Five rules for a sympathetic killer protagonist

These days many thrillers have protagonists who, if you stand back for a moment, are only marginally better than the people they are hunting down or trying to escape from. This is particularly the case when they are cold-blooded killers. Most of us as readers would never dream of killing anyone, and wouldn’t hang out with killers.… Read the rest

Write what you don’t know…

About 18 months ago I was at the York Writer’s Festival pitching my book 66 Metres to three agents, who all roundly rejected it. One of them took me aside, and said, ‘Look, this book is about a young Russian woman.… Read the rest

On being drunk underwater – nitrogen narcosis

You know that feeling when you’re blissfuly happy, and you feel super-confident? Maybe you’re in love, or high on something? Well, you can get that feeling easily when scuba-diving underwater. It’s called nitrogen narcosis – the narcs – and it can get you killed…

First the basics.… Read the rest

Xmas Teaser: 37 Hours

Happy Xmas everyone, especially to readers of 66 metres. Here’s a teaser, the opening of the next book – 37 hoursdue out in March. The book takes place in four locations: Moscow, a remote island off the coast of Borneo, Chernobyl, and London.… Read the rest

Underwater, running out of air…

When I’m diving deep I always glance up to the surface. Sometimes, as deep as fifty metres, you can still see it, maybe even the boat awaiting you. But often or not, you can’t. And the thought occurs to me, what if I were to run out of air, right now?… Read the rest

My writing process…

Last week back in the UK I met up with a few fans who asked me about my writing process. I’m often questioned about this because people who know me also know I have a very demanding ‘day job’, one which involves around 50 hours a week and on average one international trip per week.… Read the rest

Heroines aren’t born, they’re forged – Nadia’s story

Some prologues are worth reading. This is how Nadia begins…

The only thing worth killing for is family.
            Her father’s words to her, the day they’d come for him.
            She’d been fourteen when two men in combat fatigues and balaclavas burst into the kitchen where she and her father were enjoying breakfast.
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Lost in wrecks – hardcore wreck-diving

One of the motivations for writing 66 Metres was wreck diving. I’ve dived wrecks in many different parts of the world, and I am always fascinated by seeing these graveyard ships, imagining how they were before, and witnessing how nature colonizes them, turning even warships into havens for fish and coral.… Read the rest

Inside a killer’s head

When writing a thriller, there needs to be a sense of jeopardy for the protagonist. Perhaps a killer is after her, maybe more than one. The killer can be left vague, abstract, distant, and this allows the reader to imagine how terrifying they can be.… Read the rest

66 Metres – Opening

Sixty-Six Metres is the depth at which normal air starts to become toxic to divers. Stay at that depth or below, and you will die.

Nadia has never dived that deep, but to save her sister, she’s going to have to.… Read the rest