After years of struggling with this site, due to my lack of web experience, I hasten to add, I have ask Dale Moore to design a new site for me. That site is now up and running and if you are a follower or have just found this site please go to http://www.thevaughanthrillers.com Hope to see you there.
This is the title of my authors talk and on the 14th January it was my pleasure to deliver it to fellow members of the Royal Air Force Yacht Club.
I started the talk with a very perceptive observation of writers that is sadly unattributed.
‘When you become a writer your heart and mind become divided between your many selves.’ Anon.
An artist displays a two dimensional image that offers not only the image but also a glimpse of themselves. Novelists in most genre present you with not only an image of the scene and conversation but a window to their imaginings and deepest thoughts and feelings.
I hope that any members of the club reading my books will not be too disturbed by my darker side.
“What’s in a book is not what the author put into it,
it’s what the reader gets out of it.”
This morning I enjoyed a special event, that of being interviewed by Moorland Radio’s Mervyn Gamage on the Breakfast Show. To my delight I discovered that Mervyn was a great fan of the Vaughan Thrillers after having read ‘A Cast of Hawks’ during a holiday in Madeira. Hooked, he has followed my books and the Ian Vaughan story from that day to this.
As a regular visitor to Madeira it was fortuitous that his last visit coincided with his reading of ‘Shadows in Sunshine’ that is actually set in Madeira and a scene from which takes place in a similar hotel suite to his. It was in a way nice to learn that the scene was good enough to have him searching on the carpet for blood stains.
It was great being on the show of such a popular local radio station. For readers of this page who live in the Staffordshire area but who have not yet found Moorland Radio, tune in on 103.7 FM to keep in touch with local news and events. The Breakfast Show presented by Tony Mullins and Mervyn Gamage goes out every Saturday between 7am and 10 am. Enjoy, I know I do.
The event took place at that great independent bookshop run by Rick Barter. Those that haven’t visited Lee-on-the-Solent I can assure you that it is worth making the trip just to visit ‘The Book Shop’ in the town’s high street.
The number of people who braved artic winds and freezing temperatures in order to obtain a copy of ‘Shadows in Sunshine’ on the day humbled me; thank you one and all. The great success of the event owes much to the loyal followers of Ian Vaughan’s career and it was nice to discuss the plots and characters in the previous books with those that came, as well as introduce them to new readers. All in all it was a really good day.
A few weeks ago I received back from my publishers the first edit/proof-read of ‘Shadows in Sunshine’. Pleasingly there was not too much red ink on the pages, and most was to point out silly mistakes of mine. At each correction or comment, however, I found myself reading, not just the line or phrase, but the whole page, and more than that I started to look intently at the phrases, feeling the urge to change a word here and a word there. Before I knew it I was engaged in that nightmare in which I felt obliged to phone the publisher and tell him to wait another two years while I rewrote the book. Sanity returned in the form of my wife, who also acts as my ‘in house’ proof-reader and harsh critic. “I do like this, you’ve got Al Djebbar’s opening speech just right,” she said. So I put the thesaurus away and returned to concentrating purely on my publisher’s marks and comments. As an author I must learn that I will never be wholly satisfied with what I have written and will always look at other writers work in admiration of their phrasing, but it is their phrase and story line, not mine, their words, not mine. So I will save the game of ‘pedantic semantics’ for my next manuscript and hope when that comes back from the first edit/proof-read that I will be less inclined to enter that nightmare world of self doubt.
I started out with plan A. Having taken a couple of long holidays in Madeira (I’m supposed to be retired so long holidays are alright. Right?) I felt that Madeira’s sufferings due to economic downturn and the change in tourist favouritism should be redressed, so I set about writing a thriller that I hoped would bring tourists in greater numbers back to this
beautiful paradise in the Atlantic. I still think that the concept was good, but trying to blend a thriller with beautiful gardens, fantastic scenery and charmingly friendly people has one balancing on two if not three stools at the same time. I tore up plan A.
Plan B was to write a political intrigue with some romance woven in. Having written many pages I finally had to admit that my hero does thrillers and the slower pace did not fit Vaughan’s character. I tore up plan B.
Plan C came to mind, utilising a single plot that would allow Vaughan to enjoy some sightseeing as part of the action. Then came our third long holiday in Madeira and a chance remark from a friend there. Suddenly a second plot appeared and fitted so well with the first it removed the tourist brochure angle, down which I was heading, almost completely. I found it nigh impossible to write pages of glowing description about the wonderful tress, fabulous flowers, and awe inspiring scenery with my hero racing to prevent the worst from happening. I just hope that the little I have said about this idyllic island is enough to encourage readers of ‘Shadows in Sunshine’ to pay it a visit.
With such beauty and awesome splender how can anyone resist wanting to see it for themselves.
Having, on occasions, wasted a morning fiddling with things rather than getting on with something constructive, I end up feeling depressed and dissatisfied. Often, rather than berating myself for lack of motivation, I inwardly complain of boredom, when I should be instead, comparing myself to those that not only are motivated, but also spend their time voluntarily helping others to motivate themselves and achieve more from their lives.
Having recently sent the manuscript for ‘Shadows in Sunshine’ off to my publishers, I confess to wasting a few days in idle pursuits up until I kept my appointment to talk at the Mayor of Gosport’s Tea Party. There I met again John Beavis, the energetic Mayor of Gosport who had arranged several ‘Tea Parties’ amongst other charity fund-raising events during his term in office. The first of the charities supported was ‘motiv8’, a charity formed mainly of young people who give up their time to work in the community, helping those youngsters identified as needing encouragement and support, and working with them and their families, culminating in supporting the youngsters into employment. Website:- www.moti8south.org.uk.
Next was another valuable community charity ‘Connect Advocacy’ who support adults with learning difficulties. What sterling work these people do in helping those who often fall victim to Hate Crime and Bullying, enabling them to have a voice.
His third charity was one associated with his love of sailing. The Royal Yachting Association’s ‘On Board Scheme’ is designed to encourage those of all ages to become involved in the sport of sailing. Check out a sailing club near you to see if they are, like Lee on the Solent Sailing Club, supporting the scheme. If you haven’t given it a try, go along and learn the ropes. You never know, it may be just the positive pastime you are looking for. Website:- www.rya.org.uk/programmes/onboard.
Three charities all connected with motivation and encouragement, run by people who set out to improve the lives of others in their community. I am pleased to say that my talk was apparently well received, and the event raised a few hundred pounds to support these deserving causes. The main win for me however, was that the event, and meeting a few of those charity workers, gave me some much-needed motivation to get on and do things that are constructive and positive.
Had the good news today that my latest book, ‘Shadows in Sunshine’ has been accepted for publication by Pegasus Elliot Mackenzie. It is the third book in the Ian Vaughan series and picks up his story almost where ‘Batsu’ ended.
On completion of his basic training as a SIS field operative, Vaughan is briefed for his first official operation. His task is apparently simply to monitor a sensitive conference between four North African nations to be held on the island of Madeira, and endeavour to befriend the leader of the conference,Walid alDjebbar. His cover is that of a maritime author updating a pilotage book for the islands of the eastern Atlantic.
As Vaughan sails towards the island, dark forces, intent on wrecking the outcome of the conference, are gathering in Morocco in preparation for a secret landing in Madeira.
The rescue of a young boy, in trouble sailboarding off the coast of Madeira, brings Vaughan into contact with the boy’s widowed mother and her mysterious Brazilian uncle. Vaughan thinking to use the platonic friendship with Amelia de Lima to support his cover finds himself drawn into her family’s affairs that involve him in uncovering another dark threat.
Bound to maintaining his cover, in order to hide British diplomatic involvement on the island, Vaughan is now faced with two deadly situations, both of which threaten his very survival.
It is easy within calm surroundings to imagine events of action and high drama but I believe near impossible for a writer to clearly imagine calm and tranquillity when surrounded by bustle and noise. At least that has been my experience and I am very fortunate in having a garden office in which to imagine the calms and the storms in the lives of my characters. In the leafy suburbs of the small Hampshire town of Fareham I have the added advantage of an area in which the ambient noise is also low to add to my idyllic working environment.
My clear memories of a previous high stress career in a noisy environment, located on construction sites and later in a busy office in the city of London, my current situation feels like heaven. Yet in those other worlds of bustle and noise I still managed to concentrate on the job in hand and, especially on site, developed the ability to block out external noise almost completely. Having boasted of such an ability, at no time was I ever required to compose anything that would resemble calm and tranquillity, and to be honest doubt my ability to achieve such a task.
Here though, my memories of noise and bustle, harsh words, bad language, laughter, tears,
and all the other sound effects that get written into a story to bring to life my books’ characters, are easy to recall. Now also peace and gentle calm are added to my list of experiences and available for use when that essential contrast is required amidst the action and high drama of a plot.
For some I am sure the noise and bustle act as a stimulus to their work ethic, building the adrenaline pump that raises their game. To the most part I personally found the bustle a distraction, and the noise, when conscious of it, painful to the ears. As for the adrenaline rush, all that really gave me was high cholesterol leading eventually to a heart attack. No, it is the essential calm working environment for me and my imaginings.