Happy New Year! I hope you have a good one with plenty of good books to read.
For this decades first post I am excited to share something different – C.R Berry has visited to talk about his exciting new book Million Eyes but first here is the information about this exciting sci-fi, conspiracy novel.
Title: Million Eyes
Author: C.R Berry
Genre: Sci-fi, conspiracy
Blurb for Million Eyes
How do you fight an enemy who has a million eyes?
What if we’re living in an alternate timeline? What if the car crash that killed Princess Diana, the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower, and the shooting of King William II weren’t supposed to happen?
Ex-history teacher Gregory Ferro finds evidence that a cabal of time travellers is responsible for several key events in our history. These events all seem to hinge on a dry textbook published in 1995, referenced in a history book written in 1977 and mentioned in a letter to Edward III in 1348.
Ferro teams up with down-on-her-luck graduate Jennifer Larson to get to the truth and discover the relevance of a book that seems to defy the arrow of time. But the time travellers are watching closely. Soon the duo are targeted by assassins willing to rewrite history to bury them.
Million Eyes is a fast-paced conspiracy thriller about power, corruption and destiny.
Q and A with C.R Berry
- Hi C.R Berry. Welcome to From Under the Duvet. Can you tell me a bit about Million Eyes and the world you’ve created for it?
It’s a sci-fi conspiracy thriller set in a world where time travel has been invented (secretly) by a huge global conglomerate called Million Eyes. It’s also a world where many of the conspiracy theories you’ve heard about are true and involved Million Eyes in some way. So, Princess Diana’s death, the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower, the replacement of Paul McCartney and Queen Elizabeth I with lookalikes (among many others) all happened because of Million Eyes.
- So you cover all those conspiracy theories in the novel?
Not all of them. Princess Diana’s death and the Princes in the Tower are in the novel. The conspiracy theories about Paul McCartney and Queen Elizabeth I actually feature in the Million Eyes short stories, which have been published separately by Elsewhen Press as a collection, Million Eyes: Extra Time. It’s free to download in all ebook formats and offers readers an initial insight into the Million Eyes world and its time-travelling villains. This came out in October 2019.
Also, Million Eyes is the first in a trilogy. So there are more conspiracy theories to come in the next two books!
- As Million Eyes has time travel in it, are you aiming it at sci-fi fans?
Not exclusively, no. I know people who’ve enjoyed Million Eyes who don’t like sci-fi at all. I don’t think the time travel is alienating for people who aren’t into that. I’m hoping it’ll be a bit like Game of Thrones was for non-fantasy fans. GOT had such wide appeal, probably because it told the story through the eyes of normal people with real problems. Million Eyes does the same thing.
- Are there other authors whose work Million Eyes could be compared to?
I think Million Eyes shares a lot of similarities with Library of the Dead by Glenn Cooper. That was a conspiracy thriller that incorporated real historical events and had an element of fantasy to it. I also think if you’re a fan of Dan Brown, Doctor Who or the TV series 24 (which had a lot of conspiracy thriller elements), you’ll like Million Eyes.
- Why did you write Million Eyes and what gave you the idea?
Million Eyes came about by meshing together three loves of mine: conspiracy theories, time travel and history. There were three events in history riddled by mystery and conspiracy theory that I wanted to tie together. The probably-not-accidental shooting of King William II in the New Forest, the still-unexplained disappearance of the Princes in the Tower (both of which I learned about at school), and Princess Diana’s car crash, one of the most shocking things to happen while I was growing up.
Inspired in part by a short-lived TV series called Dark Skies, which took real American history and ‘explained what really happened’, I wanted to take these three events in British history and do the same. And since the three events were approximately five hundred years apart, there was really only one way to do that—time travel!
- Tell us a bit about your main characters, Gregory Ferro and Jennifer Larson.
Ferro’s in his 50s, has a wife and two kids and used to be a history teacher. An incident at his school led him to give up teaching and write history books. He wants to do his best by his family but he’s fiercely dedicated to his work and doesn’t always get his priorities right. This becomes a problem when he starts finding evidence that time travellers were behind the death of William II.
Jennifer’s in her 20s, fresh out of uni, and is working in a call centre because she’s not sure what to do next. She’s hot-headed and she doesn’t always think before she speaks, which sometimes lands her in hot water. She loves history as much as Ferro and, when she learns about his theories, can’t resist reaching out to him.
- I understand Jennifer’s a lesbian. How common is it to have a gay female protagonist in these kinds of stories?
I’m sure there are some but it’s not common. I don’t think there are enough LGBTQ protagonists full stop. But I should note that Jennifer’s sexuality is really not relevant to her story. She just happens to be gay. It’s normal and it’s a non-issue, which was exactly the point.
I did make an effort to include as many female characters as possible and that’s not just because I enjoy writing women. Nearly all the sci-fi/fantasy/conspiracy books I’ve read have failed the Bechdel Test because women are so thin on the ground. With Million Eyes, I was determined not only that the book would pass the Bechdel Test, but would also contain such an abundance of female characters there could be no question of under representation.
- Where does your interest in time travel come from?
Star Trek, Doctor Who, Back to the Future, Somewhere in Time, The Butterfly Effect, Looper, Lost… I could go on! I just love the idea of being able to go back in time and see first-hand how things were, or go forwards and see how things might turn out. If it were possible, I’d be a time traveller myself!
- When is Million Eyes available and where can readers get their hands on it?
Million Eyes is available now from Elsewhen Press in ebook formats. It can be purchased for £2.99 RRP from Apple, Amazon and other eBook platforms. On March 9th, it will be released as a paperback and be available to buy for £9.99 RRP from bookshops and online. I’ll be hosting several book launch events around the time of the paperback release. The first will take place at Waterstones in Farnham on Friday 13th March (Yes, I know—Friday the 13th! It’s a conspiracy!)
C.R. Berry caught the writing bug at the tender age of four and has never recovered. His earliest stories were filled with witches, monsters, evil headteachers, Disney characters and the occasional Dalek. He realised pretty quickly that his favourite characters were usually the villains. He wonders if that’s what led him to become a criminal lawyer. It’s certainly why he’s taken to writing conspiracy thrillers, where the baddies are numerous and everywhere.
After a few years getting a more rounded view of human nature’s darker side, he quit lawyering and turned to writing full-time. He now works as a freelance copywriter and novelist and blogs about conspiracy theories, time travel and otherworldly weirdness.
He was shortlisted in the 2018 Grindstone Literary International Novel Competition and has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies, including Storgy, Dark Tales, Theme of Absence and Suspense Magazine. He was also shortlisted in the Aeon Award Contest, highly commended by Writers’ Forum, and won second prize in the inaugural To Hull and Back Humorous Short Story Competition.
He grew up in Farnborough, Hampshire, a town he says has as much character as a broccoli. He’s since moved to the “much more interesting and charming” Haslemere in Surrey.
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Thank you for coming and talking about your book. As a huge fan of Glenn Cooper’s Library of the Dead, it has been added to my TBR and I look forward to hearing more about your series in the future. Good luck with your book launches.