Andrew Harding ~ HWSNBN

Andrew Harding

Andrew Harding

My thanks to Cynthia Kahn for asking me back to do a second guest blog. I had no idea when I submitted the first one that it would gain so much attention. Hardly a day goes by, even now, without Cynthia thanking people for including my post in their papers, and I know she’s made a great contribution to spreading the word about my writing.

This blog will be totally different from the first. Yes, I’ve added another book to my series (details below) and finished my online book, garnering a staggering readership with over 3,000 new readers each month adding to the figures. However, with the centenary of the 1st World War this year, I have to share with you a trip my family took me on, to France, two years ago. I remember it often; much more these last few weeks, leading up to Armistice Day, apart from the months that followed my initial visit.

My family took me to Oradour-sur-Glane, a commune in the Haute-Vienne department of the Limousin region in west-central France. The original population was destroyed on 10June-1944, when 642 of its inhabitants, including women and children, were massacred by a German Waffen-SS company. A new village was built after the war on a nearby site, but on the orders of the then French president, Charles de Gaulle, the original has been maintained as a permanent memorial and museum.

The paragraph above is grim reading. I was warned by members of my family about the atmosphere of the whole place. That being said, I really wasn’t prepared for how tangible the emotion was, walking around the commune.

Every building and the burned out cars were left exactly how they were found, after the massacre, as a memorial to all those who perished that day. I stood in front of the tiny church wondering how they squashed 247 women and 205 children inside.

Andrew Harding - HWSNBN Impossible to comprehend.

They placed and lit an incendiary device inside, burning them all. Three people escaped through a window, two women and a child. They were found and shot, killing two of them. One woman was wounded and hid in a field until help arrived. The men were taken to barns where they were shot in the legs to stop them running; doused in fuel and set alight.

I will never forget it.

You may think my experience that day would have no relevance to my writing, but you’d be wrong. Having felt the emotion a place could hold over such a long time, knowing what happened to the whole population, has made me a better writer. I write fantasy thrillers. The crimes in my books are horrific, allowing the reader right inside the story with the characters.

I feel that I now have the capacity to leave my readers with no doubt as to exactly how the recipients and my main characters would react, after experiencing that nightmare situation. I’m sure that visiting Oradour-sur-Gland that day has given me a greater understanding of what our fellow man is capable of, and why I balance each story with my characters outrageous lifestyle.

For me the stories have to be like a set of scales, balanced with light and shade to the very last page. I couldn’t write them any other way, having shed tears when the characters are confronted with some of the gruesome serial murders. What cuts me to the quick has the same effect on some of my readers, so if you’re a writer and worried as to how far to push a story, don’t be afraid to take that extra step – it makes for a more compelling read.

My online book: HWSNBN (He Who Shall Not Be Named) started from tweets with a friend on Twitter and grew into a Spin-off to the Hybrid Series. This was a challenge, to keep it clean and satisfy search engines, but with enough innuendo and visits between both sets of characters to show what the series is like – that being my main aim.

12,000 fans logged in to read it in one day, a delightful surprise for me. I’m thrilled that people are enjoying my book so much. For those with different reading apps, downloads of HWSNBN are free from Smashwords, Apple, Barnes & Noble, etc. All my books are there now, as well as on Amazon.

The rest of my books are now available in paperback from CreateSpace.com.

Andrew Harding’s first Amused Now guest post: http://amusednow.com/blog/andrew-harding-a-new-breed/

Andrew Harding - DidymusAndrew Harding
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