Saturday, April 7, 2018


Today was Day 1 of the Baltimore 2018 Ripper conference. Very interesting topics.

The topic I covered was "Tumblety: Historical and Criminal Evidence Issues". Here's the pdf version of the paper I wrote behind my presentation. 

Feel free to share your comments.

Tumblety 2018 Baltimore Presentation

Friday, January 5, 2018

My participation in author interviews.

I have the chance of contributing, with colleague authors, to this amazing web site, Book Reviews And Much More, by answering a few series of questions I would like to share with you. 

You'll find the first one where I introduce myself: My background 

Another one was done a few days ago: First 2018 interview

We were invited to write short Christmas storie which I did and uou will find it here: Til it happens in your Heart

You will also find a review of my novel, My ripper Hunting Days: Review of my novel 


Monday, December 4, 2017

My presence at the 2018 JTR Baltimore Conference

This might interest those who will be attending the 2018 RipperCon 2018 in Baltimore. I will be one of the speakers and will talk about Francis Tumblety and historical and criminal evidence issues related to him.

Spending years working on my novel, My Ripper Hunting Days, seems to pay off in different ways. The research I had to do on one of my main characters, Francis Tumblety, made me go through all the JTR books I could get a hand on, archives as well as well known JTR forums. So I think I know the guy pretty well. He's considered as one of the main suspects. I however noticed that many arguments used in his case supporting him as a suspect needed to be examined more rigorously something I which I did during these years. The reason for me was to see how far I could carry him in my storyline.

I fell upon many issues which will become the topic of the presentation and will cover these aspects:
  • Gathering data
  • Selecting data
  • Understanding data
  • Interpreting data
  • Formulating Tumblety theories

I'm not dismissing Tumblety at all but will be pointing out historian and criminoligist POV problems concerning him which btw concern probably even more other suspects.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

A Christmas story of mine

A member of one of the Facebook groups of authors I belong to suggested that we write short Christmas tales to offer them to all those we know. A rather awesome idea knowing that this group is composed of authors coming from several countries worldwide who wrote books concerning famous murderssuch as Jack the Ripper either fiction novels (like mine) or non-fiction books like research or 'theories'.

So I agreed to write one. Well, since horror movies are not especially my genre although my novel contains graphic parts of JTR coroners inquiries, I opted for a rather traditional style combining elements of conflicts, humor and, of course, Christmas magic.

It has only 19 pages. The title is 'Til it Happens in Your Heart '. You'll also find here an interview I had with the owner of the site, Susan Ballinger: (Interview With Author Bernard Boley). It's somewhere in the middle of the page. On that same web site, she made a special Christmas calendar with lovely videos showing some books written by authors which will probably include mine: (Christmas Calender). Once you get there, you might as well have a look at my Xmas interview on this page: (Christmas Q & A).

My copyright is registered at the Quebec National Archive Library and has an ISBN number, thus no risk of intellectual property theft.

Enjoy and Merry Ho Ho Ho!

Til it Happens in Your Heart
Til it Happens in Your Heart _Mobi

Til it Happens in Your Heart
Til it Happens in Your Heart _Epub

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Interview with Woodrow Riley, my main character

I was having my daily Bloody Ceasar sitting in my patio in the beautiful city of Merida where I live when something rather unusual happened to me.
The main character of my novel, Woodrow Riley, suddenly appeared only to tell me he had accepted an interview with one of those famous writer's blog the name of which I can't remember.
Anyway, this is the content of his interview.

Good evening Woodrow Riley. It's a pleasure meeting you. It seems that you carry quite a load in Bernard Boley's novel, 'My Ripper Hunting Days'. You probably wonder what your creator had in mind when he decided to call upon you as his main character in his novel. Do you want to tell us something about this? ”
It's a great pleasure for me also to have this conversation with you, mister Thompson. May I call you Gregory? ”
Of course, you may. ”
Let me begin by making things clear. It's my diary and not Bernard's we are talking about and he graciously offered me to be my editor, agent, ghost writer and publisher. ”
So you actually existed? ”
Have you ever heard of Luigi Pirandello's play, Six Characters In Search of an Author? ”
Who hasn't? ”
Well, Bernard turned out to be my Pirandello. ”
Would you like to expand a bit more? ”
Bernard and I met in one of those bars of the old part of Quebec City. As he would always do, he wrote down some words on his damn notepad. You know, the kind of bar where all the good looking women would find themselves by the end of every afternoon hoping they would meet Prince Charming, fall in love and happily live together for the rest of their lives. I was reading while he was writing. I looked at him and asked him, "What the bloody Hell are you doing? Didn't you notice I was here each and every day you come here and you've never noticed my presence?”
Did he react?”
Of course he did! But not the way I expected. He kept observing the beautiful women all around him, ordering Champagne after Champagne hoping one of them would want a sip of his venom. God only knows what would have happened to anyone of them should one of them had accepted. I had to insist and remind him of the nightmare he kept having. ”
And? ”
So I told him, "I know who you are. You're like the predator I hunted during months a century ago. I'm the one whose's been sending you this nightmare and you still can't figure out what it's all about?" Well after three complete rewrites of the novel, he finally managed to understand what I demanded of him. ”
I'm I to believe you are a ghost? ”
Didn't you listen to what I said? Pirandello, Pirandello for God's sake. ”
Do forgive me, Woodrow. So what's your story about? ”
When I was a young boy, I ran away from home hoping it would put an end to the miseries I battled through because of my drunk and violent father just to find out fifteen years later it only served to set up a countdown where I found myself pursuing the man I was convinced to be Jack the Ripper and whose name was Francis Tumblety? ”
Was he the Ripper? Did you catch him? ”
You know what? Tim Riordan's Prince of Quacks and Michael Hawley's The Ripper's Haunts made a great fuss about Tumblety, but I'm the only one who knew exactly what was going on. I personnly knew him when he was in Whitechapel in the autumn of 1888. You know, London's East End.”
With all due respect, Woodrow, I'm sorry but you didn't answer my question.”
Listen my dear Gregory, if I told you what happened, you wouldn't believe me. I helped Tumblety in gathering female body parts, met Gorden Fitzgerald who became my protector, fell in love with his daughter, Elizabeth, struggled with Frederick Abberline and became a friend of Charles Le Grand, not to mention my close relation with Derrick O'Connell, a member of the Irish Brotherhood. I almost lost my life more times than one would want to. The rest belongs to you, if you decide to know what actually really went on.”
So it's not a fiction?”
There are so many non fiction theories about Jack the Ripper and even if no one has managed to come up with some valid historical and criminal evidence or interpretation of what happened, Bernard decided it would be better to submit it as a fiction because nobody would anyway accept what I went through.”
Did Bernard get any comments about his telling of your story?”
Ripperologist's worst Jack the Ripper novel writer's nightmare, David Green said in his December 2016 review and I quote,"Bernard has written a picaresque drama about courage and personal responsibility and the consequences of family legacy. Its theme is not only how individual lives may be shaped by the course of history but how history itself is shaped by the actions of individuals. Ambitiously, several of the novel’s most important characters are kept on the periphery of the tale, and the Jack the Ripper murders are illuminated largely by subordinating them to the unfolding of Riley’s individual destiny. These are risky literary manoeuvers, but the author pulls them off magnificently. This is a thoughtful, skillfully plot"
So he did a good job?”
We both did a great job.”
It was a tremendous pleasure having you with me Woodrow. Should we expect more of you? ”
You shall if ever I decide to haunt you while you're dreaming like I did with my good friend Bernard. Until then, read our book, 'My Ripper Hunting Days'.”

Sunday, December 25, 2016

My opinion on my novel

I was asked by the 'Ripperologist' bimonthly magazine's fiction reviewer, David Green, what I thought about my book not as a writer, but as a reader.  He had read my book and had already writen a review to appear in December's edition of the magazine. I had no idea what he would say although I had a few hints. This is what I told him:

It's hard to distance oneself as a reader from a book I wrote. Nevertheless, I'll try to tell you what I like about it.

We have to go back to the first draft which was written in the third person point-of-view. The story was totally different. Woodrow Wilson was the Ripper and Gordon Fiztgerald became aware of it after having observed him in a pub looking at other women in a very strange and disturbing manner. From the moment he addresses him with these words, “I know who you are”, a growing complicity builds up between both of them. The problem I had with the plot, although it seemed appealing was one could figure out the outcome.

The second draft is basically the story we have in the final version, but still written in the third person. I wasn't satisfied with most of the sub-plots, not that they weren't interesting, but they did not allow me to focus enough on what was going through Riley's mind. Using the first-person point of view gave me that possibility and presenting the story as a diary made it easier. It would also allow for the reader a more personal connection with the main character. Those are the reasons behind the third draft which, by the same token, gave me the opportunity to add a romantic touch by including Elizabeth. So this is one of the things I like about the book, the use of the first-person POV.

The problem, however, I had with this diary format was that I had to find a way to deliver it. It's not like the diary of Anne Frank'or Maybrick's diary. It couldn't just pop out of nowhere. Someone had to have found it, hence the prologue and the epilogue. Why not going a little further along the thin fiction/reality line and tell the reader I was the one who found the diary. Epilogues often create a questionable delay preventing the reader from entering quickly into the story. They are used as an introductory setup of the story in terms of location and period. To avoid this problem, I decided to create a story around the story and have the reader jump into it directly with what I consider to be a rather good opening hook: “Prepare to drop the anchor”.

Of course, one aspect I gave a priority to was working on a JTR story which would not be the story of a police officer chasing the Ripper, nor a JTR pursuit through time. I wanted to tell a story about someone who lived in the district and had nothing to do with the Ripper turn into a man hunter. It's funny to see that a story that began in the first draft with someone befriending Jack the Ripper turned into a story about someone who ran away from his home when he was a young boy and hid himself from his past by working with corpses only to find himself hunting the Ripper. Globally speaking, I tend to believe the story is more than a Jack the Ripper pursuit and offers an interesting blend of brutal reality, drama and wit.

Another thing I like about the book is having tried to integrate, in the dialogues, as much descriptive elements as possible, breaking them down into small fragments. Too often, novels provide the author with the chance to show how well they can write descriptions or narrative parts. Of course, it does, but sometimes it slows down the pace at the wrong moment. You'll find an example on pages 204-205.

Building characters was probably the most demanding task I went through. However, it's also the most fascinating one. It's like writing a short biography for each one of the main characters. I must say that Luigi Pirandello's play, 'Six Characters In Search of an Author' showed me how important character creation is. Once it's done, all the writer has to do is offer them a scene within his story and they'll do the rest. I believe I gave them strong personalities. Considering the fact that in most stories, the hero wins (and has to be an American!!!), something I hate, Woodrow Riley had to be an anti-hero. In the case of those who existed, Abberline, Le Grand, Lusk, etc., I preserved what we knew about them seeking coherence before anything else when I used them. I like what I did with Le Grand, turning him into Riley's quipping partner. I wanted to avoid the kind of characters we find in movies such as In Hell where Abberline is presented as someone in complete contradiction with the person he really was.

There's also all the historical research the story required of me. Buying period maps, subscribing to archives. I even bought a 1888 Bradshaw railway guide just to get the exact departure time from the Euston train station when Riley leaves London to go to Manchester. All this doesn't make a story, but I enjoyed discovering details that became part of it such as the November 10 event where Riley almost gets lynched (p 351). It was based on an insignificant event that actually occurred on that day in Spitalfields. It was metionned on page 5 of London's Daily News, November 10, 1888 edition.

As for the things I like less, I'll mention the extended use of inquiry descriptions of the victims, although one cannot imagine a JTR story without blood and gut cutting. Maybe I should have edited them more. However, the aspect worrying me the most is this feeling I still have about the end of the story. It may seem I crashed landed the end. But then, there was no need for fast paced loaded action. Riley was crossing the ocean, wounded, sick almost dying and still trying to get a hold on Tumblety. In my mind, the main character had to be an anti-hero til the end. Even if he had caught Tumblety, he would have learned he wasn't the Ripper something everybody had already told him. Then what? So I made him prefer surviving, something we don't know if he actually did.
 He didn't consider the way I handled the end the same way I did and told me how he felt about it:
My view is that the ending works very well indeed. Sometimes these kind of shocking, dramatic revelations in the last paragraph can come across as a little contrived and stage-managed - but I didn't feel this was the case with My Ripper Hunting Days. Besides, there are hints in the novel that the astute reader will already have picked up on (i.e. on page 298 where we learn that Riley's father killed his wife in a Ripper-style manner; and on page 384 he says "You're my..." just before he dies).
When the magazine was realesed on December 24, I didn't expect such a positive review. This is what he wrote:

Woodrow Riley is a highly unusual young Irishman. He works as a laboratory assistant at the London Hospital preparing bodies for dissection. He seems a rather creepy figure at first, more at home among the dead than the living, until a chance encounter with Francis Tumblety propels his life in a new direction.

Tumblety’s elaborate scheme is to harvest the reproductive organs of deceased prostitutes and have Riley preserve them using the facilities at the Hospital. To that end Riley supplies Tumblety with a black bag containing amputation knives. But then the mutilated bodies of women start turning up in Whitechapel… Riley sets out to hunt down the man he believes has committed murder; but he also embarks on a journey of self-discovery, delving into his own past and uncovering uncomfortable personal truths.

The novel is presented in diary format, which poses conundrums for the reader: is it a reliable and comprehensive document? Does it set out to deflect suspicion from Riley by manipulating the evidence in his favour? Tumblety may be a credible Ripper suspect, but what exactly is his relationship with Riley? Is the younger man being drawn unwittingly into the role of an accomplice? Nothing is quite what it seems and the astute reader soon learns to mistrust what the narrator is telling us (at least part of the time). Characters dissemble and utter untruths; they adopt disguises or assume false identities. Innocent conversations turn out to be tip-offs or confessions.

Several subplots offer counterpoint to Riley’s hunt for the Ripper. Early on, he falls under the influence of Gordon Fitzgerald, a wealthy philanthropist from Dublin, who has his own agenda. And it is with Fitzgerald’s daughter Elizabeth that Woodrow seeks to resettle destitute East End families in Quebec. Meanwhile, Inspector Abberline and Sergeant Thick are taking a close interest in Riley’s Ripper hunting activities, yet both officers seem preoccupied with an earlier ongoing investigation into Irish Nationalism and Fenianism.

My Ripper Hunting Days can be enjoyed simply as an historical murder mystery, but I suspect Bernard Boley’s true intentions lie elsewhere. He has written a picaresque drama about courage and personal responsibility and the consequences of family legacy. Its theme is not only how individual lives may be shaped by the course of history but how history itself is shaped by the actions of individuals. Ambitiously, several of the novel’s most important characters are kept on the periphery of the tale, and the Jack the Ripper murders are illuminated largely by subordinating them to the unfolding of Riley’s individual destiny. These are risky literary manoeuvers, but the author pulls them off magnificently.

This is a thoughtful, skillfully plotted and fascinating work that shines with intelligence.


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

I'm now on Goodreads author section

The thing I like about this profile page of mine is that they offer a series of questions for the author to respond. I would like to share them with you:
How do you deal with writer’s block?

Experiencing the writer's block is normal. It happened to me quite a few times. I don't fight it. I simply pause for a while, do some research on the main topic of whatever I'm working on, on scenes, characters. I tend to go back to the beginning, looking for better words and sentences, questioning the relevance of parts.
In other words, I stay inside this gigantic bubble every writing project has blown around me and move in a different direction. It became a sort of Zen thing for me and doesn't cause me any stress.

What’s the best thing about being a writer?

You have this immense feeling of power in creating an imaginary world built upon what you see, think, smell, touch, hear everyday and putting it inside various characters who suddenly come alive asking you, almost begging you to do something with them. If you ever had the chance to see Luigi Pirandello's play, 'Six Characters In Search of an Author', you would understand what I'm trying to say.
It's also amazingly humbling to experience how much writing brings you beyond what you may have thought you were and could become.

What’s your advice for aspiring writers?

Putting aside the genre I prefer, historical novels, the two most important questions one must keep asking himself as he's writing are:
1. What's the point I'm trying to make in this portion of dialogue or narrative?
2. Is it bringing the story forward?

What are you currently working on?

I got three other book projects on the back burner and once the promotion/marketing on my first novel will be completed. I'll move on to the next one.

How do you get inspired to write?

I've been writing almost all my life, always carrying a pencil and notepad. I would write down what I felt as well as what I believed others were feeling based on their body language. Odors, colors were part of the elements I would write. I would also take pictures of scenes and gave myself these sort of 'Now describe it to me' homeworks.

Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?

The core of the story came from a dream I kept having for weeks. I told myself that writing it down would help, and it did. However, I never expected it would turn into a book project even less a Jack the Ripper historical fiction.
I went through three complete rewrites including a change of POV with some seven or eight variations in the last one before I was completely satisfied.

Here's the link: