To coincide with the release of the second in the series about Jake Flannagan I am happy to share with you a recent interview with David Vidicette.
David has published one novel with the second The Detriment to be released on June 26th.
I have been very privaledged to receive advanced reader copies of both of his books. His writing is very impressive and it all comes from real life experience.
Without further delay here is the interview.
1. If you could write another genre of book what would it be and why?
I really enjoy writing crime fiction, but having worked in the police for twenty years, my first love will always be crime fact. I originally set out to write an autobiographical novel about one of the infamous cases I’ve worked on during my detective career, but the Official Secrets Act prevented me. However, investigations are in my blood, so I would still love to get my teeth into non-fiction books about real-life crimes and murders. There are many, infamous unsolved mysteries which I could provide an interesting and alternative narrative around!
2. If you could co-write with any author who would it be and why?
Phyllis Bottome – she’s no household name, but she was a widely respected British author in the early 20th Century. She wrote her first book aged 17, and went on to produce more than thirty works over the next half a century or so.
In 1946, Faber & Faber published her novel ‘The Lifeline’. It was an espionage adventure full of intrigue, romantic encounters and daring deeds – and featured a British spy whom most of us have never heard of, who went by the unassuming name of Mark Chalmers.
Fast forward on seven years and 1953 would see Ian Fleming introduce our now most beloved spy to the world. Today, there are some literary historians who believe that Fleming’s James Bond was actually a rip off of Phyllis Bottome’s original Mark Chalmers.
I’d love to be able to go back in time to work with Bottome and find out what gave her that drive to write so prolifically, and for so long. I’d also like to discover whether Mark Chalmers was actually the blueprint for the original Bond, and perhaps what she thinks about it all today!
3. What inspired you to become an author?
Much of my career in the police was spent as a detective in specialist operations and counter terror units. After you’ve done the detective work, the job involves producing lots of written reports with which to brief senior officers or Crown Prosecutors – basically you are telling the story of what happened, how and why. Putting pen to paper in this way was something that I really enjoyed.
It wasn’t until I worked on the 7/7 London bombings investigation, that the urge to tell my story really took hold, though. Operation Theseus was a case that I could never let go of and one which would never let go of me. It took over my life completely, yet despite years and years of painstaking work, I still feel that we only ever scratched the surface of what really went on – and so, my debut novel, The Theseus Paradox was born.
4. If you could ask one question to your favourite author, what would it be?
Ian Rankin created a forty-year-old detective, John Rebus with his first book ‘Knots and Crosses’ published back in 1987. That means that Rebus should therefore be the grand old age of seventy in 2017, but interestingly, Rankin has slowed down Rebus’s aging process in recent books. He is still in his mid-sixties today.
Obviously at some stage Rebus will have to retire – I’d like to know what Rankin’s plans are. Will he refresh the franchise? Go back in time? Or create something new?
5. As a former public servant you’ve worked on hundreds of cases. I know your stories are based on real-life events. What are your future plans for your series of novels?
I want to continue building on Detective Flannagan’s caseload and his audience. Jake has a big following in the UK, and a growing American fan base. Readers in Canada, Australia and India are all beginning to take him into their hearts too. I want to document his adventures further – I have lots and lots of real-life adventures to put him through. My next book will potentially have a much more international element and sees him working abroad on true events that you will have seen on TV.
6. Your character is very lifelike. Is he based on anyone that you have known in real life?
There’s a famous quote that goes: ‘Write what you know, and know what you write.’ I feel it’s often misunderstood. Yes you should stick to subject areas that you know about – (or make sure you do your research thoroughly!) – but I think it applies equally to emotions and reactions. When I’m writing about Jake chasing a suspect down a railway track with a high-speed train approaching – yes, I’m writing from the physical memory of having had that experience. The nuts and bolts of it are easy, but the big question as a writer is – can you convey the emotional aspects of it realistically? Can you draw upon how you felt – that anger, pain, longing, jealousy, loss? How would you feel if this incident happened in real life? How would others naturally react to those events? I would say Detective Jake Flannagan is very much based on me and my experiences from an emotional perspective – but as a writer, if you can channel your own emotions in whatever you’re writing about, it makes for a more consistent and authentic experience for the reader.
7. Your cover art is so interesting. Who designs your covers?
The challenge for my second book, The Detriment, was to ensure that the cover design was in-keeping and consistent with the overall look of the series, whilst at the same time continuing to move Jake’s story on. I wanted readers to be able to identify that this is a brand new Detective Jake Flannagan adventure. I’m currently working with the team at Bespoke Book Covers – I’ve been pleased with the way they are building a cohesive overall look and I’m excited to be starting work on the next cover in the series very shortly!
8. I have been very impressed by your writing and how you can convey the images that are part of your novels. With that did you always wish to write novels?
I’ve been lucky enough to work in television a fair bit during my policing career. I’ve consulted on organised crime for police dramas such as ITV’s ‘The Bill’. I worked on reconstructing real-life armed robberies for Crimewatch and I’ve been involved with several BBC documentaries about true crime. I think this has given me an interesting perspective on how crime fact can crossover into entertainment as crime fiction. I’ve also written for industry magazines and had various blogs for many years, so it felt as if writing a full-length novel was a natural next step for me.
In terms of the visual side of things, I’m a huge film buff. I go to the cinema at least once a week and watch pretty much every big movie that is released. I think that, together with my TV background, makes me very visual in the way in which I write.
10. How can readers find out more about you?
Crime fans can chat to me on Facebook, or Twitter or Instagram.
Find out more about me here or take a look at my books on Amazon. And if you’d like the chance to win a signed paperback copy of my latest release, you can enter your email address here, and you’ll go into the hat each time I have a new release out.
The Theseus Paradox is available to buy on Kindle or in paperback at Amazon, or via The Book Depository with free international delivery.
The Detriment is out on 29th June and can be pre-ordered on Kindle or at The Book Depository, with a paperback to follow on Amazon.
I wish to Thank David for his time in responding to my questions and for all the wonderful images that have been used in this post.
I know I am looking forward to more from this wonderful storyteller.