Humanity will be extinguished in less than seven days.
Wing Commander Jude Styles is a Starfighter Pilot trying to get pregnant before the world ends. Her wingman, Hamid Ashkami, just wants to block the spam messages he is receiving from someone claiming to be his dead ex-husband.
Instead, they are locked in a media tour, shown off as the heroes that stopped the alien invasion by destroying the massive mothership known as the “Dead Moon”, persuading the masses that all will be fine if they keep calm and carry on.
Trapped telling the same lies, driven over the edge by post-traumatic stress and the constant flow of alcohol, it is only a matter of time before Jude and Hamid break down – and the fragments of the Dead Moon have already begun to fall from the sky.
1. Do you always take a book/e-reader wherever you go?
Usually three or four! I much prefer to read paperbacks than eBooks, although I always have an e-reader on my person. My wife teases me about my book hoarding, but it’s unusual if I don’t read them.
2. 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 most likely to politely decline, unless they’re citing my academic work or critiquing my fiction (always welcome). If forced to respond one way or another I’d ask to be the good one, because it’s nice to occasionally dream we are something we are not.
3. Where can I find you when you are reading?
Anywhere I’m sitting still. One exception is I hate reading in libraries. Perhaps I was forever scarred by studying law but for me libraries are for work or study. I like reading in bed, which has more than once led to an all-nighter.
4. Where can I find you when you are not writing/reading?
In a park or library with my kids, or, quite possibly, shouting at them for still not having finished in the shower! We have three small children and my wife has an important job, so I work my writing around family, which suits me fine. It certainly keeps my feet on the ground.
5. Can you walk past a bookstore without going inside?
I have to! A veteran’s pension plus an author’s salary doesn’t stretch very far, and Paris is loaded with bookshops. I do still manage to buy about a dozen books a month…
6. What are you most proud of?
Marrying my wife. I was injured in service and have PTSD. During the early phases of my rehabilitation I was warned that any sort of normal family life would most likely be impossible for me, due to the extent of my neurological and psychiatric injuries. I spent 6 years in a wheelchair, and I think the thing that got me out of it was meeting this amazing girl who I really didn’t want to see me in a wheelchair (vanity, sweet vanity).
Having somebody that I wanted to be with that much drove me ever harder to overcome the deficiencies of my poor wrecked body. I swear I’ve done more gym hours per year after my injury than when I was in the forces. As anyone who has suffered loss or serious injury knows, hard work is the younger brother to good luck. Happily, I got very lucky
indeed, and she and I have been together since 2005, married in 2012. She has been and remains my guiding light.
7. What goes through your mind when you hold your new book in your hands for the first time?
How am I going to fit this one in? Oh, but how I love the smell of a new book. Honestly, a strange anxiety – the fear of being disappointed. I read a lot of script submissions as part of running http://www.littlewonder.website, a radio production company, and so often a script you want to be good falls apart. Now that I also review books on my website some of that fear has spread. As a writer myself, I know how much heartache and pain goes into a manuscript – so I hate it when it goes wrong.
That’s why I get reading as quickly as possible.
8. What piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Hmmm, tough this, as there is so much to learn. First, if you write you are a writer, so stop worrying about being a proper writer and just write. Concordantly, you’re not a writer if you aren’t writing, so stop talking about all those projects and get them down on paper.
Listen to the criticism. It will hurt and it will not always be fair or even correct, but you will always learn something from it. Most people don’t really understand why they don’t like something: it’s your job to figure out how to make the work better.
Finally, you get better at writing by writing. See the first point.
9. Who would you like/have liked to interview?
Margaret Atwood, because I want to know how on earth she manages to balance an academic career with her fiction writing! Plus, she’s cool.
David Bowie. I think I’d get too flustered to say anything, but he may just have been the most beautiful person to have ever existed (asides from my wife, of course.)
10. When and where do you prefer to write?
Any time I don’t have the kids, then it’s straight off to a nearby bar or café where the background buzz of conversation stop me from going crazy, having a drink makes me feel comfortable (alcoholic or otherwise), and I can indulge myself by writing. I meet so many writers who talk about what a terrible time they are having writing (there are other
associated problems that I completely appreciate) and I don’t understand – if you don’t like it don’t do it! It’s not as if the pay is competitive!
Which is my way of saying: I just bloody love writing.
Thank you, Keith Crawford and Love Books Group
About the author
Dr Keith Crawford is a retired naval officer, disabled veteran and qualified barrister with a PhD in Law and Economics. After years of crazy adventures, from speedboats and aircraft to theatre and lecturing at Sciences Po, my French wife and I decided it was time to properly settle in Paris and have babies. Being the good feminist I try to be, I quit my job to look after the kids, support my wife’s career and write books. Each time I get offered a job my wife says “stop looking at jobs and get back to writing books.” Which shows, with marriage as with everything else, it is better to be lucky than good! Dead Moon is my second novel. The first, Vile, a science-fantasy about toxic-patriarchy, the evils of aristocracy and swordfights, is available on Amazon.
Twitter hand: @keithcrawford77
Instagram Handle: keithcrawford77