Friday, April 27, 2018

Friday's Guest - David Anderson #BooksWeLoveLTD @MFRWauthor #genres #Ireland

1. What were you in your life before you became a writer? Did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Northern Ireland during the height of the Troubles, so I’ve encountered extreme violence at first hand. For a period, it was normal to switch on the six o’clock TV news and watch first responders literally shovelling parts of human bodies off the pavement into bags. One of my school classmates was almost killed when a bomb sent a car jack hurtling through the air and it landed on his head; a close friend’s brother was blown to pieces by a bomb placed under his car.
In the midst of all this, I naturally thought a lot about ‘tribal’ loyalties, fairness, self-serving politicians, and other social issues. The degree in philosophy I took at Queens University Belfast (a place also much scarred by sectarian enmity) gave me grounding in clear and logical thinking, for which I am now very grateful.  

I don’t think any of this is particularly important, though. I have family, friends and a terrific local church community for support and encouragement. Anyone with normal life experience and the ability to reflect on it over time will have worthwhile things to say. To be a novelist you need to be able to express those things in a compelling prose narrative, within the genre that appeals to you. The graft of building up technique comes after that.

2. Are you genre specific or general? Why? I don't mean genres like romance, mystery, fantasy, etc. There are many subgenres of the above. 
I’ve written thrillers, both adult and Young Adult, and am open to other genres. When I started, I thought I’d write crime mysteries, but discovered that thrillers are what get my pulse racing and emotions involved. Of course, they have to be good thrillers, which are uncommon. Great thrillers are rare, and are the standard I strive to attain.

Within the thriller genre I’m passionately interested in the classic man-on-the-run, and my novels usually have a strong element of man/boy/woman/girl running for their lives. I’m also intrigued by the heist novel, done seriously, and have written one of those too.

3. Did your reading choices have anything to do with your choice of a genre or genres? 
What I write has everything to do with my personal reading history. I read voraciously as a child, and have stepped up my reading in recent years to about two hundred books a year. The Sixties and Seventies were a golden era for thriller writing in Britain and I read quite a few of these books back then, and still occasionally do today. I’m particularly drawn to ‘lost gems’, of which there are very few.

My favourite contemporary fiction writers are South African Deon Meyer, Norwegian Jo Nesbø, and Frenchwoman Fred Vargas. My number one Young Adult author is Charlie Higson, especially his seven volume Enemy series of zombie novels, which I regard as classics. I also read a lot of hard-boiled and noir crime novels.

In non-fiction, I read philosophy of religion, Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), and have a special interest in Christians who fought courageously and sacrificially against the Third Reich during World War II e.g. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Pius XII, Maximilian Kolbe, André and Magda Trocmé, Sophie Scholl, and others.

4. What's your latest release? 
This month the second edition of my adult thriller Earthly Powers comes out, with a new publisher and new cover. It will be followed in June by a second edition of Meaner Things, another adult thriller. 

A couple of months later my new adult thriller Shadow of a Killer will appear, and I’m excited about that. One of my critique partners describes it as “entering Graham Greene land” and I think and hope he’s right about that. In the autumn, my new YA thriller Uninvited will be released.  So, in total, I plan to have four books published this year, joining my two already in-print YA titles, The Beachhead and its sequel The Remnant.

5. What are you working on now? 
I’m three quarters of the way through Uninvited and am enjoying writing it very much indeed. I characterise it as: ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ meets ‘And Then There Were None’. It’s turning out longer than expected (but that’s okay), and features teenage twins, male and female, something I’ve not tackled before. My wife is a twin, so that helps. Fresh challenges like this are good because once you master them you have added new tools to your writing toolbox.

6. Where can we find you? 
I have an author page on Goodreads, an author blog that I’ve neglected, and an author page on Unfortunately, I’m not much of a self-promoter – writing a 90,000-word manuscript is hard enough without then having to ‘go out and sell it’ – so thank you for featuring me on your blog!

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