I am joined today by James Quinn as part of the blog tour for his novel, Berlin Reload. Many thanks James for taking the time to answer my questions, and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to be a part of the blog tour.
How much of your “Gorilla Grant” series is based on your own experiences? Is he inspired by real people?
Great question! That’s always the fun part for the reader I think, trying to figure out if life influences art. I always say the same things; there are elements of the books that have happened and some that I’ve used artistic licence about. Most of the technical things and scenarios in the books – surveillance, weapons skills, covert operations, etc – have happened in some shape or form that I’ve been attached to, although not quite to the degree that Gorilla becomes involved in them in his “Redaction” operations.
Gorilla is absolutely inspired by real people. His looks are inspired by an old friend of mine called Steve; stocky, tough. His skills are taken from a UK Special Forces officer that I knew way back when and who was a great influence on me in my career (as is much of his background). And yes…there are elements of myself in Gorilla too, but not too many.
Your work has taken you all over the world. Do you have a favourite place to visit or somewhere you would like to include in a future book?
America is like my second home and at least one of my books, Rogue Wolves, has been predominantly set there. I have been lucky enough to see some amazing countries over the years and it has absolutely helped with locations for the books. For Berlin Reload I was able to utilise my time spent in Rome, a place that I adore, for the first part of the book. I had planned on visiting Berlin prior to starting writing the story, but the events of 2020 ended that abruptly. I’m hoping to visit Berlin soon and see how far off the mark regarding the descriptions and feel of the place I was.
I suppose the only region I have limited experience of is China, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, etc, so maybe I could set one of the future books in that part of the world?
Does the subject matter of your books make them tricky to research, or to gain access to research sources?
It actually doesn’t. That sounds strange I know but for me at least it’s true. I’m fortunate to have a background in that subject matter and a healthy network of contacts in the intelligence, special operations and specialist security communities. So writing about this genre is just like a busman’s holiday for me.
The biggest problems I had, certainly for the early books, was getting the details correct about how people lived their lives back in the 50’s and 60’s. Were the streets still the same? How did they travel overseas? What household gadgets did they have? It sounds silly I know, but they were the questions that I pondered on the most!
Do you have a set writing routine or favourite place to write?
I really don’t. I’m not one of those authors that has to hit a set number of words per day or write constantly for several hours. Once I have the ideas in place it will usually come like machine gun bursts – a scene or a collection of scenes – for a few intense days and then maybe nothing for weeks. It partly depends what I have on work wise and partly if I have anything to say.
On saying that Berlin Reload came out like a tsunami and I had it finished in less than three months because I worked on a little bit of it every day.
The place I write the most is in my office sat at my desk. It’s quiet and there are no distractions and that seems to help with the flow of writing for me.
What can you tell us about your upcoming writing projects?
Well now that Gorilla Grant is retired I am currently working on a short story anthology called Clandestine. It deals with intrigue, espionage and deception. It probably has about nine stories in it, each of them (hopefully) with a bit of a twist at the end. For me short stories are a guilty pleasure to both read and write. Stephen King says that it is a bit of a dying art and I agree with that statement completely. It’s the most concise form of storytelling that forces the writer to provide the bare minimum of words while still getting across the information clearly.
After that, a short break, and then I’m starting on my new major character for the next series of books entitled The Fisherman. It’s set in the modern era and concerns a covert intelligence operative on a mission to uncover a series of global terrorist conspiracies.
I’ve been putting the Fisherman off for over a year or so now, but I think it’s time he was let out of the box to run free. I can hear him tap, tap, tapping on my consciousness with his hooked blade every night when I try to sleep, so I’m looking to forward to meeting him and seeing where he takes me, and the readers, over the next few years.
“The time of reckoning is here, Gorilla Grant.” Jack “Gorilla” Grant, retired assassin and former spy, is living a new life as a peaceful, successful businessman. But when his daughter is kidnapped in Rome, it is just the opening gambit in a series of events that pushes him back into the “Redaction” business that he once walked away from. Unseen forces are moving against Gorilla and dangerous enemies from his past are threatening his future, intent on turning a cold war into a hot war. But Gorilla has one rule; don’t mess with my family. And he’s willing to kill to enforce it. From the dangerous streets of 1960’s Berlin to a hit contract in Austria, and finally to a race against time in East Germany, Berlin Reload is an epic cold war spy story that spans the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall, and throws James Quinn’s anti-hero Gorilla Grant into a mission where he may have to decide between the life of his daughter and the dawning of a new conflict between East and West.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
James Quinn is the author of the “Gorilla Grant” series of spy novels. A professional security consultant and corporate intelligence operative, he currently resides in the UK but likes to travel extensively around the globe.
His next projects are “Clandestine” – a short story anthology, based around espionage, deception and intrigue – and The Fisherman, which introduces a new character to the world of covert intelligence.
Visit the official James Quinn author website for more information about upcoming projects and events;
Make sure you visit the other blogs taking part on the tour to find out more about Gorilla Grant.