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Today's interview is with author RR Gordon who is a UK-based author who wrote the popular Gull Rock, a fast-paced thriller with a touch of humour and love interest.
RR Gordon lives with his wife and four children in the beautiful Cotswolds region of south-west England. Before becoming an author he ran a market-leading software business.
Books & Writing: Do you remember the first story you wrote?
RR Gordon: I don't know whether to cringe or be proud of the fact that I wrote my first book at the age of 11. It was a kind of homage to James Bond with myself as the hero, the sort of story that every young boy makes up. Or was it just me?
Books & Writing: Were you inspired by someone or something?
RR Gordon: I think I like books because my father used to tell me Big Ted & Little Ted stories when I was very young. Big Ted is a teddy bear my father received on his first birthday - and he is now in his seventies. Little Ted is a Steiff teddy bear that I was given when I was a baby.
My father used to make up these stories about two bears who could speak and went on crazy adventures. He told the stories from when I was a baby and I remember sitting on the bed with him and my two younger sisters listening to him with rapt attention.
Books & Writing: What do you love about writing a story?
RR Gordon: It takes me away from the stresses and strains of everyday life. It’s similar to when you are reading a story, but more so. You disappear into the world of the story for an hour or two – and, if it’s a fast-moving part of the story where the hero is in trouble, then I finish the chapter slightly out of breath with my heart beating fast. It’s a form of temporary madness perhaps!
Books & Writing: I understand you have written two books for a book series called “Wish You Were Here’. Can you tell us a bit about the series and the main characters?
RR Gordon: The series follows the main character, Dan, who is on the run and the story focusses on the relationship between him and the man who is hunting him, Andrew Muir. In the first book, Gull Rock, Dan has stolen a large sum of money from the bank where he used to work and Muir follows him to Cornwall in south-west England where he is working in a small seaside village.
The book also looks at the relationship between Andrew Muir and his young assistant, Vinod, who is just out of university. Andrew is annoyed at having to look after the younger man, but Vinod is always trying to persuade Andrew to use the latest ideas and technologies.
Meanwhile Dan makes the mistake of falling for a girl he is working with, when he should be moving on in order to keep ahead of his pursuer.
Books & Writing: How did you come up with the story for the series?
RR Gordon: Cornwall is a beautiful part of England which is popular with tourists in the summer months and, one day when we were holidaying down there, I thought it would be a good place to hide if you were on the run. Nobody would notice a newcomer in the tourist season and there are many pubs, cafes, campsites where you can work for a few days.
Behind the main story, the books touch on how we have all been affected by the current global economic problems. Dan steals money from the bank where he works and I thought many people would sympathise with his resentment of these large financial institutions that have been gambling with our money over recent years.
Books & Writing: I believe you are working on the third book of the series called “Rydal Water”. When will it be released?
RR Gordon: Rydal Water will be published in the autumn of this year. This book takes the story to a new level, with a greater emphasis on the economic back-story.
Books & Writing: You have also written a Science Fiction Thriller called “Leap”. Can you tell us a bit about that please.
RR Gordon: I like Science Fiction books, but some of them focus too much on the technological aspects and lose sight of the story. I think Star Wars was so successful because of the storyline – it could almost have been sent in the Middle Ages, with brave knights rescuing a princess from an evil lord.
I wanted to write something similar: a thriller which just happens to be set in the future. Leap tells the story of Ben Smith who starts an exciting new job but uncovers a conspiracy within his firm. The book is set fifty years in the future, with the human race about to start reaching out to other planets again, but this is simply the backdrop to an age-old story of good guys against bad guys.
Books & Writing: You have even written some children’s short stories combined in the book “Fun In The Snow & Other Stories”. Why did you decide to write short stories for children?
RR Gordon: I wrote a number of short stories for my children over the years and this book brings them together in one collection. One of the stories in this book is called The One Who Sees and I wrote this for my daughter when she was nine years old. It was intended to inspire her to great things in her life, not that she has really needed anything like that. My daughter is now in the early stages of studying to be a doctor and only a few weeks ago she mentioned that she wants to do volunteer work in Africa when she has qualified. I said, “why do you want to do that?” She replied, with a perfect balance of self-deprecating humour and seriousness, “Because I want to change the world, Dad.” Perhaps it was my story that motivated her after all!
A couple of the other stories in the book have been likened to Roald Dahl by reviewers which I find very flattering. I just tried to write some short stories that my children might enjoy.
Books & Writing: Which author inspires you?
RR Gordon: I love the pace of John Grisham books. They have great plots and plenty of dialogue. I also enjoy reading George Pelecanos, who has come to fame in recent years due to his work on The Wire, and also Cormac McCarthy – his stories don’t have the pace of John Grisham, but I really like the gritty dialogue.
I would also like to add that one of my favourite films is Heat starring Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. The two big stars dominated the screen alternately but then came together in a quiet yet powerful scene towards the end. I hoped to emulate some of this power with one of the final scenes in my book, Gull Rock.
Books & Writing: Where can people go and read your work?
RR Gordon: My books are all published on Amazon Kindle and, for example, you can get Gull Rock from http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B006KWAL2O (in the UK) or http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006KWAL2O (in the US) - or in other countries just go to Amazon and search for “RR Gordon Gull Rock”.
Books & Writing: Where can people find you on internet?
RR Gordon: My website is www.rrgordon.com
Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
RR Gordon: They say that you should write about what you know, but I would say you should also write about what interests you. Most authors don’t make much money from their books and therefore you should make sure it’s fun for you as well. Also, I wouldn’t plan the book out too much – a high-level plan is ok, but you want to make sure the process of writing the book is interesting for you all the way to the end. Sometimes I don’t know the ending myself until I get there!
Books & Writing: Is there anything else you want to share with the readers?
RR Gordon: I just want to say that people can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if they have any questions about my books – or anything at all!
The following extract is taken from midway through Gull Rock. Andrew Muir and his young assistant Vinod have been hunting all day for a sign of the man they are tracking. Andrew decides to take a short break overlooking the picturesque harbour of Port Isaac in order to consider his next steps. He wants a few moments of quiet, but his young colleague keeps chattering to him …
“Hey I’ve got signal,” Vinod beamed childishly and Andrew shook his head. “Shall I tell you about Port Isaac?”
“’Port Isaac was a small but busy harbour from the Middle Ages to the mid 19th. century where cargoes like stone, coal, timber and pottery were loaded and unloaded. A number of fishermen still trade out of this beautiful Cornish harbour today.’ And this is interesting: ‘Port Isaac has been used as a location in many films and television series including Saving Grace with Brenda Blethyn, Poldark and more recently Doc Martin starring Martin Clunes.’ Hey I’ve seen that! Have you seen it?”
“No, I don’t watch television.”
“What? What do you mean, you don’t watch television?”
“Exactly what I said.”
“You must watch things occasionally?”
“No, I don’t own a television.”
“What? You don’t own a television,” Vinod repeated disbelievingly. “Are you a caveman or something? What do you do in the evenings?”
“I read a book, but I don’t suppose you’ve heard of such old-fashioned things.”
“I thought it was bad enough that you didn’t use satnavs but not to have a television is amazing.”
Andrew didn’t say anything.
Vinod went back to looking at his phone. “Shall I tell you a bit more about Port Isaac?”
“Hang on, I thought Port Isaac was a funny name. Apparently the old Cornish word for corn was yzick and it’s possible the name came from that as it was one of the main exports from the area.”
“You want me to stop talking?”
“And just sit here in silence?”
“The serenity of a quiet day is gold to a thoughtful man.”
“Who said that?”
“It sounds like Shakespeare or – “
“Vinod, shut up.”
Vinod finally acceded and Andrew sat back to enjoy the view of Port Isaac harbour, the sunlight glistening off the rippling water.