I’m pleased to welcome AA Abbott to the blog today for my stop on the tour for the second in her Trail series – The Vodka Trail. She has written an interesting guest post about the importance of location in her books.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION by AA Abbott
I was brought up in a gritty industrial town near London. The glamorous capital was a short train ride away, but lacking the means to travel or indeed buy anything when I got there, I saw it as a destination for high days and holidays. My parents occasionally packed their large family into a minibus (the only vehicle capable of containing us all) and headed for one of London’s fine free museums. We went to Kew Gardens too. That was more expensive: entrance cost a penny each.
Growing up, and moving to the big city of Birmingham, was a revelation. My life expanded in a blaze of warmth and joy and colour. Suddenly, there was money in my pocket; shops, theatres and bars on my doorstep. It wasn’t just the Manhattan-style skyline and cocktail bars that attracted, though, but the buzz and friendliness of the Midlands metropolis. Since then, I’ve worked in London and lived in Bristol, but neither calls to my heart as Birmingham does.
My crime thrillers are always characterised by a sense of place, and I like to write about what I know. The action in the Trail series therefore mostly segues between London – polished, stylish, with an unbridgeable gap between rich and poor – and buzzy Birmingham. “The Vodka Trail”, however, takes a left turn to the former Soviet Union as well.
The edgy state of Bazakistan is a place I’ve never been to, and with good reason: it’s fictional. I researched the area well, though: interviewing oil workers who had lived there, reading biographies of the politicians who seized power in the vacuum that Communism left behind, and hearing accounts of travellers in the region. “The Silk Road To Ruin”, by Ted Rall, is the true story of a mad road-trip through the ‘stans just after the Soviet Union imploded. It was the Wild East at the time, when a man could make his fortune, but only if he escaped with his life.
Marty Bridges, hero of “The Vodka Trail”, has become rich from buying and selling premium vodka made in Bazakistan. His business partner, Alexander “Sasha” Belov, isn’t so lucky. Killed by a firing squad after falling out with the government of Bazakistan, he leaves his children penniless. His daughter, Kat, is determined to reclaim the family business and stop Marty’s gravy train. But is Bazakistan really a safe place to do business? Kat is about to find out…
My thanks to Kelly at Love Books Group Tours for inviting me to take part in the tour. The Vodka Trail is available now in paperback and as an ebook. You can order a copy online here: The Vodka Trail
From the back of the book
A tense crime thriller, packed with twists – and vodka!
Kat White ended up a penniless teenager marooned in London when her parents died in a foreign prison. She blames Marty Bridges, her father’s business partner, for their deaths.
Now Kat wants to recover the family vodka business and stop Marty’s gravy train. But when she’s taken hostage by terrorists, Marty holds her life in his hands…
A compelling crime thriller, sizzling with suspense, seduction, tension and twists.
About the author
English thriller writer AA Abbott’s real name is Helen Blenkinsop, but like JK Rowling, she wanted to maintain an air of mystery. She loves city life, having lived and worked in London, Birmingham and Bristol. Her crime thrillers, set in Birmingham and London, sizzle with suspense, twists and the evils of office politics.
Helen’s books are available in a dyslexia-friendly large print as well as standard paperback and Kindle editions.
Her Trail Series follows the fortunes of glamorous blonde Kat White, a party girl who finds her purpose making vodka, shrewd businessman Marty Bridges, and manipulative East End crime lord Shaun Halloran.
Follow the rest of the bloggers on the tour