Norwich has a long and proud history of authors (see our blog post all about them here) and enjoys not only World Literature UNESCO status but also the literary bastions of the UEA with its Creative Writing Courses and Writers' Centre Norwich on King Street. The latest inhabitant of our wonderful city attempting to make the big time in the book world is Carl Mason, with his debut novel, The Chant.
The author is a lawyer and so it is not surprising that he has written a legal thriller. However, moving into largely untested waters, Mason has combined the legal world with that of the dominatrix... and he's set The Chant in Norwich (a great choice, of course!)
The book's main character is Will Taylor, a 35-year-old college lecturer. His rather ordinary working and private life is thrown into turmoil when an unbelievably beautiful new female recruit joins the teaching staff. His best friend Dominic usually wins the ladies but on this occasion Lisa instantly makes it very clear that it is Will that interests her.
A hot blooded relationship dictated by Lisa ensues, thrusting Will into an erotic ride of unimaginable sexual pleasure and extreme pain. Lisa's roleplays, explicitly described, become increasingly dangerous. Her actions are not safe, consensual or even sane.
An attempt to end the relationship only leads to more misery when a staff night out ends in a violent incident. Did Will really try to kill Lisa or were her injuries self-inflicted? What is evident is that the DI in charge has every desire to nail Will, by fair means or foul.
Mason then takes Will through the harrowing prosecution process which builds to an excruciating trial. When Will needs a good lawyer he luckily finds the very capable Jackie, to whom he is ardently drawn. Only at the very end does a supercharged climax reveal where the true power rests.
Readers may recognise some of the spots in the city where the action happens. Here are a few for starters:
Carl forged the idea of what was to become his debut novel, The Chant, over 15 years ago. It grumbled and skulked in his literary belly for a decade or so, fed only by the occasional scribble on a notepad. Just over 4 years ago, the intrigue of what this story could look like became too much to bear; and so the writing began, initially in secret. Only when the word count reached 30,000 did Carl mention this to anyone.
Two years later, the first draft was completed. Since then, various edits and the forging of a relationship with Hornet Books have resulted in The Chant being ready for sale.
Born and raised in Lincolnshire, Carl went on to study Business Law at what is now Huddersfield University. He qualified as a solicitor in 1994 and has practiced within the courts, primarily in London and Norwich, ever since. He has also, since 2005, practiced as a mediator in commercial and other claims.
Outside of the office and writing, Carl “enjoys” golf and sings in a rock and roll band. He is married with one son and raises occasional sums for charity by running marathons slowly.