I am especially excited to take part in the Blog-Tour for Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski today. It is an innovative read you won’t want to miss. Aside from my review, I also have a great guest post, My Writing Day by Matt Wesolowski, to share with you.
About the Author
Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor and leads Cuckoo Young Writers creative writing workshops for young people in association with New Writing North. Matt started his writing career in horror and his short horror fiction has been published in Ethereal Tales magazine, Midnight Movie Creature Feature anthology, 22 More Quick Shivers anthology and many more. His debut novella The Black Land, a horror set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013 and a new novella set in the forests of Sweden will be available shortly. Matt was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in 2015. He is currently working on his second crime novel Ashes, which involves black metal and Icelandic sorcery.
About the book
One death. Six stories. Which one is true?
1997. Scarclaw Fell. The body of teenager Tom Jeffries is found at an outward bound centre. Verdict? Misadventure. But not everyone is convinced. And the truth of what happened in the beautiful but eerie fell is locked in the memories of the tight-knit group of friends who embarked on that fateful trip, and the flimsy testimony of those living nearby.
2017. Enter elusive investigative journalist Scott King, whose podcast examinations of complicated cases have rivalled the success of Serial, with his concealed identity making him a cult internet figure. In a series of six interviews, King attempts to work out how the dynamics of a group of idle teenagers conspired with the sinister legends surrounding the fell to result in Jeffries’ mysterious death. And who’s to blame … As every interview unveils a new revelation, you’ll be forced to work out for yourself how Tom Jeffries died, and who is telling the truth. A chilling, unpredictable and startling thriller, Six Stories is also a classic murder mystery with a modern twist, and a devastating ending.
Guest post by Matt Wesolowski
My Writing Day
To the disbelief (and jealousy of my writing peers) there was once a time in my life when my writing day looked like this:
Up at 7.30 – 5k run, listening to an audio book.
8.30 Breakfast, hang with the family.
9am -2pm – uninterrupted, glorious writing, lunch interspersed with cups of green tea.
2pm – 5pm – sit in the conservatory with a mug of more green tea and disappear into a book.
Yes, this was genuinely my writing day, albeit for just under a year. And so much got done! Two novels, blog posts and a load of short fiction.
Then life got in the way. Change of family circumstance, job, move of house, move of job. The structure of the bygone era is now a glorious and ancient memory.
My day job’s hours are sporadic and are in a constant state of flux. I live alone now and have food to make, a cat and child to maintain as well as my own constant cleaning compulsions.
An idyll of a full writing and reading day is a luxury. Unless you are in the position to write full-time, then it’s mostly unrealistic. I sincerely believe that when you want to write, if you really want to write, you have to make time. I often wonder why so many people say they ‘don’t have time’ to read but can sit, staring at social media on a phone for hours.
Writing is like any job, if you want to be any good at it, you have to do lots of it and you have to do it even on the days you don’t want to. For me, some days are plain sailing on a sunny sea of fiction and some days (more often) are quite simply not.
I often liken writing to sawing through wood. There are easy bits where the teeth of the saw glide through and there are knots, great big tough twists of dead branch where the saw won’t catch, let alone cut.
Personally, I work to a realistic daily word count. If I have a significant part of the day without work then I aim for 2000 words. Sometimes it’s 2000 words of rubbish, but hey, we all have bad days at work. For me, the most important thing is to get something done, to keep my mind used to writing, at least something every day.
So now, a typical day looks like this:
7am – feed the cat, get my son ready for school, make breakfast, school run.
9am – A combination of: cleaning/cooking/writing/reading/working.
3pm – School run, hang out with the boy, eat tea together, do homework, play Lego.
8pm – Writing or kickboxing.
10pm – Reading.
Of course there are variations, as a single parent, I only have my son for half the week so there is more time when he’s not here but a lot of that time is spent on the week’s cooking and cleaning, making sure when he is here, that I am available.
Then there’s that thing where you see your friends and loved ones and do social stuff. Yeah, that sometimes happens too!
Above all, the drive to write inside me never diminishes, I can’t even sit in front of the television without a notebook and a pen to hand; I listen to an audio book whilst cleaning and true crime podcasts while I’m cooking.
But that’s just me, I’m not any better or worse than anyone else and everyone does things their own way. I think if you have a dream, you cannot sit back and wait for it to land in your lap, you have to chase it until you feel your own blood squelching in your
The story is set-up as a series of podcasts by someone who investigates cold cases. The reader experiences the podcasts via written transcripts of interviews with the suspects. The cold case in question is the disappearance of teenager Tom Jeffries, and the subsequent discovery of his body a year later. Nearly all the suspects were also teenagers at the time the crime took place.
It might sound a little cold or clinical for a fictional book setting, however that couldn’t be further from the truth. One of the aspects of the story is the way the podcast listeners are captivated by the intrigue, mystery and gruesome details of the cold case. The followers play an integral part in the story, despite being an anonymous and unseen entity.
It seems more than likely that the teens involved in the case, who were also the last ones to see and interact with Tom, are also the people with the answers to all the questions. Is one of them lying? Did one of them inadvertently see more than they think they saw?
During the interviews the reader hears about the secrets, the fights and all of those tiny details the police never uncovered. The kind of details that would have led them straight to the killer.
Twenty years after the murder none of the people involved want to muddy the waters, get anyone in trouble or possibly reveal themselves as a culprit.
Although I figured out the who and the twist I have to admit I didn’t see the why coming. It is a really well-thought out crime. The author explores the complexities of social interactions and hierarchy issues between teenagers, and the implications for individuals in group situations.
Six Stories is an innovative, captivating and creative read. Wesolowski channels new technology and important social issues of our time, whilst integrating a nefarious crime into the mix. I think we’ll be hearing a lot more from this particular author in the years to come.