Sunday, July 1, 2012

Ring Fenced by Zach Abrams: Guest Post, Excerpt & Character Interview

One man, five lives, ring-fenced and separated, Relying on his Blackberry to keep all his personae separate, his life is perfect. But what if holes begin to appear in the divisions? When a sequence of events throws his life into chaos, his separate words collide with explosive consequences.
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Hi, my name’s Zach Abrams and I’m delighted you’ve given me a chance to tell you a bit about myself, my first novel ‘Ring Fenced’ and my central character, Benjamin Short.
Although I’ve always loved reading, until fairly recently my writing’s been restricted to business reports and accounts.  My wife’s a writer and with her encouragement, I thought I’d experiment in this more honest form of fiction (she‘s written the ‘Death in the Pyrenees  series under the name Elly Grant).  At the start I didn’t have the confidence to write at length and my earliest works were confined to flash fiction.  I’ve included as a sample ‘Room Mate,’ the first one I wrote.
Room Mate
Bert King really should not have done that.  To beat me was one thing but to humiliate me was downright cruel.
For five years now, he’s treated me like crap.  All because I thrashed him at chess the first week after I moved into the retirement home.  He’s refused to play me at chess ever since, but he’s made it his mission to destroy me in every other way.
Being stronger and more agile and having better eyesight, meant that beating me at sports was not much of a challenge.  Bowls, table tennis, billiards and pool were easy for him but I put up a much stronger challenge with cards, dominos and scrabble.  Over and over, he rubbed my nose in it.
But yesterday was the last straw, he didn’t just beat me convincingly at Trivial Pursuit, he mocked me at every stage – I’m sure he cheated!
However, I’ve had the last laugh.  The final game is mine.  In the end, I was able to think one extra move ahead.  Exchanging the bottles of his medication so that he took three thyroid tablets and one for blood pressure, instead of the other way around, was a move worthy of a grand master.
I guess that’s check mate, room mate.
Having received some encouraging feedback I went on to write ‘Ring Fenced’ which tells the story of Benjamin Short, a very rich, powerful and controlling young man
One man, five lives, ring-fenced and separated,
Bennie, loving husband and father,
Benjie, youngest son of orthodox Jewish parents,
Ben, successful corporate banker,
Benjamin, millionaire author and publisher of pornography
and Jamie, part-time lover of a beautiful musician.
Relying on his Blackberry to keep all his personae separate, his life is perfect.
But what if holes begin to appear in the divisions?
When a sequence of events throws his life into chaos, his separate words collide with
explosive consequences.
Here’s a sample of the first few paragraphs to give you some impression of his obsessive controlling character.

Sitting in his private office, Benjamin Short finished typing the last sentence of the chapter and sighed contentedly.  He was exactly on the schedule he’d created for himself.  He removed his Gucci spectacles and carefully put them in their case.  He signed off the computer session, reset the security and closed it down.  He then removed the hard disk and locked it in his document safe, imbedded in the wall, the access being behind his framed degree certificate.
Opening the door to the adjoining bathroom, he walked into the cavernous area which housed a wet room style power shower and Jacuzzi bath.  He put himself through his rigorous, daily, ten minute stretching and exercise routine before showering.  He took time to give himself a really close shave, using an open razor, given to him by his father some twenty years before, when he was aged sixteen.  As he studied himself in the mirror, his clear sparkling blue eyes gazed back.  Although naturally curly, his permed, blonde hair, short straight nose, powerful jaw and muscular shoulders gave him the ‘Aryan’ look the Third Reich aspired to.  He wiped the remaining soap from his face and carefully placed the towel in the laundry basket before looking through the “Benjie” shelves of his dressing room.
It was still only 7.30am and it was Sunday morning, “Benjie” day.  He selected ‘Clarks’ shoes, a “George at Asda” pair of chinos with matching polo shirt and then picked up a similarly labelled fleece, lifting his Accurist watch, his Blackberry, his iPod and car keys before walking quietly along  the hall passing the children’s bedroom doors then down the staircase beyond the kitchen and into the integral garage.
He lowered his slim, six foot two frame onto the plush leather seat and, as he turned the key, the XK8 purred to life, just as the garage’s electric outer door opened noiselessly.  He slowly manoeuvred along the monoblock driveway, passing the flower beds, alive with colour from an assortment of carefully tended blooms, then beyond the beautifully manicured lawn, before gathering speed on the avenue as the automatically controlled security gates clunked shut behind him.  Benjamin pulled the car onto a fairly empty highway and let his foot graze the pedal permitting his vehicle to accelerate forward.  Not surprisingly, Benjie was carrying his two, ever present, must haves.  While driving, he placed the Blackberry in his trouser pocket and selected play on the iPod.  His phone had developed into his mission control panel. It was not only a verbal communication instrument.  He used it to coordinate the various intricacies of his life. It held all his contacts and he was able to screen who he spoke to and when.  He kept his appointment diary, he accessed the net and he handled his emails.  It was all business though.  He was never tempted to play games or use the camera or entertainment facilities.  His iPod was quite the reverse. For so long now, music had been his greatest passion.  He lived his life with it, for it and by it and it followed him, or led him, wherever he went. He was never certain how much was intuitive or how much reactive, but he was constantly amazed by how often the song titles or lyrics he was listening to coincided with what was happening in his life around that point of time.  The meanings intended by the songwriters were most probably different but, nevertheless, the words themselves were a reflection of what he was then doing or encountering. 
The electronic version of the book is on sale at $1.49 (£1.00) or less but I’ve allocated a Smashwords token for anyone wanting a free download.  The code is WG83K and you can access the book’s Smashwords page on
Paper copies will be available later this year.  I’ve collaborated with Elly Grant to produce ‘Twists and Turns’ a book of short stories and flash fiction and I’m currently working on a murder mystery novel set in Glasgow.
I’ll now pass you over to Benjamin who’s agreed to be interviewed.
Hello Benjamin! Thanks for agreeing to answer a few questions I have for you today. First off, what can you tell us about your family?
That’s a bit tricky.  Which one do you mean?  My closest family comprises of my beautiful wife Natasha and my fabulous kids Harry and Tamara.
Then there’s my birth family.  They’re all orthodox Jews.  Momma and Papa are getting on a bit now and I see them every Sunday.  I also have two brothers and a sister, who are all married with kids.
Marvin’s my business partner.  He was the founder of our internet porn business.  He’s based in Frisco and he thinks of me like a brother.
I could go on and on but there’s not enough time
As a child what did you want to be?
Up until I was thirteen, I wanted to be a Rabbi and that’s what Momma and Papa wanted.  Then my life changed.  Religion wasn’t an option and I learned about business.  Since then I’ve made my fortune by writing pornography and controlling the web site.  Sex sells so it was really easy.  I’ve done pretty well out of banking as well.
What songs are most played on your Ipod?
I love all music and I have an eclectic taste.  It’s really down to my mood of the moment whether I go for classical or metal.  My two favourite albums are Metallica’s S&M and Once by Nightwish.
Morning Person or Night Person.  How do you know?
I can’t really answer that as it depends how you define morning.  I usually only have three or four hours sleep a night.  I get up in the middle of what most people consider night and then I work on the internet or writing before going out to work.  I rarely go to bed early and when I do I don’t get home until much later
Do your friends think you are an introvert or an extrovert? Why? 
Friends? What friends?  I have no friends.  That would be a weakness.  I have countless acquaintances many of whom would like me to be their friend.  I wouldn’t imagine they’d consider me introvert or extrovert but perhaps I switch between the two.  You have to adapt to each occasion as the need arises.  Everything has to be balanced.
Ummmm, okay....Do you have any routines or rituals
Of course.  There’s never enough time to do everything you would want so each day has to be carefully planned and each week has to be scheduled so that I can fit in as much as possible.
Do you have a favourite quote, quip , or saying? What is it?
‘I couldn’t possibly comment.’  No really, that’s the quote.  ‘You might very well think that, I couldn’t possibly comment’ It’s from Michael Dobbs character Francis Urquhart in his book, ‘House of Cards.’  
Thank you Benjamin for being here today.  I gotta say that was most enlightening. Thanks again! {mumbles to self as Benjami is leaving – whewee…that young man is strung tighter than a piano wire…..something’s gotta give, and soon!}

Like his central character in Ring Fenced, (Bemjamin Short,) Zach Abrams grew up within an orthodox Jewish family. He completed his education in Scotland and went on to a career in business and finance. He is married with two children. He plays no instruments and has an eclectic taste in music, although not as obsessive as Benjamin.

Unlike Benjamin, he does not maintain mistresses, write pornography and (sadly)he does not have ownership of such a company. He is not a sociopath (at least by his own reckoning) and all versions of his life are aware of and freely communicate with each other.

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