I was lucky enough to be interviewed by Martha Emms. Do check her books out.
Drink – Non-alcoholic. Yup. I am THAT man. The guy who never drinks alcohol.
Food – Carnivorous, as long as it doesn’t bite me.
TV show – TV? What’s that?
Movie – The problem with movies and music is that that they are too ephemeral. They don’t last in one’s mind.
Animal – Big brained ones like the elephant.
Sport – Tennis, the ultimate gladiatorial sport.
Book – James Michener’s The Covenant.
Brief synopsis of your book:
Zeb Carter is almost your average Private Military Contractor.
When working for a WDE (We Don’t Exist) Agency, Zeb witnesses a gruesome crime in the Congo and tracks the perpetrators down to New York. Only to discover that not only are they protected by the FBI, but also are closely connected to a very high profile politician.
Zeb can walk away from his hunt, or pursue with it and put those close
to him in the sights of the killers.
A thriller that spans Congo and New York, The Warrior is dotted with gritty action, a central character that fuels imagination, and is also about the brotherhood of warriors.
Current book or project you’re working on:
I am working on a sequel to The Warrior, tentatively titles as The Reluctant Warriors.
What was the inspiration for your novel?
The mass rape in the Congo in 2010 form a backdrop to The Warrior. When I read about those events, they stayed in my mind and given that I wanted to write a thriller that was large in scale, those events wove their way into my book.
Please share three interesting facts about your book which are not covered in the synopsis.
The main character, Zebadiah Carter, plays the table. This is an Indian percussion instrument whose teaching is passed from teacher
to student and there are no written guides to its teaching.
2) Zebadiah Carter is also a master in Kalari Payattu. This is an ancient Indian martial arts form and is said to be the precursor to karate.
3) Lake Kivu on the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, is witness to some horrors, but is also one of the most beautiful lakes in the world.
Who is the most complex character from your current novel?
The main character Zebadiah Carter is the most complex one in The Warrior. He is someone who has no past and doesn’t speak much, a strong, silent person who can fill a room with his presence without uttering a word. He has many layers to his persona and is bit like The Dark Knight’s portrayal of Batman.
Are there any characters in your book that remind you of yourself?
I have Zebadiah Carter’s silences but not much else. Zeb has a partner, Broker, who is witty, urbane and intelligent. I have one of those qualities and I am not telling whichJ.
If you could pick any well known or famous author to review your book who would you pick and why?
It would be Robert Crais, the author of the Elvis Cole and Joe Pike thrillers. I love Crais’ books, the way he incorporates humor, action and the bond of men, and a review by him would be stupendous.
What, who, and when were you first inspired you to write?
I have been writing for a long while, in the short story/humor piece format and even spent a stint as an advertising copywriter which helped me hone my skills in packing a punch.
The idea to write a full length novel was on a wish list, but got a kick start
when my better half and son suggested one night in December 2011 to stop making excuses, come out of my comfort zone, and start writingJ, and The Warrior was born
What genre does your book fall into?
What is the first book you remember reading that affected how you thought or felt about something?
James Michener’s The Covenant is about South Africa, right from the 1300s to the 1980s, has always stayed in my mind. This is a book that tells not just the history of South Africa but also gives some reasons for the birth of apartheid.
Which three authors have inspired you the most, and why?
In recent years they have been:
1) Robert Crais for his blend of humor, thriller writing and the bonding of men.
2) Lee Child, for creating the most popular thriller hero, Jack Reacher, in the last decade.
3) Harlan Coben for writing irreverently and yet writing great thrillers.
Have you ever read a book you couldn’t finish reading?
Several and luckily I don’t even remember which they areJ. I usually cannot finish reading a book because I do not like the main characters, or the plot is totally beyond me or the style is turgid.
Do you read a book, while you are writing a book?
Always. Writing a book takes weeks or months for me and yes, I read other books to relax and also to learn from other writing styles. I am currently reading non-fiction on quantum physics – hey, I like the subject!
How many books have you written? Which book is your favourite and why?
The Warrior is my first book. I started writing in Dec 2011 and completed it in October 2012 and then spent a few months proofing and editing it, before publishing it in Dec 2012. I have now started on a sequel which should hopefully be ready by late spring.
Is there anything that helps get you in the mood to write?
No. I don’t await inspiration when writing. I try to plan what I want to write so that when I sit down with the keyboard, the writing flows smoothly. This is easier said than done though, and on many an occasion, I will be sitting staring blankly at the screen.
What were three challenges you faced when writing your book?
1) Finding energy for writing. I have a demanding day job that I love and it often entails travel and long hours.
2) Making time for writing. My job requires me to work often 12-14 hours a day and often on weekends and fitting a regular writing schedule around this is difficult.
3) Research. I wanted to write on a large scale with the plot moving across several countries. This was easy to conceptualise, but very difficult to execute. Life in the Congo is very different to life in the Western world and I wanted to get the details right. This took a lot of reading, talking to several people and learning.
What lessons have you learned as an aspiring writer?
It is hard work. Those dreams I had of buying a Greek island after my first book became a worldwide hit in the first week of publishing – those dreams have gone! Getting the book heard above the noise is so difficult and this is the hardest part of writing. It is not the writing which is difficult, it is getting the book heard and read that is the most challenging.
But it is great fun. A writer is a creator, a maker of worlds, and this freedom is never had in any other job.
Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so what helps you to ‘overcome’?
Yes, often and I just keep banging away at the problem. I am a rather persistent person and I have found that just keeping at it helps make the flow come back again.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned, either in the self-publishing or traditional publisher, route.
Not giving up. This is the most important lesson I have learnt. Self-publishing can be discouraging simply because of the sheer numbers of books out there and getting yours heard is so danged difficult. However, if you liked writing your book and like writing in general, then a writer should not give up.
The other lesson I have learnt is to not follow sales ranks and sales figures daily. All that a writer can do is write the best he can and promote the best he can and then let market forces do what they will.
How long does it usually take for you to complete a book?
A long time, and that is because I work too. It took me about 9-10 months to write The Warrior, but I am hoping to reduce the time to write the sequel by being more disciplined.
Do you have any ideas for your book and Hollywood? Actors, directors, music.
Lee Child famously said Tom Cruise would be inappropriate to play Jack Reacher and look what happened. Nope, I am not going down that route. It is flattering to think that my book will catch Hollywood’s imagination, but if it happens, it will happen. Till then, I will continue writing.
Which book to movie conversion is your favourite?
Lee Child’s One Shot made into the movie Jack Reacher is quite faithful to the book and a good movie. That is the only good book to movie conversion that comes to my mind. I am sure there must be many others, but either I haven’t read the book (I am one of those who hasn’t read a single Harry Potter book) or haven’t seen the movie.
How can people connect with you?
Where can readers find your book?