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Monday 29 July 2013

This weeks Guest Spot belongs to Andy Lucas, author of the thriller, Race Amazon, and its forthcoming sequel, Skeleton Gold. If you enjoy Andy's interview check out his work here:

1. When did you start writing and was there any particular event that drew you to the pen?

I started writing short stories, for myself, when I was about 12, encouraged by good grades achieved in story writing at school.  When I was 16, as part of the painful process of young first love, I remember penning some poetry for my girlfriend after some sort of dramatic break-up or other.  She loved the poems and they served their purpose in getting her back.  More than that, she was very encouraging about my writing and urged me to try something more serious.  This was the first time that anyone had been so enthusiastic about my writing so I decided to have a try.
2.       Do you have a favourite character from another author’s book?

My favourite author is Clive Cussler, and his Dirk Pitt adventures captivated me from the very first time I read one of his books.  Dirk Pitt would have to rank as my favourite character, however, in recent years I have really enjoyed reading Jack Higgins, especially his Sean Dillon thrillers.  The two characters are very different but both keep me glued to the page (or screen) until the final sentence.

3.       Do you pre-plan your stories or are you a take-it-as-it-comes writer?

Both.  I pre-plan the basic idea but then the stories tend to develop in ways I could not have envisaged at the start.  I start with a couple of characters and a main idea but the additional characters and sub-plots seem to quickly develop a life of their own.  Although sometimes it does feel a little chaotic, I really enjoy the writing process and threading all the different elements together without dropping any balls!

4.       Where does your inspiration comes from? What motivates you?

I am inspired both by the great writers I have read, such as: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Desmond Bagley and Hammond Innes, among others and by a desire to write the books that I have never yet been able to find.  My motivation is to be the best writer I can be.  I want to write books that will give the same level of enjoyment to readers that I enjoy every time I open a great novel.
5.       Do you have set schedule to write to or do you grab the time as it comes?
Time is always my enemy.  With two teenage boys and a three year old daughter, plus a full-time job, there is never enough time in the day to write.  I would love to be able to set aside writing time but currently I am a writer who grabs writing moments when I can.  I am sure this situation will be familiar to a lot of writers!

6.       How do you take writing interruptions?

With good humour and a wry smile…usually!  I expect interruptions and am more surprised when they don’t happen than when they do.

7.       What do you enjoy and what do you hate about writing?

I enjoy getting the movie that is playing in my head written down as clearly as possible, and of watching characters develop; to feel a story coming together.  I don’t really hate anything about writing; it is ingrained within me and it is who I am.

8.       What’s your advice as to how to handle a bad review?

It is human nature to feel wounded by a bad review.  I defy anyone to say that it does not hurt initially, even just a little.  As a reader, I have read books recommended to me that I have hated and others I have thoroughly enjoyed.  Same writer, same book, different reader.  That is how I look at reviews.  There will always be people who enjoy what I write and others who do not.  It isn’t personal, although it feels that way at times because it is a negative comment about something very precious to us authors; our work. 
The only comment I would make is that I believe it is vital for writers to be true to themselves.  Write what you want, the way you want.  By all means listen to the comments and suggestions of reviewers but I think it is a dangerous game to start changing your writing style and content to fit a reviewer’s view of what makes a great writer.  You could end up losing yourself and trying to please everyone else, which is impossible.  To develop as a writer, I prefer to read more widely, but others will hold a different view, I’m sure.

9.       What other projects do you have on the boil?

I am writing the sequel to Race Amazon at the moment, called Skeleton Gold, as well as re-writing a science fiction thriller, called Underworld.  I am also writing a script version of Race Amazon, as time permits.

10.   Do you have any advice to offer other Indie authors about self-publishing?

Be patient, don’t expect miracles overnight but most importantly, be prepared to promote your work.  If your book isn’t sitting on the shelves of W H Smiths or a similar book shop, regardless of the rise in the importance of e-books, you will remain unknown to the majority of the book-buying public unless you go out and shout about it!  Social media is a great tool for this purpose.

11.   Does any particular strategy work for you to boost sales?

I haven’t found a golden strategy.  Promoting on Twitter and sites like Goodreads can work well, especially if you have a promotion to run.  Word of mouth and attracting local media coverage is also effective i.e. the local paper will often run an article on a new author and it might be read by several thousand local people.

12.   Does social networking improve your sales?

Definitely.  Just be prepared to put in a substantial amount of time to get the message out.  It is also important to understand the need to read and review other writers’ work too, when using social media.  It is all about ‘give and take’.

13.   You write both fiction and poetry. Which do you prefer?

Fiction is my passion and I consider myself to be primarily a fiction author.  With poetry, I just sometimes get the urge to pen a poem, or two, which is more about filling a creative need in me rather than wanting to write the poetry.  I just tuck them away until I have a few and then put them together, as I have done in my Baker’s Dozen…the first batch anthology.  I never plan to write poems and have no timeline for writing my next one…it will pop into my head when it is good and ready!

14. You have a sequel coming to Race Amazon. Could you tell us a bit more about it and when it might be published? Also, do you plan to make this an extended series?

Skeleton Gold is the sequel to Race Amazon and it is going to be an extended series.  It follows the continued adventures of James Pace and a group of his associates, who all work for the McEntire Corporation.  This is a legitimate, internationally successful company which also operates on behalf of the British government, working in the shadows to proactively, covertly, deal with any threat to national security.
Skeleton Gold begins with the discovery of the body of a long-dead submariner in the desert sands of Namibia, lost with his entire crew aboard a K-Class steam-powered British submarine in the early days of WW1.  In his possession is a diary that gives tantalising clues to a secret operation, a lost shipment of gold ingots and chilling hints at an experimental weapon.  Skip to the modern day and when people start to mysteriously die in the villages along the infamous Skeleton Coast, the McEntire Corporation is called upon to find the answers.
The book leads James Pace through numerous countries and on searches for the sunken submarine, an unimaginable amount of gold and through a web of deceit, espionage, murder and intrigue.  A fitting sequel to Race Amazon, and I believe it will be better than the first book by the time I’m done.
Due for publishing this year, the book is going well but a few delays have pushed publication back to the end of the year.  It will definitely be released in time for Christmas.


  1. Smashing interview, good questions David, and nice to read more about you than I already knew, Andy! :)