Emily Copeland is a young teacher at an inner city school. And she’s good at it. One Christmas her mother shares a long held secret of a teenage affair with a French fisherman. Months later her mother is killed in a hit and run and Emily’s life is dislodged from its axis.
With the school summer holidays approaching, Emily decides on a cathartic journey to revisit the French seaside village where, all those years ago, her mother enjoyed her summer fling. Clutching a series of old holiday snaps, she sets off with the ambition of closure. However, the Camargue – where the mighty Rhône meets the Mediterranean – holds deep secrets. It’s a
lawless place of cowboys and gipsies, of mudflats, lakes and meandering tributaries … and of black bulls and white horses.
Emily’s journey soon ends up being more than just a rehearsal of her mum’s past. As she traces her footsteps, the romantic memories she unearths of a previous summer paint an altogether more sinister picture of the present. And Emily’s trip turns out to be one of enlightenment and of deceit; and of abuse and of greed. Ultimately it’s a story that ends in death … and in love.
When and where do you prefer to write?
The Sam Green thriller books start their life on the 1st of September and, all being well, the first draft is finished by Christmas – around 130,000 words. Then it’s the editing, betas and proofreading for publication in the summer. I write whenever. Sometimes it’s first thing … sometimes with a cup of tea in the afternoon. I push out 1,000 words regardless – often they’re in the right order; sometimes not. We lived in a motorhome (RV) for almost five years and I love its ambience. So, even though we’ve stopped travelling full time, I still try and write in there.
Do you need peace and quiet when you are writing?
Yes, but not so much that I have to put on headphones, or ear plugs. Ex-military, I’m used to having to concentrate in loud environments, so I can pretty much cope anywhere. But I do prefer the quiet.
If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
Tom Clancy. His early stuff (Third World War and Hunt for Red October) are genre busters in my eyes. I love their detail and realism. I know Tom is no longer with us, but your question wasn’t wholly specific!
Say someone asks if they can use your name in a book. Would you rather be the ‘good one’ or the ‘bad one’?
I’m not fussed. Frankly I’d be delighted, but Roland is not a name normally associated with either a protagonist … or antagonist, so I’d be surprised if anyone would be bothered.
Who would you like/have liked to interview?
Clearly, Tom Clancy. But I think Lee Childs would be interesting. I’m not the greatest fan of the Reacher books, but when he was writing he had a formula which obviously worked and I’d like to interrogate that.
Where can I find you when you are reading?
In bed. Every day before I go to sleep.
Where can I find you when you are not writing/reading?
My wife and I travel a good deal, nearly all of it in our motorhome. As an ex-infantryman I’m used to being on my feet, in the outdoors. So you’ll find me up a mountain, or on a pair of skis.
What goes through your mind when you hold your new book in your hands for the first time?
I am often speechless. I know of many writers who struggle to complete their work and I’m always delighted when I get 130,000 words onto paper in some semblance of order. It amazes and delights me every time.
How do you come up with a title for your book?
For the Sam Green thrillers I try to find a phrase that works on the cover but also in the text, normally in dialogue. For Of Black Bulls and White Horses, my wife and I both know the Camargue (France) really well and so we knew of the bulls and the horses … and we just played with the words until they came out in a sensible order.
How do you pick a cover for your book?
I try very hard to use photos that I have taken. The cover of Of Black Bulls and White Horses is one of mine. I then use a photo edit programme to turn it into something more arty and then find appropriate fonts. All of the covers are my own work. I can’t say if they’re any good, but they work for me.
Thank you, Roland Ladley and R&R Book Tours
About the author
I am an ex-British Army colonel with operational service in Bosnia, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan. I was subsequently a secondary school maths teacher for 8 years. And since 2014, my wife and I have been itinerant, driving around Europe in our motorhome, penning the Sam Green thriller series.
In 2020, during lockdown and on advice from a publisher, I wrote of Black Bulls and White Horses, my first and only non-Sam Green novel.
Book 2 in the Sam Green series, Fuelling the Fire, won a Kindle Scout publishing contract. And, the as yet unnamed, book 8 in the series will be published in 2022.
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