Ben is a research scientist. He finds the cure for genetic disease in a serum called NEMREC. He celebrates with his best friend Mark and returns home to his wife Hannah. When he returns to his laboratory he finds that his research and his staff have disappeared. When he tries to leave the laboratory somebody tries to shoot him. He flees, and he manages to escape. But when he tries to contact his wife she cannot be reached. He has to work out who he can trust in an attempt to find his wife and his son Matthew, all the while dodging mysterious agents who seem to want him dead. He has lost his wife, his son, and the chance to save his son’s life with his genetic research. Identity X is the story of his fight to take these things back.
Q and A
What inspired you to write your first book?
From the first time I said to myself I want to write a book, I had been procrastinating very well and doing a lot of thinking, but not much else! A lot of thinking that didn’t get me very far, until one day an idea popped into my head which was something along the lines of, how far would a person go to preserve their own life at the cost of those around them? It got me thinking about what is precious to people, and what is so important that they would betray those close to them, or ignore their moral code. From this one thought, The Loss of Deference was born.
What books have most influenced your life most?
When I am asked this question the book that always comes to mind is The Beach by Alex Garland. For months afterwards I couldn’t settle in my job, and all I wanted to do was give it all up and go travelling. The fact of having a mortgage however stopped me! Also, Gerald’s Game. It was the first Stephen King book I read and from that point on I wanted to be a writer.
What are your current projects?
I am currently writing a book set in Bowness on Windermere in the Lake District, UK. It’s my favourite place in the world. It is about a woman who has many psychological issues and how she is dealing with them with her less than perfect husband and the death of her father. But unfortunately for her the problems reach further than her mind. I have just finished the first draft. It need a heck of an edit!
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Here is a little bit from Identity X.
He waited before he spoke again, unable to focus on anything but the burgundy pool of blood forming underneath the waist of the dead shooter. “Why did he want to kill me?”
“Because you are already dead, Ben. There are no options left for you. They will kill you. They will not stop until they do. They have hundreds of these men, and each one of them will die before they give up their duty,” she said, looking at the body on the floor, “and four of them are standing next to me right now.” Ben looked up at the men at his wife’s side and contemplated in what possible reality his wife would be flanked by four assassins. “You are going to walk out of this station with me, and you will get into the van parked outside.”
“If I don’t?”
“Then we will kill you here and now. I will do it because you will leave me with no other choice. If you come with me, if you trust me, I will protect you.”
What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?
For me editing is always the biggest challenge. I think as I write, which always means that story changes and develops and needs adjustments afterwards. The first book was difficult to write because I was working full time with an on-call commitment at the time. Finding the hours was tough. Right now the challenge is that I can hear the Disney Channel in the background in Greek, which when I’m not concentrating just sounds like blah blah blah.
What advice do you have for writers?
It is really important as a writer to practice your craft. By this I mean write consistently, and do it as frequently as you can. Ideally I think you should write each day, even if it’s only for a short while, but sometimes this isn’t practical. Reading is just as important, and I love to do it. It is like research and for me if I am not reading I feel my writing is more sluggish.
From a practical point of view for somebody who wants to test their skills in the world of publishing, the best advice is to polish whatever you want to publish to the point when you cannot possibly stand to read it anymore, and until you believe it is as good as you can possibly make it. Then make a choice between traditional and self publishing, and just go for it. And whichever you choose, make sure you are tough enough to stand rejection and criticism. I have experienced both, and it is essential to ride through it if you want to succeed. Professional writers are after all, the amateurs who didn’t give up. I heard that recently. I can’t remember who said it, but I think it sums up the journey perfectly.