Hi and welcome to my first blog post, I am happy to see you here!
Often it is hard for people to talk about themselves, especially authors, who as John Green said is ‘a profession for introverts’, so I am posting an interview I did with a popular blog for the launch of Blood Feud last month. I hope you enjoy it, and enjoy finding out a bit more about me. If you have any questions, or things you would like to see in this blog series please email me, I always like hearing from fans of my work.
I am a former army officer, and freelance journalist. I was born in South Africa and travelled the world, before going to university.
I have a degree in Politics and International Relations. After graduation I moved to London, and joined the army. I have lived in eight countries and travelled to over forty, which he uses to influence and colour his novels.
After almost a decade in the Armed Forces, I resigned my commission to write thrilling adventure novels. I really like seeing new places, learning new things, and riding motorcycles through the vineyards of the Iberian Peninsula and Cape Winelands.
If you would like to see and hear more, please follow me on social media here:
Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I was born in South Africa to British stock. My Grandparents emigrated from Scotland to South Africa after WWII. I have lived in 8 countries in total (the USA, Scotland, England, Germany, Thailand, Kuwait, South Africa and Northern Ireland) and travelled to over 40. I spent almost a decade in the British Army and retired as a Captain. I have always wanted to be an author.
Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I am fortunate that my mother was a very wide reader. We were always fortunate to have books in the house, I grew up reading fiction books about Africa mostly, Alan Paton’s Cry the Beloved Country, Wilbur Smith’s Courtney series, Christopher Sherlock’s Hyena Dawn, Jeffery Archer’s early novels, are the ones I remember from a young age.
I started reading more non-fiction, like Andy McNab’s Bravo Two Zero and Immediate Action as a teenager. I also read Hunter S. Thompson as a teenager, The Rum Diary is a very underrated first novel. And I loved, and still love, reading Hemingway. The Sun Also Rises is by far my favourite novel, closely followed by his Nobel Prize winning; The Old Man and the Sea. Elmore Leonard is someone I have a newfound appreciation for as a new author. His novel Out of Sight is very funny. A man’s got to take a lot of punishment to write a really funny book.
Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
One thing we (as a species) are very lucky to have – although he asked for them to be destroyed in his will – are all of Hemingway’s correspondence, letters, manuscripts and interviews. If I could sit down and have a conversation with an author, it would be Hemingway, or Hunter S. Thompson. I am sure it would turn into a hard drinking session.
If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
I think sitting around a campfire, under the Milky Way with VD and Doc – from my novel Blood Feud – would be exhilarating, especially if a lion turned up!
Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I am not sure, I don’t think so.
Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried?
I like Stephen King’s response to this, and I think I will channel him here: “These people say ‘man, where do you get your ideas?’ I dunno where I get ‘em! You know, and if I did man, would I tell you!?” – Stephen King.
How do you plot your novels?
With Blood Feud I wrote it linearly, end to end … I didn’t plot it. I subsequently learned that this is the same way that Lee Child writes his Jack Reacher novels. And, I think it is better to work like that. I think you need the inspiration and creativity when it comes to writing, and for me, if you rely on a framework or plan it can limit your ability to really feel where the story wants to go. It’s like a river, the story will flow where it is supposed to go, and if you try and dam it, you are fighting a losing battle.
Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Find your favourite author, and try to beat the best thing they have ever written.
Every writer has learned their craft the hard way, by chipping away at it, like a block of marble. So, chip away at it, but you must love what you are doing, because the process never ends, we are all just at different stages of the journey.
What are your future plans as an author?
I am working on three Stirling Hunt novels right now.
A prequel to Blood Feud called Dangerous Cargo which takes place immediately before the events described in Blood Feud, when Stirling was still an ambitious Regimental Intelligence Officer in the Special Boat Service (SBS). And the second in the series, called Black Beach. And the third in the series. People who have read Blood Feud have really seemed to like it, so that has been encouraging, and encouraged me to keep going.
And my book of course can be found here: