Billy Ray Chitwood's Blog - Posts Tagged "thailand"

An Interview With John Dolan - Author of "Everyone Burns"

Posted on November 19, 2012 by billyraychitwood

This is a ‘Don’t Miss’ combo for you: an interview with a quality author and a partial review of his 5-Star book, “Everyone Burns.” If you have not had the pleasure of reading John Dolan you’ve missed a great experience from a writer extraordinaire. JD is truly a wordsmith for his times. He is also the man who introduced me and countless others to the word, ‘Galericulate’ — that’s the name of his website/blog. (See end of interview/review.) He’s the man hidden under the hat and he’s roaming around some continent or another. At last report, he was in Amsterdam. Meet John Dolan.

‘Burning’ John Dolan, writer extraordinaire – An Interview (Sort of!)

(Billy Ray Chitwood=BR) (John Dolan= JD)

BR: Okay, Filbert, take off the blindfold!

JD: Hey, not so rough! You just don’t take ‘no’ for an answer, do you?

BR: Why should I? You can leave us now, Filbert, and take Salome with you.

JD: You kidding me? ‘Salome!’ ‘Filbert!’ They’re ‘junkies…’

BR: Had no money…they grabbed you for the ‘grass.’

JD: Are you mocking me? Are you stealing my interview ideas?

BR: Show me a legal document!

JD: At least my chair is comfortable, and my straps are pure leather, not this cord crap!

BR: You left me no choice, JD, you broke your promise to take my books viral and…

JD: Correction! I said your books were vile and pretentious…

BR: Okay, okay, I understand you’re a bit angry…just some tit for tat, that’s all. I really like your book, “Everyone Burns,” and I’m thinking ‘movie,’ ‘TV series,’ something really big. Can we just relax and talk about the book?

JD: Can you at least put a cushion on this orange crate? You’re not helping my hemmies.

BR: How’s that? Better? Good…Now tell me about “Everyone Burns” and how you came to write it.

JD: Guess I got no choice, but you gotta promise me you’re not going to make a habit of this kind of interview. This is my idea, not yours. Do we have a deal?

BR: Yes, we have a deal…Hell, I thought you would be pleased!

JD: Well, I am, sort of, but this is intellectual property, not something you mess with, BR. Plus I only get one original idea per decade.

BR: Okay, no more kidnaps for interviews! Got it! Can we proceed?

JD: The events in “Everyone Burns” take place over seventeen days while Thailand is still numb from the giant tsunami of December, 2004. Like everyone of sane mind this great catastrophe made my emotions run wild, made me think of life like I had never really thought about it. “Everyone Burns” gave me some escape from the reality all around me.

BR: Really?

JD: No, not really. I wrote it for the money and the groupies.

BR: And how’s that working out?

JD: Probably about as well as it’s working out for you, I’d guess. Well … looking at you, probably slightly better with the groupies.

BR: Here’s a quote from ‘Everyone Burns, just after a bar fracas:

“To summarise, my life is one of split personality. I am in two minds about it myself. Nevertheless, down these narrow streets a man must walk, even if it is in flip-flops. But I am no Philip Marlowe, and Koh Samui is not film-noir USA. There is nothing of Hollywood’s black and white morality on this most colourful of Thailand’s Islands. And long overcoats just make you sweat in the sun. Here The Postman Never Rings Twice, simply because he never rings at all. He has better things to do. Lamai’s and Chaweng’s adventurers generally pack a condom, not a gun.”

You open the book with a broken cue stick inflicting injury to your protagonist and it’s like the excitement and action just never stops after that. I picked this quote because it’s one of my favorites but also because it gives the reader a sample of your splendid writing…Do you have any disagreement with my assessment here, JD?

JD: Take these cords off and I’ll kiss you. The passage is also a favorite of mine. Aside from the style thing in my writing, it is just basically who I am. But I’m NOT David Braddock, by the way. I want to make that clear in case my wife Fiona is reading this! A book of this genre for me has to move at a rapid pace, the action mostly non-stop. A lot of what I write about in “Everyone Burns” has some factual similarities, the people, the places, the time certainly. And, of course, you know my English is rather precise, proper, as it was intended to be! WHY are you smiling and shaking your head?

BR: Never mind, just me being me! It’s a great book, JD. Wish we had more time because I’d like to mention “People With Real Lives Don’t Need Landscapes,” a book of poetry you wrote in 2003. You certainly have a way with words, JD, and I happen to love poetry. As Amazon puts it, “This big bouncy collection of contemporary poetry draws on both popular and high culture. The poems have energy, imagination, humor, and lively speech rhythms. They are light, weighty, topical, intellectual, gory, sad, wild, and tender all at once.”

JD: I didn’t write that.

BR: What?

JD: I didn’t write that collection of poetry. That was a different John Dolan.

BR: Are you sure?

JD: What do you mean, “Am I sure”? I’m not likely to forget a thing like that, am I? Sheesh! It’s scary how your brain can live in such a small space.

BR: That hurts, JD. Well,regardless, I loved your book “Everyone Burns” and can’t wait for the sequel. People should really take a long look at you, my friend…

JD: ‘My friend!’ My butt is sore here, BR!

BR: Filbert and Salome are napping right now. I’ll untie you, but, please, no fracas here. Tit for tat, remember? Be gentle.

Please follow John Dolan on twitter – @JohnDolanAuthor

Visit his website/blog (‘Galericulate’): (You do not want to miss his posts!)

Also visit JD’s amazon site: (amazon)

(Really, follow him and read him. He’s ugly mean: it took two junkies and me to get him here for this interview/review!)
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Review of "Everyone Burns" a novel by John Dolan

5.0 out of 5 stars "Everyone Burns" is sublime chaos! The best kind!, November 9, 2012
By Billy Ray Chitwood

This review is from: "Everyone Burns" (Kindle Edition)

Sublime chaos! Action scenes and dialogues are deftly metered by a mind that seems ever reaching for outer limits. It's easy to be absorbed in the mad Thai business at hand, the off-beat protagonist, but it is the exquisitely witty patter and the author's unique penchant for challenging the reader's mind that moves one hungrily through the pages of "Everyone Burns." If you haven't read this 'wild and wonderful' guy, you've got to take the time... You will be glad you did - guaranteed!

Guess I'm biased because I love John Dolan's author interviews --- they are truly addictive, innovative, and must reads! (Just stay away from 'Digby!') I'm also a faithful follower on twitter. You, too, will be when you catch a glimpse of his talent...

Follow John Dolan on Twitter: @JohnDolanAuthor

Go to John Dolan's blogsite;
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Published on November 22, 2012 12:07 Tags: action, anti-hero, bar-fights, crime, detective, everyone-burns, john-dolan, murder, thailand, thriller, tsunami

The Man Under The Hat - His New Book - "The Hungry Ghosts"

The Man Under The Hat – His New Book: “The Hungry Ghosts”

Writing means so much to me. The process of stringing words together to build characters and plots is fascinating. An internal bell goes off when I fancy that I’ve nailed a line, a paragraph, a chapter, that says exactly what I want it to say. While I’m not in the elite family of authors who pump out their ‘best sellers’ I consider myself a pretty good author of books…they are generally not so convoluted as to make them heavy reading, and I’m told they are enjoyable. The writing process helps me in ways a psychiatrist likely could not. My characters tell me much about myself So, I write my books, some inspired by true events, some from my imagination.

When I chance upon an author who ‘rings my bell’ with lucid and melodious prose, with some fusion of grit and scholarly detours, I am humbled and appreciative of her/his talents. One such author is John David Dolan, better known at twitter as @JohnDolanAuthor. When I read the first book of his 7-book ‘Time, Blood, and Karma Series’, “Everyone Burns” (, I was hooked. John and I began a twitter/facebook friendship and have now corresponded for some time. He is the man ‘under the hat’ and he can ad lib and tease with the best of us…you can see that in his writing. This I can assure you, John Dolan is a masterful wordsmith and will not disappoint.

John is British and lives in Thailand on the little island which he writes about in “Everyone Burns” and “The Hungry Ghosts.” Yes, he is rather ‘proper’ but he also knows how to play in the tough and tumble literary sandbox.

It was my extreme pleasure to recently read JD’s book two of the ‘Time, Blood, and Karma Series’, “The Hungry Ghosts” ( I wrote an amazon review about “Everyone Burns” and this is tantamount to a review of “The Hungry Ghosts.”

John Dolan brings you up close and personal with his characters, and though you might have some possible trouble with their Thai names you will thoroughly bond with them. John’s lucid and melodious writing style has a rather hypnotic effect on this reader and I suspect on many others. He weaves a tale of intrigue, mayhem, murder, and his protagonist, David Braddock, is the quintessential anti-hero: Braddock is caustic, embittered, subtly enslaved by his own self-guilt, and he seeks absolution in his loves and lusts, tiptoeing dangerously on a Karmic tightrope as the ‘ripples from the tossed stone’ connect, interconnect, and become the essence of life. You can expect to find some semblance of an ending with “The Hungry Ghosts” but there is a surprise or two and another beginning. It is a story written with style and substance, crafted brilliantly by this man under the hat. I found myself at times wondering just how much of John Dolan was in the naughty David Braddock. There have to be some genetic identifiers, for sure! Certainly, I found it easy to identify with David Braddock and feel most men will also find something of themselves within this ‘everyman.’ The ladies will also identify with the ruggedly handsome Braddock because of his capacity to doubt himself, the dark secrets he carries within himself, that ‘little boy lost’ component, and his commitment to finishing the task in front of him, and his sometime wavering loyalty.

I can think of no better way to salute a master wordsmith like my friend, John Dolan, than to give you some short random samples of his writing in “The Hungry Ghosts.”

From Chapter 28 – ‘David Braddock’s Journal’

Sometimes we falter.

The streets of Bangkok move steadily past the car window. All that dusty, gaudy, dreadful magnificence persists regardless. It imprints itself on the observer; making him part of the observed; making him complicit. In my present reflective mood the City whispers to me of daily struggles, of invisible karmic arcs, of older mysteries. It reveals to me an incessant shambling line of humanity clinging to the remnants of fading dreams. Sadness oozes from its very walls. It is a montage that reeks of futility and death; that speaks of a landscape populated by blind ghosts feeling their way along once-familiar thoroughfares. The dead are always with us. And sometimes we falter.

From Chapter 31 – ‘David Braddock’s Journal’

Perhaps, while the dead are always around us, they are not always with us. Perhaps they only appear when we need them or they need us; and in the meantime they wander the earth in the same state of confusion as the living, in search of something that remains forever elusive.


Interconnection …

I recall the Old Monk’s Zen lessons – how nothing exists in isolation – and I view my own situation now through that lens. My father’s past, Nang, the Lamphongchat family, my presence in Thailand, the ‘burning murders’, the Chaldrakuns, the employment of Jingjai, and, last of all, me … The Web of Indra forever expands, enveloping us all, penetrating and triggering so many emotions and intentions; in turn creating ever more complex actions and reactions. Like trapped flies we cannot move far yet our vibrations resonate in others as their movements resonate in us.

Blood begets blood.

The unseen forces of karma connect and cross-connect to each other and to every sentient thing. The vehicle of time propels us forward remorselessly. There is no returning, and yet everything returns.

Oh, Claire, how I miss you.

Come back.

Save me.

Just one more excerpt: From Chapter 35

For the rest of us, we tread the path of Daedalus. We create labyrinths in which to hide away our monsters or else we fashion wings that will carry us too close to the sun. We are the artisans of avoidance, the fabricators of falsehoods. We sell ourselves snake-oil and we call it medicine. As Teresa of Avila observed, not only do we not understand ourselves but each day we move a little further away from that which we really need. The spirits of the dead are all around us, but it is we, the living, that are the true hungry ghosts.

(End of excerpts)

Hopefully, the reader will pardon me for picking some of my favorite excerpts.

First and foremost, “The Hungry Ghosts’ is immensely entertaining, chapter after chapter. There are great characters. There is mayhem, murder, and there is love. The dialogue is crisp and lively, at times inducing chuckles – other times, germane, serious, and in the moment. The plot lines will resonate. In short, “The Hungry Ghosts” is a 5-Star read, and the movie reel will be turning in the minds of readers. You do not want to miss this exciting read!

I’ll end with more about John Dolan and his links…JUST REMEMBER:

David Braddock returns in A POISON TREE The third book in the Time, Blood and Karma series – There are to be seven books in the series. Watch for it.

ABOUT JOHN DOLAN, THE AUTHOR: “Makes a living by travelling, talking a lot and sometimes writing stuff down. Galericulate author, polymath and occasional smarty-pants.” John Dolan hails from a small town in the North-East of England. Before turning to writing, his career encompassed law and finance. He has run businesses in Europe, South and Central America, Africa and Asia. He and his wife Fiona currently divide their time between the UK and Thailand.

You can follow John’s ramblings on Twitter @JohnDolanAuthor or see his website or see his blog (‘ Galericulate’ – or see his Author Page on Amazon or Goodreads or Smashwords.

The ‘buy links’ for “The Hungry Ghosts”: (Amazon US) and (Amazon UK)

One final piece of business:

You can find Billy Ray Chitwood at twitter @brchitwood and at:
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Published on September 08, 2013 14:18 Tags: mayhem, murder, mystery, samui, suspense, thailand, thriller

Running on Emptiness

Review by Billy Ray Chitwood
Running on Emptiness is Book 4 of John Dolan’s ‘Time, Blood and Karma’ series, and, for me, it is the quintessential example of this Englishman’s wordsmith mastery.
Running on Emptiness has government coups, an exciting ‘Capulets and Montagues’ – Romeo and Juliet element – with two Thai drug gangs fighting for supremacy, and David Braddock fighting a dichotomy of emotions… There is something else that makes this novel so exquisite…
That something else is the absolute mastery of the English language. John Dolan is ‘word wizardry’ personified. He a metaphorical genius, and he will keep the reader glued to the pages with his pen strokes – between some smiles and tears. Perhaps my favorite sections of the book are the ‘David Braddock Journal’ chapters.
David is still the consummate detective, part Sherlock Holmes and part Sam Spade, solving cases, and people he cares about are being killed…he is on someone’s hit list, and that part of the story is most engrossing and tense.
England, you have an author in John David Dolan who is the best part of poetry and the best part of fiction... Running on Emptiness (Time, Blood and Karma, #4) by John Dolan
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Published on January 29, 2016 17:04 Tags: author, books, mystery, private-eye, running-on-emptness-john-dolan, thailand, writing