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Meet Brian Porter, Award-Winning Author of the Mersey Mysteries and More

I've been good friends with Brian for many years, and we even collaborated on a biographical romance thriller, SHARING HAMILTON.

Check out Brian's latest release, A Very Mersey Murder‚ and read about A Mersey Maiden, which just won the "Best Book We've Read All Year" award.

About A Very Mersey Murder




1966. England wins the soccer World Cup at Wembley. The same night, the body of a young barmaid is discovered close to an abandoned lighthouse near Liverpool. Two more murders follow, and all remain unsolved.

2005. Detective Inspector Andy Ross and his team are called in when a disturbingly similar series of murders begins in the same location. If their estimates are correct, Ross has one week to solve the case before the third Lighthouse Murder takes place.

D.I. Ross and Sergeant Izzie Drake return in a tense race against time, as they seek to identify and apprehend a vicious killer who seems to leave no clues and no evidence. The price of failure is death.

This is a standalone novel and can be enjoyed even if you haven't read other books in the series.

Universal link to A Very Mersey Murder

To see the full Mersey Mystery series please click here.

BREAKING NEWS: 

A Mersey Maiden has won the 2018 Readfree.ly, "Best Book We've Read All Year" award.

Just announced, Brian L Porter's A Mersey Maiden, book three in his Mersey Mystery series is the winner of this year's award. Chosen from a shortlist of twenty and voted by both public vote and the organiser's own reviews of each book.




The organisers review:

Brian L Porter's A Mersey Maiden starts small as a charismatic American student dies in his sleep in Liverpool, England – but it doesn't stay small for long: soon our main character, Detective Andy Ross and his team are investigating a murder that involves the CIA, a vanished German U-Boat, Nazi gold, and wartime technology that could change the whole world.

Brian Porter is a master of his genre; take your eyes off the plot for a moment (if you can!) and you'll marvel at the mechanhanics of his storytelling, the depth of detail, the easy characterisation.

A Mersey Maiden is part of Porter's Mersey Mysteries series, and his affection for his main characters is apparent. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, we came to love them too.

What the organisers said:

Hi Brian,
Congratulations on A Mersey Maiden winning. It's a really wonderful book with a depth that constantly blew me away. I almost felt schizophrenic while reading it - as if one part of me was marvelling at the level of detail in the book, while a completely separate me was simply enjoying a cracking story.

A Mersey Maiden is available in both Kindle and paperback editions and is also free on Kindle Unlimited. Universal Purchase Link




An Interview with Brian




You, the Author 

Tell us more about yourself! Readers love to know about the authors, and this would give you the chance to make them feel close to you!

I’m Brian L Porter, also known as Harry Porter, and I’ve just celebrated my 65th birthday. I’m from a very old Liverpool, UK, family but now live in South Yorkshire. After attending the local grammar school, where I excelled in English Language, I spent a year working for a wire rope manufacturer before reaching the age when I could fulfil my great ambition to join the Royal Air Force. I loved my time in the service, and after leaving the RAF I worked for many years in retail management, including time spent as an Area Manager and eventually as the Retail Administration Supervisor for a very large, well-known British retailer. Along the way, I was married twice and my second wife gave birth to my son Alan, and a second son, Christopher who sadly lived a too-short life and who is buried in a beautiful country cemetery in the North of Scotland. Alan is now 33 and four years ago he made me a very proud grandfather. His mother and I divorced after thirteen years of marriage and a few years later I met a beautiful lady, called Juliet who became my third wife and who I now share my life with. Juliet is also the chief critic of my work as it takes shape and I trust her ideas and suggestions when she critiques my works in progress. Away from writing, we share a love of dogs, and in particular we have been, for many years, involved in dog rescue and we currently share our home with our ‘rescue family’ of eleven dogs, including the beautiful Sasha and Sheba, two Staffordshire bull terriers, and the subjects of two of my bestselling books. Sasha  the story of her life and ongoing fight against canine epilepsy has become an international bestseller and she has become something of an icon for epileptic dogs around the world and Sheba: From Hell to Happiness, which tells of Sheba’s rescue and rehabilitation after beginning her life as a bait dog for a gang of dog fighters.

I’m best known for my thrillers and mysteries, most recently my Mersey Mystery series, set in and around Liverpool and featuring the fictional Merseyside Police Specialist Murder Investigation Team. So far there are five books in the series, A Mersey Killing, All Saints, A Mersey Maiden, A Mersey Mariner, and the recently released A Very Mersey Murder.

If you have 2 hours free time tonight, what would you rather do? Why?

I’d either relax with a good book, or, depending on my mood, I might choose to watch a DVD from my extensive collection of movies and crime drama series such as Without a Trace, Criminal Minds, Death in Paradise, NCIS etc.

What kind of books do you love to read? Why?

I love to read crime fiction, mainly because it’s what I write myself and I love to immerse myself in other authors’ works. I also love to read a certain type of historical fiction, for example, the Windrush series of books by the highly talented Scottish author, Malcolm Archibald, based on the exploits of Jack Windrush a young officer in the British Army in the latter half of the 19th century. Totally engrossing and action-packed reading.

What type of music do you enjoy relaxing to?

I mostly love listening to the music of the 1960s Merseybeat era, The Beatles, Cilla Black, The Searchers, as well as The Seekers and all the bog names of that era. My tastes are quite eclectic, as I also love listening to the popular classics such as Strauss, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky.

What is your stress buster?

A nice, peaceful dog walk with my very special epileptic dog, Sasha and her best friend, former bait dog Sheba, the two Staffordshire Bull Terriers who have been the subjects of two of my bestselling books, followed by a nice, long hot soak in a relaxing bath, always accompanied by Sasha, who ‘insists’ on joining me in the bathroom where she will lie on the bath mat, ‘guarding’ me and making sure I come to no harm.

What is your favorite food? What food do you seek when you're sad, sort of a comfort food?

Favorite food is curry, which I make myself following a recipe taught to me by my late mother, who was Anglo-Indian and who learned the recipe herself from the cook er father used to employ in their home in India.

Describe yourself in one word.

Tempestuous.

If a fairy grants you one wish and one wish only, what would it be? Why?

To enjoy excellent health for the rest of my life, because good health is better than all the money in the world. With my current disabilities health is all-important to me,

What’s your biggest regret in life?

Losing my second son, Christopher to a congenital illness, within hours of his birth.

What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?

Left home at the age of 17 to join the RAF (Royal Air Force), having to travel the length of the country on three different trains to arrive at my training camp.

What makes you happy/sad/disappointed/frustrated/hopeful/angry? (Pick one)

What makes me angry is any form of animal cruelty, particularly towards dogs, man’s best friend on this planet.

What are your wildest dreams/fantasies/kinks/quirks?

Kinks and quirks must remain private I’m afraid…lol, but my wildest dream would be to go back in time and serve in the RAF during the days of the Battle of Britain and to witness the incredible bravery of the young men who flew and fought in the Spitfires and Hurricanes against the might of Hitler’s Luftwaffe.

Your Writing

When did you write your first book? How long did it take you to write it?

My first novel, A Study in Red, The Secret Journal of Jack the Ripper was published in 2008, having taken about two years to write following extensive research, (I’d actually studied the Ripper case for around thirty five years at that time.)

How did you feel when you receive your first contract? What did you do? Any celebratory dinner, dance, event, etc to commemorate the occasion?

After receiving a number of early rejections, it was a great moment when I received my first publishing contract. For a while it was hard to believe I was about to become a published author. I think, if I remember correctly my wife and I celebrated by enjoying our own perfect evening, a Chinese Takeaway meal and a movie after my two step-daughters had been put to bed.

Any writing peeves, things you wish you could improve on, things you do with exceptional talent?

I think my inherent talent lies in creating characters for my books, in particular the evil characters that inhabit most of my stories. My dear wife Juliet often remarks that she sometimes thinks she should be afraid to go to sleep beside me at night just in case one of my darker characters takes over my mind in the night and turns his murderous intentions on her. I’m sure she’s only joking!??

Where and when do you write? Tell us about your favorite work place and time. Any special reason?

I’m pretty much a case of ‘have laptop, will travel.’ As long as I have peace and quiet I can write on the kitchen table, on my lap while sitting on the sofa, or anywhere in the house in fact.

How do you write? Do your characters come to you first or the plot or the world of the story? How do you go on from there? Maybe you can give us an example with one of your books.

Since I began writing my Mersey Mystery, the general setting is known from the outset, as the stories are based in and around Liverpool. However, some of the books include an international flavor, and those parts of the storyline usually come to me in the night, lying in bed, when I usually receive most of my inspiration. Once I have the bare bones of an idea it’s relatively simple for me to add the rest of the storyline the following day. The central characters for the Mersey Mysteries are of course already in place, and with each book I try to develop their personalities a little more, as readers fell they can now identify with them, much like characters in a soap opera or TV crime series. In the first of the Mersey Mysteries, which was set partly in the 1960s and later in the early 2000s, /I based most of the characters for the 1960s scenes on member of my own family in Liverpool as I remembered them at that point in time. Even some of the up to date characters in the book are based on family members. I hoped by doing this, to be able to make the characters more believable and ‘real’ which seems to have worked as the book snow have quite a following, with many readers contacting me to tell me which characters they like the most. All I had to do then, was fit them into the plot that I’d already prepared for them. The same holds true for the rest of the books which begin with an idea, then it’s fleshed out like the storyboard for a movie and gradually takes shape one I begin the actual writing.

What is your advice to aspiring writers?

Believe in yourself, and in your writing. You may never write a New York Times bestseller, but aspiring to do so will only serve to spur you on to work towards constant improvement. So, treat rejections slips as an occupational hazard, don’t be afraid of accepting constructive criticism, especially from your editor if you’re lucky to get that far as to need one, and remember that, at the end of the day, you have to write not just what YOU want to write, but what your potential readers WANT to read.

Among those that you’ve written, which is your favorite book and why?

A Mersey Maiden, book three in my Mersey Mystery series, has to be my favorite. This book allowed me to indulge not only my passion for creating an entertaining mystery, with red herring galore scattered through it, but also to employ my love for history, in particular the history of World War Two. I was able to successfully weld together the modern-day murder of a university student with the disappearance of a British warship and a top secret Nazi U-Boat during the war, leaving my readers to wonder how the murder of a young man could be connected to the events that took place all those years ago. I loved recreating the wartime scenes, in particular the tension and fear that went with serving on a submarine under attack by depth charges in those terrible times. I’m so grateful that those scenes have attracted a lot of praise from readers who have been quite moved by the humanity I was able to infuse into the crews of the German U-Boat and the British corvette.

Where do you get your ideas? Do you jot them down in a notebook, in case you forgot?

Believe it or not, most of my ideas for my books tend to come to me either in dreams, or while I’m standing in front of the shaving mirror in the morning. I will suddenly receive a flash of inspiration with the entire story laid out in my mind. As I have a habit of linking a lot of my books to events from the past that usually leads to a some very interesting and entertaining research before actually going ahead with writing the book.

Which book that you’ve read (not one of yours) is the closest to your heart? Why?

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle will always hold that special place for me. It was this collection of some of the author’s finest short stories that brought about my love of Holmes the character, and Doyle the author. Stories such as The Blue Carbuncle, A Scandal in Bohemia, and The Speckled Band are just so typical of the author’s skill in making even the unbelievable, believable, and helped to give me my love of all things to do with mystery writing. Even now, I will often pick up tis volume and read one or two of the stories from it in order to give myself a quick ‘shot of inspiration.’

Which of your heroes/heroines is most similar to you? Why?

Inspector Andy Ross, from my Mersey Mystery series  is very much based  on my own  personality and I’ve written many traits about myself into the character so  he wins hands down!

Have you ever wanted to write your book in one direction but your characters are moving it in another direction? What did you do in such a situation?

Yes, this almost always seems to happen once I get ‘into’ the writing of a new novel. When it does I allow the characters to drive the story along as after all, it is their story isn’t it?

Has your muse always known what genre you would write and be published in?

Yes, as I’ve had a life-long love of thriller and mystery novels, I don’t think it could have gone in any other direction.

What is your favorite part of writing?

Actually, it’s the research that really fires my imagination as I look for and find ways to make my perceived story believable and more dramatic by adding truthful background and facts to my fiction.

What is your least favorite part of writing?

Editing and proof reading. Although It’s a vital part of the writing process, I think most authors, once they’ve completed their manuscript, can’t wait to to see their work in print and find the editing and proofing process a s a necessary ‘evil’ on the road towards final publication. It helps to have an editor with whom you can get along well, discuss suggested changes and deletions and agree amicably on the final shape of the manuscript before it goes to the publisher.

Some writers edit excessively as they write; others wait until a novel is finished to do the bulk of editing.  How about you?

I’m extremely fortunate in this respect. My Liverpool-based researcher/proofreader, Debbie Poole is a great friend, and when I bein writing, each chapter is sent to Debbie as soon as it’s written and she reads and proofreads it, and suggests potential edits before returning it to me for correction for I begin the next chapter, so by the time the book is finished, it should require minimal editing and proofreading by the publisher.

How much research was involved in writing your book?  How did you go about it?

For my latest book, the newly released A Very Mersey Murder, I needed to do quite a lot of research on the subject of gender reassignment, more commonly referred to as sex-change. One of the characters is a gender reassigned female who possesses vital information and I needed to know just what was involved, both psychologically and physical, in attaining a complete change from male to female.

What’s the strangest thing you have ever done in the name of research?

While writing Purple Death, I needed to find a poison that not only killed quickly but which had a virtually zero survival rate. I had at that time, connections to a couple of British Police Forces, but even though they knew me, they weren’t prepared to reveal the information I required. My friendly forensic contacts were equally unable or unwilling to provide me with such information, so, in frustration, I placed an appeal on the internet. Eventually, I received a reply from a chemist in Hong Kong, who was absolutely delighted to provide me with the information I required. He wanted nothing in return and was simply pleased to think he had been a part of writing a thriller novel.

What inspired your latest release?

A Very Mersey Murder was inspired by me reading a collection of cold case stories, and one particular case caught my attention, about a series of killings that actually took place almost a hundred years ago and which remains unsolved to this day. I adapted the location, the time frame and the outcome and it became my latest Mersey Mystery.

Can you tell us about your road to publication?

I began writing seriously about twenty years ago, following a mental breakdown. During my illness my senior psychiatric nurse suggested writing as a form of therapy. I began by writing poetry and then, after seeing about 200 of my poems published in various magazines and  anthologies, I saw an advert in my local library for a short story contest. I wrote my first short story and entered the competition. I didn’t win, but I’d caught the writing bug and continued writing short stories for a couple of years, most of which were published, again in magazines and anthologies. My son constantly encouraged me to write a book about Jack the Ripper as he knew I’d been interested in the Ripper case for many years, and eventually I decided to try my hand at a full length novel. My first novel was A Study in Red, The Secret Journal of Jack the Ripper which was so well received that I wrote two more books on the subject and my fictional ripper trilogy still sells well to this day. I was very lucky to find a publisher in the USA who wanted the book, but before it could be published the publisher went out of business. Fortunately the lady who was editing the book had such belief in it that she promised me should would find a new publisher for it, and she was as good as her word, otherwise all that followed may never have happened.

With the success of the trilogy, I found myself writing a new novel, Pestilence, set in 1950s England, which involved an outbreak of pneumonic plague in a small, rural community, that centred round a sinister plot that had its beginnings in the dark days of World War Two. After that, books just kind of flowed from my pen, (well, my laptop really), and publishers were happy to go on publishing my work.

To date, I have achieved fifteen Amazon Bestsellers which include every one of the Mersey Mysteries and of course, Sasha and Sheba’s life stories and my surprise involvement in the historical romance novel, Sharing Hamilton, co-written with US author, Diana Rubino. More on that one later.
What began as a form of therapy, had progressed to become a hobby and then a full-time occupation.

How much time do you spend promoting your books?

A heck of a lot. Speaking of promotion can I take this opportunity to ask your readers to vote for one of my books in the TCK Readers Choice Awards, 2018? A Mersey Maiden, book 3 of my Mersey Mystery Series, has been nominated in the Best Mystery category. To vote, (only takes a minute or so), readers should go to the voting page and then scroll to the Mystery section and follow the simple voting instructions. Voting is open until December and I really would appreciate any support your readers can give to my nomination.

Please tell us your experiences with social media.  What are your favorite and least favorite parts of it?

I use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, all as means of promoting my books. Over the years, I’ve made a lot of good friends through Facebook, but do find Twitter a little restrictive with its limit on the number of characters per post.

Have you had other careers before becoming a writer?

Yes, I have. As a young man I served in the RAF (Royal Air Force), and later, I forged a career in retail management, going from store manager to area manager and eventually the head of administration for a large, well known company in the UK.

Were you “born to write” or did you discover your passion for writing later in life?

I think I was born to write. Even though I began writing seriously later in life, as a child I loved to write stories and poems and had my first work published in the local education authority’s annual round-up of work from the area’s schools when they published my poem ‘The Lion’ when I was ten years old.

You’re having a party.  What character from any of your books do you hope attends?  Why?  What character do you hope doesn’t attend?  Why?

I would love to meet Dr. Severus Black, the dashing, handsome, charming but deadly serial killer I created for the book Sharing Hamilton. He’s refined, debonair and great company, though of course he hides the dark side of his personality until the hours of darkness while the city sleeps. I think he’d be the perfect dinner guest and would keep everyone entertained with his humor and his wit.

As for who I wouldn’t want to be there it would have there it would be Jack the Ripper, from my Ripper trilogy. Who after all would want to bump into Jack at a party?

What do you read?  Do you read different genres when you’re writing versus not writing?

I love to read thrillers, mysteries and adventure stories. In the last two years I have fallen in love with the works of Scottish author, Malcolm Archibald. In particular, his Windrush series of books has had me gripped and eagerly awaiting the next book in the series. I’ve just finished reading the latest instalment in the series and found it even more thrilling than the ones that preceded it. Based on the adventures of the fictitious 19th Century British soldier, Jack Windrush and his men from the notorious 113th Infantry Regiment, the series is beautifully and meticulously researched, historically accurate, and follows Jack through such wars as the Burmese War, the Crimea and the siege of Sebastopol and the infamous Indian Rebellion, the focus of the two most recent books. Its real -rip-roaring, page turning action all the way and you just can’t help caring for the characters created by the author, a sure fire pointer to great reading.
I also love the works of Clive Cussler, Alistair McLean, James Patterson,  Agatha Christie and of course, my hero, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Do you have a favourite book from childhood?

As a boy, I loved reading the ‘Biggles’ Books by W. E. Johns, the perfect adventure books for young boys at the time I was growing up. Biggles was truly the ultimate hero for a young boy growing up in the years following the Second World War. Set during the First and Second World Wars with titles like Biggles Learns to Fly, Biggles Flies East, Biggles Goes To War and so on, I was amazed to see recently on Amazon that the books are as popular today as they were in the days of my youth, nearly 60 years ago.

If you could be dropped into any book as a character, who would you be and why?

I’d love to be Sherlock Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles, a true classic tale from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, my literary hero and inspiration. This book is one of my all-time favorites and the chance to become Holmes, the great detective would be simply awesome!

What are you reading now?

El Dorado, Search for the Lost City, by Australian author Ben Hammott, a great, sweeping story of adventure and danger, set across time and continents.

Favourite way to relax?

Either by watching one of my extensive collection of DVDs, or curled up in bed with a good book, but also by a peaceful walk with one or more of our family of rescuedogs, always including my very special epileptic dog, Sasha.

3 must have items if you were stranded on a tropical island?

The complete Sherlock Holmes short stories, Sasha the dog, (sort of my Dog Friday), and enough food and water to keep us going until a rescue ship arrives.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Obviously, a big thank you to you for taking the time to allow me to talk to your readers through this interview. Also to say what a pleasure it was to collaborate with you on the writing of SHARING HAMILTON. I never, ever thought I’d see my name on the cover of a historical romance book. Just shows how an author’s career can contain many twists and turns over the years.

I addition, I’d love to say a BIG thank you to my ever-growing readership around the world, in particular my constantly growing following in Australia, where my books, especially Sasha and The Mersey Mystery Series have been doing well in the last twelve months. Thanks also to my proofreader/researcher, Debbie Poole in Liverpool for all her hard work in helping me to create the books. I appreciate all she does.

Finally, here’s some further information and a link to my latest release, A Very Mersey Murder. I hope some of your readers might be tempted to give it a try.

A Very Mersey Murder

1966. England wins the soccer World Cup at Wembley. The same night, the body of a young barmaid is discovered close to an abandoned lighthouse near Liverpool. Two more murders follow, and all remain unsolved.

2005. Detective Inspector Andy Ross and his team are called in when a disturbingly similar series of murders begins in the same location. If their estimates are correct, Ross has one week to solve the case before the third Lighthouse Murder takes place.

Ross and Sergeant Izzie Drake return in a tense race against time, as they seek to identify and apprehend a vicious killer who seems to leave no clues and no evidence. The price of failure is death.

This is a standalone novel and can be enjoyed even if you haven't read other books in the series.

This is the universal Amazon link, from anywhere in the world

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