In February last year, during a meeting with my agent, David Headley and publishers Severn House, I was asked if I could write an alternative to my Harry Tate thrillers.
As actors do at auditions when asked if they can ride a horse, I said, ‘Of course,’ and worried about falling off later. What the heck, I like a challenge, and the idea of trying out something new is always intriguing.
So a few months later, when I’d cleared the then current projects, I set to work. One dark and stormy-
It was a great relief when my beta reader (my wife, Ann) gave my latest manuscript the thumbs-up. It meant I was on the right track and hadn't taken leave of my senses in a flush of writerly madness.
It was even better when David Headley subsequently endorsed that view; he’s a professional and I rely on his take for the first industry opinion. He’s also an experienced bookseller and knows what will appeal ‘on the shelf’.
Then there was the response we were all waiting for: that of the publisher.
And today I was delighted to receive a glowing acceptance from Kate Lyall Grant of Severn House Publishers to my latest spy thriller, ‘The Watchman’, couched in such terms I’m still blushing behind my kneecaps.
This book is darker in tone and content than the Harry Tate books, and faster-paced - something I'd been wanting to try for a while. It’s also written in the 1st and 3rd person. And the main character, Portman – a covert bodyguard for spies on dangerous missions in hostile territory (so covert even they don’t know he’s there), is enigmatic, mysterious… and entirely ruthless when called for.
I had a lot of fun writing this book. I hope it shows.
‘The Watchman’ – due for publication February 2014.