Author Questions and Answers

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How long did it take you to write ‘A DANCE CALLED AFRICA’?

The actual writing took about a year and a half, not counting editing time, proof reading, etc.

But that was at the end of a very long process of stops and starts, doing research, finding editors, agents and publishers, doing several rewrites of more than one book – not to mention giving up on the whole idea completely – several times! Currently, I have three half-finished novels, apart from the final book, and three more in waiting, to prove it!

But because I’m probably more bloody-minded and stubborn than most, I always came back to it! In any case, neither the story- nor the characters – would let go of me!

There were times when I began to wonder if there was more going on, spook-wise, than met the eye! Where Africa is involved, nothing at all would surprise me!

I’ll be touching on this subject later in my blog/newsletter or FB Author Page.

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Why have you chosen historical fiction as your favoured genre?

I haven’t – although I love most things historical. The story I wanted to write just happened in the past, and that’s all there was to it. As I recall, historical fiction was not exactly ‘flavour of the month’ at the time, but at no time did that figure in my deciding what I wanted to write about.

In any case, I don’t want to be restricted to one genre.

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Do you think there are many more opportunities to uncover stories from history that have not yet been told?

Yes, limitless! It’s just a question of looking – or bumping into them, like I did with John Ross. The Scottish ‘diaspora’ over the centuries is full of the most amazing characters.

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Did you deliberately choose Africa as a source of inspiration?

No, although it will always be a tremendous draw for me. As well as my personal experiences from 20+ years of living there, its sources of inspiration are endless. Ask Wilbur Smith! I just happened to be visiting South Africa when I first came in contact with ‘John Ross.’

I’ll be writing about ‘John Ross and me’ a little later. Keep watching the BLOG/NEWSLETTER/WRITING section.

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What is Book 2 of The ‘John Ross’ Trilogy called and when will it be available?

KINGDOM OF A THOUSAND DAYS’ is also ready to go. Not sure yet of the publication date. 

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And Book 3?

It’s called ‘LORD OF THE RED FIRE’ and I haven’t finished it yet!

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Have you any other books in the pipeline?

Yes. One is based on some of my own experiences. It’s called ‘Walking on the Wild Side.’ And in case you’re curious – yes, I have – in Communist Poland, the Republic of Congo, Libya and a few other places!

There’s also a half-finished contemporary thriller ‘FALCON.’ It’s set in present- day Scotland, and has some very interesting characters – including a sea-going wild cat called Archie!

And then there’s two more books set in Africa, one about a mountain, the other set in the ‘Roaring Twenties’ in South Africa.