NEWS & MUSINGS
Avatars in my Head
When I started writing Unity I needed to clearly picture my cast of characters. I chose the two famous actors pictured because they enabled me to capture their appearances, mannerisms, voices and emotions. Having their avatars in my head made me write about them almost without thinking.
I gave them the working names Bill Riley and Judith Tench as a way of reminding me who they were, and I fully intended to change their names before publication.
But I grew to like them so much I left them as they were, rightly or wrongly. Nobody so far seems to have picked up on the similarity in their monikers, so maybe it doesn't matter. But if I were ever to have a hand in casting the film version...!
Some audiences are harder to please than others. In the case of Unity, which is linked to the 1960s cult TV series The Prisoner, die-hard Prisoner fans are among the most cynical and difficult. In general, they - pardon the pun - take no prisoners, but Rick Davy, who runs a major Prisoner-related website called The Unmutual, is a convert. Here's his recent review:
'As regular readers will know, I am not a fan of ‘Prisoner fan fiction'. It tends to be written by people full of enthusiasm, but lacking in ability, reliant on stereotypical characters and situations which are not befitting the greatest series ever made.
It was with trepidation (coupled with an enthusiasm that someone was willing to give it a try), therefore, that I learned that a new book, entitled ‘Unity' was being prepared. My trepidation was misplaced.
Mike Bodnar's story is unlike any Prisoner-related fiction written previously. Rather than writing an 18th episode, or sequel, as many others have tried previously, Mike has written ‘Unity' from a totally new perspective.
The story is almost a ‘The Village behind the scenes story', telling the tales of those at Governmental level (and below) who have set up and run The Village, and those operatives that we always wondered about when watching the series, but never got to find anything about. A unique idea, and one which I am delighted to say Mike has approached with both aplomb, and genuine creativity.
We are spared the usual shortcomings of fan-fiction (copying existing storylines, poorly written Number Six dialogue, etc) and instead treated to a whole host of new, and believable characters, and a fascinating and well thought out back story for the setting of our favourite series, and captor.
It is these undercurrents and back-stories which make ‘Unity' a very interesting and well written piece of work. Superbly crafted, with punchy dialogue and good scene setting, the author has tried something new and definitely pulled it off.'
'A fine thriller' (from the originator of The Wicker Man)
Acclaimed author David Pinner (pictured) of Ritual/The Wicker Man fame, says of Unity:
'Unity is very well-written and shows good political nous. A fine thriller: it is also a work of sharp prose and great economy. "Art is the gift of saying the most with the least’ and Mike Bodnar knows this".'
'Sharply honed thriller writing'
I recently received a very thoughtful and incisive review of my new spy thriller Unity.
It comes from a doctor of literature, David Annwn Jones, and he has this to say about the novel:
It's sharply honed thriller writing, comparable to the very best in the field. Amongst the reading pleasures are the clever and devastating links to 60s political figures and what I call the 'faction' effect: you find yourself wondering: 'Is this actually fiction
or has the author got the lowdown on what actually happened?'
For me this vindicates the lengths I went to in researching the zeitgeist of 1967 Britain and especially the political situation of the time. My aim was to have enough factual material in the story that anyone who wondered, did that actually happen? or, was that person real? could do some research and discover that yes, indeed it did and indeed they were - right down to the name of the head chef at the Savoy Grill at the time.
I thoroughly enjoyed that research, and if I'm guilty of anything it's breaking off my writing to go down all sorts of Internet rabbit holes in search of information. If I had chosen not to do that the book would have been finished and published a year ago!
Anyway, I love getting feedback, so if you've read Unity and have some thoughts you'd like to share, please do.
June 23, 2023
There aren't many actors who played roles in The Prisoner still alive, but one of them who very much is is Derren Nesbitt. Derren was Number Two in the episode 'It's Your Funeral,' and he's just read Unity.
He emailed me to say that he thinks I'm a 'very fine writer... very talented,' and I have his permission to use his endorsement too.
I am, needless to say, delighted. Meanwhile, if you haven't yet read Unity, now's the time!
'Where am I? In The Village...'
I finally got to stay in The Village for the first time ever, but just for one night.
Although I'd visited Portmeirion many times, I'd never been fortunate enough to actually stay, so this was a real treat.
I took many photos of course but couldn't ignore the opportunity for a publicity shot for Unity in the grounds of The Village, which are so essential to both The Prisoner and my Unity tie-in novel.
I left Rover on guard...
The Book is Launched!
Unity was officially 'declassified' at the 2023 Prisoner convention at Portmeirion, on the weekend of 22/23 April.
Below are a few snaps from the event, which was well attended and heaps of fun. The Village was alive again with scenes from Free For All, Checkmate, and more, and the effort everyone made with their costumes was astounding!
My thanks to the organisers (Six of One Appreciation Society) for letting me use this splendid occasion to launch the book. Watch the highlights of my book launch here on YouTube (or see below!).
The Liscannor Intercept
Three years on from Unity, MI6 finds itself up against the IRA in an explosive race against time!
Anastasia Walker and Rupert Symes are alerted to a consignment of guns, bombs, missiles and explosives making its way to Northern Ireland by sea. The IRA is desperate to receive it, but the ship carrying the menacing freight gets into mechanical difficulties off the coast of County Clare.
Agents Trainor and D’Amelio are dispatched to Ireland’s West Coast where they’re to rendezvous with a team of SAS soldiers. Their mission is two-fold: to intercept the IRA’s attempt to reach the stricken ship, and to prevent the deadly weapons from ever reaching shore.
But not everyone in the little village of Liscannor can be trusted. Who are IRA sympathisers, and who are not? How can Trainor and D’Amelio stop the ruthless IRA faction? When D’Amelio is captured and tortured, their mission seems doomed…