Author & Book Spotlight Hourglass Heights by Ian David Noakes

Friday, April 3, 2015
Gritty, disturbing, depraved and gory, Hourglass Heights inhabits the seedier side of things, and is brutally honest in its execution.

Title: Hourglass Heights
Author: Ian David Noakes
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Austin Macauley Publishers
Release Date: June 30th, 2014 (U.K.). December 30th, 2014 (U.S.)
Editions/Formats: eBook & Print
Burb/Synopsis:

Who is brutally murdering the male residents of the Hourglass Heights apartment complex? At first glance, it would appear that their spouses are the killers, but Detective Marcia Tanaka believes that a serial killer is responsible.

Through the course of her investigation, Detective Tanaka is pulled into a world of Japanese folklore and the supernatural as she explores the darker side of relationships, sex and psyche. She must learn to defeat her own personal demons before she can defeat one that is far more sinister.



"Hourglass Heights combines the mystery and suspense of a supernatural murder investigation with the intense sexual exploration usually found only in erotica. A harrowing and action-packed tale that revolves around my beautiful, but flawed, central character, Detective Marcia Tanaka. I've been told my approach is very direct and, at times, a brutal depiction of the many different and dark ways that people use their sexuality. "


Where do the ideas for your books come from?
They can come to me a few ways. Sometimes I fancy writing a specific genre, and then I start brainstorming potential ‘what if’ scenarios. Sometimes I have a specific character in mind with a flaw/problem that I want experiment and exploit. Sometimes these two elements come together too!
However, the original spark for Hourglass Heights came from the brilliant movie 'Snake Eyes.' I'd already seen the movie on a number of occasions, but it just happened to get me thinking on that particular night. I'd already made up my mind that I wanted to write a horror/thriller, but at the time Snake Eyes really tickled my creative thinking. I wanted to write something contained and claustrophobic too, and this movie just inspired me to push forward and start developing this rough idea.
Ultimately, Hourglass Heights ended up nothing like Snake Eyes:-) It was my plan to set most of it inside the Hourglass Heights apartment complex, but as I started to write the story it just burst out of the 'contained and claustrophobic' wrapping and started to find its own identity.
I guess Brian De Palma & David Koepp played a big part in the creation of the ‘idea’ behind Hourglass Heights. David for writing it, and Brian for making the movie.

Have you ever co-written book/books? If so was it difficult? If not would you ever consider co-writing with another author?
I’ve never co-written a book, but I have co-written screenplays. I do love collaborating on a project as it brings another creative mind to to the writing table. You have an extra set of eyes to proof the work, and another mind to bring more ideas to the story. The key is clicking with your writing partner, and being willing to compromise when you have a disagreement.
I have had bad (unproductive) experiences, but I’ve also made a few very good friends that I’d work with again in a heart beat. I’ve got a few juicy projects sitting in a folder on my desktop, ready to pounce and (fingers crossed), and get snapped up by a producer or publisher - a few of these are co-written.
However, I’m not too sure how a collaboration would go with a novel. I imagine it would be much tougher than working with a partner on a screenplay. A screenplay consists of story and structure. A screenplay must also be penned a certain way, there are lots of rules you must adhere to. I believe this makes it much easier to collaborate on. A novel still needs structure and story, but I think a reader (unless your writing partner is completely in tune with you on all creative levels) would notice the two different writing styles and attitudes - and it could distract them from the story.
I could be wrong though, and I’d certainly be up for the challenge of working with another author on a book!!

Where do you get your character names from?
Honestly, there isn’t some clever process I use. Most of the time I just pluck them out of the air, or from a magazine or newspaper sitting on the side. I consider them ‘working names’ during the planning phase, and if they don’t work I’ll change them later. The only rule I do try to stick to is making sure they all sound completely different. If I have a Harry, you won’t find a Larry or Barry - or even a Henry. It prevents any potential confusion or distraction by making them stand out from each other.

What type of research goes into your writing?
I can’t say that I’ve had to do a lot of research with any of my stories so far. I usually tell my story how I want to tell it, and then when I’m at the tweaking and polishing stage of the process, I will do most of my research at that point to make sure everything is accurate, for example, with things like police procedure.
I am sure this won’t be the same with all my books, and I do hope this to be the case as I am looking forward to being in a position where I will need to do substantial research for a future story. Actually, I do have plans on telling a story about ‘somebody’ from the history books, and I’m looking forward to it.
I’m also of the opinion that we are always researching, we just aren’t aware of it at the time. Social networking, books, television and the Internet play a big part in our everyday lives, and we take all this information in without knowing it. Most people will never attempt to dip into this knowledge, so it ends up being un-tapped. But for an author, we are constantly dipping into that information resource, and utilising it in our work.
Television shows like C.S.I. share dramatised knowledge of forensics and investigation procedure, and then we have television soaps that inspire ‘real life’ storylines, and even reveal snippets of information in general life (relationships, careers etc..).
There will be a point where an author MUST conduct deeper research if the story demands it. As I mentioned above, I want to write a story about a person from the history books, and this will require a level and type of research you couldn’t take in from television (unless there is a cracking documentary on about him (or her!)). 
There will also be cases where you have a character (more than likely your main character) that will demand a high level of research, too. I’m not talking procedural research; I’m talking about interviewing relevant people and talking about their personal experiences. Something that will give the author a more personalised and exclusive take that sets their book and character apart from other stories.

Are your family and friends supportive of your writing?
Ermm… They are now. My wife and children have never doubted me, and they wouldn’t have let me give it all up even if I tried. But I know, deep down, that some of my family and friends believed I was wasting my time (no names!). That goes for my screenwriting and my novel writing. Strangely, as I started to sell books, generate positive reviews, and my work as a whole started to get noticed and requested by respected production companies and publishing houses - they have started to express of a positive interest in my material.
Most people believe that things like this only happen to ‘other’ people, but they couldn’t be more wrong. I’m an ‘other’ person, and so is the person reading this answer.

Do you remember when your interest in writing came about?
My ‘writing’ calling came pretty late in life (an old git in my late-twenties!) for me. I’ve loved storytelling since an early age, but that included both books and the movies. It wasn’t until I reached those late-twenties that the idea of writing occurred to me. I guess like most people, I’d always believed writing books and movies only happened to ‘other’ people. 
It wasn’t until I ‘scribbled’ down a short (very short!) story whilst working on a late-shift as a projectionist that I wondered if I would have it in me to write a novel. Two online businesses and tons of ‘how to write’ books later, I wrote an awful screenplay called ‘Past Out.’ The premise was good, but the execution of the story and script screamed out amateur. I did rewrite this story years later, and changed the title, and it is currently sitting in my screenplay inventory. I must admit, I have a soft spot for this story as it’s a horror story set during the night in a multiplex cinema. All those late nights working in the booth finally paid off!:0)
My screenwriting developed over the years, and I met a lot of talented people along this journey. I haven’t had anything produced – this will change this year (twice)!! – but what it did do was put me through years of rigorous story training. See question 8 for more on this topic.
I should really wrap up this question now: so with all these years of writing scripts under my belt – and coming close on many occasions to breaking into the industry big time – I listened to my wife and penned my first novel. You will see something in my book bio where I mention being complimented on my visual screenwriting, and that writing a book will finally enable people to finally ‘read’ my words.
I’ve just scrolled up to your question, and realized I haven’t really answered it. I knew when I realized I could – the passion for storytelling was already there.

Other than writing what are your interest?
Outside of writing, I try to stay away from all things ‘creative.’ When I completed my first novel, Hourglass Heights, I was mentally exhausted. Writers are still writing when they’re not actually writing :-)
I like to watch Football. It’s one way I can switch off from my writing. Even when I watch movies, it triggers my creative process. When I watch football, there is no plot, no twists and turns and no intriguing characters (in the story sense!) so I can just switch off and recharge.
Oh, I’m also married with five children … they’re quite interesting too!! Oops!

Did you learn anything from writing your books, if so what was it?
After many years of doubting myself, I proved to myself that I could write (and finish) a book. It was my wife that pushed me to write a book after I was consistently complimented by screenplay consultants and readers on my writing, so I decided to listen to my wife and just do it. In this instance, I’m so pleased I listened to my better half :-)
I guess I also learnt how to be more patient with my work. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a ‘need to get it done by yesterday’ kinda guy - but when it comes to the creating side I am far more patient than I used to be. Writing a novel can take an author years to complete, where a screenplay is months.

What are your current WIP? Can you share with us?
When you’re an author, you do most of your work alone. It can be a very lonely craft (start the violins), as you work alone, create alone, and find yourself alone with your fictional world and creations. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change a thing:) but I will be mixing it up a little during 2015!
Any fellow authors out there will know things can change quickly on the to-do list. For example, if when Hourglass Heights smashes the bestseller charts I will switch things around and jump onto the sequel. However, I do have other genres and projects I’d like to work on too. So, this is what lays ahead for me in 2015:
I am going to complete my current novel: Partners In Crime. I’ve already mentioned this above, so I won’t irritate you by repeating myself.
I have a big feature movie production that I am very excited about. Contracts will be signed soon, and I ‘should’ have the rights to pen the spin-off novel too. A big name actress is involved, and a very impressive crew. If you want to hear the ‘who’ and ‘what’ make sure you like my Facebook page where I will announce it: www.facebook.com/iandavidnoakes
I have a short film in the pipeline based on my short story: Tables Turned. This one is very close to my heart, and I can’t wait for it to move forward. I will be in London with the director and crew in June… so, fingers crossed on that one. If you’d like to read the book first, you can find it on Amazon for less than a pound! 
Er, what else? I really want to make a start on the outline for the sequel to Hourglass Heights. I want this one to be bigger and badder than the first, but I want to stay true to what hooked people into it in the first place: a traumatic continuation of Marcia’s journey through life, along with a new case that will **** Marcia AND you up for a long time. I’ve got ideas already, so stay tuned.
I am also working on two feature screenplays: a gritty crime thriller, and an edgy British comedy. Should be fun!

Faves
Food 
I love a Sunday dinner with all the trimmings. Topped off with Cranberry sauce:-)
Color
Crimson. Saying that, it depends where it would be applied. I like my toast black, my chocolate white, and the sky blue.
Quote
“I hate writing, I love having written.” — Dorothy Parker
Movie 
Too many to list, but the one that jumps into my mind before I get chance to really think about it: The Shawshank Redemption. I can still remember the first time I watched it, who I was with, and how I felt (blown away!) - so it must be good!
Music
I grew up listening to Michael Jackson and Madonna - but now I just love a good tune. Don’t care who sings it, or what kind of music it is … I just know if I like it.
This or That
Day or Night 
Evening (sorry! - that is chill time after a long day writing)
Rain or Snow 
Rain.
Facebook or Twitter
Facebook as I always struggle to keep my word count down.
Mac or PC
Mac!
Coffee or Tea 
Stupid question… Coffee! A Starbucks Mocha to be precise.




Where did the inspiration for this story come from?  What is the story behind the story so to speak?
I covered this question above when asked about where my ideas came from, but I’d hate to leave this field blank (or annoy you by repeating myself), so I will tell you how I came up with the title: Hourglass Heights
Hourglass Heights is the name of the apartment building. Best known for killing and eating the male after mating, the female black widow is a killer with a red hourglass on her black body.  I won’t reveal much more just in case I give too much away, but I can assure everybody my serial killer isn’t a giant spider.
An hourglass also signifies time running out, which works perfectly as Marcia hunts a killer.

Tell us about the book cover.  How does it represent your book?  How did you choose the artwork? 
The book cover is basically a snapshot out of the story. I worked with a very talented artist (Rod Wong) who has created concept art for LucasFilm and Disney to name just a couple.

CRIMPLE TOLD ME THAT I NEEDED TO LET IT GO, that I was only sixteen years old when it happened and that I shouldn’t have allowed such a tragic burden to weigh so heavily on my young shoulders. He told me that I could never have predicted such a terrible thing would happen and that I shouldn’t continue to blame myself. I was told a lot of things but none of them made any difference. I couldn’t let it go, and I wouldn’t allow it to run away from me. This tragic burden would weigh upon my narrow shoulders until my final breath because I did blame myself.

Crimple was right when he said I couldn’t have predicted such a murderous act, but the truth was it did happen. I had lied to my father and he had been brutally murdered because of my own selfish behavior. At sixteen, I wasn’t a child and I didn’t deserve to be happy.

Fifteen years later, there I was, burdened and still struggling to summon the courage to keep going. I existed with the knowledge that the easy way out wouldn’t help me if I wanted to look my father in the eye when I reached the Pearly Gates.

A communal printer sparked to life from within the shadows of an open-plan office space sprinkled with what could be mistaken for the same old desks that I used to hide behind in school. Equally old computers perched on the desktops and the classroom image was completed by bulletin boards that filled the walls. These, however, weren’t covered with mundane homework assignments. No, these days I looked upon grisly crime scene photos, suspect profiles and wretched back-stories of humans at the lowest moments in their lives.


Ian David Noakes is a former projectionist who now loves writing stuff: funny stuff like Partners In Crime; Scary stuff like Hourglass Heights. And even serious stuff like Tables Turned.
As Ian had too much time on his hands with only his wife, five children, screenwriting, novel writing and Mocha drinking trips to Starbucks, he decided to train to become a behavioral therapist too.
Ian started writing his debut novel, Hourglass Heights, during the of summer of 2012 after producers were complimenting his ‘dynamic writing style’ year after year, writing that would never be read more than a handful of times in a window-less office.
He completed it a year later, but during the publishing process he completed two novellas (Partners In Crime, Tables Turned), as well as his second novel, The Ancient Lawman.
Hourglass Heights has been nominated for the People’s Book Prize™ in the U.K., and it is also a contender for the National Book Awards.

Places to find Ian
Blog
Facebook
Goodreads
Twitter
Website
Places to find Hourglass Heights
Amazon US
Kindle
Print
Amazon UK
Kindle
Print



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