Countdown To A Killing Review & Interview [AD]

I really loved reading Countdown To A Killing and what drew me to it originally is that it is an original concept.

Countdown To A Killing Book Blurb“London, Sicily, Huddersfield 2016-2017: Wen Li is a deeply kind and sensitive twenty-nine-year old British-Chinese woman who suffers from severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which manifests itself in an incessant, overwhelming fear that she might have murderous impulses. Unlucky in love and emotionally scarred, Wen falls for colleague, Lomax Clipper, a tremendously frustrated and delusional Englishman. He’s in love with a Sicilian young woman he met while working in Italy, but he and Wen do share a mutual loathing of their boss, Julian Ponsonby. Julian’s struggling too–with a toxic relationship and his father’s refusal to accept his sexuality. On his return to Sicily, via a sabbatical, Lomax befriends Fifi de Angelis, a vulnerable Sicilian man with restricted growth who has been ostracised by his family.

Countdown To A Killing Author: Tom Vaughan MacAulay

Countdown To A Killing Book

I really loved reading Countdown To A Killing and what drew me to it originally is that it is an original concept. It is an off-centre, unusual fiction novel that is told through correspondence, emails and messages that appear a lot like Whatsapp messages. It builds up a feeling of suspense and you are aware that there will be an impending murder. Countdown To A Killing has a form of exploration of multiple perspectives and points of view of individuals who are inextricably joined for many reasons. The themes of love, sexuality, ethnicity, mental health and acceptance are explored in a multi-layered narrative but what I really liked is how sensitively it is discussed and written about. It isn’t all doom and gloom, and it is full of humour, the occasional heartache and with such an array of characters, this book honestly kept me hooked and I struggled to put it down.

In Countdown To A Killing, the main characters are Wen Li and Lomax Clipper. They are both obsessive about things in their own ways. Wen has OCD and Lomax is obsessed with writing his novel at any cost. They are coworkers and friends and the story covers their correspondence to not only each other but to the other minor characters mentioned throughout.

My only disappointment is that the book ends so abruptly.I don’t want to give off spoilers but I really thought there could of been more at the more. It had so much potential to continue but it just stopped which was somewhat disappointing.

I really enjoyed this book and learning about how the characters Lomax and Wen’s will handle everything with their relationships, work and families as well as just learning about their lives in general. I would recommend this book to others and if you like “whodunnit” style of books with a mix of love, life and character building in it too then this book will be for you. This is MacAulay’s second novel and I haven’t read his first one but I do plan to seek it out now as I enjoyed his writing style.

Overall Rating of Countdown To A Killing: 4/5 Stars

You can purchase this book at all good bookstores but if you need an online link then check out this one for Waterstones UK.

DISCLAIMER: This item was gifted to us but our opinions do not reflect on the books author, the PR company, or the thoughts of any social media companies we have shared this review on.

We give our 100% honest opinions on the products we test and we have declared it is an AD and gifted as required by the ASA guidelines.

Interview with Author Tom Vaughan macaulay

  Is being a writer a gift or a curse? 

Depends on the writer, I’d say – but in my case I definitely see the positives over anything negative. Writing brings me joy so I would definitely not call it a curse.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 

Letting go,  and not revisiting wording ad nauseam! That said, revision is crucial in writing, certainly in my case – I write, rewrite and rewrite necessarily as part of the process. But when it begins to threaten sanity, you must let go!

Now, I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing Countdown to a Killing ? If so what would you do differently the next time? 

There were a number of challenges given the unique modern epistolary style. I experienced yet again that necessarily it is only by working on a novel that you begin to understand mistakes, large or small. So the lesson is: get writing as soon as possible, as only by doing so will you learn what works and what doesn’t. Don’t agonise too long before putting pen to paper.

What do your readers mean to you? 

Readers are everything to a novel. I remember an acquaintance once telling me that she enjoyed analysing and debating novels as much as reading them, and I can relate to that! It is endlessly fascinating to read the different reactions among readers that a novel provokes. 

Who are your favourite authors? 

So hard to choose! My shortest possible list would have to include PG Wodehouse, Alice Munro and F Scott Fitzgerald. 

What inspires you to get out of bed each day? 

My alarm clock!

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you? 

I don’t, but I do remember reading and re-reading many times in bed The Chronicles of Narnia. I was enthralled!

What motivated you to become an author? 

It was entirely vocational/organic, actually – I have always loved to write and began at a very young age.

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote? 

Recently I found a draft of a novel which I must have written as a teenager, and then completely forgot about.  But I was writing short stories at a much younger age at school.

How did you come up with the idea for Countdown to a killing?

It took me a long time and the idea evolved through multiple drafts over a couple of years. However, the idea of the structure was a conscious, considered strategy from the outset and didn’t change – I wanted to do something inventive and innovative that was relevant to today’s age of communication.

When you develop characters do you already know who they are before you begin writing or do you let them develop as you go? 

The age-old question! I think the writing process involves a symbiosis, with the consequence that it’s impossible to answer the question, i.e. it’s not binary. 

Out of the protagonists you’ve written about so far, which one do you feel you relate to the most? 

That is such a tough one. When I develop characters, especially in Countdown when I was writing their correspondence etc, I related to all of them equally and really felt I inhabited their minds.

Tell us about your writing process and the way you think / brainstorm / come up with story ideas. 

I’m really no good at brainstorming without putting pen to paper, which is most annoying and exhausting. I find that the hardest way is the only way that works for me i.e. I have to write a few pages before realising that an idea is wrong and why it is wrong. This is hardly time-efficient but sadly necessary in my case!

Where is your favourite place to write? / Worst place 

Worst place is anywhere with even faint noise – although I have now begun to use white noise, which has improved things! Provided that I have that i.e. absolute quiet I can write more or less anywhere.

How did you break into the writing world / publishing / book world? 

I first had something published in 2012, when my translation of an excerpt of Vincenzo Consolo’s novel, L’olivo e l’olivastro, was published in the literary magazine La Libellula. That was thrilling for me, and five years later my first novel, Being Simon Haines, was published by RedDoor.

What marketing strategies do you find most helpful? Any resources you would recommend to other authors or aspiring authors? 

Personally, I find that a serious endorsement or review in a respected outlet is crucial. My first novel was given such a lift when it was reviewed in the TLS, for example.

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