MA: I’m pleased to introduce my guest author today, Ian Wakley. Ian is a social and market researcher by profession, investigating the motivations behind human behavior and product purchases. He has pursued his personal passion and written a thriller novel called No Remorse.
Ian, welcome to my blog. How did you decide to become a professional writer?
IW: I used to travel a great deal, and would often buy a novel in the airport bookstore. I thought how great it would be to be able to write a Ludlum, or a Clancy or a Wilbur Smith. Three years ago I was running a research agency and my kids had almost finished school, so I decided to give it a shot. Sold my share of the business and became a writer. Just like that.
MA: Why novels and now a book about the marketing profession?
IW: Since I was young I’ve tended to read novels rather than non-fiction. Probably an escapist mentality. To me, writing non-fiction is the province of journalists. Writing fiction is something anyone can have a crack at. Of course, being good at it is another thing altogether. It took me three years to figure out the basics of creative writing. It’s not as simple actually writing a novel as it is saying “I’d love to write a novel.” I enjoy learning about the techniques of writing, and I expect that I’ll still be learning at the end.
MA: That’s very true! So tell us about your thriller.
IW: No Remorse is an action thriller. I’ve written it as a page-turner. It’s plot driven, with short chapters, action in every chapter. Not so much of a suspense thriller, although there is mystery and conspiracy in there. Lee McCloud is a special operations guy whose best friend’s daughter and another girl are kidnapped in Mexico. He and three other Delta operators try to rescue them, but the attempt fails. McCloud is forced to leave the army and work for a CIA front stealing money from terrorist backers. Meantime, he’s still searching for the two girls, and the trail leads to a Saudi exiled billionaire, Sheik Khalid, who has big plans for one of the girls. I won’t spoil it by elaborating. Suffice to say there are numerous subplots and you won’t know what’s going to happen next.
MA: How did you develop McCloud’s character?
IW: I’ve always had an interest in all things military, so I guess maybe it’s a way of linking this interest with my writing. The skills needed by the protagonist McCloud had to be appropriate to the plot, in this case he needed physical strength, surveillance and shooting skills, and extreme determination. I could have chosen a cop or a fireman or maybe someone who was ex-Army, but when I started writing the book Iraq was still happening and there was a great deal of interest in military heroes. Still is, I think.
MA: I don’t think military characters are ever out of vogue. Tell us more about your hero.
IW: McCloud is a special ops guy, trained for the toughest missions, deniable, highly intelligent, used to making quick decisions under extreme pressure. But his bosses worry about whether someone like that can be controlled. And indeed, McCloud is something of a loose cannon. He has also had some failed relationships with women, including a fiancée who dumped him for his brother four weeks before their wedding day. So McCloud has some trust issues, particularly with women.
MA: And your antagonist, Sheik Khalid?
IW: A few readers have said that I have given more depth to the antagonist – Sheik Khalid – than to McCloud himself. I have to confess I enjoyed writing the bad guy. Many fiction writers do. Khalid is incredibly wealthy, but he doesn’t really have any close relationships. He expects obedience, and the one person who is beyond his control is his personal trainer, Sheriti, who teaches him about tantric sex. He wants her as his fourth wife. Meanwhile, Khalid has big, bad plans…
MA: It doesn’t sound like you have any personal experiences in the military or black ops, or do you?
IW: Not in an autobiographical sense. But I enjoy the research side of writing, including traveling to places featured in the book, except for the fictional island of Andaran. I’ve shot sniper rifles, and been on board luxury yachts. And I’ve met lots of eccentric characters.
MA: Now that you have No Remorse out the chute, are you working on something new?
IW: I’m currently writing my second novel, Bait, which is more of a suspense mystery, but still with plenty of action. The protagonist is a tough female cop in Australia, who is posted to a country town to investigate some backpacker disappearances. There she finds an American she had resettled some years earlier under the witness protection program, and with whom she had a brief relationship. After I’ve finished Bait, I’ll be starting on the sequel to No Remorse. Lots of readers are on my back about that.
MA: I take it some of your main characters from No Remorse will reappear in this sequel story?
IW: Yes, McCloud and Tally will be in the sequel, and I have some other characters in No Remorse that could feature in sequels, or maybe their own series. An assassin named Anastia, and a Mossad agent are two of these.
MA: Give us some websites and information about where my readers can find your stories.
IW: No Remorse is available in good bookstores and online stores. Bait will be available in late 2012.
No Remorse Facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/No-Remorse/311150275607839