Aicha Zoubair

Jessica Bell

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Author Interview – AFN Clarke

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/c0/b7/cf83062a046e0ac1d1884d.L._V146042287_.jpgWhen did you first realize that you wanted to become an author? I devoured books from the time I could read, but wanting to be an author and becoming one are two very different things. What “made me” into an author was unexpectedly finding myself using words to “get my life back” after the traumas of war.  In the 1970’s I joined the British Army – The Parachute Regiment – and served in different parts of the world. It was being in combat and the subsequent years of recovery having lost my entire large bowel from service in Northern Ireland that dramatically changed my life.  I came out as a very “weathered” 30 year old wanting to make sense of all that had happened to me.  So I starting writing and that outpouring of my soul became my first book Contact. It was a bestseller and I’ve never looked back. Now I prefer writing fiction and the different worlds I can create that way.

What inspired you to write your first book? My first book Contact started out as a way of coming to terms with the world after returning from combat physically and emotionally wounded. I was lost, angry, sad, wanted the average person to know what a soldier went through day after day waiting for a stray bullet or an explosive device to shatter their life or end it; wanted families of veterans to understand why their loved ones seemed different, distant, and burdened.

It took 2 years and countless rejections before Contact was published.  It became a bestseller and was made into an award-winning film. But my inspiration was always the experience with my men and the communities we patrolled and witnessing the strength of the human spirit to survive against all odds.  My motivation was the desire to ensure those lives lost and lives torn apart meant something. Much like vets of Iraq and Afghanistan I wanted those lives to count for something – their voices be heard and not forgotten in the noise of political and religious rhetoric.

Was your second book as successful as your first? No. You see, I made a rookie mistake back then, I did not have another book to follow my first book Contact quickly enough and so I lost some of the momentum I had gained. When Collisions came out it did OK but not nearly as well as it could have.  It’s an important lesson for any author – while you’re basking in the glow of success you need to take your ego, box it up and nail down the lid – then quietly put your head down and get back to work.  The limelight dies quickly but you want your memory to linger and have new works to build a strong base of readers. But setbacks are just an opportunity to learn something new – I spent a few years writing screenplays for Hollywood, but I’ve always preferred novels – and so now I’ve “written my way back” to being a fulltime novelist, writing fiction of many different genres and loving every minute.

Was it easier to write other books after your first book was published? Yes and no.  Yes in that the passion for writing had been ignited and has never been extinguished – I feel more alive, happier, more satisfied when I write than when I don’t. But no, not always easier in that the first book for me came more from instinct without much self-editing initially.  Once you’ve written a book though, the danger is you start to second-guess yourself – you over analyze what you write, question your style, content, whether the pace is right, whether the characters have enough depth, whether there’s enough dramatic tension, intrigue, genuine emotion and so on. So I have to stop that kind of thinking while writing and allow the spontaneity and instinct to take over.

Who or what influenced your writing over the years? Reading great authors, my first editor John Blackwell, the film director Alan Clarke and my family have all been significant influences on my writing. Great authors inspire me with their sheer mastery.  John Blackwell reached into my soul and drew out the writer in me without ever forcing his opinion. The film director Alan Clarke (no relation) brought my first book “Contact” to life on the screen and influenced how I’ve written books and screenplays ever since, by heightening my sensibility to imagery and its emotional effect.  My wife Krystyna has been a huge influence. And it’s not just her tireless editing and valuable feedback in the face of my often loud defensiveness, but her insight into human behavior and willingness to help me understand and face my own demons and human frailties that have enabled me to transfer that sensitivity and insight to my characters and onto the page. Only by facing myself, have I matured as a writer as well.

The Orange Moon Affair - by the bestselling author of CONTACT - is the first book of a compelling new thriller series, an action-packed conspiracy with a hero and heroine you hold your breath for. If you enjoy the action of Robert Ludlum, the intensity of Brad Thor and the international intrigue of Daniel Silva, then this book’s for you!

Ex-British Special Forces soldier Thomas Gunn is drawn back into his old life of international intrigue and danger following the murder of his billionaire father. The deeper he digs the more complicated the puzzle becomes until he finds himself working for MI5 uncovering a global conspiracy that puts the freedom of the western world at grave risk. His girlfriend Julie becomes his accomplice surprising him with her loyalty, strength of character and physical prowess.

While traversing the globe being shot at, shot down and losing loved ones – a haunting question tears at his soul – was his father really at the heart of this evil conspiracy? Or was he a pawn in a larger more insidious game that even he could not control?

Seeking the final answer could cost Thomas dearly, ripping from him all that he most loves and cherishes and leaving him questioning his past, his future and what kind of person he is or wants to become. The final outcome depends on him. Or does it?

As a former Captain of Britain’s elite Parachute Regiment and son of an MI6 operative the author brings his own unique and eye-opening experiences to the character and exploits of Thomas Gunn, as well as an unsettling blurring of the lines between fiction and reality when exploring the ruthless abuse of power and position for personal gain.

“… The Orange Moon Affair is timely, eye-opening, fast-paced … you will find you want to turn the next page, and the next page, and the next … the first of the Thomas Gunn series … you don’t want to miss them!”  5 Stars, Remy Benoit.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Thriller

Rating – PG13

More details about the author

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Website http://www.afnclarke.com/