Tag Archives: thriller

Author Interview: Gareth Wood

Author Gareth Wood writes Science Fiction and Horror, and one day hopes to combine the two. “I have ideas all the time, and write them down so that I can re-examine them later. Hopefully one or two will become books.” We hope so too, Gareth. Welcome to No Wasted Ink.

Author Gareth WoodHi, I’m Gareth Wood. I’m a commercial electrician who works in the film and television industry. I was born in England but I live in Vancouver BC. I’m nearly fifty, I live with my wife and a pair of cats who remain convinced that we are purely there to serve them.

When and why did you begin writing?

My first short story that was anything other than a jumble of ideas was written when I was about ten years old. It was a class assignment in school, to write an original short story, and I loved it so much that I never stopped. What I wrote then was a short SF piece. My love of SF started with books I found in my school library, and an SF themed children’s magazine that my mother subscribed to.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

That would be 2004. I had written on and off for many years before that, but I first had something considered for publication then. That was when I gave serious thought to actually writing something with the idea of having it published. Before that, it had all just been for fun, my own amusement. Now with four books published, and a fifth and sixth coming, I think I can safely call myself a writer.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

My latest published work is Black Horizon, the first of a trilogy. It is an SF tale about a clash of cultures, set 350 years after an apocalyptic war on Earth. Several astronauts return to Earth to find it drastically changed. I’m writing the follow-up book, The Serpent Sun, which introduces an advanced culture that spans a vast amount of territory, and also expands on the events taking place on and around Earth.

What inspired you to write this book?

I had recently re-read some books set on an post-apocalyptic Earth far in the future and was inspired by the idea that the world could change quite drastically in a short time. I had always wanted to return to SF, ever since that first short story so long ago. The title of the book and a scene associated with it came to me, and I went from there. Further inspiration came from some of the more realistic SF movies I’ve seen recently, as well as some old westerns. Black Horizon was once described by a reader as Zane Grey meets Heinlein.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Evolving. I feel I am getting better as a writer from book to book. It’s a skill like any other. Looking back I can see differences between what I wrote in my first book and my third and fourth, and now my fifth. I can say that a reader might be better able to describe my style than I could. Also, I try to write by hand for first drafts and then transfer my notes to the computer for the second. I find this works better for me since a lot of my time to write is when I’m away from my computer.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

I had a scene in my mind, playing out like a movie. I could see the characters involved and the environment they were interacting with, and the name of the book sprang from that. That seems to be the way I get my titles. Likewise, the name of the next book, The Serpent Sun, is a visual descriptive of a specific scene in that book. I see the scenes much like films playing in my mind.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Not particularly. I write adventures, so maybe ‘enjoy the ride’ is the message?

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know or events in your own life?

Not at all. Before Black Horizon I wrote zombie apocalypse fiction, which I would not hope to be real in any way. For the books I write now, which are slightly hard SF, I’m making a lot of it up as I go, and it has no basis in my reality. Though if it did, that would be interesting. I think I’ve created a world of great hope and potential in Black Horizon, even if it is steeped in conflict

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

Andre Norton, whom I read early in life and still do. Anne McCaffery, who wrote some incredible science fantasy tales. Arthur C Clarke, whose hard SF books made me see the beauty of science. Iain M Banks, who was the kind of author I aspire to become. Stephen King, who scared me. Dan Simmons, for writing some of the most elegant prose about transhumanism. Craig DiLouie, for showing how to write a great action story. And of course Sterling Lanier, whose Hiero books inspired me from the very beginning.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

Ah, that’s a hard one. If I could choose? Whom I most want to be like, and whose style I aspire to? Iain M Banks. The Culture books were awe-inspiring. His style and descriptive abilities were second-to-none. I think I would be quite happy to one day reach that level.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

Loraine Van Tonder. My publisher selected her, and I’m glad they did. I wouldn’t have known where to start, and she did an excellent job with Black Horizon, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with for The Serpent Sun.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write when and where you can. It’s tough these days juggling the writing impulse with working and living our regular lives. I manage to write by having notebooks that I carry around, or by using a writing app on my phone. It’s not always possible to write every day, but don’t worry about that. Write when you can, where you can, and as much as you feel able to. If that’s ten words or ten thousand, it’s correct.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thank you for allowing me to entertain you.

Black Horizon Book CoverGareth Wood
Vancouver, BC, Canada

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Cover Artist: Loraine Van Tonder
Publisher: Burning Willow Press

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Author Interview: Dee Ann Waite

How could I resist a fellow author who was also into photography and gardening? Please welcome Dee Ann Waite to No Wasted Ink.

Author Dee Ann WaiteWelcome to No Wasted Ink, Dee Ann. Could you tell the readers a little about yourself?

Okay, so the first question on your list is already a stumper. You’d like to know about who I am as a person. I can tell you what I like to do: spending time with my daughter and grandkids tops the list. I love photography and spend many hours in the Everglades snapping wildlife and scenery. I have a pet photography business, and get some of my greatest joy from animals and the flowers in my garden. My interests are eclectic from baby-anythings (who doesn’t love a baby something – puppy, kitty, baby-baby, elephant, etc) to political issues. In fact, one issue in particular is the cause of my book The Consequential Element. I love wine and chocolate (big surprise there, huh?), and I love tea kettles. I’ll whisper this because I don’t want to offend anyone, but another interest of mine is guns. I like them. I used to be a private investigator and had to carry, therefore I had to know how to shoot. Spending time at the firing range became my way of relaxing – my meditation, if you will.

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve been writing for many years, but only over the past two years have I decided to work toward publishing something. Why did I begin writing? To remove the darkness from my soul. I’m not trying to sound poetic; it’s just the way it was back then.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’ve always thought of myself as a writer; I’m just now beginning to see myself as an author.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

The Consequential Element is the story of a young woman by the name of Danielle Montgomery who must make a decision. Settle the rage and hatred that encase her heart by exacting the revenge she’s dreamed of for the past fifteen years, or forgive that which has caused her pain and agony, and robbed her of a normal life. Her uncle disappears deep within the Congo jungle – a place she knows all too well – after a remarkable discovery. She must return to save him, but in doing so she will come face to face with the demon of her dreams. Obasanji; the rebel soldier who murdered her mother and stole Danielle’s soul so many years ago. The handsome Kayden Moreau, a former Special Ops soldier turned mercenary, has been hired to protect her. Only Danielle doesn’t want his protection and fights him every step of the way. Will Danielle learn the secret to free her heart from its black tomb and discover love and happiness, or has her years of hatred doomed her soul forever?

What inspired you to write this book?

I was inspired to write this story after coming across an article about China and rare earth elements. Did you know that China holds 97% of the market on REEs? And that they supply the U.S. with our requirements? Or that they have been slowly decreasing the amounts of REEs that they import to the U.S., thus decreasing our military’s capabilities to operate at 100% efficiency? Many people are not aware. I decided to write a book around this issue to bring it to light, but placed this non-fiction in the center of a fast, action-packed, thriller of fiction. The overall response thus far from my readers has been that many of them have gone on to research the issue and have become more the wiser for it. What can we do about it? Know about it. Be aware.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Not sure about a specific writing style. I’ve been compared to Michael Crichton and Ernest Hemingway (go figure).

How did you come up with the title of this book?

Ah, the title. The Consequential Element. What exactly is the element the book speaks of? There is the tangible element – Promethium – that is discovered, but there is also another element hidden in the pages of the book. I plan on holding a contest for a 100.00 gift card in the future for someone who can tell me what that hidden element is.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Some of the experiences in this book are based on people I know, events, and my life. Danielle’s inner struggles are similar to my own. We both had to learn a vital lesson of life, and we’ve both had to learn to remove our armor from life in order to let people in.

What authors have most influenced your life?

I have been influenced by many authors. Authors of children’s books, horror, thrillers, adventures, and everything in between. Some that stand out most in impacting my life are Edgar Allen Poe, Stephen King, Michael Crichton, Ernest Hemingway, Lisa Gardner, Patricia Cornwell, Charles Dickens, and Ray Bradbury.
If I had to choose a writer to be my mentor I would choose Stephen King. It isn’t because of his genre, it’s because, in my opinion, he has such a great grasp on making me see and feel his stories. His characters live in my mind long after I read one of his books. His stories appear real no matter how farfetched they are. I want to be able to make my readers feel the same way.

Who designed the cover of your book?

I designed the book cover for The Consequential Element. I used to be a graphic designer and know my way around Photoshop pretty well.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

My only advice for other writers is not to give up on your dreams. If your dream is to write, do it. But if you’re going to do it, do it to the best of your ability. Learn the craft and become a professional. Don’t put anything out there in the world with your brand on it unless it reflects you in the best possible light. If you choose to indie publish, treat it like you would through a traditional process. Have your work copyedited, proofread, and fine-tuned to the best it can be. Be an author, not just a writer. Only then will your dream come true.

The Consequential Element Book CoverDee Ann Waite
Central East Coast, Florida

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Author Interview: Ian Walkley

When I first learned of Ian Walkely, I was impressed by the following he has built up for his excellent thriller. He is an Australian author with a flair for executing personal goals. I am pleased to feature Ian here on No Wasted Ink.

Author Ian WalkleyI’m someone who likes change and experiencing new things. I wanted to be an air force pilot but a hearing loss prevented that. I didn’t have a plan B, so I’ve worked as a marketer, a social and market researcher, government policy advisor, and in business development. In 1993 I had a mid-career crisis and started my own consulting business, which I grew to an $8 million business with 35 staff. I sold my share in the business in 2008 so I could follow the dream of writing novels. I have a wife who’s a primary teacher and three grown-up children, two dogs and a cat. Life’s pretty good, really. Oh, and I’m also a very determined person when it comes to achieving goals.

When and why did you begin writing?

Like many writers, it started with a passion for reading. In my late teens I loved to immerse myself in a Wilbur Smith adventure or Robert Ludlum thriller. I began writing novels many times over the years, but never got past about thirty pages. Finally, I cut back to 3 days a week in 2008 and began writing. Just when ebooks began to take off and publishers almost stopped looking for debut authors.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When Kirkus Reviews gave me a good review of my debut novel No Remorse.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

McCloud, or Mac as they call him, is a Delta Force special operations soldier, a highly trained killer, but not the type to just blindly follow orders. He makes mistakes, and is governed by a strong loyalty to his friends. I don’t think readers want to have more invincible heroes. They want them to have faults and prejudices that get them into trouble. Mac is not great with women, for example.

The bad guy, Sheik Khalid, he’s into all kinds of evil – kidnapping, drugs, slavery, organ transplants, terrorism. Yet he’s not a Bin Laden stereotype. I wanted a bad guy who readers could hate, but not just a terrorist. Khalid has rebelled against the teachings of Islam, especially since his first love was stoned to death. He is determined to overthrow the Saudi regime, and impose a more democratic regime, which would give people more freedom. But with his type of freedom comes a heavy price.

There are three tough female characters in the book, Tally, Sheriti and Anastia. The three female characters are all strong in very different ways. Tally is a computer genius, Sheriti is a trained Mossad agent, and Anastia is a skilled sniper for hire from Bulgaria.

The plotting in No Remorse is complex. It was quite tricky logistically to make it work, especially when you have seven POV characters, each with their own story, travelling between the US, Europe and the Middle East on planes and boats. I had to check, for example, that Mac could physically get to the island of Andaran in a certain time, given that he had to catch three separate flights, because there wasn’t a direct flight from London. Actually, that enabled me to write in a scene on a plane where he is confronted by a female assassin, which was a lot of fun to write. Some novelists don’t worry about that sort of detail. I know we’re writing fiction, but I like things to be realistic.

What inspired you to write this book?

I traveled a lot in business, and I’d often buy a book at the airport bookstore. They were invariably thrillers—global conspiracies, exotic places, heroes bigger than life chasing nasty bad guys and beautiful women. I wanted to write a thriller like that. And did.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I have tried outlining, but I tend to keep diverting from any plot I try and flesh out. So I guess I have a big picture of the story, and do a little plotting, then write, then figure out whether I’m on the right track. I throw out lots of scenes. But sometimes I put them back in later, or hold them for use in a later book.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

I tried fifteen titles for two years before I came up with the title, No Remorse. I wanted the title to reflect a theme. No remorse is often associated with a criminal’s attitude. However, in this case, it’s the protagonist’s attitude. He’s like Liam Neeson in Taken. Totally ready to take on the bad guys and destroy them.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

The theme is that we need to destroy the evil in the world before it takes advantage of our goodwill and destroys us. And sometimes one has to follow one’s own judgment rather than accept authority at face value.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

There is a great deal of research gone into the book. I traveled in the Middle East, and researched many of the elements of the plot, such as slavery, illegal organ transplants, missing nuclear material, financial banking scams and so on. So while No Remorse has the action of a James Bond thriller, it could be happening right now. That’s what my readers tell me.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

In my younger days I enjoyed Wilbur Smith, Alistair Maclean and Robert Ludlum, Isaac Asimov and Philip Dick. More recently Harlan Coben, John Grisham, David Baldacci and Lee Child. I don’t think they’ve influenced my life, but I’ve enjoyed reading their stories. They’re inspiring now because I’m writing, and I can appreciate even more the wonderful imagery, and powerful characters and plots that they create.

I read a variety of genres, and even occasionally literary fiction and YA. I enjoyed The Hunger Games and Harry Potter. I forced myself to read Fifty Shades of Grey, but like many others I found it hard to understand the phenomenon’s appeal. To me it’s a romance that doesn’t deliver on its promise. I’m loving Game of Thrones at the moment. But mostly I read thrillers and crime.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

I would love to have a mentor. Perhaps someone like David Morrell, who lectures in writing thrillers. But I think the sessions I attend at writers’ conferences and the courses I have done are as close as I’ll ever get. Often a writer presenting will have one pearl of wisdom that resonates for a long time.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

I ran a competition among graphic design students at the Queensland College of Art, and chose the best one to work with me. Her name is Nicole Wong. Unfortunately, she has disappeared. I’m trying to find her because she expressed interest in designing my next book. So far without success. A real life mystery.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

I guess I would strongly recommend to emerging writers to study the craft by attending courses and conferences. They say it takes at least five years just to learn the basics. Writing is something one can only improve on. And for self-publishing authors, I would strongly recommend paying for a professional editor. I hate seeing poorly formatted self-published books with typos and grammatical errors that give self-publishing a bad name.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

My first novel took three years to write. I love getting feedback from readers who’ve enjoyed No Remorse. Fortunately, I get lots of kind words, which inspire me to continue. Writing is not an easy job. It can be lonely, and for me, anyway, there is lots of re-writing and editing before I get it right. “Emerging” writers like me need lots of four and five star reviews on Amazon to help readers become aware. So please, if you like No Remorse, write me a review (and write to me too).

No Remorse Book CoverIan Walkley
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
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Publisher: Marq Books
Cover Artist: Nicole Wong

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Author Interview – Greg Stacey

Sometimes in life we all need a little adventure to get our blood moving. When that moment comes, I like to turn to a good action, adventure thriller. I met Greg Stacey online, as I do many of the authors that I interview here on No Wasted Ink, and I found his history and background to be well grounded for a thriller writer. I hope you’ll enjoy his interview!

Author Greg StaceyI was brought up in Wiltshire, England and have lived there for most of my life. I am very happily married and have three great kids. For most of my adult life, I worked as a Cognitive Behaviour Therapist in the National Health Service. I am a keen guitarist and have played in a number of blues and rock bands over the years, performing material written by myself and in collaboration with a long term friend and fellow musician. I have always enjoyed a good read and have very eclectic tastes, from classical to modern, fact to fiction. Currently I am writing full time, as I retired from the NHS last year.

When and why did you begin writing?

When I was in my teens, I wrote short stories and essays, several of which won prizes, so my writing aspirations go back a long way. As my professional career developed and family life became hectic, my writing took a back seat, but I continued to write articles, short stories for family and friends and develop ideas for future projects.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

A difficult one to answer, but I guess when I was quite young, maybe early twenties, but other things took over. At the beginning of 2012, I really thought it was time to put pen to paper so to speak, and fulfil the ambition. I now consider it my primary occupation.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

The Agnatum is an action, adventure thriller, set in the present day, but originating in World War Two, with the development of a ‘superweapon’ in the German Wunderwaffe programme, when Germany became increasingly frantic to devise new, powerful, and sometimes bizarre weapons that could turn the tide of the war in its favour. Germany’s desperation to create and develop new technologies pushed 1940’s science to the limit.

The Agnatum is the story of the development of such a weapon. Unable to complete their work before the conflict ends and the war is lost, a powerful group of Germans, the Agnatum, who planned a counter regime to the Nazi dictatorship in the final stages of the war, leave a legacy to their descendants to continue their work, in order to restore Germany’s former glory and supremacy. The eventual successful development of the superweapon ultimately threatens world stability by potentially forcing governments to capitulate to the demands of the merciless and cruel underground group.

The menace and danger that the Agnatum’s superweapon poses has to be countered. An international intelligence organisation, Strategic Intelligence and Defence ©, SIAD for short, is charged with the task, under the leadership of the charismatic central character, Nathan Stone. Stone, aided by a trusted and dependable colleague, Spencer White, and a former lover, Dr Georgie Manston, heads up an experienced team of skilled professionals to track down those behind the plot and thwart their ambitions, taking them across Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

What inspired you to write this book? Do you have a specific writing style?

I had been trying to write a science fiction novel for several years, but for whatever reason it never came to life on paper, so I started afresh. The Agnatum came out of a conversation I was having with my son after watching a television programme about the weapons Germany worked on towards the end of WW2. I think he said something like ‘what would have happened if they had got them to work?’ – That was enough to spark an idea that then became the story of the Agnatum.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

The original title was very different. Once I was about a third of the way through and the plot began to evolve, I needed a name for the organisation developing the superweapon. They were Germans, but not Nazis, so they had to be some sort of offshoot from the established Nazi regime in World War 2. I looked up various translations for offshoot and eventually came up with the Latin – Agnatum – and it sounded pretty cool.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Again, a difficult question – I suppose I wanted people to think in a ‘what if?’ way. What if they had completed the weapon during the war? What if they had succeeded in the present day? If there is a message or a warning, it’s from the past, but unfortunately it’s a message that we either haven’t received yet or taken heed of – not to allow prejudices, fears and greed to influence our decisions or the paths we take.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

In all honesty, I would have to say no. this is a pure adventure thriller, designed to take one out of oneself on a fictitious journey – pure escapism – apart from perhaps the message above!

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

Graham Greene, Tom Clancy, Clive Cussler, Shakespeare, Bob Dylan, Ernest Hemingway, Kathy Reichs, F Scott Fitzgerald, Ian Fleming – the list could go on forever. I like reading – pretty much everything, although, as you can probably tell, I am very partial to adventure tales. What do I find in them that’s inspiring? Wit, intelligence, integrity, honesty, humour and a determination to tell a good story.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor?

If talking about the action adventure genre, I would have to say Clive Cussler. Cussler is always a great read and has an ability to keep coming up with good adventure books, even if they are themed. He may not be Shakespeare, but he is, in my humble opinion, an excellent storyteller.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

I have to take the credit for the cover. Besides writing, I am a very keen amateur photographer. The cover is a composite, created using photographic software and themed around the story.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

I am not sure that I would want to give another writer advice at this stage in my writing career, but what I would say is that if you have a story to tell, or passion for writing, then go for it. There is nothing to lose in trying. Writing is a skill that has to be mastered. I feel I am still at the beginning of that road and have a lot to learn, but it is immensely rewarding personally and well worth the blood, sweat and tears in trying to produce something you can be proud of yourself and that others will hopefully enjoy.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Only that I sincerely hope you enjoy The Agnatum, for what it is, a story. There may be messages within it, for others better than me to identify perhaps, but what I wanted to produce was a good old fashioned adventure tale that someone can’t put down until they have read the last page.

Book Cover The AgnatumGreg Stacey
Wiltshire, England.

I enjoy writing action, adventure thrillers. I am an admirer of Ian Fleming’s books – descriptive, but without being overly so, leaving something to the reader’s imagination. I love a good story, in perhaps a more old fashioned way, not too high tec, so that everything remains believable, or nearly so.

The Agnatum – available on Kindle
Cover Art: Greg Stacey

Author Interview: Keith Dixon

I met Keith via my No Wasted Ink facebook page and am delighted to include him here on the blog. Welcome Keith to the readers of No Wasted Ink.

Author Keith Dixon
Author Keith Dixon
Hi, I’m Keith Dixon. I’ve had a varied career as a proofreader, copywriter, professor of English and business psychologist. I have a house in Cheshire in the UK but I’m currently spending a lot of time at my partner’s place in France. I hope eventually to sell up and live with her on a permanent basis!

When and why did you begin writing?

My first memory of taking writing seriously was as a teen, making up stories and scripting episodes of The Avengers, with John Steed and Emma Peel, on British TV. I never got as far as sending in these scripts, which is probably just as well. In my late teens I bought an old manual typewriter and started writing short stories and, eventually, novels. I think many writers have a didactic streak which comes to the fore in one’s teenage years – you think you see the world much more clearly than the ‘old folk’ around you, and want to set them straight. So you start making up stories that somehow embody the immortal life lessons you’ve learned at age sixteen …

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I wrote 7 novels between the ages of 20-22, but of course none of them was any good. But in my late twenties I won a playwriting competition which led to the play – about Isaac Newton – receiving ‘rehearsed readings’ at two major theatres in Manchester and Chester. That was when I started to think I knew how to put words together. Unfortunately it was then a long time before I had the freedom to write books again.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

The Private Lie is the second in my series of ‘Sam Dyke Investigations’. Sam is a tough private eye based in the North West of England who gets caught up in the malevolent activities of two thuggish twins. Sam is trying to help his son, whom he hadn’t met before the beginning of the book. The son turns up after eighteen years and demands that Sam must help him. So Sam agrees to find his son’s missing girlfriend but before he knows it is engaged in a battle with two gangland twins. Mayhem ensues.

What inspired you to write this book?

Two things: I’d read about two men in Manchester who ran a building/construction company, but were in fact gangsters smuggling dope and so forth. The construction business was more or less a cover. Secondly, I’d seen a guy in a coffee shop in a mall. He had on a tight black tee-shirt and bulging muscles, with a shaved head showing just a little hair. And he was with a delicate woman who I took to be his wife. I wondered why someone got themselves muscled up like that, and what it was like for them to be out on a shopping expedition in a mall. This became the basis for my two steroidal twins.

Do you have a specific writing style?

The genre I write in is the hard-boiled, noir private eye school, and there is a kind of style associated with that – wisecracks, first-person narration, dames and bad guys. From Chandler and Hammett through Ross Macdonald’s Lew Archer and on to Robert Crais’ Elvis Cole, there is a kind of ‘perspective’ that the private eye must take in order to justify what he does (and though there are of course exceptions, it is usually a he). So the style focuses on actions at the expense of reflection and uncovers individual motivations as the book progresses. There are helpers, comic characters, danger and moments of drama. The writer’s job is to harmonise all these elements into a ‘voice’ that makes sense as a person speaking to you, and also has some kind of moral vision or understanding of what’s going on. I’m becoming more interested in that aspect as I write more. Another wrinkle is that of course these books are usually written by Americans, with all the vivid language that entails – a challenge for me was to transfer that into the UK.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

The Private Lie is obviously a pun on Private Eye, but I also built in several references to the ways in which people lie to themselves or sometimes keep the truth from others – so it’s not an outright lie but perhaps a sin of omission instead.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I don’t actually believe in an abstract ‘evil’ as I know some people – and some writers – do. My experience as a psychologist tells me that people act on motives and drives that they’re not always aware of – they justify their actions to themselves or do things – even bad things – as a way of coping with the world they find themselves in. So I hope that some of the bad guys in the book are shown to have some redeeming features or vulnerabilities that they can’t help, any more than they can help the behaviours that we would call wicked or malicious.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I think it’s true that practically everything in this book is made up! In my first novel, Altered Life, I did use my background in business psychology and consultancy to create an environment for the story. Here, it’s research and knowing the physical places in which the events happen, and that’s all.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

An endless list. Mostly American writers – Fitzgerald, Dos Passos, Salinger, Steinbeck, Heller. More recently, James Lee Burke. As a writer, what I find inspirational is their ability to capture lived experience in sentences. Trying to write well AND write within the constraints of a genre is an interesting task and one that needs constant study. That’s one reason I started my blog, Crime Writing Confidential – subtitled ‘What crime writers do, and how they’ve done it.’

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

At the moment, it’s James Lee Burke. Every sentence is heavy with meaning. He writes dialogue that jumps off the page and grabs you around the neck. His descriptive passages add depth and resonance to his characters’ actions. And he has a moral purpose behind his books. Plus, he’s probably the greatest writer of action sequences currently writing. The last 100 pages of his new book, Creole Belle, is one extended action sequence of the sort you might find in a Bruce Willis film. Only better.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

I’ve used photographs that I’ve taken myself for my books because they have some relevance – for me, if not for the reader!

Do you have any advice for other writers?

The usual advice is to read and read and read. But it’s more than that. It’s read, then think. Read, then think. Look back at a page or a paragraph and analyze how it achieved its effects. How did he get from that section or thought to this one? How does the writer structure scenes? Where’s the conflict? So it’s a mixture of reading, thinking, analyzing and then trying it out.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

To those who have already read the books, thank you and I hope it wasn’t too painful! To those who haven’t, please take a chance.

Private Lie Book CoverKeith Dixon
Cheshire, UK and central France (occasionally)

A writer of crime novels that are bitterly comic but deadly serious, with a hero who doesn’t know how to give up.

The Private Lie, published by Semiologic Ltd, photo by Keith Dixon.

Available as a paperback from Amazon.
Available as a Kindle eBook.