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 3 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.
Do you intend to make writing a career? Absolutely – writing IS my career and I can’t imagine doing anything else. I certainly don’t want to do anything else, put it that way! Though one can never know for sure what life has in store just around the corner. From the time I published my first book, writing has been a significant part of my life, either as a novelist or screenwriter. I’ve had the ups and downs that all writers have financially, have made tons of money and then had to do other things to put food on the table, but I’ve never given up and now I am truly lucky to be writing fulltime and be making a living at it. I consider it a career in the sense of it being a life long activity, focus and passion that I aim to develop, expand and master a little more each time I put pen to paper.
In this provocative political thriller an ex-British SAS officer goes up against powerful conspirators who are about to regret they ever met him! Readers call it riveting, thought provoking, can’t put the book down reading; a masterpiece of psychological warfare; superior storytelling and liken it to the best ofJohn Le Carré.
Rufus Reed, ex-British Special Forces is kidnapped, falsely accused of terrorism and taken to a secret CIA “Black Site” for questioning. He’s not only up against his captors, but dangerous elements at the top levels of government who intend to use him as part of a plan to ensure “their man” wins the Presidency of the United States. Seeking power at all costs, they set in motion a global conspiracy of unthinkable proportions.
Yet nothing is quite what it seems, and Rufus is no ordinary prisoner.
As he slowly plants seeds of doubt in the minds of his captors, related events explode on the world stage racing with unnerving twists and turns from Hong Kong, Jordan, Italy, Latvia and the USA to the highest levels of the CIA, the Knesset and the Vatican. What’s at stake is not just Reed’s survival, but that of democracy and freedom as we know it!
And just as you think you know what’s going to happen, three powerful figures – a high-profile Iranian Muslim woman, a former Israeli Intelligence Officer, and a Catholic mining billionaire – reveal their true intentions and propel the story to a riveting and unexpected conclusion!
This web of intrigue draws on bestselling author AFN Clarke’s own experiences in the military and as the son of a British MI6 operative living in different countries, cultures and political systems around the world. It is set against the background of a U.S. Presidential election and creates dramatic tension through its politically explosive premise and controversial analysis of decisions in history that continue to impact the world today. An exciting, emotionally stirring and thought-provoking book, it reveals both the power of greed and corruption and the power of the human spirit to rise above it.
AFN Clarke is the best selling author of CONTACT (non-fiction), and various works of fiction: An Unquiet American, Dry Tortugas, The Book of Baker Series(Dreams from the Death Age; Armageddon; Genesis Revisited), Collisions and The Orange Moon Affair, the first of the Thomas Gunn thriller series. For more on the author visit afnclarke.com and leave your email for new release updates. Deep appreciation for any reviews you post on this or other AFN Clarke books.
Book length 365 pages.
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Genre – Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
Rating – PG
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