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Cover Feature this month is Monarchs and Mendicants by Dan Groat

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British independent author, Daniel Watkins has written six novels since Glengoth was published by Olympia in 2012.


Being the private tutor to the Saudi Education Minister's family based in Riyadh and Paris gives Daniel plenty of time and space to think and write. His novels have developed from dark satires to polemical analyses of contemporary issues from private schools and the British class system to the Arab Spring. His latest novel, Spaceman Daddy – published under his Bareskindie imprint - examines sexual identities within the growing culture of internet 'selfie' voyeurism.


His novel, Portrait of a Landscape explores - through its framed sections of narrative - how we are all trying, one way or another, to escape from contemporary living. It seeks to uncover what it is we are hoping to find, how we might succeed and why we often fail.


"I like to connect my writing to other art forms," says Daniel. His 'art novel’ included works by Hepworth and Henri Clovis Gaugin, grandson of Paul Gaugin. His latest novel was written to the twelve 'tracks' from David Bowie's album, Heathen.

"After my 'big' political statement in Where are the Songs of Spring? (inspired by the Egyptian Revolution in 2011), I've wanted to develop a more urban punk style with my writing," says Daniel. And Spaceman Daddy is certainly blunter, less lyrical than Daniel’s earlier work.


Daniel still feels constricted by his literary background. "I feel I'm always battling against lyricism, he says, “But I’m sure Menuhin felt like this with Grappelli – not that I claim to be any virtuoso mind you.”


Daniel is currently working on a novel inspired by the Charlie Hebdo attacks. "The Gorgan Glass presents a dystopian vision of an ultra-Christian America caught in a power struggle with an enlightened, secular Arab world,” he says. "It's a sort of Handmaid's Tale meets Fahrenheit 451. Dystopian novels don't need to be about the future anymore; we're living the dark times right now. I do need to be careful living in Saudi Arabia, but I want the Gorgon Glass to be as reckless as I can make it."


You can connect with Daniel through his website, on Facebook. His books are available at all major online retailers including Amazon.com.


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