Featured Author – Alex Shaw
Welcome to Alex Shaw, our featured author for March. In this, his first post for the CRA, we wanted to get to know a little bit more about him.
How did you start writing?
It was 1996 and I was living in Ukraine, I didn’t have a TV so starting reading a lot. My books of choice were SAS based thrillers. The more I read the more I realised that although the authors, many former SAS members, knew their military and operational details inside out, none of them had written about Ukraine in any detail. I noticed this with other books too; the biggest European country was being ignored by the literary world. So I decided that I would write SAS thrillers set in and around Ukraine, the country I had fallen in love with.
It took me twelve years to finish my first novel ‘HETMAN’ (now published as COLD BLOOD). I was writing on and off, and sometimes the ‘off’ lasted a year at a time. I, like all aspiring writers, didn’t know if I could actually write so I wanted to prove to myself that I could.
Who was your main influence?
My main writing influences, for varying reasons, are August Strindberg, Tom Clancy, Vince Flynn and Stephen Leather.
What books would you recommend to readers?
The two best crime novels I’ve read over the past year were BANGKOK RULES by Harlan Wolff and SUBTRACTION by Andrew Peters.
Where do you write?
It all depends if I am in the UK or Ukraine. If I’m in Kyiv I try to write, or at least take notes, on location. This has included, amongst other places, a café bar next door to the SBU (new name for Ukrainian KGB) headquarters that was a popular watering hole of SBU officers, the military war museum and riverboat. If I’m in the UK I tend to be boring and write at home with my computer on my lap either in the lounge or the garden.
Do you have a writing routine?
No, I can write pretty much anytime but I do find that I am most productive early morning or late at night, but not one after the other. I usually re-read and re-write what I’ve written the day before I write anything new.
Do you listen to music when you write?
No, I don’t generally listen to music at all. The last time I bought a record was about fifteen years ago. I sometimes have the television on whilst I write if I’m at home, usually an odd documentary
Where is your favourite place to read?
In bed with my kindle.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Location wise I tend to draw inspiration from places I have been to, travelling extensively through the former USSR and the EMEA region for business a few years back really helped. Story wise I like to take current international political or cultural issues and write about them. Sometimes I’ll just see a documentary or news story and that gets me started.
Tell us about your latest book?
COLD EAST, which will be published by Endeavour Press in April, is the third Aidan Snow thriller following on from COLD BLOOD and COLD BLACK. The storyline focusses around an alleged suitcase nuke discovered in Afghanistan. But who really has it, will they deploy it and what is the target? COLD EAST touches on Islamic State and Russia’s invasion of Crimea and eastern Ukraine.
Is it a stand-alone or a series?
It is the third in the Aidan Snow series and some of the earlier storylines are expanded upon, but it can be read as a stand-alone novel.
What is your next project?
I’m one of two British authors writing a novella for amazon’s ‘The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World’. After that I’ll be taking a break before I start writing either the next Aidan Snow thriller or the UK crime novel I’ve been planning for a while. But a second military vampire novel may also be in the works.