Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!

#Interview with Simon J Lancaster, author of The Black Ditch

What an intriguing dystopian thriller this book sounds to be! Read on to see how its author, Simon J Lancaster answered my questions, find out more about him and his book and have an opportunity to enter the rafflecopter giveaway with a chance to win a signed copy of The Black Ditch and to have a character named after you in the sequel!

Where did you get the inspiration for the book/series?

Climate change. The cruelties and violence of action thrillers are, thank God, pretty unrepresentative of normal life in my world, but will become the everyday, lived experience in the future. How long into the future? No one knows, but most scientists are alarmed at what is already happening and how little action is being taken to stop things getting worse.

What is your writing process?

For me, thrillers need careful planning. I outline the book chapter by chapter. But then other ideas come, so it’s back to the drawing board. Eventually I fix on a structure and start the first draft. I feel joy as the words flow, and despair when I read them back. Hemmingway said the first draft of anything is dross, but that is little comfort. The rewriting, redrafting and editing process is what makes the final product, which often bares only a passing resemblance to what I started off with. I do a lot of drafts. I know people who can produce great books with two or three, max. I truly admire that ability and wish I had it.

Do you write using pen and paper or on a computer?

Both. I love the tactile business of pen and paper (with me it’s pencil and paper) but at some point, it has to be on computer. Editing on screen is way easier and tidier than a mess of crossings-out on a page.

Who is your favourite character out of your stories and why?

Marina Haas from The Black Ditch. She has a flamboyance and indomitability that pushes away the grimness of concentration camp London like parting the clouds to reveal the sun. She refuses to be depressed, she is devious enough to enforce her will and she’s the smartest person in the room, always.

If you were a character in your story, which would you like to be?

Tony Doyle has a full-size replica of Michelangelo’s David in his hall and it would be fun to be that rich. But no, I think it has to be my protagonist Laurie Sterne. He’s a complex guy but, apart from his unusual talents, he has a sense of decency that is brave to maintain in the world in which he lives.

How and why did you choose the names for your main characters?

Names are tricky. They have to chime with the personality of the character but seem completely natural. Some novels I’ve read have characters with names that bring me up short. I think, ‘Come on, no one is called that.’ Sometimes I have to try out different names before settling on one, sometimes they just magically pop into my mind. Marina Haas did that.

Many thanks for kindly answering my questions, Simon!

Read on to find out more about The Black Ditch, Simon J Lancaster and for an opportunity to enter the rafflecopter giveaway with a chance to win a signed copy of The Black Ditch and to have a character named after you in the sequel!

LAURIE STERNE feels like he’s been cut adrift in space. His father has been shot dead, caught in the crossfire of a gangland war that has also claimed his boss’s life. Laurie is a refugee who lost his adoptive mum years before and doesn’t know where he was born, let alone who his birth parents were. But he’s not alone in the world: someone is trying to kill him.
This is London, 2050, a dumping ground for climate refugees and dissidents. Gangs rule, murder goes unpunished and the police make sure you can’t escape.
In his struggle to stay alive, he finds an ally: his former boss’s secret daughter.
But with the killer predicting his every move, is the man without a past being betrayed by the woman who seems to offer him a future?

Purchase Links:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07V1HHTJK/

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07V1HHTJK/

Author bio

Once upon a time, not so long ago, I was a journalist on national newspapers in London; now I’m a full-time novelist and my dystopian future thriller The Black Ditch was recently published on Amazon.
Writing is my passion but I also have a masters degree in displacement activity.
I used to be a private pilot before the cost of bringing up two children clipped my wings so I now design and build my own electronics gear – it’s cheaper, probably safer and I can use the results to play tottering piles of CDs and vinyl that threaten to shift the tectonic plates on the Sussex coast where I live.
To be a writer you must be a reader and my tastes encompass most things to be found between book covers and on Kindle, though I’d probably draw the line at legal text books.
I enjoy hanging around waiting for flights at airports – the only places I’m free of that feeling I could be using my time more wisely – and I’d probably enjoy Michelin-starred restaurants and five-star hotels if I could afford them.
But, most of all, I enjoy the strangeness and wonder of the human animal. In the words of the late Arthur Lee, people are the greatest fun.

Social Media Links – Facebook https://www.facebook.com/simon.lancaster.75457

Giveaway to Win a signed copy of The Black Ditch, and for your name to be used for a character in the sequel (Open Int)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the link to the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.


Many thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for providing content for this post and organising the tour it is part of. Follow the tour:

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