Thursday, 18 April 2013

David Toft: The Cycles Turn

Please welcome David Toft to Heart of Fiction today. David hails from Bradford in England, but today makes his home in south Dublin in Ireland.

Don't let David's calm demeanor fool you. He's a prolific writer, having published six titles so far, including End Game (2009), A Gift of Butterflies (4/09), A Legacy of Butterflies (7/09), A Betrayal of Butterflies (3/11), Soul Farm (7/11), and Ishtal (2/12).

Today marks the publication of David's seventh title, The Cycles Turn, book one of The Kyklos Trilogy.

Augustus Braithwaite is the headmaster at an English boys' school, Dunsmore School for Boys. The school is on a break, most students have gone home, but Augustus and a handful of school staff are still in residence. This story opens with a gruesome discovery -- a cat has been crucified in the chapel. Augustus is suddenly plunged into a world he didn't know existed, a world paralleling the only one he's ever known, a world where witches and demons live. A world where a magical cycle is about to turn. With his closest allies, Augustus travels from Dunsmore in England across the sea to Ireland to the remote western island of Inishbofin to confront the evil that waits there.

I swear, after reading The Cycles Turn, readers won't be able to view this real island the same. This
Inishbofin Island, Ireland
story is full of action and excitement, and will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Before we get to the excerpt, I've had a brief chat with David to find out what life is like in his world, away from parallel worlds and the dark corners of his imagination.

Welcome, David. Readers really enjoy learning more about their favorite authors, so thanks for taking some time out of your busy day to have a chat.

Will you please describe your writing space? With such vivid tales, I don't imagine you locked away in a cramped writer's cave.

I usually hand write and type things up later, so my writing space can be anywhere – on the bus to and from work, at a corner table of any pub I happen to be in, or wherever I’m waiting for Mary while she’s shopping or at the gym.

I see I was right about the cave. I'm guessing your daily routine is very flexible. How do you schedule your writing time with your work schedule? Do you have a routine?

Almost twenty years ago I tweaked my alarm clock back two hours to give myself some extra writing time. I’ve kept that discipline ever since, using that precious two hours to type up and edit whatever I managed to scribble down in my notebook on the previous day.

Wow! Twenty years? That takes real dedication. Sounds like you treat your writing time like a job with set hours. With such full days working and writing, what do you enjoy doing when you're not writing?

I read, of course, but probably not enough, and I like to spend some time (some would say too much time) in my local pub. All of life is there, so I log it as research.

Luckily my day job is fairly physical so I don’t have to worry about wasting valuable writing time trying to keep fit and pretending that I enjoy it.

LOL I love that . . . pub time as research. I'll have to remember that one. Thanks for chatting with us, David. Best of luck with The Cycles Turn. It's a great story and one I'm sure the readers will love.

Now, let's get to that excerpt --

• • •

The discovery of a crucified cat in the chapel of his school plunges headmaster Augustus Braithwaite into a battle against forces, and worlds, he previously didn’t know existed.

Augustus acquires an ally in Sharna, a young woman he rescued from execution in her own world, and they return to his school to confront the power head on.

Only one of their enemies, teacher Edward Braine, horribly disfigured but still maliciously strong, survives. Together they track him across Ireland to a final confrontation on the island of Inishbofin.

Inside the single wooden door, a small stone porch barely a yard and a half long led to another door, less solid than the first and also hanging open. Augustus stopped, assaulted by a strange smell emanating from inside. He often stopped at that specific spot, particularly in the summer months when, after basking in the scents of honeysuckle or roses or freshly cut grass, he entered the porch and the lack of any smell at all struck him. It was as though the air of the natural world dare not encroach into the world of the spiritual beyond the iron studded outer door. This new smell was faintly, but repugnantly, sweet.

In the gloomy body of the building across the backs of twelve rows of wooden pews and a small, unadorned altar table, the brilliant whiteness of the cat’s fur stood out like a single tooth in the centre of a gaping mouth. It was hanging upside down, crucified on an inverted cross and slit open from groin to throat. Its head was invisible beneath a coat of congealed blood. The blood, in spilling onto the table and from there onto the stone flags of the floor, was undoubtedly the source of the smell. That smell clogged in Augustus’s nostrils and caused him to gulp back the urge to vomit.

Witchcraft. Satanists. Augustus’s head began to spin. His vision fogged. He did not realise that he had stumbled until he felt Gimbel’s strong fingers grip onto his right elbow.

“You all right, headmaster?” There was mockery in the gardener’s tone.

“Fine now, yes. Thank you, Gimbel.” Regaining his composure, Augustus pulled his arm free and moved around the rows of pews toward the front of the chapel.

At the end of the front row of seats he stopped. A scattering of cigarette butts littered the floor at his feet. Crouching, he picked one up and examined it. It was a filter tip; most of them were. Three were white rather than brown. Discarding the first, he picked up one of those between thumb and index finger. It was hand-rolled with a makeshift cardboard filter. He raised the blackened end to his nose and sniffed. Even decades after his student days, the aroma was unmistakable. Perhaps the sickly sweet smell that had assailed his senses in the porch was not due entirely to spilled blood.

In isolation, the discarded cigarette ends would have angered him. In context with the sacrifice though, they were almost comforting. Genuine practitioners of the dark arts would hardly have stood around smoking. That left the boys. He let out a long sigh. There was always something.

Gimbel had walked the length of the chapel along the opposite wall to the headmaster. He now took an exaggerated stride over the stream of drying blood. It struck Augustus that there seemed to be an awful lot of blood for one cat, but the thought was lost in his need to stand before the gardener was in a position to be looking down at him. Gimbel had that effect. Even when being irreproachably polite, the gardener gave the impression that violent mutiny bubbled just below the surface.

“Never heard of the like,” Gimbel said, scratching his head. “Not at Dunsmore. At Arlington, years ago, there was rumours, witches covens, satanic masses, all sorts of unholy goings on.”

 Arlington was another school for boys and less than seven miles away across the dales. Augustus was a friend of Alex Matthews, the headmaster there, an ex-military bull of a man.

“How many years ago?”

“Eighteen,” Gimbel replied, without hesitation. “1966 it were.”

That long ago, no connection there then.

• • •

Born in Bradford England, David Toft gained a degree in Education before going on to work in London and Warwickshire. He now lives in South County Dublin, Ireland with his wife, Mary.

David has been writing adult fantasy and paranormal fiction for over twenty years.

Find David online at --

Tirgearr Publishing

• • •

Tirgearr Publishing is giving away a copy of The Cycles Turn today to one lucky commenter. Leave David a message or ask him a question and be automatically entered into the random drawing.




15 comments:

  1. Welcome to Heart of Fiction, David. Good luck with The Cycles Turn. It's a fabulous start to the series. I can't wait to see the other two books. You *are* writing book two, right?? ;-)

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  2. Hi Kemberlee, and thanks for the great intro. I can only hope that people enjoy reading The Cycles Turn as much as I enjoyed writing it. I really fell in love with the two main characters and hope that I can manage to keep them alive to the end of book three.

    I am working on book two. The first draft is done, but it still needs a lot of fine-tuning and polishing before it will be ready for any eyes but mine. I'm aiming to have it ready for submission by the end of July.

    David

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    1. LOL, sorry about the anonymous. I just get so frustrated with the whole URL thing sometimes.

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    2. Cool news about book two. Any hints about the plot? Are we back to Ireland or another glamorous location? ;-)

      (no worries about the sign in)

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    3. Not too many hints except to say that we begin by trailing a serial killer across Ireland. From there anything can happen on any world.

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    4. Oooh! The thick plottens!

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  3. Congratulations on the book, David. It sounds so exciting! Thanks for giving us this insight into how you work.

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    1. Thank you, Lynette. I'm not sure about the 'work' though. I've a feeling that when writing starts to feel like work, I'll give it up. At the moment I write because I love to write and I hope it stays that way.

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  4. Sounds like a great series, David! I love the cover art as well. Very intriguing!! :-)

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  5. David - research time - really?
    Best of luck with sales. I wish you many happy hours of research time!
    Diana J Febry

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    1. Thank you, Diana and sorry for my delay in replying, I had to stroll down the road and do some serious research.

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  6. Welcome to Tigearr Mr. and Mrs. Toft! I am looking forward to reading your new work(s); so thrilling from the excerpt! I'll give you a 'well done' now!
    In your interview with Kemberlee, you mentioned that you use bits of time during your day for 'hand writing'. I think this is brilliant as you never know when something fantastic will pop into your 'author' brain! I understand some prefer the 'writing cave', but why not jot down an idea or two when it comes? I wish you the very best, enjoy beautiful Dublin and Sláinte!
    Sandi Stolle

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  7. Thank you Mr. Toft - can't wait to read the first installment. Best o luck to ya!
    Sandi

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