An interview with Justin Bienvenue

Today on ARCBookBlog I have Justin Bienvenue, who has agreed to answer a few questions for me, first, though, here’s his bio so you can get to know him

Justin Bienvenue

Unique Writer, Living Poet and Determined Author by day and night, I have always been told I have a way with words and very vivid imagination. I thought If I could take my creativity and combine it with my new love and appreciation for poetry. that the possibilities could be endless. I took a Creative Writing class in high school which was very helpful to my writing.

I am a passionate poet and proud author of five books. When I’m not writing or reading books I’m usually promoting them. I run a blog on Tumblr called IAT: Indie Author Tactics where I feature fellow indies by interview, guest post or cover reveal. I also run a blog on Goodreads on several of the horror groups called “Hundred Year Old Horror” where I talk about classic books and authors of centuries past.

When I’m not doing anything book related my interests usually include watching sports (Football, Baseball and Basketball), learning about History, Ufology, Egyptology, The Wild West as well as the bizarre and things unexplained.

And now it’s on to the interview

Me – What inspired you to write your most recent book?

JB – Well the book is a sequel to my first which is a book of horror poems. I wanted to go back to where it all started, and I wanted to reclaim what the first book never got. I was inspired by the first book’s failures and the fact that I still had a ton of ideas for horror poems. Horror is at an all-time high right now, so between that and the personal aspect and knowing I still had plenty of horror poems left in the tank I’d be foolish not to be so inspired.

Me – Are your characters based on people you know?

JB – No. I don’t base characters off people I know because then I have the memory of that person forever in my character and that’s not always a good case. If any character is based off anyone it’s myself, the sides to me I don’t show or don’t show much. I’m not totally apposed to basing a character off someone I know but as of right now I haven’t done it.

Me – Do you get ideas for books from things you see or experience, or do they just pop into your mind?

JB – Both. I stress this anytime I’m asked. I get ideas from when I’m out and about and from what I take in, see and hear around me. To me, nature and everyday life may seem simple but sometimes you can take the simplest things and they make for some great ideas and concepts. Also my mind is thinking up ideas 24/7, it’s like a part of my brain is a story idea machine pumping in ideas and filtering some out. If it’s a solid idea my brain says, “Hey boss check out this idea, we think you may like this!” So I say okay brain, hmm that sounds good! Then I got over and write it down or make a mental note of it. So yeah, I get inspired by both.

Me – What genres do you write? Are they what you want to write? (I’ve always wanted to write fantasy, but crime and sci-fi are the genres I feel comfortable with, and where my ideas fit)

JB – I write, Horror, Poetry, Westerns and Crime. Yes they are what I want to write. I like to consider myself a genre experimenter, I’ll take a shot at any genre if I have a good enough idea for it. The genres above are the ones I write the most in and am most comfortable in writing but I’d take a shot at a romance novel or Fantasy Dystopia if I came up with a great enough idea. I think it’s good to experiment with ideas because you never know who may like something and you appeal to certain fans of certain genres.

Me – Which of your characters is your favourite?

JB – One of my two bad guys, Javier “Bones” Jones or Shin Shaojin. I can’t really choose. I made them both ruthless cold-hearted bastards and I know that’s odd to like but I feel I made them so evil because I felt like a reader can really appreciate that and it’s what they want. They want a villain they can hate and love at the same time. I enjoyed creating them, giving them their background and making them as gritty and unsophisticated as possible.

Me – Do you know where your stories are going to finish when you start?

JB – Not always. Obviously I have a clear direction in mind and I build off it and if it sounds good I keep at it. Sometimes a finish will pop into mind when I’m writing while other times I get to the end and have no clue how to end it. It really depends on how much idea and thought I’ve put into it and the development to which the story is going. I feel the biggest challenge when not coming up with an idea until the end is I want to have a reasonable, justifiable ending and I don’t want to just end it abruptly without any real thought. I appreciate good endings that make sense so with readers it’s no different, I want to give them the same thing I want in a story, a solid ending everyone can enjoy.

Me – What’s the weirdest thing you’ve had to research or make up for a book?

JB – Well for my book Opium Warfare I needed to do research on opium and I wanted to know all aspects of it so that included how many people use it today and how many people used it back in 1920. It may not seem like weird but it was to me, just looking into how many people did drugs seems a bit weird to me. Also, I looked up a woman who was killed by a serial killer for a horror poem, again it felt weird looking into but I wanted the poem to be as real and accurate as possible.

Me – If your book were to be adapted, would you prefer it to be a film, TV series or stage play?

JB – For my Western and Crime thriller I’d want them to be films. For my Horror Poetry books I’d want them to be series which would be fitting considering there’s many different poems of horror so they could all make for episodes for a television series.

Me – Would you ever permit/license the characters/world you have created for fan-fiction?

JB – I don’t know, I’ve never thought of this at all. I really don’t know.

Me – Do you write series or stand-alone books?

JB – Stand-alone books. I did write a sequel to The Macabre Masterpiece but I don’t consider it a series. I just prefer to write stand-alone books although for my next book I will be starting on my very first series.

Me – And now a couple of slightly more fun questions

Tea/Coffee or Hot Chocolate?

Tea and Hot Chocolate, I’ve never drank coffee in my entire life.

Summer or Winter?

Summer

Lazing by the pool or activity holiday?

Activity holiday

Up early or up late?

Up late

Fast food or fancy restaurant?

Yes lol

Dress up or dress down?

Dress up

Watch a film or read a book?

Watch a film

Classical music or pop?

Classical music

Now the interview is done, here’s Justin’s book

The Macabre Masterpiece: Repressed Carnage

33132813.jpgThere are some horror’s in this world that have no motive or reason other than to scare. These things tend to be the most horrific of all because they have no agenda, no filter and only wish to inflict as much fear into a person as possible. You’re about to take a trip to five places most do not wish to go but horror lovers dream of experiencing. Make your way down to a crypt where the horror’s may seem old but they’re as fresh as can be. Next make your way out to the cemetery and get a feel of how all that’s supposed to be in eternal slumber is alive and animated. Then go inside to visit the morgue and get to know some of horror’s most vile and sinister anomalies. Next take a journey to an asylum where more than just the insane call home. Finally, make one last stop at a crematorium and witness all that remains and how it does not wish to burn. Be on high alert and make sure to take it all in and remember that the true carnage lies within you…

Buy the book here

 

A history of crime (England) part 2

I have a a website bookmarked, one which lists a variety of crimes that have taken place in England since the 1800s, to help me with this series of articles, and I was looking through it for this week’s post when I came across the story of Fanny Adams (30 April 1859 – 24 August 1867)

Normally I wouldn’t have done an article on the murder of Fanny Adams, as you can see from the dates of her birth and death, she was only 8 when she was killed, and I’m not keen on child murder stories, especially gruesome ones; one of my criteria for selecting what I’m going to write about, though, is if there’s anything interesting connected to the story, and in this case there is – the murder of Fanny Adams resulted in the birth of the English phrase ‘Sweet F.A.’ which means ‘nothing’.

Sweet Fanny Adams

The murder of Fanny Adams was a relatively simple affair; on 24 August 1867 the young girl was out with her sister and a friend when they encountered Frederick Baker, who worked as a clerk in a solicitor’s office.

Baker gave Fanny’s companions money to go and spend, while he gave Fanny some money to come with him. Fanny took the money but then refused to go with him, Baker’s response to that was to carry Fanny into a nearby field, out of sight of her friends.

When Fanny’s sister and friend returned home around 5, their neighbour, Mrs Gardiner, asked where Fanny was, at which time they told her what had happened. Mrs Gardiner immediately told the story to Harriet Adams, Fanny’s mother, and together they took the girls and returned to where Fanny had last been seen to look for her. They encountered Baker as he returned but because of his position and seeming respectability they accepted his story that Fanny had left to rejoin her friends and he regular gave kids money to buy sweets.

With Fanny still missing at 7 p.m. a further search was made, this time involving more people, and her dismembered body was discovered in a hop field a short distance from where she had last been seen. Harriet immediately ran to find her husband, who was playing cricket, he in turn hurried home to get his shotgun and went in search of his daughter’s killer, but was stopped by his neighbours.

Baker was arrested that evening at his place of his work, blood was found on his clothes and two small blood-stained knife were discovered on his person. A search of the office where Baker worked, which took place in the days following his arrest, led to the discovery of his diary in which the police found this entry

24th August, Saturday – killed a young girl. It was fine and hot

On 27th August the coroner determined that Fanny Adams had been wilfully murdered, her head having been bashed in with a rock found in the field and then dismembered. Following the verdict the police found themselves hard-pressed to protect Baker, who was committed for trial at the Winchester County Assizes, from the mob who were outraged by what had happened.

When it came to the trial, which took place early in December, the defense tried many tactics: they contested the identification of Baker, claimed the knives found on Baker were too small to have been used in the crime, and even tried to claim insanity based on his family history (he had attempted suicide, his sister had died of a brain fever, a cousin had been committed to an asylum, and his father had been violent). The defense also attempted to claim that the phrasing of Baker’s diary entry meant it could not be considered a confession.

In summing up the case the judge, Justice Mellor, said this

‘If you come to the conclusion he murdered the child, you must consider whether it was under such circumstances as would render him not responsible on the grounds of insanity. This must not be used as a means of escape, and you must exercise the greatest care before you give effect to such a plea as that’¹

The jury did not entertain the insanity defence presented by Baker’s counsel and in no more than 15 minutes they found him guilty.

So notorious had the case become that 5,000 people are estimated to have attended the hanging.

Fanny-Adams.jpg

Results of the case

In terms of crime prevention and investigation, even of prosecution and defence, the case is unspectaculae. The murder of Fanny Adams, though gruesome and notorious in its time, would no doubt have become little more than an historic footnote in the annals of crime, were it not for an incident that occurred some 2 years after the event.

In 1869 new rations of tinned mutton were introduced for British seaman and, for reasons that are now unknown, the seaman, who were unimpressed by the rations, suggested that the mutton might in fact be the butchered remains of Fanny Adams. Fanny Adams then became slang in the navy, and then elsewhere, for mutton, and then stew, before coming to be slang for anything that was considered worthless, with the phrase eventually becoming Sweet Fanny Adams, or Sweet F.A. intended to mean ‘nothing at all’.

I can’t say that I have used the phrase Sweet F.A. in some time, nor have I heard anyone else using it, but now that I know the origins of the phrase, you can be sure I won’t be using it again.

¹https://iiif.lib.harvard.edu/manifests/view/drs:5792882$1i

Details of this article have been sourced from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fanny_Adams and the Harvard library linked above.

 

A history of crime (England) Part 1

While researching my history of law enforcement articles I realised I was more fascinated (as I’m sure many of us are) by crimes than by law enforcement, so I have decided to do a series featuring (in)famous crimes and criminals, some of which you may have heard of, and others you may not. The series will focus on English crimes and criminals primarily, because that’s where I’m from, but will also feature other countries as I discover them.

First up is what is known as the Bermondsey Horror, which was one of the earliest cases investigated by the detective branch that was formed in London in 1842.

Bermondsey Horror

The name given to this crime by the media of the time suggests multiple victims, yet that is not the case for there was only one victim, Patrick O’Conner, who was murdered on 9th August 1849.

Patrick O’Conner was a ganger at the London docks and a money-lender who made a significant amount of money through charging excessive interest. He was murdered by Marie Manning, with whom he was involved, both before and after she married, and by her husband Frederick.

Marie_Manning,_murderer.jpgThe exact nature of the relationship between Marie Manning (born Marie de Roux in Lausanne, Switzerland) and Patrick O’Conner is unknown, but O’Conner was not a stranger at the Mannings’. On the evening of the 9th August 1849 he went to the Mannings’ for dinner, during which he was murdered by Marie and her husband and buried under the kitchen floor.

The details of how O’Conner was murdered, and his body subsequently discovered by the police, are unknown now but his body was found by the police on 17th August. At that time a search was begun for the Mannings, who it transpired had killed O’Conner in order to rob him, of money, railway shares and property holdings; Marie went to his house on both the day of his murder and the day following to steal from him.

62e31a38a5d29ee25562ec78bede1e45.jpg

Following the theft the Mannings double-crossed one another, with Marie coming away in possession of the greater share, and went their separate ways. Marie was captured in Edinburgh, where she was attempting to exchange some of O’Conner’s properties, while Frederick was caught on Jersey.

The trial was unexceptional, as was the case itself; it’s entirely possible that the
Bermondsey Horror would have slipped out of the public’s, and history’s, notice were it not for the presence of Mr Charles Dickens at the public hanging of the Mannings. Dickens wrote to The Times newspaper following the execution to decry the wickedness and levity of the mob that joined him in bearing witness.

 

Road To Gandalfo

Road To Gandalfo

Rodbert Ludlum

starstarstarstar

road-to-gandolfoWar hero and infamous ladies’ man General MacKenzie Hawkins is a living legend. His life story has even been sold to Hollywood. But now he stands accused of defacing a historic monument in China’s Forbidden City. Under house arrest in Peking with a case against him pending in Washington, this looks like the end of Mac’s illustrious career. But he has a plan of his own: kidnap the Pope. What’s the ransom? Just one American dollar—for every Catholic in the world. Add to the mix a slew of shady “investors,” Mac’s four persuasive, well-endowed ex-wives, and a young lawyer and fellow soldier who wants nothing more than to return to private life, and readers have in their hands one relentlessly irreverent page-turner.


This is a pretty dated book now but don’t let that put you off because, despite not being sure whether it’s a comedy or a thriller, I really enjoyed it.

Mackenzie Hawkins and Sam Devereaux bounce off each other brilliantly as mistmatched and reluctant partners-in-crime planning the most audacious crime in history. The build-up to the crime, the planning and prep is detailed but written in a way that is both fun and interesting as ‘The Hawk’ – as Hawkins is known – blackmails a variety of criminal figures to raise the capital for his ‘operation’ and gets his lawyer into so much trouble it’s a miracle he isn’t killed multiple times.

What happens when they are ready for the biggest crime in history and what happens after is as good, if not better than the build-up.

Coming from the man who wrote the Jason Bourne books this is a very entertaining read, though it won’t be for everyone.

Another day, another chapter

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Where There’s A Will – Chapter Four

For those of you among my growing band of followers and readers, I have just posted chapter four of my debut novel to wattpad, you can find it – https://www.wattpad.com/310979266-where-there%27s-a-will-chapter-four I hope you’re all enjoying it and looking forward to each new chapter; I hope to get one posted every day.