Welcome to my stop on the Virtual Book Tour for No Remorse by Ian Walkley. Ian was kind enough to do a short interview for us, which is below. Please make sure to leave a comment or question for Ian, as he will be awarding a $50 Amazon Gift Card to one randomly drawn commenter during his tour. You can follow his tour here. The more you comment, the better your odds at winning.
Me: You’ve only been a fiction writer for the last four years, what has been the most challenging aspect of the writing to get published journey for you?
Ian: The ability to “cut through” and convince an agent or publisher of the merits of my first manuscript No Remorse has been the most challenging, without doubt. Based on the reviews of the book, one would expect an agent or publisher to have been interested. But perhaps my pitch was not effective, or perhaps the MS submitted was not adequately finished off. That is why I engaged an editor to work with me on the final MS. I would always recommend new writers to use a professional editor even before they submit their MS.
Me: When you write, do you follow an outline or are you more of a “write by the seat of your pants” type writer?
Ian: I try to outline, but I struggle to see sufficient detail about the plot and characters to be able to write from the outline without diverging along the way. I have a rough plan, even a final scene written for my second book, but I still find I am changing the story and key characters, as I come up with a more exciting scenario and another great subplot. This is not great in terms of writing to a deadline. I would like to improve my ability to outline like Ken Follett does, in great detail.
Me: Your novel, No Remorse, deals with human trafficking, political corruption and revenge. Is there an underlying event that inspired you to write this story?
Ian: I had wanted to write a fast paced “airport bookstore” type novel for some years, and Robert Ludlum and Wilbur Smith were my greatest storytellers. When I decided to write No Remorse, I had been reading about kidnappings in Iraq, and there were also cases of children being sold from Russian orphanages allegedly for body parts. Over time, the story morphed into two American girls kidnapped in Mexico (which happens now), who are sold, and the Special Ops soldier who is determined to find them.
Me: At the beginning of No Remorse, the characters are in Mexico. In your upcoming release, Bait, the setting is Brisbane, Australia. Which of these two settings was your favourite and why?
Ian: Mexico only forms a small part of No Remorse, and it is not a place I would go on holiday these days. No Remorse is a global thriller in the sense of a James Bond series of international settings like Paris, London, and Dubai. With Bait, I am wanting to create a modern, fast-paced thriller in my own country… there are not a huge number of Aussie thriller writers using global settings. I think publishers are looking for Australian writers who write about Australia. So I’ll do it once and see how it goes.
Me: Can you tell us what you’re currently working on? Can you share a small snippet of your upcoming work?
Ian: (here is Ch1 of the new book. Hope the extract is not too long).
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA. SUMMER. LATE JANUARY.
As millions of mosquitoes clouded the sky for the twilight blood, Seven News reporter Tasha Sidwell sprayed the insect repellent one more time on her exposed skin before testing her microphone was working.
Across the street, inside the post-war timber cottage, whose peeling paint and unkempt lawn suggested a neglectful landlord, the snarls and deep barking of several large dogs could be heard above the voices of the protesters in the otherwise quiet Palm Beach neighbourhood. The disorganized rabble, about a dozen of them, some carrying home-made signs demanding their kids be protected, was being kept under a degree of control by two uniformed police. Two plainclothes detectives had given up knocking on the front door and were walking around the back of the house as the six o’clock news went to air.
Tasha led Ray a few metres further away from other news crews as her director gave a five-minute warning and began streaming live audio through her earpiece. After checking her iPad notes as she readied for the live cross, Tasha absently flicked her hazel ponytail to cascade over her right shoulder and breast, and closed her eyes for a moment’s meditation. Her crease-free cream jacket and beige dress revealed a healthy tan and prominent collar bones. And while her dimple and bright eyes meant she didn’t need accessories, the tiny silver cross on a fine chain and modest solitaire engagement ring hopefully conveyed the right message on air, even if the ring was cubic zirconia and there was no actual fiancé.
Everyone in the newsroom knew Tasha was ambitious. Last year’s Logies saw her nominated as most popular television reporter in Australia, and online comments referred to her classically beautiful, stunning, gorgeous, one hot chick, the babe I’d most like to date and many crude variations on the theme. Her Twitter following was north of four thousand, not bad for a twenty-two year old journalist who listed her Facebook passions were yoga and reading, Chanel No. 5, church choir, Adele, and camomile tea.
But although Tasha took her work seriously and told anyone who would listen that she’d rather win a journalism award investigating serious news, the ratings people showed her presence gained Seven an extra eight points share, so they did a live cross to her for a Gold Coast report every night she was on duty, even if it was to talk about the height of the surf. Fortunately, from the view of newsworthiness, there was often a drowning to report––usually an Asian tourist outside the flags––or yet another shooting in an ongoing biker turf war. Now there was a subject Tasha would like to have a journalistic crack at.
Turning around she glanced over at the house. There was some kind of commotion. But newsreader Ken Tholomew had begun reading the story she was doing the cross for, so she turned back and smiled her glossy lips as though the camera lens was her lover, which in some respects it was. Cameraman Ray Daunt smiled back, unaware he was doing so. Tasha’s smile was contagious.
Through her earpiece, Tasha could hear Ken’s concerned baritone expressing the community’s outrage at yet another pedophile being housed near a school. “Notorious serial pedophile, Gavyn Selphans, has again been outed, this time on the Gold Coast, where the repeat offender has been housed in a Palm Beach residence less than four hundred metres from the nearest primary school. For the latest, we cross to Gold Coast reporter Tasha Sidwell…Tasha, what’s going on doing down there?”
Tasha’s smile turned serious and she nodded to keep the audience attention as the delay in transmission caused a few seconds gap.
“Well, Glen, as you can see, neighbours are definitely not happy about Gavyn Selphans being placed here. This is the second day people have been protesting outside his halfway-house residence where he is serving out his parole with an electronic ankle bracelet. Neighbours tell us he has not been seen for three or four days. He also is keeping three dogs, which neighbours say is against Council regulations. Neighbours claim the dogs are Pit Bull Terriers, which are illegal in Queensland. The protest began two days ago, when the vigilante blog Reel Justice published a video showing Selphans at a cafe, allegedly boasting to a friend that he was planning to abduct another child. In his recording, Selphans is alleged to have said: ‘this time they’ll never catch me or find the kid’. Now, Glen, we don’t know when that video was shot, but detectives are at the house to speak to Selphans about it. We expect he’ll be taken in for some serious questioning by Gold Coast Police. Selphans’ lawyer and civil liberties spokesman, John Turezzi has slammed the Reel Justice and threatened legal action. But he’ll have to find them first. Since Reel Justice’s website first appeared two years ago, nobody has been able to discover who the blogger is. He or she, or they, have the stated aim of outing criminals who have escaped the justice system. The blog’s tag line is ‘YouTube for the victims of crime.’ Two months ago, Reel Justice exposed a drug dealer acquitted on a technicality, who went back to selling methamphetamine to teenage kids outside a Brisbane West high school…that man, Jayden Pikbog, is now serving five years…”
Cameraman Ray, spotted things happening at the residence and zoomed away from Tasha to one of the plainclothes cops throwing up at the side of the house. He pointed, and Tasha turned to check what was going on. The rival Nine News reporter and cameraman were running across the road to get closer. Tasha signalled to Ray and they hurried across to where the detective was leaning against his unmarked car with the radio handset.
“What’s happening, detective?” Tasha called out.
She was on first name terms with Detective Wayne Dern, but it would have been inappropriate to reveal that on air. Still, he allowed her to get close enough to hear what he was saying on the radio.
Back in the studio the director continued the live cross. It was great journalism, not everyday viewers see a detective chuck a pumpkin during mealtime, and besides, he could see on a monitor that Nine News was doing the same.
Tasha turned back to the camera, her expression now mortally serious. “Well, Ken, it appears that two detectives have attempted to enter the house but were prevented from doing so by three aggressive dogs. Police have called for an ambulance and the RSPCA. I overheard one of the detectives telling headquarters that Gavyn Selphans is lying on his back in the house, unconscious or possibly dead, and the apparently starving dogs are eating the convicted pedophile’s face…”
At this point Tasha had a brainwave. She pulled a lemon face. “Certainly, if he’s not dead, Selphans will be facing an even more unpleasant reflection than usual in the mirror when he wakes up. Back to you, Ken…”
She walked over and stood with Ray to wait for their next cross, which would be towards the end of the news bulletin.
“You want to go somewhere after?” Ray said, lighting a cigarette, not really expecting a yes from someone like Tash.
Tasha stepped back and waved away the smoke. “Not when you breathe that stuff all over me. I’ve told you before, I don’t date smokers.”
“I wasn’t talking about a date.” Ray shrugged and turned away from her, his body language saying that she’d have used another excuse anyway.
Actually, he had assumed wrong. Tasha dated a cameraman last year for a few weeks. But she had standards, and one of those was no smokers. If a guy smoked, in Tasha’s mind it meant he had no respect for his body and no respect for the health of others around him. As for smoking after sex…yucky-yuck.
“So who’s the brains behind this Reel Justice, do you think?” Ray asked, trying to recover some self-respect.
“God knows. Their website is hosted out of the US but nobody’s been able to trace them…”
At that moment it hit her. Tasha realised what she could do that would finally have people respecting her abilities as an investigative reporter.
“Not yet, anyway.”
Me: On your website, you ask readers several questions about their favorite books. Since turnabout is only fair play, what is the classic novel you have enjoyed the most? The contemporary novel you have enjoyed the most?
Ian: I loved Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth, hated Catcher in the Rye and got bored with Great Gatsby. I loved Wilbur Smith’s Wild Justice, and David Baldacci’s The Winner, but my favorite would be Don Winslow’s The Power of the Dog.
Me: If you could take a dream vacation anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Ian: Scuba Diving in the Cook Islands, Reading in Bora Bora, skiing in Aspen, or trekking in Greenland. I’m trying to figure out how I can include all of these in the sequel to No Remorse (because writers have to travel to experience setting, right?)
Me: Can you tell us what you’re currently reading? What upcoming book release you are looking forward to the most in the coming year?
Ian: I’m reading a quirky book called At the Sharpe End, by Hugh Ashton, an English author who lives in Japan. It’s quirky because it shows some of the humorous clash of English culture with Japanese. I’m always looking forward to Lee Child’s next book, and Harlan Coben’s next offering.
Five Get to Know You Questions:
Favourite Color – Blue. I’m a little sentimental, but I keep it in. My English heritage.
Favourite childhood book – Wild Trek, by Jim Kjelgaard, my first adventure thriller.
Favourite alcoholic beverage – I’ll have a glass of wine with a meal, but on its own, probably apple cider.
Food you can’t live without – Bananas – God’s perfect food, and consider the shape and packaging. A marketer’s dream product. And equal first comes raspberries. The female version of bananas. Sort of (LOL)
Favourite ice cream flavour – My body doesn’t like milk products, but I’ll occasionally have raspberry frozen yoghurt or a lemon sorbet. (Thanks for the fun questions, I enjoyed the interview).
by Ian Walkley
Two men, exiles from their respective societies, take conflicting approaches in the quest to regain their place and self-respect, and find themselves at war over a kidnapped girl.
Lee McCloud (“Mac”), a special forces soldier facing trumped-up charges of murder, is forced to work for a mysterious government outfit operating outside the law.
Khalid Yubani, cast out of Saudi Arabia for an offence against another member of the Royal family, seeks revenge through ruthless acts of evil. Engaged in the worst forms of human trafficking, Khalid buys Sophia, the daughter of Mac’s best friend, who has been kidnapped in Mexico. With time running out for Sophia, Mac enlists the help of a beautiful computer genius, a British SAS soldier and a Lebanese fixer to try to find Sophia and save her from the terrifying fate that Khalid has in store.
Although starting the quest as a man with no remorse, Mac gradually discovers a side of himself that he suppressed after witnessing the abduction of his own sister years before.
Dodging assassins, corrupt generals, evil medicos, Mossad agents, corrupt bureaucrats, and sharks, Mac ignores the order to stay out of trouble and follows Sophia’s trail from Mexico to Paris, London and Dubai, and the island of Andaran, where Khalid and his henchmen are waiting…
The girls’ fathers, Bob and Marvin, each carried a briefcase full of cash with a tiny GPS tracker hidden in a false bottom. They were both taller than the kidnappers, and through the scope Mac could read the pain on Bob’s face. The behavior of the kidnappers was still bothering him, but there was nothing he could do except watch. The leader held out his palm and waved his pistol like it was a flag. He addressed the fathers in accented English.
“You’re late. We think perhaps you do not want your daughters back, eh?”
“Sorry,” Bob said, his breathing short and sharp. “We took a wrong turn coming into the dam. The signs were confusing.”
The man grunted and glanced at the one with the knife. “Check them.”
Knife Man patted them down, searched their pockets, nodded the all clear.
“You have our money?”
“Of course.” Bob’s voice came through deep and confident in his earpiece, although the armpits of his shirt betrayed his anxiety. Be courteous but strong, Mac had advised him, otherwise they won’t respect you. Being a basketball coach undoubtedly helped. “And you have our daughters,” Bob said. A statement, not a question. He held out the briefcase. “Here’s the money. We didn’t contact the police.”
Several kidnappers gave a hearty laugh.
The leader smirked. “We wouldn’t be here if you had, gringo. But your daughters would be. With bullets in their heads.” He gestured to a kidnapper wearing a red bandana around his neck. “Abrirlos,” he ordered, and the man took both briefcases and unclipped the locks.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Please remember to leave a comment or question for Ian below to be entered into his giveaway contest for the $50 Amazon Gift Card. The more you comment, the better your odds. You can follow his tour here.