Globetrotting Spy Thrillers with Alan Petersen

Thriller author, and podcast host, Alan Petersen puts the writing adage, ‘Write what you know’ to good use in his Pete Maddox series.

Alan PetersenAs you’ll hear, Alan was born in Costa Rica and grew up in South America. He’s making the most of that experience by setting his first couple of fast-paced spy thrillers in that part of the world.

But he doesn’t stop there and you’ll hear us chat about the varied locations he’s now introducing into his books and how he goes about researching locations he’s never been to. Not to mention the CIA!

If you like your mysteries a bit more on the thriller end of the spectrum (think James Bond or Jason Bourne) then you’ll love Alan’s books. He’s got two available now and the third one will be published very soon.

Also, if you like thrillers, check out Alan’s podcast, Meet the Thriller Author. It’s another great source for readers looking for new books to read and authors to follow. 😉

You can find out more about today’s guest, Alan Petersen, and all his books on his website AlanPetersen.com. You can also find him on Twitter @AlanPetersen.

Links and resources mentioned in this episode

  • Click on any of the book covers to go to Alan’s books on Amazon

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.
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Q&A with Thriller Author Michael Parker

Today I’m thrilled to have British thriller author Michael Parker answer some questions about his books and his writing.

Michael ParkerMichael is the author of ten books. His first novel, NORTH SLOPE was published in 1980, and is now available as a POD paperback and Kindle on Amazon.

You can find out more about Michael and his books at www.MichaelParkerBooks.com


1. What drew you to writing the types of books that you write? Books that interweave historical events, mystery and elements of the thriller genre.

Having been brought up with children’s classics through to ‘grown up’ fiction, I became fascinated with authors such as Hammond Innes, Desmond Bagley, Denis Wheatley and many others. I discovered new authors in the library such as Nigel Tranter who wrote ‘The Master of Gray’, a novel about Queen Elizabeth and Mary, Queen of Scots. One of the writers who had the biggest impact on me was Mickey Spillane with his Mike Hammer novels. Ed McBain was another. So there was a fairly eclectic mix of authors from which I learned the art of story-telling in different genres.

2. A couple of your books involve events from WWII. Is this period of particular interest to you? Do you think you’ll write another book set in this time?

Devils TrinityWhen I learned that the British invented centimetric radar to defeat the Nazi wolf packs in the Atlantic in World War Two, it fascinated me enough to want to write something. I invented a fictitious island off the north coast of Scotland for the story. Apart from the military research, I studied much about whaling and life on a remote island and how the island community lived. I don’t think I’ll write another war story though.

3. Where do your ideas for books come from?

Usually from some relevant fact. i.e., The discovery of oil in Alaska (North Slope). Centimetric radar (Shadow of the Wolf). Constructing a railway line from Mombassa to Uganda in the nineteenth century (Hell’s Gate). An American project to divert the Gulf Stream in the nineteenth century, later abandoned (The Devil’s Trinity). The sale of Nazi gold by the Bolivian government (I had a friend who was involved in the early stages (A Dangerous Game). There are other reasons, of course, but mainly inspired by real life events.

4. One of your reviewers described your books as ‘impossible to put down’. How do you create tension and compelling forward momentum in a book?

I believe it is important to keep the reader ‘hooked’. An opening paragraph is the first hook, but each scene should, I believe, finish with a hook too; this encourages the reader to want to read on. When I put my characters in seemingly impossible situations, I have to come up with a way for them to extricate themselves without inventing something that would seem unlikely. The elements of those situations must be planted elsewhere in the plot without the reader realizing why they are there.

5. Your book that was released earlier this year, A Dangerous Game, is set in present-day America and Mexico. Do you have a preference for writing in the present or the past?

Eagles ConvenantI’ve no particular preference; it depends on where my inspiration has come from. Writing in the present means keeping up with modern trends like technology etc., whereas writing in the past means I can avoid such things as cell phones, computer hacking, forensic science etc. But whichever way I go, it doesn’t make it easier.

6. Please share a bit about the book you are currently writing.

I have brought Marcus Blake back (A Covert War) to investigate the death of a British cabinet minister. Officially the minister died from cancer, but a suicide note was found by his body with a disgusting revelation about his private life. The police and the coroner are all satisfied it was suicide, but one man believes it was murder. Marcus has a part time secretary working for him. Her name is Vereen and she is a single mother on benefits who likes smoking marijuana. Marcus learns of a private clinic where illegal genetic engineering is carried out. The cabinet minister was connected to this in some way, but his secrets have gone to the grave. Vereen comes under the influence of a nightclub owner who is involved with a satanic set and is also linked to the dead minister.

I am about halfway through the first draft and have a couple of dead bodies in there so far. This novel isn’t inspired by anything other than to change direction a little and develop a mystery thriller.

Writing Thrillers on Trains, Visual Story Ideas, and Kidnapping Plots with Rachel Amphlett

Podcast episode 28Thriller author Rachel Amphlett grew up reading thrillers. She mentions both Dick Francis (perhaps my all-time favorite mystery author) and Enid Blyton in our chat; those were two authors who introduced me to the world of mysteries as a young person as well.

I asked Rachel about writing in a genre that is predominantly occupied by men, but like JF Penn, she doesn’t let that phase or stop her. Her Dan Taylor series concerns a former British soldier struggling with PTSD, as well as an injury received during a run-in with an IED.

You can find out more about Rachel and all her books on her website RachelAmphlett.com. And as with so many of my guests, Rachel has a book – and two book extracts – available for free. You can find that on her website.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.

Transcript of Interview with Rachel Amphlett

Alexandra: Hi, mystery readers, I’m Alexandra Amor. This is “It’s a Mystery” podcast and I’m here today with Rachel Amphlett. Hi, Rachel.

Rachel: Hi.

Alexandra: How are you?

Rachel: Good, thanks, and thanks for having me on the show.

Alexandra: Oh, you’re so welcome. It’s great to have you here. Let me introduce you to our listeners.

RachelAmphlettBefore moving to Australia in 2005, Rachel Amphlett lived in the UK and helped run a pub, played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a subeditor and editorial assistant. Her thrillers appeal to a worldwide audience and have been compared to Robert Ludlum, Michael Crichton, and Clive Cussler.

Thank you so much for being here with me today, Rachel. The thing that I found so intriguing about your books, or one of the things, is that you’re a woman writing in a man’s world. We mentioned J.F. Penn just before we started recording and the conspiracy theory-thriller genre really is dominated by men.

Can you talk a little bit about that? What drew you to this genre?

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Police Procedurals, Profilers and Private Investigators with A.D. Davies

Introduction

Podcast episode 15Author A.D. (Antony) Davies is clearly a man who likes to explore characters and their motivation. He had three different types of mystery novels available and we talk about them all today: A police procedural series with a female serial killer profiler as the main character; a wealthy private investigator; and a stand-alone mystery involving a cult in Nevada and a cop with a deep faith.

You can find out more about A.D. and his books at ADDAvies.com.
He’s also on Twitter.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also watch the interview on YouTube, if you prefer.

Transcript of Interview with A.D. Davies

Alexandra: Hi, mystery readers. I’m Alexandra Amor, this is It’s A Mystery podcast and I’m here today with A.D. Davies. Hi, Antony.

Antony: Hello.

Alexandra: How are you?

Antony: I’m good, thank you.

Alexandra: On a Sunday afternoon in…I forget where you live.

Antony: Staffordshire in the United Kingdom.

Alexandra: Staffordshire. Yeah, I knew the U.K. I chad West Yorkshire in my head but that’s where you were raised.

Antony: That’s right. Yeah. That’s where I’m from originally and it seems to be where I’ve put a few of my books.

Alexandra: All right. Well, I have a ton of questions because you’ve got three different series, sort of, that I want to ask you about. So let me introduce you to our listeners.

AD DaviesA.D. Davies grew up in Leeds, West Yorkshire. In high school his ambition was to be a writer of horror novels although in adult life he became an avid fan of crime fiction. After a long stint in an unsatisfying job, and we’ve all had those, he attended the University of Leeds where he attained a degree in creative writing. Shortly after graduation he moved to the midlands to marry the love of his life. A.D. Davies is well-traveled, his favorite destinations being New Zealand and Vietnam which have influenced his writing immensely.

For now, however, globetrotting is taking a back seat to raising his two children and writing. Although he hopes one day to combine all three.

Let’s start maybe talking about this stand-alone mystery novel and then maybe we can talk about the two series that you have.

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Vancouver Noir Mysteries with Joel Mark Harris

Vancouver Noir Mysteries with Joel Mark Harris

Introduction

Podcast episode 3Setting in mystery novels is so important to me. My favorite mystery novels always feature a strong element of setting – Robert B. Parker’s Boston, Cynthia Harrod-Eagles’ Shepherd’s Bush area of London, and Lawrence Block’s New York City, just to name a few. Former journalist Joel Mark Harris joins me today to talk about setting in his wonderful John Webster series of noir mystery thrillers.

Joel and I both live in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and Vancouver is also the setting for Joel’s novels. On today’s podcast we discuss how important setting is to Joel, as well as the research he does for his main character, John Webster, who is a soldier back from Afghanistan, who is struggling with PTSD and substance abuse problems.

Joel’s cat Phantom also make a special guest appearance!

You can find Joel and his books on www.JoelMarkHarris.com.
On Twitter @JoelMarkHarris. And on Facebook.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes. And listen on Stitcher. Or watch the interview on YouTube.

Transcript of Interview with Joel Mark Harris

Alexandra: Hi, everyone. I’m Alexandra Amor and I’m here today with Joel Mark Harris. Hi, Joel!

Joel: Hello. How are you?

Alexandra: Very well, how are you?

Joel: Good, thank you. Thanks for having me.

Alexandra: Oh you’re so welcome, my pleasure. It’s nice to have another Vancouver writer on the show.

Joel: Yes. Yeah.

Alexandra: That’s pretty exciting. I’ve had writers from Thailand so far, the eastern United States and U.K., so finally someone from my hometown. So by way of an introduction I’ll just let everyone know, Joel Mark Harris is an award-nominated journalist, novelist, screenwriter, and producer. Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, he graduated from the Langara Journalism School in 2007. After working various jobs in the journalism and PR fields, Harris wrote and produced the award-winning feature-length film “Neutral Territory,” which we’ll have to talk about. I’d love to know more about that.

JoelMarkHarris

Joel is also the author of the “John Webster” mystery thriller series of books, which is primarily what we’re here to talk about today. So, tell us a little bit about John, Joel. He’s an investigative journalist and he’s back from the war in Afghanistan.

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