Today I’m super excited (actually I feel like a kid at Christmas) to be hosting the All Fall Down by Tom Bale blog tour, you may well ask why I’m so excited, well for one…… I absolutely loved All Fall Down so I can finally share my review with you, believe me when I say “crime thriller readers are in for a real treat” and two……I have an interview with the awesome Tom Bale. My thanks to Kim Nash over at publishers Bookouture for asking me to take part in this super duper blog tour. So I know you are all desperate to read my interview with Tom Bale, so with no further ado and a fanfare of trumpets here’s the interview…….
Hi Tom I’m so excited to have you pop by the book review café, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Thanks for asking me, Lorraine! I’m married with two grown-up children, and I live in Brighton on the sunny south coast! I was writing and sending off work for many years before I was published, and during that time I had various jobs – most recently I was a project manager, and I was also a house-husband for a while. My first book, Sins of the Father, was published in 2006, and the following year I acquired an agent and a book deal that enabled me to write full-time. All Fall Down is my seventh novel.
For those readers who haven’t yet heard of you or your book All Fall Down can you provide us with an introduction?
As with most of my books, All Fall Down is a standalone thriller featuring ordinary people whose lives are thrown into chaos. In this case, Rob and Wendy Turner are enjoying a family barbecue with two of their children when a badly-wounded man staggers into their garden, pleading for help. The emergency services arrive but the man dies before he can explain what happened to him. In the days that follow the family try to put the experience behind them, but a number of sinister events suggest that the matter isn’t finished – and could even be connected in some way to their own lives. By the time they realise they’re being stalked by an unknown enemy, it is too late…
Where did the idea All Fall Down come from?
It sprang in part from my previous novel, See How They Run. I wanted to expand on the idea of a family in jeopardy, but whereas that book begins with a break-in during the night, I started this one with an apparently idyllic scene – a barbecue on a warm summer’s afternoon. I also wanted to feature the secrets and complications that can accumulate during a long marriage, as well as the complexities of life with grown-up children. And I had long had it in mind to explore the “cult” mentality, whereby apparently ordinary, harmless individuals can be manipulated into carrying out acts of terrible brutality.
What was the hardest part of writing All Fall Down?
The hardest part, invariably, is getting the first draft finished. Writing a novel is such a long slog, and there often tends to be a “flat spot” in the middle when the energy that comes from the initial enthusiasm has been used up, but the end is still a long way off – at this stage, the need to fill that blank screen with words gets more and more daunting every day. It’s always a huge relief to complete the first draft, no matter how much rewriting might be needed – I love the process of cutting and shaping the book into something readable.
Do you have any strange writing habits or rituals?
I don’t think so, apart from a lot of staring into space. I tend to write in cafes, and I’m sure it must be disconcerting for other customers when the bloke in the corner keeps frowning and muttering to himself, bashes away at his keyboard and then suddenly breaks off to go into a kind of trance…
Have you always wanted to be an author, and when did you first realise you wanted to write?
It’s probably a bit peculiar, but the answer is yes, it really is the only ambition I’ve ever had. I was quite late learning to read, though I loved drawing cartoons and comic strips from a very early age. I was seven when I discovered that there were people whose job was to write stories, and I can remember deciding, there and then, that I wanted to be one of them.
Do you write an outline before you start writing?
Sort of! I tend to write a lot of notes – sometimes ten or fifteen thousand words’ worth of ideas for scenes and settings and autobiographical details, and within those notes there will be a plan for the first part of the book, at least, and possibly a few ideas for major events later on. But whenever I try to plot something out in more detail, I find lines of dialogue popping into my head, and before I know it I’m writing the scene rather than just planning it. I wish I could be more disciplined and produce a full structural outline before I begin, so it’s something I’m trying to improve on with each book.
How did you get signed up by publishers Bookouture?
It was very fortunate, actually, as I’d been through quite an anxious and disappointing period for a couple of years, having written three books while out of contract. One of them was a YA novel which my agent loved, and which got some great feedback from publishers, but ultimately none of them went for it. Then I wrote a slightly strange thriller which I loved but no one else did! Finally I had See How They Run, but by this point I was feeling so dejected about my prospects that I wasn’t even sure whether it was worth submitting anywhere. Fortunately my agent suggested we send it to an editor she knew well, as much to get her opinion on it as anything. That editor was Keshini at Bookouture, and to my astonishment and delight she loved it, and wanted to publish it.
How much time does social media take up of your busy writing life and how important a part do you think it plays?
Until See How They Run came out, I’d have to confess that social media didn’t take up nearly enough of my time! I tended to use Facebook more for catching up on what family and friends were doing, and I was quite a late convert to Twitter. But one of Bookouture’s greatest strengths is understanding the importance of building support among the community of bloggers and reviewers, and once I was introduced to that world, I’ve spent more and more time online. Occasionally it does encroach on writing time (and personal life – I sometimes sit down a little late to dinner!) but I love it. There’s nothing more rewarding than to get messages from people who have enjoyed reading my books, and I’m extremely grateful to you and all your fantastic fellow reviewers for the support you’ve given me.
All Fall Down is all over social media and every post I’ve seen has been raving about you and All Fall Down, how does that make you feel?
Absolutely gobsmacked. Particularly with this book, since it’s coming hard on the heels of See How They Run, which was very well-received. I’m still bracing myself for reviews that start by saying, “I loved his last book, but this one is nowhere near as good…” So far, however, that hasn’t been the case, and some people have said that they enjoyed this one more, which is a wonderful thing to hear.
Are you able to tell me anything about your next book?
There’s very little that I can say right now, as I’m toying with two or three different ideas. At the moment I’m leaning towards one that starts with a young mother, in the throes of a messy divorce, who tries to do a good deed while also indulging her curiosity… and it doesn’t turn out well for her!
Now for a really evil question if you could co-write a book with another Bookouture author, who would it be? And why?
Ooh, that is a difficult question. I think I’d probably look to pair up with someone whose genre or writing style is very different from mine, so maybe Christie Barlow for a bit of romantic comedy, or Nigel May for crime with a bit of glitz and glamour.
Describe yourself in five words?
Book-loving beer-drinking chocolate-eating sea-swimming storyteller! (I’ve sort of cheated there, haven’t I?!)
During all the interviews you’ve done what question have you not been asked that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?
Hmm. I usually struggle enough with the questions that I am asked, let alone thinking up new ones. But how about: “When you first set out to be a writer, who was most important to you in terms of encouragement and support?” And the answer to that would be, firstly, my gran, Kathleen Harrison. She was an avid reader who loved crime fiction. She believed in me completely, and was very proud of the small successes I had in terms of publishing short stories in my late teens and early twenties. Similarly, one of my oldest school friends, Stuart Marsom, read a lot of the stuff I wrote in my teens and was probably my first enthusiastic reader, which gave me a lot of encouragement to carry on at a time when rejection slips were popping through the letterbox on a daily basis.
Thank you Tom for popping by the book review café and taking the time to answer my questions.
About Tom Bale
Tom Bale decided that he wanted to be an author from the age of seven but, after another career got in the way, it wasn’t until much later that his dream was fulfilled. After several books with Random House, Tom signed with Bookouture for two stunning ‘everyman’ thrillers.
It should have been an idyllic day for the Turner family – until a dying man, beaten beyond all recognition, arrives at their home, uttering the words, HELP ME.
Rob and Wendy Turner and their children try to explain away the horrific scene as being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but in the days that follow their lives are threatened in ways they could never imagine.
The family is unaware that they are being watched by someone with their own terrifying agenda, who will stop at nothing to fulfil their own twisted desires.
But when hidden secrets come rushing to the surface, it’s clear not everything is as it seems in this happy family. Are the Turners a victim of circumstance – or does the key to their fate lie closer to home?
Forced to fight for everything they hold dear, can they save themselves before time runs out – or will their act of compassion see them paying the ultimate price…?
A heart-stopping, shocking and tense thriller that will keep you guessing to the very last page.
Tom Bale has only gone and done it again! Written a thrilling and addictive read that has left me a nervous wreck! I’ve really had to think long and hard about my review for this book, because it was fantastic and I really want to do the book justice. When I finished Tom Bale’s last book See How They Run I thought to myself that there was no way the author could top that book, but boy was I wrong, (sorry Tom Bale for doubting you!) All Fall Down has gone one better, and left me speechless (not an easy task, as Mr book review café will tell you!) I’m sure my heart is still racing from reading All Fall Down.
All Fall Down introduces us to the Turner family, there your average Joe family, mum, dad, three children, trying to get on with life the best they can, that is until a dying man turns up at the family barbecue, and then all hell breaks loose, that’s all I’m going to say about the plot because it’s definitely one of those books “the less you know, the more thrilling the ride”. The Turner family are so ordinary they could be any family, and I think this is what not only made the story credible but gave me nightmares about the safety of my own family. As Tom Bale slowly reveals family secrets you can’t help wondering how everything fits together, but it does and it’s done seamlessly. This book is taut with tension and intrigue, so much so I got really irritated when I had to put it down to go to work!
Tom Bale should write a masterclass on how to bring suspense to a novel, All Fall Down is packed to the brim with it, as the story unfolds you soon realise the family are being watched, and the author very cleverly adds chapters told by an anonymous narrator which literally made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, these chapters were full of malice and intrigue, so much so I found myself holding my breath as I wondered what lay in store for the family. As for the anonymous narrator he’s one sick and twisted individual, what he puts the family through certainly makes for a chilling and tense read.
The author is a fantastic story teller, he cleverly drip feeds the reader so you really have no idea where the plot is leading, the sense of malice is overwhelming and you can’t help fearing what is coming next for the family. Like the Turner’s I found myself paranoid, unsettled and nervous as Tom Bale weaved his twisted and chilling tale, so much so I felt I was on the biggest roller coaster, my heart rate would just begin to steady after reading a particularly tense chapter, and bang it soared again as the author delivered surprise after surprise.
As the plot reached its dramatic and shocking conclusion, I literally couldn’t tap the pages on my kindle quick enough. All Fall Down is the stuff of nightmares, and I’m sure this book will keep coming back to haunt me, and keep me awake at night. I would highly recommend this book to anybody and everybody. In my opinion Tom Bale is one of the best crime thriller authors around at the moment, and I may just hibernate until his next book is released. One word of warning All Fall Down should come with warning ” read at your peril, this book WILL give you a hell of a book hangover”
I won’t be giving All Fall Down 5 stars, but I will be giving it the very prestigious GOLD STAR AWARD, up until now I’ve only given this award to one other book (The Night Stalker by Robert Bryndza). I give this award to a book I feel covers ever aspect of what I look for in a good read, fantastic plot, great characters and a storyline that drew me in from the first page and kept me in its grip until I reached the very last page.
Print Length: 398 pages
Publisher: Bookouture (1 Sept. 2016)