Today I have a guest post from an amazing author. Check out his new book A Game for Assassins.
I’m hacking away at being a writer:
I came pretty late to book writing. I’m the new kid on the block at the age of 40! Oh it’s something I’ve always wanted to do ever since I won a short story competition in Primary School where my favourite super-hero character of the time – Ant-Man – swung in and saved the day of the class with laser-guns (c’mon I was only 6 give me a break). That and reading have been my constant throughout my life; through good times and bad.
When I pick up someone else’s book the first thing I do is read the blurb on the back and look for the characters to see if they interest me. If the main protagonist doesn’t connect with me in some way, then 9 times out of 10 I move on to something else. There are only so many story lines you can do, but for me the characters are the glue of a good book. They are unique. Just like people in real life, we all have quirks and foibles that make us different. I knew that my books were always going to have “Gorilla Grant” (my main character) as the protagonist. He’s been on my shoulder for decades, pulling my ear, nudging me and begging me to bring him to life. And once Gorilla starts whispering in your ear, well, it’s pretty hard not listen to him…….a silenced S&W 39 or a cut-throat razor DO tend to concentrate the mind!
So once we have the main characters then what are we going to do with them?
My writing process then starts with the “what if” question? What if someone targeted a spy network? How would the Secret Service respond? I don’t have a plot at this point, instead the idea germinates for many a month before I even begin making notes. After that I start with the premise and then I see where the characters lead me until suddenly the pages grow and grow and come to life.
A Game for Assassins started out as one book, but because of the lives and adventures of the characters involved in the story, somewhere along the road (I’d guess about 200 pages in) it slowly morphed into a different kind of thriller. With hand on heart I’m glad the change came when it did because the story (and how it altered) truly surprised me. As I mentioned, writing and reading have always been a big part of my life and now I have the luxury of doing something I love and getting the opportunity to share it with people of a similar passion.
So what makes a character unique to you? What do you look for in a book hero? I’d love to hear about it.
A short scene from the new spy thriller – A Game For Assassins – that introduces the anti-hero/spy Jack “Gorilla” Grant.
Her eyes remained locked on his face. Was there a begrudging sense of respect behind the man’s glower? She leaned forward to make her point, another lock of hair fell forward across her face and she brusquely brushed it away. “You see I knew you’d take one look at me and dismiss me straight away. Pretty face, but only useful for answering the phone or for filling a senior officer’s bed on a cold Friday night. Well, I can put your mind at rest that that’s not me. Never has been and never will be. And if you want cunning and streetwise, I’m pretty sure I could run deceptive rings around you any day of the week.”
“Because you think you’re a field agent?”
“No, because I’m a woman.” She thought she may have gone too far, made too much of a point that had dented his pride. So she was surprised and not a little pleased when he beamed a wonderful glowing smile at her. He should smile more often, she thought. He has such a good smile.
“Well, Miss Nicole. I think we should maybe have another drink and begin again. What do you think? I’ll start; my good friends call me Gorilla.”
They spoke for another thirty minutes until the conversation had come to a natural conclusion. In truth the little stunt she had pulled had told him far more about her than a whole series of interviews ever could. Grant busied himself swirling his whisky in his glass, Nicole pretended to find the fellow drinkers in the bar interesting. Luckily none of them had seemed to notice the tension. Either that or they were all too polite to say anything.
“So what about you,” she asked, determined to break the hiatus. “What makes you suitable for the Redaction Unit?”
He thought about it for a moment before he answered. “I have a certain set of skills that are always useful to the top people in this business and unfortunately or not there’s always someone willing to use it.”
“And the work name “Gorilla” where did that come from,” she asked innocently enough.
He took a sip of his Speyside. “That was from years ago. A nickname that stuck.”
Nicole looked confused by his irritatingly obtuse answers. Damn him, he could be so frustrating. He smiled, sensing her impatience with him, “Sorry Miss Nicole I don’t do war stories. You’ll have to look elsewhere.”
The assassination of a Caribbean dictator….The “hit” on a traitor in Beirut……The brutal murder of a young CIA officer behind the Iron Curtain…..So begins the game……
It is 1964, the height of the Cold War, and British Intelligence is riding high with its top double agent network: Constellation.
But in the secret war fought across Europe the enemy is never far away and soon the agents of Constellation are targeted by an unknown team of assassins. In desperation British Intelligence sends in their best agent to protect the network and hunt down the killers.
Jack “Gorilla” Grant isn’t your typical Cold War secret agent. Short, tough, uncompromising, rough edged. He doesn’t fit in with the elitist spies and debonair intelligence agents. He prefers working at the rough end of British covert operations.
But “Gorilla” is one of the best “Redactors” in the business. He’s an expert at close quarter shooting: quick to the draw and deadly accurate when it comes to the elimination of traitors and extremists on behalf of the British Secret Service (SIS). He is soon drawn into a game of cross and double cross where nothing is as it seems and even the most perfect spy can die in a wilderness of mirrors.
“A Game for Assassins” is an action packed edge of your seat thrill ride played out across the global stage of the Cold War.
Free with Kindle Unlimited
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VQORC0K/
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VQORC0K/
Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B00VQORC0K/
Amazon DE: http://www.amazon.de/dp/B00VQORC0K/
About the author
James Quinn spent 15 years in the secret world of covert operations, undercover investigations and international security before turning his hand to writing.
He is trained in hand to hand combat and in the use of a variety of weaponry including small edged weapons, Japanese Swords and Hunting Bows. He is also a crack pistol shot for CQB (Close Quarter Battle) and many of his experiences he has incorporated into his works of fiction.
He lives in the United Kingdom and travels extensively around the globe.