When and why did you begin writing? I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write. It started very early for me, at least partly because, as I’ve said, it was the family business, though one I resisted for many years. The very first thing I published was a piece of poetry while I was still in high school. The poets I’ve met are wonderful writers who know words better than anyone. But poetry remains the most difficult thing to get published. I’m fortunate I was able to check that category off at an early age, and that my interests lay elsewhere. Most poets get tremendous personal joy and satisfaction from writing in an area they are passionate about. It enriches their lives immeasurably, but it remains a nearly impossible talent to turn into a bankable profession.
What was the hardest part about writing this book? Because I like to move around in history, usually with several story lines, the most difficult part is making sure there are no errors in timing or historical setting. In one of my earlier books, The Last Titanic Story, a crucial plot element revolves around a reference in a diary from an earlier time period. When you move back and forth you have to be sure you don’t have some character reference that diary entry before it actually happens or give away its importance at the wrong time.
Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it? I always learn a great deal from the books I write, largely because there is so much history and science in them. I keep notebooks during my research that fill hundreds of pages. One thing I’ve learned is that knowledge reinforces plot and characterization. I may find some fascinating tidbit of history that just begs to be integrated into the plot, and it may move the plot in new ways that I hadn’t thought of previously. Similarly, I’ve developed characters based on real people in history. In London Underground one of the characters who drives the plot is Dr. Alexis Carrel, who was a Nobel Prize winner in the early part of the 20th century. He performed the first primitive coronary artery bypass surgery on a dog in 1910. His tissue culture experiments in the 1920s and 30s paved the way for today’s tissue grafts and organ transplants. Carrel worked with Charles Lindbergh for almost a decade on various techniques driven by their shared interests in eugenics.
What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why? Ah, there are so many, but I have to go with Winston Churchill. Excepting only, perhaps, Shakespeare and Thoreau, Churchill left us so many wonderful quotations. It was his way with words that helped win the war and cement his place in history. Contrary to what many believe, his witticisms didn’t simply flow out of his mouth spontaneously. Churchill worked very hard at his speeches to make them memorable. He understood their importance. One of my favorite Churchillisms: “I like a man who grins when he fights.” You’ll find it in London Underground.
Who or what influenced your writing once you began? As I‘ve mentioned often, the writers in my family had an outsized influence. However, when I began to develop an interest in the out-of-doors and in the Adirondacks of New York State, I was influenced by Paul Jamieson, the doyen of Adirondack writers. He and Clarence Petty, a major environmental figure whose biography I wrote, had huge impacts on me. These two icons of the Adirondacks were contemporaries 45 years older than me. It was one of the great highlights of my life to get to know and call each of them friends. Clarence was the template for a character in my book Flypaper, based on an elderly guide in the region.
Beneath the streets of London lie many secrets. Subterranean rivers carve channels through darkened caverns. Hidden laboratories and government offices from WWII offer a maze of corridors and abandoned medical experiments. Lost in the depths of this underground are the contents of a looted Spanish galleon from the days of Henry VIII and a Nazi V-2 rocket that contains the most horrible secret of all.
Carmen Kingsley, in charge of London projects for the British Museum, and Scotland Yard Inspector Sherwood Peets race to unravel the mysteries behind these contents before the great city succumbs to a frightening disease not seen since the age of the Henrys — the English Sweat. It all comes to a climax beneath London with the discovery of a horrifying species of genetically altered “super rats” that threaten to invade London and the British Isles.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Thriller
Rating – PG
Connect with Chris Angus on Facebook