Dunn by Kay Jay Book Tour and Giveaway :)
by Kay Jay
Genre: Psychological Suspense
Aidan Dunn is a man driven by money and power – he just doesn’t have any. What he does have - he thinks - is charm. He’s been honing his manipulation skills as a charity collector for years, earning enough commission to rent a bedsit and keep him in lager. But it’s time for bigger and better things. He needs a break or a meal ticket and rich, vulnerable looking Sophie Harris could be the answer.
The problem is, Sophie seems immune to his charms.
When she isn’t at work, she spends her time at a group which she won’t tell him about. Worse still, she won’t commit to seeing him. It’s infuriating and addictive, so when Sophie finally seems to melt and asks him to come with her to a Salvation program meeting, Aidan is putty in her hands.
Because Nobody's Perfect
At the meeting, ex-model front woman, Yvette Blake, and the program’s charismatic founder, doctor Jeffers, seem to be offering the route to money and power that Aidan seeks. All he has to do is climb the ladder and become a‘Savior’ with the chance of securing a lucrative ‘Salvation program’ franchise.
The problem is, it costs too much. Fortunately, Sophie is willing to pay for him. She needs recruits to progress in the program, so what has Aidan got to lose? Nothing but his sanity, his freedom and his chance of true love with fellow initiate, Lizzie.
When does a story start? When the action starts? When a life starts changing? Or when a life is formed? Surely a story isn’t complete without the whole picture. A background canvas on which a life is slowly painted, building up in layers as the years add depth and character. But you won’t care about that. You won’t care about my whole history. You’ll only want the juicy stuff - the dirt on Yvette Blake; my reasons for joining the Saviours. So, let’s start with why I joined. Let’s start with my darling wife Sophie - the mad witch who ruined my life.
The best thing about trying to get money out of people for charity is that they usually trust you already. You must be a nice guy if you are working for such a noble cause and for peanuts as well, they assume. Because you already have their trust half the battle is won. Sure, they often walk past with no more than a ‘sorry man’ but pick the right ones and you’re home and dry. Pick the guilty ones and they’ll sign up without a fight. Sophie looked like one of those, and I saw her coming a mile away.
“Close your eyes,” she ordered, “and listen carefully to my voice. You are lost … Lost in a wilderness of failure, scavenging small scraps of success to stay alive. You are alone.”
And suddenly, in that room full of people, knee brushing that of the scary man next to me, a panic gripped me – because I was alone.
I was alone in a storm of a world.
I was alone and no one I knew could help me – the only hope was Yvette. And her voice was a beacon.
“Right, who wants to go first?” I asked.
“I’ll do it,” offered Susie, squeezing past the others in pointy boots. Her eyes met mine for a moment before the attendant blindfolded her.
“I trust you,” she said. “You can do it, Aidan.”
“Name?” snapped the attendant.
“Aidan,” I said jovially. “Aidan Dunn and this is -”
“The leader’s name is sufficient thank you, Mr Dunn. Please take your place by obstacle one.”
I shrugged and led Susie to the first challenge – two narrow wooden planks leaning either side of a tractor tire on the floor to form a precarious hillock.
“Okay, Susie,” I said as we reached the start. “The first thing we have got is a ramp balanced – “
“No describing the obstacles!” snapped the attendant scribbling on her clipboard. “Minus five points.”
When I'm not being a mum, working or writing, I am a keen runner and open water swimmer. I am also one below black belt in Tae Kwon Do (Korean karate), though I tend to only make it to one class a week with my son these days, so won't be making it to black belt anytime soon.
I had the idea for Dunn years ago, when some one I knew had a friend who got involved in a similar cult. I started writing the first incarnation of the novel, whilst teaching English in China, but came back and changed most of it after my son was born. The beginning and ending have changed, thanks to the guidance from an award winning author and playwright who has basically tutored me. My writing has developed because of his guidance and I am now really happy with dunn. It's ready to go. I hope you will enjoy it.
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What is something something unique/quirky about you?
I'm sure it’s not unique or quirky, but I love endurance sports. I'm currently recovering (hopefully) from sciatic nerve-related hamstring problems, but before that knocked me for six in late January, I was training for my third marathon. I had the injury coming, really. I got over-excited about having a year’s sabbatical and did two Olympic distance triathlons; a sprint triathlon and a 5k swim last summer, without recovering at all after my second marathon. I then went straight back into marathon training so it’s no wonder my poor legs got grumpy. Actually, sitting and writing more than usual had a lot to do with the problem. I got the novel, ‘Dunn’, finished and out though, and I also finished draft one of a teenage mythology adventure fantasy, so that was almost worth it. I'm now able to slowly increase my running mileage and I've entered a half marathon in October. I'm also training for another 5k open water swim in September and doing an open water event at Coniston lake in the Cumbrian Lake District in August. I'm mostly a sea swimmer, but we love it up in the Lake District, and I'm trying to swim an event at a different lake every year. So far, I've done something in Windermere, Buttermere and Ullswater. I'd love to do the length of Windermere but I'm a long way off of that as it’s eleven miles!
Tell us something really interesting that's happened to you!
Worked as a TEFL teacher in China for 6 months. It’s more something that I did than something that happened, but that’s the best I've got. It was such a different culture over there. It was good to see.
What are some of your pet peeves?
People walking three abreast across the whole pavement and not moving over to let me pass. Particularly bugs me when I have my son with me. Why should a 9-year-old have to walk on the road?
In a similar vein, cyclists cycling at you two across at speed. I cycle, so I get it, but it's not necessary. The other one that immediately springs to mind is long, pointless meetings, but I have so many pet peeves I could be here all day.
If you knew you'd die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?
On safari in Africa with my family … we went last year and it was amazing. We were lucky enough to see all of the big five, a number of times. The African bush has a raw power that I've never experienced before. It was humbling. Also, the food was amazing. I can't wait to go back. I'd love to do the big five marathon, but I'm not sure I'm brave enough
Who is your hero and why?
I don’t really have hero’s but there are tonnes of people I admire. It's hard to narrow down, so as I am an avid runner, I'm going with Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston marathon in 1967. During the race she was pushed by a marshal to try to get her off the course/get her race number because women were not allowed to run marathons then. She did it anyway! Scary how recent that is. Women were not officially allowed to run Boston marathon until 1972. I’d love to qualify for Boston and I'm aiming to try in the next year or so if my legs let me.
What kind of world ruler would you be?
My 9-year-old says a nagging tyrant
What are you passionate about these days?
In a bad way, The plight of the planet: Pollution (plastic and chemical); climate change; habitat destruction…. The list goes on. In a good way, running and open water swimming
What do you do to unwind and relax?
Running and open water swimming followed by wine and chocolate
How to find time to write as a parent?
With great difficulty. I've had a year’s sabbatical this year to finally get ‘Dunn’ out there, but we’ll see how I do when I start back to teaching in September. I wrote a lot of ‘Dunn’ (the first three drafts) as a working parent though. For me this has meant writing was sporadic. I would say that has a lot to do with why it took me so long to finish ‘Dunn’, but you can only do what you can do. I am now able to be properly part time, so I'm hoping to keep the writing habit I've developed this year going consistently on my two days at home.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
A dolphin. I love them. Wish I could swim like one, though
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