Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Chez Chris – Join me and Adam Fitzroy…

Hi, Adam, welcome to Chez Chris *g*. We’ve known each other for a while, so I won’t stand on ceremony – make yourself at home, there’s plenty of tea in the pot and a large plate of butter shortbreads and well as the hi-caloried goodies, so dig in…

CQ: How long have you been writing? What got you in to writing?

I’ve been writing since I could first hold a pencil. I used to sneak my exercise books home from school and write stories in the evenings when I was about five or six; I told my parents it was homework. I submitted my first ‘novel’ at the age of eight.

CQ: Tell me about your latest release…?

‘Ghost Station’ is set in the 1970s, at the height of the Cold War. It’s about a group of secret agents who are required to be ‘situationally flexible’ with their sexuality. The main characters are John Dashwood, supposedly retired after a career-ending accident but still on the payroll, and his operational officers (spies!) Rick Wentworth, Harry Tilney and Tom Bertram. (If you think those names sound familiar, you’d be right; Ghost Station operatives all have cover names drawn from the pages of Jane Austen’s novels.) Without giving too much away, Dashwood has to send Rick and Harry on a dangerous mission which could well be the last of their career – while, back at headquarters, he must find out which of his colleagues is responsible for leaking sensitive information.

CQ: What are you working on at the moment?

‘Made Do And Mend’, which takes place in Wales during World War II. It’s about Harry Lyon, a wounded submarine commander, returning home for the first time since his father’s death and taking over his responsibilities as Lord of the Manor – which include a crumbling manor house, a couple of boisterous land girls and an enigmatic farm-labourer by the name of Jim.

CQ: Sounds fascinating! I’ll be at the head of the queue to get hold of that one. What or Who has influenced your writing? What hinders your writing? (distractions? noise?)

I need peace and quiet while I’m writing – a cat is fine, but human company definitely doesn’t work. I write in the early mornings and have often finished for the day by 10 or 11 o’clock. As for influences – Shakespeare, Jane Austen, John Le Carre and Nicholas Monsarrat are all writers I admire, and so are Aaron Sorkin, Julian Fellowes and John Finnemore.

CQ: What genre are you most comfortable with? What would you like to explore that you haven’t already?

I’m not sure I have a favourite genre exactly, but there are things I know I’m no good at; I tend to stay away from science fiction, fantasy or anything with a strong supernatural element – although I do have a ‘haunted house’ mystery somewhere in the back of my mind which occasionally likes to remind me it’s there. One of these days, it may even get written.

CQ: Do you incorporate something of yourself into your characters? Personality traits? Likes? Dislikes?

Most of them have my very dry sense of humour and disinclination to suffer fools gladly; however they’re usually all stronger, more competent and better-looking than I am.

CQ: Do you spend a lot of time researching for your books and do you enjoy it?

Yes and yes. I’ll research the smallest details – I’ve just been researching wardrobe trunks for ‘Make Do And Mend’, for example. For ‘Stage Whispers’ I researched, among other things, paintballing venues and flights to Bucharest. The houses and apartments in my books tend to exist (although sometimes I’ll move them to new locations); I find them all on property websites.

CQ: Do you ever suffer from Writer’s Block? If so, how do you break free of it?

I have done in the past, but it was largely health-related. Since my health issues have been partially resolved I’ve been very fortunate not to have that problem.

JUST FOR FUN:(answer as many as you want)

CQ: Apart from Best Selling Author, what would be your Dream Career?

Actually I can’t think of anything I’d like better than that, but as a child I always wanted to be a singer. Unfortunately, I can’t carry a tune!

CQ: Is there anywhere you’d like to visit? Why?

I fancy Madeira and the Cape Verde Islands, because I researched them once for a book that was abandoned (but which may be revived in a different form) and just fell in love with the whole idea of the place.

I’ve been lucky and I’ve seen most of the places I wanted to see; Orkney is very high on my list at the moment, though – I’d like to go to Skara Brae.

CQ: Do you have any obsessions? What are they?

Writing – and along with that grammar and punctuation, research, etc. etc. I am alarmingly single-minded. However I also love the theatre and I am trying to find a way of seeing every one of Shakespeare’s plays in some form or other. I think there are only about eight I haven’t seen, but the new ‘Coriolanus’ film will enable me to tick off one more of them!

CQ: What are your favorite TV shows?

The West Wing, Lewis and Downton Abbey – not necessarily for the writing, which can vary rather a lot, but for the character interactions and also for the quality of their casts. I like ambiguous characters – good men with hidden pasts, bad men who turn out to have been misjudged. I like characters that keep the viewer guessing about their motives.

CQ: If you were stranded on a desert island, what five things could you NOT do without? [Assuming there's hot and cold running water, electricity, food and shelter!]

Well, assuming I had some decent clothes and shoes as well – I’d want writing materials and the BBC World Service for a start. A hot water bottle for my back. Pain killers for my migraines. And I think I’d have to have a cat as well!

Only ONE cat?? *g* Thanks for dropping by, Adam. I’ll turn off the inquisitorial spotlight and we can have another cuppa and more biscuits…

Adam has written two other books, and they’re both with Manifold Press.

Buy link for Ghost Station – HERE

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