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Beyond the waves by Colin Bateman

‘Beyond the Waves’ by Colin Bateman – a new mystery novel set in Rye Harbour (plus literary events from 19 Nov 2019)

Locally based author and former journalist, Colin Bateman talks to Angela J. Phillip about his process as a writer and his latest book Beyond the Waves. The new novel is inspired by real events and Tom Kidd, a part-time journalist (and the hero of his previous novel) gets involved in unravelling the story of the hidden past in order to solve crimes that are being reported in the present.

Colin Bateman

Colin Bateman

Q1 Hi, Colin. Congratulations on releasing your second book Beyond the Waves. The setting switches between Rye Harbour and Alderney in The Channel Islands and one of the things I most enjoyed was the sense of place. Someone I know said that she could smell the sea when she read your book. Do you have personal knowledge of these two places?

I like to write about places I know because I want to give an authenticity to the settings in the books. I also choose locations I feel have an ‘atmosphere’ about them. We have friends in Rye Harbour and in recent years I have loved walking there along the bleak coastline and the salt marshes. My wife and I discovered Alderney three years ago on a walking holiday with friends in the Channel Islands. Again, it is a place that captured my imagination with its rugged remoteness, and we returned there last winter to research the book and get my geography accurate.

P1020429-220pixQ2  The story switches between both place and time and I understand that part of the story is based on fact. Could you tell us a little about that and how the idea for the book came about?

The real events that inspired the book took place in Alderney during World War II. On a wet afternoon, I visited the island’s small museum and in a cabinet in a far corner stumbled across a fascinating story of bravery and humanity involving a member of the occupying German army that I thought needed telling. I won’t go into detail as it would spoil the book, but I have imagined what might have been the impact of that man’s act in my fictional story set in the current day. I write the narrative as parallel stories that, I hope, all link nicely in the end.

Dreadful Trade cover-220pixQ3 They do indeed and it was a pleasure to find out how the two stories came together. I haven’t yet read your first book, but I know that Tom Kidd is the hero of both books. How closely are your novels related?

My first book, A Dreadful Trade, is only linked to Beyond the Waves in as much as it involves my main character, Tom Kidd. People who read the first book, which is a mystery/thriller about modern-day smuggling along the Kent coast, said they liked the character, so I stuck with him for the second novel. One or two threads are carried over from the first book, but both are stand-alone novels. Again, I chose locations I know well for that first book: Dungeness and Shakespeare Cliff.

Q4 Tom Kidd is a journalist and you, too, have worked in the profession. Does being a journalist inspire your novel writing? Are Tom’s adventures and experiences based on your own?

I wouldn’t say journalism inspired my novel writing. It probably gave me the confidence to put words down on a page with a reasonable grasp of the English language – and I do simply love writing. There are no journalistic tales in my books, I’ve steered clear of that, although there are some characters from my newspaper days. On long trips abroad for the paper, I used to read a lot of fiction and always had a yearning to have a go myself.

Colin Bateman

Colin Bateman

Q5 Could you say a little about your writing process? For instance, do you plan your novels fully before you write them? Or does the plot develop as you write? Do you have set writing hours or goals to write a certain number of words per day? Do you have any advice for other writers?

I’ve explored different methods of piecing together a manuscript and read advice from several successful authors, and basically that advice amounts to: do it whatever way you are comfortable with. My books have been sparked by stories that captured my imagination. I’ve explained the inspiration for Beyond the Waves, and as for A Dreadful Trade, two good friends who are botanists told me about the very real secret trade in rare, exotic and unclassified plants. As well as collectors, there are pharmaceutical companies chasing these plants and that sparked my idea for smuggling.

IMG_20190628_201340_resized_220pixI know the start and end of my books before I begin writing, and I draw up a rough list of about ten main characters, several scenes I want to describe and how they link with each other. Then I start writing and I find the story evolves with a mind of its own at times. Sometimes I end up in a cul-de-sac and have to start chapters/sections again. I limit myself to about 2,000 words a day, more than that and I am rushing the tale too much. I don’t write every day. It has to be when the mood takes me. Re-reading and editing earlier chapters is also, I think, essential and I probably do about three drafts of each manuscript as it develops.

In the recent book, I felt the pace of the narrative was really flagging so about a third of the way through I suddenly decided to introduce a man in his nineties who provided vital links and humour. I loved his character, he became central to the story but I had not planned him at the start. My only advice to others is: allow yourself to be flexible.

Q6  Thank you for that, it is wise advice. Who are your favourite authors? Which book has influenced you most of all?

I go through phases, like most readers I guess. I used to love John Wyndham and Tom Sharpe. Graham Greene, Robert Harris, William Boyd, David Lodge, Ian Rankin and Ian McEwan all feature heavily on my bookshelves. One book? Can I cheat and have two? I thought Atonement by McEwan was superb, and I have never laughed out loud so much as I have reading Sharpe’s Riotous Assembly.


Q7 What are you working on at present? Are you planning a sequel?

I’m not working on a book currently, although I am proof reading a couple for friends. So far, my two novels have been dedicated to our two grandchildren, so I guess if a third comes along, I will have to get my thinking cap on. It will certainly be set in this corner of England and may involve Tom Kidd again…but what I need first is a tale that captures my imagination. I am sure something will crop up.

I’m sure it will and I look forward to reading the next one. Thanks very much for taking part in the interview and I would like to wish you all the best with Beyond the Waves.

Colin Bateman will be appearing together with other local authors at an event Write by the Sea in The Chambers in Folkestone on Thursday 21 November from 2 – 6 pm.

On Sunday 24th at 7 pm, Colin Bateman will launch this book at The Bookkeeper Bookshop. See below in ‘Bookshops & Events’ for details.

Please support our local independent bookshops (see below under Events & Bookshops) when buying Colin’s books, especially The Bookkeeper Bookshop where the launch for the current novel will take place. If you can’t get to these shops, the Amazon links are given below.

Beyond the Waves (2019) by Colin Bateman
A Dreadful Trade (2017) by Colin Bateman
A dreadful trade – not really – Rye News, April 2018
Colin Bateman – Facebook author page

Bookshops & Events

Bookbuster 39 Queens Rd, Hastings
Thursday 21 November 6 – 8 pm (and sometimes later) £2 entry Sheer Poetry: An open mic poetry night
Go to Bookbuster’s Facebook page and see more.

Printed Matter Bookshop 185 Queens Rd, Hastings TN34 1RG
Jan 2020: Book launch of Paul Anderson’s Suedeheads & film screening of Horace Ove’s ‘Reggae 1970’ at The Electric Palace Cinema, Old Town.
Please see Facebook page for details of other events.

by Colin Bateman

by Colin Bateman

The Bookkeeper Bookshop 1a Kings Rd, St Leonards
Book launch – Beyond the waves by Colin Bateman
Sunday 24 November 7 pm at the Bookkeeper Bookshop

Come and look at the Bookkeeper Bookshop Facebook page to see more and see the lead article above.

The Hare & Hawthorn Bookshop 
51 George St, Hastings Old Town
For more information see the Hare & Hawthorn Facebook page.

Don’t forget it’s National Novel Writing Month. You can sign up with this link – it’s free and has all kinds of useful resources for writers. Nanowrimo

Well, folks, that’s it for this week. I hope you’ve all had a good week and that your projects are going well.

For an update on my writing life, please see: A bit of magic followed by Second thoughts.

For a selection of other posts on my writing journey, please see

Comments and suggestions are always welcome and you can email me at

Thanks for reading and happy writing.

Angela J. Phillip

images thanks to Colin Bateman & Amazon book covers


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Posted 09:00 Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019 In: Hastings Bookchat

Also in: Hastings Bookchat

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