How has your upbringing influenced your writing? My upbringing’s had a tremendous influence on my writing. Of British parents, I was born in Hong Kong and have lived in India, Libya, Iran, the UK, Europe, USA, and Australia. From an early age I experienced different cultures and religious, political and social systems. My father was a low level MI6 operative and my mother worked in British embassies, so I was also immersed in the intelligence community and the intrigues of international diplomacy – all enhanced later by my own training as part of Britain’s elite Parachute Regiment.
These experiences are a rich source of content for my books, in terms of the plot, locations, the diverse cultural mix of characters and the historical background that’s key to the stories I weave. With my thrillers like “An Unquiet American” I draw heavily on my own understanding of the world of international intelligence, of how people of different cultures think and act and of how unimaginable the actions of extreme individuals, groups and countries can be in their desire for power at all costs.
What’s the one thing from your childhood that endures in your writing today? A sense of adventure! The major result of that young curious wide-eyed boy traveling with his parents to exotic locations and living an exciting life is my lifelong love of adventure. That childish delight in discovering something new, intriguing, puzzling, enlightening or bewildering is, I hope, what comes through to my readers and keeps them turning page after page into the early hours of the morning. It’s that exuberance of childhood translated into adult themes that excites me as a writer.
What’s your favorite place in the entire world? To be honest, one of my most favorite places in the world is being out on the ocean alone, on a sailboat, when the sky is blue, the sun’s warm, there’s a nice breeze and the water’s so clear I can see deep into it’s depths. With maybe a South Pacific atoll nearby as my destination where I can snorkel and see brilliant corals and marine life and marvel at the wonders of our natural world. I’m not a city person really, so natural beauty inspires and appeals to me much more.
What’s your favorite food? A simple dish of shaved mozzarella cheese with sliced tomatoes, basil, generously sprinkled with olive oil with a little salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. It’s what I lived on (accompanied by a good Italian red wine) when I sat down to write my first book and that turned out really well, so it’s been a favorite ever since and kind of my lucky dish.
When did you first realize that you wanted to become an author? I devoured books from the time I could read, but wanting to be an author and becoming one are two very different things. What “made me” into an author was unexpectedly finding myself using words to “get my life back” after the traumas of war. In the 1970’s I joined the British Army – The Parachute Regiment – and served in different parts of the world. It was being in combat and the subsequent years of recovery having lost my entire large bowel from service in Northern Ireland that dramatically changed my life. I came out as a very “weathered” 30 year old wanting to make sense of all that had happened to me. So I starting writing and that outpouring of my soul became my first book “CONTACT”. It was a bestseller and I’ve never looked back. Now I prefer writing fiction and the different worlds I can create that way.
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Genre – Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
Rating – PG