– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘Smile Of The Stowaway’ blogtour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but b
About the Author :
Tony Bassett, who was born in West Kent, grew up wanting to be a writer from the age of nine when he edited a school magazine. After attending Hull University where he won a `Time-Life’ magazine student journalism award, he spent six years working as a journalist in Sidcup, Worcester and Cardiff before moving to Fleet Street. Tony spent 37 years working for the national press, mainly for the `Sunday People’ where he worked both for the newsdesk and the investigations department. He helped cover the Jeremy Thorpe trial for the `Evening Standard’, broke the news in the `Sun’ of Bill Wyman’s plans to marry Mandy Smith and found evidence for the `Sunday People’ of Rod Stewart’s secret love child. On one occasion, while working for `The People’, he took an escaped gangster back to prison. His first book, `Smile Of The Stowaway’, is one of four crime novels Tony has written over the past three years. He has five grown-up children and eleven grandchildren. He lives in South East London with his partner, Lin.
A married couple, a stranger from far away and a murder that rocks their lives. Desperate to reach England, a bedraggled immigrant clings precariously beneath a couple’s motor home as they cross the Channel. Once holidaymakers Bob and Anne overcome their shock at his discovery and their initial reservations, they welcome the friendly stranger into their home in defiance of the law. But their trust is stretched to the limit when the police accuse the smiling twenty-three-year-old of a gruesome murder. Could this man from six thousand miles away be guilty? Or is the real killer still out there? Former national newspaper journalist Tony Bassett tells how Anne turns detective, battling against a mountain of circumstantial evidence and police bungling to discover the truth. This gripping first novel concerning a death in a remote Kentish country cottage is packed with mystery, suspense and occasional touches of humour.
First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂
Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
Thank you very much for allowing me to have a say on your website. I have been writing since the age of nine when I edited a school magazine. I edited my university newspaper and then worked as a journalist on local and national newspapers. But I only started writing novels seriously four years ago. I have altogether written five novels, one of which (Smile Of The Stowaway) has just been published.
Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
As a young child, I liked reading Richmal Crompton’s William series of books. Now my favourite authors are Val McDermid (whom I worked with on the Sunday People), Ian Rankin, Ruth Rendell, Gillian Flynn, Colin Dexter and Peter James.
Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I have received advice from several established writers, but if you aim to be a successful author, you have to have the confidence to plough your own furrow.
If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
If I could, I would like to invite the fictional character Yusuf Osman (the stowaway who appears in my crime novel Smile Of The Stowaway) for tea. The reason is that I would like to hear more about his astonishing journey across Africa – hiding from Eritrean spies and the police; gaining any job he could find to raise money; concealing himself in lorries; sailing across seas in makeshift boats; and walking for thousands of miles in blistering heat.
Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
No, I don’t need to clutch a lucky rabbit’s foot or wear purple underpants! Just give me my PC and keyboard — as well as online access for reference checking — and I’m away.
Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Good question. Many of the ideas for my novels come from my knowledge of the lives and experiences of people I have met during my long career as a journalist, specialising in British home news. I worked for the Sunday People, both in the newsroom and investigations department. I covered some major court cases and got to know the police. Inevitably, aspects of personalities of people I have met have made an impression and will have influenced my writing. But no one I know should be concerned. If anyone were to be lampooned or heavily criticised, they have the power of the courts to fall back on. So, from an author’s point of view, it is very unwise to upset people.
Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
Another good question. The answer is both. I start with the kernel of an idea about how the story will open. Then I consider ideas on how the story will develop from there. But I only plot a few chapters ahead at a time. I am concerned that, if you overplan or overplot, it takes the novelty out of the project and is rather restricting. In other words, I enjoy using my creativity along the way. As I’m proceeding, a new thread or idea will spring up and I can change the storyline as a result – sometimes substantially.
Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Set a target for the amount you write every day and try to stick to it. Also join a writers’ group, which can be very helpful and give you encouragement.
What are your future plans as an author?
I am hoping to get my new novel published (the follow-up book to Smile Of The Stowaway). It is a spy thriller involving the same Canterbury couple that appear in the first book, Bob and Anne Shaw.
Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
After the murder of accounts supervisor Lucas Sharp on Bonfire Night at Lilac Cottage in the Kent hamlet of Chivingden, journalist Prunella Ball visits Bob and Anne Shaw at their home. She reveals details of the murder, which she has obtained from her friend, DS Graham Kirwan. Prunella tells the couple that, as Graham and DI Russell Woods left the murder scene, Graham took an interest in the murdered man’s red Astra estate, which was parked outside the cottage. Here is an extract from the book which relates to this:
‘As Graham and DI Woods left the murder scene, Graham began peering at Sharp’s red Astra estate, which he had parked outside the cottage two hours earlier. Under the street-light, he noticed what appeared to be a series of Chinese letters etched on the side of the vehicle. Well, the inspector took a torch from his pocket and examined the five obscure symbols across the entire length of the nearside car door. Each one was twenty centimetres high.’
‘How bizarre!’ said Anne.
‘Yes. The two detectives thought so as well. By all accounts, Graham said: “It looks freshly done. What the hell does it mean?” To which the inspector replied with words to the effect: “I don’t know but I’m damn well going to find out.”’
Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Tony Bassett.
Win 6 x PB copies of Smile of the Stowaway (Open INT)
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The Magic of Wor(l)ds
P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!