I cannot tell you how excited I am that it is my stop on Backstabber tour by Kimberly Chambers which is out today…. Woo Hoo. Not only have I got a 5 star review to share with you but The Lady Of The Manor is also taking part in my Q&A interview where you can read all about where Kimberly’s idea for the Butler family came from!
Good morning and happy publication day welcome to chelle’s Book Reviews. Can you tell us a little about yourself and background?
I was born in Romford, and raised in Dagenham. After leaving school I worked as a market trader. Roman Road was my favourite. I was down there back in the 80s when the market was at its height and buzzing. The market went downhill after Tower Hamlets council decided to stop the parking, so I left to go full-time DJing. I’ve got no formal qualifications, and at 29 I fell into mini-cab driving. I was 38 when I attempted to write my first book, Billie Jo – the rest is history.
When did you know that you wanted to become a writer? and how did you go about it?
I was heading towards my 40th – sick of driving around Romford, picking up drunks and thought what the hell am I going to do with my life. So, instead of going on a hairdressing course like my friend had suggested, I decided to try my hand at writing. I had my choice of 5 agents, got signed up by Random House on a two-book deal and have never looked back.
Can you tell us what genre your books are and the audience you write for?
I write crime family sagas that seem to appeal to women and men of all ages. Unlike a lot of crime writers who concentrate on the police, their ways and views, I write from the perspective of the villains and their families. The other side of the coin, so to speak.
What is your writing process? and how long does it take?
I write everything by hand, and don’t formally plan the books. Ideas come to me as I write, and I tend to go with the flow. My quickest to date was The Feud, which took me 10 weeks. The Betrayer took me 13 – other than that the books tend to take about 4 or 5 months, sometimes 6.
Are your characters based on anyone you know or are they just fictional?
Pure fiction. I’ve not led a sheltered life, though, and have met a few Eddie Mitchell types in my time. My Nan Lil and her sister Gladys were out of Mile End. Hard as nails, they were, not too dissimilar to Queenie and Viv.
Have you written about a personal experience in your novels?
No, but I did once date an English traveller, hence my idea to base The Feud, The Traitor and The Victim around the travelling community. I knew I could get their language and lifestyle spot on. Thankfully, nothing that happened to Frankie Mitchell happened to me, though!
What research do you do?
Very little. But I do have a friend who used to be high up in the police force, and he was a particularly great help to me when writing Payback. That book was about the disappearance of a child and he helped me immensely with the police procedural side of the story.
Who would you like to co-write with and why?
Ricky Gervais, because I think he’s a comedy genius. I share his warped sense of humour.
What’s your favourite book?
Nothing particularly springs to mind, but I remembered reading Jilly Cooper’s Riders, Rivals and Polo about a dozen times when I was in my 20s, so I must have liked those. Rupert Campbell-Black was my cup of tea. I do like a bit of posh!
What’s your favourite food?
Spaghetti Bolognese – I eat that at least twice a week, sometimes more.
What’s your favourite film?
I prefer dramas. I adored The Sopranos and Irish crime series Love/Hate. If I had to pick a film, Once Upon a Time in America would be high up the list.
What’s your favourite song?
I’m a massive fan of music, I have my iPod on whenever I write. Rod Stewart’s ‘Maggie May’ and George Harrison’s ‘My Sweet Lord’ are two faves I can mention off the top of my head. I love 60s, 70s and 80s music. Can’t stand the crap these days – neither can Queenie!
Let’s talk the Butlers …
How did the idea of this family come about?
I wanted to do something set in the 1960s and the characters evolved from there. I love writing stories set back in the day, because I feel I can bring more colour to those eras.
Who is your favourite and least favourite character in the series and why?
Out of the main characters, I have to say that Brenda Butler is my least favourite, as I think she was over-shadowed by the rest of her family. That’s why I killed her off. I’d taken her as far as I could. I think my favourite has to be Vinny Butler. He was a joy to write about – a psychopath of the highest order. A close second is Little Vinny. Like father, like son, I suppose.
Who would you like to see play the characters if it was made into a film or TV show?
Bobby Cannavale would make a great Vinny Butler – he plays the dysfunctional male better than anyone I’ve ever seen. I think Jamie Borthwick, who plays Jay in Eastenders, would smash the role of Little Vinny: his mum’s a very good pal of mine and I keep telling him to dye his hair black to fit the part.
What did you find hard about writing the final book?
When I wrote The Feud, I originally planned it as standalone, but decided towards the end to extend the story. The Trap was also meant to be a standalone, but halfway through I changed my mind and ended up continuing the saga with Payback, The Wronged, Tainted Love and now Backstabber. Backstabber is the last in the series, and it also rounds off my trilogy The Feud, The Traitor and The Victim. Joining two lengthy series together was so bloody difficult, and I don’t think I’ll be attempting that again any time soon. Glad I did it, though. Both series have been popular and deserved an explosive finale.
How are you feeling about the series coming to an end?
I’m quite relieved to be honest. I think you can go on too long with a series sometimes, and I would hate my readers to get bored with the characters. I think I’ve ended it at the right time. Having said that, I’m gagging to write a prequel to The Trap. It will be set in the 50s/early 60s and will show the Butler boys growing up, etc. I love the music, fashion and the way England was back then, so I’m sure I could nail that era. I already have the most brilliant ending for it.
What are your plans to celebrate today?
My publishers Harper Collins are throwing a launch party for me tonight at a venue in the East End. All my pals are coming and I dare say it will take me two days to recover. The older I get, the more allergic to alcohol I become. Never mind! You only live once …
How can readers find out more information about yourself and your books?
My website and facebook –
I’m also on instagram at @
If you don’t face your enemies – they’ll stab you in the back.
One of them has a gun to his head. Who will pull the trigger?
When king of the underworld Vinny Butler goes into business with respected villain Eddie Mitchell, it’s a match made in East End legend. Friends and family are treated like gold, enemies like rats – it’s the life.
Then mysterious packages arrive, dead creatures and threats. Someone is out for revenge. Who the enemy is, nobody knows, anyone could be taking a pop. The gypsies who cursed Eddie, ghosts from Vinny’s past, enemies needing revenge. Even their own flesh and blood? There are some people you should never cross, some who can’t forgive or forget.
Who is the backstabber?
OMG what a brilliant ending to a fantastic series! Seriously you Kimberly Chambers fan are going to love Backstabber….I certainly did. And for those of you that haven’t read it the series I cannot recommend it enough. Everyone that I have read I think wow this is the best one yet. But Backstabber really is. Kimberly Chambers has totally nailed it and when I say nailed it. I mean wow I am totally blown away.
Kimberly is also the author of the Mitchell trilogy which is also a must read. So in this story the two families merge together When king of the underworld Vinny Butler goes into business with respected villain Eddie Mitchell, and bring this action packed UNPUTDOWNABLE grand finale!! Holy freaking hell have I got a book hangover.
If you’re a fan of gangster books this is definitely the book/series for you. The author takes you into the underground world of the unknown. With twisted people that you would not believe and they will do anything to get revenge. Kimberly is one natural talented writer that takes you on one roller coaster journey where you really get to know the characters and feel part of the story.
After winning a competition the Bakers became Queenie’s neighbors in The Wronged. I would like say a massive thank you to Kimberly for giving Chester my moggy a mention after he sadly passed away last year. Words cannot describe how over the moon I was to read that.
Backstabber is Gritty and a capital G that’s for sure and gets all the stars from me.
Thank you to Harper Collins for an advanced reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review.