We Have Lost the Coffee
by Paul Mathews
London, 2045. Three months into the Coffee Wars and Britain’s caffeine supplies are at critical levels. Brits are drinking even more tea than usual, keeping a stiff upper lip and praying for an end to it all.
A secret government coffee stockpile promises to save the day … but then mysteriously disappears overnight.
One man is asked to unravel the missing-coffee mystery. Hs name is Pond. Howie Pond. And he’s in desperate need of a triple espresso. Meanwhile, his journalist wife, Britt, is hunting royal fugitive, Emma Windsor, on the streets of the capital.
Can Howie save the British Republic from caffeine-starved chaos? Will the runaway royal be found? And just what will desperate coffee drinkers do for their caffeine fix? Find out, in Paul Mathews’ latest comedy adventure set in the Britain of the future …
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- Years Ago – what was your childhood like?
I spent my early years in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, which I remember for the tree-lined streets and huge gardens. It also has a fabulous park called Stanborough. According to my parents, I ran away during one trip there. As they searched for me, they asked a fisherman if he had seen a little boy. ‘Yes,’ he replied. ‘He threw a stone at me and ran off!’ Fortunately, my parents found me …before I could try swimming with the ducks. They were happier, simpler times when young boys could throw stones at fishermen with no worries about being slapped with an Anti-Social Behaviour Order.
One of my earliest memories is aged three, when I broke my arm in the long, hot summer of 1976. I fell off a kitchen stool while looking for ladybirds in the garden hedge. The two-week stay in hospital was a less happy memory!
When I was six, we moved to Watford, which was tough because I left so many good friends behind. I made new ones, but I never saw any of those old friends again. However, I recently discovered one of them on Facebook – he had a very distinctive name – and I can see what he looks like now and what he’s doing. All a bit weird!
Primary school was great. But Secondary school was an experience – rejected by the local Grammar school, I ended up at a Catholic comprehensive. It was a strange place – for example, they made us take Religious Education as one of our GCSEs and thought Computing GCSE was ‘non-academic’, so persuaded me to drop it. I made some good friends but, academically, it was a tough place to try and succeed. I made it to Cambridge University, though. I’m not sure how!
- Are you married?
Yes, I am happily married with one cat – a tortie called Lulu. We’re hoping for a new arrival in August – a Shih Tzu puppy. I’m not sure what the cat is going to make of it. She’ll probably sulk for a couple of weeks and then teach him how to play her favourite game – hide-and-seek. I’m also thinking of buying an aquarium, so we may add a few neon tetras to our happy little family.
- What did you do before you became a writer (if you are a full-time writer that is!)
- What other job do you have now?
After university, I stumbled into accountancy. The money was very good but I hated every minute of it. I still have nightmares about corporation tax calculations! The only silver lining to that year-and-a-half of number-crunching hell was that it helped fund a postgraduate year at West Herts College, where I studied International Public Relations. Then I worked in a medical PR agency for two years. And, finally, I ended up working as a Government press officer for sixteen years in various departments. Writing news releases and editing features was the nearest I could get to being a writer. But the mountain of emails and phone calls rather got in the way of that. So, eventually I took an eighteen-month career break to write a novel. After that, I resigned to become a full-time, independent author.
- Other than writing, what else you love?
I’m a pretty mean pool player and can happily spend hours beating my friends at the local pool hall. I’m currently on a sixteen-game winning streak against one of them …! I usually play better after two or three beers. Or, if I’m feeling sophisticated, a couple of gin and tonics. I have to be careful not to plan too much writing the next day, in case I get hit by a hangover!
I love Eastern European beer and food, and I spend a lot of time in Poland (where my wife is from). My personal favourite is a block of fried cheese with chips, washed downed with a black beer.
I was a fanatical Watford fan for thirty-five years and, although I’ve moved away from Watford now, I still watch all the matches on the internet, as well as the occasional game in person. It’s fun to have something to look forward to on a Saturday or Sunday, after a hard week of writing.
- What plans do you have for your writing?
- Bucket list?
I plan to write the fourth (and probably final) book in my ‘We Have Lost’ series in the second half of 2017. That will be titled We Have Lost the Chihuahuas – a book I want to write before I take on all the responsibilities of becoming a dog owner! Then I have a totally new series planned for 2018. It will be more comedy mystery than comedy thriller and be based in the present, rather than the future – probably an English village, which will appeal to my large band of American readers.
I don’t have a bucket list. But I might need to buy a bucket soon…if I buy an aquarium!
About the Author:
Paul Mathews is a 40-something British guy who’s given up his 9-to-5 job in London to become a full-time comedy novelist. Why did he make this bold step? Well, he’d had enough of crazy managers and uncooperative printers. So one afternoon, after nearly 20 years working at the heart of the British Government, he shut down his computer, deleted all his emails and escaped the office – never to return. (Okay, it wasn’t quite as dramatic as that, but he is a fiction writer, so please cut him a little slack.)
His two decades working as a Government press officer gave him an invaluable insight into all the key elements of modern government: bureaucracy, bungling, buffoonery, buck-passing and other things that don’t begin with the letter ‘b’ – such as politicians with huge egos and very little talent. He’s now putting that knowledge to use by writing about a British Government of the future – where, believe it or not, the politicians are even bigger idiots than the current lot.
Before becoming a PR guy, he was an accountant. But he doesn’t like to talk about that. And going back further, he went to Cambridge University and studied philosophy. Despite thousands of hours of thoughtful contemplation, he still hasn’t worked out how that happened. The highlight of his university years was receiving a £300 travel grant to visit Prague and ‘study philosophy’. It was a trip which ignited his love of Eastern Europe where he spends a lot of time writing and drinking black beer.
Other interests include wearing sunglasses and having his photograph taken. Visit his website for more info on this (allegedly) humorous man: www.iamthe.website