B J Mears on ‘Ghosts of Redemption’
My name is Ben Mears (not the vampire slayer of Salem’s Lot, another Ben Mears). I live in England, a country on one of the small islands collectively (and quite ironically) known as Great Britain.
The Tyler May series is a young adult, dark fantasy. Some have described it as an original take on the ghost story genre and they’re probably not wrong. But there’s more! It is also a detective story, a spy adventure, and has a healthy dose of monsters, witches and other realms.
My influences include Jonathan Stroud, Philip Pullman, Suzanne Collins, Ellis Peters, Patricia Cornwell, Frank Peretti, Rowling, Lewis and Tolkien, amongst others.
Writing ‘Ghosts of Redemption’
I approached book five of the Tyler May series with fear and trepidation. Reviewers and my editor had said the previous book was the best yet and, I admit, a certain worry descended like dew. For one thing, I had finished book four, Gallows Iron, on a bit of a cliff-hanger, which my readers may have supposed was contrived, but the truth is I honestly had no idea where the story was going next. Secondly, I was concerned that book four may be the weaker book of the series (a fear that dispelled during the writing process as the book grew with a life of its own) and so, left with an unexpected resounding success instead, I sat down to write book five, gulping deeply.
The pressure. The unknown plot lines.
In hindsight I need not have worried. I don’t really suffer from writer’s block and, after writing a few lines, I quickly became engrossed in the penultimate book of the series, thrilled by the endless possibilities and spurred on by the ultimate goal of the series climax.
Ghosts of Redemption is a story with (possible spoiler alert) two major, converging plot lines. The first follows Albert Goodwin (Tyler’s ghost friend and personal body guard) into the realm of death as he seeks out the trapped members of the Ghost Squad. The second follows Tyler, Melissa and Lucy as they embark on a new mission to spy on Lucas Streicher, the scientist behind the infamous GAUNT machine. What is Streicher doing in Prague, and why the undue interest in the astronomical clock? The series plot grows as we learn more about the under realms and the ancient and evil oppressor’s plans, hinting at possible themes of the final book to come (title as yet a closely-guarded secret).
Shoving the manuscript into a padded envelope for dispatch to my editor, Edward Field, I wondered what he would make of it. No, that’s not quite true. I was desperate to know. I felt fairly pleased with my work but would it meet expectations? General consensus seemed to be that each of my books was better than the last, but how long could that continue?
‘I Hate You’
A few weeks later I was rewarded with a phone call. He had completed the edit read. There are only three things I remember from that call. The word ‘superb’, the phrase ‘I hate you’ (you’ll have to read the book to understand why) and the fact he said it was ‘far and above the best one yet’!
The Tyler May Series
A note to those considering reading the Tyler May series – please start from the beginning!
Each of the books brings something new and offers something different.
The first book, The Haunting of Tyler May, is almost a detective story. It has tension and oodles of intrigue and mystery. It is a very different creature from the second book, The Thieves of Antiquity, which is faster and action-packed. Imagine you watch Aliens (the second film) before watching Alien (the first film) and you will see what I’m getting at. The first hangs entirely upon suspense with hardly a glimpse of the alien. The second is all acid-blood spattering action, monsters aplenty. Watch them in the wrong order and you risk missing something. I did, and found the first film boring because of it. Only on a second viewing did I appreciate the suspense and legendary film-craft all my friends were talking about.
Although each of the Tyler May books is a stand-alone story, they also evolve strongly as an ongoing, larger plot. Never has this been truer than in Ghosts of Redemption and I’d even go so far as to advise that you reread the last chapter of Gallows Iron before commencing, unless you read it recently.
‘Ghosts of Redemption’ is available from Amazon on paperback and Kindle on 21st October.
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