houses.  However by going down the ‘Independent’ route then trust me it really puts DIY in bold capitals as you will be responsible for everything and the hardest part of all that means promotion and marketing both yourself and your book to a world that neither knows nor cares that you exist. 

Does that sound harsh ?   Good !  It was meant to,  it is so tough out here that it never ceases to amaze me why any of us actually bother, but we do, day in day out and more join us every day.        

What was the best writing advice someone gave you ?

Be yourself and don’t try to copy or emulate others,  find your own voice and have something to say.

When I announced to a friend (also a writer) that I wanted to write fiction, he smiled and told me to go and do something else.  Why ?  Well for starters it is the hardest field to join, the competition is enormous and if like me you chosen genre is crime thrillers then the main competition comes from writers better known.  Although I was smart enough to steer clear of the ‘Who Dun It’ genre, there I have to bow to the masters and say I don’t fancy my work being compared to them.

The other piece of advice I remember about writing fiction was the difference between Fiction and Real Life is that Fiction has to be believable !    

What do you consider your strengths in terms of your writing?

I guess it’s my endless patience, possibly my sense of humour and above all the ability not to take myself and my work too seriously.

For anybody who considers becoming a writer I offer this insight, whatever you do and no matter how you are remember this you are but one tiny voice standing alone in a vast place shouting against thunder.  Even against such odds some of us will be heard but the majority will not.  This should never be considered a judgment of your talent as a writer it is merely confirmation of the way things are in an over populate world.


What authors do you admire ?

Wow! How long do we have here?   I have a zany sense of humour and writers in that genre have always had me as a fan.  P.G. Wodehouse probably started it for me when I realized through him just how much fun reading a book could be.  Douglas Adams, he of  the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy fame and of course Bill Bryson. 

In my own genre, crime and detection, murder mystery I guess you include all the usual suspects, Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Collin Dexter , Ngaio Marsh, Ruth Rendell and many, many more.  And that’s before I get into Non fiction !   

Who is your greatest cheerleader?

My Mum !

Thank for the opportunity to take part in your Blog.


Contact Data:   Web Site:

Purchase Data:   All three of my INNER SPACE trilogy of Murder Mystery stories are 
                             available through Amazon both in print and E Book formats.

Print Versions:

Inner Space Book One.                                    ISBN-13: 978-1445791791

Inner Space Book Two. The Reluctant Nemesis  ISBN-13: 978-1445751269

Inner Space Book Three. The all Seeing Eye.     ISBN-13: 978-1445758343

Kindle E Book Versions:

Inner Space book One.                                     ASIN: B003Z0D0HC

Inner Space Book Two. The Reluctant Nemesis.  ASIN: B003ZK5IZO

Inner Space Book Three.  The All Seeing Eye.     ASIN: B003ZK5Q7Y


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