2020 CONVERSATIONS WITH COLLEEN: MEET the characters from “JACK HUGHES & THOMAS THE RHYMER” BY AUTHOR, PAUL ANDRUSS, @PAUL_JHBOOKS

Hello everyone! This week I’m thrilled to bring you an interview with Jack, Ken, and Catherine, from the novel, “Jack Hughes & Thomas the Rhymer.”

Everyone knows how much I adore faery lore… not the Hollywood version of faeries, but the actual Celtic mythology surrounding the kingdoms of the good neighbors. Paul Andruss has written a fantastic trilogy filled with magic, suspense, and unbelievable events. I can’t say enough about how much I’m enjoying this tale!

Read my book review of the first book, HERE.

First, meet Paul Andruss:

Paul Andruss was born and raised in Liverpool. The city’s legendary Scouse wit and dogged stoicism left its mark. Keen to get out into the world, Paul dropped out of college at 17. A year later he was taking exams at Night School, while working in the local Tax Office. On the grounds that anything was better than work, he applied to study Psychology at Liverpool University. Considering his grades (just plumb lazy) no one was more surprised than he when they accepted his application.

After graduation, Paul worked near the romantic Lake District, so beloved of William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter. No, not Harry’s mum, Peter Rabbit, and Jemima Puddle-duck’s. He worked in Manchester and London before moving to Bodrum in Turkey. 

To finance a passion for exploring the heartland of the Ancient Greek Empire, Paul wrote short travel articles focusing on the history and myths of ruined cities and temples. He began illustrating the pieces, using Photoshop to remove power lines and the odd Esso sign from his photographs of ancient sites.

Returning to the U.K. to focus on writing and illustration, he settled in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons. Paul is the author of the Young Adult magical realism trilogy, the Jack Hughes Books, and the forthcoming (very adult) Finn Mac Cool – a gritty, raunchy mythological saga. He has also written a number of short stories and novellas. All scheduled for release with exciting new, independent Scottish publisher, Black Wolf Books.

Colleen: Today we have 3 special guests via Zoom. Let me introduce Jack, Catherine, and Ken to tell us about their fantastic adventure in the fairy realm.

JACK: Dunno where to start.

KEN: How about when Dan went missing, Jack?

CATH: When you saw Queen Sylvie in the park.

Colleen: Who is Queen Sylvie?

JACK: A fairy queen. But I didn’t know she was a fairy queen. She looked like some old tramp.

CATH: Until she turned young and beautiful.

KEN: Hang on, Catherine, let Jack tell it.

JACK: I was spying on my brother Dan with his girlfriend Alison. No one would tell me what was wrong with Mum. But I knew if Dan knew he’d tell Alison. He tells her everything.

KEN: When he’s not snogging the face off her.

JACK: I didn’t know they’d be snogging, did I? It was horrible. When I followed Dan home, some old woman stopped him in the middle of the park. I couldn’t believe my eyes when she changed from a scruffy old tramp into a beautiful lady; or when she took Dan’s hand, and they vanished into thin air. 

Colleen: Was this the mysterious Queen Sylvie?

CATH: Yes, but as Jack said, we did not know that until later. First, we had to meet Thomas the Rhymer.

KEN: Before that Jack had to meet us, Catherine. He didn’t know us then, did he?

CATH: Jack knew me because we sat next to each other in class. He was the new boy. For some reason, the only spare seat in the class was next to me. After Dan vanished, there were some very strange rumours going around school.

JACK: After Dan vanished, I dreamed about Dan in some weird place. One night I dreamed I woke up and there was a strange tramp in my bedroom.

Still a nightmare – Donata Zawadzka

KEN: That was Thomas the Rhymer.

JACK: I didn’t know that then either, did I? When I saw him in school. It freaked me out.

CATH: That was when we became friends. Although I did not believe Jack about Thomas the Rhymer.

KEN: I met Jack and Catherine when I saw a gang of bullies tormenting them in the park.

“Bullies” by Donata Zawadzka

JACK: I thought we were going to get beaten up until Ken saved us.

KEN: Mum told me to keep an eye on them.

JACK: Because she knows about fairies and what they’re like. Ken saved us from the bullies because he can do things with his mind. He’s got powers, like fairy powers.

KEN: I’m not that good, Jack.

JACK: You are, Ken. Ken’s powers are better because fairy powers aren’t real.

CATH: Some fairy powers are real, Jack.

Colleen: What do you mean by fairy powers?

CATH: Fairies live for hundreds of years and travel the fairy roads. Even when their powers are illusions, they feel real. Look at the griffins Queen Sylvie created. And that party in her magnificent mansion.

JACK: Which was a bit of a smelly old dump, really; even though it didn’t seem that way at the time. It seemed totally real when we went to rescue my brother.

KEN: We saw all sorts of people; a centaur, and a Minotaur talking to a matador, and a woman with a bird’s head.

CATH: I think it’s called a scarlet ibis.

JACK: She used her long bird’s beak like a straw to drink her drink.

CATH: There were fauns and tree nymphs, moulted leaves and lichen. Water nymphs, sopping wet like drowned women, spouted streams and rivulets that soaked the carpet.

JACK: The normal people were no better. We saw cowboys and Indians, pirates, ballerinas …

CATH: Harem girls, dancing girls, chorus girls, sheiks of Araby, Paladins of Saladin, Chinamen from Aladdin, gypsy queens and harlequins, columbines and demon kings.

 KEN: It was like an explosion in a pantomime factory.

JACK: The best bit was the orchestra of man-sized frogs in dinner suits.

KEN: And what about the little golden fairies?

JACK: They were vicious little rotters.

CATH: Fairies are not individuals like us, with families. They are like a hive ruled by a queen who weaves a dream for her subjects to live in. To do that, she needed Thomas the Rhymer.

JACK: Thomas is like a phone charger. He takes the … What’s it called?

CATH: Psychic energy.

JACK: Yeah, … from the queen’s subjects who send the dream the queen creates back to them.

Colleen: How did you meet Thomas the Rhymer?

JACK: Thomas the Rhymer was haunting me like I said. Ken sensed him, though Catherine didn’t believe me.

CATH: Until he appeared in front of my eyes.

KEN: I was terrified when he chased us. Thomas was afraid and his thoughts messed up my head. When we couldn’t escape, I ran to hide in a church. I don’t know what I was thinking. Jack and Catherine followed me. As I opened the church door, we fell into a ley line.

CATH: A fairy road.

JACK: They’re the same thing.

CATH: I read about ley lines in a book called The Old Straight Track. Ley lines are paths of earth energy flowing across the globe. Fairies travel on them. In the olden days they were called fairy paths or corpse roads because people said if you stood on one you would die, or be whisked off to fairyland. People with houses built on fairy roads leave the doors open on certain nights of the year so the fairies can pass through, otherwise they are afraid the house will fall down …

Colleen: Oh dear me, we have lost the connection. Perhaps we should take a little look at fairy roads ourselves …

֎ ֎   EXTRACT START   ֍ ֍

Halfway down the church was a small side door that Jack did not even notice; until he saw Ken making for it.

“No Ken, we’ll be trapped inside.”

Forced to follow when Ken ignored him, Jack and Catherine grabbed him as he rattled the door handle in desperation. The door jerked open and they fell inside. Instead of a gloomy church, it was filled with a swirling tunnel of shiny blue light.

Jack felt a tingling in his stomach.

“What’s that?” he asked.

The tingle grew, buzzing through him like an electric saw. Without warning, he shot towards the stained glass windows on the far side of the church. Hearing Ken gasp, he screwed his eyes shut for the collision.

“What just happened?” Catherine demanded.

Jack opened his eyes. No longer in the church, they were shooting across the car park towards a big brick wall. Despite wanting to see what would happen, he closed his eyes again, feeling something slow him down for the tiniest second. He only managed to open them once he speeded up.

On the other side of the wall was an empty site earmarked for luxury flats. They rushed over it at astonishing speed. The next second, they were charging across a road, plummeting towards a house.

This time Jack did keep his eyes open. The wall slowed them down, hanging on like glue. Everything went dark for an instant as he passed through brick, insulation, and plasterboard into someone’s front room, kitchen and back garden. Then it was through the fence into next door’s garden, and off into the fields beyond housing estate. It all happened so fast, he barely had time to think.

Suddenly it dawned on Jack, they were not moving. The world outside the tunnel was rushing past.

֎ ֎   END   ֍ ֍

Colleen: Hello, hello, can you hear me? Good, we have the friends back. What other powers do fairies have?

CATH: I do not know if it is a power exactly, but fairy queens weave their memories into a living tapestry.

JACK: Catherine touched one and we thought she was dead. She was trapped in the tapestry with Queen Bess’ memories of London. We had to go in to rescue her.

KEN: Hang on a sec please …  Oh, Mum, you’re embarrassing me. This is important. We’re speaking to a lady in America. What do you mean, it’s late? Another five minutes. Sorry we’ve got to go. Jack’s dad on the way over to pick up him and Catherine.

Colleen: Perhaps we can talk again about more of your adventures.

JACK, CATH & KEN: That would be great. Bye. Bye.

Colleen: Sorry for this abrupt ending. It must be the time difference between here and England. In the absence of the friends, shall we have a little look at what happened to Catherine inside the fairy queen’s tapestry?

֎ ֎   EXTRACT START   ֍ ֍

Catherine woke on a piece of embroidery stretching for miles in every direction. Turning her head, she saw the whole world move.

It was so weird, she sat up for a better look. When everything moved again, as if adjusting to her viewpoint, she realised she was not so much lying on the cloth as woven into its very warp and weft.

More fascinated than scared, she stretched her fingers, turning hands back and forth to watch the pink and beige threads move within her changing contours. It was hard to imagine how she could move normally, while her body was nothing more than stitches in a cloth.

With a mighty effort, Catherine stood up, causing streets of narrow houses to spring up all about. She was standing in the shadow of Saint Paul’s Cathedral, a towering white cliff in cross-stitch and cable. Looking around caused the embroidery to race by in a blur of colour which left her quite sick.

Nauseous, she stopped and stood perfectly still. A moment later, when the stitching also stopped, she found herself looking down Ludgate Hill to Fleet Street, where an old steam engine on an overhead railway puffed out clouds of white and slate thread. Ragged knots fluttered from the sky, descending as a flock of pigeons, featherstitched in dove grey.

“I am in the tapestry.”

“Where you wanted to be,” rang out a magnificent voice.

Spinning back to face the Bilquis, Catherine moved too fast and experienced another moment of sickening vertigo, before shape and colour settled to reveal Bess in front of the cathedral.

Bess, dressed in ivory, shot with silver thread. Hair wove close from orange and red. Seamless face, stitched marble smooth. Twinkling eyes–sunshine blue. Spoke from needlepoint lips, the shape and colour of a bloodied rosebud, “If you wish but to adieu, let nothing here restrain you.”

“No! I want to stay, but it so strange,” Catherine grumbled.

Bess half smiled. “One often sees what one expects.”

“How can that be when I am in your tapestry?”

“This is not the tapestry. This is my world.”

“Then help me understand it,” Catherine pleaded.

Even as she spoke, Bess was vanishing, dress and skin fading into the cathedral walls, hair and lips into the terracotta floor tiles, while her sky blue eyes were lost to the wide blue sky.

Her abrupt departure left Catherine frustrated and a little peeved. It seemed you had to do everything for yourself. Nobody would help, not even Bess. True, she wanted to see the wonders of London hidden in the tapestry. But she thought she would be flesh and blood in a real London, not a picture within a picture.

Conscious of sudden popping noises, Catherine was taken aback by the sight of fat sausage-like swellings on the ends of her hands. More pops and her feet ballooned. Horrified by the misshapen lump she was becoming, Catherine suddenly realised she was turning normal again. She was so used to being flat, round came as a bit of a shock.

֎ ֎   END   ֍ ֍

Black Wolf Books Facebook

For more information, visit http://www.jackhughesbooks.com
Follow the plot: jackhughesbooks.com/story-of-the-book
Download posters: jackhughesbooks.com/art-gallery
Listen to music the novel inspired: jackhughesbooks.com/music

How to Connect with the Author

BLOG: paulandruss.com

TWITTER: @Paul_JHBooks

Paul Andruss, Buy: Amazon UK And: Amazon US 

Follow Paul: Goodreads 

k luv u bye

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I earn a small commission to fund my reading habit if you use these links to make a purchase. You will not be charged extra, and you’ll keep me supplied in books that I can review. It’s a win-win situation for everyone. Thank you. ❤

38 comments

  • Very clever and imaginative book promotion! I love the animation.

    Liked by 2 people

  • My goodness, this was quite an amazing journey. I love how you intertwined dialogue and images/animation. Brilliant!

    Liked by 2 people

  • What a fun interview! It got me curious enough to go pick up the first book:)

    Liked by 2 people

  • Thank you Colleen, this is great. as some character in an old british comedy used to say. I’m Buzzin’! Pxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  • What a fun way to introduce a new book! Sounds fantastic. Love Jack’s bio…I thought it was the actual story at first then realized it was his author bio. Loved it. Thanks for sharing these wonderful writers here, Colleen! I’ll check out these books.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lisa. I am so glad you enjoyed it. And as for mistaking me for one of my characters- well I am flattered. Particularly glad you like the bio – in real life I am sooooooooooo dull! It is a compliment when another author praises. They know what authors go through. Readers, as opposed to writers, think because something reads easy then it must have been easy to write. Writers , having dished up copious blood sweat and tears with their own work, know the exact opposite is true. The easier it is to read – the more work the writer has to put in. Therefore I am always chuffed to get the stamp of approval from another author. Thank you. Appreciated. Paul

      Like

  • You’re so welcome, Lisa. I love a good read and when it’s about faeries… well, you know. LOL! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  • This was fantastic. Loved the character talk and the images were fabulous! It took me a minute to figure out the layout, lol. Fab job! And Black Wolf? Isn’t that Shey’s publishing company? Awesome! Hugs all around ❤ xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, Black Wolf is Shehanne’s company. He’s in with good folks! ❤

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Debby . You are always so supportive and I treasure that.
      As Colleen says Black Wolf is Shey’s new publishing company. It is very exciting. Shey is Incredibly knowledgeable about the business and extremely kind but thoroughly disciplined. Happily her discipline is contageous and has paid off, bigstyle.
      As Colleen will testify after reading the new edition of Thomas the Rhymer.

      Indie is great and there is a huge amount of talent out there. but equally there is also a lot of prejudice.

      In part this comes from protectionism by the establishment. All instutions start off as radicals and end up as the conservatives. It is understandable because they have everything invested in things remaining a certain way- a way that benefits them. Trad publishing supports a whole food chain, from editors to proof readers, to publicity departments, type setters printers, cover astists down to bookshops, reviewers, people to send out books to reviewers, drivers to deliver to bookshops and every one else who enables that to happen. They are not going to support indies who undermine them. Who in their right mind burns down their empire?

      Indie is to blame too for the prejudice it meets. As open field there are no quality controls. A trad published product might go through a dozen people especially if you consider the literary agent- who rejects most of us in the first place!!!! Indie authors range from the genius to the abyssmal. Trad pub authors can be pretty abyssmal too, (cough- the casual vacancy- cough) but that is another story. However indie does give new authors the freedom to find readers in a way previously denied by the narrow view of a publishing world whose primary aim is to keep afloat.

      Black Wolf is literally the publisher of my dreams. It ticks every box on my decade old wish list. You have control of the product but you also have an experienced advisor who will tell you if you are hitting the target and will not take excuses. (I always liken writing to firing an arrow blindfold. You know where you are aiming but don’t really know if you hit the mark.)
      If there is a down side- which I don’t think there is- unlike established publishers there is not the same cash rich infrastructure. But unliike established publishers Black Wolf doesn’t throw you under the bus.

      By necessity Black Wolf are lean. But that allows them to meet the new demands of the changing market place- big old juggernauts take a long time to change direction. A new company is always exciting. And being there at the start is mind blowing. Strictly as an author, you understand. It is Shey’s company not mine.We are not partners in the company. I’m her author. She is my mentor and publisher. But that is great for me because I happen to think we have a brilliant captain at the helm.
      Paul XX

      Liked by 2 people

      • I agree with everything you said Paul – both trad and indie. And I absolutely commend Shey for starting her wonderful publishing company because Shey knows well as her books have been both trad and indie published. I’ve noticed quite a few authors coming to the indie scene and either leaving trad or going hybrid. The bottom line is having control of our own work and no doubts, Shey being an indie herself, knows the score! Congrats again my friend. You’re in great hands! Hugs xxx

        Liked by 2 people

        • You are right Debby creative control was the biggest thing for me. Too often you hear of publisher’s vision conflicting with the author’s and obviously the publisher wins. It happened with Philip Reeves Mortal Engines. He could not get a publsiher. Landed Scholastic but they made him change it to fit the YA market- instead of the adult steam punk. I love the quartet- it is so imaginative… but it is not totally of itself. At some points it flounders around and you don’t know what it is meant to be -not quite Ya not quite adult. However if you want to know how to start a novel as an author read the first half of the first page of Mortal Engines. When I did I immediately bought the book and went back and rewrote page 1 of Thomas the Rhymer. Pxxx

          Liked by 2 people

          • Wow, thanks for this information Paul. All too often I read of stories where trad authors – like Shey, Diana Peach et al that spoke of changes and covers that they didn’t approve of and more. Yes, I’m quite happy being an indie and now I’m going to Amazon to read the first bit free of Mortal Engines. 🙂 xxx

            Liked by 2 people

  • A fabulous interview that strikes the right note and lets the characters out into the ‘ real world,’ where they can give their thoughts on everything including snogging. Love the drawings too and what’s been done with them. Also thank you paul for your very kind words re BWB. You are a star.

    Liked by 2 people

  • We must. Colleen. We will nag him! xxx

    Liked by 2 people

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