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CRA logoWandering and Wondering – Alex Shaw

1st October 2014 by in Crime Readers' Updates

Twenty seven years ago I saw Alan Bennett sitting on a wall in the Yorkshire village of Heckmondwikestaring at passers-by and taking notes. When my father and I, two southerners passed by he made notes. Years later I found myself doing the same thing but I was in Kyiv, Ukraine. I was sitting on the terrace of a café sipping chilled vodka and watching the ‘new Ukrainians’ strut by. Like Mr Bennett I discovered that I too prefer to ‘write on location’ and thus far I’ve been lucky enough to be able to do so for the majority of the time.

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Most of my writing centres around Aidan Snow, an SIS (the official name for MI6) operative. Snow and I have a love for Kyiv and have both lived there. Whenever I can set at least part of my narrative in Ukraine I do so. The benefit of Kyiv as a setting is that few international authors have yet to write about Ukraine in great detail, as a location its surface has yet to be scratched.

My wife’s side of the family is Ukrainian hence we travel to Kyiv several times a year. This affords me the chance to wander and wonder. I’m not one for dragging a laptop around or tapping away in a coffee shop as I find this insular, I much prefer to keep my head up and like Alan Bennett ‘observe’.  If I’m not wandering or catching up with friends and family I’ll usually sit in the in-laws garden and write in longhand (which I’ll then incorporate into my writing on a laptop in the evening).

When writing in the UK I tend to make fewer notes and try to focus on polishing what I’ve written already and of course adding extra scenes that are set elsewhere.  As an author I am extremely lucky that there is no commute to my place of work, unless I want or more importantly can afford for there to be one!

 

 

Read more about Alex Shaw over on his CRA author’s profile

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