Neil Mach was born and raised in Surrey, England. With a career spanning 30 years as a popular music journalist (and also working in the public sector) -- Neil is an expert on all aspects of music & is a reliable guide to what is going on in the business. As an author, Neil enjoys telling his stories from the heart. Light & cheerful tales often focused on relationships, loyalty & duty. Neil lives with his wife Sue and their blue cat Leo in a small bungalow on the river-bank at Staines, between Windsor and London.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I was imagining a world in which there was no music. When I read about how Islamist Extremists were trying to stop music being played in the African country of Mali (music is an intrinsic part of the culture in places such as Timbuktu) I began to wonder - could that really happen? Could organised religion stamp-out music altogether?
So I re-imagined a world where music was banned by the supreme authority. And I thought of Britain in the Middle Ages. Around 900AD in the British Isles - the rule of law came from Rome. Regional Kings were not omnipotent, they had to take their lead from the Holy Empire. All power and all influence came from the church - much of this power was exercised by secretive monastic communities.
Nowadays, those brotherhoods (monks and friars) are largely remembered as benign and beneficial. Our perception is slightly defective, however, perhaps blurred by the representation of a Friar Tuck - that fat and happy monastic character seen in Hollywood movies.
Although these communities of monks were invaluable - they also had a cruel and dangerous side. Some were involved in hunting down and eradicating heretics. But a lot of good came out of the cloistered fraternities ... with monks preserving the word of God by creating wonderful manuscripts, or keeping alive the sciences by protecting valuable techniques, or by feeding the local people through their innovations in husbandry (fisheries, bee-hives and dove-cotes) or providing local ‘medical care’ through their apothecary gardens .... yet there was a price to pay for all this. The common man had to comply. The Church was all-powerful. Europe was a place of fundamentalist idealism during this period.
Once I had created a world that was a powerful religious state - and that state hated the idea of music - I then tried to imagine how some people might try to preserve the art of making songs. What would be their motivation? I decided that they would not risk their lives just so that they could play a couple of dance-songs at a wedding! No, their incentive would have to be to protect and preserve life. And music can do it! There is a lot of evidence that musical interventions can help maintain and restore mental and emotional ‘balance’. So my Bearers Music came into my imaginary world to bring harmony to those in need.
Once I had created the good-guys in this story - I had to create their opponents. These Black Hounds - who were opposed to the Music Bearers - were not evil. It’s just that they had a distorted and very literal idea about how others should observe their overbearing doctrines and their strict church-rules. Some of these ‘bad-boys’ enjoyed their work more than others - they relished a bit of torture. Others, though, were less capable as holy-detectives and they started to become satisfied with their role in the ‘religious police’ of the period.
That's when I started to imagine the conflicts that might arise.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I wrote The Last Music Bearers in a single month. During the National Novel Writing Month in 2014. During that experience (it was wonderful) I began to ‘meet’ and become encouraged by a whole load of inspiring indie writers. Some of these were writing two novels in a month back-to-back! Others were writing a full novel each and every month of the year! And I was collecting their tips and tricks all the way through the Na No Wri Mo.
As soon as you start writing, you start to think about your ‘finished product’ - it is necessary to envisage it on the shelves.
But, of course, you also start to worry about how you will market the book. The convenience of being an independent author is that you can change your plans quickly. You can respond to new ideas or trends or go in new directions at the drop-of-a-hat. When something does not work, you can choose another path. So, with marketing in mind, I have changed my synopsis, my blurb, my titles and also my Cover Art many times. Being an indie author has also meant that I was able to take control over my product every step of the way. Yes it has been a lot of work (and I needed to develop a range of new skills), but the feeling of control has been worth it.
Blayz Scheiner is a young Saint and a happy adult.
Blayz does not say much...
Yet his older brother, Russell, says that Blayz can hear and understand much more than he can express in words.
Blayz has many friends and acquaintanceships — even if others often struggle to understand that simple truth.
All life is an adventure for Blayz.
Every day he is at his best.
Slutting the Globe is a modern romantic comedy. Kim-Kim is a single girl based in London. She recently disposed of her narcissistic boyfriend. Now she yearns for a man who can satisfy her needs. She embarks on a crazy self-imposed challenge. Actively seeking connections with potential sexual partners from all over the world. Follow her crazy journey to find intimacy. And discover her true nature.
In this medieval world — singing and music is illegal. A secret group of wandering monks brings harmony to those in need. Their movements are constantly watched by a fearsome Order — whose opposing ministry is to eradicate music. A boy named Elis was saved by the minstrel monks. He was trained to be a Music-Bearer. He must complete his mission, while those sworn to hunt him, must destroy him.