Bob Shaw is baffled to see a man in a brown coat at a bustling Underground station. Surely it can’t be his friend, the scientist Professor Morley? Morley perished weeks before in a blazing car. Is the man an impostor or did his friend fake his death?
This fascinating and ingenious thriller tells of Bob’s battle to find out the truth, helped by his wife Anne. They are confronted by ruthless enemies and forced to flee their home
Did or do you like to read comic books/grapic novels? Which ones?
I used to love reading Asterix the Gaul books by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo. Sadly I don’t have any in the house now. I missed out on all the Marvel comics. The only comic book I’ve got on my shelves is an edition of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, based on three hippie drop-outs and created by American artist Gilbert Shelton. Very entertaining!
Whom did you inherit your love for books/reading from?
My mother read a little, but not my father. They both wrote occasional letters, but neither wrote books. My father only wrote insurance reports, so I’m at a loss to know where my interest in writing stems from.
When you need a murder victim or someone you can diagnose with a serious disease or someone who is involved in a fatal accident do you sometimes picture someone nasty you have met in real life and think ‘got you’ LOL?
No, I’ve never done that. So far, I’ve strived to make most of my fictional murder victims rounded characters with good and bad points so their loss was greatly felt by their fictional friends and relatives afterwards.
How do you come up with the names for your characters?
I use various ways to invent names. There is information on certain websites regarding surnames that relate to particular counties or regions of Britain. Many of the names in my series of books about Bob and Anne in Canterbury are names that often crop up in Kent – such as Ball, Rigden, Couchman and Tolhurst. I try as far as possible to have a fair cross-section of the kind of names that would be found in a community. The Lazarus Charter has a lot of East European-sounding names, for reasons that become obvious when you read the novel.
Do you write other things beside books (and shopping lists 😉 )?
At the moment, I’m mainly interested in writing novels and don’t usually bother with making shopping lists! I wrote a radio play the other day for my writers’ group which, luckily for me, won the group competition.
If a movie or series was made from your books, would you be happy with the ‘based on’ version or would you rather like they showed it exactly the way you created it?
I would be delighted if a producer believed any one of my books was good enough for a film or TV series. I definitely would not object if they made changes or simply made a production that was “based on” my work. I was a journalist for many years and you learn to accept, when writing for newspapers, that your work is going to be changed – often for the better. Mind you, I bore a few grudges for a while! (Only joking!)
Who would you like/have liked to interview?
I was very lucky in my journalistic career and got to interview several prominent people, including Margaret Thatcher at a Surrey byelection (along with 20 other journalists!); Tom Jones after his first return to Britain from America (with one other journalist); Elton John after his heart surgery (with 20 other journalists); and George Harrison at a Surrey mansion (with ten other journalists). I would have like to have interviewed John Lennon and Michael Jackson, but that’s unlikely to happen now!
Do you have certain people you contact while doing research to pick their brains? What are they specialized in?
I have a long list of specialist contacts I have built up through journalism (including a number of journalists and ex-journalists) that I can reach at almost any time to obtain information. However, most of the information needed on a day-to-day basis exists online, provided you know where to look for it.
Is there someone you sometimes discuss a dilemma with?
I’ve always believed in the old adage that “a problem shared is a problem halved” and throughout my life have been open to discuss any problems or dilemmas with others. The idea of democratically sharing ideas is at the heart of the practice of journalism – by inviting discussion you obtain information you may not normally receive. So if I ever come across, for instance, a moral dilemma affecting one of my characters in my book, I tend to chat about it to whoever is in my company at the time — my girlfriend or a mate, for example. Eventually you find out how the character can resolve their dilemma.
What is more important to you : a rating in stars with no comments or a reviewer who explains what the comments they give are based on (without spoilers of course)
I believe the star rating system for reviewing books can be very misleading with some reviewers choosing to give just a few stars for a book while at the same time praising it to the hilt in their report. Stars on their own would be of little help to a reader wanting guidance on whether to buy a particular book. I far prefer a review which is fair, unbiased and tells it as it is.
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.
Tony’s author website