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Thursday, March 19, 2015

#TRAVEL WITH SERENA--TAKE A TRIP TO #LONDON WITH GUEST AUTHOR NICHOLE CHRISTOFF

Tower of London
Nichole Christoff is a writer, broadcaster, and military spouse who has worked on-air and behind the scenes producing and promoting content for radio, television news, and the public relations industry across the United States and Canada. Nichole’s first year in RWA, her first manuscript won the Golden Heart® for Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements. Her second manuscript won the Helen McCloy-Mystery Writers of America Scholarship. Her second novel in the Jamie Sinclair series is The Kill Shot. Learn more about Nichole and her books at her website. 

Running on London Time
My protagonist, Jamie Sinclair, is a gal who gets around. In my latest release, The Kill Shot, my PI-turned-security-specialist gets roped into helping her tough-as-nails senator father on a matter, he says, is of national importance. At his insistence, Jamie hops aboard a plane to escort a diplomatic courier to that ancient city along the Thames, London. And the trouble starts as soon as she touches down at Heathrow.

When it came time to craft a setting for Jamie’s international exploits, I knew I had to look to London. For centuries, London has been a city of mystery and romance. The famous Tower of London, where King Henry VIII sent so many of his wives, was already four hundred years old by the time he commanded, “Off with her head!” But distant history isn’t the only kind that makes London great. Seventy short years ago, Londoners withstood the Blitz and the tyranny of a cruel regime by relying on their own British brand of pluck and courage. There’s something wonderful in that.

And whether you choose to tour the Tower or buy a pint in a pub for an elderly gent who looked out for others as a boy during the bombings, reminders of London’s rich past are everywhere. But here’s the best part about it: these reminders aren’t sealed up behind glass. They aren’t artifacts to be observed and forgotten. They’re part of today’s living, breathing London.

In this day and age, the old isn’t torn down to make way for the new. Londoners believe their fantastic past can make for a functional present. I wholeheartedly agree—and I love it! You can find evidence of this attitude everywhere you look in London, indoors and out, and in both private and public locations. Among my favorite public old-places-and-today’s-spaces are Wellington Arch, the Serpentine, and Ye Olde Chesire Cheese.

Wellington Arch
photo by Gt-man
Wellington Arch was built nearly two hundred years ago to commemorate Wellington’s defeat of Napoleon. Today, it boasts the stylish Quadriga Gallery which features ever-changing exhibitions. And what about that beautiful water feature, the Serpentine? Part lake and all river, it was built in 1730 in the middle of Hyde Park because a queen requested it. Instead of filling it in or plowing it under, Londoners of every stripe and situation can now be seen enjoying it on sunny afternoons.

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese
photo by Martin Addison
Even the rather touristy Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is a prime example of appreciating the old and embracing the new. Rebuilt after the Fire of London in 1666, this place has literally stood the test of time. Its foundation is even believed to date back to the 1200s. But if you want the sip the latest craft beers from Belgium or munch Kobe beef in your burger after a busy afternoon along Fleet Street—which can still boast of being home to many of London’s cutting-edge newspaper and book publishers—then the Cheese, with its pedigree and present, is for you!

All in all, I couldn’t resist sending Jamie to London in The Kill Shot. As she tracks the bad guys through Marylebone, Belgravia, Seven Sisters, Hampstead Heath, Covent Garden, and other sites that near and dear to me, she’s running on London time and I hope you’ll come along for the ride. Take a look at London’s history, mystery, and modernity through Jamie’s eyes—and through mine.

In the meantime, tell me about your travels. What’s your favorite city to visit? Why do you love it so?

The Kill Shot: A Jamie Sinclair Novel
In an explosive thriller for readers of Lee Child, Alex Berenson, and Brad Taylor, P.I. and security specialist Jamie Sinclair finds herself in a dangerous game of international cat-and-mouse.

Jamie Sinclair’s father has never asked her for a favor in her life. The former two-star general turned senator is more in the habit of giving his only child orders. So when he requests Jamie’s expertise as a security specialist, she can’t refuse—even though it means slamming the brakes on her burgeoning relationship with military police office Adam Barrett. Just like that, Jamie hops aboard a flight to London with a U.S. State Department courier carrying a diplomatic pouch in an iron grip.

Jamie doesn’t have to wait long to put her unique skills to good use. When she and the courier are jumped by goons outside the Heathrow terminal, Jamie fights them off—but the incident puts her on high alert. Someone’s willing to kill for the contents of the bag. Then a would-be assassin opens fire in crowded Covent Garden, and Jamie is stunned to spot a familiar face: Adam Barrett, who saved her life with a single shot and calmly slips away. Jamie’s head—and her heart—tell her that something is very wrong. But she’s come way too far to turn back now.

6 comments:

Marni said...

Adore England, and set an entire mystery series there! Oxford is probably my absolute favorite city, those gleaming golden spires of the ancient building. But London is wonderful, so good in fact, that I'm flying over for only TWO days at the end of April! And will look for Cheshire Cheese!

Nichole Christoff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nichole Christoff said...

Marni, I am so jealous! I wish I could stow-away in your carry-on. Though I'm also planning another trip to Britian, it's nothing like a few days (April!) away.

I hope you find and enjoy the Cheese. Part of its charm is the fact there is very little artificial lighting. Mind the steps (And the slanted doorways!) and you can imagine what it must've been like to join your mates there over 400 years ago.

If you get a chance during your packing, I hope you'll recommend a few sights to see in Oxford! What must we see?

Angela Adams said...

Such lovely photos, thanks for sharing...

Nichole Christoff said...

Hi Angela,

Anastasia is the photo guru and I'm so glad she lent them to my guest post. Invariably, my photos of London are always full of people attending meetings!

And of course the cover for THE KILL SHOT is by the fabulous Jerry Todd at Random House. I love his work.

Thanks for stopping by!

shamsher khan said...


HI I read your article with interest because i have thought about it as well. Delhi culture is to dress up even if you go to a neighbourhood market. Bombay is alot more casual. Chennai is disastrous.While working in Chennai, we went to a pub in a 3 star hotel, called Bikers Club, i was shocked to find that everyone there was wearing shirt and dhotis.We had girls in pur group and did not spend a minute there. I pubs in Delhi allow everyone to come in wearing whatever they want to, can you imagine what will happen to the ambience?
Also in office, sometime back, the HR decided they will give more freedom to people to dress the way they feel comfortable. Yu cant imagine to the extent people took the liberty to. People were walking in wearing unpressed kurtas and jeans and chappals. It was affecting the attitude at work place as well. We are back to strick office formals 4 days a week and business casuals on Fridays.
Given the social immaturity in our society i think the rules we have make sense. For those who are more culturally aware, we pay a price.
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