Dramatic setting and characters – an interview with espionage thriller author Alex Shaw

I’ve known this author on social media for a number of years, and had the chance to meet him last year at CrimeFest – given that my Dan Taylor series has just joined his Aidan Snow series at German publisher, Luzifer Verlag, I reckoned it was high time I interviewed him!

Welcome to the blog, Alex Shaw…

 

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.

Which do you prefer: writing short stories or writing novels? How do you approach these different mediums?

I enjoy writing both, but I get more satisfaction from completing longer works. I’d never written a short story until after I’d written several novels, which I’m told is odd. The shorter the piece has to be the more I plan and plot, because the word count is limited. But sometimes I get this wrong; twice over the last two years pieces that were meant to be novellas, for Amazon’s Kindle Worlds, became novels as I couldn’t stop writing. One of these was a novel which had Aidan Snow teaming up with Russel Blake’s ‘JET’. Now that was a blast to write

You’ve written SAS thrillers and vampire thrillers, as well as writing within the “Kindle Worlds” concept – do any other genres take your fancy?

Nordic Noir and perhaps something in a zombie sub-genre.

What have you got planned for 2017? Any writing projects you can tell us about?

I’m writing a Nordic Noir, set in Finland and Ukraine, this should be finished for 2018 and actually uses some of my existing characters. I’m also working on three other projects, one is a traditional Noir but set in 1990s Oregon, another is an action thriller following the exploits of an assassin and the third is a military thriller.

Alex, thanks for taking the time to visit the blog today. Where can we find you and your books?

The best place to find my books is on Amazon HERE

And you can find me here:

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