- What are you passionate about?
I’m really passionate about wildlife conservation and protecting our natural world. Many real-world issues, such as ecoterrorism and the illegal wildlife trade feature in my books, and I also try to make regular contributions to animal charities off of my sales.
- What do you do to unwind and relax?
I have a veritable need to be in nature. Hiking is a real escape for me. I have a connection to mountains and the ocean that is always pulling at me. I live in a lovely rural area where I can disappear up onto the local hills quite quickly and easily. Identifying birds, insects, and other wildlife whilst heading into the woods is a favourite pastime. I also love to wild swim.
- Do you have a favourite movie?
Raiders of the Lost Ark is the standout for me. I can’t remember exactly how young I was, but it was young, when my mum came up to my bedroom and told me to come downstairs with her, and to bring my duvet. I dutifully obeyed, and watched Raiders of the Lost Ark for the very first time. I was transfixed. I think it is absolute classic story telling at its very best. And to this day, I always celebrate my birthday by watching Raiders of the Lost Ark.
- Which of your novels can you imagine being made into a movie?
I think the second book, The Daughters of the Darkness, definitely has a blockbuster sort of feel about it. It has the exotic location of Africa, a great villain, a sidekick, and spectacular scenery, action sequences, and wildlife. I’ve always imagined Henry Cavill as potentially playing my main protagonist, Thomas Walker; Rebecca Ferguson as Catherine Walker, and Chris Hemsworth as Jericho O’Connell. They’ve all played complex characters with damaged pasts, and they would of course be on any author’s wish-list! I would love to see my work make it to the big screen. I’ve had lots of reviews from readers saying what great movies make, so hope spring’s eternal.
Interestingly enough though, with the first book, Shadow Beast, I always imagined this making a great autumnal TV mini-series. It has a noire feel, and the setting of the Scottish Highlands makes it perfect for snuggling up on the sofa to watch, within the safety and comfort of your own home. I remember when I was writing it, I cast it in my mind. Thomas was played by Hugh Dancy – who was playing Will Graham in Hannibal at the time, and I thought the aloofness, intelligence and baggage that character had lent itself to Thomas, as well as Dancy’s rugged, athletic look. Catherine I cast as Kara Tointon, who I’d seen in a number of theatre productions – Gaslight in particular, and in a little-known horror film, Last Passenger. She portrays strong, independent characters brilliantly and was a perfect fit for Catherine. For Fairbanks, my human villain, I have always wanted Tom Wilkinson – partly because he was excellent in The Ghost and the Darkness, which depicts some of the historical accounts of what my books are based on.
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
In 2016, I visited Paris for the first time. I stayed in Montmartre, which has always been popular with artists and writers – and especially the Lost Generation; Hemingway, Fitzgerald and of course Gertrude Stein, who christened the band of disillusioned, American writers who set up in Paris after the Great War, and ushered in a new era of freedom of expression.
I guess if I don’t say a large black cat, people are going to think of me as a traitor! I certainly have an absolute fascination with big cats. I am in awe of their power and ability – the fact that they are unapologetically predatory in nature.
I think one of the joys of being a self-published author is that I’m not bound by a specific genre or certain characters. In my head, and actually now mapped out on paper, I have a book universe. I’m currently working on book three in the series, and I introduce a new character who will be getting her own book, which I’m also working on. That will take me into real monster territory.
But, there’s also a science fiction story I really want to tell. And a children’s faerie story. I even have a crime thriller that I can’t seem to leave alone. Apart from book three in the Black Beast series, you can expect at least one more outing from Thomas and Catherine Walker after that, but from there, it gets interesting. The one thing I’m sure on is, the books will all exist in the same universe. My protagonist in the science fiction story will have gone to university with my protagonist from the Beast series. I am introducing elements of myths and the faerie realm into book three of the Beast series, which will set the foundation for the children’s story. There are some really exciting stories I’m hoping to tell over the next few years.