How did the Aidan Snow thrillers develop? Did you start out with a series in mind?
At the time I started writing the first Aidan Snow novel I was living in Kyiv and reading a lot of SAS thrillers, only one of these mentioned Kyiv and then it was factually wrong. This got me thinking that I could write my own thriller set in Ukraine as although I wasn’t an expert on the SAS I was an expert on Kyiv. Aidan Snow is basically me, if I’d been in the SAS. I wrote the first book to see if I could and once I’d finished it knew I wanted to turn Aidan Snow’s exploits into a series.
You taught drama at a school in Ukraine – how did you get into that, and how much of that experience and structure do you use when writing?
After getting a Drama degree I did a PGCE so I could teach it. But then I realised that the world was a huge place, hence I was headhunted to join an international school in Kyiv. I set up the Drama department for the first International Baccalaureate (IB) School in Eastern Europe. Improvisation was a skill I had to rely on as an actor/teacher and this I think makes it easier for my mind to think of story ideas, settings and characters.
‘Hetman’ introduced Aidan Snow to readers back in 2008 and a lot has changed within the digital publishing industry since then – including the book title! If you could give 2008 Alex Shaw one piece of advice, what would it be?
Get an editor. I am still plagued by typos that I missed (when it was self-published), that my subsequent editors have missed but that readers don’t.
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