Thursday, July 4, 2013

SIMON WOOD--AN OUTSIDE PERSPECTIVE

DEBORAH CROMBIE: Here at Jungle Red we are celebrating a
RED, white, and blue 4th of July with a few words from a chap from the other side of the Pond--those folks that, um, were the losers in the victory we're honoring with all those pop-pop-pop fireworks. But we're all the best of mates now, right?

Here's Jungle Red friend, award-winning author, and BRIT Simon Wood to give us--

An Outside Perspective
I’ve been living in the States for fifteen years and while I know how America works, I still consider myself an outsider. I have done my best to assimilate (in a futile attempt not to embarrass myself in public) but there's only so far I can go. The problem is although I’ve spent a third of my life in the US, my cultural touchstones, my social sensibilities and dare I say it, even my sense of humor is hardwired into where I was raised—Britain. Naturally, I‘m going to see things a little differently from the average American. Things you people might take for granted may take me a moment to adjust to. For example, the US is very security-conscious. Picture ID is required for just about everything. Nothing is taken on trust, which I miss. But when it comes to mail delivery, everyone is happy to have it shoved in a tin box on a wooden stick that anyone can gain access to, which is something I’m not okay with.

And being an English person in the US makes me somewhat of a rarity. I’m not the kind of foreigner that Americans expect to come across and that creates some interesting dynamics. Waitresses hang on my every word—much to my wife’s chagrin. But on a more serious note, my being English has diffused awkward situations as well as kicked off intense conversations on everything from politics to culture. I got into a long talk with a black guy about race in America where he told me I was “white” but not “white American”. My non-Americanness took the heat out of the discussion and he talked to me in a way I don’t think he could have had with anyone American born, because he saw me as an outsider. I’ve had conversations with people about politics, religion, sport and every other hot button topic you can imagine, but every time, the tone changes when they talk to me. Somehow, my being English makes me neutral, so people open up on neutral terms.
I’ll be honest. I like being an outsider because I see oddities that I’m not sure I would see if I had been born here. I used this sensibility for my first book, ACCIDENTS WAITING TO HAPPEN. I thought the practice of selling life insurance on the living was kind of hinky, but it was perfectly legal. But something I hadn’t done was to write a book from an outsider’s point of view—until now. My new book, NO SHOW, features Terry Sheffield, an Englishman on his first day in America. What should be the start of an amazing new life with his American wife goes immediately off the rails when she isn't at the airport to pick him up. When it becomes apparent that his wife is missing, he searches for her while navigating his way through a country he neither knows nor understands. The book is the first in a series featuring Terry, giving me the chance to explore crime in America seen through the eyes of an outsider. I think it’ll be eye-opening for Americans and non-Americans alike.

The only problem I see is the longer long I live in the States, the more I’ll lose my naivety of all things American, which means I’ll have move somewhere else. Sorry, rest of the world.

DEBS: A former racecar driver, licensed pilot, animal rescuer, endurance cyclist, and occasional private eye, Simon Wood is also an accomplished author with more than 150 published stories and articles under his belt. His mystery fiction, which has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, has earned him both the prestigious Anthony Award and a CWA Dagger Award nomination. In addition to No Show, his books include Accidents Waiting to Happen, Working Stiffs, Asking for Trouble, Paying the Piper, We All Fall Down, and Terminated. Originally from England, he lives in California with his wife, Julie. People can learn more at www.simonwood.net. and you can find No Show here.  


(I've already bought it... couldn't resist such a great premise!)

From all of us at JUNGLE RED, here's wishing you a safe and relaxing 4th of July, with a little time to read a good book.

And do drop in and say "hi" to Simon. We wouldn't want him to feel left out of the fun, now would we?

23 comments:

Gram said...

Hi,
Thanks for writing as all of here visiting the Reds love to read. Dee

Lucy Burdette aka Roberta Isleib said...

Welcome Simon! so are you celebrating July 4???

The new premise sounds so simple and yet so spooky. Will you tell us a little more about what roadblocks the character runs into?

Hallie Ephron said...

Hi, Simon! The premise of NO SHOW -- such a scary "what if..." Combined it with "first day in America..." and an outsider's perspective. Sounds great.

When we first visited the UK I was struck by how much more reserved Brits are. Americans think nothing of asking complete strangers "And what do you do?" When we visited Australia, I was delighted to find Aussies are as brash and nosey (read: friendly) as Americans. The accent's a bit less refined.

paulabuck said...

This book sounds terrifying, but in such a good way! What a fascinating premise. Another for my TBR pile!

Deb Romano said...

"Occasional private eye". Wow! Have you used any of that background in any of your stories?

Poor Terry sounds like he's living everyone's nightmare. I must look for that book.

Rhys Bowen said...

Hi Simon! I've experienced everything you've said. However long we live here there is still that element of Britishness like cheering for England in sports events. And the sense of humor--yours is terrific, by the way.

Good luck with the new book. I think we're doing an event together.

Deb said...

Hi Simon--

So in fifteen years, how have you learned to celebrate the 4th?

Simon Wood said...

Thanks for having me ladies.

Lucy/Roberta: This the 4th will be celebrated by getting ready to move house. As for roadblocks, there's plenty Terry encounters--no ID which means no bank accounts, car rental. Social references and having to change the way he talks. Having no friends to turn to. Not knowing his rights and the laws. And not knowing his wife...

Hallie: English people are respectful of your privacy... :-)

Paula: I hope I make to you TBR pile. :-)

Deb: no, I've not used the PI stuff in the books, but my agent wants a series based on my adventures with my wife. We were a double act.

Rhys: very true and thanks. :-)

Deb: I will celebrate by wearing my Union Jack cycle jersey on my ride this morning. :-0

Kristi said...

Simon, I am hooked! NO SHOW ordered!

I suppose a few folks in England may have rolled their eyes at our brash American ways when we visited, but we felt very welcome there... much more so than in Paris, I have to say!

Deb said...

Simon, the double-act sounds fascinating. Tell your agent we want to read!

No Show bought and next up on my reading list--at the moment I'm hugely enjoying a preview copy of Rhys's new Georgie, Heirs and Graces.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hank Phillippi Ryan said...


Simon, this is SUCH a great idea! A fish out of water--with a purpose.

I have an intern who's a Brit ,and I love when she answers the phone. She just sounds like she totally knows what she's doing.

Off to buy No SHow! xxox ANd happy fourth--do you celebrate--or mourn?

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

THE WINNERS of the ARCs of THE WRONG GIRL (chosen by closing eyes and pointing) ARE:
Susan Coster
Jackie Jones
Michelle JAmes

Just send your addresses to me at h ryan at whdh dot com

And HURRAY!

ANd thank you! (Jackie--got you! You others..you hoo!)

storytellermary said...

You've caught my ongoing fear when traveling, that I'll be lost and forget who/what/where to get back on track . . .
I love your divergent perspective on issues, very instructive. I don't quite get this, "I thought the practice of selling life insurance on the living was kind of hinky, but it was perfectly legal." I must be missing something here . . .
Happy 4th -- hoping it's a happy July 4th everywhere, even where it isn't a holiday . . . ;-)

Simon Wood said...

Deb: buy would you want to read about a husband and wife duo busting casino cheats around the country??? :-)

Kristi: Thanks.

Mary: take a breath, it'll be ok. :-)

Hank: Looking at Washington, I think Britain got out in time. :-)

ANNETTE said...

Simon, Welcome, congratulations on Andy M having such an amazing win yesterday. And again, welcome. The story's premise sounds so frightening. But in a good book way.

Kristopher said...

Hi Simon. Sounds like another great premise for a novel. There is just something about being in an unfamiliar place, isn't there.

Looking forward to read the book.

HAPPY 4th EVERYONE!

Fran said...

Hi Simon,

I've loved every book so far, and I'm looking forward to this one too! And yeah, a wife/husband duo busting casino cheats (with a great car chase? Throwing in some of your race car moves?) would be exciting, I suspect.

Happy Fourth to you and Julie, my friend!

paulabuck said...

First, Simon, your comment about Britain getting out of Washington in time made me go directly to the Kindle store. Your book just line-jumped the TBR pile.

Second, on this Independence Day, my kids -who have spent waaaaaaay too much time listening to Johnny Horton's "The Battle of New Orleans" thanks to my hubby- are playing "The British." The song talks about the War of 1812 and the battle of New Orleans (duh, Paula!), which I now know much more about! Having kids is so educational!

"You be the British, Craig, and run down the mighty Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico."
"OK, Who are you going to be?"
"The...the other folks."

We'll talk about those other folks another day, I guess...

Kevin Egan said...

WINNER OF SIGNED COPY OF MIDNIGHT

Hello all,

Kevin Egan breaking in here pre-bbq to let you know that the signed copy of Midnight goes to Libby Dodd, whose invocation of hit men made me laugh out loud. Libby, please send a mailing address to author@kjeganfiction.com

Simon, No Show sounds fascinating.

Happy 4th to all.

Simon Wood said...

Annette: Thanks. I have a small talent for disaster. It's a great sauce of inspiration.

Kevin: Thanks.

Paula: Aw...so sweet. New Orleans...didn't they have a fire there back then. :-)

Fran: I hope you'll like this one. As a series, I think it'll be a good one.

Kristopher: As a dyslexic, everywhere is unfamiliar. Spatial awareness and memory is non-existence.

Deb Romano said...

I would definitely read about the husband and wife going around busting casino cheats! (They would need to use a lot of different disguises, wouldn't they?)

Simon Wood said...

We didn't, Deb. :-)