From bullets to bang. How did I start writing my latest work in progress? Or Crime writing generally? No, not bullets to bang. Rather, I felt the soil under my fingernails as I dug up the antique pistol in the garden and held it limply by my side with no one to shoot.
Felt? Limply? Damn filter words and adverbs…
I wouldn’t know what gunpowder’s made of. So why do I like to read and write about the fierce breed? Well, I’ve encountered that type. No beast so fierce. Always preferred the company of choreographers to assassins, but have had many conversations indeed I’ve shared episodes of my life with both. I’m lousy on the dance floor and couldn’t shoot the side of a barn with a blunderbuss. So I write. When I blog I tell stories—true stories—from the darker chapters of my life. Read them as warnings, fairy tales, anecdotes—you decide.
Viscount C.B. Hastings IV is the subject of my three book series. He’s in his forties, decadent…determined…deadly… His partner is crime is also his adopted daughter, the eighteen year old Chinese girl, Miss Sedona Li. She’s. . . Well, she’s everything he is not. They share a sweet and rather innocent bond. His old-world erudition is complemented by her modern street smarts as they bring out the best and worst in each other.
I finished Book 1 in the series a few months back. It’s called Night of the Infidel. “An aristocratic former assassin, fresh from prison, must destroy the extremist who murdered his cellmate, or a thousand will die in a terror attack.”
Book 2, my current work in progress, is Execution of the Beloved “An aristocratic assassin teams up with his late friend’s daughter in a battle to retrieve her family treasure from a Cambodian crime syndicate.”
Second draft I finished last week. Almost ready to get my editor on the phone.
Book 3 will is as yet unnamed, but the logline is: “A terminally ill assassin sets out on a final mission for England, not knowing his adopted daughter is launching a mission of her own—to stop him assassinating the Saudi boy prince.”
It all started in 2008. I saw an English aristocrat arguing with a religious extremist on a YouTube video. I wondered what would have happened if the two bumped into each other in a pub. What if they were arguing over a woman? What if the woman was, say, a lady of the night? What if she was more reckless than any of the men? Hmmm…
I wrote a 3 paragraph blurb and shoved it into a suitcase with the hundreds of songs, poems, scripts, treatments, and a 220-page novel written about my Berlin days -all of which are strictly for my eyes only.
On a cold, wet Sunday early in 2015, I opened the suitcase, pulled out the blurb and got to work.
Legislation, firearms, government counter-terrorism policy, airport security, prostitution, extremism, bare-knuckle-boxing, GHB and Methamphetamine -at the end of week one my head spun. I love research. My Masters Degree is Research (Educational Management), and that doesn’t hurt when it comes to methodology and analysis. Melbourne University. Aaah Melbourne Uni. Uncle Monty loved Oxford. I love Melbourne Uni.
But writing the prose? 430am to 730am every day except Sunday (need a lie in, and it becomes a Reading Day) although Sundays can become nothing days if I’ve been out the evening before. Then off to teach writing all day. Evenings I read and do research. 415am I’m up, drinking earl grey tea and going at it again. If you’re not obsessed, this line of work is not for you.
It’s 2017 and 9 major drafts, and 30 odd minor drafts later, Night of the Infidel has been edited by the wonderful EJ Runyon. It’s ready. I just returned from New York where I pitched it to a host of agents –am communicating with some of them now so it was a very worthwhile excursion. I don’t bother with Query Letters. Better to get in there, face to face. At ThrillerFest I did a Masterclass with the great Steven James. Loved it. Right now I’m in Cambodia, reading a lot and researching Book 3.
Now, back to that suitcase. No, the hell with that, I’ll knock up a few new reflections on my tumultuous voyage through the human jungle. Lotsa real people and actual events, but flashed up with a bit of saltpeter, sulfur, and charcoal. That’s gunpowder.