– ‘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 ‘The Kompromat Kill’ blogtour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but b
About the Author :
I started climbing at 13, survived being lost in Snowdonia at 14, nearly drowned at 15, and then joined the Army at 16. Risk and adventure was built into my DNA and I feel very fortunate to have served the majority of my working career as an intelligence officer within Defence Intelligence, and as an explosive ordnance disposal officer and military surveyor within the Corps of Royal Engineers.
I was privileged to serve for twenty-eight years in the British Army as a soldier and officer, rising through the ranks to complete my service as a major. I served across the globe on numerous military operations as well as extensive travel and adventure on many major mountaineering and exploration expeditions that I led or was involved in.
I was awarded the Geographic Medal by the Royal Geographical Society for mountain exploration in 2003 and served on the screening committee of the Mount Everest Foundation charity for many years. It was humbling after so many years of service when I was awarded the MBE for services to counter-terrorism in 2007.
The Failsafe Query is my debut novel, with The Kompromat Kill, my second.
They were preparing for decades – now it’s time to take them down.
When a British Diplomat is kidnapped in the heart of London, followed by a brutal double-assassination in Chelsea, MI5 braces for the threat of deep sleeper cells coming alive.
Hiding overseas with a price on his head, Sean Richardson is tasked to lead a deniable operation to hunt down and recruit an international model and spy. Moving across Asia Minor and Europe, Sean embarks on a dangerous journey tracking an Iranian spy ring who hold the keys to a set of consequences the British Intelligence Services would rather not entertain.
As Sean investigates deeper, he uncovers dark secrets from his past and a complex web of espionage spun from the hand of a global master spy. As he inches closer to the truth, the rules of the game change – and the nerve-wracking fate of many lives sits in his hands…
Tense, absorbing, and insightful, The Kompromat Kill is a gripping thriller leaving you breathless at the pace of intrigue, cleverly unravelled in a dramatic finale.
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?
Hello! I’m 58 of years of age and currently work in cyber security but served for over 28 years in the Army as a bomb disposal officer, Intelligence officer, and military surveyor. My passions are rugby, mountaineering, adventure travel and military history. I suppose my inspiration for writing novels really came from my interests in geo-politics and for example, Then Kompromat Kill is based on the ever-rising tensions of the US and Iran situation. I guess I’ve been lucky enough to be able to draw on my own experiences in counter terrorism, bomb disposal and the military to craft the stories with a level of authenticity and I always like to provide an insight to readers on the new technologies and tradecraft of modern day espionage, as well as the linkages to the real life operators who conduct such dangerous work. I really enjoy writing, and in a sense it’s my new adventure and risk in life as I head towards retirement !
Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I always used to read Desmond Bagley as a teenager and loved his fast-paced big action thrillers. I was always drawn to adventure as a kid, perhaps from my dad telling tales of when he travelled the globe as a merchant seaman. I also read Alastair Mclean novels and so thrillers have always been my genre. I joined the army at 16 to seek out my own adventures and its only now, reading this question, that such authors I think had an impact on me as a teenager lulling me into going beyond reading about travel and adventure, but to actually pursue it myself. Nowadays, I read much more widely, but am always drawn to the mystery and intrigue of spy thrillers. Le Carre and Tom Clancy remain favourites of mine.
Is there an writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I think I’d like to sit down and have a beer with Mark Dawson. His novels are fast paced, and he is very skilled at making the reader want to keep turning the pages. Plus, as a self-published author, he has taken such an independent journey to new dimensions acting as a big role model for self-published authors. His websites, books and courses offer real tangible insights into how to improve your writing. I love how he’s been able to write magnificent stories and turn it into a successful business without the big publishers behind him.
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 Jack. Jack is the smart wise guy, an MI5 veteran who pulls the strings in both my novels. He uses skill, cunning and guile to plot away at the deniable operations he plans to ultimately protect the nation. He is loyal, a family man, experienced the rawness of terrorism, and is a skilled practitioner at understanding and predicting what politicians will, or won’t do for the defence of the nation. He then tunes his plans to make sure his country comes first, placing Sean most often in grave danger but trusting in his instincts that Sean will win through. I’d invite him for tea to see how he is able to come up with such cunning schemes, and what motivation lies right behind him. A fascinating character in my own mind, and I’m having fun trying to see where he goes and what he does in my 3rd novel – I’d ask him over tea!
Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Absolutely none! I have absolutely zero routine mainly because I have a full-time day job, a family with children, and a hectic life with social and sports that stops routine. I suppose my ritual is that I spend the first 3 months thinking and plotting a spy novel, creating linkage maps of characters and plots, then I create an outline plot with sub plot – plus more research and thinking. I like to intertwine topical political events, with current geo-political threats, and then build a story line and a character arc that merges the strategic politics with the frustrations and conflict of the ground operators. Then I’ll write for 5 or 6 months grabbing time at home wherever I can. The final 3 months is editing and preparing for publication
Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
I generally start by looking at the geo-politics of the day. For example, The Kompromat Kill is based on the ever-rising tensions of the US and Iran situation. The Failsafe Query was based upon the ever-increasing influence that the Russians are having on western society, but both gave a nod back to the cold war too, and some underlying subplots that affect the main characters personal lives. I then look at angle that provides real conflict and a mission to be achieved against skilled antagonists within the world of espionage. Then I fit the characters as a team, to set out on the journey to achieve the mission, most often as deniable operations that cannot be attributed to the government of the day. Its fun putting the plots and sub plots together but takes months to get them right before I even start writing! I only hope the plot conjured up by the Iranian tensions does not come true in real life!
Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I do plot first, but very loosely. I need a theme, a mission and some real conflict that will get in the way of Sean achieving the mission. Then I start writing and that’s when the real creativity begins. Its quite amazing how ideas come into your head as you write, so to that extent, I am a big fan of the pantser.
Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Do it – and play about with your writing – learn online and from courses about creative writing and all the tips that readers love to see in a novel. Write as if you are a reader wanted to be entertained, and wanting to turn the page at every chapter end – leave them if you can on a cliff-hanger. But have your own natural style and voice.
What are your futureplans as an author?
I plan to write one novel per year at the moment and then ramp it up as I head into retirement. I haven’t started writing the third yet, but I have the framework of a plot that involves the resurgence of Al Qaeda in the Maghreb and how they will target Europe. Sean and the gang will undertake deniable operations as weapons runners, linking in with the middlemen who are supplying the terrorists across the Sahel, Mali, and sub-Sahara – The conflict will be the Russians involvement, and Sean will have to be sharp to stop devastation on home soil.
Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Well, I think the biggest teaser is happening right now in real life. How exactly will the current events surrounding the tension between USA and Iran pan out? That’s exactly the theme to my story, to show how small escalations in real life, can lead to events of a magnitude that go way beyond our current day thinking. The tease is: what exactly will the Iranians do with such overwhelming odds and pressure applied to them – and what of those people on the ground who are trying their very best to keep everyone safe and secure? Can Sean turn the Iranian spy who holds the keys to reducing a threat to western society?
Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Michael Jenkins.
Win 5 copies of The Kompromat Kill (Open INT)
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P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!