Life of an Author

British Royal Navy Ship in Argentina

Plotting an international storyline

Plotting a novel is always good fun and never more so than when it involves travelling to another country that I have never been to before. This is especially pertinent if that country is so different to the UK. This was never more true than with Argentina.

The whole Latin culture is really apparent here and I had been wanting to visit Argentina for many years. So a dream come true, but, as I found out later it was the perfect backdrop for an international thriller: a country with a different culture, many borders all of which are porous; a vested in interested in and hostility towards the UK and a country in which we (the Brits) opened an international property office in 1991 just as the UN refused oil rights to the Falklands for Argentines! As an author this was too good to be true it was the perfect setting for a novel and the story was starting to write itself.

More research showed that the IRA had links with a terror group linked to Argentina and that they really did have a secret service that employed specifically blond women as seductresses called Operation Marilyn after the famous actress!

But as with all my books it relied upon certain lynch pins or plot hinges that really work. The final denouement was suggested to me by a former naval officer who had past knowledge of these matters. His suggestion I used readily but when I was Googling images for the final act, I saw a news paper article which showed that what I was propounding had actually happened. They even used the same wording as my book for the excuse as to refuse access to port. It got me wondering, I wonder if this really happened……

To find out you will have to read the scene in the last part of the book before Rupert and Chris need to make their escape across Argentina! Get your copy now available on Amazon.

Simon FairFax, Civitavecchia, Deal Series

Welcome to the Beginning – No Deal’s Done ’til it’s done

I began writing my first book back in 2006 at my wife’s insistence when we returned from living in Italy. It had burned a hole in my head for years and it only took me about 6 months to get it down on paper and about three quarters finished.

Then, I found employment and started on the treadmill of deals again. In the property crash of 2009 I was made redundant and faced months of trying to get a job dabbling and more than enough time on my hands. My wife and friends told me to finish the book – ‘what else have you got to do?’ they asked! Great friends I have!

I finished it and it sat in a draw for two years. After dabbling (and meeting a film producer who was to have a great influence on my future work) against all odds I got another job, but this time client side working for a property company rather than as an agent. A different world and it gave me more time to try to publish my book.  My wife again kicked me to get it published but first I gave it to some Beta readers one of whom was the film producer Michael Ford. he gave me some sage words of advice: if you are going to write a series make sure you have the second one ready as you publish the first.

So, encouraged and spurred on by the comments of the Beta readers I wrote ‘A Deal Too far’. In the meantime, Michael read my first manuscript and amongst many helpful comments (he basically tore it apart bless him!) advised the scene in Italy with Rupert being kidnapped had to be extended. It was all over too quickly he said.

So I set about rewriting much of the last half of the book, and extending the scene. To be fair to Michael I knew exactly what he meant, I just needed to hear it from someone else.

Thus, I returned to Italy near where we used to live and the port of Civitavecchia to see if my theory of Rupert’s escape from the kidnappers could really be done. Hiring a car I drove there and wanted to see if I could just drive in without being challenged. I was nervous I admit as I boldly drove straight into a supposed restricted area. A good friend of mine is a policeman in Civitavecchia but I didn’t want to test our friendship: if  I was caught breaking into a major port area- it might not have gone down too well and Italians have a sense of humour failure over such antics, tending to shoot first and ask questions later!

So, I just drove in to the docking area just like the baddies in the book, looking for all the world as though I belonged there. I got out of the car expecting to be challenged at any moment – nothing! I was in seventh heaven and this was to set the scene and modus operandi for all my future work. I now had to try everything I wrote about, which was to prove exciting and entertaining in equal measure in the future. But it proved my point if I could do it, so could my Italian mafia thugs from the book!

I hope that you enjoyed reading the scene as much as I enjoyed experiencing it in real life! If you did, please feel free to leave a review it would mean so much to me.

If you don’t know which scene I am discussing, then get your hands on my debut novel and the first in my Rupert Brett/Deal series on Amazon.