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Twinkle, a sci-fi thriller getting glowing reviews

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A rich man’s flashy stunt has left most of the world blind. The lucky ones who still have sight are left holding the bag.

That’s the basic plot of Twinkle, a self-published thriller by Bermuda resident Simon Parkinson.

It’s drawn attention from the likes of best-selling British author Frederick Forsyth, who sent a handwritten note to Mr Parkinson after he bought a copy.

The 52-year-old’s “biggest fan”, however, is his Bermudian wife Joanne Harvey.

Twinkle is Mr Parkinson’s fifth book.

In the novel, the richest man in the world tries to get into the Guinness Book of World Records by dropping fireworks from orbit into every time zone.

For some reason, people start to go blind within 22 hours of the fireworks, except for a mysterious select few.

“The first few pages are science fiction, the rest is thriller,” said Mr Parkinson, who works in information technology at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences.

The Canadian author won the 2013 Kindle Book Award for his science fiction novel, Predation. Twinkle has been well received by critics. Bookviral.com called it “highly enjoyable” and Amazon.com gave it a five-star rating.

“The biggest influence on my books is my travel and work with electronics in the military,” he said. “I was in the Canadian Air Force for 13 years. I retired in 1994.”

He then worked for a small computer game firm but started writing in 2004 when he found himself unemployed for seven months.

“I needed something to do,” he said.

“Every morning I would get up and go into my office at 9am. I would write until 5pm. I wrote my first book, Mask of the Pharaoh, in about five weeks. That was the start. I was writing multiple genres including mystery and adventure.”

He tried publishing the traditional way, but gave up after he was rejected by more than 70 publishers.

“Most never got back to me,” he said.

“Self-publishing gives me complete control over the process. The downside is the cost. I love writing. I don’t do it for the money. A lot of my friends think I am making a lot of money for my writing, but for every dollar that I make I have spent three. I do everything myself. I get graphic artists to do my covers; I get professional editors to edit the books.”

He said you really have to work hard at promotion when you self-publish.

“A mainstream publisher would have lots of money to pump into advertising,” he said.

“When you are a single person you have to go a more modest route with banner ads and that sort of thing.

“There are 2.2 million e-books out there, I am just a drop in the bucket.

“The hardest part is getting noticed. I know I write good books, because they are well reviewed.”

Mr Forsyth, author of The Odessa File and Day of the Jackal, was just one of many readers from around the world who sent him messages, Mr Parkinson said.

“People find me through Amazon.com or through my website.

“To get something back from an established author like Frederick Forsyth was an incredible boost.

“In his note he said he picked up a copy of my book and was saving it for vacation. The note is still on my desk at home.”

Twinkle is available in local bookstores and through Amazon.com, iTunes, Kobo and other book platforms.

For more information visit www.sjparkinson.com.

Simon Parkinson with his new book. (Photo by Nicola Muirhead)