Wednesday, 10 November 2021

Welcoming a Special Guest - GB Williams

Today I’m joined by fellow Crime Cymru author G B Williams, as part of a blog tour to celebrate the paperback release of her crime thriller The Chair. Crime Cymru is a collective of authors who have a connection to Wales and I’m greatly impressed that Gail has her biography in both English and Welsh. Something for me to think about.

The book is a gritty, edgy thriller, dealing with some intense themes, which makes the most of the Welsh landscape and also manages to include a love story.


Welcome Gail

Can you tell us a bit about the book? What was the idea that kicked off the story for you?  


This book is the story of a hacker, Jay, who makes a mistake and, in running from his problems, crashes his car in a remote location, but then has the good fortune to be found by members of a mountain rescue team. They, Branwen, the local vet, and Cobb, a hermit with a past, provide shelter and safety to the hacker and stand up to the people who come after him.


The original story idea was a car crash and two people trapped together by a blizzard, and yes, it was intended to be a male/female romance. But that felt far too simplistic. Then, I started thinking about why the person who crashed would be in the middle of nowhere. They had to be running from something, and I had to work out what that was, which was when the idea of hacking came up, and running to a location that didn’t have good internet connections. Then I had to wonder why the first person was in the middle of nowhere too. People don’t cut themselves off without reason, and that was when Cobb’s back story started to form.


With those two storylines, I realised it was bigger than two people trapped by a blizzard. So, I threw the first idea out the window and turned it into the thriller it became.



The Chair is a complex story with a big cast with multiple viewpoints and a lot of threads running – did you have a special system to keep track of them all? 


Yes, it’s called Excel.  Okay, that’s not that special, but when I write the first draft I just let it flow, a few notes on character to make sure I don’t mess up descriptions, but I start with just freeform writing and a general idea of the end game. Through the many edits that come later I use a spreadsheet to keep track of what happens in each chapter and things like whose POV it is, who appears in the chapter, how it moved the story on, stuff like that.  This time around that was particularly useful as I realised that I had way too many point of view characters, and had to delete a number of voices to keep things straight. Those whose voices were cut out included, Emma, Shoreham, O’Rourke and Doc Pearson.  That made things much easier to follow, and meant that I had far more for Simons to do who was originally a bit under utilised.  But as complex as it is, I hope that people can follow it well enough.



The story covers a wide selection of settings and expertise – the music industry, cyber security, mountain rescue - to name a few. Did this come from your own background or research?  What are your favourite research methods? 


It was a true mixing point this one. I’m from the Southeast of England, but have lived in Wales for 30 years now.  So, I’m well aware of the differences in landscape and attitudes, which is something I tried to get into this novel. I know a bit about the mountain rescue, though not a member, I’m a geocacher, and that can take you to a lot of remote places. Now I’ve been lucky in that I’ve never needed to call the Mountain Rescue out, but I know geocachers who have. I’ve raised a fair bit of money for the Mountain Rescue too, and will continue to support them. The Mountain Rescue – all volunteers – do a great job and should be noted for that more than they are.


The rest is largely a result of research.  Oddly I am a bit of a sponge and soak up a fair amount of what I read and hear, and it all sits in the back of my mind until I need it. My hubby is also very good in that if he reads a story in the paper that he thinks I can use, he’ll cut the story out for me.  I have several pinned to my ideas board right now, and when the time and the story is right, I’ll use those ideas.


Once I settle on the story I want to use, I will do a lot of internet searching.  Since lockdown, that’s largely been the only kind of research it’s been possible to do. I’m quite diligent on trying to find multiple sources, and not just one, which is changeable by the public, I look for other sources to try to be sure. I’m also really fortunate in that I live opposite a serving police officer, so questions do get asked.  I also check books on police procedure, newspaper stories, and when I have a narrow enough question, I will go to certain internet pages where I can ask a direct question of relevant sources.



The Chair of the title, as well as having a more sinister meaning, refers to Cadair Idris, the mountain in the southern end of the Snowdonia National Park, in Wales. Can you tell us a bit about the importance of landscape to the story, and how you used it? 


Landscape is hugely important in the book, and it’s more than just a setting. The basic idea of Jay coming to Wales was because of the landscape. One of the features of a mountainous area is that a lot of communications don’t work well within them.  Without the mountain causing such problems, Jay’s journey to Wales makes no sense. The landscape is also why Cobb is there, it’s literally where he ran out of petrol, and where he then saw that he could live effectively alone and without neighbours while still in an area that would serve needs for life.


Of course, the land is also why there’s need of the Mountain Rescue, which in turn is part of why Cobb and Branwen have the skills they need through the book. Not to mention, that the landscape can be as much of a killer as those who pursue Jay.  It’s the setting of the final conflict and is equally dangerous to the players as they are to each other.



As well as some pretty gritty thriller elements you also have an on/off romance between local vet Branwen and mystery man Cobb. The book is not romantic suspense, but their relationship forms one of the distinct threads of the book – why did you want to include a romance? Was it an idea from the start, or did it evolve?  


It was always there. Once I had the story and saw that Cobb and Jay needed a go-between in the village, I knew that there would be a connection between Branwen and Cobb that went beyond neighbourliness. Their love affair was never going to be easy, both of them are hiding painful truths, both are wary of getting hurt again. And to be honest, they were so uncertain about their own futures that even I wasn’t sure what was going to happen in the end.



What’s next – any plans for a sequel or an on-going series?  


Though I have been asked to write more about Branwen and Cobb, the truth is, this is all the story they need me to write for them, their only public story. So, no sequel, sorry.


However, I’m currently looking for a home for a standalone thriller that takes an ordinary woman on a journey across Europe to find evidence of treason and discover the truth of the person she is inside.


Writing wise, I’m working on books 1 and 2 of a new police procedural series set in south Wales.  I’ll tell you more about that as I get closer to publication.


That is definitely something to look forward to. 

Thanks so much for being my guest today and telling us some of the background to the writing of The Chair 


About the book:


On a snowbound Cader Idris, death comes stalking.

Cobb retreated to Cader Idris for a solitary life of peace and quiet, and to escape his dangerous past. Though that illusion starts to crumble after he and Branwen Jones, the local vet, find a mysterious RTA victim and shelter him in Cobb’s home.

When elements of London’s criminal underbelly reach Wales, and their presence throws the close-knit community into stark relief, the chance to settle old scores could prove too tempting.

With no choice but to try and hide the RTA victim from people who want to kill him, Cobb’s not sure he’s ready to rejoin the world he’s running from, when that means putting another woman in the firing line. Meanwhile, Branwen’s not sure she can face the revelation of her darkest secret.

But as they face the final showdown, a race over the snowed-in mountain, will anyone survive unscathed?



 You can buy the book HERE





GB Williams specialises in complex, fast-paced crime novels, book one of the Locked Series, “Locked Up”, was released in 2017, “Locked In” publishes in Feb 2018, and “Locked Down” is due in Autumn 2018.  GB was shortlisted for the 2014 CWA Margery Allingham Short Story Competition with the story Last Shakes, now available in Last Cut Casebook. Crime novels are her stock in trade, but she has had success with short stories in other genres including steampunk, horror, and erotica.  She has also penned her debut steampunk novel, she launched in September 2017.  And she hates every photo ever taken of her. Find out more at


Mae GB Williams yn arbenigo mewn llyfrau ditectif cymhleth sy’n symud yn gyflym Cyhoeddwyd y llyfr cyntaf yn y gyfres, “Locked,” sef “Locked Up” yn 2017, cyhoeddir “Locked In” ym mis Chwefror 2018 a disgwylir “Locked Down” yn Hydref 2018. Rhoddwyd GB ar restr fer cystadleuaeth straeon byrion Margery Allingham yn 2014 am ei stori, “Last Shakes.” Straeon ditectif yw ei harbenigedd ond cafodd lwyddiant hefyd gyda straeon byrion mewn ffurfiau eraill gan gynnwys arswyd ac erotica. Cewch mwy o wybodaeth ar



Steampunk – stêmpync



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