Nadia heading North…

I’m sitting in a brasserie at the seaside on the French northern coast, fast approaching the 70000 word mark, and thought I’d give an update on Nadia’s progress. 

So far the book begins in Hong Kong (see earlier blogs for excerpts), where Nadia is trying to locate Salamander, and encounters Blue Fan, a deadly assassin from one of the five main triads.… Read the rest


88 North… sneak preview

I’m not quite halfway through writing the third instalment of the Nadia Laksheva series, called 88 North, but thought I’d give a sneak preview of some of the action to come. The following scene concerns someone mentioned several times in the second book, 37 Hours, who goes by the name Blue Fan.… Read the rest


On writing shoot-outs, OK Corral-style

I grew up watching Westerns with my Dad, from Shane to Jesse James, from High Noon to True Grit. Probably the Magnificent seven would be my favourite. But can you imagine how to write something like that, to capture the dynamics, in a book?… Read the rest


Why I wrote 37 Hours

I remember when the accident at Three Mile Island (TMI) happened. It was the first time anything major transpired with a nuclear power plant. At the time I was pro-nuclear – it was hailed as the way forward: clean, limitless energy.Read the rest

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


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

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

Prologue
 
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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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


Why I wrote 66 Metres

I wrote Sixty-Six Metres over the course of several years, initially stopping after 7 chapters and putting it down for eighteen months while I was working on something else. But it actually started back in 2011 when I had a short story called ‘No Diving’ published online.… Read the rest