A married couple, a stranger from far away and a murder that rocks their lives. Desperate to reach England, a bedraggled immigrant clings precariously beneath a couple’s motor home as they cross the Channel. Once holidaymakers Bob and Anne overcome their shock at his discovery and their initial reservations, they welcome the friendly stranger into their home in defiance of the law. But their trust is stretched to the limit when the police accuse the smiling twenty-three-year-old of a gruesome murder.
Could this man from six thousand miles away be guilty? Or is the real killer still out there? Former national newspaper journalist Tony Bassett tells how Anne turns detective, battling against a mountain of circumstantial evidence and police bungling to discover the truth.
– When and where do you prefer to write?
It’s very kind of you to invite me along to discuss my writing. I try to write at least a thousand words every morning between Monday and Friday. I have a small study at my home in North Kent where I work. I find that, once you get into a regular routine, you can make real progress with your writing.
– Do you have a certain ritual?
No, I don’t need a lucky rabbit’s foot or wear purple underpants! Just give me my PC and keyboard — as well as online access for reference checking — and I’m away.
– Is there a drink of some food that keeps you company while you write?
I love coffee. I’ve never really been a tea drinker. Two or three cups of coffee during the morning helps to keep me going.
– What is your favourite book?
One of my favourites is The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan. But if you were to ask me again next month, that might have changed. I like reading all crime and detective fiction.
– Do you consider writing a different genre in the future?
My first published work, Smile Of The Stowaway, is a crime novel about a murder on Bonfire Night in a sleepy Kentish hamlet. I have just finished writing the follow-up book which involves the same two main characters, Bob and Anne Shaw. But this time the book is a spy thriller. I hope to get it published soon. Over the past four years, I have also worked on three police procedurals which are not yet ready for publication. So I am mainly working within the crime genre, but I might consider writing a romantic novel some time in the future.
– Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
I think inevitably writers base characters, or partly base characters, on people they know. One of the two main characters in Smile Of The Stowaway, Bob Shaw, is a teacher and I think facets of his character and personality may have been derived from those of teachers I knew at my school in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. However, I have been a journalist for most of my life and have met tens of thousands of people in that profession. Many of my characters are no doubt based on those acquaintances.
– Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
I used to carry a notebook round with me everywhere as a newspaper reporter. However, I don’t carry one with me everywhere I go any more. I am now based mainly at my home and writing novels has been my main occupation for the past five years. On occasion, an idea will spring to mind when I’m away from home and I will jot it down on a scrap of paper or in my diary.
– Which genre do you not like at all?
I wouldn’t say there is any genre I don’t like at all. However, I wouldn’t go out of my way to read a western or some of the more fantastical science fiction novels.
– If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
I’ve always enjoyed reading biographies and, if I was ever asked to co-write the biography of a political leader, I’d be very tempted to say Yes. I believe one of my strong points is that I can work in a team and would probably have very few problems working with a co-author. But I’m not sure who that would be. Anyway I’m very happy writing on my own.
– If you should travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you chose and why?
As a newspaper journalist, I specialised in British home news. I only travelled abroad twice in my work — to Germany to follow Princess Anne and to France to investigate a Calais port dispute. However, I love Spain, so if I were able to carry out some research for a book over there, I would jump at the chance. The weather is so fantastic!
Thank you, Tony Bassett and Rachel’s Random Resources.
About the author
Tony Bassett, who was born in West Kent, grew up wanting to be a writer from the age of nine when he edited a school magazine. After attending Hull University where he won a `Time-Life’ magazine student journalism award, he spent six years working as a journalist in Sidcup, Worcester and Cardiff before moving to Fleet Street. Tony spent 37 years working for the national press, mainly for the `Sunday People’ where he worked both for the newsdesk and the investigations department. He helped cover the Jeremy Thorpe trial for the `Evening Standard’, broke the news in the `Sun’ of Bill Wyman’s plans to marry Mandy Smith and found evidence for the `Sunday People’ of Rod Stewart’s secret love child. On one occasion, while working for `The People’, he took an escaped gangster back to prison. His first book, `Smile Of The Stowaway’, is one of four crime novels Tony has written over the past three years. He has five grown-up children and eleven grandchildren. He lives in South East London with his partner, Lin.
Social Media Links
Tony’s author website