“Badly Cut Up is an action-packed, emotive and exciting thriller that managed to keep me hooked and enthralled from start to finish thanks to the explosive plot and exceptional writing… I love unpredictable stories where the story is continuously evolving so Badly Cut Up indeed was the perfect read for me” — RedheadedBooklover blog
Ash has lost his lover and friend in a night of explosive violence. Now he is in a bad place and he’s not even sure he wants to get out. When someone tries to kill him too, Ash needs to work out who; needs to survive; needs to make someone pay. And maybe if he’s lucky he’ll get the help of a tough woman too. But life has taught Ash you never get what you want, and those you love will get hurt along the way.
A HARD BOILED THRILLER TOLD AT A BREAKNECK PACE
Hello book lovers! Today is a day where I will be writing another author spotlight for a well-accomplished author whose work I have loved. As you know book lovers I love learning about authors and the inspiration behind their work, it fascinates me and adds to the depth of the book because the reader will be able to better understand it. That is how the author spotlights were created because I soon discovered that you lovely readers ALSO love learning about author’s, so I am excited to tell you a little bit more about author D.C. Harold whose book Badly Cut Up thrilled and terrified me from beginning to end. I personally would recommend this book to all of those that love crime and mystery but really the book can be read by anybody as it is flawlessly written and highly enjoyable. With today’s author spotlight for D.C. Harold, a biography of the author and an interview between me and D.C. Harold will be shared, and I hope that you book lovers enjoy reading it! To kick this off here is an author bio about the wonderful D.C. Harold!
Born in 1970 in Manchester in the north of England David Harold went on to live in Seattle in the United States before attending the UEA where he studied Creative Writing under Malcolm Bradbury, Lorna Sage, and Rose Tremain, studying poetry with visiting tutor Hugo Williams. He published a little around that period before becoming embroiled in the creative profession across a number of advertising, PR and marketing roles. Over the last three decades, he has treated poetry as his mirror, sometimes distorting, sometimes flattering and sometimes painfully truthful.
Now, how wonderful does D.C. Harold sound?! D.C. Harold is a truly exceptional writer and I hope that you lovely readers have a read of D.C. Harold’s work because you will not regret it! Please see below an interview between me and D.C. Harold, I hope that you enjoy D.C. Harold answers to my questions, they are incredible and provide some great advice too!
Badly Cut Up is in a minor tradition of ‘not quite detective novels’ in which a hardboiled protagonist needs to get something done in a world of crime and danger. Think of Richard Stark’s Parker out for revenge in The Hunter (adapted as the movie Point Blank) or Andrew Vachss’ Burke protecting sex workers in Blue Belle, or more recently Lee Child’s Reacher, drifting into Mother’s Rest and not even working out what the crime is at first, never mind solve it. They aren’t exactly detective mysteries, but they inhabit the same sort of world. In Badly Cut Up there is a mystery, but in a lot of ways Ash, the ‘hero,’ is too messed up by losing his lover, depression, and medication, to really function as the traditional detective. Rather, those around him gradually move Ash towards a resolution, each helping peel back another layer of the onion. And in many ways the forces acting against Ash bring him closer to them purely by trying to get him out of the way. Ash is the nemesis they cannot evade and as he is drawn closer to the heart of the puzzle he solves not only it, but himself. He is put back together by the process, and his friends.
The story was ‘born’ from a very particular set of influences in my life. In the mid-1990s I spent a summer living in the Central District (CD) in Seattle, and it was a ‘hot’ summer as they say. Gunshots were often heard in the night and what I thought was a bum sleeping it off as I headed out one morning was surrounded by yellow tape and turned out to be a murder before I headed home that night. (It’s a largely gentrified neighbourhood now, for better or worse, so don’t be afraid to walk there in 2018). I saw a lot of drug dealing, some street fights, and businesses that made you wonder if they were really all they seemed.
It was not my first ‘bad neighbourhood.’ A body had been found in a dumpster outside the apartment I was living in the previous summer, off Colfax Avenue in Denver. That world seemed like it should, somehow, be a book. Not my story, but the sense impressions those places left. The early 1990s was an interesting time, just before mobile phones became a big thing, and before gentrification tidied up neighbourhoods like those Ash inhabits.
That said, Ash was sort of me. I lost my girlfriend in the early 90s too, and it took a lot of coming back from (and never really getting over). Victory was that lost girlfriend, who stayed in my dreams for years. I yearned for explanations, closure; things that I can give Ash, if he is willing to work for them.
Vye, the main female character, has a more complicated origin. In some ways she represents new hope (I’m married now and very happy). But she’s also the spirit of those times for me. Those times being the 1990s in which the story is set. It was the early days of the body mod scene. The bold clothes of punk had become a bold statement written on the body, with tattoos and piercings starting to take off. They seemed like they must ‘mean’ something, and that became part of the mystery.
The first influence for Vye was the famous Seattle tattoo artist, Vyvyn Lazonga (aka Madame Lazonga). She opened a tattoo parlor not unlike Vye’s in 1989, and was a famous fixture on the Seattle scene about five minutes later. Vye is a window into that scene – the scarification described was based on a ‘party’ I went to at my friend Izzy’s apartment where there was a display of S&M – no scars, but whipping and piercing.
The second inspiration for Vye was a girl I was at university with. Unlike Vye, who lost her lower arm later in life, this girl was born with part of the limb missing. To say she rocked it is a huge understatement. She would hold her cigarette packet to her chest with the short arm, flick a cigarette out with her lips, light and inhale in an exercise in dissolute grace that I still recall vividly today, more than 20 years later. She was bad-ass and deserved to be in a book.
First, find a way to get paid. I did a creative writing Masters when I was in my early 20s and it was sobering to meet a lot of great writers, people I thought of as successful, definitely more famous than I will ever be, who were living hand to mouth. I had a friend who won a very prestigious award who earned less than £8,000 ($12,000) from that book. That’s not a living wage. People were writing TV tie-ins for $7,000, or pornography, and teaching or doing bar work too. All to be able to also write the books they felt driven to write. The really successful writers I met back then were making livings comparable to teachers and I think that’s a sensible level to aspire to. The millionaire writers are rare outliers.
I’ve mostly earned my living from business related writing – speeches, brochures, websites and the like. I honestly love it, it’s like puzzle solving. This book is a fun project to keep a certain kind of writing muscle healthy and active. I write poetry too (Hotel Pimodan, my latest collection, is on Amazon) as well as a pseudonymous book. It keeps you sharp to write lots of different kinds of things.
The second thing is write what you love. I know there are a lot of writers in the self-publishing world, knocking out a book a month in long series and, since point #1 was ‘get paid’, I don’t hold it against them. But I hope they also love writing those books. If not, then writing is very hard work.
I’m writing the books I want to read. I wrote Badly Cut Up mostly because I was finding it hard to buy the kind of thrillers I love – Max Allan Collins, Andrew Vachss, Richard Stark, Tom Piccirilli, Elmore Leonard, James Ellroy, Joe R. Lansdale, Jim Thompson etc. Partly because they were all getting on, slowing down and, god damn it, dying. One Lee Child book a year was not enough! I figured at last I better do it myself and Ash and his coterie of equally hardboiled loves and enemies was born.
Not to be boring. Badly Cut Up is very fast moving I suppose and I like that. I like the Hemingway style of clear, sharp sentences. Propulsive writing. Excited writing.
The thing about books though, is that they can be anything. Any world, any life. They can comfort or challenge. Teach, or entertain. But I think they need to have a kind of truth. It can be the truth of dreams perhaps, but still it has to feel human and speak to our experiences, hopes and desires. Fail at that and you have words, not a book.
Badly Cut Up takes place in a world familiar to me but, while I might have visited those bars and slums, of course I didn’t do all those action packed things. But the grief, the sense of getting lost inside a threatening world that makes no sense, and the eventual discovery of new feelings and someone who puts the world back together for you… Those are essentially autobiographical elements.
I’m editing a book right now, but it’s quite different from Badly Cut Up and I’m not sure whether to publish it under my own name. I already have another book out under a pseudonym in a very different genre and part of me likes the idea of having two or three pen names on the go. Would the readers of one like the work of another? I don’t know. It would be fun if they shared fans though.
I am working on a sequel to Badly Cut Up too; another adventure for Ash and Vye. I don’t know if there will be one more, or maybe it will be a series. I have to see where the characters take me, and if they can survive when they get there. I think the danger has to be real for them; prices have to be paid or the story doesn’t work.
The second book gets out of the city and into small town America. I’ve always been interested in the distances between places in the USA, which are much greater than in the UK, and how certain places can become a bit of a bubble with rules and expectations – and of course in this case, dangers – very different from the rest of the country. With a bit of luck it should be out in September.
Its official book lovers, I am obsessed with D.C. Harold! If you have liked what you have read about D.C. Harold and are interested in learning more about D.C. Harold and reading D.C. Harold’s work, then please do have a browse of the links below and be sure to have a read of the preview too! You will not regret it.