Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
After retiring from a successful career in the UK travel industry, I was able to make writing my full-time focus. Five books later, my latest novel is a thriller – You Owe Me – set in Florida, a place I know well. These days I spend most winters in Naples Florida, on the Gulf of Mexico, and just a few miles from the 1.5 million acre, subtropical wetlands – Everglades National Park. The larger than life characters I meet, almost daily, in Florida, provide me with a never ending rich seam of inspiration and material for my books.
Other books by me; No Way Back, Florida Clowns, Florida Shakedown and The Long Game
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My Latest book is titled; You Owe Me.
The inspiration for this particular book was a chance meeting in a diner in Naples Florida. We have a small condo in Naples, on the Gulf of Mexico, where we spend as much of the winter as possible. In 2015 I went to Mel’s Diner to get a take away meal. The place was busy so I decided to have a beer while I waited. I soon fell into conversation with an interesting looking character called Rudy. He told me he was a treasure hunter, diving for treasure-trove in sunken Spanish Galleons off the coast of Florida. At first, I thought he was some sort of fantasist, but then I checked online the next day and it didn’t take long for me to realise the guy was telling the truth.
There are literally billions of dollars’ worth of undiscovered treasure just waiting to be found a few meters deep, just off the Florida coast. Take a look on the internet and you’ll see plenty of examples. In 2015, the New York Post reported a Florida family who found $150 million in gold coins on a Spanish shipwreck. As recently as this year, there’s a report of “The largest discovery of sunken treasure in 30 years, and it’s somewhere off of the Florida coast.” The estimate for this find is around $150 million.
So I was hooked. In the back of my mind, I already had a plot planned, about Iraq, and the vast sums of cash dollars I’d heard had been squandered by the US government during the Gulf War. I decided to plan my novel’s plot around these two fascinating stories of grotesque amounts of money. And in case you’re wondering about just how much was squandered during the war in Iraq, read this:-
“In 2004, approximately $12 billion in cash – shrink wrapped bundles of untraceable US dollars (over three hundred and fifty tonnes), was shipped over to Iraq – and it vanished! Henry Waxman, a long-time critic of US involvement in Iraq was claimed to have said; “The way the cash had been handled was mind-boggling. The numbers are so large that it doesn’t seem possible that they’re true. Who in their right mind would send 363 tonnes of cash into a war zone?” David Pallister The Guardian 8 Feb 2007
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Not sure what ‘normal’ writing habits are. I write when I feel like it. I don’t get writer’s block, or anything like that. I get an idea and work on it, I research a lot, combine life’s experiences and my imagination – and after a lot of hard work and many many revisions – the book is finished.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Raymond Chandler. I’ve read his books many times. My present day hero is James Lee Burke. I think of him more as an artist, painting pictures with words. His plots are quirky, his vocabulary and breadth of knowledge truly amazing. I don’t try to emulate Chandler or Burke, or any other writer. You have to find your own style – and I like to think I’ve found mine.”
What are you working on now?
My new book of course – you’ll have to wait for the title…but Florida comes into it.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I’d like to know the answer to that myself.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
I wouldn’t be so presumptuous as to give anyone advice. I might do so when and if I ever make it to the best seller list
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Show don’t tell
What are you reading now?
Something by Nicci French
What’s next for you as a writer?
Keep on truckin’
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
War and Peace, The Long Goodbye and the Dummies book of ‘How to get off a Desert Island.’