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Monday, March 25, 2019

GUEST POST: Noir Under The Ocean by G. R. Matthews

First of all, thanks for letting me waffle on about Corin Hayes, his world, and the upcoming Omnibus. Second of all (if there is such a thing), it is hopefully worth announcing that the aforementioned Omnibus now comes with the first ever Corin Hayes short story - The Passenger. The idea of a short story was suggested by one of my fans/followers - and as an added bonus to them, they have a part in the story itself. Immortalised for ever in e-ink!

Anyway, let’s start with Hayes:
- Who is he?
- What does he do?
- And why should you care?

Born one Saturday morning in what I would like to claim was the hangover from hell (because that makes me sound like a wild party animal when in reality I’m not), but was really a slight headache, memories of younger, wilder, alcohol fuelled nights and their aftermath (I think I might have had two of those) came flooding back and Hayes sprung (staggered, clutching his head, onto the page). Strangely, he did so in a noir-ish way (we’ll come back to that).

Corin has a history. We don’t meet him at birth, he isn’t the chosen one with a great destiny to fulfil, and possesses no magical powers or great skill at arms. He’s a man with a lifetime of faults, guilt, and sins which dog his every step. A broken hero, a broken man who strives to do the right thing and often fails.

He isn’t a cold, calculating, dangerous man, nor does he have fits of berserk rage to overcome his physical failings. Hayes was a soldier, trained in specific skill set - infiltration by Fish-suit (an advanced and stealthy diving suit) and destruction. A little self-defence training, but nothing else, though, to be fair, they did teach him to eat with a knife and fork, so it wasn’t a total waste of time. A man of few skills, no friends, with only a stubborn streak and finely honed sense of sarcasm to protect him from the dangers of the deep.

I’ve never written from the perspective of the most powerful characters in any of my books. If there is no threat, no struggle to overcome, why read and invest in a character who can do anything and beat anyone. To me, for me, the little people, the cogs within the gears, those who keep the systems running are more fun to read about. A measure of any hero are the scars they carry - those which are visible and those which are hidden. Hayes is a man made of scars.

And his world? What is that like? Where did it come from?

I’ve read SciFi since I was a tiny lad. There is something about the imagination of a future amongst the stars which appeals to me. It might be the infinite vastness of space, or the ability to invent a society which is better than our own, or the chance to lose yourself, to become anonymous amongst the billions of suns and planets (in effect, to reinvent yourself). Heroes in space get to travel these worlds, explore cultures, struggle with moral dilemma, and are often dragged into wars which save, or doom, the universe.

I love that however I didn’t want to write about that.

I wanted something claustrophobic, something contained, which limited the scope of the world (for the characters) and in that limitation posed dangers for them. Also, a limit to the physical world does not mean a limit to the imagination - quite the opposite.

So, probably influenced by the original Bio-Shock, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Man from Atlantis, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Seaquest DSV and many other things that swirled around my mind for more years than I want to recall, I set Corin’s stories underwater. It is as dark as space yet, in space, you can see for light years. Underwater sometimes you can’t even see your hands in front of your face. As far as I know, our maps of the galaxy are more accurate than those of the bottom of our oceans.

Once you start thinking about a new setting there are a few (thousand) things to consider:
- How do they breathe and where does the oxygen come from?
- How do they communicate?
- How do they travel?
- Who pays for the buildings, the construction of new cities?
- What about the poor, how do they live?

And so much more - every time I wrote something new I was forced to think and consider the impact of it all.

Also, think on this. Despite our often western-centric views on the world, other cultures would have moved below the waters. What was their world view? What do they think of life now and what dreams do they have of future (hint: Book 3 - Three Times the Trouble)?

Our current technology, rapid as its development is and as fast as it is changing, might not be suitable for this new submerged world. A lot we might recognise, but some will be different, it has to be. Can we adapt what we have now to suit the new world, and how will it develop over the centuries?

This whole section has been about questions and granted few answers. After all, books are about the experience of a new world, a new character. Secrets can’t be just given away. However, a renowned scientist has read the first book and declared technology and solutions ‘fairly solid’ - Thanks, Mr Lawrence.

Lastly, why noir-ish?

It wasn’t intentional, but it was subconscious. I love those old movies and it (in my memory) is always raining. Water falling from the sky, dripping down the walls, soaking into clothes, running off hats and puddling on the floor. This theme of noir and water goes together well - they are (to me) synonymous - Blade Runner is all about that noir/water, and thinking about it now, that probably had a lot do with it. Corin himself is a little like Decker - he’s not the strongest, the brightest, the most insightful, or the best of men. And that’s probably more noir than everything else.

I hope I’ve given a little insight, and more than that (being honest) I hoped I’ve piqued your interest a little. Enough that you’ll go and pick up the Omnibus. Get involved in Corin’s life, his struggles and his mistakes. Plus, you’ll get a short story to read and, even better, you can finish the Omnibus in time for Book 4 - Back In Blue to be released at the end of the April.

Preorder Corin Hayes Omnibus over here

OFFICIAL BOOK BLURB: At the bottom of the ocean, a former special forces pilot of the most advanced diving suit ever developed possesses skills that are still much in demand. However, at bottom of a beer glass there is only a blessed oblivion to drive the memories away. The face of a murdered daughter, the corpses of friends, and the last glimpse of a happy life as the light slowly dims. Corin Hayes has nothing left, nothing to live for, and no one to share his misery. Nothing, that is, except a stubborn streak wider than the ocean and sarcasm sharper than a scalpel.

But all good things must come to an end and in the sacred solitude of his favourite drinking hole a beautiful woman presents him with an offer he'd be a fool to turn down.

Perhaps a job, the chance to earn real money, the opportunity to be useful once more might redeem his life and self-respect. However, in the world beneath the waves there is no such thing as an easy life and Hayes is about to discover that some jobs can be real killers.

This omnibus edition collects books 1 to 3 of the Corin Hayes series in one volume.

Silent City, Book 1

Corin is forced to watch his friends die. Revenge drives him on, but it may not be enough.

Nothing Is Ever Simple, Book 2

A simple job, easy money, but nothing is ever that simple. Can Hayes clear his name and bring down those who want to see him dead?

Three Times the Trouble, Book 3

With danger coming from every direction, can he save the lives of two children as well as his own?


Official Author Website

Official Author Information:

 After studying for a Diploma in Creative Writing, G R Matthews taught the subject at A Level and holds a BSc (Hons) in Geography. Currently working in education with a focus on Child Protection and Safeguarding, he finds time to write in the evenings between battles to get his children to go to bed and the desire to binge watch Eureka on Netflix. He has also studied (been hit a lot) Judo, Kung fu, Wing Chun and Kickboxing - and is not particularly skilled in any of them (hence the being hit a lot).

A D&D enthusiast, G R Matthews prefers the rogue (stabby stabby… who me?) as it suits his imagination and allows him to hide from all the things that go (accidently) wrong during a dungeon crawl… (and no one can prove I set fire to that town… it was only a little fire, honest!). As a self-taught guitarist the best that can be said is that at least he doesn’t sing along to the songs (all the time) and the few thousand, over the years, who’ve heard him play (and sing) are mostly fine (some, to be fair, are still in recovery, but we wish them well).

You can follow him on twitter @G_R_Matthews or visit his website.


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