Interview with Paul Anthony
Books, scripts, screenplays, oh my! How long have you been writing, and how did you start?
I wrote The Fragile Peace in 1994 and tried to get a publisher. I kept getting letters telling me I needed an agent first. So I tried to get an agent and then received replies telling me I need a publisher first. Eventually I jumped off mad hatter’s roundabout and approached a vanity publisher in London. I did a 50/50 deal with them for the first 2,000 copies. Everyone said I was mad. They went to press and we were published in 1996. The contract ended in 2012, and I put it into kindle. It’s sold over 25,000 copies in hardback and now sells regularly on kindle with a paperback version that I updated. It reached #1 in its genre on amazon some months ago. It’s a great story, and there’s a film script doing the tour. I’ve learnt so much about writing since 1996. More interesting perhaps, is the fact that shortly after the publication of The Fragile Peace I did indeed end up with a literary agent. I then received a commission from a traditional house via my agent to submit a manuscript and Bushfire came along. Six months and 6,000 copies later, the publishing company went into administration, and we didn’t get a penny for our troubles. It was round about this time that the ‘net book agreement’ was being called into question in the UK. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_Book_Agreement) and the world of publishing changed overnight. Supermarkets flooded the market with books by celebrities, TV chefs and gardeners. I left books for a while and turned to writing a score of scripts for film and television with mixed success. Eventually, I returned, in retirement, to the book world with The Legacy of the Ninth.
Congratulations on those numbers! You have ten published books so far, not to mention scripts and screenplays. Do you have another job outside of writing?
No, I’m a retired policeman living close to Hadrian’s Wall on the edge of the Lake District in England. I was first published when I was a serving officer hence the pseudonym which was part of the regulations those days. I kept the pen name because when I retired I had a following and a regular readership relevant to Paul Anthony.
Which character did you most enjoy writing?
I have a quadrilogy and a trilogy in place. The quadrilogy features the detective, Billy Boyd. He’s a Cumbrian who joins the police as a youngster and rises to head a specialized unit of the anti terrorist branch. As the quadrilogy develops, readers can see how his life story evolves with each tale. Each book stands alone from the others so it’s not a ‘follow on’ series. The main characters are consistent.
The Boyd Quadrilogy consists of:
2) Bushfire - A group of police and MI5 officers go to a conference in
Lisbon, but when a bushfire breaks out in the Algarve all hell breaks loose and a drug war explodes with a Columbian drugs cartel. (Books 1 + 2 are inspired by true events.)
3) The Legacy of the Ninth - When the Romans drive the Jews from
Jerusalem to King Herod's fortress in Masada, a Jewish artifact is stolen, ends up in a
river in Cumbria 20 centuries later, and is the basis of a contemporary assassination plot.
4) Bell Book and Candle – My most recent release of August, 2013, - when
Al-Qaeda send bombers from the Yemen and Pakistan to carry their war to the English mainland. The plot explodes on the Caldbeck Fells, Lake District but it also involves the disappearance of a local teenager. (Books 3 +4 are inspired by history.)
Boyd’s life is dominated to some extent by the women in his life – Meg, a nurse who becomes his wife. Antonia, an upper crust MI5 officer with whom he works closely, and Anthea, his deputy and close assistant. It’s the characters who make the books, and my readers often comment on how much they enjoy the Boyd character. He knows every trick in the book, and uses them all.
My Davies King Trilogy features a detective on the south coast of England. We join him as a widower who has thrown himself into his work - following the death of his wife, Angela - to the extent that he becomes ‘Chief of Detectives.’ He’s an ex boxer, the chairman of the local gymnasium, and as stubborn as a mule. A constant pain in the side of authority, Davies hates losing and will bend as many rules as possible to win. Davies runs the job from a local pub where he occasionally has a brandy, but interestingly, he’s not a big drinker. He plays chess with every Tom, Dick and Harry and these include a bag full of local hooks and crooks. The stories are sprinkled with criminal characters and the detective’s informants as King bends, makes and destroys the rules at every which way you turn. He even teams up with British Intelligence when he needs to. As the trilogy progresses, his adversaries are identified and vary from minor thieves to megalomaniacs. Basically, my editors love the King character. He’s really caught the imagination. The Trilogy is:
1) The Conchenta Conundrum is a murder mystery. There’s a murder or two, a murderer or two, and a mysterious cause of death not easily proven. Corporate corruption and greed on England's south coast.
2) Moonlight Shadows is an Espionage and crime tale. An MI6 agent is rehoused and given a new identity. The agent becomes a double agent when they discover a way to use technology to unbalance the world's money system. When the software goes missing an international chase explodes across the globe and Davies King ends up chasing two murdering megalomaniacs.
3) Behead the Serpent is an Espionage tale that takes us to the edge of dystopia. A corrupt British Intelligence officer teams up with the country's enemies to blackmail Her Majesty’s Government, launch a cyberspace war, and plunge the country into darkness along with parts of Europe and North America. Problem is, the case lands on Davies King’s desk and someone knocks over his chessboard. Look out.
Both Boyd and Davies are different in so many ways. Davies has a time-served elderly detective as a sidekick, an efficiently officious private secretary in Claudia Jones, and a second in command called Annie Rock.
Wow. Quite a list. Tell us about your favorite scene from one of the books.
I would say my favourite scene in Moonlight Shadows is one of the chases in Amsterdam. It’s a high octane rush which blows the story wide open.
If you could only keep one book, what would it be?
A thesaurus. It’s the only book I read on a daily basis.
I'm totally with you there. Your last meal would be…
Swordfish steak washed down with a red Grenache from France
You won the lottery. What’s the first thing you would buy?
The mortgages of my entire family.
You’re given the day off, and you can do anything but write. What would you do?
Normally, head for the gym and kettlebells.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I enjoy travelling and would continue my extensive journeys across Europe.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Cumbria, supported by holiday homes in the Algarve and Fuerteventura.
What are you working on now?
Thanks for stopping by again, Tony. You're welcome back anytime.
Thank you for the interview opportunity. Good luck with your own Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction.
About Bell, Book and Candle:From an ancient Silk Road in the Spin Ghar mountain range and the red-bricked chocolate box skyscrapers of one of the oldest civilisations known to mankind, the travellers begin their journey. Fourteen hundred years of struggle and anguish arrive in the unspoilt backwaters of Cumbria’s Lakeland Fells and erupt in a bloody, deadly climax.
A simple bell, book and candle adorn the altar of a village church yet the parishioners are unaware of the gathering storm clouds that herald the arrival of the ‘Eternal One.’
Will the Cumbrian detective, Boyd, work out why it has taken since the seventh century for the problem to arrive in his back yard? It’s not until a child is kidnapped that Boyd realises he needs to separate out good from bad; normal from extreme, and the innocence of youth from the guilt of maturity. Boyd is fighting the biggest dog in the pack and the Shimmering Dawn is about to unleash its terrifying dogs of war.
Crammed with intrigue and drizzled with Machiavellian conspiracy, the plot dissects the culture and very existence of the Middle East as it gradually and passionately boils over into a turbo charged thriller of acrimonious conflict and religious aura when the history of yesteryear explodes with the reality of today.
Connect with the author:
Website | Independent Author Network | Facebook |
Paul also runs THE CRIME WRITERS GROUP and THE BRITISH WRITERS GROUP…
Buy the books:
Amazon UK | Amazon US | Lulu