On November 26th, I ordered a couple of books written by two of my fellow writers and friends of mine. They arrived shortly before Christmas, as they were both self-published and print-on-demand. I started reading them once I finished the edits on my own novel. I finished reading the first of them a few days ago.
The Puppet Master: An MSCE Investigation is the first in a series of novels written by David A. Xavier. MSCE stands for Metropolitan Special Circumstance Executive, a secret agency in the UK that specializes in keeping track of people with unique abilities. Detective Sergeant Oliver Soames is a member of the Metropolitan London Police Department who, upon investigating what appears to be a murder-suicide, suddenly becomes privy to a society he never knew existed. It's a world that is both fascinating and terrifying for him, and he is thrown into it without so much as a warning.
Well, what can I say? Xavier is a very talented writer. He knows what plot twists are and how to use them. (I didn't know whodunit until about seven chapters from the end, despite my guesses.) The characters are real, and they compliment each other well. They are characters I want to get to know more in depth.
The writing switches from 1st person to 3rd person in pivotal moments, and the writing is superb in these moments. One of the 3rd person chapters is my favourite chapter in the entire book. (Chapter 28 to be precise.)
The book just recently received a very positive review from The US Review of Books, and you can read the full review here: HERE
David A. Xavier is the pen name of David Kingsmill, a gentleman who is somewhat of a jack-of-all-trades. He's a musician, a playwright (he's had several shows in the Edinburgh Festival; in 2014, 2 received 5 stars), and now, a published author. He also has an excellent singing voice. I know this because he just happens to be a wonderful friend of mine. And before you say it, no, his friendship has not swayed my review of his book. His writing truly is that good!
It was interesting for me to read this book on a personal level. I met him in November 2012 when he started the novel as part of NaNoWriMo, and I remember having a few conversations with him regarding the progress of our respective projects. I am incredibly proud of him for completing the book and getting his work out there. I cannot wait to read the second in the series (a fact he is more than well aware of), and I hope to delve into the lives of some of the supporting characters.
If you'd like to pick up a copy of the book and take a look for yourself, you can get it on Kindle, in hardcover, or in paperback from any of these sites:
Every Friday I can
be found at a central Toronto Starbucks hosting a weekly writing
session with some of my fellow NaNoWriMo participants. We gather
around the big table upstairs with our laptops and write, chat about
writing, catch up, and dissolve into giggles at some point over the
course of the evening.
During a recent
session, three of us got chatting about movies and books, and how
they had influenced our lives as well as the material we were
writing. As writers heavily influenced by fantasy, our conversation
alternated between Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. One of them
mentioned the fact that, for her, were it not for J.K. Rowling and
the Harry Potter series of
books, her life would have
been very different. She
wouldn't have met the people she had, nor would she have found her
call to write. When she said
this, I started thinking
about my own writing, and my literary heroes.
have been writing since
I was a child, and
found inspiration everywhere – in my environment, in
my teachers, in my friends, and in my family. Certain subjects in
elementary school would trigger a story idea, and away I'd go. The
stories were not very good
and nothing really special, but they were stories and I was writing.
Then, I saw The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
and things changed. I found
my literary genre of choice. Fantasy. Not
long after seeing the films, I began my first attempt at writing an
epic fantasy. But, without a true plot and outline, it lost its steam
very quickly. About five or
six years later, I would be given an idea for what, at the time, was
a silly story that would
involve unicorns. As I ironed out the plot and the logistics of it,
it began to grow to become something much bigger than itself; much
bigger than me. During that conversation with two of my fellow
writers, I realized that, in part, without Lord of the
Rings, my own trilogy would not
have been conceived. Without
Peter Jackson's vision of Middle-Earth, the setting of my book
wouldn't have happened. Thus, had J.R.R. Tolkien not
have created the beautiful setting and characters of his many books,
I wouldn't be creating my own wondrous setting and characters. I
have come to realize that I owe my trilogy to Tolkien.
are an interesting bunch of
people. We are every day
people with a splash (or several) of insanity. We
are succubi in that we take in energy and inspiration from the world
around us. We draw on each others
energy, and we
inspire each other. I am
constantly being given ideas
and inspiration whether my writer friends know it or not. With
this knowledge, I am amazingly grateful that I decided to partake in
NaNoWriMo back in 2012. Partaking in the writing challenge cleared
the path I needed to interact with wonderful people who
have become my lifeline in many ways.
short, my literary heroes are many people: Tolkien, George R.R.
Martin, C.S. Lewis, Stephen
well as the writers I associate myself with in my hometown. (I
recently read a book one of them has published, and I will be posting
my thoughts on it very soon.) They are my heroes in more ways than
one, because without them, I wouldn't be where I am. My literary
heroes, infamous or not, are the reasons I write what I do. They
are the reason I write period. They
have changed my life for the better. In
many ways, they have saved my life by granting me access to a
wondrous medium through which
I can express myself. They are also the group of people I feel I can
show my true self to, and that in and of itself is something truly
ALL of my literary heroes: THANK YOU!!! Each and every one of you!