37 Hours J.F Kirwan - Neverland Blog Tours - Guest Post by J.F Kirwan

Thursday, 17 August 2017

After two long years spent in a secret British prison, Nadia Laksheva is suddenly granted her freedom. Yet there is a dangerous price to pay for her release: she must retrieve the Russian nuclear warhead stolen by her deadliest enemy, a powerful and ruthless terrorist known only as The Client.

But her mysterious nemesis is always one step ahead and the clock is ticking. In 37 hours, the warhead will explode, reducing the city of London to a pile of ash. Only this time, Nadia is prepared to pull the trigger at any cost…

The deadly trail will take her from crowded Moscow to the silent streets of Chernobyl, but will Nadia find what she is looking for before the clock hits zero?

Book links:

Author bio: J.F. Kirwan is a writer for Harper Collins, under their HQ digital imprint. By day he works in aviation and nuclear safety, but at night, during bouts of insomnia, he writes thrillers with significant body counts. He’s an ex-diving instructor, so there is an underwater element in each of his two novels, 66 Metres and 37 Hours. Most readers find his writing has a cinematic feel, as if you are there with the characters. The original inspiration for the protagonist, Nadia, came from Stieg Larsson’s Girl with the dragon tattoo, though David Baldacci and Lee Child have had significant impact on the writing style, plotting and pace. He is currently writing the third book in the series.

Author links:

(See the cover reveal for 88 Hours also by J.F Kirwin!)

Can a guy write convincing sex from a woman’s point of view?

Guest Blog by J F Kirwan

I recall being in a writers’ course where the leader, a woman, asked eleven of us – eight women and three men – to write a short sex scene. These were duly collected, handed out anonymously and then read aloud by someone other than the writer. When mine was read out, I heard two women whisper conspiratorially, ‘a guy wrote this.’ Equally, it was clear to me which pieces were written by women. It was like each piece was stamped ‘Mars’ or ‘Venus’. There was only one scene where none of us could quite figure out the sex of the author. It turned out a lesbian had written it.

I was at the York Writers Festival a couple of years ago pitching the first novel in the series, 66 metres, to an agent. He looks me in the eye, and says: ‘You’re a guy, writing about a young Russian woman. You’re not Russian, you’re not a woman, and let’s face it…’ Still, I persevered with the protagonist, Nadia, who’s about to get her third fictional outing.

I did struggle though, over a couple of sex scenes, which were written from her point of view. They’re not graphic scenes, and the books are thrillers, not romance novels. But there is a love element in the books, between Nadia and Jake, a roguish diver / MI6 operative. And although much of the time Nadia is dodging bullets, she’s a young woman, and has needs.

I belong to a writers’ group in Paris, where I live. It’s called Men with Pens, oddly enough, even though we are three men and three women. One day I presented a chapter for discussion. It had a short sexual episode at the end. The two other guys liked it, grinned inanely as men sometimes do, and said it worked for them. The women sat there poker-faced, and simply said ‘Really?’ The other two guys defended my scene some more, stating why it worked for them, to which the women replied again, ‘Really?’ We ordered some more wine and then had a general discussion about writing sex scenes from the point of view of the opposite sex. Then I asked them how they would write the same scene. They didn’t want to tell me, as if it was breaking a taboo to tell a man how women really thought about sex. But the next day one of them sent me a slight re-wording of the scene. I remember reading it, and laughing out loud, saying to myself, ‘Really?’

In the end, the few sex scenes in the novels 66 metres and 37 hours seem to work. Both women and men have commented favourably on them. I kept them short, and focused on the simmering chemistry between Nadia than Jake.

I have both male and female pre-readers, who see early versions of the novels. Whenever it gets to a sex scene, I don’t pay so much attention to what the men think; they usually just grin inanely in any case. One of the women, however, I happen to work with, in my day job. I sometimes show her a sex scene I’ve written. If she says anything about it at all, I know it’s not there yet. If she says nothing, just puts it back down on my desk and leaves my office, I know I’ve got it right.

Let me know what you think! 

Love, Sarah 

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