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Raymond Nickford has said "To me, people are stranger than fiction and in many ways more fascinating."
Perhaps this is what first led him to his degree in Philosophy and Psychology from the University College of North Wales and which has subsequently driven him to produce searching character studies in his collected stories "Twists in The Tale", novels and contributions to anthologies in the USA.
Of his novel based in Cyprus, "Aristo's Family," Barbara Erskine, best selling author of "Lady of Hay" has commented on the "beautifully observed characters," the "intriguing and atmospheric scenes," and above all the suspense which made her "want to read on".
Part Greek Cypriot, the author was raised amongst Greeks in England and has travelled extensively through Cyprus. He has particular admiration for the village people whose company and hospitality he has enjoyed so much in the Troodos Mountains.
Though people may be stranger than fiction, still, souls - particularly troubled ones, the outsider, the lonely and any driven to extremity –have been indispensable for Raymond's paperback novels, "Aristo's Family," "Mister Kreasey's Demon" and "Twists in the Tale".
Raymond believes that his teaching of English in colleges and as a private tutor visiting pupils from "shacks to mansions" and seeing the "absolutely delightful to the vaguely Little Lord Fauntleroy" has informed his latest literary thriller "A Child from the Wishing Well."
This features an eerie music tutor, her young pupil Rosie and Rosie's paranoid and inept father, Gerard, who nevertheless yearns to mean more to his daughter.
The E-book version of "A Child from the Wishing Well" is now published and available to buy.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Candace Bowen - author of A Knight of Silence, has written:
“Growing up in a suburb of Chicago, the first scary movie I remember seeing was the 1965 Bette Davis movie, The Nanny. To this day, that movie has always stuck with me as one of the great psychological thrillers of all time.
For me, A Child from the Wishing Well, by Raymond Nickford, is reminiscent of that movie. Ruth, the eerie music tutor, and Gerard strap you in, and take you on a psychological thrill-ride to the very end.”
Stephen Valentine - author of Nobody Rides for Free, comments:
"The author gives great voice to his characters, describing well their idiosyncrasies. A good story must either go deep or wide, and with his background in psychology he goes deep within the human condition. For some adults, the ability to relate to a child does not come naturally, and requires enormous if not awkward effort. This is an often overlooked subject worth exploring."
Raven Clark - author of The Shadowsword Saga says:
"Raymond Nickford has a writing voice that has to be one of the most unique and intriguing I have come across.
The story is both enjoyable and oddly chilling, all the more so for its apparent warmth. The pleasantness of Ruth and her liveliness should seem gentle, grandmotherly and appealing, a sweet old lady one could adore, but reading the trailer, what seems kindly suddenly turns sinister, her upbeat excitability oddly macabre.
Each time she says lines like "Our Rosie," and speaks so excitedly, rather than hearing a pleasant old lady, I think of a bird screeching. Fingers down a blackboard.
Will Gerard realize what he feels is not a symptom of his disease?
And if not, will Heather uncover the truth and save Rosie before the hurricane that is Ruth sweeps her into oblivion?"
Raymond confesses to a passion for plump, docile tabbies and is moved by the music and life of the composer Edward Elgar; his interest leading him each year to a cottage in the Malvern Hills and to the Three Choirs Festival. He is a member of the Elgar Society.
He is currently working on another psychological suspense," Prey to Her Madonna". Here, the author says, "the intrigue moves between Madeira, an eerie French shrine, an English village and London".
on Jan. 07, 2012 :
Reckon I started to read Aristo's Family as a bet. I bet myself the author couldn't make the Cyprus I've seen interesting. I spent two weeks near Ayia Napa and the modern hotels and night life could have been in England's Newcastle had it not been for the difference of language and the unique aromas of restaurant food out of doors through a humid evening on the island.
Nickford has either done a lot of research or else spent a lot of time in the villages and in the Troodos Mountains where the tourists don't go so much. For me, the night scenes, Aristo's Land Rover spiralling upwards round narrow stony bends between the fir trees and Aleppo pines to find an isolated cottage on the site where his ancient ancestors once lived, crept me out the way this author does it.
When you do begin to meet Aristo's so-called 'family' it's the more chilling because they seem so normal on the outside. But there are subtle hints which build the tension around the idea that the people he meets up with at night in the mountain dwelling are in some way 'inhabited' by people who have long been dust, yet whose spirits still have this strange lust to make Aristo's boy Pavlos 'clean' ... in a sort of ancient purification for sins of the body that the teenager has had with a middle aged woman.
The romance between the boy and the older woman wouldn't normally be my cup of tea but it grew on me, the seduction too subtle and tender to be erotic but in places not far off.
A bit of a slow burner to start but grabbed me with its faithfulness to Cypriot culture and scenes, and then the dark and looming threat of ancients who are not pleased.
(reviewed the day of purchase)