Friday, June 10, 2016

Interview with thriller author James Quinn

I’m wrapping up this week with author James Quinn and a conversation about his espionage/spy thriller novel, A Game for Assassins.

James Quinn spent 15 years in the secret world of covert operations, undercover investigations and international security before turning his hand to writing.

He is trained in hand-to-hand combat and in the use of a variety of weaponry including small edged weapons. He is also a crack pistol shot for CQB (Close Quarter Battle) and many of his experiences he has incorporated into his works of fiction.

He lives in the United Kingdom and travels extensively around the globe

Welcome, James. Please tell us about your current release.
The sequel to A Game for Assassins, Sentinel Five is due to be released later this summer. It follows “Gorilla” Grant as he is sent East to Asia on a bloody and brutal revenge operation.

What inspired you to write this book?
AGFA and its characters have always been in the back of my mind, especially Gorilla Grant. He is the very polar opposite of a James Bond. He is a working class spy instead of the posh boy type espionage agent. I wanted to go back to the golden age of espionage, the Cold War of the 1960’s, when gadgets and email and electronics where not even on the radar of most intelligence operations. It was old school spying.

Excerpt from A Game for Assassins:
A short scene from the new spy thriller – A Game For Assassins – that introduces the anti-hero/spy Jack “Gorilla” Grant.
Gioradze snorted. “Fuck you. Torture me all you want. You think this is the first time I’ve been tied to a chair and tortured.”
“Probably not,” said Gorilla. “But this isn’t the first time I’ve tied someone to a chair and interrogated them either, so on that score we are equal.” He was thinking of his time spent with the forger in Belgium. But the one thing that Gorilla was positive of was that, unlike the forger, this killer would not be walking away safely and with a suitcase full of cash.
In his role as faux KGB interrogator Gorilla had decided to use that oldest and most dangerous of tactics first; honesty. Honesty to the subject, honesty about his potential fate, honesty leaves the subject with no place to hide and no manoeuvring room. It spells it out for him in stark detail. You are here. I am here. These are the facts.
“I won’t tell you a thing you Russian pig,” said Gioradze, as the anger started to rise in him.
Gorilla frowned. “Oh, I believe that you believe that. But there is one thing that I can tell you from experience and that is everyone talks, everyone has a breaking point. You just have to find the correct leverage. For some its pain, some people can’t handle pain. However, in your case I think that you are such a tough man that you could withstand it, of that I have no doubt.”
The Georgian was breathing heavily now, gulping in a huge lungful of air, mentally bracing himself for what was about to come.
“Some people fear the danger that their loved ones might be targeted, but again not applicable in your case,” Gorilla continued.
Gioradze snorted with derision as if the thought of using another human being as leverage over him would have succeeded.
Gorilla knelt down so they were face to face. “What I think is that in your case it’s simple. It’s Biology. It’s your own body. You are wounded, tired, under stress, so you’re already weak, maybe even compliant, although you would never admit that. No, the one thing that is going to let you down here is your own body.”
Gioradze looked down at his mangled legs. For the first time the stunning realisation that he was in pain, in a foreign country, isolated and about to be interrogated by a Russian operative, hit him.
“And you really don’t remember me?” asked Gorilla, looking the man in the eye.
Gioradze shook his head violently. “I fucking told you – No!”
Gorilla brought his face closer so that they almost touched, nose to nose, and then whispered through gritted teeth. “Well, I’m the “hitter” from Marseilles. I’m back to haunt you, and you don’t look pleased to see me at all you miserable son-of-a-bitch!”

What exciting story are you working on next?
Well, Sentinel Five is finished! Phew…so the next phase will be getting all the production values into place, something that Miika and the team at Creativia excel at. After that, and a small break, book 3 in the Gorilla Grant action series will be next. This is, on a personal level, the book that I am looking forward to the most. The story is already there in my head, just need to dig it out, plus we have some fantastic characters for book 3, larger than life in many ways.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Hahaha!! I still don’t! People ask me all the time “What’s it like to be a writer?” To be frank, I get embarrassed about it all, like it’s not real. I mean to me I’m just a security consultant that happens to write stories. But if I was pushed I would have to say that it was when I got my first reviews for AGFA from people on the other side of the world. It just blew my mind. Plus, when I got my first royalty payment. I mean, that always helps…

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I write when I have to….it tends to come in machine gun bursts. Ideas float into my head about where the story is heading and I have intense periods of writing. Then….nothing for a while and then the process is repeated.

When I am not writing I work as a security consultant where I get to do some of the things that happen in my books. Personally I prefer writing about them than actually physically doing them sometimes. Much safer.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I love the research phase of planning a book, trying to get all the details correct. Plus because of my job and the world I work in, I get to plan out and practice some of the action and fight scenes to see how they would play out. It is both fun and helps with the in your face descriptive writing for the book details.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Oh easy…a writer. Sounds clich├ęd. But it’s true. I’m working hard at making that happen.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Just that I hope that they enjoy A Game for Assassins and Sentinel Five and that they take Jack “Gorilla” Grant to their hearts (even with his silenced S&W ’39 and cut-throat razor). For me that is the biggest reward as a writer. Thank you. James



Mari Collier said...

Interesting back ground. Best of luck. Tweeted.

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for the kind word Mari.