Tag Archives: Courtyard Theatre

“The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August” – Spark for immortality novel sprung in Stratford

9780356502571Living one’s life over and over again, re-experiencing the same developments of humankind, and in the process gathering a world of experience… Now there’s an idea that could have sprung from an afternoon spent on Stratford’s Historical Spine.

In fact, it did.

Claire North, real name: Catherine Webb, the author of this mesmerising new fantasy bordering on sci-fi novel, “The first fifteen lives of Harry August”, had the initial idea for the story one hot afternoon, right in the heart of our immortal town.
At the time, in summer 2010, working with the RSC as a lighting technician for the Courtyard productions of Antony and Cleopatra and King Lear, she started immediately, making use of her spare time for the first phase of this novel. The book, by far not her first in her successful writing career, was published in April this year.

Harry August, the title character, lives his many lives from 1919 to usually the Mid-Nineties, thus going through times of incredible change. Each time he dies, he awakes to a new life at exactly the same time and place as ever, a child again, but with all the knowledge acquired before. At the end of life 11, he is confronted with a plea from future generations to stand up against a premature end of the world, caused by somebody’s irresponsible tampering with ‘linear’ development.

Harry August takes on this mission, finding few associates and one near almighty foe, who he chases through several lives.

“The first fifteen lives of Harry August” (follow link for some excerpts) is a fascinating read, picking up pace from exciting to irresistible, until that final moment when, with regret, the last page is turned.

  • 417 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (8 April 2014)

Crime and suspense in and around Stratford upon Avon

A powerful new thriller, The Urge to Kill, the first novel by J.J. Franklin, a local author, takes the reader on a tour de force, and suspense won’t release its grip through to the very last page. The killer, Clive Draper, is known right from the start, but what, if he is not caught soon enough? Empowered by his first kill, he is on the hunt for more, and his charming manners are dangerous bait. Clive’s murderous mind is most ambiguous and even evokes the odd pang of empathy. His cat-and-mouse games are nerve wrecking, not just for DI Matt Turrell, a police officer whose intriguing development involves getting used to a very independent newly wed wife. She, Eppie, after a dramatic change of work and life environment, is looking for a new task, but her choice brings her far too close to the centre of events.

The “boys at the station”, Eppie’s colleagues, Clive’s mother, the story has a lively selection of highly interesting characters readers can relate to, one way or another.

Lemington Spa, Warwick, and, in Stratford, the foyer at the Courtyard Theatre, the banks of the River Avon near the Dell, lovely Warwickshire is showing its darker sides.

J.J. Franklin is a pseudonym that promises to become a trademark for a new set of fascinating British crime stories. More is promised to come, and the next of Matt Turrel’s adventures is something to look forward to.

“The Urge to Kill” by JJ Franklin
self-published 24/06/2012 with Earth Tiger
ISBN-10: 0957193505
ISBN-13: 978-0957193505