About the Book:
A girl goes missing – but has she been lost, or taken? Her frantic mother begs for help from the one man with the ruthless skills to track her down. Alex Rafter, former sniper, sees Madeleine Finch as a bad, erratic mother, and is reluctant to go back to a life he is trying to forget. But his own nightmares compel him to search, for the girl’s sake.
Rafter embarks on a murderous hunt, aided by Gabriel Montero, another former soldier, that leads through the wilds of the New Forest to the squalid back streets of Southampton. Rebecca Grant, local veterinary, drug addict and would-be lover, offers help, but her own agenda threatens to send Rafter astray. It becomes a race against time to find the girl before she is lost forever to the heartless world of people traffickers.
What people are saying:
“High intensity fight scenes… Thould’s writing style is to the point and sparse, emphasizing action over poetics.” Midwest Book Review
1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?
I have always written since I was a boy, poems to start, then little stories and articles before feeling as I got into my forties, that I had enough life experience to tackle full-length novels. I think I express myself best in words as I am quite an introvert and was raised in a household where discussing stuff never really happened.
2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?
My writing practice has developed now so I write 1,000 words to one chapter every morning, early-ish, taking as long as it takes to do that. Then I make notes for the next chapter, let that work in my brain overnight then do another 1,000 words the next morning and so on.
3: Where do your ideas come from?
Ideas come from anything that strikes a chord – can be seeing someone or something, hearing something, and then usually a sentence or two will just pop into my mind and I write it down along the lines of, ‘what if?’ I usually have a theme that interests me, for Dark Water, it was the struggle our ex-military guys have re-integrating back into civvie street after a lifetime of battle service.
4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?
I have to know my characters first. I scan and surf looking for pictures of people that fit the image I have in my head of the sort of personality I want for each character. Then I prepare extensive character charts and plan out the basic storyline on large accounting sheets that give me enough space to plot. Then, once I really know my characters as well as I do myself (sometimes even better!), I put the characters into situations and listen, watch and write down what they say and do. The story then just looks after itself using narration rather than too much ‘purple prose’. I plan on writing 80,000 words in 1,000 word chapters. I have a picture in my mind at all times, it’s a very visual process for me.
5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?
I would describe my books as an English version of the American hard-boiled, noir genre. I have always liked best writing that is character driven, in spare, direct language, just what really appeals to me. I get easily bored with too much descriptive stuff going on and will skip pages accordingly.
6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?
For Dark Water, the main character, Alex Rafter, is based on the physical appearance of the US actor Dylan McDermott. I found some pictures of him where he had exactly the look I wanted to represent the ‘lost soul’ Rafter had become after the army. I suspect that Rafter is in some way the alter ego I would like to have been! The only other famous face I have used is the Chinese actress Zhang Zlyl (Crouching Tiger…) as Gabriel’s partner, while for the next Rafter story, Dark Horizon, (first draft just finished) I have used Dylan’s real life partner, Maggie Q for the co-main character.
7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?
I read at least one book a week, usually of the thriller/crime genre and almost exclusively American authors. The only British writer I like is Mark Billingham. My all-time favourite is the late, great Elmore Leonard and I try to keep my writing along his ‘Rules for Writing’. I found a publisher, ‘Hard Case Crime’, that deals exclusively in the hard-boiled genre and I read Donald Westlake, James M. Cain, Lawrence Block, et al. I also enjoy Robert B. Parker, Michael Connelly and Robert Crais a lot.
8: What book/s are you reading at present?
I’m currently reading Stephen King’s, ‘Mr. Mercedes’, bit of a departure from his usual horror books.
9: What is your favourite book and why?
Hard to have one favourite but, if I had to pick, probably Elmore Leonard’s, ‘ Out of Sight’. It was a great movie also with George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez. It would be closlely followed by his, Raylan’.
10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?
If you are ‘thinking’ about becoming a writer, you probably shouldn’t try it. But, if you feel in your very soul that you have to write then go for it 100%. Read everything you can get your hands on, write as much as you can about anything until your own ‘natural’ style evolves. I write what I like to read, so there’s that too.
11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?
There’s my Facebook and Twitter pages and some stuff available on the Andrew Lownie Literary Agency website too. I am considering creating my own website sometime in the not too distant future.
Andrew Lownie Literary Agency website: www.andrewlownie.co.uk/authors/simon-thould
About the Author:
Simon was born in Somerset, England, where he went to public school and played rugby and cricket with more enthusiasm than he studied. He later managed to qualify as a chartered surveyor and practised for over twenty years in both public and private sectors in London and the south of England. Simon completed two Creative Writing night school courses and a Writers’ Bureau correspondence course in his spare time. He also worked as a restaurant and bar manager in Hampshire before moving with his two black cats to a mountain farmhouse in Andalusia, southern Spain for a year and a half. There he wrote his first novel.
He moved back to the UK and worked as a resident housekeeper and groom in Kent and wrote a second novel.
Then he relocated to Charleston, South Carolina, USA for several years and worked in warehouse stock control, sold insurance and then artwork in a downtown gallery. Returning to the UK once more, he worked as a postman and in several retail positions and wrote a third unpublished novel.
Simon moved to the island of Gozo in 2014 and wrote, ‘DarkWater’, a thriller introducing Alex Rafter. After a lifetime of rejections from publishers and agents with only minor success with magazine articles, Simon made a final push to try and get published. He sent the synopsis and three chapters to more than fifty UK agents before being lucky enough to be taken on by David Haviland of the Andrew Lownie Literary Agency in London. ‘Dark Water’ is being published in August 2017.
Simon’s passions, other than writing, are reading hard-boiled, noir novels, watching classic movies, travel and following National Hunt horse racing. He has been married twice and has a daughter, Lucy. He currently lives in Almunecar on the Andalusian coast and has just completed the first draft of a second, ‘Alex Rafter’ novel.