Ian is giving away a $50 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour so comment today AND follow his tour (if you click on the banner over there on the left, it'll take you to a list of his tour stops)! The more you read and comment, the better your odds of winning. You could be introduced to a great new author AND win a GC!
Ian was gracious enough to answer all my prying questions. Thanks, Ian! Also, he asks a question at the end that I'd love to see your answers to... and now, I turn the floor over to our author.
Why do you write in your genre? What draws you to it?
My writing heroes were Ludlum, Maclean, Wilbur Smith—action adventures, global conspiracies—so I naturally gravitated to thrillers. I tend to like action and suspense, but I get bored with mysteries that basically take up lots of pages with manipulated scenes designed to delay the revealing of the secret. Thrillers are basically about creating tension that makes the reader want to turn the page. And given many males particularly do not read fiction, I would like to write books that get men back reading again, while also appealing to female readers. I think the answer is short chapters, lots of action, and a mix of conflict, violence and sex. That is, a thriller. My readers write to me about how they stayed up all night to finish No Remorse, or how their husband wouldn’t pay them attention until he had finished the book. It is a great airplane read. When I was running my marketing consultancy I traveled a great deal, and loved to read escapist thrillers while flying. I wanted to write a book that other travelers would enjoy.
What research is required?
Many thriller writers such as Lee Child say they do little research, while others like John Gilstrap and DPLyle do a great deal for their technical thrillers. I have a background as a market and social researcher, so I have some understanding about motivations and behavior. There is a great deal of research into aspects of No Remorse, such as settings like Paris and Dubai, and into some of the activities of the bad guys. For example I found that global human trafficking is a business rivaling drugs. And there are some terrible things happening with slavery and kidnapping. I also did a considerable amount of research into the whole corruption of the financial system, and the development of computer software that could be used in the way described in the book.
Name one thing you learned from your hero.
One thing that you cannot control is the past. My hero has serious female problems because his fiancée left him for his brother four weeks before their wedding. Will he be able to work with the woman who is effectively his boss? Gradually, he realizes that he has to give up those chips on his shoulder that come from past failures and past problems with trust. But then, can he trust the organization he is forced to work with?
Any odd or interesting writing quirks, habits or superstitions?
I’m a little old-fashioned about trusting computers. I back up my work every day, and more often if I make changes to substantial sections of plot. I have enough material saved for about six novels I think! I will sometimes get up in the middle of the night or early hours to write because a great idea comes when I’m dozing. I use photos for prompting about characters, and diagrams of relationships, and I try lots of different things – index cards, software, flowcharting – for plot formulation and scene structure. I write best in the early morning and try to hold off the marketing stuff until after lunch.
Plotter or pantser?
I would like to say that I outline and plan. I try. I use cards, A3 pages, software programs with structure outlines. But I find every 10,000 words or so the writing takes a life of its own. I have to keep referring back to my storyline. With No Remorse, I found I could add deleted chapters back in some cases, because they fitted with a sub-plot. So, I don’t mind having to delete chapters or characters. It’s all practice, and might be useful another day.
Look to your right – what’s sitting there?
Directly to my right is my window out to my backyard and pool, and my second computer screen. Below the desk is sitting one of our dogs, a poodle/shihtzu cross called “Charlie” who sits at my feet every day while I’m writing.
Anything new coming up from you? What?
I’m working on a crime thriller set in Australia. There’s a preview at the end of No Remorse. It is about a woman vigilante Kasey who acts as bait to catch bad guys. When she goes to a country town called Deception Crossing she encounters an American she was in love with several years earlier. There are lots of bad things happening in Deception Crossing and soon Kasey and the American find themselves and their loved ones under serious threat.
Do you have a question for our readers?
Thanks for the opportunity… I would like to ask readers whether they think thrillers should have more explicit sex and violence or whether they prefer such things to happen “off stage”. Traditionally, thrillers tend not to have many sex scenes because they slow the pace down. But with the popularity of Fifty Shades of Gray, I am wondering whether there will be any change here. Similarly, true crime tends to have more explicit violence and this genre seems to be increasing in popularity. What do readers want in thrillers?
Lee McCloud (“Mac”), a special forces soldier facing trumped-up charges of murder, is forced to work for a mysterious government outfit operating outside the law.
Khalid Yubani, cast out of Saudi Arabia for an offence against another member of the Royal family, seeks revenge through ruthless acts of evil. Engaged in the worst forms of human trafficking, Khalid buys Sophia, the daughter of Mac’s best friend, who has been kidnapped in Mexico. With time running out for Sophia, Mac enlists the help of a beautiful computer genius, a British SAS soldier and a Lebanese fixer to try to find Sophia and save her from the terrifying fate that Khalid has in store.
Although starting the quest as a man with no remorse, Mac gradually discovers a side of himself that he suppressed after witnessing the abduction of his own sister years before.
Dodging assassins, corrupt generals, evil medicos, Mossad agents, corrupt bureaucrats, and sharks, Mac ignores the order to stay out of trouble and follows Sophia’s trail from Mexico to Paris, London and Dubai, and the island of Andaran, where Khalid and his henchmen are waiting…
The long journey had been a nightmare, bouncing along in trucks and noisy cargo planes. First, they had thrown Sophia and Danni into the back of a truck filled with crates of vegetables, barely enough room to move, struggling to breathe in air that reeked like steamed cabbage. Crammed in with them were two others, Jeanette from Toronto, and Erika, from Sweden, who explained in stilted English that she was an exchange student, taken in Mexico City. Jeanette cried as she told them three men grabbed her as she was walking through the grounds of her hotel to the pool. The two bottles of water they’d been given were soon empty, and they sucked water from the lettuce leaves in one of the crates. Sophia tried to reassure the others, to talk her own confidence up. Air trickling in through a small ventilation grill couldn’t disperse the heat and fumes, and after a while Jeanette began to retch. The stench was revolting, and soon all four of them had emptied their stomachs into a plastic bucket they found in the corner.
"I'm so sorry, Sophe." Danni said, as the truck lumbered along. "I wish I'd never suggested we go shopping by ourselves."
Sophia shook her head and held Danni close and said words she was not so sure of herself. "They'll get us back, I'm sure of it." Still, she cursed herself for nagging their parents to let her and Danni go shopping. It should have been safe, only ten minutes from their hotel. But it wasn’t.